One of the things I’ve found since starting this blog, is many, many other really awesome blogs that are out there. I started following many of them, and for awhile, was able to keep on top of them, visiting regularly, etc. Getting email notifications for new posts made that easy, since I tend not to use WP Reader, and forget it exists.
There’s a slight problem with that.
I really don’t have the time to keep up with them all.
I’ve been trying to catch up this evening – with many stops to do things that need to be done around the house – and have just managed to bring it down to over 3,750 email notifications.
It was over 3,800 when I started. The most I’ve ever had! And that’s after cutting down the number of email notifications I get, while telling myself it would be easier to keep on top of blogs through Reader… only I still don’t have the time to go through Reader, and there’s no way to really get the older posts I missed.
In the past, I’ve gotten the number down quite a bit, resolving to keep going back to my blog email and go through the rest and keep it from getting overwhelming again, but then… 2000 + notifications later, I’m farther behind than before. On top of that, if there are any direct emails in there, they’d be buried in pages of notifications. So I’m not going to do a bulk deleted or anything like that – which I wouldn’t anyhow, because I do actually want to catch up on old posts. There’s a reason I follow all these blogs!
So… if you’re a blogger and haven’t heard from me in a while, no, I haven’t stopped following you, or no longer like your blog. I just haven’t been able to visit in a while!
At the time I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was only -18C (about 0F), with no wind chill to speak of. As I write this, less than an hour later, we’re already warmed up to -15C/5F, again with basically no wind chill. We’re supposed to get a high of -10C/14F today. It’s going to seem tropical, after the past week!
I still wasn’t quite able to do my usual rounds. The wind has blown over many of the paths dug out in the snow. I decided it was a good day to test out the new heated gloves and do some digging, starting with the plow ridge across the driveway. My mother’s car had a hard time getting through it, yesterday!
Some of the cattens kept me company.
They love that tire that’s used to keep the doors from blowing open. It gets nice and warm! With how much warmer it is, I’m seeing them running around and playing, all over the place!
Along with the plow ridge, I also cleared the path to the compost heap. The wind had completely filled in parts of it, and the snow was brick-like on top, so that took a while. I didn’t even try to dig the path to the sign cam – too long! – but I had my nice new boots, and plowed my way through the wind packed snow. That was almost as tiring as shoveling! It’ll be easier to dig out later, though. The boots are awesome.
As for the gloves…
They are nice and warm, even without turning on the heat. They didn’t seem to get any more pliable by the time I was done, unfortunately. The long cuffs are great – except that they’re not wide enough to go over the cuffs of my parka, nor narrow enough to go under. So I ended up with both cuffs all bunched up. The stiffness of the gloves makes it hard to put on the second glove, but there was an extra problem. These XL gloves fit my wide hands just fine – but I have short fingers. So any time I tried to do something like adjust the other glove, it was hard to get a good grip with floppy finger tips! Plus, the touch screen sensitive parts on the thumb and pointer finger are slightly ridged and harder, so that gets pushed around more, too. I didn’t even try to test the touch screen sensitivity. I have to take a glove off to get my phone out of my pocket, anyhow, so there was no need – plus, just handling my phone with the gloves would be unnecessarily difficult. The last thing I wanted to do was drop my phone in the snow. I did get a lot of use out of the wrist straps while switching out the memory cards, pausing to get my phone out, or to dig out a tissue to blow my know while digging. I like being able to just drop the gloves and have them hanging!
It’s been quite a while since I switched out the trail cam memory cards. Today is the first time I saw the batteries on the solar cam at anything other than 100%! When I first opened it up and checked, it said the batteries were at 75%, but after I switched the memory card out it went up to 80%. Which tells me that it’s more about the cold. Much to my surprise, the older sign cam’s battery meter was still full bars. I suppose that makes sense, though. The gate cam is mounted on a stand in the open. It would have had the full blast of yesterday’s winds coming from the southeast. The sign cam is not only under a tree, but the sign it’s monitoring, as well as the trees across the road, would have stopped all wind from that direction, so it was quite protected.
It should be interesting to see the files over those freezing cold days! The camera that got stolen would do weird things when it got really cold, like turn everything pink. The new camera has had some cold spells before, but not quite like what we’ve had for the past week, so I’ve yet to get a good look at how it handles severe winter conditions.
Considering how many days of files I’ve got to go through, I think I’ll make some tea, first! 😄
I got two packs each of the Western Mix, which will be planted in a location to attract pollinators to the garden, and Alternative Lawn Mix, which will be used to reseed the bare spots under the branch piles in the maple grove that got chipped.
I also got a notification that the storage variety of Delicata squash seeds we ordered has been shipped. They were on back order. We still have some purple beans on back order. Once those come in, the only things left that we ordered from Veseys will be shipped in the spring.
After shifting things around in the aquarium greenhouse yesterday, and noticing that there seemed to be luffa seedlings starting to push their way through the soil in a couple of them, I made sure to look closely this morning. Sure enough, I could just see green starting to show through the soil! So of course, after being out most of the day, I had to check them again when I got home.
There is four of them!
Once they start breaking soil, they really seem to grow fast! Each pot has two seeds planted in it. So far, there is no evidence of the second seeds pushing their way through. They would be thinned down to one eventually, anyhow. I’m just happy to see one in each pot! That heat mat seems to be giving them the boost they needed.
I can’t wait to see how much they’ll grow overnight. 😁
Well, I’m happy to say that my mother’s car ran well today, though it certainly did not enjoy starting! I made sure to give it time to warm up in the garage, before taking it out into that wind.
My first stop was to the post office, where I had several packages to pick up. One of them was these:
The heated gloves my husband got for me!
They were listed as XL, but they fit quite snugly when I tried them on. They were too stiff to wear while driving, though, so I went back to my mittens!
These have some interesting features. Obviously, they have batteries. The USB charging cable can charge both at the same time, so I’ve got that happening right now.
The third finger on each hand has a finger loop on it. You can just see one on the right glove. I have no idea what that’s for. The finger tips are touch screen compatible. They have wrist loops to keep them from getting lost, as well as being water resistant and having adjustable cuffs.
It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that one of the other parcels was also something my husband had ordered for me. A new pair of the “Military Tactical work boots” to replace the ones he got me last year. I love the side zipper feature on these, and wore them almost constantly, until the leather finally split and cracked on the side of one boot. This time, as soon as he unboxed them, my husband treated them with some leather conditioner – something we actually found while cleaning up the basement. A full gallon jug of it, barely used! He plans to treat the leather regularly with it, so hopefully this pair will last longer.
One other thing that came in the mail was particularly important: my husband’s disabled parking permit! He doesn’t get out much, but when he does, it will make things much easier for him to be park closer.
After picking everything up at the post office, it was off to my mother’s town. The roads were not too bad, though I was driving against blowing snow. Stopping for gas in the wind wasn’t too bad, either. Then it was off to get my mother’s prescriptions, hit the bank, then stop at the Chinese food place to pick up lunch. I even managed to get to my mother’s a bit earlier than I was shooting for!
We had a decent amount of time to visit and have lunch (breakfast, for me!), then head out early for her appointment. I’m glad we did leave early; it was blowing snow the whole way, with very little shelter along the route. Even as small as the profile of my mother’s car is, I could feel us being buffeted, and the engine working to maintain speed against the wind. The place was easy to find, and had plenty of parking, so we didn’t even lose time with that, and got there about half an hour early.
The specialist my mother was seeing shares a building with another clinic and a pharmacy. As we came in, there were signs all over, saying that even though there are no longer any restrictions, they still required masks. Which is bizarre, since yet another study was just released showing that wearing masks or not makes no difference in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, even when comparing surgical masks with N95 masks, at all (there’s now close to 80 such studies, just in the last few years, with exactly the same end results). You’d think the medical community would be on top of this sort of thing. We passed several of these signs just going through the two sets of doors; I’m not sure my mother even saw them. There were even stand alone signs scattered around main lobby area. As we entered, a woman wearing a mask started coming over, asking which doctor we were there to see. I gave the name and she directed us to the doors behind us. Doors that didn’t have a single sign on them. We walked in, and there wasn’t a mask in sight. Not the receptionist, not the other patients, and not the doctor. It was like a sanctuary of sanity in a sea of junk science!
Getting there early meant we got brought into the examination room early, but the doctor took longer with another patient, so he actually saw us late. Which was fine, except my mother got it in her head that the car would freeze and not start because we were waiting soooo long. I reminded her that I spent more time with her in her apartment before we headed out, and the car started just fine. Plus, the day was still getting warmer! She wasn’t satisfied until the doctor finally came in and she brought it up with him – and he promised to give us a boost if the car didn’t start! 😄
The visit started out a bit confusing, because we were thinking we were there about her breathing issues, but this was a referral about her acid reflux. When she gets really bad heart burn while lying down, she also has trouble breathing, and thinks she’s having a heart attack. Her heart checked out extremely healthy – fantastic for someone in her 90’s – but she still can’t accept that there’s nothing wrong with her heart. The doctor tried questioning her, but eventually started explaining things more to me, while simplifying things for my mother, as he figured out that I would be working to explain things to her later on. He asked her all kinds of questions, but it’s really hard to get clear answers from her, because she keeps wanting to talk about other things.
One of the things that came out is that my mother has been taking all her pills – she thinks she’s taking a lot, but really, it’s not that many – with food. She’s on a medication for acid reflux, that is in her bubble packs as a morning pill. It is NOT supposed to be taken with food, which I never saw indicated anywhere. She should also be taking it in the evening. She takes her evening pills at 5pm, but doesn’t go to bed until 11, so we talked about changing the timing.
After questioning her more, he decided it was appropriate to get a scope done on her, to check if there is any damage from the reflux. Then he talked to her about dietary changes. I recognized what he was talking about and reminded my mother that I’d given her a printout of what foods were good and which weren’t, and she said she never looks at it. *sigh* High acid foods are things she should be avoiding, like citrus fruits, onions and garlic, and tomatoes.
My mother loves her onions and tomatoes.
My sister recently gave her onions and a jar of tomatoes from her garden.
I’ve sent the food list to my sister, and we’ve talked about this before, but my sister just seems to forget completely!
A few more things were discussed, and then we headed out, stopping to get some information about the scope from the receptionist.
My mother was already trying to back out of it, asking if she really needed to get it done.
When she has these “attacks”, she gets really scared and things she is literally dying. But she hasn’t had one in a while, so now she doesn’t want to actually do anything about it.
The appointment was set for the end of this month and, after checking with my mother, my number got put down as the person to call with more information and instructions, closer to the date, which I will then pass on and explain to her. We also got a printout for her about the procedure and what she needs to do in advance. That was something for us to go over when I got her home.
I had offered to help my mother with shopping if she felt up to it, but she wanted to do that in her own town. All she needed was milk, anyhow. I did realize, with the longish drive ahead, it would be a good idea to find a public washroom before we got on the highway. There was a Walmart handy, so I ended up going in, while she stayed warm in the car, so I picked up milk for her, anyhow! I’m glad it worked out that way because, by the time we got her home, I don’t think either of us was up to a grocery trip!
I then spent perhaps an hour going through things with her. While driving home and talking about her medication change, she suddenly told me she was already taking that one pill (she didn’t understand what it was for, even though it has been explained to her by me, my brother and her doctor) in the evening. That was something the specialist should have been told! She was still taking it with food, though, and too early, so we worked out that she would be taking that one pill shortly before bed. I had quite a time convincing her that it was ONLY the one pill that needed to be changed, and that she didn’t need to change anything else. She kept thinking she shouldn’t take any of them with food now, but I know for sure that at least one of them is supposed to be taken with food. Then we went over the printout. I marked out on her calendar, when she needs to stop taking things like blood thinners (and confirming which of her pills is a blood thinner – when the doctor had asked about them, she couldn’t remember exactly why she was on them, other than “they are to prevent stroke”, and she’s been on them longer than we’ve been back, so I don’t know, either), vitamins, aspirin, etc, when to start fasting, and when not to take any of her meds at all. Then more notes were written down inside the cover of her bubble packs, complete with little drawings of the pill shapes.
While going through the printout, I got to the part where it said they would have her lying down on her left side.
But she can’t lie on her left side, she tells me. If she does, she gets the pain and problems with breathing.
Yes, she’s mentioned that she slept on her side (which is recommended for reflux) to the doctor, but didn’t specify why she slept only on her right side.
Turns out that she gets these attacks every time she tries sleeping on her left side. They happen when she’s on her right side, only sometimes, and that’s when she wants to go to a doctor about it.
That was something the specialist should have been told, but she seemed surprised that this wasn’t automatically understood when she had said she slept on her side!
It took some doing, but we got through it. Before I left, she paid me back for the lunch and gas, so before heading home, I stopped at the bank again to do a deposit, then went back to the gas station to fill the tank again. Driving against the wind really did a number on the mileage!
I am so glad I had the wind at my back for the drive home.
Where my mother is, it is sheltered, but the gas station is not. WOW did the wind increase since morning! It’s still blowing now. Even though the temperature is a relatively warm -18C/about 0F, the wind chill was about -33C/-27F. I think the wind chill was even colder while I was filling the tank again! It was absolutely brutal! I picked up a couple other little things then headed back to the car, pausing to check for messages from the family before I left. Which is the only reason I saw the notification from my bank about the purchase I’d just made.
The number was very off.
They forgot to charge me for the gas!
So I went back in and paid for it. 😄
I’m glad I caught it when I did, or I wouldn’t have seen it until I got home.
And I was sure glad to get home! The running around is pretty draining, but all that time trying to explain things to my mother gets pretty difficult after a while, even though she was definitely having one of her good days.
I’m glad it got done, though.
I’ll also be glad when this chill finally ends. It’s still only -18C/about 0F out there, and the wind chill is still at -33C/-27F! If the forecast is right, the winds will die down in a few hours, and then things will steadily warm up over the next while.
I’m looking forward the air no longer hurting my face!
We are slowly coming out of what should be the last bitterly cold night of the winter. Last night, we dipped to at least -33C/-27F, with wind chills in the -40’s C/F The sun room, however, never seem to get much colder than -10 to -15C (14 to 5F).
The cattens took full advantage of that.
My husband got this picture through the bathroom window last night. From what I can see, there is only one adult in the pile; Broccoli.
As I write this, we’re coming up on 9am. My desktop’s weather app says we are at -28C/-18F still, with a wind chill of -38C/-36F The app on my phone, however, says we’ve warmed up to -26C/3F with a wind chill of -33C/-27F We should warm up a few degrees before I have to try starting my mother’s car. She and I spoke on the phone last night and already talked about rescheduling her appointment, if I don’t think her car would be safe to drive.
While getting bundled up before doing the outside cat stuff, I noticed something that is a first since we’ve moved here.
There is frost on the doorknob of the main entry door! We do have a sheet of insulation between the doors, but it doesn’t cover about 8 inches on the knob side of the door. We’ve got frost on the bottom, and on the windows, but I’ve never seed frost on the doorknob like this before. Not even last winter, when we didn’t insulate the door at all, since the hinges were a problem and we didn’t want to open it if we could avoid it.
I just realized that’s quite the reflection of me with my parka tucked under my arm! 😄
I had another surprise as I fought my way past the barricade of cattens under the old kitchen doors to feed them. Several of them were wanting to get into the old kitchen (which is colder than the sun room right now!), including one of the tabbies. We have several tabbies among the babies this year and, so far, only Judgement, a brown tabby, has been socialized.
I got to pet him.
And I don’t mean just sneaking a pet while he (or she) was eating, only to have him run away. Nope.
After filling a couple of kibble trays, he was still spinning around at my feet, so I started petting him. He was a bit startled, looked at me in shock – then started pushing his head against my hand for more pets!
After that, food was more interesting, but I’m just amazed!
Also… I’m not sure who’s baby this is. We have a dark grey tabby that’s got a bit of white on him, and we have one that’s almost a black tabby, also with a bit of white on him. There’s also a big, fully grey tabby with more spotty markings from the oldest litter that I haven’t seen around for a while. This tabby is smaller.
I’m so losing track of all the cats, but…
Is this a new one?
Unlikely, but possible. The only reason I even suspect it’s a new cat is because I was able to pet it!
I didn’t even try to do a head count. Even the brief time I was outside the sun room was brutal.
Ah, the irony. My husband got me an early Valentine’s Day gift – heated gloves. They arrived at the post office, yesterday. I didn’t dare drive either of the vehicles to get the mail, so I’m leaving early to do it before going to my mother’s.
I’m going to have heated gloves, just in time for the end of the bitter cold!
A little bit of garden therapy on this cold, cold day. According to one of my phone weather apps, we’ve reach -25C/-13F, with a wind chill of -33C/-27F. Hopefully, things will keep warming up for another hour or two because it takes the predicted deep dive overnight!
Our onion seedlings are getting tall enough that it was time to move them away from the light. Which, for our aquarium greenhouse, means rearranging things inside the tank.
The onions are going to need a hair cut soon!
The tray holding the onions is on the heat mat, which was unplugged when the seedlings started showing. Onions prefer cooler soil, anyhow. The luffa, however, have not germinated yet, and need warmer soil. They were raised up higher on a box, to get some of the warmth from the lights, but the heat mat would be beneficial for them – assuming these 3 yr old seeds are still viable at all. Shifting the two, and removing the box the luffa were on, would give the onions the space from the lights they needed, and the heat mat should make up for the slightly reduced height for the luffa pots.
Since they are in a plastic drain tray, I added the aluminum oven liner sheet to protect the plastic from getting over heated and diffuse the heat a bit, even though the warming mat doesn’t get very hot.
As I was doing this, I noticed what appeared to be disturbed soil, where that arrow is pointing.
So I took a peak.
There is a baby luffa sprout, starting to push its way up through the soil! One of the other pots seems to have a new soil hill, too, but I didn’t peak under that one, and just gently covered the first one up again.
Hopefully, the extra warmth will encourage more germination!
When it comes time to transplant these, I want to find a way to have them in the very sheltered microclimate on the south side of the house that we will be growing the lemongrass in. They can be grown in pots, if the pots are large enough. A 5 gallon bucket would be the right size for one plant. Not that I’d waste a bucket by drilling drainage holes in it. I think we have other containers we can use that are large enough. The challenge will be in how to also include a trellis for them to climb.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see how many germinate and survive, first!
This is it. According to the forecasts, this should be the LAST day we have stuff like this.
It’s been almost 2 hours since I took this screencap. We’re still at -28C/-18F, but the wind chill has gone from -37C/-35F to -40C/F. I don’t know what was different about this morning, but for the first time this winter, I was actually concerned about frost bite on my fingers. They HURT! I’m still doing short rounds, and the only extra thing I had to do was dump buckets of cat litter sawdust into the burn ring, and my fingers were hurting well before that.
The thermometer in the sun room, however, was reading about -17C/1F last night, while the outside temperatures had dipped below -30C/-22F. When their food was topped up for the night, it all went into bowls in the sun room, to encourage cats to stay in, or come into, the sun room. I think it worked since, this morning, there was still kibble and an almost full heated water bowl outside, while all the kibble in the sun room was gone, and the water bowl was occupied again.
Yup. This fluffy little bugger was curled up in the empty heated water bowl again. Look at that frost on his fur!
The lighting was better this time, and his nose actually looks pink instead of white, like it did in the last shot I got of him in there. You can see colour in his eyes this time, too.
I want to snuggle that baby.
Baby won’t let me snuggle him.
Our high of the day is supposed to reach -25 or -26C (-13 or -15F), depending on what app I look at, though the wind chill is supposed to be about -33C/-27F Yesterday, we had a hint of what was to come, reaching a high of -16C/3F. It was bright and sunny, and every time I glanced out the kitchen window, I was seeing cats running around and playing on the snow-clear sidewalk. The cats are really going to appreciate the back-side of today!
Tomorrow, we start to reach highs warmer than -20C/-4F, then warm up dramatically. One of my apps even forecasts 0C/32F on Monday! After about a week or so, it’ll dip down to the double digits again, but we are not expected to drop to -20C/-4F again, for the rest of the month. Possibly for the rest of the winter!
I’m glad things are starting to warm up tomorrow, though I will have to at least head over to the garage and try starting my mother’s car today. It’s plugged in, with its block heater, battery warmer and trickle charger, but… well, that car just does not like the cold, and has a very bad history of problems.
One of these days, we’ll have to invest in a heater for the garage. There used to be a kerosene heater in there, I’m told, that was used while vehicles were being worked on, but it’s among the things that disappeared before we moved here.
Tomorrow, I will be driving my mother to a medical appointment with a specialist in the smaller, closer city. She called me last night and, by the time we were done, we worked out a sort of schedule. I’ll head over early enough to pick up her prescription refills, since she doesn’t know if she’ll be home in time for them to deliver in the afternoon, and grab lunch. After lunch, we plan to leave early enough that, if road conditions are poor, we’ll still have plenty of time to get there. Then, depending on how long things take and how she feels, we might take advantage of being in the city so she can do some shopping. Since I also have parcels to pick up, and the post office isn’t open on the weekends, I’ll have to leave even earlier.
So I’m going to be out pretty much all day. While the temperatures are supposed to reach a high of -17C/1F, at the time I need to be leaving, we’re supposed to still be around -27C/-17F. Our current 15km/h (9mph) winds right now have the wind chill at -40C/F, and the predicted wind speed for the morning is -17km/h (11mph), which means that the windchill when I have to leave may be even colder than right now. Thank God we have a garage with room enough for both vehicles! Even if my mother’s car barely fits in the lean to addition it’s in. 😁
My mother’s car has a habit of not starting in temperatures like this. The van does better in the cold, but not by much! Plus, it’s so hard for her to get in and out of the van.
I’m really feeling the fact that we weren’t able to get that replacement vehicle!
But, we’re almost over the worst of it.
Isn’t amazing how the weather can play such a huge part in planning things out? Especially at a time of year when, if things go wrong, it can be life threatening. I’ve long had an interest in weather and climate but, since moving back to the farm, it’s become almost an obsession! 😄
This is Fenrir, calmly chilling on my bed, and NOT trying to attack Nosencrantz!
Yes, we have made HUGE progress.
Of all the cats, none are so determined to get into my office/bedroom – the isolation ward – than Fenrir. So many times, I’d open the door and she’ll teleport through in the blink of an eye.
Then immediately go searching for Nosencrantz and try to attack her.
Well, I’ve been trying to let her in more often, kicking her out as soon as she started behaving aggressively. I think she’s learning.
Last night, I let her in, and she just found places to nap. Or crawled onto me while I was trying to type. Before my room became the isolation ward, that was her favourite thing; to curl up on my chest while I was at my computer, and make it difficult to actually get any work done!
I even had her in the room while doing the evening feeding with wet cat food. She ate from a bowl right next to Marlee – Marlee!!! – and they didn’t growl at each other. She was even okay around Butterscotch, one of her adopted mothers. She behaved so well, I allowed her to stay in the room overnight.
Which worked until about 3am, when I was awakened by a cat fight next to my bed, and out she went.
With Fenrir behaving so much better, I’ve even tried leaving my door open and allowing other cats to wander in and out. Marlee isn’t too happy with that, but most of them ignore her growling.
Turmeric may have calmed down a LOT since she was spayed, but she will still go after Nosencrantz and Marlee, with no provocation at all. I don’t see her going after Butterscotch, but I suspect that has more to do with lack of opportunity.
Still, getting Fenrir to the point that I can actually leave her in my room, with the door closed and unsupervised, is HUGE!
At some point, I want to be able to leave my door open so Marlee – who is very interested in the rest of the house – and Nosencratnz can go exploring. Butterscotch, too, though I don’t expect her to. She’s enjoying her retirement too much.
This is what I found, when I was about to go into the sun room with the kibble.
One very bedraggled baby taking advantage of the empty heated water bowl!
Also, that has got to be the whitest nose I’ve ever seen on a cat. I think it may just be how the camera picked up the lighting. Particularly since the eyes look so light, too.
I am somewhat concerned about the long haired cats outside. None of them are socialized, really. There’s one that sometimes lets me pet him. We can’t get near the others. Their fur could get to incredibly matted. Even if we were able to get them to the point that we could pet them, I just can’t see them ever letting us brush mats out of their fur!