We’re still having slightly above average highs lately. It’s been quite nice!
The outside cats think so, too.
I counted 21 this morning. I also found both heated water bowls completely dry, which hasn’t happened in quite a while! We had some very thirsty cats, this morning!
The tabby in the above picture is from the oldest litter, and one of the shiest cat, so it’s rare to get a decent photo of it. I love that pattern on the sides of its nose, the way the black lines are split, and those black, black lips.
The little one drinking water lets us pet him. I’ve even been able to pick him up and give him a cuddle! He’s one of two of that seem to be staying really, really small.
We had a pretty quiet day. Because it’s so nice out, my daughters got the fire pit going, getting rid of the clean burnable garbage in the process, then having themselves a cook out.
My younger daughter has been working really hard on cleaning up the new part basement. My “work shop” is down there, where I was hoping to be able to regularly do wood carving, but it’s gotten increasingly painful for me to navigate the stairs. That basement is where most of the litter boxes are, and most of the food bowls. Unfortunately, the cats have been making a mess down there, including peeing all over the work table. My daughter has been cleaning that up and even taking apart the table – which is basically a sheet of plywood laid on top of some legs, but not attached – and sanitizing all sorts of things. She brought up a bunch of burnable garbage, so today I took that to the burn ring (the burn barrel is no longer useable and needs to be replaced), to get a fire going and get rid of the accumulating wood pellet litter. I was even able to dig one of the old, rotten pallets from the junk pile out of the snow and get that burning. The sawdust from the pellet litter takes a while to smolder away, so I like to get a decent amount of wood burnt down to coals, then cover the whole thing with a sheet of metal, leaving a small gap for the air to get in, and letting it smolder. It can take several days before the sawdust finally smolders itself away.
I got that to the smoldering stage at about the same time the girls were finishing up at the fire pit. We’ve been keeping clean wood, such as maple and non-diseased apple branches, stacked between the tall stumps of three dead trees I took down, our first year here. We’ve been making a point of using it up lately, as some of it is getting pretty old and starting to decompose – we’ve had various levels of fire bans our first four summers here, so last summer was the first time we got to use the fire pit for any decent amount! As we were packing up their chairs and cook out supplies, they told me they’d been talking about building an actual firewood shelter. Those three tree stumps have been so handy to hold the fire wood, they were thinking we could keep using those, and just put some sort of roof over them, instead of the scrap sheet of fibreglass we’re currently using. We don’t want to build anything too elaborate, since we’re planning to build an outdoor kitchen in a different area – one that doesn’t have overhanging branches or trees nearby! – that will incorporate the fire pit, too. That might take a while, so slapping together something for firewood by the current firepit certainly won’t be a waste of effort.
Between the fire pit and the burn barrel, we spent several hours outside, burning things! It was perfect weather to do it. We’ve got maybe another week of these milder temperatures before we’re supposed to start getting below average highs, which will probably continue into February. Nothing extreme – it looks like Western Canada is going to be hit with extreme cold again, but by the time the system reaches us, it won’t be as severe. Of course, the different weather sources give different forecasts, and one of them is still saying we’ll have above average highs for most of February.
I’m happy, either way. After the extreme cold we had the past few winters, this is really, really appreciated. Not to mention easier on the vehicles. I wish I could say it was easier on the heat bills, but the rates keep going up, so we’re paying more with our equal payment plan now then ever. 🙁 Ah, well. I’ll take what we can get!