Still there!

I was hoping it could wait until tomorrow, when the wind is supposed to die down, but I had to go out and secure the shed roof tarp as best I could. Just on the door side, which is where the wind is hitting the hardest today. The tarp at one corner was starting to tear to the point the line securing it was barely keeping that corner from blowing away completely. We’ll have to go out again to see how we can better secure the other side on a calmer day. At least the far side is secured all the way across the bottom, so a tear at the corner can only do so much.

The kittens were absolutely fascinated by the whole thing and a bunch of them even managed to climb onto the roof. When I had to go back to the house for another tool, I spotted one had even gone under the tarp, where the wind had blown it free of the roof edge, creating a billowing shelter! Thankfully, they all followed me back to the house and when I left the sun room door open, took full advantage of being able to go in instead of following me back.

When I was done, I topped up their kibble, which also got them out of the sun room. This time of day, the sun shines right into the smallest window of the cat shelter, lighting up the whole room inside. So while all the bigger cats and kittens were busily going after the kibble, I had a clear view.

The orange bitty was parked next to the largest window, just sitting there, watching the commotion outside!

There is just the one kitten. It doesn’t seem to be in any kind of distress, that I can see. From the photo, it looks like its eyes are no longer blue, so it’s at least 6 weeks old, if not a bit older.

Of course, with all the other cats outside and eating, there is nothing at all to tell me who the mama is. There are no new adults hanging around that I can tell, either. Clearly, there’s a mama tending to this bitty. It’s just a mystery, who it is!

We will continue to monitor the situation and see how things go!

The Re-Farmer

Morning stuff

When doing my morning rounds, I made sure to check through the cat house windows repeatedly, looking for the new bitty baby.

I counted 27 cats this morning, but no sign of any bitties. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any – just that there is no longer a kitten next to the window I can see through. The largest window has way too many reflections this time of day to see anything unless it’s right at the window inside, and while the smaller window by the entrance, where their favorite cat bed is, is better, it’s still hard to see very far. We did clean the windows on the inside when we prepped the cat house for the winter, but between the frost and greasy little faces, it doesn’t take long for it to get hard to see through. Then there’s the smallest window in the entry (an addition my brother had later added to the dog house, to make it more weather proof), which is completely frosted over on the inside. Because it’s in the entry itself, which has its own roof, we couldn’t really reach under to be able to clean it from the inside. It wasn’t a priority, and we typically forget it exists.

So… if the bitty is still in the cat house, which I believe it is, it is somewhere further from the windows. There is a box bed against the wall furthest from the biggest window. If the mama put her kitten(s) in there, I would not be able to see them at all, just because of their size.

I was messaging with the cat lady last night – she actually contacted me about the possibility of getting some of the outside females done elsewhere, because a certain vet clinic is having their annual extremely discounted spays and neuters – $75 instead of $350, each! She’s going to see if she can book us for 4 females. I imagine the spots get filled up really fast, so we’ll see if she can manage it. She suggested we could meet somewhere half way; I would deliver cats to her, she’d have them at her place for their fasting period, then we’d get them back later.

I was going to wait until I checked today, but since she contacted me anyhow, I told her about the bitty I found. She asked if I thought it was part of the same litter the other bitties came from, and if there was a mama around. I’m sure it’s from a different, younger, litter. She was willing to take it, if we felt there was no mama around – it would keep Bitty (now named Oskar) company until he finishes his vet treatment before going to his forever home. I still think that I will end up finding more bitties in the cat house, later on. The mamas tend to have litters of 4 kittens – Rosencrantz was an exception with her 5 this year – at a time. The question is whether or not such tiny kittens survived being brought over from wherever they were before, into the warmth and safety of the cat house. We shall keep an eye on things!

Once I was done with my rounds this morning, I had to run to the town my mother lives in to do some errands. I wanted to get that done early because, late this afternoon, we’ll be picking up our quarter beef! I wasn’t sure if I’d get the first errands done right away, as we had a lot of blowing snow – almost storm level – while I was doing my rounds. There wasn’t much snow, though, and it’s cold enough that the roads would be dry. Our expected high of the day today is -12C/10F, with wind chills of -17C/1F. As I write this, we’re already at the -12C/10F, with a wind chill of -23C/-9F. We’re supposed to warm up to -8C/18F tomorrow, which will be a good time to see if we can fasten down that tarp on the shed roof a bit better. On the far side, where the roof is covered with metal roofing materials, the trap has been cut by the roof edge a bit, thanks to the winds, so it’s getting loose. Today, the wind is coming from the other direction. We were able to secure it only at the corners so far, and the wind is really tearing at it. We need to secure it along the edge more, but in such a way that we can still open the door, so basically tucking the edge of the tarp under the roof’s edge. The problem is being able to reach.

We’re going to have to invest in scaffolding at some point. I’ve been eyeballing some rolling scaffold platforms that are only about 5 feet high that would meet most of our needs, and are relatively affordable. I think they’re actually meant for indoor use only, but I believe they can handle outdoor use every now and then, too. At least the ones that I’ve been pining over! 😁

As for this morning’s drive, just a short distance from our area, and I drove out of the blowing snow! It was still windy, but clear and sunny. On the way home, I drove back into blowing snow, but since I’ve been back indoors, the snow has stopped, and it’s all clear and sunny out there. Still windy, though. I’m going to have to keep an eye on that shed. The good thing is, I can direct the garage cam towards it and keep an eye on it from the comfort of my desk!

Looking at the forecast into December, I am thinking we’ve lost our weather window. I don’t think the roofers are going to make it out here before the cold really sets in. I don’t imagine any crews would be willing to come out this far north and work in these conditions.


I’m still hoping, but not counting on it.

Ah, well.

Talking to my brother and his wife about it, we were guessing how long it would take to get the job done. My SIL figures 4 days. I was thinking three. My brother was thinking only 2 at first – depending on how big the crew is – but then changed his mind. Once they’ve taken off the old shingles, we know they’re going to find some rot that will need repairing. There’s just no way to know how much, at this point, but I expect there to be rot in at least two areas. Plus, the old chimney for the wood burning furnace needs to be removed, and the hole covered over. The chimney to the wood cook stove in the old kitchen will remain; we may not be able to use that wood stove at all, but some day we will be able to replace it, with a properly installed heat shield and fire safe flooring, and will be able to hook into the existing chimney. That won’t happen for a few years, but at least we’ll have the option. There won’t be any option of getting a wood burning furnace going again, once the roof is done. That old chimney was supposed to have been replaced when my parents first bought this place, back in the mid 60’s. They had all the parts and pieces. It just never happened. And now I’m using those old chimney blocks that were intended for that, in the garden.

We will still have the old chimney running through the house from the basement. Someday, I want to have that removed and replaced with a dumbwaiter. It would make things much easier – and safer – to move things from floor to floor.

Lots of ideas and plans! We just need the funds to be able to do it! 😁😁

Hhhmm… when I picked up some gas today, I noticed the jackpot was won last night. I think I’ll go check my ticket now… 😉😉😉

The Re-Farmer

AAAAHHHH!!! I’m going insane!!

I just got back from topping up the outside cats food and water.

In the process, I saw something absolutely insane.

While adding kibble to the trays under the water bowl shelter and the cat house entry, I glanced through the cat house window.

It’s not very clean, gets frost on the inside and there’s lots of reflection, but…

… there was something strange looking back at me.

Something tiny and orange and fluffy.

This is the picture I took, but I used the auto-enhance on computer, to see better.

That, my friends, is another bitty.

It wasn’t there yesterday.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t there this morning, but I didn’t really look.

I thought I had to be going crazy, and was seeing things wrong.

After I finished setting out the kibble, I came back with the water jug. After topping up the heated water bowls, I looked again, but saw nothing.

There was a white and grey kitten eating at the tray in the entry, so I tried peaking past it, through the carpet strips in front of the door.


I looked back through the window and…

…watched as an orange fuzzy worm came running around and into the cat bad at the window. It looked at me, saw me move and started to run away again, so I moved away from the window.

I tried looking through the larger window, but there’s just too much reflection to see inside.

We have another bitty.




It looks about the same size, maybe smaller, than the bitties that got adopted out.

It seems to be alone – no other kittens – but it’s entirely possible the mama – whoever it is! – is in the process of moving her litter into the warmth and comfort of the cat house.

If I’m seeing things well enough, this looks like it will be a long haired orange tabby.

What the heck!?! Why are we having such super late kittens this year?

The Re-Farmer

Good kitties, bad kitties!

When I was done with my morning rounds, I paused to say hello to the kitties (I counted 29 this morning – never saw Rosencrantz).

The four in the foreground, plus Princess (who had climbed me while I was trying to take pictures), were absolutely all over me, fighting for attention! Those five – Plushy, Pointy Baby, Judgement, Gooby and Princess – are the friendliest of them all.

Caramel, in the background, isn’t. 😄 I’ve managed to touch her while she was eating kibble on the roof, but only by sneaking up behind her to do it, and she was hungry enough to not run away immediately.

The outside cats are such good cats.

Then, there’s the inside cats.

With being sick for the last while, I haven’t been working on this year’s Christmas ornaments, so everything has been tucked away on my work station.

Not well enough.

This morning, not only did I have to pick up the knocked over bin of Christmas decorations, but also gather up some of my mini yarn.


Clearly, the little bucket they were under was not enough to keep them safe!

Ugh. All that cat hair.

I didn’t even realize the tassel was in there until after I’d started untangling the colours. Only the metallic purple mini skein was still okay.

Bad kitties! I don’t even know which ones did the damage. Could have been several. They wait until we’re in be

I’ve got to finish those ornaments, so the stuff can be put away, out of harm’s reach!

The Re-Farmer

First monthly stock up shop: this is what $393 looks like

More specifically, $392,96, after taxes.

I was feeling well enough to finally get our first stock up shop for December done. I am no longer sick, but still feeling pretty weak. Honestly, I would have stayed home if I could. I didn’t want to be driving in that wind, when the roads are in that “is that melted snow, or is that ice?” stage! I had intended to take my mother’s car, because it needs an oil change, but our van has winter tires, so I took that, instead.

Even so, I wasn’t sure how far I was up to driving. I reserved judgement until I reached my mother’s town. She has a cold now, too, and was complaining about coughing badly at night, so I went to her pharmacy and got some cold medication for her, then swung by to drop it off. By then, I knew I was up to making the rest of the drive.

My mother looked quite miserable, and had had another rough night of coughing. One of the medications I got for her was some NeoCitrin so, before I left, I got the kettle going, cut apart all the pairs of packets for her, because I knew it would be harder for her to do herself, then got a cup ready for her before I left. We also went over the directions for how much to take of the cough syrup I got for her, which would be best for her to take before bed, since that’s when her coughing is the worst. When she found out where I was going, she asked me to pick up some milk for her to drop off on the way home.

Once I was done at her place, I got some fuel (local prices are now 158.9/L) then headed to a small Walmart at the nearer city.

There were two things I especially needed to get, and those made up most of the bill. I got four 10kg bags of kibble for the outside cats, at just under $26 each (a really good price for our area) and a case of 32 cans of wet cat food for the inside cats (we still have dry kibble for them). The canned cat food is now $28.47, which is about $10 more expensive than just a few months ago. Altogether, this is about half the cat food we’ll need for the month. When we do our Costco trip, I’ll get more kibble (how many depends on what size bags they have available at the time), and a 48 pack of canned cat food.

Then I got some cold medication. There are shortages of cold medications across Canada right now, and there was less of it at the Walmart than in my mother’s pharmacy! Still, I was able to get both day and night time NeoCitrin (at my mother’s pharmacy, they only had the day type), and a big bottle of liquid cough medicine. I also picked up some vitamins my doctor has me on, and at checkout, I grabbed 4 different flavours of cough candy.

Since our quarter beef should be ready for pick up this week, the only meat I got was some chicken breasts and, because none of us are up to cooking very much right now, a big box of Pizza Pops. There’s some Havarti, mozzarella and marble cheese in there, coffee for my daughters, some clementines, a couple of loaves of rye bread, a 4L of milk for us and a 2L milk for my mother. I also remembered to grab some popcorn seasonings, in three flavours. Oh, and a box of Vanilla Rooibos tea.

I also picked up a couple of t-shirts for my husband. The cats climb him a lot, and all his t-shirts are getting filled with holes from their claws! I went looking in the craft section for little things I could use with the Christmas ornaments I’m making this year, but there was absolutely no Christmas themed or coloured crafts items available. None. It’s like Christmas doesn’t exist in the Walmart craft department. It’s been like that for a few years now, I’ve noticed. I used to work in a craft store. Christmas craft materials started showing up in July, at the latest, because of the time it takes to make things in time for Christmas. I did find some replacement blades for my Xacto knife, though. I have some, but just can’t find them right now. Then, while waiting in line, I went ahead and bought some caramel filled chocolates, as a van snack.

My husband had suggested I pick up some McRaunchies burgers as a treat for the sickies, so after I finished paying for my stuff, I ordered 4 double quarter pounders with cheese and bacon. That came out to almost $44, after taxes! You know it’s bad when McDick’s burgers are $10 each. Ah, well. Beggars can’t be choosers! The girls really appreciated the treat when I got home. Even a barely warm, kinda soggy from being in an insulated bag, treat.

So there we have it. Thirty four items, and almost $400 later!

Of course, I did stop at my mother’s on the way home to deliver her milk. What a difference! That one dose of cold medicine I’d made for her earlier, and she was feeling – and looking! – so much better! She was so very happy at how well it worked, and how quickly. I’m really glad I did that on the way out, rather than getting the medication for her at the same time as ours, as I’d originally intended. She was breathing clearly, feeling stronger, and was in much, much better spirits.

Amazing what a bit of the right medication can do!

The Re-Farmer

Thirty One

This morning, when I did my morning rounds, I did a head count and reached 29 cats. They get really hard to walk through, first thing in the morning, when they’re all crowded at the sun room food, eager for kibble!

I was feeling well enough to do a shop today, including stocking up a bit on kibble. Of course, I had to feed them when everything was unloaded, if only to get them away from the van so I could drive it to the garage!

Before I moved the van, I did another head count. There were thirty of them!

Then, as I was closing the garage door, I spotted Rosencrantz running over from the direction of the barn, so I counted again when I got to the house.

Thirty one.

Which means that more of the adult cats are coming back, hopefully for the winter. Considering I can’t tell which ones are the adults, that tells me some of the ‘iccuses are back. We never could tell all of them apart very well, and there are just enough grey tabby cattens to not not be able to tell which is an adult, and which is a teenager!

Nutmeg had come back for that one day, but I haven’t seen him since. Considering how healthy and well fed he looked, I’m hoping that means he has found himself another home at a neighbouring farm.

Hopefully, more of the adults will return for the winter. Granted, the last thing we need is to be feeding more cats, but it would make me feel better to know they are okay, and have access to shelter, food and water when it starts getting really cold!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 Garden: Veseys seed order is in

One more order of seeds is now done! This is actually our second order with Veseys for next year’s garden.

We had intended to order our potatoes from here, as they have varieties we tried two years ago we really liked. Unfortunately, all their potatoes are currently listed as sold out. There were issues with this last year, when no potatoes were allowed to be sold out of PEI. I’d hope that wouldn’t be an issue, this year! This order ended up being just seeds. No trees or other such things that would be shipped in the spring.

One thing I noticed with their new inventory for 2023 is that their seed prices have increased substantially. I’ve seen increased prices across the board and was expecting it, but the increase seems quite a bit higher here. High enough that it actually affected some of our purchasing decisions.

As with our other seed orders, we have purchased a few things we’ve bought before. This includes the Pixie melon that we enjoyed so much the first year we grew melons, but weren’t able to save seed for, Lakeside spinach, one of three varieties we’d purchased as a collection, Lewis green beans and Merlin beets.

These are the new items and varieties we’ve ordered this time. All images belong to Veseys.

Purple Queen Improved Bean

The first variety of purple bush bean we’d ordered before did very well, even under drought conditions. In fact, all the purple items we ordered did better. I didn’t see it listed anymore, so I decided to try this similar one. The description notes that it has “amazing flavour”.

Red Swan Bush Bean.

These are noted for their exceptionally high yields, and long production season. It can be used as a fresh bean or a cooking (shelling) bean. I will have to remember to leave some of them specifically for shelling, while harvesting others fresh, so we can try it both ways.

Custard Bean

A new variety of yellow bush bean to try that’s noted for being prolific.

Yeah, we’ve got a LOT of beans on order this year. I like to have the different colours, and a mix of types to try. With how prolific these and the other varieties are supposed to be, we don’t have to plant a lot of each. There tends to be quite a lot of seeds in each packet, so we can likely have enough to last us 2 or 3 years, at least.

Dalvay Peas.

This variety of shelling pea is noted for its long pods, well filled with at least 10 peas per pod, and sweet flavour. We’ve had poor results with peas for the past two years, due to weather conditions, and I’d really, really love to finally have more than a snack’s worth of fresh peas! 😁

Sarah’s Choice melon.

This variety is described as the most flavourful in Vesey’s trials, and matures in only 76 days. Our first year growing melons was better than expected, while the second year’s melons were flooded out, so I’m really hoping we have cooperative weather for 2023. We really like melons in this household!

Honeyboat Delicata Squash

I’ve been hearing rave reviews for Delicata squash, but I also saw warnings that they were not a good storage squash. So when I saw this variety was noted as high yielding and a great storage variety, I figured it was worth a try!

Talon Onion

I was planning to get the Oneida onion again, but choked at the price increase, so I picked these, instead. They are described as a great storage onion that does well in dry conditions, and matures 85 days after transplant.

Ambition Shallot

I was going to try the Conservor shallots again, but the price increase was even higher than the Oneida onions. There was another variety that interested me, but it was already sold out. We’ve had no luck growing shallots from seed so far. Our first attempts were destroyed by cats, and the second by flooding that even killed off the shallots we planted from sets. This variety is supposed to be easy to grow, and store extremely well. Here’s hoping we succeed this time!

Cheyenne Pepper

While we have quite a few varieties of sweet peppers, my daughter requested we get a hot variety, too. This is a high yielding variety of cayenne pepper that is ideal for growing in a pot.

Naval Carrot

I was happy with the Napoli carrots we’ve ordered before – I got two years out of the amount of pelleted seeds we got. However, their smallest size packets currently available was more than we needed, so I chose this variety, instead. It is described as keeping its sweet flavour even after months in storage, and as easy to harvest.

Espresso Corn

We actually discussed not doing corn again for 2023, and waiting until we had better soil conditions for such a nitrogen hungry plant, but I think I know where I want to grow these where they should do quite well – I hope! This variety matures in only 67 days, which solves another of our problems, too.

Classic Eggplant.

Yes, we have the Little Finger Eggplant, with their long, narrow shape, but I thought it would be good to have the more traditional type as well. It is described as having “tremendous yields”, and matures in only 75-80 days, so they should work out well.

Roma VF Tomato

Yes, we saved seed from the Cup of Moldova Paste tomato, and we do want to keep that rare variety growing, but they weren’t exactly a flavour power house. At least that’s what my daughter tells me (I can’t eat non-processed tomatoes). I still want a paste tomato, so I chose this Roma variety. I don’t know what the VF stands for, but they are supposed to be quite prolific, and mature about 75 days from transplant.

Lemon Grass

Another request from my daughters, for our culinary herb garden. It has a hardiness zone of 8-9, though, so this is going to be grown in a pot, and in a very sheltered area. I know just the micro climate spot to put it in!

German Winter Thyme

This culinary variety (they also had ground cover varieties) is a bit hardier, but still a zone 4 – 8, which means it will likely be in a pot, too.

And that’s it for this order – and for any other orders until next month’s budget! Those most of what’s left that we want to get is stuff like potatoes, and more sea buckthorn to replace the ones that died – stuff that won’t be shipped until spring. Still, we don’t want to wait to long to order them, as I expect things will be selling out quickly.

We’re ordering a lot more seeds than we actually need, but if there’s one thing we learned from our 2022 garden, it’s that it’s well worth planting more than we think will be enough. In fact, we planted with that in mind, and it still didn’t cut it!

Nature can be brutal.

The Re-Farmer

Silly kitty – and I got to pet the boy!

While doing my morning rounds today, I found myself having to fight off Plushy quite a few times. She was determined to have my full attention!

One of the things I decided to do was a modification to our outhouse, in the off chance it needs to be used in the winter. That seat is shockingly cold at the best of times. I’d see a video of someone building and outhouse in the woods, and what interested me was that their “seat” was actually a sheet of rigid foam insulation with a hole cut in it, that covered the entire seat box top.

That might actually be worth doing, but for now, I decided to just cut some insulation to fit the seat that’s there, and see how that would work.

Which was difficult, because Plushy would NOT leave me alone! She even climbed me and got up on the shelf.

She didn’t want me to take her picture, though!

I ended up fighting off a whole crowd of kittens, so I rushed through getting the piece cut, so I could close the lid before a cat fell in. Then I came back later with a tall piece to put against the wall, where the seat hits it when opened.

Even as I was taking the picture, Plushy jumped up and yes, she was about to jump in, but I managed to snag her in time!

What a silly kitty!

On a more pleasant note, while I was doing my rounds, I found myself being followed by this beautiful boy.

I tried to reach out to him and let him sniff my fingers, but Plushy kept bashing her way in between! I did, however, manage to get a few pets in.

Well, that was it for him! After some decent scritches, he went from being stand-off-ish, to running in front of my feet while I was walking, demanding more! I was even able to pick him up and carry him for a bit.

He is such a soft, thicksome boy! He and Plushy are siblings, but he is quite noticeably larger than she is. In fact, I think she’s the smallest of the litter. Especially considering she’s mostly fluff!

The Re-Farmer