Just too much cute!

Before I headed out to help my mother with errands, one of my daughters came over to do bitty baby supervisor duty while I was gone.

Bitty was curled up on my bed, napping at the time. My daughter had had a sleepless night, so she took advantage of the situation.

Bitty responded by being even cuter, and took advantage of having a warm human to cuddle up against!

Later on, I got a message from my daughter saying that he was twitching and making nursing motions in his sleep!

We reached a high of 0C/32F today, though as I write this, we’ve started to cool down a bit. It’s still sunny and feels warm out there, and things are melting in various places. A perfect day to help my mother with errands. I’m happy to say she is well stocked up on quite a few things now. Especially the heavier things, like laundry detergent, or bags of potatoes, that she can get while I’m there with her car to help.

It’s also a perfect day to do a burn. Just before I headed home, one of my daughters got the fire pit going. There is a branch pile near the fire pit that we we’ve been adding to faster than we’ve been able to use it up – it’s separate from the logs we use when doing a cookout, and just getting too big. So the girls are planning to get as much of that cleaned up as they can. Now that I’m home and on supervisor duty (Butterscotch really, really does not like Bitty, but Bitty really, really wants to cuddle her!), they are both outside and tending the fire pit.

This is what I found when I came back into the room.

I mean, can he get any cuter? 😄😄😄

He really, really likes that hat! Gosh, he’s so tiny. And most of that is fluff. He’s actually smaller than he looks.

I’m going to miss him when the cat lady picks him up!

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz, however, will be very happy to see him gone! 😂

The Re-Farmer

The cuteness is off the scale!

We’ve been keeping the bitty baby isolated in my room for now, with someone there to supervise at all times.

Life can be so hard, sometimes. 😉

I was expecting the bitty to go into hiding or at least be very nervous at first.

Nope.

After filling his belly with wet cat food, he started to explore, with Cheddar and Leyendecker following him around like lost puppies, trying to figure him out.

He’s an excellent climber.

He’s also ridiculously tiny!

Butterscotch is not happy with a kitten around and would growl and hiss at him.

Bitty gives no F’s.

Eventually, Butterscotch came off her window ledge, and the next think I knew, they were curled up near each other on my bed, sleeping.

Ginger has recently become one of the cats we can allow into my office with Butterscotch and Nosencrantz, without a fight breaking out, so we allowed him in, too. He didn’t like the bitty, and would hiss and growl at him, but was still willing to lie on the bed for a nap, too.

When I first brought Bitty in, I didn’t have a chance to take off my parka and hat where I usually do, and had just dumped them on the bed.

He found my hat.

So. Very. Smol!!!!

For a while, I lay across the bed so that I could reach cats to calm them down. Yeah. That’s why. Not because I wanted to snuggle the baby and take pictures. Nope. Not at all.

Ginger was very curious about my phone.

I managed to get a few of him, too. 😂

After a while he planted himself against my leg and tried to nap. Bitty, however, crawled out of the hat and decided to check him out. Ginger was NOT happy, was laying his ears back, snarling and hissing.

Bitty gave no F’s, crawled over him and squeezed into a crevice between him and my leg.

Poor Ginger looked ready to have a massive anxiety attack! He finally left and lay down on the heat vent. 😂

For now, the cat lady thinks she can be out here to pick him up on Wednesday, at the latest. That’s only two days from now. That actually works out better for us, since I am now scheduled to help my mother with her grocery shopping tomorrow.

As I write this, Bitty is curled up on my bed, snoozing again.

He is so, incredibly tiny!

The cuteness meter has overloaded. 🤎🖤🤎🖤

The Re-Farmer

A double whammy of good news!

The cat lady contacted me last night. After finding homes for the two bitty babies we found in the field, she now has someone who wants to adopt the last surviving bitty!!

Which meant, of course, that we had to bring him inside as quickly as we could. I wasn’t able to do that last night, as it was too dark to see, so we left it until this morning.

When I first topped up the kibble and water bowls, I couldn’t see him anywhere, but I’ve often seen him out after I’ve finished my rounds, so did those. Making my way back around to the kibble house, I was greeted by an orange tabby.

It wasn’t Rolando Moon.

Nutmeg is back!!

At least I assume it’s Nutmeg. I suppose it could be Toesencrantz, but I was able to pet him, and Toezencrantz was never socialized.

The kibble was already mostly gone in most of the trays, so I topped a couple of them to make sure Nutmeg got a good meal. He wasn’t too friendly with the other cats, but food was a higher priority for him! He looks really healthy, though. Usually, when the wayward males come back for the winter, they look like pretty starved.

Then, I spotted the bitty baby! He had finally emerged from the cat house, so I snagged him.

He’s now in my office/bedroom with me, and has had his first meal of wet cat food. As I write this, he is exploring the room, climbing things – especially the little cat tree we have in here – and checking things out.

Cheddar and Leyendecker were immediately curious about him and followed him around, sniffing. Bitty sniffed right back and there was lots of purring.

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz are not too sure of things. Butterscotch is perched in the window sill, and I’ve heard her growling at him. Nosencrantz is on her top shelf by the ceiling, watching him from above, looking shocked, but has not tried to come down.

And I just had to pause typing the above because he climbed up onto my desk. Now he’s climbing the shelf to Nosencrantz, but he’s too small to get very far.

I think I’m going to be very busy supervising a baby today!

The Re-Farmer

I started, then I couldn’t stop!

With today already being so much warmer, my morning rounds ended with extra outside activities, like doing a burn, and then some shovelling.

I was going to do the vehicle turn around space and leave the paths to the girls, but since I was going through the paths while doing my rounds, I just grabbed a shovel and started clearing a path to the garage, while on my way to the gate camera.

Then I cleared a path to the burn barrel and the electricity meter.

Then I started to clear the path around the house before going to the sign trail cam way out in the corner across the old garden area, and ended up clearing a path to the sign cam.

Then I finished making a path around the house, and since I was on that side anyhow, I went ahead and did the the fire pit area.

I was going to leave the turn around space for the girls, but it was a balmy -7C/19F, with no wind, and lovely sunshine.

Yeah. I cleared that, too.

What can I say? I like shovelling.

The kittens were very excited when I was done. Well… these ones, anyhow.

From left to right, we have Princess, Judgement, Plushy trying to climb my legs, and Gooby.

Who isn’t gooby anymore. That lysine really worked! There’s a few kittens with eyes that look a bit leaky, but that could just as easily be from the cold winds. I didn’t notice any leaky eyes today.

I did notice a little, bitty ball of fluff, though.

The bitty baby was out and about, running around, stalking its bigger cousins, and generally having a blast in the snow. When I came close, he ran off and I was only able to pet him while we was under a step to the storage house, where I could just barely reach. He most definitely did not want me around, though.

He’s doing great, which makes me happy. We’ll still keep an eye on him (along with the others, of course) but with the warmer temperatures we’re supposed to be getting, he should be just fine out there.

Oh, my goodness! I just went looking at the AccuWeather website for our area. The app that came with my desktop is now saying that we will hit 3C/37F on Friday, instead of Saturday, but AccuWeather is saying we should reach a high of 5C/41F on Friday! That’ll feel downright tropical!

We’ll see how things work out, but if the long range forecasts I’m looking at are in any way accurate, we’re going to have that mild winter I’m hoping for. Here’s hoping!

The Re-Farmer

Cold, but the kitties are okay, and meandering thoughts

We did eventually warm up to our predicted high of -12C/10F, though it came with wind chills colder than -20C/-4F at times.

When I fed the yard cats in the morning, I counted “only” 24 or 25, including the bitty baby – who never came outside!

You can just make him out through the frost, near the bottom of the window.

Thankfully, the south yard is pretty sheltered from the winds coming mostly from the north. Though we had blowing snow all night, there wasn’t anywhere near as much on the ground as it had looked like there should be. I started shovelling the more sheltered walkways, then got a bit carried away.

I used the tire tracks from when I lasted back up to the house as a guide for where to clear away the snow. You can even see the packed down snow under the tire tracks. I didn’t feel like bringing out the ice chipper to break those up, and the shovel I was using already has a crack in it, so I wasn’t going to bash around with it any more than I had to.

As we warm up over the next week, things should actually start melting a bit, and I want these high traffic areas to clear away completely. I think tomorrow, I’ll keep working to clear the space we use to drive into the yard and turn the vehicle around. I’ll leave the paths around the house, and the fire pit, for the girls to do. They’re planning on getting the fire pit going, just because they can, in the near future.

Meanwhile…

Not too long ago, I was outside again and did the evening feeding.

I counted 30 this time, including the bitty baby. He was in the larger window by himself, and even tried to play with me through it, before going to the entry where the food tray is. He never came out, but he’ll have to if he wants the water. If he had come out, I probably would have snagged him and brought him inside. To be honest, though, the next youngest litter of kittens, being all short haired, are probably colder than he is! It isn’t stopping them from playing in the snow, so their undercoats must be well developed for the winter already.

As I write this, it’s -13C/9F, and that’s as cold as we’re supposed to get, including overnight lows, for at least the next 10 days. In fact, the forecast has changed to predict even milder temperatures than before!

Not only are they now predicting three days with highs of 0C/32F, but we’re looking at 3C/37F a week from now! The last time I saw temperatures that high was in the long range forecast, in December.

Of course, it depends on which app I look at. Another app I have shows the first two of those 0C days as reaching 1C/34F, while another shows two days at 0C, then lower temperatures than in the image, though the Saturday is still supposed to be above freezing. All of them are predicting conditions well within average, though.

There is a saying, that a man with two watches, never knows the time. It’s much the same having multiple weather apps! Each company is linked to different data sources, so while one of them might be linked to data from the weather station at the nearest town to the west of us (one that is much closer to the lake, where conditions can be very different from where we are) another might be linked with a station to the north of us (which would probably be the one with conditions closest to what we get here, even though that station would be further away than the others), and yet another might be linked to a station to the south of us.

Well, at least between them all, it gives us a general idea of what to expect. I had been hoping that we might have the roofers coming out during that warm spell we’re supposed to get, but now I’m not so sure. My brother wanted to be here while they are here, and he’s the one that has Power of Attorney for our mother, to make sure they get paid – something my mother would have difficulty understanding how to do anymore. However, he and his wife are currently out of province due to a medical emergency. I got a call from them while they were still on the road, but they should have arrived by now. Hopefully, all will go well, and they will be coming home soon, but I know that they will want to stay there as long as possible, to be able to help. There is going to be a long road to recovery involved. My SIL might be able to stay longer, at least, as she is now officially retired, but not my brother. We are definitely keeping them all in our prayers right now! At least the roads should be good and they should have safe driving.

With my husband’s health, we are well aware of how suddenly everything can be turned upside down. All it takes is a moment. A car accident. A trip and fall. A heart attack or stroke. A bad reaction to medication. One moment, you’re able bodied and doing fine. The next… you’re not. A friend of mine in the disabled community has a term she uses for those who aren’t disabled: TABs. Temporarily Able Bodied. She says it tongue in cheek, but really, she’s right. At some point, we’re all going to start having issues, even if is just from getting old and the body wearing out. Not something we tend to think about while in our prime. For us, after all we’ve been through, we now work on the assumption at, at some point, we’re going to be dealing with stuff like this even more than we are now. So when we plan things like garden beds, or chicken coops, or repairing/replacing sidewalks and doorways, accessibility and mobility needs are part of the plan. I mean, yeah, I can slap together a perfectly functional chicken coop rather quickly, but what good is that, if we don’t have the mobility to get in and clean it? It takes longer to get things done, but at least when they do get done, it’ll be with “age in place” and future mobility needs in mind.

This house will never be fully accessible, though, which is why our long term plans include the possibility of building a smaller, fully accessible, house for my husband and I, while also acknowledging that at some point, we might simply not be able to live here anymore. We may have to move into a place like where my mother lives – but even her building is not fully accessible! They dropped the ball when designing that place, that’s for sure.

I’m digressing, to be sure, and yet this is all very much a part of things we have to think about. What we do with this place now is setting up for the future, for when our daughters will take over and, eventually, my nephew’s sons inherit the property. But even that isn’t written in stone.

Nothing ever is, is it?

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: first order in, with Veseys

We haven’t even done a thorough assessment of our 2022 garden, nor fully decided what we plan to grow next year, but I’ve gone ahead and made our first order for next year’s garden, today.

The main reason is, there are things I wanted to order before they have a chance to be out of stock. Particularly with trees for the food forest we are slowly developing. These will be shipped in the spring, and we won’t be billed until they are shipped. I ordered seeds as well, because I used a sponsor promo code from Maritime Gardening, which gives free shipping if there is at least one package of seeds in the order.

This is what I ordered today. All images belong to Veseys, and links will open in new tabs, so you don’t lose your place. 😊

The new Trader Everbearing Mulberry is the main reason I wanted to place an order right away. We tried a different variety before, that promptly got killed by an unusually cold night shortly after it was planted. Cold enough that even if we had this variety, it likely would not have survived, so soon after being planted.

Here is the description from the site (in case you’re reading this years later, and the link is dead).

Morus alba x rubra. There are so many things to love about ‘Trader’ Everbearing Mulberry! First, the tree itself is absolutely beautiful and can be grown as a single trunk or multi-stemmed shrub. Big, glossy black fruit are present throughout the summer and are an irresistible blend of sweet and tart. Even the leaves are starting to be considered a super-food and can be made into a powerfully healing tea. ‘Trader’ is winter hardy (Zone 3-4), vigorous, long-lived and disease and pest resistant.  We ship 8-12″ non-grafted tree.

Please note: Due to a crop shortage, we are not able to supply the Mulberry in a 3.5″ pot. We can supply in a 2.5″ pot. Since these are smaller, we will send 2 of the smaller size for spring 2023.

That last bit about pot sizes is another reason we wanted to order the mulberry right away. They may be smaller, but we’ll be getting two trees for the price of one. Which means chances are better for at least one of them to survive!

The other tree we ordered was Liberty Apple. From the website:

Malus. Superlative variety resistant to a host of diseases. This apple has outstanding flavour and is aromatic and juicy. The conical red fruit is among the very best and as an added bonus is excellent for cider. Crispy, juicy apples right in your back yard. Good Scab resistance, making them much easier to look after. For best results, two varieties should be planted. We are offering 1 yr. whips. approximately 18-24″ in height which have been grafted onto hardy rootstock. They should mature to about 15-18 ft. Hardy to zone 4.

Yes, it says zone 4 and we are zone 3, but we will just have to take extra care in where it’s planted, and to protect it while it’s small. We have crab apple trees, but no regular apples. One apple tree should be enough to provide for our needs, and the crab apples will be the second variety pollinator.

Then there are the seeds.

While we didn’t have much to show for peppers this past summer, that had more to do with our horrible growing year in general. My pepper loving daughter had thought we would be ordering several varieties for this past year, but I’d only ordered the one type. I think we learned enough about growing them to order more varieties, so I ordered a sweet bell pepper combo.

This is Vesey’s Sweet Pepper collection, and here is their description:

A few of our favourite sweet peppers! This collection contains 3 pkgs, 1 each of Early SunsationEarly Summer and Dragonfly sweet peppers.

Early Sunsation: Bright yellow and big. Very heavy yielding with thick, juicy walls. This variety stays nice and crisp even when fully yellow. 3 lobed fruit. Resistant to Bacterial Leaf Spot races 1-3. 65 days to green; 80 days to yellow from transplanting.

Early Summer: Elite, early and extra large! Early summer is an early maturing, yellow bell pepper. The fruit are large at 5″ and an elite disease resistance package gives Early Summer a winning combination.

Dragonfly: Sweet and colourful. Dragonfly’s early production was a standout for our trial staff. Fruit emerges green and turns deep purple when mature. Dragonfly continues to produce fruit into the fall even after temperatures have dropped.

The Early Summer is new to Veseys for the 2023 growing season.

There was another new for 2023 item I just had to order.

The Caveman’s Club Gourd! This is definitely something for the “just for fun” list. 😁

Truly different! This 12-16″ gourd produces a dark green, ridged, alien-like, bulbous fruit that are not like anything we have seen before! Growing them on a trellis ensures a straight neck. Plant early for best results. Matures in 120 days. Approx. 15 seeds/pkg.

I just couldn’t resist. This will be an ideal thing to try growing on the new trellis tunnels we will be building in the spring.

After we’ve taken the time to assess things from our 2022 garden, then gone through what seeds we still have, we’ll start making final decisions about what else we want to order for the 2023 growing season. One thing we will almost certainly be ordering are different raspberry bushes, that mature at different times. Any raspberries we order won’t start producing until their second year, so what we order to plant in 2023 will be to have raspberries in 2024. As we add to our perennial food producers, while still staying in budget, it’s a balancing act between ordering things that will take years before they start producing, like the apple and mulberry trees, and things that will start producing more quickly, like the raspberries.

Little by little, though, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer