Oh, look! You’re home!

What I found when I looked out the kitchen window this morning.

The babies were running all over the branches, enjoying the sunshine and mild temperatures!

The cats are going to miss that tree when we finally have it cut down. This is a job to hire experts for, since it’s so close to the house and overhanging the roof again. We can see that it’s been cut back a few times, but still left to regrow. Unfortunately, there are now cracks in the basement wall under the kitchen from the roots, and a number of patio blocks are lifted out of place. Still, I’d like to keep enough of the trunk to turn it into a bench or a table. Preferably a table.


I’m home!

Technically, I should still be at my mothers for another hour, but she was feeling so good, she basically kicked me out. 😄 She slept really well, has no residual pain or discomfort from the scope, and is just doing great overall.

The only downside is that, while she was still in the recovery room, they told her there was something they didn’t do, because she was on blood thinners. The blood thinners the doctor’s notes specifically said she could keep taking. When she first told me about it, she was still pretty confused. Recovering from being partially sedated certainly didn’t help. However, they gave her a letter with recovery instructions to take home. While she was napping, I took a look, and there was a note about it. They did not take any samples while doing the scope, because she was on the blood thinners. Which makes sense, since taking samples could have left her bleeding.

The problem is, the more she thinks about it, the more she’s convincing herself that the procedure was a waste of time. She went through all that preparation for nothing. She’s forgetting that the reason she was there was for the scope. The doctor did say that they might want to take samples, too, but not necessarily. Considering that his notes said she didn’t have to stop taking her blood thinners, clearly he did not see it as an issue. However, my mother no longer remembers much about what he said, and is busily rewriting everything in her mind, because they told her that they didn’t do something extra.

Well, I need to call the doctor and make a follow up appointment for her. Hopefully, he’ll be able to reassure her.

The main thing is that it’s over and done with, and everything went well!

As for staying with my mother, that was… mostly good. She tried to go on some racist rants a few times, but I’ve learned how best to cut that off. When I told her I’d brought my own Lent food, she started telling me that that was only Friday’s and Ash Wednesday. It took me a moment to figure out she was talking about the traditional fasting from meat on Fridays. So I told her, that’s not what I was doing, and explained about cutting sugar and starchy food. She quite enjoyed the food I brought – I made sure to bring enough to share – but kept trying to offer me bread or cookies! Which I didn’t mind to much, since I was actually expecting her to become angry and start lecturing me on how I was doing it wrong somehow. So it really did go well, overall!

Now that I’m home, it’s time to get busy. On the list is contacting the garage before arranging to get the van brought in – and find out if he had any success at the car auction!

The Re-Farmer

Going well

I am now at my mother’s home. She did fabulous during her procedure. On the way out, they were going to have her in a wheelchair, but instead, we used her walker like a wheelchair. Once I got her home, she chose to walk instead of ride and dud very well.

My mother is indestructible. I even got comments from the nurse about how spry my mother is – and that’s with two bum knees!

Still, she was understandably tired. I insisted she lie down as soon as she was settled, and she fell asleep almost immediately.

The only strange thing was discovering her thermostat was maxed put at 30C for some reason. I was just melting! Last time I was here, she had all but turned it off, because it was so hot. Strange!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: another Baker Creek order

I couldn’t resist.

I ordered more seeds!

There was actually a reason for this.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to grow and acclimate to our climate is kulli corn. The first time I tried growing them, I ordered seeds maize morado seeds from Baker Creek, which I thought was kulli corn but those turned out to be Montana Morado corn… which then turned out to be Mountain Morado. Long confusing story there. They grew well, until something destroyed them!

Montana/Mountain Morado in our 2021 garden.

For last year, I was able to find and grow Peruvian kulli corn, they got wonderfully tall and healthy, started to form tassels, but not a single cob formed. After much research, I believe I’ve figured out why. These were grown in a new low raised bed, with trench composting and our purchased garden soil, plus beans interplanted with them as nitrogen fixers. Corn is a heavy nitrogen feeding plant after all but… it may have actually been too much nitrogen. Excess nitrogen can lead to lots of robust leaf growth, but can compromise fruiting.

Kulli corn in our 2022 garden.

I already have several types of corn, and I will not plant all of them, however I still want to grow the kulli corn, and was going to try growing them in a less nitrogen excessive plot. I went to order some seeds, only to find they are sold out.

After looking through various seed companies, I decided to go back to Baker Creek and get the Mountain Morado seeds again. They won’t need to be acclimated, and I can still use them to try and make some chicha morada.

Of course, I’m not about to order just one packet of seeds, so I got a few other things, but only one new thing.

In this picture from Baker Creek in 2021, the corn was still listed it as Montana Morado!

First, of course, is the Mountain Morado corn. When we first tried these, thinking they were something else, we started them indoors, even though corn doesn’t like being transplanted. However, I see this is now part of the description:  Direct sow into the richest soil available 1-2 weeks before last spring frost. 

A corn that can be direct sown before last frost will make a big difference! We can actually plant in May instead of June! There’s only 75 seeds in a packet, so we’ll have to make sure to save seed from these, if they succeed.

I am not expecting to plant sunflowers this year; it’s more a matter of effective use of space and time. However, I did go ahead and pick up more Hopi Black Dye and Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds. We did save seed heads from when we grew them before, but none of them got as large as they should have, and they were stored in the old kitchen, then the sun room, which means they’ve gone through freezing and heat cycles that have probably damaged the seeds. So I got more, to ensure I had good seed, and they will be properly stored. If we can actually plant some this year, that would be a bonus!

Another repeat is the Giant Rattle breadseed poppy. We had planted some from our own seed last year, but that spot has been completely redone, so even if they managed to self seed themselves, they’re not going to pop up again there. We do have another variety of bread seed poppy that didn’t get planted last year, because we didn’t have a space where we could treat them as perennials. The massive flooding we had last spring changed quite a few of our plans! However, I do still want to have two varieties of breadseed poppy, planted well away from each other, so we can see which we like best.

One last repeat was something that I’d looked at before, but rejected because of the insane price, and there were only 10 seeds in the packet for that price. Well, things have changed! The price of Spoon Tomato seeds has gone down, and there are now 15 seeds in a packet. 😄 We have a whole 5 seeds left in our original packet, and these miniscule tomatoes are something even I can eat, and fresh tomatoes normally make me want to gag. This time, I want to grow a few plants and make sure to save seeds from them. In the reviews, people who grew them commented that they self seed easily, since it’s almost impossible to pick all the teeny tomatoes without losing some, but again, the bed they were in was totally redone, so none came up the next year.

Finally, there is one last new item – sort of. Salsify. We actually have salsify; the same variety from two different companies. We were going to compare them, since their photos looked quite different. However, there is also this variety.

These are Duplex Russian Giant Scorzonera salsify. One of my daughters requested salsify because it’s a root that apparently tastes like seafood. She likes seafood, though we don’t get it often due to cost. She’d be happy with a root that tastes like it, instead!

It should be interesting to compare them. Because the roots get so long and can be fragile, we will likely be planting them in garbage cans. There are garbage cans all the place, in the barn and sheds, so we should be able to find three that we can use for these!

The down side of ordering from Bake Creek again is that orders to Canada over $20 now incur duty. I have no idea how much that would be on an order that came out to just over Cdn$40, including shipping. We’ll see, and that will help us figure out if it’s still worth ordering from there – or any other US seed company – again.

And here I thought I was done with buying seeds… 😅

The Re-Farmer

Getting ready, and a 2023 garden seedling update

First, my morning cuteness!

Butterscotch has discovered the window shelf! She doesn’t spend much time there, but enough to keep Nosencrantz from using it as often. 😄 So far, the only other cat that’s checked it out is Potato Beetle, and he does just that – checks it out, then leaves.

At the moment, I’m taking a bit of a break from preparing for spending a day and a night at my mother’s. This will be the first time I’ve been away from the farm overnight since we’ve moved here! Which means I’ve been spending a fair bit of time digging around, trying to remember, where is my travel toothbrush? Do I still have a travel toothbrush? Oh, there’s a case for a full size toothbrush. What smaller bag should I use to pack into, and how much will I have to dig to find it behind the barricade made to stop the cats from using the suitcases and scratching posts? Does my husband have an extra pill case I can use for my meds and supplements?

It’s just an overnight trip, but it’s an overnight trip to my mother’s which puts a whole new level of considerations. Plus, I want to stick to my Lenten fast while also not depleting my mother’s grocery supply, so I’m not only bringing food for myself, but enough to share with her. She won’t be able to eat for at least 4 hours after the procedure, since they are going to be freezing her throat, so she’s going to be hungry.

I ended up making a quick trip into town with my mother’s car for a few things for my overnighter, plus a few extras until I can make my next city trip. That will, at the very least, have to wait until after the tire on the van is fixed. Hopefully, our mechanic will find something suitable at the auction that the financing company will accept for the loan that’s already approved. So many things are getting delayed or side tracked because of all the problems with the van!

I am so thankful we have my mother’s car that we can use as a back up vehicle. It’s been needed often enough to be worth the extra expense. Living out here, having two vehicles is a necessity, not a luxury.


While tending the seedlings in the large aquarium greenhouse, I graduated the drum gourds that germinated first. They’re getting tall enough to need more space from the lights, so that one pot has been moved to the lower tray that the onions and luffa are on. I almost, kinda, maybe, think I could see new growth in the one last pot with drum gourd seeds!

Now, in theory, I really should thin out one of the seedlings in the pot I moved. The problem is, they are both so very strong and healthy! Meanwhile, the second pair of seedlings are still recovering from being stuck in the hulls of their seeds and are not looking anywhere near as healthy yet. So I am keeping both and, when it’s time to pot them up, will thin by transplanting one out into its own pot, while the other can be potted up without removing it from the biodegradable pot. Hopefully, the one that gets thinned out will survive. The more seedlings I can keep alive until it’s time to transplant outside, the better our changes of having at least one plant survive transplanting and maybe even enjoy a full growing season!

I took a closer look at the tiny little zucca seedling. There was still just an “elbow” showing, but something seemed odd about it.

Where those roots?


I very gently poked around in the soil and found the seed leaves were still thoroughly encased in the hull, which was trapped enough by the soil that instead of the leaves lifting up, the root end was being pushed out! So I very, very carefully and gently uncovered the seed hull encased leaves while covering the roots – only to accidentally reveal a second seedling working its way out, too! That one was also still stuck in the hull, so I loosened the soil over that, too. Once they’ve gotten large and strong enough to fully emerge and start standing upright, I will gently remove the hulls, like I did with the second pair of drum gourds that germinated..

I’m just babying these suckers! 😂

I am just itching to start more seeds but, for what we’ve got, it’s still a bit too early.

Well, break time is done. Time to go dig out a bag to pack for tomorrow.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: new seedlings!

I’ve been waiting for days before finally getting a picture with the newest drum gourds, then went again and got progress pictures of the rest.

I found a new baby this morning!

The red arrows are pointing to the barely visible first zucca melon!

The new drum gourds were taking a lot longer than the first ones to break free of the soil. When the first one did, the reason became obvious. It was still completely encased in the seed shell! After a while, I very carefully removed it and just dropped the pieces on the soil surface, but the seed leaves have still not started to separate. I can now see that the other one is also still encased in the seed shell. Once it manages to break free of the soil, I will carefully remove it, too. The risk in doing that is tearing the encased parts of the seed leaves right off, as they are so very fragile in there.

The earlier drum gourds are just barely starting to show their true leaves. The luffa’s true leaves are coming out nicely. Even the lemongrass is showing some true leaves. I think. They don’t look very different, other than there being more blades. I honestly can’t tell with the thyme.

That last cell of sweet chocolate peppers finally has a single seedling germinating, so we now have a total of four. Still just the seed leaves in even the oldest ones, though.

The onions and shallots are growing very slowly at this stage. No new haircuts needed! So far, they’re all surviving, too. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep them alive! Last year, we had some issues with the yellow onions and shallots not doing well, but we have different varieties of both this year, and they seem to be doing better so far.

We’ve got two varieties of red onions, one of yellow onions, and one of shallots.

I keep thinking… we need more yellow onions! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Cat pile, totally flat, and enjoying a quiet day

My husband got this picture last night.

Just mashed together in that corner! Adorable. Later on, the entire bench was covered, and there was even one on the camp chair next to it.

This morning, I couldn’t even get a head count, they were all running around so much. It wasn’t any warmer, yet, but they seemed to be really enjoying the bright sunshine!

While doing my rounds, I made sure to check on the van.


What I found yesterday that looked like was the likely damage is now completely hidden. I’ve contacted our mechanic to let him know I won’t be home on Monday, when he was hoping to call me if he’s been successful in finding us a replacement vehicle, and also let him know we’ll be bringing the van back to get the flat fixed sometime next week.

I don’t even want to think about it right now.

Tomorrow, I’ll be prepping for staying overnight with my mother, including bringing my own food. Probably drink, too. I’m hoping she’ll accept my Lenten fast as the reason for that, but it’s not her idea of fasting, so I’ll probably be given a hard time about it. I also just don’t want to be eating her grocery supplies!

So today, I’m going to basically take a break and enjoy a quiet day. It’s going to be a while before I get another one!

The Re-Farmer

Costco haul: this is $692

Oh, my goodness, what a day! Costco was so very busy.

I got just about everything on my list (I could not find dryer sheets anywhere!), plus a few additions I’d forgotten to include on my list.

This is what $692.38, after taxes, looks like.

What’s funny is what happened after I took this picture and started the van – which did NOT want to start when I left for the city, so I wanted to make sure it was running. While taking the picture, I saw a notification for a message from my SIL, who has been out of province for some time. I was going to load up the van, then read and answer the message after I was done.

As I was opening up the back and getting my bags handy, I heard my name.

It was my SIL!

I had no idea she was back! She had messaged me earlier to say she was also going to the Costco – which means we were shopping at the same time and missed each other – then again to let me know she was leaving. Pure chance that she drove past where I was parked! So she pulled into the parking spot nose to nose with my van, helped me load the groceries, then we sat and chatted for a good while.

It was so fantastic to see her! She’d actually been back for a little while, but she and my brother have been terribly sick with colds for the past week, which is why I hadn’t been hearing much from either of them.

I love her so much, and I’m so happy she’s back!


Today’s Costco haul, as usual, included wet and dry cat food. I’ve got a bead on a farm supply store that I’m told I should be able to get large bags of kibble at a really good price, but I’m going to have to make a special trip to check it out. It’s just not working out to find the place while also doing other errands. Until then, I got four 9kg bags of the Kirkland kibble. They did have the brand name 11kg bags but, at $28.99 each, the Kirkland was a better price per kg. I also got their big case of canned cat food (42 cans, I think?) for $38.99

Also among the non-food items was the Kirkland toilet paper – their double roll TP is noticeably bigger than other brands – for $22.99.

One of the “treat” items I got was something new for us to try; a 24 pack of Bubly sparkling water in three flavours. I wanted something not-Coke Zero for a change. They are zero sugar, so I can drink them during my Lenten fast from sugar and high sugar/starchy foods. We haven’t found a sparkling water we actually like yet, but we’ll see how these are.

I did get two flats of eggs for $17.95 (yes, I’m still going to be buying flats of eggs from our egg lady! – we eat a LOT of eggs). While I was walking through Costco with them on my flat cart, a Native guy walking past me saw them and stopped to ask where he could find them. I told him, and he said that the same pack of 60 eggs costs $30 where he lives!! Prices at the northern reserves have always been insane, but yikes!

One of the things I got for the girls was a case of Kraft Dinner; Costco has larger cases than at the grocery store, while their $14.99 price would be a sale price for the usual 12 packs I find!

I got two packs of flour tortilla wraps at $9.99 each, as well as a two loaf package of rye bread at $5.99 – I’d be lucky to get one loaf at that price, locally.

I didn’t get much meat; we still have quite a bit in the freezer, plus I’ll soon be ordering a freezer BBQ pack of beef that includes two types of sausages, from where we get our annual quarter beef. I got a small pork blade at $19.83, some pickerel filets for the girls at $23.69 (only 3 filets, and they were the cheapest fish I could find!), a couple of hot rotisserie chickens at $7.99 each, a 3 pack of bacon for $21.99 and 6 pack of canned chicken for $18.49.

In dairy, I got 5 pounds of butter at $5.49 each AND!!!! they had ghee in stock! I got the big bucket for $39.99. They didn’t have the giant blocks of cheese, so I got smaller blocks of marble cheese, which was on sale for $11.99, and mozza at $14.99. There’s also a larger tub of sour cream at $5.49 and a 4 pk of Kirkland cream cheese at $9.49, plus a 2 pk of goat cheese at $10.69

I also got a 2kg size jar of peanut butter at $8.80, and two big jars of Hellman’s mayonnaise, which was on sale for $8.49 each. There’s avocado oil at $17.49 – a much better price, and a much bigger bottle, then anywhere else! – a 2 pk of butter chicken sauce at $9.99, a 2 pk of lemon juice at $4.99, and a jar of Saskatoon jam for my husband, at $7.39.

I don’t usually get much, if any, fresh produce at Costco, but this time I did get a container of mini portabella mushrooms for $4.99 – they where the same price as the buttons, when usually the buttons are at least a dollar cheaper for the same size container – and a bag of avocados at $7.99

I braved the pharmacy section this time and finally restocked myself on B12 ($21.99), Vitamin D3 (on sale for $8.99) and Zinc ($12.99).

Among the more “treat” things was a big bag of Kirkland chocolate chips at $16.99 – those have certainly gone up in price, but the bag usually lasts us several months – and 1 container of popcorn in the big plastic jugs that we always keep because they are so very useful. Those are now $10.89. There’s also a container of iced tea mix at $9.99. Usually that’s for my husband and I but, since I’m off sugar for 40 days, it’s just for my husband. The girls don’t care for it. For the girls I got a giant bag of Munchies Mix at $9.49 (it will easily last them the month) and for my husband and I, a couple of containers of pork rinds at $10.89. For me, they will be a sort of bread/cracker substitute during my fast. These are also containers that we keep, as they are a great size to turn into cloche covers over larger transplants, like squash, in the garden.

And there we have it. Almost $700 at Costco.

After I’ve spent the necessary 24 hours monitoring my mother after her scope is done, we’ll have to make probably two more trips to the city. We’ll need a Walmart trip, for sure, and the girls want to hit the International grocery store with their own shopping list. We will also need to finally do that Home Depot trip to get what we need to build the cat barrier to the living room, which we won’t be able to do with my mother’s car. We will need the van. Since I came home to a tire going flat, it will have to wait until we get that fixed or, pleasepleaseplease, our mechanic finds us an affordable replacement vehicle that the financing company will accept!

I think the most difficult part of all this fussing with the van and trying to get a replacement so much earlier than we’d thought we would, is being up in the air all the time, never quite sure what we can do next.

Ah, well. It’ll work out in the end.

I’m just glad we got this trip in, and I won’t have to do another one for a while, yet!

The Re-Farmer

Replacement vehicle status, and just made it

I made it to the city for a Costco trip, which will be covered in another post, but I before I left, I wanted to confirm things with the replacement vehicle financing.

Yesterday, I’d messaged our mechanic, asking if he’d heard back after I’d sent in our 90 day income confirmation information. He told me that yes, it had been approved. They just needed something from him, which he’d sent in, and he was waiting for final word.



That was in the morning, and there was still no word by the time he closed. Since I was planning a trip to the city for a Costco stock up trip today, I messaged him this morning telling him this and asking if I should hold off on it. He said he would contact them and find out for me.

After about an hour or two, I got a phone call.

There was good news, and bad news.

The good news was, we were approved for financing.

The bad news was, not for that vehicle.


Apparently, it was hard to get financing for us (not surprised there, considering we’ve had no debt payments to improve our credit rating), but that did eventually come through. However, they would only finance us for a vehicle that was 2014 and older, with a maximum of 180,000 km on it.

The Caravan we were applying for was a 2016 (not the 2015 I thought he’d told me at first), and has 181,000 km.

They wouldn’t budge on that 1000 km.

But, we do have financing approved!

Now, he knows how badly we need to replace our van, and he was determined to find something for us that met our needs and was affordable to our budget. He asked me a number of questions about what we were looking for, and it basically comes down to accessibility for my husband. A vehicle like the Caravan and our current Uplander has been ideal. Yes, we’d be willing to go with an SUV type vehicle, as long as we can fit the walker (yes, it folds, but it’s a bariatric walker, so it’s larger than typical), and with his injury and pain levels, we need something my husband can climb up into, rather than scrunch down into.

There’s a major car auction this weekend. He’s going to try and find something for us! He said he will try to get back to me on Monday about how that went, though I forgot completely that I won’t be home on Monday. I’ll be driving my mother to her scope at the day surgery, then spending the night at her place to keep an eye on her.

With that settled as much as can be right now, I headed into the city with the van, did my Costco shopping, ran into my SIL as I was loading the van!, then headed home.

My younger daughter was waiting for me at the garage with the wagon when I pulled in, and was kind enough to plug the van in for me before I forgot again.

Which is when she heard the hissing.

From the driver’s side tire.

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but this tire is half flat. When I got out of the van and she told me about the noise, I took a look and actually found a split or crack of some kind, near the bottom of the tire.

I made it home just in time!

Or maybe I drove over something sharp when I drove into the garage?

Well, whatever it is, we’re going to wait before getting it fixed. We’ll just have to use my mother’s car for the next while. What bothers me about the timing of this is that, while I’m at my mother’s, it means there will be no vehicle available here at the farm. It would be just for emergency use, really, but that’s kinda the whole point.


The important thing is, this happened *after* the Costco trip, so we’re pretty well stocked up again. Our next trips shouldn’t have that much weight or bulk in them, so we can get away with using my mother’s car. That won’t be until after I’ve spend the night with my mother. Who knows. Our mechanic might actually find us a replacement vehicle this weekend! I’d still want to get it fixed, but I don’t even want to think about it until after all this other stuff is done.

What a day!

The Re-Farmer

Not the only one!

Checking the trail cam files this morning, I discovered our piebald deer isn’t the only one that got attacked by burrs!

These had gone by just before I got to the camera, and I never saw them!

That one deer not only has a tail full of burrs, but more stuck on its face.

I also saw our piebald caught on the gate cam, but only going in, so I couldn’t see if her tail was still full of burrs.

In other things, I’m still hoping to get a call of approval about financing the vehicle, so when the phone started ringing this morning, I was quick to answer.

I should have known better, considering how early in the morning the first call came in.

It was one those recorded “I’m Dave from Amazon…” scam messages. It’s bad enough that they call so early in the frikkin’ morning, but we got the same call again! It was the exact same recording, but call display showed it was from a different number.


Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that we now have two more drum gourds germinating, both in the same pot. They’re not quite free of the soil, yet, so I haven’t tried to take picture, yet. The first two are looking nice and strong. We also had a new little pepper sprouting in the pot with the first one that sprouted. There’s still one cell with no sprouts at all, and still no sign of the zucca melon. They can take quite a long time to germinate, but with how cold the house is, even on the heat mate and under the lights, I think it’s still a bit chillier than they prefer. We shall see.

I’m not going to spend the rest of the day with the phone chained to my hip… 😂

The Re-Farmer

What’s that in there? and half a step closer

So… this is what we have to entertain us when we’re using the bathroom.

The nice thing is that, while we are at -22C/-8F outside, the thermometer in the sun room was reading 0C/32F at the time I took this photo.

In other things, we got an email from the financing company about the Caravan. For proof of income, I’d sent a copy of the annual letter my husband gets from Sun Life, confirming our payments for the year, but for CPP Disability, all I had to sent them was a pdf of our automatic payments into our joint bank account. As of yesterday, the lady with the financing company thought everything looked fine.

Well, almost.

The pdf I sent was for only 60 days. The lender requested one for 3 months.

So I sent them in a 90 day statement. I even thought of doing that from the start, but they were asking for pay stubs as proof of income, so I was just hoping a bank statement would be good enough. Ah, well.

Considering the time right now, I figure if we’re going to hear anything either way, it’ll be tomorrow at the earliest.

Once again, I’m really REALLY hoping this pans out. I had to make a quick run into town today and, once again, the van did NOT want to start. For all its problems, though, I’m more comfortable driving the van in this cold, then my mother’s car.

We’re looking at going into the city for our first big stock up shopping trip for March, on Friday – the day after tomorrow. Which would be a van trip, due to the sheer volume and weight of such a trip being too much for my mother’s little car. It would be so awesome to be able to make the trip in the replacement vehicle, and not worry about whether or not our van will start!

The Re-Farmer