A couple days break?

We had quite a lot of rain yesterday, with temperatures much cooler than forecast for the first day of summer. The cool was much appreciated! It was nice being able to open up more windows again.

The problem is how wet everything is. Even the new part basement now has water pooling in places. Unlike the old basement, we can’t sweep this into a drain or a sump pump cistern. All we can do is keep a fan on it, really.

We’re supposed to have a couple of days that are warmer and without rain. Hopefully, that will be enough to let the grass dry out enough that I can finish mowing the lawn tomorrow. No chance of being able to get it done today, even if I wasn’t going to be at my mother’s for her home care assessment appointment. After that, however, we’re looking at possible thunderstorms and more rain for several more days.

While doing my morning rounds, I saw a couple of the kittens under the cat’s house again. I’m glad to see them, after they got so frightened by the lawn mower. I caught a brief glimpse of the little calico’s face. Her one eye still seems gooby, but otherwise all right.

The garden plots seem to be holding out all right, though I noticed a lot of pole beans at the trellises seem to have lost their leaves. I can’t tell if it’s because they were eaten by something, or because they wilted and fell off from excess moisture. There are still lots of plants, though, so we should still be good.

I’m pretty sure one of the lilacs at the corner of the storage house has been totally drowned. The few leaves it managed to grow are gone. If it survives, I’ll be amazed. There are others that aren’t quite as bad, and I think they’ll make it.

The Kulli corn seems to finally be recovering from transplant shock, looking more green and actually growing. The bush beans growing with them are progressing nicely. The first planting of spinach and one type of lettuce are getting big enough we should be able to start harvesting leaves and thinning them out.

As much of a problem the excess rain is, after last year’s drought and having to water every day, twice a day, throughout the summer, I’m really happy with how things are growing right now.

Still, it’ll be nice to have a couple of days break from the rain!

The Re-Farmer

Making the best of things, and shed order update

Hmm… I went to start this post and found a post I made yesterday was still in draft. I had used my phone to write it, since my keyboard was dying, but apparently I didn’t hit publish. That is now fixed.

At the moment, I am using my old ergonomic keyboard with the worn out keys. I’d traded with my husband quite a while ago, since he pretty much just uses the number pad and arrow keys. He can use a standard keyboard without hurting his hands, so he is now using the keyboard that came with his system. By the time we switched things up, I had not only lost the y u i o and enter keys, but also the 0 and delete keys! So that keyboard is in the recycling, to be added to the electronics garbage area at the dump. As for the keyboard I’m using now, I will just have to be really confident in my touch typing, because most of the letter keys are worn out. I know there are stickers you can get to put on the keys, but other than online, I haven’t seen them anywhere. At least not locally. And I try to avoid ordering online.

More on that later…

Yesterday morning, I’d been able to mow the south yards before things got too hot. The grass was so wet, it really should have waited for a drier day, but that was not going to happen, from what the forecasts said.

I’m glad I got as much of it done as I had, as we got some heavy enough rains last night, that we now have open water in the yard again. The areas I was able to mow tend to have the most water accumulating in them, compared to the west and north lawns. The main garden area, however, also collects a lot of water, too.

The dwarf Korean lilac sure loved the rain, though! It exploded into bloom overnight. Yesterday, it was almost all buds, with a scattering of open flowers. Look at it now! This type of lilac is extremely fragrant; more so than any of the other types. The regular lilacs are finished blooming now, and the double lilac is almost done. The white lilacs are nearing the end of their blooming period. Now we have the dwarf Korean lilac in full bloom, with one more lilac I can’t remember the name of, still budding. I like that there are so many different types of lilacs here, that bloom at different times. The ornamental poppies are also starting to bloom, and while the white roses are at their peak, I noticed the pink rose is starting to bloom this morning, too.

From the weather radar, we should be getting more rain today. The heavy rain is passing to the north of us, but it looks like we’ll be catching the edge of the system a bit.

I actually did not get a chance to do my morning rounds today. The girls made sure the cats were fed while I spent time on the phone, then had to make a quick run to a branch of my bank.

To get a replacement debit card.

There’s a reason I don’t like to order online. This is one of them.

A while back, I’d written about ordering a shed from a clearance site for garden sheds. The steeply discounted prices were due to them being abandoned orders – along the lines of things like airport auctions of unclaimed items. I was taking a chance with the order. I’d seen both positive and negative comments about the site; some places rated the site as a scam, while others rated is as legitimate.

A day or so after the order was placed (using my debit-Visa, because we have no credit cards) and I got my confirmation email, I sent an email with some questions. There was no response, so after a couple of days, I wrote again. Still no response. There was also no shipping confirmation email or tracking number, for something that was supposed to take 3-7 days to arrive (or 6-10 days under Covid restrictions, which still apply to shipping in Canada). So on Friday – 4 days ago – I emailed to cancel my order and requested a refund.

I really wasn’t expecting to get my money back, by that point. So it was quite a surprise when, late last night, my phone’s bank app sent me a notification for a credit in the amount of the shed order. Due to the hours, the line item wasn’t in my transactions yet, but the balance reflected the change. This is typical of how my bank works, and I knew the line item would appear during banking hours. Sure enough, in the morning, it was there.

However, I also got another notification. This time, for a debit from my account, in the same amount.

Yes, I got the refund – and then the amount was taken from my account again.

So I got on the phone with my bank, which pretty much always involves spending time on hold. When I finally got through, I explained the situation to the woman who took my call, and asked about having the charges reversed and to report fraud. Since we did have communication with them, however – even though they didn’t answer my emails, they did refund the amount – she suggested I email them again to ask why the amount was removed again, then go back to the site to have my data removed.

Okay. I was willing to try that.

I sent the email, then went back to the original order confirmation email to click on the link that would take me directly to my order page.

I got an error message. The usual “check your spelling” message and, if correct, run a diagnostic, message.

I tried the “go to store” link.

Same error message.

I tried going to the home page by using the link in my browser’s history.

Same error message.

The website was gone.

So I called the bank back to explain what happened.

This time, the fraud investigation was started. We went through the initial process, then he put me on hold to finish the process at his end.

While I was on hold, another notification came in; a calendar reminder that a telephone medical appointment for my husband with the cardiac clinic was due in 5 minutes. !!!

Thankfully, we finished up before then.

My debit-Visa card was cancelled, so there is no chance of more money being taken from our account. The fraud investigation has been started. We should get our money returned within 10 business days, but it would a conditional return as the investigation continues. If they find it was a legitimate transaction, the bank could take the money back again within 60 days.

The initial withdrawal would have been considered a “legitimate transaction”, since I did place the order. Basically, if it turned out they were illegitimate, it was on me for being duped. However, because they refunded the money – then took it out again – that changes things. The first debit from my account may have been an authorized transaction, but the second debit from my account was not.

As for my cancelled debit card, as soon as I was done on the phone, I then headed to the nearest town with a branch of my bank to get a new debit-Visa card.

Which I now have to set up again for online banking, on both my phone and my desktop, again. Which is not as urgent.

If this place had simply refunded my money and left it at that, it would have been the end of it. The only thing is that I would have been wondering if cancelling was the right thing to do, because if they were legitimate, we would have eventually gotten a nice big shed that would have been very useful. However, for them to take the money out again, they now have the fraud investigation happening. Hopefully, that will mean no one else will be taken advantage of.

So we took a chance and, from the looks of it, almost got burned. We’ll see how the investigation plays out. That means it might be a few weeks before we find out, and I should get an affidavit in the mail about it soon.

There is one other possible, though highly unlikely, outcome. The website said that a cancellation/refund could not be made if the order had already been shipped. It could be the money was refunded at about the same time as the order got shipped, so the money was taken again. If that turns out to be true, we obviously won’t get our money back, because there would be no fraud, and the shed will get delivered. Since I have not received any other emails from them since the order confirmation, and I can no longer access the website, I highly doubt that will happen.

The weird thing was when I was updating my husband about it, and he tried to go to the site on his own computer.

The site is still there.

My husband can browse the site all he wants, but if I try to see it using my desktop or my phone, I still get the “site can’t be reached” error message – and the “try running a diagnostic” link just gives me a pop up saying a diagnostic can’t be done. I would say there’s something in my cookies that is keeping me from accessing the site on my desktop, but until today, I’d never tried to visit the site while on my phone.

Very odd. I should see about removing the cookies and trying again. But not right now.

Aside from all that, we’ve had other changes. I should have been at my mother’s for the home care assessment right now, but then it looked like her apartment was going to be sprayed for bed bugs. So while my mother made arrangements with my sister to stay at her place, I tried to track down the home care department to change the appointment. Yesterday, the guy phoned my mom to rebook for tomorrow, because it turned out he couldn’t make it today, anyhow. As for the spraying, that turned out to be a mix up. My mother’s apartment is still on the list – my brother made sure of that, and also made sure they knew my mother might try to claim she didn’t need it, because she’s squishing them herself *shudder* – but we don’t have a date. All we know is that, some time before they show up, she’ll get a piece of paper shoved under her door with instructions. Apparently, the people who spoke to my brother on the phone have no way of knowing when that will be done. The whole thing is a disorganized and inefficient mess. Which is SOP for anything run by the government. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the provincial level or the federal level. With my husband being in the military, then years of working government contracts as a civilian, we’ve been seeing this sort of ineptitude for decades.

I did call my mother this morning, though. While I was driving my sister tried to contact me because my mother wasn’t answering the phone. She was trying to figure out if she was picking my mother up today or not. She did get through to my husband – who was still waiting for his phone appointment with the cardiac clinic (which never came) – and he was able to update her. Apparently, my mother never told her she didn’t need to come out anymore. As for my mother, she was resting before there was a meeting in her building this afternoon, by the housing department. They used to have these regularly, until the pandemic restrictions stopped everything. The irony of that is, those “health” restrictions would have a lot do with why so many of the provincially run buildings now have bed bug problems all over the province. They weren’t caught and treated right away, and now they’re a major issue that just kept on spreading.

Bah.

So that’s my morning’s adventures.

What fun!

Not.

The Re-Farmer

Overgrown

I started my morning rounds early, to beat the heat, and decided to mow some of the lawn, while I could.

We can’t even use the clippings as mulch, as it’s so full of dandelion and Chinese Elm seeds.

The kittens were under the cat’s house. They were not happy with the noisy machine. One ran out and under the laundry platform. The mamas, weren’t happy, either, so I tried to get that area done as quickly as possible.

I did only the south lawns for now, but did make a point of mowing paths to the burn barrel and electricity meter.

This area has not been mowed at all, this year. I want to restore the rusted blade on the scythe and give it a good sharpening. At this point, it would probably be easier to scythe the grass in the outer yard, than mow it.

The grass was still quite wet and the ground still squelches, but there was no standing water, at least. I just had to frequently stop to unclog the expeller opening of wet grass.

The white rose in front of the sunroom is amazing! The honeysuckle are in full bloom, too, and even the dwarf Korean lilacs are starting to open. Right now, the yard is filled with the fragrance of roses. The pink rose even has loads of buds. Far more than we’ve seen on it before. It took 4 years, but we have got it growing again!

Nice to see some of our native pollinators out. Bumbles are my favourite. 💕

I don’t know that we’ll be able to finish mowing the inner yard today. We are still getting storm predictions, but they all seem to be missing us. We shall see. For now, I’m just happy to get as much done as we have!

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds

After yesterday’s heat, I made a point of checking the garden more closely. Some things, like the Kaho watermelon, seem to be struggling. Most things seem to be okay, though.

Some Wonderberries are starting to ripen.

The heat seems to have done a number on them, though. All three plants had wilted parts like this.

A deer walked right through the corn and beans patches. We’ll have to put something up to make them go around. They don’t seem to be trying to eat any of the plants. Just passing through.

The sunchokes are coming up! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tell them apart from the weeds, but they are very clearly a different plant.

A few of the newly germinated beans seemed to be having a hard time, but we planted quite a bit, so if a few don’t make it, it should be okay.

All in all, things seem to have handled the heat all right. Today, and for the next while, we are expecting more average, slightly cooler, conditions. It’s just a few degrees, but it makes a big difference.

The Re-Farmer

Matched set

I have started to leave my door open during the day, in hopes the cats will start getting along with Butterscotch and Nosencrantz. If nothing else, they are just too hot to fight!

Cheddar always steals my butt spot. Turmeric joined him. They are such a matched set! Cheddar is about 3 times her weight, though. 😁. Turmeric is such a tiny thing, and Cheddar is a burly beast.

Turmeric is the one that has been the most dedicated to going after Nosencrantz. We have no idea why. Meanwhile, she gets along so well with Cheddar. Of course, Cheddar gets along with all the cats. He’s a special one!

On a completely different topic, my keyboard woes just got worse this morning. Out of the blue, while I was in the middle of doing stuff on the computer, I suddenly lost use of the y u i o keys. I ended up making drafts of posts with just the images I want to use in them, and am now using my phone to complete them.

I really dislike using a touch screen! But, hey. Whatever works!

We’ll be getting an identical replacement ergonomic keyboard as soon as pay comes it, since I can’t seem to be able to use any other type right now. Meanwhile, I tried cleaning the keyboard. Pulled out a small animal’s worth of cat hair. Made no difference.

*sigh*

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: protected… at least a bit

Today is supposed to get quite hot. At 6am, it was already 20C/68F, according to my phone’s app. (As I write this, it now says it’s 24C/75F out there, and it’s only just past 8:30am.) So the girls and I headed out to see what we could do to about covering the beds in the main garden area.

Not much left of that straw bale! 😀

The old sheets went on the shorter beds with hoops. We didn’t try to cover the ends, so there would still be air circulation. As for the longer beds, we went with the mosquito netting. It won’t really provide shade, but it’s more a protection from hard rain or hail.

The predictions for thunderstorms are all over the place. Yesterday, they were saying we might have thunderstorms and hail today. Now I’ve got one app telling me to watch for thunderstorms tomorrow evening, while another says to expect thunderstorms on Friday – almost a week from now! A third app on my desktop has simply stopped connecting for some reason, but if I go to the website, it’s saying to watch for severe thunderstorms overnight, with tornado warnings for the south end of our province. !!! Also, the expected high of 31C/88F is now up to 35C/05F/.

While we were outside, however, it didn’t feel that hot. The thermometer on the bean tunnel read about 15C/59F while my app was still saying 20C/68F. The breeze certainly helped, but it is very humid, so we were sweating off our bug spray in no time! Still, the raised beds got a watering before we put the covers on, to help keep them cooler. The ground is still so wet, any ground level beds don’t need water. Especially anything mulched with straw.

Well, we’ll see what we actually get!

The Re-Farmer

Kitten surprise

After finishing my morning rounds and coming back to the house, I spotted kittens under the cats’ house again. I put some food out for them, then waited.

At first, I just saw the little tabby on the left, but I did briefly see the calico taking a peak off to the right. I’m happy to saw the eye that looked injured is now open, and she’s looking much better. I put a bit of food where I saw her, but the third, darker kitten came to eat, instead.

I kept slowly coming closer, so they’d get used to my presence, and tried to take some video. Which is when we had a kitten surprise!

There’s a fourth kitten!

It has much longer fur than the others. We might have another “David” out there! Long haired yard cats are very unusual.

I did see one more kitten, today. I came out of the sun room with frozen water bottles to put in their water bowls and startled a mama going by, carrying a white and black kitten. I ignored her, since she was already quite unhappy that I was there, so I didn’t see where she ended up going with the kitten. She was gone so fast, I thought she had to have just gone under the set up we made to harden off the transplants. We’ve left it there, to provide a little extra shade and shelter for the cats.

Which makes a total of five kittens I saw this morning, with two that I’ve never seen before!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: squash patches mulched, shade cloth ready

With today predicted to be very hot, the girls and I headed out much earlier than usual. Normally, they do the evening stuff while I do the morning stuff, but this was a big job, and I wanted to get it done before the heat hit.

The big squash patch is now completely mulched. I’m glad I put all those sticks in! All the squash started at 4 weeks before last frost date are all still so tiny. The mulch will also help to protect them from any heavy rains and storms we may get.

The other squash patch, with the corn and beans in between, also got a layer of mulch.

Last of all, the hulless pumpkins next to the bean tunnel got a layer, too.

Look how tall the garlic is!! Love it!

I brought out the old sheets we were using as shade cloth last year, and one of my daughters helped me set them up over two of the beds with spinach in them. It felt odd to put up shade cloth when it’s so overcast.

I’m trying to think of what we can use to put over some of the other beds, to protect them from heavy rains and possible hail. The netting we have might keep critters out, but the mesh is too large to protect from heavy rains or hail. Last year’s row covers that fell apart when we moved them has old window screen mesh on one of them, but it’s too narrow to use without more support than the twine we’ve got now. I’m thinking of the mosquito netting we used as row covers might work. We only need to cover the tops of the beds enough to protect from heavy rain, while still letting water through. I’m not too keen on using the mosquito netting, as it sheds long strands from the cut sides, and I’m still finding them among the weeds in the old kitchen garden. Those strands don’t break easily, and are something small critters could get caught up in. The best thing would be to hem up the cut edges, but that wouldn’t be done until we have them in the sizes we want.

We’re getting all these predictions for high temperatures and advisories for heat, but… it’s almost cool out there. We’re also getting storm warnings that are all over the place. One minute, the storms are expected on Tuesday. Then Sunday (tomorrow). Then tonight. Then not at all. Then Monday.

I am, however, hearing thunder as I write this, and I can see from the trees out my window, that the winds are picking up.

My dropped the idea of getting more weed trimming done today. The necessary areas are already done; anything else is just bonus at this point. The ground is almost dry enough to mow in places, but that’s not going to happen either.

Well, we got the main thing done. The squash patches are now mulched.

The Re-Farmer

Three

The kittens we saw yesterday were back this morning! It is now confirmed: there are three of them.

When I saw they were under the cat’s house again, I put a scoop of kibble in the open spot they were peaking through, then hid away. The kittens were very enthusiastic about solid food! Then mama – the white tail tip confirms it’s Braddiccus – came over to stand guard. And have a bit of a snack with her babies. 🙂

The little calico didn’t come out all the way, though I did catch a glimpse of her one eye that’s got something wrong with it. Her siblings were bolder today, with one of them checking out the big water bowl. After they were gone again, I moved that bowl away, gave it a scrubbing, and left it closer to the kibble house. That left the 3 metal pans that we use as water bowls for them to drink from. Less chance of a kitten falling in, on those!

So this would be the litter that was inside the cat’s house, with Junk Pile’s litter, earlier in the spring. I’m surprised these ones are being brought over to the house first, when Junk Pile’s litter was born earlier. I would expect the mama with her older kittens would have been here first. But then, maybe she is, and we’re just not around to see her!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: having a whacky time!

After a few hours of waiting, things dried up enough that I could do some much needed weed whacking in the garden.

Most of the yard still squelches when we walk through the grass – grass that is getting so tall, it’s actually hard to walk through! Not only are all the dandelions gone to seed, but the grass is going to seed, too!

The first place to work on was the large squash patch.

I’m not happy with how much shade some of them are getting. They get full sun early in the morning, though, so with the total hours of sunlight, it should be okay. It’s a shame my parents planted more trees on the south side of the garden. I’ve since learned my brother got them those trees to add to the shelter belt in the outer yard, but my parents didn’t want to go out that far. Now, the shadows are covering more than half of the old garden area on this side. 😦

Some of the squash seedlings are still so small, they could not be easily seen through the overgrown grass and weeds. I used taller sticks and stakes to mark the corners, then smaller sticks to mark the smaller squash. Then I went ahead and added sticks to all of them, with pairs of sticks to support the larger squash so they’d be out of the grass. In the end, I added a pair of sticks to all but the gourds with the tall metal support stakes, as much to protect them from accidental weed whacking as to mark where they were. I trimmed right down to the ground as much as I could. I am glad to get this done before adding the straw mulch. I really didn’t want to add it on top of the overgrown crab grass and weeds.

Then, since I was there with the weed trimmer anyhow, I kept working around all the beds and the straw mulch where the potatoes and melons are planted. I didn’t need to trim around where the other squash, corn and beans are planted, since that area got done in preparation for planting.

I had grabbed the second 100 ft extension cord from the garage, so with about 250 ft of extension cord, and judicious placement of a spade to make sure the cord didn’t drag across the squash and corn patch, I was able to reach the bean tunnel.

The bean tunnel got a thorough trimming before I moved on to the hulless pumpkins. For these, I decided to give them three support poles each. These poles were used to support summer squash last year, and some still had the twist tie wire that was used to fix the stems to the poles. Those were used to go around the three poles and hold the vines off the ground and protect them from the weed trimmer. I also had some left over sifted garden soil in the wheelbarrow, so I added that around the bases of the support poles to help hold them in place, being careful not to go too close to the stems. I didn’t want to bury the stems, as that could cause the stems to rot.

These pumpkins are now ready for a mulch, too.

I stopped at this point, as I wanted to get to the post office before it closed, then go on into town. I want to use the weed trimmer around the trellises and, if I can reach, around the sea buckthorn and silver buffalo berry. That will be a job for after the squash patches are mulched.

The canteen gourds are blooming! I probably should have pinched off the flower buds when I transplanted them, as they haven’t really gotten any bigger, but I forgot. We shall see how they do. Their flowers are very pretty!

We are starting to get weather advisories and heat warnings for the weekend. Tomorrow, we’re supposed to approach 30C/86F, and the day after – Father’s Day – we’re supposed to reach the mid-30’s (35C is 85F). While I was working on the bean tunnel, the thermometer there was already reading 30C in the sun. Which means the best time to get the mulch down will be early tomorrow morning, while it is still cooler.

Going to bed early tonight would be a good idea! Hopefully, the cats will even let me sleep… :-/

The Re-Farmer