A question for WordPress users

For quite a while now, I’ve been noticing something odd when I check my WordPress notifications.

You know how the display is a different colour for the notifications you haven’t looked at yet? Then, once you’ve clicked on and read them, they turn white? The “unread” notification colour is such a pale blue, I actually have a hard time seeing it, whether it’s on my desktop on my phone.

The weird thing that’s happening is this…

When I check my notifications, I’m finding the reactions, follows, etc are in “unread” blue – but when someone leaves an actual comment, it’s in “read” white! If I go to the “unread” tab, they’re not there, of course.

Anyone else having this happen?

The Re-Farmer

A bunch of updates, and this is $261

This morning, we had a combination of light snow and more fog.

Only now, in the late afternoon, do we finally have sunshine.

We still haven’t received a call about financing the replacement vehicle. By now, I figure there just isn’t a lender that will accept our application. I’m sure our credit score is pretty low. After my husband went on disability and we lost 40% of our income, we had to go under a consumer proposal to finish paying things off. That was ended a few years ago, but we have no credit cards, no mortgage and no other loans. Basically, no debt. Which means, nothing to improve our credit score. Rather ironic, isn’t it? We have no debt, therefore we have a bad credit score.

With waiting on the financing, I’ve been delaying our stock up shopping trip. We’re still good for most things, but I didn’t want it wait too much longer, or we’d start running out of things. Mostly cat food, since that’s the one thing we haven’t been able to stock up on. Since the van is still prepped for trade in, including the summer tires in the back, that meant using my mother’s car. Which can’t hold as much, even with the back seats folded down, but it’ll do.

Once on the road, the further south I went, the thicker the fog and blowing snow. I was intending to go to Costco, but by the time I reached the town my mother lives in, I changed my mind. The highways were fine – and the surrounding fields and trees were stunningly beautiful! However, I knew the city would be a mess. So I decided to go to the nearer city and hit a Walmart. It meant a smaller shop, but I could at least get the most necessary items.

I almost didn’t!

This is $261.11, after taxes.

Lately, I’ve been buying 10kg bags of kibble (about 22 pounds). The shelves with large bags of kibble were almost empty, and I had to get the 7kg (about 15 pounds) of economy kibble, instead. Four of those for the outside cats, and more wet cat food for the inside cats, and we were already at about $110.

I got a container of black peppercorns, but they didn’t have the ground thyme and sage I was looking for, in stock. I had intended to buy more protein items, but ended up with just three different cheeses (of the 2 for $10 varieties), some pork chops, and some seafood for the girls. They also requested hot dog fixings, so I got a bulk package of wieners and some hot dog buns, as well as wraps. I got a box of granola bars and Kraft Dinner for them, too. That meant more milk for making the KD. The olives are more of a snack food for my husband, though I like to nibble on a bowl of olives, too. One of my favourite treats used to be a certain brand of sundried black olives, packed in salt, but I haven’t seen them since we moved, so… green olives it is. 😄 There’s paper towels and facial tissues, coffee creamer for the girls (my husband and I don’t drink coffee), and two boxes of Earl Grey Double Bergamot tea. It’s often out of stock, so I was happy to see it. Especially since the tea shelves were pretty empty, too!

Aside from getting this as Walmart, I was also able to swing by a Staples and get some ink for my printer. For some reason, I’m out of cyan again – why that one colour keeps running out, I have no idea. We don’t use our printer much. If the printer is out one colour, it won’t let me print anymore. Not even black and white. Frustrating! While there, I picked up some tax preparation software. NOT TurboTax this year. Hopefully, something that isn’t so frikkin’ counter intuitive. So that was another $55 and change in total gone.

The price of printer ink went up since I last bought some. The economy kibble prices also finally went up. I got excellent prices on some other things, though, so that sort of made up for it.

The unfortunate thing is, I’m going to need to do this again, soon. That kibble won’t last until the end of the month, though as things warm up, the outside cats aren’t needing to eat as much. We also need to get more stove pellets for the litter pretty soon, and that’s a Canadian Tire trip. If I’m getting both, I’d be taking the tires out of the back of the van and using that, rather than my mother’s car.

Another ironic thing, considering our major gardening plans. What I’d wanted to do, and will have to do when I finally make it to Costco, is stock up on quality proteins. We still have lots of our quarter beef in the freezer, but I don’t want to go through that too quickly.

I’ve mentioned more than a few times, that all four of us have various health issues. After much research and assessing of things, my husband and I want to try going carnivore. We’re not going to go cold turkey on it, but the more I look into it, the more convinced I am that our entire family would see significant improvement in all our different issues, by cutting out virtually all carbs. For my daughters, I especially think they need to cut out almost all vegetables. All plants have pesticides in them. It’s their natural defence, since they can’t up and run away from the animals and insects that want to eat them. Some people are sensitive to them than others. Ruminants are the best meat for a low carb diet, as they have digestive systems that ferment plant material, thereby removing those toxins and converting material indigestible to humans into high quality meat. Personally I don’t think I am sensitive to these plant toxins, and could probably do well on keto, but it seems the rest of my family is. My daughters, unfortunately, have been cutting meat out of their diet more and more – probably because of the cost, though one of them says certain meats make her feel sick. That this includes some cuts but not others, of the same kind of meat, leaves me thinking there is something else going on. Anyhow, what my husband in particular really should be doing is going completely carnivore, then slowly adding things back, as a sort of elimination diet. It won’t heal his back (which includes birth defects that were not discovered until after his back injury), but it should at least get him off a lot of medications. I’m hoping that, once they see positive results in us, my daughters will be more willing to go it, too.

Yet another reason why I want to include animals as part of our self sufficiency goals, and part of that includes growing their feed, because the cost of feed is getting pretty steep. If that means growing a garden full of animal food, then eating the animals, I’m good with that. But we have lots of preparation before we can start doing that. First, a chicken coop. Possibly some meat rabbits next. Then set up for a couple of pigs. For pigs, we would get piglets in the spring to be butchered in the fall, so we won’t be overwintering pigs, like we would with chickens. Pigs are social animals, so we’d get at least two. We might get milk goats at some point, but will likely keep buying our beef from the same ranch we’re getting it from now. I just don’t see us reaching a point where we will have our own cows – though we might get alpacas at some point. My daughter wants fibre animals.

Okay, so I’m getting off track here. 😄

Back to other updates.

I’ve been messaging with the Cat Lady. Her surgery was cancelled at the last minute. The new specialist wants to put her on medications, first. It’s so frustrating, but he’s convinced that if they do the surgery now, she’ll end up back within the year. She’s planning on going to the US for a second opinion and possible surgery in the spring. So frustrating! Months of tests and preparation, actually in the hospital and ready to go under the knife, only to have the whole thing turned upside down by someone she’d only seen for 15 minutes. The other specialist thought surgery was the best option. The health care system in this province really sucks. It’s not even the worst province in Canada for that, either, which is downright scary.

All that going on, and she’s worried about how Tissue is doing, too! I assured her that Tissue is doing fine. As I write this, she is burrowed under my sheets, sleeping. A few more days on soft food and medication, and we should be able to let her out of the isolation room again. 😄

On top of all that, I got a call from my mother. Her timing was perfect, as I’d just gotten home. The girls were still putting away the groceries!

I’m heading out again, to help her do her own grocery shopping trip. Then I have to head to another town to pick up a Purolator package. I thought they now had a depot in the general store our post office is in – I’ve picked up a Purolator package there not long ago! But apparently, no. Weird.

I’d love to finally get a call back from the finance lady. Even if it’s just to tell me that no, we can’t get financing. That’s better than hanging in limbo like this! But she’s working really hard to get us that vehicle! 😁 I do appreciate her efforts. But gosh, it’s taking a really long time!

The Re-Farmer

2022 Goals: Review and Reset

It’s that time of year! Time to look over our goals for the past year, see what got done, and reset new goals for 2023.

One major goal we had was to get the branch piles chipped. We got an estimate and planned on getting it done slowly over the year, as we could afford it.

With that in mind, I contacted the tree company and asked for an estimate to get all the dead trees cut down, but left as whole as possible, so we could salvage the wood for lumber. It would simply be faster and safer to hire someone. Unfortunately, to get them all done, it would take a 4 man crew and the estimate was $4000. Not something we could afford. Even just doing 5 trees closest to the house was beyond budget. It took until August before we could do it, and we just booked them for 3 hours (what we had a budget for) to do the big branch pile.

Well, that didn’t quite happen. Instead, they came and stayed all day. It took 8 1/2 hours, but they did the big branch pile in the outer yard, two in the maple grove, and one at the far end of the main garden area. We paid what we had cash for, and were told we could pay the rest off as we are able. We’ve got one more payment left! We also now have a lovely large pile of wood chips for the garden and tree plantings.

There is still one large branch pile in another area, but that one is getting so old and broken down, they might not be able to chip much of it. We are still clearing things in the spruce grove – something that we will slowly continue working on, probably for several more years. With the wood chipper we have, we should be able to clean up a decent amount of it ourselves, but will probably be calling them in, with their huge, industrial sized chipper, again.

Meanwhile, they left us with neatly stacked logs, cut to about 4 ft lengths, some of which we could salvage for other things, like this small garden bed, and some temporary barriers.

Eventually, the logs along the perimeter will be replaces with a low rock wall.

So getting one goal accomplished – getting the branch piles chipped – has helped us accomplish other goals, like build up some garden areas, and get some much needed mulching done.

There were several other gardening goals we worked towards, with some met, some partially met, and some delayed. As you saw in the chipping video, we got berry producing shrubs planted. Three of the five sea buckthorn didn’t make it and will need to be replaced, and I’m not sure if the one deer damaged highbush cranberry will make it, but the silver buffalo berry did quite well – which is surprising, since at one end, they all ended up under water! The Korean Pine was planted, with four out of six surviving the year.

We will be getting an apple tree and a new, cold hardy variety of mulberry in the spring. The diseased and dying crab apples still need to be taken down. We are looking to get three different colours of raspberries as well, each maturing at different times.

Our goal to expand the gardens and increase our food self sufficiency progressed, but didn’t succeed very well, due to flooding and a really bad growing year. Which means that this year, we’ll be working to improve things more, taking into account what areas saw the most flooding damage. Building up high and middle height raised beds will be a big part of that, as well as permanent trellis tunnels with middle height raised beds at their bases.

We didn’t accomplish more clean up in the spruce grove, mostly due to flooding issues and then never being able to get back to it once the flooding was done. So that goal continues. We’ll just have to slowly keep taking down those dead spruces ourselves, so we can use the wood to build raised beds with.

Speaking of wood to salvage…

One of the shed roofs finally collapsed with the heavy spring snows. I started to do some clean up of the collapsed roof and discovered much of the roof had forged nails in it!

As we continue to clean up and dismantle the shed, we plan to salvage the forged nails. We should be able to salvage a decent amount of useable wood that can be used to build something else.

Getting chicks in the spring of 2022 was a goal that was not met, nor were we able to build a chicken coop. I want to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop. This past summer, I took a look at an old wagon in the car graveyard that has a chassis that looks like it can be salvaged, though the wooden walls are quite rotted. I’ve since learned from my brother that this wagon is close to 100 years old, and he was quite pleased that we are interested in finding a way to save it and use it. I’m hoping we can use some of the salvaged wood from the shed and be able to build a chicken coop on the wagon base, but I’ll have to empty it and drag it out, before we can see for sure what we have to work with.

For me, building a chicken coop and having chickens is a priority, but my daughters are not on board. They are convinced having chickens will be far more expensive – particularly in vet bills – than we can afford. There is another priority that we can all agree on, though, and that is the outdoor kitchen. It will be built about where the collapsed shed is; in front of it or, if we can get it dismantled fast enough, in the same spot as the shed. It will be built mostly of whatever material we can scrounge up, but there are some things we will need to buy for it. If we can arrange a trip to a salvage yard, we should be able to get most of what we need – if budget allows.

Another ongoing goal is cleaning up that horrid junk pile. We still need to hire someone to haul it away, but it’s jut not working out. It is, however, getting slightly smaller.

We finally got this pile of unsalvageable logs from the branch pile, built up over burnable garbage too large for the burn barrel, burned. In the process, I started burning the old, rotten pallets I’d cleared from where there used to be a wood pile for the furnace. We were going to have those hauled to the dump, too, but we may was well burn them as we can, rather than pay someone to haul it away. If we only burn them in the one spot, when they’re done we can clean up the nails and stuff out of the ashes, later.

So… goals for 2023.

Continue to expand the garden, with permanent structures. That will require cutting down more dead spruce trees for the wood to build high raised beds like the one we’ve got so far (which did very well in its first growing year). We will also need to build permanent trellis tunnels, plus portable trellises that can be used in different beds, year after year.

We need to add to our food forest, with fruit trees and berry bushes. We really should be planting more nut trees, too, since they take so long before producing, but that will depend on the budget.

We need to dig up the buried hose that stretches from the house to the tap in the old garden area and replace it, now that the branch pile that was in the way is gone. What I would like to do is get a heavy duty hose and run it through a buried pipe. If we do it right, we’d be able to replace the hose, as needed, without having to dig a trench again. I suspect there will be issues with very large tree roots as we dig up the old hose, though. Some of them were not there when the tap was originally installed. Still, having that tap would make watering the garden much handier, plus it would allow us to set up a vegetable washing station, if we want.

We need to dismantle the collapsed shed, salvaging what we can in the process.

We need to build a mobile, winter hardy chicken coop.

We need to start on our outdoor kitchen, even if it’s just to build a timber frame and a roof.

Oh, my younger daughter has a goal of building a forge so she can start working on blacksmithing.

The cordwood outdoor bathroom is still a goal, but we need to get a certain group of dead spruce trees cleared first, since they will be felled and hauled out through the area we plan to build it. Until then, the old outhouse will have to do! It still needs its roof repaired and the outside painted, but it was surrounded by water for a long time, and we never got to it when the water receded. With the flooding we got, we now know we’ll have to build up the base for the cordwood building higher than the current ground level than I’d originally thought. It didn’t quite have standing water there, but it sure was close!

It will be at least a year before we can start on the cordwood outdoor bathroom. Perhaps we’ll be able to do a smaller cordwood practise building somewhere else, in the mean time. A replacement garden shed, maybe.

We really need more storage sheds. The ones we’ve got are mostly collapsing and falling apart, and the one that isn’t, is full of my parent’s stuff, that we’re basically not allowed to get rid of. There’s lots of useable stuff in there. We just can’t get at it! That will be a multi-year project. Among the limitations is the cost of lumber, and having to keep them small enough that we don’t need building permits for them. Nothing exceeding 100 sq ft, and nothing wired for electricity or plumbed. Anything that’s open ended, like hay or animal shelters, or things that can be moved, don’t need a permit and can be much larger.

Hhmm… I’m glad I looked that up. Our outdoor kitchen plan is open ended. That means, no permit needed, even if it goes over 100 sq ft. Good to know!

I would really, really like to have the well in the old pump shack checked and see if it can be activated again. At the very least, the pump itself needs new leather gaskets. It’s entirely possible that it’s the only thing that needs to be done, though I suspect work will need to be done in the pipes. Water is our major weak spot. If we lose electricity, we have no pumps. No pumps means no water. Having the outhouse and being able to cook on the BBQ or the fire pit is great, but not having access to water is a much bigger deal.

I think those are our primary goals for 2023. I’m sure some will change and new ones will be added, as circumstances dictate.

Hopefully, 2023 will be a much more productive year than 2022 was!

The Re-Farmer

We have the best neighbours!

We got a prescription delivery today. I headed outside to meet the driver. With how white everything is, it took me a few moments to realize…

Our driveway got cleared again!

It was the neighbour with the plow attachment on his truck again. He was in and out so fast, I even missed him on the security camera live feed!

We have the best neighbours!

(Also, we never got the call about financing the replacement vehicle. If we don’t hear by noon, tomorrow, I’ll call the garage and see if they know anything.)

The Re-Farmer

Well… at least it’s pretty

Check out these sundogs I saw this morning.

So pretty!

Of course, sundogs only happen when it’s really cold. We may not be as severely cold as the rest of Western Canada is right now, but…

I took this shortly before heading outside. -23C/-9F is one thing. A wind chill of -38C/-36F is something else! And to think that where were used to live is seeing -38C/-36F or colder, before wind chill!

Needless to say, I did the short rounds this morning!

This thermometer is mounted in a very sheltered corner that is south facing. It is shaded by part of the house through the morning, though.

This thermometer is almost flat against a cold wall, in the sun room. If anything, it’s reading a bit low. Especially with that frosted window beside it. The other window is a double pane window. The frosted one lost one of the panes before we moved here.

No question as to why the outside cats have pretty much moved into the sun room! Especially with the ceramic heat bulb, a cozy soft swing bench, and a cat bed under it. Plus, there are floor mats and sheets of insulation scattered about to keep their little toe beans protected from the concrete floor. Add in food and water, and they’re all set. Except for the lack of a litter box, they have little reason to go outside. I checked as best I could through the reflections on the windows, and I could see no cats at all in the cat house this morning.

Today we’re supposed to reach a high of -19C/-2F, then tomorrow, dip back to -20C/-4F. After that, it’s supposed to start warming up, eventually reaching a high of -5C/23F. The weather app on my desktop that had been forecasting 1C/34F for New Year’s? It’s now saying we’ll see a quick drop to -10C/14F

That’s still really pleasant for the time of year, so I don’t have a problem with that!

The Re-Farmer

An original!

What an incredible surprise I got in the mail today!

It’s a Milroy original oil painting, on wood.

It now hangs in a place of honour in our hallway. Steve is an old friend and former employer of mine, and incredibly talented. He painted this for me, because I post so many cat pictures on Facebook. From the letter he included “… I myself think they are evil to the core so I painted you a cat picture depicting a particular large and nasty one who is SO EVIL it has taken Ernst Bloefeld, the power behind SPECTRE in James Bond movies, and has turned him into the one who sits getting continually stroked whether he likes it or not.”

He made a metal paw print, heating it like an branding iron, to burn in those paw prints. Then he sanded them and painted them black.

I love it so much!!

The Re-Farmer

Van news, and this is $265

Oy. What a day this has turned out to be!

I’m glad to be home and done with it, though. Looking at the life security camera feed, I’m seeing a lot of whiteouts from blowing snow!

So… First the sort of bad, sort of good news.

I dropped the van off early and talked to the mechanic in detail about what was going on, including that the warning light had turned on again when I drove in, then went for lunch. Normally, I would have walked around town to run as many errands as I could, on the way to where I usually go for lunch, but the winds were too brutal today. Instead, I basically crossed the parking lot to a hotel across the way, and went to another Chinese restaurant. Just that short walk was more than enough to convince me to stick close!

The van was done by the time I got back. He’d done the oil change it was booked for. As for the rest…

*sigh*

When he hooked up his reader, about 40 codes came up. He cleared them, but two wouldn’t stay cleared. There is a bearing in each of two tires that is starting to go. This was a known problem, and not extremely urgent, but they do need to be replaced. The problem is, replacing them will cost at least $1000 – more than the van is worth. Getting the rest fixed as well would bring the cost to over $4000.

So… I paid for the oil change.

The bearings will last a bit longer, so we can use the van, but it’s on its last legs. I’d already talked to him about replacing it, and to be on the lookout for a truck or van for us for January or February, but it looks like we can’t wait.

He has used vehicles for sale that I walked past, and I noticed a 2008 SUV, among several others. My husband’s walker should be able to fit in the back of an SUV all right, plus it would be something he could climb up into, like a van or truck, rather than down into, like most cars, which is incredibly painful for him. We hadn’t considered an SUV because we wouldn’t be able to do things like haul the gas powered snow blower to be serviced in it, but we don’t have the luxury of choice right now.

I asked him about it, but the 2008 was already sold. Of the others he had, and discussing our needs, he suggested a 2013 Ford Explorer. It was actually a lower price than the other, older ones, but it has 260,000 km on it, which brought the price down – and he lowered it even more, for us, if we’re interested. And yes, he will take the van as a trade in, though it’ll only get us about $300 towards it. This particular vehicle is all wheel drive, and has a number of amenities that would be quite useful. It also happened to be owned by a family member of his – just one owner – and he’s been the one that serviced it the entire time she had it. He told me about some of the work he’d done on it.

In the end, I got information about it from him, along with a form to apply for financing. We’ve already talked it over as a family and have decided to go for it. We just can’t be without a reliable vehicle, and with my mother’s car – which doubles as our back up vehicle – sometimes not starting on us, that means we have two unreliable vehicles right now! What choice to we really have? I’d much rather have another van, but beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, the price is really good for a 2013 vehicle!

So we’ll have to start that process. It’ll be a moot point, if we don’t qualify for financing, anyhow.

Once I had the van back, I contacted the lady about the eggs, then went to the grocery store. I also updated the family and asked my husband to send our regrets to his brother; we’d been invited to do Christmas Day at their place, but we will be driving as little as possible until the van is replaced.

We traditionally do our main celebratory meal on Christmas Eve, as part of Polish tradition, and already have a turkey thawing out. I got more for the meal, plus a few things to make sure we won’t be running out of things until after New Year’s.

This is what $264 and change looks like. Though I got a lot of things on sale, it’s still about $50-$60 or more higher than if I’d been able to get to the city to buy it. Especially when including the cat kibble.

My husband requested some Caesar Salad mixes, plus I got a couple of kit salads for our Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners. Potatoes in 10kg bags were on a very good sale – less than $5 a bag – so I got one of Russets, one of red. There’s sweet potatoes, broccoli, rye bread and wraps, Mandarin oranges, Caesar Salad dressing, cheddar cheese, mozza cheese, some chicken “fries” as an appetizer for Christmas, and a cake for dessert. There’s bacon to drape over the turkey when we roast it (we plan to spatchcock the turkey), and some pork chops that were a good price. Oh, and a big bag of potato and cheddar pierogi. Last of all, an energy drink for the ride home!

I think I remembered everything.

That done, it was off to pick up the eggs!

Two flats of farm fresh eggs, for $25.

That done, I stopped for some gas on the way home – I considered getting a car wash, to get rid of any ice and snow built up under the van, but it was closed due to the cold temperatures. Their convenience store had a lot of stuff for Christmas, including a big box of Stroopwafels, which is a rare treat for us, so I had to get that!

And yes. I bought lotto tickets, too!

One last stop on the way home was the general store and post office. I got some drinks and alcoholic eggnog for Christmas and picked up the mail. I knew there was one package waiting for me, but there turned out to be three. I was very excited when I opened them, with one of them being an incredible surprise, but those will get their own posts!

After that, I finally headed home. One of my daughters got the wagon to the garage for me, since we can’t pull into the yard to unload right now, so that got loaded up. By then, it was late enough to give the outside cats a feeding and top up the sun room water bowl.

Shortly after I got home, I started getting messages from the cat lady. The vet that does the spay clinics just set a date for another one, and did we have any females to do? She also wanted to take the bitties.

Long story short, I now have one white and grey kitten that’s female in the baby jail. My daughter was able to catch the grey and white bitty tabby, but not the bitty tuxedo. We don’t know if the bitties are male or female.

Oh, dear.

The bitty is so small, it has already managed to get out of baby jail, but the white and grey just squeezed out, too!

Marlee does not like the kittens, and has been snarling any time she sees them!

Ah, well. I will let them explore until it’s time to do the evening wet cat food feeding. Hopefully, I can get them into the baby jail to eat in peace. After that, I suppose I’ll have to watch my feet during the night!

The date for the spay clinic is Jan 2 and, after I explained about our van issues, the cat lady said she will come out, likely Dec. 31, to pick them up. We should be able to catch the bitty tuxedo by then, and maybe another outside female, but we’ll also get Tissue done – the last inside cat to get fixed. This will give us time to socialize any we can bring inside, too. The bitties will stay with the Cat Lady and she will adopt them out, but the others will come back to us. The vet does ferals, so if we can catch any of the unsocialized females, they can be added to the list, too!

The bitty tabby is hiding somewhere, but the white and grey is busily playing with the cat tree behind me. 😄

So… it’s been a much busier day than expected, that’s for sure!!!

The Re-Farmer

Roof all done, a Muffin update and…

… my brother is insane.

He sent me the photos he took of the house and roof today. This is one of them.

That’s the step ladder he set up, to fix the broken guy wire on the antennae. I added the arrows; the top one is where he had to thread the replacement wire through, and the bottom one shows the broken wire on the roof. With the wire broken (the roofers were so focused on their job, they never really noticed the wire for what it was), the pipe post was being bent into a curve.

After looking at the pictures, I realized that I noticed the post was bent some time ago, but didn’t see that one of the guy wires was broken. I remember wondering why it was bent, then promptly forgot about it.

I’m not typically afraid of heights. My biggest problem with heights is that, any time I look down from high up, I feel like my glasses are going to fall off. But looking at that ladder, and seeing where he had to climb to thread the replacement wire through gives me the willies!

The roof is now done. The crew stayed until it was completely dark, cleaning up around the house and playing Tetris, trying to fit everything into the back of the truck. The truck has an extended cab and a short box, which made fitting the ladders a challenge! Only one of the guys had come in to eat, so I went out to make sure they came in for food before they left. Knowing they’d want to head home as soon as possible, I dug out some take out containers, if they wanted. I had just finished doing that when one of the guys came in and asked about the possibility of having take out containers! So that worked out perfectly.

In the morning, I will walk around and get what pictures I can from the ground. I look forward to seeing how it looks, though it’s snowing right now, so I might not actually see the shingles very well. 😄

Meanwhile, I was able to keep in touch with the cat lady and worked out when we would meet tomorrow, to bring back Big Rid and Muffin.

Then I got a message asking if we’d intended to keep Muffin.

I told her, no; she’s available for adoption, but since she needs treatment, she would likely end up an indoor cat with us, and not go back outside. Once they come inside, they don’t go back out. The problem is, the other cats aren’t liking the new additions and are causing problems. Muffin, on the other hand, gives no F’s about the other cats and settled right in during her one day indoors.

Well, long story short, Muffin isn’t coming back.

We’ll be getting a different cat, instead!

The cat lady has completely fallen in love with Muffin. She’s incredibly sweet, and the cat lady is wanting to keep treating her, herself. She doesn’t like calicos and doesn’t like female cats (ha!), but Muffin is apparently very much like Cabbages, and has already wormed her way into the cat lady’s heart.

They do, however, have a problem cat.

This other cat had been left behind when the owners moved away, and was an outdoor cat for the last 2 years (the vet thinks she’s about 2 1/2 years old). The cat has not adapted well to being indoors, at all, and has spent the last several months hiding under her husband’s desk, almost never coming out other than to eat and use the litter. She likes other cats okay, but is constantly scared. They don’t want to let her outside, of course, because they live in the city and they are afraid she might get hit by a car, but she is absolutely miserable, inside.

The cat lady knows the set up we have, and as much as she hates to do it, she hoped that we’d be able to take her in with our yard cats.

Of course, I said yes. After all the help she’s given us, it’s the least we can do! I did tell her, though, that there’s no guarantee that she won’t simply take off once she’s outdoors. We can use the sun room as a transition space to get her used to the idea of this being a safe place, with warm shelters, food and water. Aside from a couple of cats, the yard cats have been very accepting every time a new batch of kittens showed up, as well as any strange adults. Even The Distinguished Guest is accepted, though he’s one of the cats that tends to be aggressive towards others. But once outside, we really have no control over what she does. All we can do is make the idea of staying close to the house as positive a thing as possible.

Mind you, we might be able to get her to be okay indoors, here. We shall see.

So when I meet with her tomorrow, we will be bring back Big Rig and a stranger!

I also got more information about Plushy and Princess. They are going to the same family, but not the same household. There’s the family with kids and right next door is Grandma. They’ll probably be able to visit each other! 😄

Meanwhile, after we collect two cats tomorrow, she’ll be picking up a bunch of polydactyl kittens that the RM was wanting to shoot, so she’s going to have a houseful! I’ve found that polydactyls tend to get adopted out rather quickly, though, so I would not be surprised if she finds homes for them soon. They’re going to be getting quite a bit of vet care, first, though.

Which means tomorrow will be another run-around day for me. I plan to leave early enough that I can pick up a few things, like litter pellets, before meeting the cat lady, so that I can go straight home once the cats are loaded up, while also taking advantage of city shopping.

At least, for now, I’ll have one day at home before I have to take my mother’s car to the garage! After that, I hope I won’t need to go out again until we have to do the last bit of shopping for Christmas dinner and New Year’s.

I really look forward to turtling at home again.

The Re-Farmer

One more day

Well, here we are. One more day with the roofers. I turned out to be right when my brother, his wife and I were guessing how long it would take them do finish the job.

I have not taken any pictures today, so here is an adorable “selfie” with Pointy Baby, who decided to join me while I was doing my rounds yesterday morning.

I started this morning’s rounds even earlier that yesterday; it was just barely light out, and the sun wasn’t going to rise for another 2 hours. Not because I was expecting the roofers to come that early (it never came up, when I spoke with them yesterday), but because I’d received a message from my brother letting me know he was on his way! For him, he actually had to get up at 4am so he could arrive here at a decent hour. It took him at least an hour just to get things loaded into his truck. He always brings as many tools as supplies as he thinks he might need, having learned long ago that our father’s tools were constantly being “borrowed”, or used and not put back, or simply lost.

So I got my rounds done early, then I backed the van up to the house to load it with the garbage bags we keep to freeze in the old kitchen, until we can make a dump run. I wanted to make sure I got that done before the roofers had their own truck parked by the house.

I decided to do a meat loaf with potato wedges for the crew today, and my brother arrived just before they went into the oven. He then did his usual running around and finding things to work on or check out – like going into the barn to see if he could find where the metal roof has been leaking, to searching the basements for antennae wire, before he was up on the roof. He’d brought heavy duty anchors for the guy wires on the TV antennae, but when he got up there, he discovered one of them was broken! So he found more wire and was back up on the roof to replace the broken one.

Which meant he had to drag up our step ladder to the very highest point of the roof, borrowing one of the stabilizer boards the roofers had left up there to hold it. Thankfully, it was a wire that was mounted only half way up the antennae’s pole, and not one of the ones mounted at the top! Still, he scares me sometimes! He even took pictures of the step ladder after setting it up, the wires, the mounts, etc. I don’t know why he’s so utterly committed to making sure that antennae stays up there, but my goodness, he took some risks to replace that wire!

He was still up there when I brought the recycling and electronics waste to the van, then did the dump run. The roofers still weren’t there when I got back! While my brother was still working up on the roof, I started shoveling out more of the paths and around the fire pit, so that when things warm up, the paths will melt clear. It was while I was working around the fire pit that the roofing crew arrived, and my brother was able to talk to them for a bit. I shoveled the paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back of the garage, too. Earlier, my brother had told me that he saw the roofers had put shingles over the fascia in one area, when they are supposed to go under. He came over while I was shoveling behind the garage and let me know what he’d found out. It turns out they did put shingles under the fascia – then added more on top, so that it would look nice! My brother was very happy. He’s not used to “looks nice” being an important consideration, most times!

One of the things I’d mentioned to my brother is that I’d told the crew that the outhouse was fixed up and useable, if for some reason the inside bathroom wasn’t available, making sure they knew where the toilet paper was tucked away. When my brother joined me in the house later, he told me it looked like the crew was using it – there were fresh footprints in the path I’d shoveled to the door! 😅 Whatever they’re more comfortable with! 😁

My brother didn’t stay for too much longer after the roofers were here; he’d already had a long day of it. He’d considered stopping to pick up our mother on the way here, but it was too early. I’m glad he didn’t. She would have been absolutely furious about the state of the house, because it doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. Her expectations of how we are supposed to keep the house are a lot higher than her own expectations for herself. He was, however, going to stop by her place on the way home.

I do hope she is kind to him. He’s got so much going on right now, that last thing he needs to for her to give him a hard time!

After we said our goodbyes, however, I saw him coming back to the house, setting up our own ladder on the side of the roof the roofers weren’t working on, and going up. Several times! I don’t know what he was doing there, but it was quite some time before he was finally done and heading out. That man always seems to think of one more job to do, one more task to complete…

Oh! I just remembered something very interesting he told me. When I was done shovelling, he had done back into the barn to get some more photos, so I went to join him. He ended up being able to bring down a some lumber that was up there for me, and I was talking about how great it was to have lumber – even such a small amount – that isn’t rotting. As we were walking back towards the house, he commented on the shed with the collapsed roof, and how the wall joists would still be strong. We could just put a new roof on it. I told him I wanted to take it apart and use the wood to build something else. That reminded me of the old wagon I was looking at, in the car graveyard. I told him that the chassis looked like it was still good, and I hoped to bring it over. The wooden sides are rotted, so I’d get rid of that, but if the rest of it is in good shape, I want to build a mobile chicken coop on it. Once he was sure which piece of equipment I was talking about, he told me that that wagon is probably close to 100 years old! He thinks it might have been build in the mid 1930’s. He would be very happy if we could fix it up and use it again! I’m just hoping it hasn’t been too damaged from sitting out in the elements for who knows how many decades. I’m even more excited about finding a way to use it, now. 😊

But that will have to wait until the snow is gone, and the ground dry enough to roll it close to the barn!

Well, I think I’ve spent enough time on the computer. Time to see what the status is with the roofers, and probably feed the outside kitties again. 😊

The Re-Farmer