Slowing it down a bit

We got some furry visitors last night. 🙂

They tend to show up near the end of the day, when the light makes is hard to get good photos! You can still see, at least a little, the growing antler nubbins on the deer on the right.

If all goes well, this will be the last bag of feed for the deer that we buy until the fall. Looking at the long range forecast, we’re expected to dip below freezing again, with snow on Monday (three days from now). They’re predicting 3-6cm. After a couple more days, the temperatures will be back above freezing during the day, though we’ll have below freezing temperatures overnight for a while longer.

I’m hoping we actually get that snow, and that it slowly melts. The deer should have fresh growing things to eat after that. We were supposed to have rain over the past couple of days, but once again I watched on the weather radar, as the system moved right past us. We didn’t even get a sprinkle.

Yesterday was a very lazy day for me. There is something about it being overcast that leaves me feeling like I’m ready to fall asleep, all day. Plus, with the cooler temperatures and hopes of rain, I didn’t want to be working outside with power tools. 😉 I did make a trip into town, though. Our darling daughter treated us to pizza for our anniversary. My husband and I celebrated 33 years together this month. 🙂 While driving into town to pick it up, there actually was a bit of rain, but it was nothing but a tease!

Today, I finally made the trip to the smaller city to pick up the last few things I wasn’t able to get during my Costco trip. They were actually sold out of cat litter, of all things! While there, I started chatting with another customer, who is also feeding a lot of cats. Mostly outside cats. He estimates he spends about $3000 a year on cat food – and spent another $5000 to get 40 cats fixed. !! That’s through some sort of program, where getting a female done is only about $80-$100, instead of the $350 we’re paying. I’ve had all sorts of organizations recommended to us, but either we can’t get through to them, or they don’t operate as far out as we are. 😦

(Oh, just got a phone call. The people who are adopting Two Face are on their way to pick her up. 🙂 )

While talking to the other customer, he mentioned using wood pellets instead of litter. I’ve heard of people using them, and talking about how much better it is, so I asked him more about it. It turns out that these are just the wood pellets sold as fuel for pellet stoves. He told me that when the cats use the pellets, they absorb all the moisture and break apart into sawdust. They also absorb the odor, so the only thing you smell is wood. When cleaning the litter pans, you simply dump out all the pellets in the pan and replace it with fresh – and the old pellets can still be burned. !! I don’t know that I’d want to do that. At least not in the fire pit (or a pellet stove, if we had one!), but we do still have a burn barrel. Or compost them, while burn bans are in effect. That would save us from having to haul those heavy bags to the dump. He told me the pellets are a lot cheaper, too, and they come in 40 pound bags, so they last a long time, too.

I think it’ll be worth trying it out. Maybe start with just a few litter pans, first, and see how the cats like it.

The conversation got me thinking about just how much we spend on critters. With the cats, it’s about $350-$400 a month in wet and dry cat food, plus litter. So, about $4,800 a year, on the high end. Plus the deer, which we do only for about 6 months, which works out to about $300 a year. Then there’s the bird seed, which we do all year, and works out to about $1000 a year.

Which we’re doing my husband’s disability payments.

Thank God for private health insurance!!

There are a lot of things we are doing without, to keep the critters fed. We include it all in our grocery budget. If, however, we were just setting that money aside, we’d have been able to save enough to replace the roof in only 2 years.

Now, we’re not going to stop feeding the animals, but we really need to find a way to address that expense. This is not sustainable. The problem goes back to my not simply being able to go out and get a job, since any income I would make would get deducted from my husband’s disability payments. If I ever made enough to bring that replace my husband’s disability payments, he would lose his insurance entirely (since he would no longer “need” it) – and he’d no longer have coverage for his prescriptions. So it’s a lose-lose situation. That’s why we had to be so careful when fund raising for Ginger’s vet care. We can accept gifts. We can’t have additional income.


Reducing the costs will help, which is why I want to try the wood pellets instead of cat litter. Cat food isn’t going to get any cheaper, though. It’s another reason why we want to grow and preserve as much food for ourselves, as well.

Slight interruption in writing this, as the people adopting Two Face arrived. As a thank you for Two Face, we were gifted with a bag full of brand new, still in their wrappers, Tupperware! Looks like the lady is a distributor. 🙂

I hope Two Face is happy in her new home. We’re going to miss her!

Well, with the weather getting colder again for the next while, we’ll be slowing things down as well. At least, outside. Not so much, inside. The tray of bulb onions are now in the sun room. It’s warmer in there, but with the cooler temperatures coming, we’ve got them heated from below. By the time things warm up again, we should be ready to move more seedlings from the aquarium greenhouses to the sun room, then use the aquariums to start the summer and winter squash.

If all goes to plan, we should be ready to start direct sowing some things near the end of May, then do the final direct sowing and transplanting after our last frost date of June 2.

We’ll have a lot of work to do in between!

The Re-Farmer

13 thoughts on “Slowing it down a bit

  1. Oh, I hope he shared where he’s getting females done for that price!
    We ended up having most of ours done at the Humane Society, but there’s a local vet who advertises in the local farming groups when she’s doing spays.
    She does barn cats only, and only females, and multiples are $75 each!
    Thankfully all my girls are done, so I only worry about when stray boys show up…and my horse vet does them at a discount for me. Probably because he makes plenty off me with the nags!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember. He hadn’t done it recently.

      I was expecting to find farm vets available, but either there aren’t any in the area (which would be very odd), or they don’t advertise.

      $75 would be awesome! We’ve been doing the indoor males, because they cost half as much. We’ve been trying to catch and bring females indoors, to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, they all go into heat at pretty much the same time. Lol


    • Oh, and I tried the local humane society. No responses to email or Facebook Messenger, and no answer on the phone. I haven’t tried to find the place, but have had people tell me they’ve gone there, and it was closed. They are active on Facebook, though. 😕


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