Some garden stuff, and a run-around day

Just a few growing things to share from this morning!

The spruce grove next to the board pile where the smaller kittens are living has been overtaken by spirea again. Hard to believe I pulled those all out, just a couple of years ago. They are blooming like crazy right now, and just buzzing with insects, so I am leaving them for the pollinators. They can be pulled up later, when we need access to cut down the dead spruces.

This is one of the hulless pumpkins; a Kakai variety. So far, there’s just the one. I’ve seen another, much smaller one. We shall see if it got pollinated and gets bigger or not.

There is also just the one giant pumpkin growing. I made sure to hand pollinate this one, when I first found it! I am not seeing any other female flowers on the giant pumpkins at all, yet.

I was able to make a tiny harvest of shelling peas this morning; more of the pea plants have had hair cuts by a deer, it seems. Just at the one end, where they are already all spindly, though, so it’s not actually much of a loss. I was able to pick a small handful of raspberries, too. Not as much of either, as yesterday.

I didn’t spent too much time in the garden, though, as I had a lunch date in town. I met with my SIL for lunch, after she picked up the sleep test machine in the city for me, saving me the trip. After lunch, I tried calling my mom from the parking lot, but got a “user not available” message. So I made a stop at the hardware store and picked a paint for the benches. I went with a dark red. I got a gallon, so there should be enough for both benches, with some to spare for future projects.

That done, I tried calling my mom again, and discovered she had called the farm and left a message for me. She had just gotten word that her sister passed away this morning. My aunt would have turned 99, this fall. My aunt had gotten to the point where, when my mother recently visited her, she could not recognize her at all, and didn’t seem to know my mother was there. We were expecting this for some time, now.

I told my mother I had her sleep test machine and was on my way to her place. I was really looking forward to seeing it. The little storage bin it was in was about the same size as the machine I got, when I had a sleep test done years ago.

My goodness, has it ever changed! The test is the same; a pulse oxymeter to be worn on one finger, a hose with nasal prongs, and a heart rate monitor worn the chest. The small box strapped to the chest was the entire unit, with both the air hose and pulse oximeter attached to it. No machine sitting next to the bed, making things like rolling over very challenging to do!

There was a questionnaire sheet that I helped fill out on one side. The other side is for after the test is done. Then we went over the instructions.

Yeeeeeaaaahhh….

No.

It’s actually very easy to use, but the instructions were well beyond my mother. Especially when it started talking about what to do if you turn it on and get red lights instead of green ones. Just the nasal prongs, and putting the air hose around her ears, was too much for her. She was more than ready to not do the test at all, and expressed regret for agreeing to do it.

So I’ll be giving her a hand. The machine needs to be returned on Tuesday. I’ll come over on Monday night to help her put everything on and get the machine going, before she goes to bed. Then I’ll come back in the morning, go through the shut down procedure, finish off the questionnaire with her, then take the machine to the city and drop it off. It’s already been arranged with them that, when the specialist has gone over the readings and is ready with his report, he’ll call me to go over it, not my mother. I can then explain the results to her in a way she can understand, later on. The report will also be sent to her doctor to go over.

Then, since I’ll be in the city anyhow, I’ll stay to do more of our monthly stock up. I will be using my mother’s car again, though, so still no Costco trip, but there is a liquidation store near where I have to drop off the sleep test machine that I want to check out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and their inventory can change quite dramatically from shipment to shipment. I should be able to get deals on things to stock up on that I might not find at the other wholesale places I go to.

So that is all arranged.

There was one odd message my mother passed on to me while I was there. When her niece called about her sister’s passing, my mother was told that our vandal would be at the funeral, therefore I could not be there.

Which is completely backwards. If I go to the funeral, it’s our vandal that has to leave. I have a restraining order against him, not the other way around. Not that I would do that to him at a funeral. I would make and exception. He, obviously, would not. I have no idea what he told my cousin, but I suspect she doesn’t want me there, anyhow. When I later had a chance to pass on my condolences to her husband, I explained it to him, but also said that I will just keep things easy and not go. Our vandal might cause a scene, and if my suspicions are correct and my cousin doesn’t actually want me there, she would be upset with me, not our vandal. I have other ways to honour my aunt’s life without all this theatre.

Since I was in town with her car, I was able to take my mother on some errands before heading home. She is not at all impressed with how expensive things have gotten. I’ve been trying to warn her for months that this was coming, but she brushed me off. Even now, she thinks that the prices are high because the local stores are cheating people. She found an error on her grocery receipt a couple of times (in the 8 or so years she’s been living there), and is convinced the errors were actually deliberate. She still doesn’t get that cashiers don’t actually put prices in manually as they scan her groceries, and that the prices are set into the computer system by the franchise the store is affiliated with, not the store itself. For all my warnings, she seems to think these higher prices are just in the local stores she goes to, not something that’s happening across the country. Frustrating.

I had noticed a weekly farmer’s market was on today, so before heading home, I swung by to see what was available. There was one booth with fresh vegetables. The selection was more sparse than I remember from last year, but I was able to get some fresh yellow beans and a bunch of carrots. The market itself had a lot fewer booths, too. My bee keeping cousin was there, though, and I was looking to get a bucket of honey, but he had none, and will not be having any of his largest size at all this year. The long, cold winter took out his bees. He’s down to only two hives! They would have already been struggling after last year’s drought, too. This horrible start to the year we had must have been just too much for them.

It explains a lot, though. I’ve heard from a lot of people saying they’re not seeing any bees this year. At the time when the bees would have been coming out of hibernation, not only was it cold, but things that normally would have been blooming, were not. There would have been nothing for them to eat.

I had just been talking to a woman selling chokecherry jam (among other varieties of jams and jellies) about how we had plenty of chokecherry flowers this spring (when they finally could bloom), but no berries, and she had said she had the same thing. Especially with Saskatoons. The flowers just didn’t get pollinated. Bees would not have been the only pollinators affected by our horrible spring, either. I’m glad we have so many pollinators now, but the timing of it is just wrong for most berry bushes.

Thankfully, my beekeeping cousin has other stuff to sell in his booth, not just honey. It might take a long time for him to build his hives back up again.

This has been a hard year for all kinds of produce!

Still, I did get a large jar of honey, some fresh vegetables, a couple jams and jellies, and some individual sized pies to take home. Not too bad.

It’s been a long run-around day, though, and I was more than happy to get home!

The Re-Farmer

Staying out of the rain, and taking a chance.

We had thunderstorms pass over us during the night, and it was still raining when I headed out to do my morning rounds.

The girls heard cat’s arguing with each other last night. When they went out to check, Potato Beetle came into the sun room, where he got to spend a nice, dry night, with his own food and water. Thankfully, that meant he had no interest in the food when he went out in the morning, because there’s a very wet and bedraggled TDG looking back at me in the photo – and he’s the one Potato had been threatened by!

All the cats were looking so wet!

And you can certainly see why. All the areas that had finally been almost dry are wet again, including this spot the cats normally use to get under the storage house. Even though they can’t get under there right now, because of the water, they still run through here. So do the skunks. The grass is so tall, you can’t really see that the whole area is under water again.

That lilac bush is struggling so much! It’s basically drowning. It still managed to bloom, though!

The main garden area has got a lot of areas with standing water. If we are to loose anything we planted at this point, it’s going to be from being drowned!

Along the bean tunnel, however, I saw both types of beans have started coming up!

I didn’t look too closely at things because, even though it was raining, I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They don’t mind being out in the rain!

I was keeping a close eye on the forecasts and weather radar. They were predicting a series of thunderstorms throughout the morning and afternoon, including at times when I would expect to be on the road with my mother, to take her to her doctor’s appointment.

So I left early. I figured, I could fill up the tank on my mother’s car and find something to do before it was time to pick up my mother. I’m trying to spend as little time at her place as possible, right now.

Which reminds me… my brother used his Power of Attorney to speak on my mother’s behalf and get her place treated for bedbugs. It’s a good thing he did. She could never have navigated the calls or followed through on them. It was totally beyond her abilities.

Her building is owned by a the provincial government, but the department that administrates it was almost impossible to get to. He got numbers to call from the senior’s centre in my mother’s town, chased a few of them down, found that the contact person he normally would have talked to was away for the week, sent some emails (because he was doing this from work and couldn’t be on hold for 20 minutes, over and over!) and eventually found out that the province is aware there are bedbugs in her building. It’s a problem with quite a few buildings they run. So much so, that they are being treated on a schedule. The next time they are in my mother’s area, she will get a note slid under her door with date and time and instructions. Which my mother won’t understand. My brother was supposed to get a copy of that note and its instructions emailed to him, but he never got it. All he knows for sure is, she’s supposed to be out of her apartment for 6 hours while they take care of the rest. When he told my mother this, she said she would just hang out in the lobby.

For 6 hours.

While her apartment – and any others in the building – are getting sprayed.

My mother, who has respiratory issues…

Yeah…

No.

We’ll find other arrangements.

Once I got to my mother’s, we headed out again soon after. We got to the clinic quite early, but she ended up getting called in early, too!

Oh, the poor doctor.

We were there to talk about breathing issues she’s been having, but when he came in, instead of telling him about it, she started saying things like, “please help me with my breathing…” as if he already knew everything. She and I had been talking about it, and it was as if she thought he somehow heard and knew everything she had said to me!

Between the two of us, we managed to drag out enough information from her that he could figure out what sorts of tests to have done. Any tentative conclusions we both reached by the end of it may be correct, but other things need to be ruled out, first. It will take a few weeks, at least, before all the tests are done and he gets the results.

So that worked out fairly well. Even as we left, though, the doctor commented to me that my mother’s symptoms are quite strange – and they certainly are! Hopefully, we’ll have some answers, or at least a direction to look, after the tests are done. The one that will take the most time will require a call from the city, then someone has to pick up some equipment for my mother to use at home, then the equipment, and the data collected, returned. It may take up to 3 weeks, before all that’s done.

The rain continued off and on, and there was still severe weather on the radar, so we didn’t do my mother’s usual stop at a restaurant (I made sure to ask if she’d had lunch before we left!), and I took her home, with only a stop at the grocery store first. Since I was there with her car, it allowed her to pick up and stock up on a lot more, so she took advantage of it.

I feel much better, knowing my mother has at least some food stocked up, even if it’s just for about a week or so.

It had stopped raining for most of my drive home, more or less, but I’m glad I didn’t linger. The gravel roads are being destroyed by all the rain again. My mother’s car handled it well so far, but we’re supposed to get more storms tomorrow, and that spot near our place is already only passable on one side again. The road past our driveway is still closed, too, for all that I regularly see traffic going by, including small cars. One of these days, I should make the walk to the washout to see how it looks.

On a completely different topic, I found a site before I left for my mother’s, and sent some links to my family to check out while I was away. It was one of those “is this too good to be true?” places. It’s a clearance site for Lowe’s, with various sheds at massive discounts. As in, insanely massive. They were all in the same price range, roughly between $85-$90 Cdn, regardless of original price. It seems that these are all abandoned orders – stuff people already bought and paid for, but never picked up.

After much discussion, we decided to take a chance.

This is what we ordered.

Image belongs to lowescheap.com

They have a 30 day trial period, but it’s unlikely we’d put it together within that time. We’d open the box to check, but would need to make a foundation for it before we could assemble it.

I was sorely tempted by their largest shed. That one did not come with a floor, which I could live with, but also did not come with shingles. Which is not a big deal, but for something that large, we wouldn’t be able to get them for quite some time.

So we went with a plastic one that was the largest, complete shed available. At 20’x8′, it includes two sets of double doors, 2 windows, 2 skylights, some shelves, shutters and a “foundation”, among other things. We’re a bit confused about the included foundation, because it also says a foundation is needed. Looking at the diagram, I think they mean what looks like a 4″ sub floor as the included foundation. We’d have to find and prepare a spot for a foundation, somewhere in the inner yard, where it would be most useful.

The total cost, in Canadian dollars, came out to just over $133 after shipping. Which is insanely cheap. Hopefully, we will actually get what we ordered, and it’s as good as the specs describe it. If it is, it will be a big help. If not… well, hopefully, we’d be able to get our money back.

The thing is, I’ve looked at other sites with deeply discounted products, including things like chicken coops, sheds, garage kits, etc., that I could quickly spot as scam sites. Seeing images stolen from other sites was usually the first warning! This one, however, actually looks legitimate.

Well, we’ll know soon enough. And if it does turn out to be legitimate, we will certainly get more! One that is currently on the site is a 12’x8′ cedar Cabana, with a split door and 2 windows with window boxes. It’s pretty much exactly what my younger daughter wants as the focal point of the peony garden she wants to plant, well away from the house. There’s currently a branch pile that needs to be chipped where she wants to plant it, so it’s not like we’re in any hurry! Looking around at some of the other sheds, there are even some that could easily be converted to a chicken coop, and cost far less than if we build one ourselves, even using salvaged wood.

Here’s hoping!

The Re-Farmer

Long day, but the trees are in!

Oh, my goodness, what a day. And it’s not even 4pm as I start writing this!

Since I was heading to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were on the short side. It was pretty chilly out there, with rain expected, so I didn’t take the plants outside, just in case. I’m glad I didn’t, because the “light showers” we were expected to get turned into a series of downpours. :-/

A grader had made its first pass before I left, which made it easier on my mother’s car on the gravel roads, including where the water is crossing over the road again, in two places. I left early enough to put some gas in the tank of her car. That was painful. Just the other day, the prices in her town went from 188.9/L to 197.9/L One US gallon is 3.78L, and at the current exchange rate, that works out to US$5.94/gallon. Other parts of Canada are now above $2/L, so we are by no means the most expensive gas in the country.

Still, it makes for a painful fill at the pump! Most of which got used up by the time I got home again.

The visit to the doctor went all right. Medical facilities are still forced to have mandatory masks. I probably would have been okay if I just needed to go to the clinic, but I also needed to go to the lab, and they aren’t allowed to accept exemptions. Which is illegal, but that hasn’t stopped our current government from doing whatever it wanted before, and they’re not stopping now. I wore my Mingle Mask. One of the receptionists – who had her own mask pulled down every chance she could – complimented me and said she missed being able to read lips. I got my bloodwork requisition then went to the lab, and they were fine with it, too. My mother, who shouldn’t be wearing a mask either, wore hers under her nose. No one said a thing. Not even while in the examination room.

My mom was very confused when we came in to see a young woman, and thought we were taken to the wrong room. It turned out she was a student who is working with our doctor as part of her training. I’d helped my mother make a list of what she wanted to talk about, then took a picture of the list. I’m glad I did, because she didn’t bring it, though she did bring another, completely different one. By the time the student was taking my mother’s blood pressure, my mother was saying, “so… Dr. ___ didn’t want to see me, then…” The student reassured her that the doctor would be seeing her; he was just with another patient.

He did come in later, and we talked for a while longer. Then he made sure to explain to me what he wanted to change up, because there’s no way my mother would remember any of it – and might even choose to ignore. I’ll pass it on to my siblings, and between us, we should be able to get my mother to understand. It just takes a while.

That done, with a quick side trip to the lab for my mother, we headed out. I had fasted for my bloodwork, so we were going to go for lunch, but we made a quick stop at a hardware store. I picked up a box of bed bug traps. Other apartments in the building she’s in have been sprayed for bed bugs, and now we’re finding out she has them, but she cleans her bed really, really well, so she’s fine… *sigh* The more I talk to her about it, the more details she brings up, the more horrified I am. Meanwhile, she’s all proud of herself for being so thorough in cleaning her bed and mattress, and squishing so many of them… *sigh* The traps are mostly as a check to confirm, and won’t get rid of them, but it’s a step forward. She’ll have something to show. My brother and I have been really stressing that she needs to call the housing department that owns her building so her apartment can be treated, but she thinks she can handle it herself.

After picking up the trap, we had lunch – breakfast for me – then started home. I had mentioned to her that I had live trees to pick up at the post office, but suddenly she was wanting to make side trips to other towns. I said no; if we’re going to do stuff like that, we have to plan for it ahead of time. I started getting the lecture of how when I am with her, I need to make it a “holiday”, to spend just with her. By which she means, do anything and everything she wants to do. It’s not “holiday” for me at all, nor do I want it to be. I have too much work to do to lose entire days at her beck and call. At least today, it was rainy, so there’s little we can do outside right now, but those trees need to be picked up, and we need to get at them as quickly at possible, even if the holes we dug for them are too full of water to do any transplanting today.

She still got me to stop at another hardware store and pick up some soil for her, to top up her houseplants. The bags are all in outdoor garden centre displays, in the rain, which meant I got my nice white hoodie and new coat all muddy. :-/ Ah, well.

Once I got her home, I set up the traps, then went over her medications with her before finally heading to the post office, driving through a few more downpours along the way, then home.

Can you believe there are 41 trees in here? !!! I’ve got it next to the box that the highbush cranberry, sunchokes and sweet potato slips came in, for perspective.

Looking at the forecasts, we’ve got three more days where the overnight lows will be too cold to transplant any of our vegetables, but we’ll be able to work on these trees, instead. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get them all done in one day.

So much to do; so little time to do it! Especially with the weather not co-operating!

The Re-Farmer

A few surprises today, and wet, wet, wet!

Since I was wanting to go to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were cut a bit short.

That and the ground was just too wet for all of my usual checks.

It wasn’t raining quite yet, but I decided to NOT put our transplants out. With all the pots in bins and trays to water them from below, the bins already had more water in them than they probably should have, just from what rain we got yesterday. Some of them are on baking trays, which are easier to tip and drain at least some of the water out. With the bins, we’d have to remove all the pots to be able to drain it, and I would rather we didn’t knock them about too much. Especially the pots that are made to be planted directly into the soil. When they get wet, they are a lot more fragile and basically fall apart.

So today, they stay indoors.

I did remember to grab the bag with what’s left of our wood shavings to put a light mulch where the peas were planted yesterday. After switching out the memory card on the corner cam, I popped through the barbed wire fence to check on things.

The most obvious was that the “road closed, local traffic only” sign is gone.

The stand is still there. Just the sign has been removed. The stand had already been blown to the side of the road by wind, heavy as it is. I guess they’ll come back for it later. I don’t think the road has been repaired, though. I think the water levels have just finally dropped low enough.

The area in front of where the corner cam is, is where I’d sown a western wildflower mix in the fall, and I was hoping to see if anything was coming up.

I’m still not sure, but…

… we have strawberries! There are quite a few, all around. We don’t mow this area often, but I’m sure I’d have noticed strawberries if I’d seen them before, and deliberately not mown there. There were a few other things growing that didn’t look familiar, but it’s hard to say. With last year’s drought and heat waves, following even more years with lack of spring rains going back well before we moved here, it’s entirely possible that our current wet conditions mean that things that had been dormant are now finally sprouting. When I had the chance, I looked up the description for the seeds I got. It has 16 varieties native to Western Canada, but only 7 are listed.

Well, we’ll find out eventually! I’m just happy to see strawberries growing there.

I then checked out that really bad spot on the road that’s close to us. It was very muddy, and it’s getting longer, but it still looked like I could drive around it on one side. It did convince me to use our van instead of my mother’s car. Her car is lower to the ground, and I didn’t want to drag her undercarriage on some of the muddy ruts left behind by heavy trucks.

The funny thing is, I got a call from my brother later this morning. He was at work but, he knew I planned to go to my mother’s. Having driven through that spot himself just a couple of days ago, he called to recommend I take the van instead of my mother’s car, because it’s so much lower and we wouldn’t want to catch anything in the undercarriage on those ruts…

I love my brother. 😀

I also wanted to leave early enough to hit the post office first. While at the store, I picked up another bale of wood shavings and some black oil seed for the birds. Then I remembered to ask about bale twine. We’ve been using some light sisal cord for most things, but I wanted something more durable. There wasn’t any bale twine in the store, but the owner went to check in the house behind the store (I guess inventory is stored there now; the previous owner used to live there), which gave me time to load the big stuff into the van. While I did that, a Canada Post van arrived. As I went back to the counter to wait, the post master brought a package to me that had just come in, even though she hadn’t had a chance to process all the deliveries yet! That was very sweet of her.

It was also sweet of the owner to go check for me, as she came back with a pair of bale twine rolls. I hadn’t realize that size came in pairs. I’d always seen the larger ones. I asked for the smallest size; only 2800 yards. 😀

We’ll be set for a while!

The package I got was our perishable stock order from T&T Seeds, including two highbush cranberry trees. As I was writing the above, my younger daughter came by to talk about them, and now she’s outside in the rain, transplanting them!

What a sweetheart!

Once I had everything bought and paid for, it was off to my mother’s, picking up some fried pierogi for lunch (it was too early for the usual fried chicken I get as our lunch treat) on the way. My mother was already waiting for her telephone doctor’s appointment! The appointment was at 11:50. She thought it was at 10:50. When she realized we still had about an hour for the call, she dove right into those pierogi – all the while telling me she should probably stop eating pierogi, because the last time she did, that night she had severe stomach pains. Which as never happened before, but every time she has some sort of physical discomfort, she blames it on whatever food she most recently ate. :-/

Then the phone rang. The doctor called almost an hour early!

It turned out to be a fairly short call. My mother’s back is feeling much better now, though she insists the painkillers she was prescribed, have not been helping her at all. The doctor asked the expected questions about if she had twisted it, lifted something heavy, or done anything that might have triggered it. He was looking at her Xrays and couldn’t see anything that would explain the pain. The way he described it, she just has a 90 yr old back! He mentioned arthritis, but I don’t think she heard him.

Ultimately, though, he wants her to come in, in person, as it’s been a long time since she’s been to the doctor. My mother was already talking about doing exactly that. Normally, she would have to phone the clinic and talked to a receptionist to book that – though I would have been the one to actually make the call – and he did start to say that, but then changed track and simply named a date and time. It worked for us, so in a few days, I’ll be driving my mother in for that.

Hopefully, using her smaller car instead of my van, though!

Once that was booked, that was it. We were done, and much earlier than expected.

So we finished our lunch, then headed out to run errands. My mother had three places to go, and was a real trooper about climbing into our van! Especially since the van has no hand grips, like her car does. Getting out was a lot easier, but I had to insist, each time we stopped, that she wait until I brought the walker around before trying to climb out. The last stop was the grocery store, and for that I go in and get a shopping cart and bring it over for her to use as a walker, instead.

Having looked at the weather forecasts, I took advantage of being there to pick up a few little things, too, just in case I’m not able to make the rest of our stock up shopping in the city. That should be tomorrow, but we’ll see.

You know what I didn’t buy today?

Tinned meat.

Because, WOW the prices have gone up!

Cdn$4.49 is currently US$3.54 Those tins are 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces
Cdn$4.99 is $3.94 Those are 213 grams, or 7.5 ounces
Cdn$6.49 is US$5.12, for 340 grams, or 12 ounces

Small town grocery stores tend to be more expensive anyhow, but this is almost double what I last saw them at.

When my mother was almost done her own shopping, I quickly went through the till with my own stuff to get those put away in the van first. While chatting with the cashier, the increase in prices came up. He told me the prices have been going up daily! This store is affiliated with a larger franchise, so they don’t control the prices, but the whole point of being affiliated with a franchise is to be able to get inventory at lower wholesale prices, so retail prices can be lower.

Which means the wholesale prices have jumped significantly.

Thankfully, my mother only needs to buy enough for herself, and with me there to help out, she got extra in a lot of things, to stock up. She didn’t even look at the meat section, though. She’s convinced herself that meat, especially red meat, is bad, but she’ll buy deli meats or sausages instead of fresh meat. *sigh*

The main thing is that she is now stocked up for the next week or so. With her back giving her grief, she might supplement with Meals on Wheels every now and then, too.

It was raining every so slightly when I left my mother’s, but I found myself driving through several areas of heavy rain on the highway home. I’m so glad I didn’t take the transplants out this morning! The gravel roads were just soaked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more sections degraded until they were like the bad patch near our place. I messaged the family before heading out, and the girls were waiting for me at the garage with the wagon to help bring things in, since it was too muddy to drive up to the house to unload.

Just a few minutes ago, the girls came in – soaking wet! – to let me know they finished transplanting the highbush cranberry, as per the instructions that came with the trees. They planted them at the opposite end of the rows originally planned, because it has somewhat less water there, though they still had to shovel out as much water from the holes as they could. The holes they dug were mostly gravel, so the wheelbarrow of garden soil I had ready for something else was used instead of putting all the gravel back in the hole. The last of the bag of wood shavings I’d used to mulch the peas was used to mulch the cranberries. Hopefully, they will take root well enough.

It may be a couple of days before we can plant the sun chokes and sweet potato slips. The forecast says “light rain”, but it’s also supposed to be chillier than today. The sunchokes could probably handle it, but I’m not sure the sweet potato slips will. These are supposed to be a variety suited to our climate zone, but they’re still not a cool weather crop.

And we still need to get those potatoes in, but the package said not to plant them until temperatures are above 10C/50F. Looking at the 14 day trend, we won’t have overnight temperatures above that until June 7 – over a week from now! They will be under deep mulch, though, so that should protect them. I hope.

So much to get done, in a very short time, and the weather is not cooperating!

Well, we’ll do what we can. Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: peas, carrots, onions and more prep

One of things we started indoors were the four seeds we managed to save from the King Tut purple peas we tried to grow last year. All for successfully germinated, and were really needing to be either transplanted, or potted up.

Potting up didn’t make sense for these, so today, they got transplanted! Being peas, they are frost hardy, so we didn’t have to wait until after our last frost date.

I did change were they were meant to be planted. I was originally thinking of using the same pea trellis we used for them last year, but there’s just 4 of them, so we’ll save the trellises for the green peas we’ve got.

As the purple peas were already looking to climb, I decided to put them here.

This is where we grew tomatoes very successfully last year, and tomatoes will be grown here again this year. It got completely reworked in the fall.

This bed was going to get a mulch of wood shavings, too, but I also did the concrete blocks on the other side of the small gate, too.

We’ll be looking at planting some climbers in here, that can use the fence as a trellis.

The bag of wood shavings left over from last year got finished off in the long bed, and most of the new bag got used up, too! There was enough to mulch the haskaps (the male haskap is blooming!) and there’s still a bit left over.

All the mulch got watered as I laid it out, as the wind was picking up and threatening to blow it away. Once it was laid down, all the mulch got watered again, multiple times, as I worked.

Of course, the bed didn’t stay looking pretty like this for long!

This bed is going to be intensely and strategically planted! Along with the purple peas, there will be tomatoes planted all along the fence. Just inside where the tomatoes will go, there will be carrots, as they are good companion plants. On the outer edge, near the bricks, will be onions, as a critter deterrent.

In the bowl are the last of the pelleted Kyoto Red seeds from last year.

Clearing out a row to plant the carrots was a bit of a challenge, as there were sticks in with the leaf mulch that had to be removed. With pelleted seed, the carrots could be spaced as they were planted. I still got only half way down the row before running out of seeds. The other half is now planted with Napoli carrots; another pelleted variety from last year. With the Napoli, there are still a LOT of seeds left, so we have the option of tucking them around other things, too. We have 2 other new varieties that are not pelleted seed, so I will likely use cornstarch gel to help plant those.

There were not a lot of the Oneida yellow onions we started from seed to transplant, but it was still close to the half way mark. Of the onions we stared from seed, we have one tray or red onions left, but there’s quite a few of those, and I didn’t want to split them up. We also had a few shallots started from seed – a whole 7 of them survived – so I used those, and there’s still half the row left. We have shallot sets, too, so I’m thinking of using some of those to finish off the row. That will be another job for tomorrow!

As for the peas, I cut some of the plastic bottles from distilled water we have so many of, to put around the peas, to protect them from the wind. One of them blew away while I was transplanting onions. I’d tried to push it into the soil, but there turned out to be too many little sticks in the leaf litter. 😀 Once I got that fixed, I added the sticks to help keep them from blowing away. They are the sticks sold for toasting marshmallows, broken in half. We got a package for cookouts last year, but I’ve been using them as supports for some of the taller squash and gourd plants that were starting to flop around a bit. They work really well for that!

This bed now has only tomatoes to be transplanted into it, and that won’t be until after our June 2 last frost date, just to be on the safe side. We will be adding netting after the tomatoes are planted. The decorative wire garden fencing that you see in one of the photos above will be placed right up against the bricks, to hold the net away from the net, which will be attached to the top of the fence. The tomatoes and onions should be fine, but the carrots will need to be protected from critters. The net won’t stop a determined groundhog, but between that, the onions and the carrots, we hope the greedy buggers will decide they’re not worth the effort!

While I was working on this, my younger daughter was working on one of the low raised beds in the main garden area.

The girls cleaned up these beds last year, and this one was the worst for crab grass.

It still was. It took my poor daughter hours to get it done, diligently and carefully pulling up all the roots she could. Unlike me, she’s agile enough that she can kneel down on the ground to work, but she still knackered her back in the process. Once inside, she ended up having to put on her corset she made for herself, to use as a back brace just so she could sit upright at the table! She plans to continue with other beds tomorrow, and will likely just wear the darn thing from the start.

Her sister ended up helping me bring the transplants back inside after everything we done. She was up sick much of the night, but was finally feeling better. It was a bit of a juggle, since the chitting potatoes were sitting on the platform the seed trays and most of the bins sits on. Those had to go outside and onto the roof of the cats’ house until all the transplants were brought into the sun room, then we had to figure out how to fit the potatoes back in! Some ended up on the swing bench under the platform. Potato Beetle has lost his favourite bed for now. 😀

I fully expect we will expand our garden again, next year, which means starting more seeds indoors. Having at least a small, portable greenhouse is going to be increasingly a necessity! We almost got one this year, but the funds ended up being reallocated. Mind you, we still haven’t gone into the old hay loft, where my brother tells me there is the frame for a carport. If all the parts and pieces are there, we’d just need to get the plastic, and we’ll have a polytunnel. I can’t get up into the hayloft anymore – my body is too broken to clamber up there – so I’ll have to ask the girls to do it.

Well… that last paragraph got quite the interruption. I hadn’t realized my mother had phoned and left a message while we were working outside. She called again. It seems the painkillers the doctor prescribed for her back pain are not helping at all, and she’s in a lot of pain. Can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t lie down… She’s convinced the doctor gave her the wrong medication. She called the pharmacist, and he assured her she got the right meds. I guess she now thinks the prescription was a mistake? So tomorrow morning, when the clinic is open, I’ll give them a call. Hopefully, either her doctor, or the doctor that saw her in the ER, will be available to call her today and talk to her about it.

My husband is feeling very sympathetic for her. She’s entering his world, and is completely unprepared for it.

My plans for tomorrow may be changing, if I find myself having to drive my mother somewhere!

The Re-Farmer

Cat pile, progress and update

There are two cats in this photo.

Cheddar slowly managed to squirm his way under the sheet, little by little, until he was completely covered!

Meanwhile, we had a whole pile of cats, chillin’ on the front step.

There were also several inside cats at the storm door, sometimes sticking a leg through the window to bat at a cat outside! 😀

Yes, we’re still draining out washing machine out the door. Partly because none of us have the time to sit and supervise the machine if we put the hose into the drain pipe, just in case it starts backing up again (which it shouldn’t, but still…), but also because we’ve got enough water flowing into the septic tank and triggering the pump to drain, just from the water seeping into the north side of the old basement, and the weeping tile under the new basement, both going through the same floor drain. This area of the yard is high enough that none of the water is accumulating, so we’re not adding to the much problems, either.

It was a lovely, warm evening, so I popped out to do a bit of set up in the old kitchen garden… which promptly got catted!

I set out the line to support the netting that will go up after it’s planted. I’ve done similar with the L shaped bed, too. I had several cats very interested in the entire proceedings! Then, once I was done, Nutmeg went under the lines and tried rubbing up on practically ever one of them!

The lines will be in the way while seeding the bed, but this way I’ll be able to cover the bed right away, without giving cats a chance to walk all over it, or use it as a litter box, before it’s covered! 😀

On a completely different subject, my brother was able to update me on how things went with my mother at the ER. Based on how she described the pain, he was thinking her kidneys might be the issue, but when she talked to the doctor, she described it differently. They did do blood and urine tests, but when she described the pain as feeling like she was being stabbed in the back, on one side, the doctor sent her for Xrays right away.

The funny thing about my brother describing what happened, I actually recognized the doctor. He didn’t remember the name, but when he looked up the photo he took of my mother’s new prescription, it confirmed I was right. There have been times when I took my mother into the ER and this doctor had seen her. My mother was in good hands. 🙂

The staff was running ragged, and all the examination rooms were full, but with my mother’s pain levels, they got her in quickly. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to take her in, though, as they made them wear masks. Since I can’t, I would have been told to leave.

Long story short, my mother has a compacted disc. She actually has quite a bit of damage to her spine, but this was new damage. The doctor kept asking if she’d maybe lifted something heavy, or twisted something, but she couldn’t think of anything. Most likely, this is just new damage related to her refusal to wear her leg brace. She keeps complaining about the pain in her knees, and one knee bends inwards, but she simply will not wear the brace. My brother even tried getting her a new brace that would be more comfortable for her, but she just won’t do it. Instead, she wears those stretchy knee pads, like athletes sometimes wear. They feel snug and warm, so she thinks they help more than the brace.

There is nothing that can be done about her back, though. My brother even made a point of asking the doctor about possible surgery, just to make sure my mother heard the answer, and no. Surgery is not an option. What he did do was give her a prescription for anti-inflammatory painkillers, and before they left, she got an anti-inflammatory injection.

I haven’t called her again today. After so many hours dealing with everything, I knew she would be tired, so I’ll call her tomorrow. My poor brother was more mentally than physically exhausted. When helping my mother with her appointments, a lot of energy is spent explaining things she couldn’t understand, or asking her lots of questions to try and drag out information from her that is relevant. Or just keeping her on topic. She has a terrible habit of wasting time asking people personal information that’s none of her business, when she should be focusing on the reason she’s there. It gets very draining.

One thing my brother did try to make my mother aware of is that the pain she was feeling right then, was the sort of pain my husband feels constantly. For him, it’s actually a lot more, since he has multiple problems all in the same area, with a crumbling spine being just one thing – and not even the worst source of pain. My mother has had difficulty having any sort of empathy or understanding, because he’s “too young” to be having problems like this. He was hoping it would help her feel some sort of compassion for my husband. It probably won’t make a difference. After all, she still complains about how she’s taking “so many pills” every day, without quite understanding that she doesn’t actually have a lot of prescriptions for her age; she’s just taking some of them twice a day. So in her mind, each one of those pills is a different medication. I’ve told her how many prescriptions my husband is on – some of which are taken 3 times a day, others “as needed”, plus his injections, but it’s not about her, so she doesn’t get it. Ah, well. All we can do is try.

So my mom now needs to take these anti-inflammatory painkillers for a couple of weeks, but we have nothing about after that. I’ll have to make a regular doctor’s appointment for her – the clinic is in the same hospital, but I know I’ll be able to go in with her there. Something else to talk about when I call her, tomorrow.

We’ll figure it out.

The Re-Farmer

Cabbages update

I figured it was a good idea to write a separate post on how Cabbages is doing.

We have been giving her water with a syringe, as dehydration is the biggest danger for her. By the second time we were doing it, she seemed to get what we were doing, and was quite cooperative. We were careful to give her just a little at a time, and she actually seemed to perk up.

She wouldn’t eat the wet cat food. The girls are planning to boil some salmon for her, which will be made into a paste so we can use the syringe to feed her, but for now, getting water into her is the priority.

She seemed a bit stuffed up, so we got her into a steamy bathroom for a while. She got a couple more hydration sessions while in there, too. That done, she was returned to the comfort and warmth of my bed.

I came in to find Beep Beep and Turmeric, grooming her. A little too enthusiastically! I had to move them off of her, every now and then.

Turmeric seemed to decide she needed to be the center of her mom’s attention, though, and kept trying to insert herself between Beep Beep and Cabbages. Meanwhile, Cabbages just lay there, taking it all. Turmeric finally got to be too much for her, though, so she got up and moved to the other end of the bed.

I just took a bit of a break from writing this. My daughter came in, and we hydrated Cabbages again. We got two syringe fulls into her. She is definitely more responsive, and even opened her mouth more for the water.

We don’t want to over do it, of course. The last thing we want is for her to start throwing up again. So far, though, her stomach seems stable.

The poor thing looks so miserable. She hasn’t lost a lot of weight, but she didn’t have a lot of weight to lose in the first place, so she feels all bony now.

I got some more texts from the woman that will be fixing our cats. She let me know that all the photos I sent have been passed on to “all the girls”. I had let her know about Cabbages, and they have been made aware of that, too.

Then I got a text telling me that they have all sorts of wet and dry cat food that’s just sitting there. It needs to be used, so she will pass it on to us. !!! We should be able to meet up, the next time she is in town.

That is so awesome! I knew the organization provided free cat food to their fosters, but I didn’t expect them to have so much extra, they would need to get rid of it, and could offer it to us. I have no idea how much it will be, but every little bit will make things easier on our budget! The cats will be very happy. 🙂

Today had warmed up quite a bit. It’s past 9pm and we’re still at only -9C/16F, but it’s been blowing snow all evening. Not a lot of snow is actually falling, but enough is being blown around that I’m glad we didn’t need to go anywhere. I’ve heard the roads are got pretty bad. According to the hourly forecast, we’re supposed to warm up to -2C/28F by 3 am, and stay that warm until 6am! If the driveway isn’t drifted over too badly, I might make a trip into town and get some kitten milk for Cabbages for both nutrition and hydration. We’ll see how Cabbages is doing by tomorrow, though. Poor little thing. She really does seem to have perked up. I am encouraged.

The Re-Farmer

Face time (and some good news)

I want to boop that nose!!!

Nosencrantz is such a cutie!!!

Potato Beetle is looking downright malevolent! 😀

It was a very chilly morning today, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed down the cats, any! I tried to do a head count, but never got the same number twice, as they milled about, so I gave up. 😀

We had a first, yesterday evening, though I was not able to get a photo. While it was clear that deer have been visiting our feeding station for a while, yesterday was the first time I actually saw any.

I saw one out the window, but it saw me moving about through the glass and soon left. A moment later, I saw another – and a second one beside it! I’d hung a sunflower stem, with about 5 little seed heads, off the hook that should be holding a bird feeder (we never did find the missing pieces). One of the deer discovered it and started reaching up to nibble on a tiny seed head, breaking off the branch. The other deer promptly went after a leaf on the branch, breaking the stem from out of the deer’s mouth! The first deer went after the rest of the sunflower branch and pulled the whole thing down.

There was no trace of it, this morning.

Meanwhile, a third deer showed up and hovered nearby. I think I even saw a fourth one coming through the trees. About then, the phone rang. It was the pharmacy delivery guy letting me know he was in the area, so I quickly started to bundle up to meet him at the gate – which is when I saw another deer come in through the little gate, walking up the sidewalk, towards the side of the house!

Of course, my going disturbed the deer. I saw the delivery car reaching the gate and, as I started up the driveway, a deer suddenly came FLYING over the south fence of the spruce grove, across the driveway, and over the fence into the old hay yard. It touched ground twice, maybe three times, over the distance. My goodness, when deer go all out, it’s like they have wings!

The delivery driver missed it entirely. He had been rummaging for our package in his back seat by then.

The delivery was a bit of a surprise. My husband had ordered more insulin, but he got a refill on is bubble packs, too. He still have at least a week’s worth, left. It used to be that, because some of his meds are restricted, he couldn’t order refills until he was within 3 days of running out. That restriction went away when the government started shutting things down, and now he’s able to get his medications refilled even when he hadn’t asked for them yet! They don’t even make the bubble packs locally, anymore. He’s the only one on those meds out here, so they had to special order them from the city. Now, his bubble packs are made in the city, and shipped to the pharmacy. I have no idea how they decided to do a refill for him so soon, when they hadn’t been asked for.

What fun. We can’t go into the pharmacy because they don’t recognise medical mask exemptions, but we can sure get our opiates in advance, whether we ordered a refill or not!

Looking at the bill was a head shaker. His bubble packs, with a 4 week supply of about 10 different medications in it, including some pretty rare ones, cost less than half what his one box of 4 slow-release insulin pens cost, and the box of insulin lasts for less than a month. I know this type of insulin is more expensive, but sheesh!!!

On a completely different topic, I got an email from our vandal’s lawyer yesterday. It seems our vandal is agreeable to the conditions we came up with during Case Management, and will be stating this in court tomorrow. Of course, it’s entirely possible he’ll change his mind at the last minute, but assuming he doesn’t, that means we will have a Peace Bond against him. For one year, we will have no contact with him, and he will not be allowed to be under the influence while off his own property (I don’t care if he gets drunk at home. I just don’t want him getting drunk, then coming over here to set fire to the house or something). I’m supposed to get a copy of the court order, so I’ll get the precise wording of it, then.

It’s just a piece of paper, but it’s a tool the RCMP will have, if our vandal ever does decide to do something stupid again.

Now we just have to deal with his civil suit against us. The court date for that is at the end of January. Hopefully, the judge will see just how stupid it is, and throw it out. Even if our vandal did have some sort of claim on the junk he thinks is his, it makes no sense for him to go after me for money, when I don’t own anything here!

We shall see how it goes.

Until then, I will enjoy caring for the yard cats, as my late father did. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: the weather was not willing

We did not get the predicted thunderstorms last night, though we did get rain. While I was out doing my morning rounds, I could hear thunder around us, and it was even starting to rain a bit by the time I was done. So, no work was done on the garden bed I’d started on yesterday. We had rain on and off all day, so hopefully those bottom layers got a good soaking.

A few more of the Mongolian Giant sunflowers have started to open up. If the mild temperature continue, I hope to at least see some Hopi Black Dye sunflowers open as well, before the first frost hits. Some areas in our province have already had frost in August, but so far, we are good.

I am really hoping that first frost holds off for quite a while, so that these Red Kuri squash get a chance to mature. Our first frost date for our area is Sept. 10; just over a week from now. From the looks of our long range forecasts, we will continue to have very nice overnight temperatures; cool, but nowhere near freezing.

I especially would love for the Teddy winter squash to have a chance. Yes, we finally have fruit developing on them! Again. I found three of them this morning. Where the Red Kuri/Little Gem squash ripen to a deep orange-red, the Teddy are a mini acorn squash, becoming a deep green and only about a pound in size. The critters have been staying away, after using the cayenne pepper all over the garden beds, even though we have no been able to re-apply the cayenne due to the rain. I am hoping that, having gotten a mouth full of pepper, the critters have learned to associate the garden beds with “ouch”. 😀 If we can keep them away, these are supposed to be a prolific variety, and their small mature size should mean they may have a chance to fully ripen if we have a mild fall.

After checking the outside of the squash tunnel on the winter squash side, I went through the inside of the tunnel and found something waiting for me!

One of the Halona melons had dropped to the ground! I am so happy with how they are doing. 🙂 Of course, after finding this, I checked all the others, but none were loose. After I finished my morning rounds, I made a quick trip into town to run some errands, then headed out again later to meet a friend. While I was gone and there was a break in the rain, the girls picked the beans and some summer squash – and found two more Halona melons on the ground! I’m a bit surprised that it’s only the Halona melons that are dropping; the Pixies are still hanging in there. Literally! 😀

My friend and I went to the local Farmer’s Market this afternoon, and I had a chance to talk to my neighbour that sells pork – this time with a budget, and I picked up some sausages. 🙂 We had a chance to talk for quite a while, and I’m really looking forward to being able to get together with them. There are quite a few things they are doing that I would like to do as well, and I am eager to see their methods! And, from the looks of it, I won’t be able to go back to the market this year. Starting tomorrow, our province is imposing medical apartheid. With nothing to justify it, either. If we want to go to any “non-essential” places, we will have to show our papers to prove we’ve gotten the double jab for Schrodinger’s virus. The jab that works so well, those that have already got it are going to have to get a third one, while still covering their faces and remaining in physical isolation from other human beings. Our government doesn’t actually have the authority to impose such segregation, but they’re doing it anyhow, and people are being forced to comply through threats and coercion. Most illogically, while those who can’t have, or decline to have, the jab are now barred from doing things like buying food from a farmer at a market, instead of in a grocery store, the market vendors themselves are not required to have the jab. The levels of psychological manipulation and behavioural modification from our politicians and in the media, including social media, have gone into overdrive and, sadly, many people are getting sucked in and don’t even realize it. The levels of bullying and verbal abuse I’m seeing online has also increased substantially, in just the last few days. In typical gaslighting fashion, the same people who are doing the bullying are also the same people virtue signalling about how, if we don’t like it, don’t take it out on the poor employees trying to enforce the (illegal) restrictions. The obvious implication being that people who disagree with anyone being forced to partake in medical interventions against their will are the bullies when they voice their objections.

Meanwhile, another neighbor of ours I only recently met in person had an accident almost a week ago, breaking his neck. He requires surgery but isn’t getting it, nor is his family allowed to see him. They are literally denying him health care right now, because he is declining medical certain medical procedures that are unnecessary. Our health care system sucked before this, but now, it’s gotten beyond ridiculous.

Ugh. I was talking about my garden. I didn’t intend to go into a rant. It’s part of what we’re dealing with now, though, so I’m leaving it there.

I am so incredibly thankful that we are living here on the farm, and not in any urban setting. When I came up with the sub-title for the blog, “Sometimes you need to go back, to go forward”, I had no idea how true that would be.

The Re-Farmer

Never quite good enough, and bigger concerns

Before I get into my topic, here’s a Ginger picture for you to enjoy!

I interrupted his nap! 😀

Such a sweet baby boy he is! 🙂

Now, onto less fun stuff.

I mentioned in my last post about our garden progress, that I’d showed photos of the pea beds to my mother.

As expected, she had nothing positive to say.

When we moved out here, she had made such a big deal about us having to plant a garden and was so angry when we didn’t, and now that we are growing a garden – and a very large one, this year – she’s still angry! It doesn’t matter what I do; it’s never going to be good enough! I’ve learned to accept that, though. 😉

There were, however, other concerns.

In showing her a photo of the pea beds, she could not recognize where they were. She even asked if it was “in the yard” (meaning in the lawn to the south of the house), and there is nothing in the yard that looks even remotely like that area. She thought the poplar poles were steel, and was thoroughly perplexed by the “screen”; she used the Polish word for screen, but she meant the strings I’d put up on the one trellis for the peas to climb. It took me saying it was just twine I found in the basement, three times before she was willing to accept it. She also seemed confused about the poplar posts. I told her where I got them from, then dropped it. She was having a hard enough time understanding what I was showing her in the photos. I didn’t want to try and explain something she couldn’t see. I had even shown her where we made the bed for the tomatoes, at the chain link fence. She looked at it, but didn’t say anything. I’m not sure she recognized where it was, even though her flower bed and lilac bush were visible in the photo.

Of course, she had to make negative comments about the nice, new garden soil the peas were planted in. She tried to mock me for buying soil, only to put it on top of other soil (where else it would go?). That was when I told her that I’ve been testing the soil (still not finished doing that), and that is it low on nutrients. How could that be? She never had a problem growing things! *sigh* I had to explain – again – that nothing has been done for that soil for a very, very long time! It’s not that she doesn’t understand the concept. She just refuses to accept it.

I showed her a picture of all the cups of seeds we have in the big fish tank greenhouse. She asked about the cups, and I explained about the double cupping and – anticipating the objection I could see building up – mentioned that there are people who have been using the same cups for 10 years, and they’re still good. Then I showed her what I had in the little tank, and her only question was, no more fish? No more fish, Mom. Just plants!

From there she launched into how she should have told us, before we moved, to just sell everything (she’s upset that we have aquariums), because we could have moved right into the house as it was; it already had furniture, etc. I had to explain to her that no, the house was really unlivable. I told her about how my dad’s old bed broke, and the bed upstairs had mouse poop under the covers, and the state of the mattresses. We didn’t get past that. She was wondering how there could be mice, when there were cats, and I pointed out that the cats were outside, not in the house! Then the subject got changed.

The thing is, before we moved, she did tell us to just sell everything. And we did sell and get rid of a LOT of stuff, but this was a conversation we had many times. It was a major point of contention, because she convinced us to move out by offering to pay for the movers, but then basically tried to back out of it. I think she really believes we could have moved out with little more than the clothes on our backs, and everything would have been just fine. The odd thing was for her to bring it up as if it had never been discussed before.

We went back to talking garden stuff, and I showed her a picture of the tomato seedlings and luffa in the sun room. Then I tried to explain to her what luffa were. She cut me off in mid sentence, telling me she didn’t want to hear about it because she had never heard of them before and didn’t care.

I called her on her behaviour at that point. She tried to use her age to justify it; she could say stuff like that, because she’s older than me. I did run with the joke, but also pointed out that age is no excuse to treat people like this.

I don’t know that it sunk in.

Thankfully, I’ve reached a point in my life where she can no longer hurt me, but she can – and does – hurt others in the family, and is completely oblivious to it, so if I can get her to think about the effect her words can have on other people, I will try.

That part, at least, was pretty normal for conversations with her. I am having other concerns. Among them, she’s been complaining of dizziness and headaches. Her knees are bothering her a lot more than usual, as is her mystery pain in her side. Usually, when I come out to help her with her shopping, she takes advantage of having a driver to run other errands, but today, it was just the grocery shopping, and that was it. Yesterday, she had suggested going to the hardware store, because she wants to buy us fence posts for that section by the garden. I didn’t bring it up, because she clearly wasn’t up to doing anything beyond her grocery shopping.

It’s not just her physical health that is at issue. For the past while, in conversations with her, I’ve noticed what I can only describe as a sort of malaise. Usually, she makes quite a big deal of her aches and pains (there was a clear element of using them to get attention involved), following by loud proclamations about how she wants to live! She’s not ready to go to heaven yet! There are too many things she wants to do!

She hasn’t done that in a while. Instead, I’m having to ask her questions to find out about things like the headaches and increased pain. She’s also tried dismissing them as just being part of getting old, which is really unusual for her. Basically, I’m seeing red flags for both her physical health, her mental acuity, and her psychological state. Part of my concern is that she’s had her second jab recently. After her first one, she complained of pain in basically all her joints, nausea, etc. All reactions many other people have described having after getting the C19 jab. Now she’s got the headaches and nausea; also common reactions, but too common to associate with any specific thing. All I can say is that it’s unusual for her, and it started after she got her second jab. She’s not associating it with the shot, though. She’s convinced the nurse or whoever it was, faked giving it to her, because my mother never felt the needle. The malaise, though, had started after her first jab.

Another part of the problem is the continued restrictions. In fact, the province went and shut down churches again. Churches are not, and have never been, transmission hubs in this province (nor anywhere else, as far as I’ve been able to find; it’s always been mostly through either nursing homes and long term care centres, or other places indoors with extended contact, like family homes). All the social activities that my mother enjoyed so much are still banned. Even within her building, people are still having to sneak visits with each other, hiding from the caretakers. Her municipality – as well as ours – has never even had a single case. Being able to go to church again was pretty much the only thing my mother had left to look forward to.

I’m seeing my mother in decline, and a lot of it is directly because of our province putting everyone basically under house arrest and turning us into a police state, as if that could somehow, magically, control Schrodinger’s virus. (Thank God we don’t live in the city! It’s much worse there.) The very things that had her wanting to live have been taken away. Now, her biggest excitement is being able to go grocery shopping, and even that has started to cause her more pain.

This has got to change.

The Re-Farmer