Snow and frost, bye-bye bitties, and this is $353

Starting last night, heavy fog started moving across our province. It was heaviest in the south, with major visibility issues. Today, it reached us.

It was pretty light by the time I was doing this part of my rounds, and gosh, it does make the trees look pretty!

Though it does cause issues with how well the trail cams work! 😄

Yesterday, I had to head out in the morning to pick up some parcels at the post office before it closed for the holidays. The road had been plowed. Which is nice, but I started to get stuck trying to get through it with the van. So in the afternoon, I headed out with a shovel to clear it.

Which is really hard to see, even after trying to increase the contrast when I resized the photo! 😄 I did the end of the driveway, from the gate to the road, with a shovel rather than breaking out Spewie. The plow ridge was too much for that little snow blower.

Which meant getting out today was much, much easier!

Today, we said goodbye to the bitties.

Tissue is the last of the inside cats that needed to be spayed. She is available for adoption, but we will be bringing her back home on the 4th. They’re scheduled to be spayed on the 2nd.

Walnut (who would be Tissue’s baby sister) may not be spayed right away, though. The littles are all dealing with upper respiratory issues, and the vet might not be willing to spay her until that’s been treated. Talking to the Cat Lady, she was thinking either the vet would spay her, and they’d keep her for 2 weeks of antibiotic treatment, or the vet won’t do it, they’ll treat her for 2 weeks, and then hope for another spay clinic (which is $75, instead of $350).

While I was working on this post, however, I started getting messages from the Cat Lady, asking what we know about Walnut’s age. We know she’s at least 6 months old, even though she is so tiny. Well, it turns out the Cat Lady has someone who is interested in adopting a tiny cat. Walnut may already have a forever home lined up! The bitties, of course, won’t be up for adoption for a while, yet.

Meanwhile, because of the respiratory issues, Tissue is currently isolated from the rest of the Cat Lady’s cats, who are all sniffling right now. The bitties, of course, will be isolated in their own kennel for awhile, too. Apparently, this particular strain of upper respiratory problems, which has been a problem for at least 30 years, is especially bad this year. Another rescue she is connected with has lost ALL their adult cats to it! For it to take out adult cats is very unusual. When she was last at the vet, all the other people with cats in the waiting room, their cats were stuffy and sneezing.

The lysine we’ve been giving them – even though they are probably not getting much of a dose – will help. It used to be, lysine treatment was only for a month, but the vet is telling her that now, it’s lysine for life. !!!

So we will all be taking extra care with the cats. Being as isolated as we are, we don’t have to worry too much about the cats being in contact with other colonies compared to more populated areas, but the Cat Lady has to take extra care, just in her own house, and she has more than 20 right now.

We meet in a parking lot near a Walmart, so after we parted ways, I took advantage of the situation and did some shopping. We are well stocked with most things, which meant that – aside from cat food (the Cat Lady casually loaded another bag of cat food into our van, along with another cat bed, while we were chatting!) – we could indulge a bit for New Year’s treats.

Which is why this cart load is $353 and change (plus a donation to the Children’s Hospital).

There’s 5 different types of frozen appetizers in there, which we’re having today – early, because none of us intend to stay up to midnight! – as well as a couple of cheeses, a couple of charcuterie combos and a couple of baguettes for tomorrow. I got a couple of pies as well, and some cranberry ginger ale. Along with the dry and wet cat food, I had a request for some “healthy-ish” cereal for my husband, plus a large jar of olives, both for the charcuterie, and for general snacking. There’s a bag of clementines, and two bags of avocados. Those were under $2 for a bag of five avocados! These days, we’re lucky to pay less than $2 for just one.

There’s also a couple of bags of pistachios for van snacks, and a couple of popcorn seasonings. Last of all are a couple of Command Strip hooks I remembered to get, some batteries my daughters needed, and some painkillers for me. I ran out a while ago.

That’s it. The cart isn’t even full, and it was over $350

Before heading for home, I messaged the family to let them know I’d need help unloading. We can’t drive up to the house right now, and the path shoveled to the garage is not wide enough for the wagon.

When I got home, however, I found my daughter had broken Spewie out and widened the path, and even got paths to the burn ring and almost all the way to the electricity meter. The extension cord wasn’t long enough to reach all the way, and she didn’t want to break out another one. So she was shoveling in front of the garage, instead.

When I came in, though, I had another surprise.

The driveway was cleared again!

I was going to work on it tomorrow, with Spewie, but now we just need to clear the rest right in front of the garage, and paths in the yard.

As you can see, even though I increased the contrast in the photo, we still had fog.

Driving out, the fog got thicker the further south I went. By the time I was driving home, it was the other way around. When I was loading the van, there wasn’t any fog anymore, but the further north I drove, the denser it got. One stretch of my route is nothing but open fields in all directions, with just the occasional shelter belt around a farmyard visible. With the white snow and the dense fog, there was no horizon, except on the highway itself – and even then, I was seeing a vehicle in front of me slowly disappearing, even though we were not getting any further apart.

That combination of snow and fog really affects the visibility!

I was certainly glad to get home!

So now, we will celebrate New Year’s early, and be in bed well before midnight! 😄😄

The Re-Farmer

Year End Review: Our top 10 most popular posts

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve! Let’s take a look at how things have been on the blog for the past year.

As we did last year, we will have two top ten lists. The first will be the posts with the highest number of views in 2022. The other will be the posts actually written in 2022 that got the most views.

All links will open new taps, so you won’t lose your place!

Here are the overall top 10 posts with the most visits, starting from lowest to highest.

10: Fall Garden Update: Crespo squash This one is from 2021. We did try to grow Crespo squash again in 2022, but they did so very poorly. Yes, I plan to try again!

9: Recommended: CS Brews This is from my 2020 Recommended series.

8: Presto, Change-o! I saw a traffic spike to this 2021 post in the fall. I suspect a lot of Canadians were looking for information on pressure canning in 2022. Particularly since we don’t have anywhere we can take the gauges to for calibration.

7: Making Crab apple cider vinegar: airlock or cheesecloth? This post goes back to 2020. In 2022, I saw a large spike in traffic to crab apple related posts. Last year, we had no crab apples to harvest, and I don’t think we were the only ones. This fall, it seems we were not the only ones to have an excellent harvest to do things with!

6: Sourdough Cornmeal Pancakes This one goes back to 2018, and remains a popular post.

5: Chokecherries, ready to freeze This post, from 2019 also sees a jump in traffic in the fall. We, however, have had no chokecherries to speak of for two years in a row, now.

4: Our 2022 garden: Baker Creek seed order is in! Our first 2022 related post – and it was written in 2021!

3: Making kluski; Polish drop noodles This post from 2020 still sees some regular traffic. I also now have the sudden urge to make some kluski! 😄

2: Making hard crab apple cider; will it work? Another post from 2020, and yes, it did. We have a 2022 batch of it fermenting right now, too!

1: Things with crab apples: apple cider vinegar Hmm… I see a pattern here! This post from 2019 saw the largest spike in traffic in the fall I’ve seen in a long time! It looks like crab apples did well for a lot of people in 2022!

I see another pattern in all these popular posts. They are all food related, and all but 2 are related to preserving food in some way!

I think that tells us something of what’s been important to people in the past year.

Now, we have the top 10 posts that were actually written in 2022.

10: First snow A 2022 cat post makes the first entry in this year’s top 10 list, and it’s not even two months old!

9: Cabbages update – and a fundraiser announcement We’ve had so much help from the cat lady and her rescue, but nothing compares to how she went all out in the fight for Cabbages’ survival. I’m happy to say that Cabbages is not only healthy and happy with the Cat Lady and her family, but her treatment is now being used as a case study by other vets, in the treatment of other severely ill cats. Saving Cabbages is saving the lives of other cats!

8: Large batch crab apple cider vinegar The crab apple theme continues!

7: Hard Crab Apple Cider follow up – I am the Queen of Procrastination! The end results of hard apple cider, that was started in 2020.

6: Getting Cozy (crochet talk) The cozy I made for my tea mug has disappeared. I think the cats dragged it off somewhere!

5: Thoughts on being prepared Okay, I just got distracted by reading this post over again! It remains quite relevant. With the winter storms that have just passed through much of Canada and the US a short while ago, I truly believe this is something we all need to consider, no matter where we live. There is one thing I would add to my commentary. We’ve found that ghee, purchased in restaurant quantities, can be a LOT cheaper than buying the jars in the grocery store. Ghee is a shelf stable butter, and would be an excellent addition to a preparedness pantry!

4: Remembered to order: from Lee Valley I’m rather curious about why a post about getting a sharpening stone and holster for our scythe got this much traffic!

3: Sometimes, I hate being right (convoy talk) The use of the Emergency Measures Act against legal, peaceful protestors has gone through its mandatory committee investigation. The investigation – as biased as it was – proved that there was absolutely no reason for it to have been invoked, and that our Prime Dictator and media repeatedly lied about the convoy. But will anyone be held accountable for it? Of course not. Our Prime Dictator should have resigned years ago, the RCMP should have laid charges against him (but didn’t, for political reasons) – and that was even before he went full dictator – but there has been zero accountability. And most Canadians have no idea what happened, or are too apathetic to care.

2: Two pounds! Another Cabbages update.

1: Recommended: RoseRed Homestead – That “Woman with a gadget” This is from my 2022 additions to the Recommended series – which I still need to add to the list under the Recommended tab! Rose Red Homestead is well worth taking the number one spot for 2022.

Well, the themes for the most popular 2022 posts are a lot more diverse, but not one of them made the overall list. Not by a long shot!

What I am seeing seems to show a trend towards people looking for more information on how to grow and preserve their own food.

After the past three years, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Food security has become a huge priority for so many!

Photo by Pixabay on

Here’s to a better year in 2023 for us all!

The Re-Farmer

2022 Goals: Review and Reset

It’s that time of year! Time to look over our goals for the past year, see what got done, and reset new goals for 2023.

One major goal we had was to get the branch piles chipped. We got an estimate and planned on getting it done slowly over the year, as we could afford it.

With that in mind, I contacted the tree company and asked for an estimate to get all the dead trees cut down, but left as whole as possible, so we could salvage the wood for lumber. It would simply be faster and safer to hire someone. Unfortunately, to get them all done, it would take a 4 man crew and the estimate was $4000. Not something we could afford. Even just doing 5 trees closest to the house was beyond budget. It took until August before we could do it, and we just booked them for 3 hours (what we had a budget for) to do the big branch pile.

Well, that didn’t quite happen. Instead, they came and stayed all day. It took 8 1/2 hours, but they did the big branch pile in the outer yard, two in the maple grove, and one at the far end of the main garden area. We paid what we had cash for, and were told we could pay the rest off as we are able. We’ve got one more payment left! We also now have a lovely large pile of wood chips for the garden and tree plantings.

There is still one large branch pile in another area, but that one is getting so old and broken down, they might not be able to chip much of it. We are still clearing things in the spruce grove – something that we will slowly continue working on, probably for several more years. With the wood chipper we have, we should be able to clean up a decent amount of it ourselves, but will probably be calling them in, with their huge, industrial sized chipper, again.

Meanwhile, they left us with neatly stacked logs, cut to about 4 ft lengths, some of which we could salvage for other things, like this small garden bed, and some temporary barriers.

Eventually, the logs along the perimeter will be replaces with a low rock wall.

So getting one goal accomplished – getting the branch piles chipped – has helped us accomplish other goals, like build up some garden areas, and get some much needed mulching done.

There were several other gardening goals we worked towards, with some met, some partially met, and some delayed. As you saw in the chipping video, we got berry producing shrubs planted. Three of the five sea buckthorn didn’t make it and will need to be replaced, and I’m not sure if the one deer damaged highbush cranberry will make it, but the silver buffalo berry did quite well – which is surprising, since at one end, they all ended up under water! The Korean Pine was planted, with four out of six surviving the year.

We will be getting an apple tree and a new, cold hardy variety of mulberry in the spring. The diseased and dying crab apples still need to be taken down. We are looking to get three different colours of raspberries as well, each maturing at different times.

Our goal to expand the gardens and increase our food self sufficiency progressed, but didn’t succeed very well, due to flooding and a really bad growing year. Which means that this year, we’ll be working to improve things more, taking into account what areas saw the most flooding damage. Building up high and middle height raised beds will be a big part of that, as well as permanent trellis tunnels with middle height raised beds at their bases.

We didn’t accomplish more clean up in the spruce grove, mostly due to flooding issues and then never being able to get back to it once the flooding was done. So that goal continues. We’ll just have to slowly keep taking down those dead spruces ourselves, so we can use the wood to build raised beds with.

Speaking of wood to salvage…

One of the shed roofs finally collapsed with the heavy spring snows. I started to do some clean up of the collapsed roof and discovered much of the roof had forged nails in it!

As we continue to clean up and dismantle the shed, we plan to salvage the forged nails. We should be able to salvage a decent amount of useable wood that can be used to build something else.

Getting chicks in the spring of 2022 was a goal that was not met, nor were we able to build a chicken coop. I want to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop. This past summer, I took a look at an old wagon in the car graveyard that has a chassis that looks like it can be salvaged, though the wooden walls are quite rotted. I’ve since learned from my brother that this wagon is close to 100 years old, and he was quite pleased that we are interested in finding a way to save it and use it. I’m hoping we can use some of the salvaged wood from the shed and be able to build a chicken coop on the wagon base, but I’ll have to empty it and drag it out, before we can see for sure what we have to work with.

For me, building a chicken coop and having chickens is a priority, but my daughters are not on board. They are convinced having chickens will be far more expensive – particularly in vet bills – than we can afford. There is another priority that we can all agree on, though, and that is the outdoor kitchen. It will be built about where the collapsed shed is; in front of it or, if we can get it dismantled fast enough, in the same spot as the shed. It will be built mostly of whatever material we can scrounge up, but there are some things we will need to buy for it. If we can arrange a trip to a salvage yard, we should be able to get most of what we need – if budget allows.

Another ongoing goal is cleaning up that horrid junk pile. We still need to hire someone to haul it away, but it’s jut not working out. It is, however, getting slightly smaller.

We finally got this pile of unsalvageable logs from the branch pile, built up over burnable garbage too large for the burn barrel, burned. In the process, I started burning the old, rotten pallets I’d cleared from where there used to be a wood pile for the furnace. We were going to have those hauled to the dump, too, but we may was well burn them as we can, rather than pay someone to haul it away. If we only burn them in the one spot, when they’re done we can clean up the nails and stuff out of the ashes, later.

So… goals for 2023.

Continue to expand the garden, with permanent structures. That will require cutting down more dead spruce trees for the wood to build high raised beds like the one we’ve got so far (which did very well in its first growing year). We will also need to build permanent trellis tunnels, plus portable trellises that can be used in different beds, year after year.

We need to add to our food forest, with fruit trees and berry bushes. We really should be planting more nut trees, too, since they take so long before producing, but that will depend on the budget.

We need to dig up the buried hose that stretches from the house to the tap in the old garden area and replace it, now that the branch pile that was in the way is gone. What I would like to do is get a heavy duty hose and run it through a buried pipe. If we do it right, we’d be able to replace the hose, as needed, without having to dig a trench again. I suspect there will be issues with very large tree roots as we dig up the old hose, though. Some of them were not there when the tap was originally installed. Still, having that tap would make watering the garden much handier, plus it would allow us to set up a vegetable washing station, if we want.

We need to dismantle the collapsed shed, salvaging what we can in the process.

We need to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop.

We need to start on our outdoor kitchen, even if it’s just to build a timber frame and a roof.

Oh, my younger daughter has a goal of building a forge so she can start working on blacksmithing.

The cordwood outdoor bathroom is still a goal, but we need to get a certain group of dead spruce trees cleared first, since they will be felled and hauled out through the area we plan to build it. Until then, the old outhouse will have to do! It still needs its roof repaired and the outside painted, but it was surrounded by water for a long time, and we never got to it when the water receded. With the flooding we got, we now know we’ll have to build up the base for the cordwood building higher than the current ground level than I’d originally thought. It didn’t quite have standing water there, but it sure was close!

It will be at least a year before we can start on the cordwood outdoor bathroom. Perhaps we’ll be able to do a smaller cordwood practise building somewhere else, in the mean time. A replacement garden shed, maybe.

We really need more storage sheds. The ones we’ve got are mostly collapsing and falling apart, and the one that isn’t, is full of my parent’s stuff, that we’re basically not allowed to get rid of. There’s lots of useable stuff in there. We just can’t get at it! That will be a multi-year project. Among the limitations is the cost of lumber, and having to keep them small enough that we don’t need building permits for them. Nothing exceeding 100 sq ft, and nothing wired for electricity or plumbed. Anything that’s open ended, like hay or animal shelters, or things that can be moved, don’t need a permit and can be much larger.

Hhmm… I’m glad I looked that up. Our outdoor kitchen plan is open ended. That means, no permit needed, even if it goes over 100 sq ft. Good to know!

I would really, really like to have the well in the old pump shack checked and see if it can be activated again. At the very least, the pump itself needs new leather gaskets. It’s entirely possible that it’s the only thing that needs to be done, though I suspect work will need to be done in the pipes. Water is our major weak spot. If we lose electricity, we have no pumps. No pumps means no water. Having the outhouse and being able to cook on the BBQ or the fire pit is great, but not having access to water is a much bigger deal.

I think those are our primary goals for 2023. I’m sure some will change and new ones will be added, as circumstances dictate.

Hopefully, 2023 will be a much more productive year than 2022 was!

The Re-Farmer

Snow perspective

The freezing rain we got yesterday didn’t last long – at least not here. I was expecting the heaviest part of the system to be pushed to the south of us, but instead it was to the north of us, and they got quite a bit more rain and ice pellets.

We were clear for a while, then it started snowing during the night. All night, apparently. It was a lot deeper than I expected, when I came out this morning!

This handsome fella gives it a bit of perspective. I had mostly cleared the cat house roof of snow previously. You can see the warm spot over the ceramic heat bulb! There’s kibble buried under there, and it looks like cats were digging for it. Considering that there was still kibble in most of the food trays, I think maybe they wanted not-frozen kibble? When I shoveled most of the snow off again, I uncovered some of the kibble, and one of the cats was immediately up there, eating kibble out of the snow/slush by the warm spot.

Another perspective shot. This is accumulated snow on the kibble house roof, not just one night. It’s deeper than the height of my kibble container.

Those popcorn containers are the handiest things. The plastic is food safe and super strong.

I had to dig out around the cat shelters before I could finish putting out the kibble and topping up the heated water bowls. The snow seemed to drift right in space in the middle, and even in front of the entry to the cat house, which is probably the most sheltered space, with two overhanging roofs to protect it.

After that, I had to dig my way out of the yard, and a path to the garage. I am so thankful for our neighbour clearing our driveway yesterday! It’s still quite passable, even with the new snow. Of course, snow blown off the garage roof drifted right in front of all the doors, so I cleared a path in front of those. We can now access the side where little Spewie is stored.

We were supposed to reach a high of -6C/21F today, but apparently we’ve already passed it. We’re supposed to cool down slowly through the night, then get a high of -14C/7F tomorrow. After that, we’ll be warming up again. Very mild and pleasant for this time of year. Previous predictions of snow over several days have changed, and now there is no new snow expected for some time. Looks like we got what was expected to fall over several days, all in one night, instead.

We never heard back about the financing for the replacement vehicle yesterday. I will wait until about noon before I try calling the garage to see of they got the answer. I suspect not getting a call means we got turned down for financing. That would be disappointing, but not surprising. The shift to long term disability and losing 40% of my husband’s income ended up messing with his credit score quite a bit – and since neither of us have credit cards, nor any debt other than dipping into my overdraft now and then, we’re not building our credit scores back up again, either.

Well, we shall see.

It sure would be nice to have a reliable vehicle again!

The Re-Farmer

We have the best neighbours!

We got a prescription delivery today. I headed outside to meet the driver. With how white everything is, it took me a few moments to realize…

Our driveway got cleared again!

It was the neighbour with the plow attachment on his truck again. He was in and out so fast, I even missed him on the security camera live feed!

We have the best neighbours!

(Also, we never got the call about financing the replacement vehicle. If we don’t hear by noon, tomorrow, I’ll call the garage and see if they know anything.)

The Re-Farmer

Not what I’d hoped

I was hoping that I’d be able to post some good news about the replacement vehicle situation today, but there isn’t any news at all, yet.

Yesterday, we got a call from the financing company with questions for my husband (since our only income is his disability payments, the application is in his name). We were told we would have an answer today.

I waited as long as I felt I could for the call, but finally headed out to do a shop. How big of a shop depended on the road conditions. A system is blowing in and we’re supposed to have snow. Not a lot, but it’s supposed to continue for several days.

Then we started to get the freezing rain warnings.

So I headed out. If the roads didn’t look good, I’d go to the nearest town and do a small shop, but if they looked good, I intended to go to the smaller, nearer city and do a medium shop. A trip to the big city was not going to happen, and won’t until after the new year.

When I got to the highway, it looked good, so I headed towards the town my mother lives in, where I typically get some gas first, then continue on to either city I’m shooting for. As I got closer, though, I drove right into the freezing rain. My windshield was freezing over faster than the heat vent could clear it. I had to switch between trying to see through an ever shrinking clear spot in the ice and using the washer fluid to clear the ice, which would immediately frost over the entire windshield for a brief moment before melting clear.

Not fun.

So I did a small shop at my mother’s town. I got a couple of their largest bags of cat kibble – the last two on the shelf, of the cheaper brand – as well as a few things for ourselves. The kibble was the most needed item. The two bags should last us until after New Year’s, when we will hopefully be able to do a monthly stock up shop in the city – with a replacement vehicle! The price difference on the kibble alone is more than enough to cover the cost of gas for the trip, even at our current high prices.

That done, I headed straight home again. By then, the system had reached our place, and was more ice pellets than rain. Thankfully, I was no longer driving straight into it, so my windshield stayed clear.

So now we continue to wait on the call that will let us know if we can get that replacement vehicle.


Things continue to go well with socializing the bitties. Butterscotch and Bobby nap together regularly now, though her patience is limited. Most importantly, Sprite – who is very difficult to photograph! – has gotten better at letting us pet him, and last night, I woke to find him sleeping across my ankle! Mostly, though, he prefers my younger daughter. He is still more nervous around me, but I was able to pet him and handle him more than usual this morning – almost enough to be able to confirm he is male. I’m about 95% sure, but I could only go by feel, since it’s really hard to visually confirm on a mostly black cat, when I’ve got just a split second to do it. These are tiny kitties with tiny bits, so there isn’t much to feel, either! He and Bobby have been extremely playful this morning, which is making Marlee very stressed, unfortunately. Ah, well. It’s only for a few more days!

Still no luck with catching their mama. She will avoid the sun room entirely when I do their food and water. Crud.

Anyhow. Hopefully, I will have good news about the financing to post about soon!

The Re-Farmer

Socialization progress

Things have been warming up nicely here, now that the cold snap has passed. Yesterday, we exceeded our predicted high and reached -13C/9F, though the wind chill was -23C/-9F. Today, we’ve already reached -13C/9F and are expected to warm up to -10C/14F

Seeing what’s been going on with severe weather in the US and Canada right now, I am extremely thankful to be in a bubble of milder temperatures. It’s heartbreaking to hear that so many have died, while ten’s of thousands are without power. The amount of snow some places are getting is mind boggling. My husband grew up in New Brunswick. He is much more familiar with those levels of snow than what we typically get here in the less humid prairies!

Depending on what the winds are like today, I’m hoping to get back outside and start clearing the paths that have drifted over, and opening up more of them. I plan to “cheat” and break out little Spewie. I’ll put up with dragging around extremely long extension cords for the amount that needs to be cleared. I want to get it done before we get more snow, later in the week. If all goes well, I’ll head out for a small shopping trip. Mostly for cat food – the one thing we haven’t been able to stock up on. We simply need too much of it. We did get a lot for December, but with the cold we’ve had, the outside cats have been needing extra food, so we’ve gone through it faster. We’re not out, but I’d like to get more before we start getting too low. I’d really prefer not to go anywhere near a store until after New Year’s, but it is what it is!

Meanwhile, we’ve been focusing on socializing the littles.

These two have been easy.

That’s my arm Bobby and Walnut are sleeping on.

Yes, the bitty has a name, now! My daughters had shared a picture with some of their friends, and one of them commented that he looked like a bobcat that fell into some bleach. So now he is Bobby – short for Itty Bitty Bobby!

One of my daughters had bee supervising the cats while I was doing other things; Marlee was in a mood and doing a lot of snarling at them! She started watching The Victorian Farm, Christmas Special on my computer, so when I came back, I moved the monitor so I could lay down on my bed to watch it with her.

I fell asleep, and woke up to find Walnut on my arm. Then I moved, and her head rolled aside, which is when I found myself staring into the giant eyes of Bobby!

Since I was trapped, anyways, I stayed for a nap. 😁 I was able to get this photo before I managed to slither my arm out from under them to get up.

I’m happy to say that Butterscotch is increasing tolerant of the littles.

For Butterscotch and Bobby to be so close together, without Butterscotch hissing and leaving, is huge on its own, but for them to even be touching paws? Major progress, there! Not only that, but I’ve even seen Butterscotch come up to Bobby to sniff him, and even groom him a bit! I don’t blame Butterscotch for not wanting to be around kittens, now that we know her last few litters must have been incredibly painful for her. I’m so glad we were able to get her fixed! I doubt she’d still be alive right now, if we hadn’t, she was so damaged inside. That she is now willing to tolerate the littles means she is healing in other ways, too.

Nosencrantz has started to get used to them, too, but Marlee… well, she just doesn’t seem to like the other cats in general, and especially doesn’t like the kittens. She’ll start growling as soon as she sees them, even if they are nowhere near her. The kittens aren’t at all intimidated by her, and generally ignore the hissing, until they get close enough that she swats at them.

As for Bobby’s sibling, whom I’m now calling Sprite (short for Soot Sprite), there has been some progress. He (or she) still leaves if a human approaches, but in a calmer way, rather than in a panic. He’s even gone under my desk and office chair while I’m there. Wheel checks before moving my chair is a necessity, as both Sprite and Bobby like to hang out there! My daughters and I took turns playing with them with a cat toy on a string. Walnut and Bobby were right into it, and Sprite even joined them for a bit. One of my daughters was even able to pet Sprite when he paused beside her, though he did run off once he realized he was being touched by a human. Still, progress is progress!

Bobby, unfortunately, has been getting really stuffy. Both he and Walnut are sneezing. I’ve started to add lysine into their wet cat food – something we have not been doing with the inside cats. The 300gr tubs come with tiny little scoops buried in them – I at first thought they didn’t have any, they are buried so deep! – and one scoop is the equivalent of a pressed caplet. I mix one of those into a can of wet cat food. We split it up among all the bowls, so that means all the cats in the room will be getting some, but it’s the only way we can be sure the kittens will get some. Hopefully, we’ll see some improvement before the Cat Lady comes to get the littles.

I am hoping to hear about our financing application soon. Today would be awesome, but we shall see. If we are approved, that means we should be able to trade in the van and have the replacement vehicle before New Years – and I’ll be able to meet the cat lady with the littles (and Tissue) part way, rather than have her driving all the way to our place.

Oh, my goodness!!!! I am so excited! I just noticed that Sprite and Bobby were cuddled together in baby jail. Not only did I (hopefully) get pictures, but I was able to pet Sprite!!!! He didn’t run away!


Yeah. I know. I’m a suck for the kitties.


The Re-Farmer

Kitty progress – so excited!

Okay, so we’ve been having good progress with the littles overall.

Walnut and Leyendecker napping together is very good. Leyendecker will sometimes groom and play with them, but generally will just nap on my bed, and he’s good with having a little company.

Also, my blanket is absolutely covered in cat hair. Even after washing, there’s still cat hair stuck in the fibres!

Also, also, my carpet is horrific. The cats keep spilling the kibble bowls and kicking sawdust out of the litter box, but I can’t vacuum it right now. It would be too much of a terror for kittens we are working to socialize!

The bitty (we need a name for this guy!) has rediscovered the security of baby jail, and likes to chill in one of the upper level beds.

He is SO much more settled and getting socialized. Last night, I found myself being cuddled by both littles against my back. When I lie on my side, I have my top leg bent and my bottom leg straight. That turns out to create a perfect little nest for a bitty, and I’ve been waking up to find him there. I can tell it’s the bitty because of how tiny and light he is! He has also discovered that playing with fingers is a fun thing to do, and then he discovered this strange protuberance in the middle of my face that is quite fascinating. And tasty, apparently.

Also, he is very sharp.

What a way to be awakened during the night!

While nowhere near as greedy for cuddles as Walnut is, the bitty is really enjoying getting pets and cuddles.

Which is working out perfectly, because he’s now helping his soot sprite sibling settle in.

Yes!!!! We caught the other bitty!

I have had no opportunity to get a photo, but I’ll be sure to try to get one later.

For the past few days, we’ve kept one of the hard sided cat carriers in the sun room with the door open. When putting food out, I’d toss a handful into there. The cats had explored it, and I would often find a cat sitting on the blanket inside, just chillin’

This morning, I came into the sun room, and the little soot sprite was looking at me from the doorway of the carrier.

I very quickly just closed the door. The carrier opens from the top, so I used that to put some kibble in with it. I then quickly did the food and water for the rest of the cats – Broccoli was eating on the cat house roof, and while I could come pretty close, she would not let me touch her.

I’d really love to bring Mama in, and reunite the family! Especially since I see she is still letting even a much older kitten nurse her.

Once the food and water was done, I brought the carrier in and let a daughter take over while I finished my rounds. We’d already reached our forecasted high of the day, -15C/5F, though after having no wind yesterday, a wind chill of -24C/-11F was more of a downer. Still, I did finally switch out the memory card at the sign cam. We’re going to have to dig a path to there again. A lot of the paths around the house are now drifted over. With the more pleasant weather ahead, it’ll be good to get as much of that cleared again before the next snowfall.

Meanwhile, my daughter was able to put the bitty tabby into the carrier with his sibling, then gave all the cats some wet cat food, with the siblings sharing a bowl. They reunited quite comfortably. She had the door open a bit and the bitty tabby went out, but the bitty tuxedo didn’t go out until she opened the top. Once the carrier was available again, I took it back to the sun room. Who knows. I might catch Broccoli in there, too!

The bitty tabby immediately started playing with and chasing around his sibling. The tuxedo has been exploring, as well, but is nowhere near as nervous as the tabby was when we first brought him in. I’m sure the tuxedo remembers Walnut, too. Of course, the tuxedo still won’t let us near it, but I don’t think it will take long.

Marlee is not a happy camper. Anytime she sees a kitten, she starts growling!

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz seem more accepting of the new addition.

My daughter let Cheddar in. He when straight to the new kitten, snuffled it – then started grooming it!

Cheddar is such a good dude.

So now I sit, monitoring an exploring soot sprite, sitting in the world’s creakiest office chair, which isn’t helping things. We’ll need to take turns supervising the new addition. Not so much that we’re worried about the tuxedo, but more because Marlee is not enjoying them and we try to keep them away from her favourite corner as much as we can. The kittens pretty much ignore her growling and hissing, and sometimes want to go over and check her out in spite of it, and we just want to reduce her stress levels.

I’m just so happy we finally got the last bitty!!!!

The Re-Farmer