Finally done! (video)

I’ve been working on a project for some time now – with a major delay while we fought with the cat barriers and other things.

One of the things we are planning to build is an off-grid type outdoor kitchen. Before we can build the cooking areas, though, we need a shelter. After much discussion with the girls, we hashed out a plan, discussed location and materials, and figured things out as much as we could. Then, to help figure out some of the details, I made a scale model.

Here is the making of the model, and our plans explained.

I hope you like it!

The Re-Farmer

The aftermath

My older daughter has a birthday this month. We don’t typically celebrate birthdays on the day, but kinda spread things out for at least a week. One of the things we like to do is have the birthday person choose where to order food from as a treat, and my daughter chose Pizza Hut. The closest one is in the smaller city, and of course, there is no such thing as delivery out here. The plan was to do that yesterday. With the high winds, we discussed postponing it, but in the end, I decided the drive would be okay. We did take our van instead of my mother’s car, though; for all its problems, my mother’s car is a fair weather vehicle, and while it has new all season tires, the van has good winter tires. When I got to the garage, though, I found that the winds had managed to blow open one of the doors to where my mother’s car is parked! That door had a tire on a rim leaning against it to hold it closed, and the tired had been knocked a couple of feet away!

My younger daughter came along with a birthday shopping list, so we left early for our scheduled pick up time. I figured we could stop at a grocery store along the way, making for less time for the food to get cold after picking it up. The drive is normally about 45 minutes, and we left about half an hour earlier than necessary.

Which turned out to be a wise decision.

The winds were coming from almost directly the south, so for the first leg of the trip, it was like driving into a wall, but except for one section on a curve, where the highway was running more east/west, the highway was clear. Then we reached the town my mother lives in, where we turn east on another highway.

My daughter tried to get a picture for me.

Don’t let this picture fool you. The camera on my phone cleans things up quite a lot. In reality, we could barely see the road. It was all white. Every now and then, we’d pass a shelterbelt around a farm house and the road would suddenly be clear for a short while, then back to blowing snow. It was actually quite mild out – just a few degrees below freezing – which meant the dark road surface on these clear spots got warm enough for the edges of snow to be melting. The van was being buffeted the whole way, and it was a fight for the entire stretch of road, until we reached another highway and were travelling south again. That highway was mostly clear, though some places were starting to have buildups of snow. The plows were out, at least.

After a while, we had to turn east again, and that section of road was even worse. In places, there was enough snow kicked up by the winds that it looked like a distant fog, half engulfing any stands of trees.

The last leg of the trip was a stretch of highway weaving south and east, so it was a mix of clear and covered. Once inside the city, the winds were blocked and there was no blowing snow at all! It was such slow going the entire way, we didn’t have time to stop at the grocery store first, and headed straight for our scheduled pick up. We made it just in time, too!

Once the hot food was picked up, my daughter and I stopped at the grocery store on the way out, and then it was time for the drive home.

Since emptying out the van, with the expectation of trading it in, we took out all our music CDs and still haven’t returned them, so we had the radio on a classical music station, instead. Normally, we don’t listen to radio, but this time, I’m glad we did. When the news and weather was on, there was a lot of talk about road conditions and road closures. Things were certainly a lot more severe, the further south things got, and the big city was being hit hard.

Considering what we drove into on the way home, that must have been really crazy! The winds had picked up, and were blowing even more snow, but it was the ice under it that really made things iffy. We were driving much, much slower and, at one point, the wind started blowing the van around, and we were fishtailing on the ice. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic, and I got the van under control again without being blown into the ditch. It was very touch and go for a while! This happened a couple more times along the way, but not as bad as that first one. If I had known it would be this bad on the east/west roads, we would have done this another day!

It took us quite a bit longer to get home than the drive out, as we had to drive so much slower. Once we were travelling north, conditions were much better and I was even able to drive highway speeds, while the wind was at our back. The only east/west road we drove that was good, was the last two miles of gravel road to our place!

Yes, the food was mostly cold by the time we got home, but that’s okay!

As the evening wore on, the road conditions worsened. Parts of the Trans Canada Highway were closed, as was the entire ring road around the bigger city, as well as the major east/west highways leading into the city, while many other roads and highways had travel advisories. People were told to stay home, and there were many reports of vehicles in ditches and other issues.

I’d seen forecasts showing that the winds would continue for several days, but this morning, there was no wind at all! While doing my rounds, there were a few things that had been blown around to pick up, and once the snow is going, there’s going to be a lot of fallen branches to clean up! The tarp covering the shed with a hole in its roof was flapping around a lot in the wind, and there are now friction tears, but it did hold. It’s unfortunate that we had not been able to secure the sides of the tarp, even if it was just in a few places, but it still handled the conditions far better than I feared, based on how much I saw the wind tearing at it.

When I got to the sun room to start my morning rounds by feeding the outside cats, I discovered the insulation covering the cracked window about the counter shelf had been pulled down, along with the boards and even a 5 gallon bucket that had been helping to hold it in place. Things are mild enough now that I just set the sheets aside. Other things were knocked about, and I soon realized why.

The outer door into the sun room had been blown closed!

So we had a bunch of cats trapped in the sun room over night, while others were trapped outside! There was still some food and water in the sun room but, outside, all the kibble trays were empty, and even the outside heated water bowl had somehow been knocked right out of the water bowl shelter, and was dangling upside down by its cord. We built that shelter with a board across the front specifically to prevent the bowls from being easily pushed out. It’s possible the bowl was knocked out by a deer, not the cats, considering the fresh tracks I could see in the snow!

The cats were very excited about my getting that door open again!

We’re supposed to have a nice warm day today, so hopefully the ice on the highways will melt away and dry off. Tomorrow, my daughter has her eye exam. It’s supposed to get a little bit chillier, and the winds are supposed to be back. Hopefully, not as bad as it was yesterday, but at least we’ll only have one short stretch of east/wet highway to be concerned about.

Spring may be on the way, but winter’s not done with us, yet!

The Re-Farmer

Plans? What are those?

Today turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day! Just look at that sky!

It was nice and mild, with almost no wind, too.

Among my plans for the day was to take my mother’s car out for a test run, but also get some seeds started, now that the living room is barricaded from the cats and the shop lights are hung up by the window the current seedlings will be rotated to.

Well, that changed.

First, I got a call from my mother.

She was upset, because the specialist had put her on new medication, and she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure she still thinks didn’t happen, and he’s not her doctor, so why did he change her blood thinners to something else?

After asking questions, things became less clear! I couldn’t tell if she had a new medication added to her bubble packs, or if there was a new medication outside of her bubble packs, or what was going on with her blood thinners, which were now a different colour, and another pill was now a different size and no longer has a number on it, and…

I asked if she could read or spell to me the name of the new medication, but she just started talking about her blood thinners, and how she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure and it’s because the specialist changed her medication… but she got her prescriptions delivered only recently, so she’s only been on these “new” medications for a few days. But she was telling me it’s the new medications that where making her not feel well…

It got very confusing.


I asked if she wanted me to come over to take a look.

Well, she did need to go to the bank, and the pharmacy, and she’s running out of groceries…

Well, now!

So we worked out a time for me to come over, and for me to pick up lunch, since her fridge is getting empty… oh, and I’d better make sure the girls would take over for me at home, so that I could stay with her for a long time.


All righty, then!

So I talked to the girls about what I needed to get done, so that I could at least have space to start on the seeds, then headed to bed.

It was a very cat-interrupted night, so I didn’t get much sleep.

Then, I made a discovery when I popped out to use the bathroom during the night, then paused to talk to my husband.

The door of the cat barrier was open.

I know I latched it after I turned the lights over the aquarium greenhouses off. Did someone open it during the night? My husband had seen it open, but thought I’d done that deliberately. I mentioned it to the girls, and they basically said the same thing.

So I latched it again, after making sure there were no cats in the living room, and went back to bed.

In the morning, it was open again, and the living room was full of cats.

After spending some time checking the hook and eye latch and trying to figure out what was going on, my husband suggested pulling on the bottom of the door, like a cat might do.

Sure enough, a couple of pulls on the bottom of the door, and the hook bounced right out of the screw eye and the door swung open a few inches.


So much for a cat barricade!

I let the girls know what we found, so they could figure something out while I was away.

Because I didn’t have a chance to test drive my mother’s car to see if that shudder was done, now that I’d knocked the ice away from the moving parts of one wheel, I used our van. My mother has a little folding step stool she can use to help her climb into the van.

I left early enough to hit a bank machine before going to the Chinese restaurant for the lunch that she wanted (but no rice, because rice makes her cough… ???), only to find the door locked. Again! The sign said they were open 7 days a week, and they should have been open for more than an hour, by the time I got there. The last time I tried to go there was when I spent the night at my mother’s after her scope procedure, and she wanted take out for supper, and they were closed then, too. Was the restaurant gone?

I decided to go with the fall back option and went to the gas station that has the most awesome fried chicken and potato wedges (just chicken for me, since I’ve given up starches and sugar for Lent; the breading on the chicken is pushing it! 😁), though my mother has decided it makes her sick. While paying for it, I asked about the Chinese restaurant, and it turns out that they are now closed on Mondays – they just haven’t changed their signs yet!

Good to know!

Thankfully, my mother didn’t complain too much about the fried chicken, though she did mock me a bit for not eating any potatoes. Because, of course… 😄

After lunch, I got her to show me her pills, and we got out her bubble pack. She showed me the pills that were now different; she had called them pink, but they were more orange than the lighter yellow they had been before – and in certain lights, those lighter yellow ones had looked pink to me in the past, so that had added to my confusion! She had the prescription list from an old bubble pack that I could compare with.

There were no new medications, and no changes to her dosages.

The only difference was the prefix to the name of her blood thinners, which I told her probably meant they were from a different company.

But why would this doctor change her medications? He’s not her doctor!

Since one of her stops was the pharmacy, I told her we could ask them, but said again, she has no new medications, and no new doses, so it must be a different company – and the doctor would have nothing to do with that. It’s just that sometimes, one brand isn’t available, so the pharmacy has to substitute with another brand that’s the same thing. This has happened to my husband’s medications quite a few times, over the years. She was not reassured, but looking forward to talking to the pharmacist about it.

Before we headed out, though, my brother had reminded me to call for maintenance to tend to my mother’s shower drain. She hasn’t been showering for about a month now, because so much water accumulates at the bottom, she has to stop before it starts flooding into the rest of the bathroom. She’s been refusing to call because the call goes to the city, and that’s really bad and a waste, and she shouldn’t have to call anyone, she should just tell someone here (who that someone is I’m not sure, since she still believes the social workers from the Senior’s Centre are managers for her building), and so on. So before we headed out, I tried calling the number for the department that owns her building, only to get a recording giving me another number for maintenance calls. I didn’t have paper and pen, so I hung up and started getting paper and pen together – until my mother brought me a letter that had the maintenance number right there! She could have given that to me right from the start, instead of directing me to the other number. 😄 It was an 800 number, so not long distance, which she was concerned about, too.

I called the number, followed the automated system, and found myself talking to what sounded like a guy in his truck. Talk about going right to the source! I explained the issue, with my mother confirming details and giving permission for them to enter her place if she wasn’t home.

That being arranged, we headed out.

Sure enough, when we talked to the pharmacist, the change in her pills was exactly what I thought it was. Just a change in companies. Seeing my mother’s concern, the pharmacist took the time to explain how it works legally for when they have to do substitutions, and that if it’s made by a generic company, they have to prove to the government that the pills are exactly the same for doses, etc. before they can be approved as a substitute. When she could see my mother’s eyes start glazing over, she started explaining more to me, so that I could “translate” things in vocabulary my mother would understand. She did such a great job of it, my mother was actually reassured, and that’s saying something!

The last stop for her errands was the grocery store and, by then, it was getting to be too much for her. Even with the stool, by the end of it, she was having a really hard time getting into the van. She was even saying to me, when we get a new vehicle, to make sure it has a handle by the door that she can grab onto! There actually are handles for the seats by the sliding doors, but when we tried having her climb into the middle of the van, instead of the front seat, it was even worse! Her knees are definitely giving her a hard time – which she has also been trying to blame on her medications, because now she thinks they should somehow make her knees better, even though none of them are painkillers or related to her knees in any way. She’s been on these meds for more than a decade, and before the car accident that messed up her one knee in particular, so I don’t know why she would think that!

I might be doing more grocery trips for her, while she stays home! Mind you, with so many errands to run today, it was a lot more stress on her knees than just a grocery trip would be.

Once back at her place, with everything put away, we settled down for a cup of tea. She kept offering me pie or toast or cookies or crackers – the crackers don’t have sugar! – to go with the tea, and made sure I knew how silly she thought it was for me to give up sugar and starches! I told her she could have whatever she wanted with her tea, and didn’t have to change anything for me, but she went with just tea, too.

While we were having our tea, there was a knock at the door.

It was someone to tend to my mother’s shower drain! I couldn’t believe it! I was expecting someone to show up sometime in a few days, not right away!

The woman turned out to be a manager for the building, and she used the same super powerful stuff we had tried on our own drain when the water from the washing machine kept backing up the drain. The smell was really awful, even with the door closed and the fan on in the bathroom. As she was leaving we talked for a bit in the doorway as I asked for instructions, which helped – except that one of my mother’s neighbours popped out and started yelling and ranting at her for talking in the doorway, because everyone could hear us.

The manager took it in stride, like someone who has dealt with plenty of this sort of thing before!

We also had a small world moment; it turns out she’s related to my SIL, and has known her and my brother for many years! Too funny!

One of the things she said to do was run cold water for a while and, if it still backed up, to let a specific person know when she came in, in a couple of days, and they’d go from there. I waited a while after she left, then ran the water…

… and heard some very familiar sounds, as gurgling water filled the pipe before starting to fill the bottom of the shower!

So I quickly ran out in the off chance she hadn’t left yet, and caught her just as she was returning to the building to fill out a log book.

I was able to give her a good description of what I was hearing as the water backed up, and she was all “you’ve dealt with this before, have you?” 😄 Why yes! Yes, I have! I told her about having to get about 30 feet of drain pipe augured. At this point, it has to go to a plumber, so she told me she’d call to make those arrangements as soon as she got back to her vehicle. The plumber might come tonight, but more likely tomorrow.


I couldn’t believe how fast it was being dealt with! And to think my mother has been putting up with this, and sponge bathing, for a month because she wouldn’t make the maintenance call!

We had a chance to talk some more about our my brother and his wife – she thinks they’re fantastic, too! – and when she found out where I lived, she asked if I happened to know…

Sure enough, we have mutual friends, too!

That done, I updated my mother about the plumber needing to come in and when he might show up. After that, I did have to go before the post office closed, as my husband messaged me to let me know a package had arrived.

Since it was such a nice day, I didn’t stay home long. Instead, I switched keys and left to test drive my mother’s car. If the shuddering was no longer there, I planned to go into town and run it through a car wash to get any last ice and dirt out from the undercarriage and wheels. If it was still shuddering, I’d turn around and come home, instead.

The car was definitely running better. Of course, on the gravel road, I couldn’t really tell at all, but once I reached our little hamlet, it seemed to be running pretty smoothly – at least while I was on smooth parts of the road! Once I got to highway speeds, I could still feel some shuddering, but was that the wheel, or the road conditions? Of course, I was paranoid the whole way, but did keep going to town.

When I parked to run in and buy a car wash, the driver’s side was facing the sun. As I returned to the car, I could see that the last chunk of ice I couldn’t break off had finally fallen loose. Landing on the moving parts, of course! 😄 At least I could just knock it off, easily!

What a difference it made. While it hadn’t been bad before, the ride home was noticeably smoother, even on the rougher parts of the road! What a relief! We had been so concerned that something had broken, and it was just a matter of finding and clearing ice out of one wheel. Blows me away how it had made the entire car shudder to such an extreme!

Too bad I hadn’t been able to do this yesterday, so that I could have used my mother’s car to run her errands, today!

Ah, well. It’s taken care of now.

Once at home, I found the girls had taken care of things for me, including moving the hook part of the hook and eye latch, so it wouldn’t bounce out anymore. The only concern is that there’s still a lot of play at the bottom of the door, and Tissue is the one who’s been digging at it. She is a remarkably muscular cat, and if any of them manage to pull it out enough to get through, it’ll be her! A second latch should solve that, I think, but the package I got had only two of them, and we’ve got one on each side, so we can latch is closed behind us when going into the living room.

The main thing is, tomorrow, I need to finally get more seeds started! Tonight, I’ll be going through the packets again to bring out the ones that need to be started this early, and set a few of them up to soak overnight.

It’s a few days late, but it should still be okay, I think.

Until then, I can prep some trays and get some Jiffy pellets soaking overnight, too.

I’m just so excited to be able to finally plant seeds again! The gardening bug it hitting hard, with these mild temperatures we’ve been having, even though the ground it still covered with a couple of feet of snow. 😄

The Re-Farmer

I think we found the problem

I left really early to get our taxes done; lacking confidence in the van, I gave myself time to break down. It actually started without too much complaint, and ran well. So I got there about 45 minutes early. The tax preparer was able to take me in soon after. After explaining what I was having issues with, she just shook her head; clearly, this was not the first time she’d encountered situations like ours!

The whole thing was so simple, she was done in maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and that’s with pauses for conversation.

So I’m getting my caregiver tax credit. My husband, however, isn’t having enough deducted off his private insurance payments, and CPP Disability isn’t taking any taxes off at all. So he would have owed over $1700, where it not for his disability tax credit. So he’s going to get a small return, instead of owing.

We could “fix” this by asking both Sun Life to take off a higher percentage, and CPP to start taking some off, too, but all that would do is reduce his net monthly income, just to get a higher tax return once a year. Not worth it.

Before his return could be filed, though, I had to drive home with some forms for him to sign – at about the time my appointment should have been! – then drive the signed forms back again.

Only after all that was done and I was back home, could I finally check the tires on my mother’s car, as our mechanic recommended. Only the driver’s side tire had some snow in the rim, so I knocked that out.

Look what I found under it.

I’d say we found the problem.

I’ve knocked the ice free from all moving parts, but it’s too thick to knock off completely. The snow you see in the bottom of the rim is loose stuff knocked free from around the ice.

My guess is, the last time I used the car, I took a too wide turn somewhere and caught some loose snow. It was warm enough that, after I parked, the snow started to melt, then froze overnight, on the bottom of the tire – which is now the top of the tire in the picture.

We have some much warmer days later in the week. I will wait until then, before taking it out and test driving it. Perhaps I’ll back it out of the van and park it outside so the driver’s side is facing the sun before then.

Or maybe not. The temperatures are supposed to drop a little bit, and we’re supposed to get snow. Even though it’s the southern end of our province that’s supposed to get the most snow, we likely won’t get much sun.

If this turns out to be the cause of that very alarming shuddering, then I am very relieved!!!

Also, I love our mechanic. He’s such a sweetheart!

In other things, it looks like I’m going to have to head out again, tomorrow. We never did get to doing our second city shopping trip after my Costco run. I’m going to have to get more cat kibble. We still have the cheap stuff from the feed store, but the cats don’t like it!

Well, it’s cheap for a reason, I guess.


I really should be starting new seeds today, but the cat barrier with the door isn’t done yet, and neither is the small barrier for the opening in one of the shelf dividers. Until those are done and the living room is cat-free, I can’t move the current seedlings out of the aquarium greenhouses to make space for new seed trays.

Well, a few days shouldn’t make too much of a difference.

The Re-Farmer

Could it be that simple?

I just got off the phone with our mechanic, telling him about what my mother’s car was doing, and that my brother thought it might be the U joints or the drive shaft.

Turns out, this car doesn’t have U joints.

What he suggested was to look into the wheel rims to see if there’s any packed ice and gravel, and scrape out any that I find. Apparently, he sees this a lot with cars that drive on gravel roads. Crud gets in there and starts messing with the alignment. I mentioned that, not long ago (not the last time I used it, but the time before), when going into our driveway, the car slide off the hard packed snow and into the soft snow on the side, so there is snow in the rims. Yes, apparently that can be all it takes.

I won’t do that until after I get back from getting our taxes done, as we should be into the warmest part of the day by then; we’re expected to reach a high of -3C/27F, so any ice and snow would be softer and easier to knock out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all I had to do was clear ice and snow out of the rims to solve the problem?

The Re-Farmer


Well, today is going to be a day of rest, whether I intended it or not.

And a day of painkillers.

Last night, I finished setting up the living room so that, once we build the cat barriers, it will be a plant room.

We hardly use the living room. The aquarium greenhouses are there, so of course I’m checking on those regularly, as well as tending the few plants we’ve been able to keep in there without the cats absolutely destroying them. My husband’s leather working desk is there, but between the pain and the mind numbing meds, he doesn’t use it as often as he’d like. The TV (which was here when we moved in) is there, which we tend to forget even exists.

So it’s been cat heaven in there.

The whole room needed to be complete rearranged, which meant taking a lot of stuff out completely, then working section by section. Move stuff out of the way. Vacuum. Empty the cat hair filled cannister after a few passes. Vacuum again. Empty the canister. Clear the next section. Repeat.

The frustrating thing was discovering all the spots a couple of our boys has been spraying. Yes, all the males are fixed, but we have two that still spray, and in the most inconvenient and inaccessible spaces. Leyendecker didn’t start spraying until after he got blocked and miraculously survived. Gee, thanks, dude. 😕

It was also the time to do little things, like replace a ceiling hook with something stronger (I had to get my younger daughter to climb the little step ladder to do that for me!) for the grow lights, and set up a power bar in a better space, since where it was hanging before would be blocked by shelves. Thanks, M, for the Alien Tape! It works great!

We had the couch in the middle of the room, close to the TV, since when we do watch movies, we always use the subtitles. It’s a big TV, but it’s still hard to read the subtitles from across the room. Well, that had to change, so I took advantage of the situation to not only use the pet hair attachment on our vacuum cleaner on all sides, but to tip it over so we could find where that piece of spring I found when I first moved it came from. How that cats managed to snap that, I have no idea!

My daughters helped as much as they could, but it really was a one person job for the most part. One of the things that had to be moved out was this monster.

This is my older daughter’s jade tree that almost got killed during the move, because of how cold it got in the van when we stopped to try and sleep in the drive out. What started out as three small plants now has 7 trunks, and is thriving – in spite of many attempts by cats to destroy it! It is just massive, heavy, of course, and very awkward to carry! 😂 I can hardly imagine how big it would be, if it hadn’t had so many branches lost to the cold during the move, or broken off by cats.

We had the pair of these cheap, square Ikea tables side by side before but, with the new arrangement, they are now stacked on top of each other – and secured together. The girls found a way to secure the pot with a Bungee cord, so it couldn’t get knocked off by the cats. At some point, it needs to be transplanted into a bigger pot, which is going to make it even more difficult to move around! We do have wheeled plant platforms, but that’s not much use then the plant is several feet above the floor.

But it’s done. The mini greenhouse frame and several shelves (a couple of them are bookshelves converted from old TVs, back when the screens were in wooden cabinets) are now set up all along the window, stuff that was taken out are all back and in their new spots, and we actually have an open space in the middle of the living room, instead of it being cut in half by the couch and shelves. All we need to do now is get the cat barriers built and set up.

I look forward to the cats not having access to that room. Ever since I finished last night, they’ve been all over the place, investigating things and crawling into spaces they shouldn’t be in!

I “celebrated” by watching a movie when I was done.

From across the room.

Boy, do I need a new prescription for my glasses!

During the night is when I started paying for it all. My whole body has stiffened up, and everything is hurting – and that’s with painkillers!

A day of rest it is!

The Re-Farmer

Running all over the place

Well, I did a lot more driving today than usual! Even compared to trips to the city.

With the van back, we were finally able to make a trip to the dump. From there, I headed into town to pick up some prescription refills and printouts for our tax returns. That was certainly an interesting part of the drive. It was bright and sunny, until I started getting closer to town, when I drove into a wall of fog! It got very thick for a while, with very low visibility, as we got closer to the lake. However, once we actually got into town, it started to lighten up, though I could see it was thicker all around town. Once I reached “downtown”, it was bright and sunny again – but with a wall of fog still visible in all directions!

I took advantage of being in town to make a few more stops. By the time I was done my errands, the fog was gone, except for on the lake. Sadly, I was unable to get any photos, as it would have been too dangerous to pull over while I was in the middle of it. Ah, well.

From there, I made my way to a town I haven’t been to since my dad took me to a cattle auction when I was a kid. I remember the auction, but not the town! 😄 I knew it was a fair distance from the main highway. Even after looking it up on the map, it still turned out further than I expected.

I was aiming for a feed store that was recommended to me. Thanks, Wolfsong! I looked it up on the map and had that image in my head, but I still drove right past it! I was looking at the building and vehicles as I drove by, thinking, this should be it, but didn’t see any signs. Of course, I saw them after I turned around and came back. They just weren’t where I was expecting them to be.

Once there, I was very happy to pick up two of these.

These were the largest bags they had, and at $36.30 a bag, they were only slightly more expensive then the 11kg bags I’ve been able to find in certain places. I probably should have got more, but two will do for now. The price is worth the drive to this town, which is nearer than the Walmart I’ve been getting 11kg bags at, and certainly closer than Costco.

I hope the cats like it, because that’s what we’ll be getting!

As a bonus, they also carry supplies we’ll need to get once we’ve got a chicken coop and can finally get chickens! Though I think we can find those closer, if I’m going there to get cat food, anyhow, it makes sense to buy the supplies at the same place.

That done, I’d made arrangements for one more trip.

Farm fresh eggs.

Yup! I got a couple more flats of eggs. These were about as fresh as fresh can be, too!

I just love all those colours!

When I got there, I had just missed the egg lady, so her husband grabbed the trays – and a few last eggs from the coop! – for me, while I got to pet their adorable goats.

One of whom wanted to climb right into the van and go for a ride!

Goats have the softest, nibblely lips.

Her husband called her while I was there and, since she was at the feed store in the town my mother lives in, he was able to send her a picture of the cat food I’d gotten, to compare prices. It seems they don’t carry this brand, and it was even recommended as being the best price for cat kibble. That was a nice confirmation to get.

A lot of the driving I did today was along roads I’ve never seen before – unless you count the gap in my childhood memory! 😄 It was interesting to go through sections of road, patched but not yet repaired, from last year’s flooding. !! There’s a lot of marshland in this area, plus another lake. Actually, the lake is almost directly West of us, while this town is past it. One of these days, I need to go check out this lake. Somehow, I’ve just never gone that way. The closest has been to a few farms in that direction, but never as far as the lake itself. The satellite maps don’t tell me much about how accessible things are. The roads basically just end or go around it. If I trusted the van more, I’d love to explore the area, just to see what’s there.

I’m glad I was finally able to make the trip to this feed store. Definitely not a “let’s swing by on the way to the city” sort of place!

It has also been the perfect day for it. We’re at -2C/28F right now. The snow is melting off all the roofs, and the paths are all getting soft. The kitties are running around all over, and thoroughly enjoying themselves!

I am so looking forward to the snow being gone, and to be able to get to get work done outside again! We have so much to do, but much of it has to wait for the ground to thaw, at least somewhat. We’re going to have a very tight window to get some of the new, permanent, garden structures done before we need to start sowing and transplanting!

The Re-Farmer

Sky watching

I just had to share this photo I got of Jupiter and Venus last night.

This was taken shortly after 7pm with my phone on the “night” setting. Hand held, with no modification other than to resize the photo for upload.

They were absolutely brilliant!

The Re-Farmer

This and that…

Yesterday, I double checked with the garage to make sure they were ready to have our van towed over. Then I pumped the flat tire enough to be able to back it out of the garage without driving on the rim. We have a compressor, but the hose couldn’t possibly reach that far (I am considering making an opening in the wall so that the hose end could be passed through, in case we find ourselves in this situation again in the future), but I have a hand pump with a built in pressure gauge. I was able to get to about 20psi when I started hearing the hissing. I ended up slapping a couple of pieces of duct tape over the hole so I could get a bit more air into the tire without it leaking faster than I could pump!

We have a compressor, but the hose couldn’t possibly reach that far (I am considering making an opening in the wall so that the hose end could be passed through, in case we find ourselves in this situation again in the future), but I have a hand pump with a built in pressure gauge. I was able to get to about 20psi when I started hearing the hissing. I ended up slapping a couple of pieces of duct tape over the hole so I could get a bit more air into the tire without it leaking faster than I could pump! All I needed to do was back it out and leave it lined up with the driveway, so the tow truck could easily access it.

Then I called CAA and arranged the tow. The dispatcher couldn’t find our address, of course, since the maps have us on an “un-named road”. She got the directions in the notes, and then I got a call from the towing company soon after. Turns out, they were the same company that towed our van that last time we had to call, more than a year ago. It was the owner that called me, and he remembered taking directions from me before!

Then it was a matter of waiting until a driver was free. I was originally given a wait time of about an hour and a half. About an hour later, I got a robo call saying it would be another 45 minutes. I just hung up from that call when the phone rang again, and it was a real human, calling to make sure I knew about the delay, and apologizing for it.

I’ve always had excellent service with CAA!

I hadn’t get much sleep while at my mother’s, so I set a timer for half an hour so I could close my eyes for a bit. Of course, the cats made sure I still didn’t get much sleep! 😄 At one point, I had Fenrir on my hip, Ginger using one hand as a pillow, Butterscotch head butting my other hand, demanding pets – and then Potato Beetle decided it was a good time to walk across me and settle on my shoulder! All four of them, purring like mad.

Eventually, I de-catted myself, got up and went into the kitchen, before going back to monitoring the live feed on the driveway security camera.

I did a double take after glancing out the kitchen window.

The van was gone! We never heard or saw a thing! I thought they’d at least need me to sign something, but nope. The keys were in the van, so the driver had all he needed.

When I checked the trail cam files this morning, I could watch as he backed up our driveway, then left with the van loaded on the flatbed. From the time stamp, he left about 5 or 10 minutes before I got up, and about half an hour earlier than expected!

Today, they were able to check it out and, unfortunately – though not surprisingly, to be honest – it can’t be repaired. I’m going to need a new tire. I ended up going for the less expensive option. If things go as hoped, we won’t be driving the van for long, anyhow. So a new tire has been ordered. When it’s time to pick up the van, I’ll have a chat with him about how things went at the car auction. The fact that he didn’t call me about it tells me he didn’t find anything to meet our needs.

While waiting for the tow truck, I called the clinic to make a follow up appointment for my mother with the specialist. While doing that, I brought up my mother’s confusion about the procedure not being finished somehow, because she was still on her blood thinners. It turns out that the letter they give out is a standard letter that needs to be updated. They don’t ask people to stop taking blood thinners for a scope anymore. Only if they see something of concern and want to take samples for a biopsy will they then book another appointment, and this time the patient would stop taking any blood thinners. If they had seen anything of concern and wanted her to come back, the letter even explained that a doctor would have discussed that with the patient while they were still in the recovery room.

The clinic already had the report, though, and she was able to read it to me. They looked at both her esophagus and her trachea, and everything was “unremarkable”. They saw nothing to warrant taking any samples.

So when I got through to my mother later on, I explained it all to her, including what was in the report.

My mother was immediately suspicous.

It took some questioning, but it turns out that, because my mother doesn’t actually remember the procedure – she doesn’t even remember being taken from and returned to the recovery room – and she has had zero discomfort from it, she doesn’t think it happened. As far as she’s concerned, they had her in the room, sprayed her throat, then came back to tell her they couldn’t finish the procedure because she was on blood thinners and sent her home.

I explained to her again what the doctor had said about light sedation, and that she might not remember anything.

It wasn’t enough. She has convinced herself that the procedure never happened, because she feels no difference after it and doesn’t remember it. She even started saying that the spray didn’t do anything, though she was still feeling the effects of it when I got her home, and had explained why they instructed not to eat or drink anything for at least 2 hours.


Her follow up appointment isn’t until near the end of March. Hopefully, she’ll understand that her lack of memory is due to the light sedation, and that roughly 2 hours of her morning didn’t just disappear.


With the van waiting for a new tire, and not having to go anywhere until we get it back, I think today is going to be a nice quiet day, after all!

The Re-Farmer

Going well

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer