Yard critters, incoming storm

This morning was another contradictory one, where the temperature was pretty decent and warming up, but the winds made it insanely bitter outside!

I got some photos yesterday, of the piebald deer visiting again. Her face was packed with snow, from digging under to find the seeds that had been blown over.

Check out where she is, in relation to the bird bath! For the snow to be that high – and hard backed enough to hold her weight – is really something!

The piebald chases these two away if they come around.

I got this photo before heading outside this morning. They’re really digging into the snow to find seeds! When I came around with my little bucket of feed, they ran off, but watched me from the trees. When I next looked through the living room window shortly after finishing up outdoors, they were already back.

The outside cats were quite enjoying breakfast, sheltered from the bitterly cold wind that was coming from the south.

We are still getting blizzard warnings. One patch of snow has already passed us by, and we did not get much snow, compared to areas to the south of us. There is more visible on the weather radar I can see is on its way. The forecasted high has dropped, while the expected amount of snow has increased.

Thankfully, we can hunker down and wait it out. I feel for the people who have to drive in this!

The Re-Farmer

Not going anywhere, today! Plus, cat surgery update

After doing my morning rounds, I contacted the garage to let him know I wasn’t going to make my appointment with the van today. We are under blizzard conditions right now, which are expected to continue until this evening.

There actually isn’t a lot of snow, but the winds are insane. There is a drift in front of the garage door we will have to dig out before we can go anywhere though, at the moment, the driveway is still mostly clear.

There is supposed to be a path around the back of the kibble house, and a kibble tray at the end. Under the drift. The cat path to under the storage house was also filling in.

Temperature wise, we are at only -17C/1F, but with 50km/31m per hour winds, the wind chill is at -31C/-24F. The winds are coming from the northwest, which we are normally protected from, but at these speeds, it’s just swirling around the house and all the outbuildings.

The path to the compost pile is, once again, mostly gone.

Even right up against the house, the path to the feeding station is mostly filled in.

I opened the gate to check the road, then left it open so that it would not be drifted over in the closed position. Right now, the only thing keeping the end of our driveway from drifting over completely, are the walls of snow made by the front end loader when it was being cleared. They’re acting a bit like a snow fence, for the moment. The road past our place is actually looking quite clear, but it runs from north to south, and the winds are just blowing the snow along. The main gravel road, and the highway I would be taking to get that oil change done, would be drifted over, and the winds would be hitting our van broadsided. I checked the Facebook group for local highway conditions, and some people were reporting that they were in the ditch – and the roads they were on were mostly clear! It was the winds that did them in.

Smart kitties. They came out when I put food and warm water out, ate and drank quickly, then disappeared into their various hidey holes. One is visible in the window, but I think there’s about 5 or 6 in there.

I saw Rolando Moon emerge from the junk pile. She’s a tough one, and has seen many cold winters. She knows how to handle it. She stayed out to eat longer than the other cats, then went into the insulated shelf shelter to get out of the wind. Which, as you can see, is even managing to blow snow into the opening!

We need to build more little shelters like this. Especially when we finally get that junk pile hauled away. They use it for shelter, a lot.

Before heading outside, I treated Butterscotch and Nosencrantz with some wet cat food. Nosencrantz has been staying on the top shelf of the frame the heat bulb is in, which means sitting on top of the board the fixture is attached to. That puts her under the light we’ve got, hanging under the peak. It’s got a full spectrum bulb that we were using for seed starts. It’s incandescent, so it’s also warm, so we’ve been leaving it on. She was there when I came in, and I helped her down so she wouldn’t have to jump and jar her body.

Butterscotch has been using one of the box beds we have set up, and very languidly emerged when I brought the food out. I can see some things knocked about a bit, so I know at least one of them is trying to jump onto shelves and explore a bit, but it’s not too bad.

When I was done my rounds, I paused to spend time with them before going into the house. Nosencrantz quite enjoyed being held and snuggled.

When I put her on the swing bench, she was comfortable enough to roll around and let me see her roly poly belly!

She is such a big sausage!

I was able to pick up Butterscotch and cuddle her a bit, too. She even purred at me!

After hearing from the vet, what the condition of her uterus was when they removed it, I have a suspicion that Butterscotch is going to undergo a catonality change. She’s always had a bit of a mean streak at times. I now wonder if it was due to physical discomfort. Right now, she’s moving around more slowly (or course!), but while I was holding Nosencrantz, she still came over and wound around my feet. When I picked her up, she was a lot calmer than I normally expect her to be. Even as I was going in and out of the sun room, she made no attempt to escape, though that might have more to do with having just had surgery, yesterday. Perhaps, once she’s healed up more from the surgery, she’ll go back to her more ornery self. However, I have a suspicion she’s going to be a happier and more pleasant cat to be around.

It should be interesting to see how it goes for Beep Beep, next week. We don’t know if she is older or younger than Butterscotch.

So today is a day to stay indoors. We shall see if we can make the trip to the city tomorrow or not. The winds are supposed to die down, but the temperature is supposed to drop quite a bit.

Times like this are exactly why we’ve been working so hard to stay stocked up!!

Having said that, one of the things I was hoping to do while in town getting the oil change, was to come home with some Chinese take-out. Now that it’s no longer an option, I am craving Chinese food like crazy! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Digging out

Oh, man, I am so tired.

Today, we started digging out from yesterday’s blizzard.

We didn’t finish, but progress was made.

My husband was a sweetheart and did the cats’ food and water this morning. He shouldn’t have, but did have to dig his way to the kibble house and uncover a couple of water bowls. He slogged his way to the kibble tray under the shrine.

Knowing him, he was probably wearing his sandals while he was out there! LOL

There is a set of stairs to the main entry over under that snow. Good thing we are using the sun room doors! The cat path is pretty funny.

I shovelled my way to the stairs before I stopped, then slogged my way around the corner to grab the 100 ft extension cords, then went to the garage.

I am not standing in a drift, here. The snow is up to my knees.

I shoveled in front of the garage enough to open the doors to where little Spewie is stored.

This little thing is not made for a job as big as this! The expeller was barely higher than the snow!

Seeing the photo, I am noticing the knob at the end of the handle to rotate the expeller. I wish I’d noticed it earlier. The bottom of my parka kept getting caught on it, and the knob end fell right off! I did eventually get a chance to look closer, and it just needed to be screwed back on.

At this point, I paused to add the second 100 ft extension cord.

As you can see, there is a lot of water under that snow! As light as little Spewie is, the wet made it very difficult to push it forward, and my footing was precarious.

Here, the snow was above my knees.

You can see in this photo, that the knob end had fallen off by this time.

Guess who finally reached the gate, only to discover they’d forgotten the key? LOL

At least the walk back would be much easier!

Along the way, I also paused to knock the snow and ice off the trail cam, though I didn’t switch out the memory cards, yet. I haven’t even tried to reach the one by the new sign – a sign, and camera, I’m sure is now plastered with a layer of snow and ice, too!

Once I got the key, I discovered another problem.

I couldn’t get it into the lock.

No, it was not because of ice.

There seems to be a piece of metal jammed in there!

Off hand, I’d think it was our vandal, but there were no tracks in the snow. The last time we opened the lock was Wednesday morning, 2 days ago. We did get a prescription delivery early that evening. My daughter met the driver at the gate, since I was up to my elbows in flour, but never had to unlock the gate.

Well, maybe we’ll see something in our trail cam, before it got covered with snow, when I switch the memory cards out tomorrow.

I had to cut the lock off to open the gate, and continue on to the road.

Once that first pass was made as far as the road, the rest went a bit easier. Going back and forth, I could only clear a few inches wider each time, because of how deep it was.

The road has not been plowed yet. Which means we’re going to have a ridge of snow across the end, soon! LOL

I cleared it just wide enough to drive though. Barely.

But I wasn’t able to finish in front of the garage. We can’t back the van out, yet, and where my mother’s car is, we can’t even open the doors, yet.

In one of the photos, you can see the path my daughters shoveled. They also shoveled paths to the burn barrel, the meter on the power pole, and even to the pump shack. There was concern that a cat was in the pump shack and was snowed in. We kept hearing plaintive meowing, but couldn’t really tell where it was coming from. There is a hole in the bottom of the pump shack door that smaller cats go in and out of that they cleared, just in case.

They also shoveled the sidewalk, around the kibble house, and to the kibble tray under the shrine. You can see that snow even got into the kibble house! A garden hoe turned out to be the perfect tool to clear that out. It was remarkably hard packed.

After they did the shoveling, they made supper and, by the time I came in, there was food and a fresh pot of hot tea waiting for me!

I really needed it, by then. While it was almost too warm for how bundled up I was, I was very wet. My boots were soaked and, even though I had a pair of those foot warmer things, my toes were starting to feel frozen. Plus, while clearing beyond the gate, the wind was blowing the snow all over me, so even my parka was wet by the time I was done. Of course, my double layer of pants were wet to my knees, too. We will have to finish tomorrow.

One of the last things the girls did before heading in was go around to some of the lilacs and knock off the snow, so they wouldn’t break under the weight. Some things, however, were already broken.

One large branch along the south fence line near the driveway was visible from the garage security camera, so I was expecting that one. It turned out to be the top of a dead tree. Another large piece of dead tree fell right on the barbed wire, but we haven’t been able to get at it, yet.

Nor have we been able to get at the large branch that fell in front of the outhouse. I’m sure there are other fallen branches around, but we haven’t even tried to make our way through the snow to check, yet.

Tomorrow, we will need to get back at it. At the very least, we need to clear enough to be able to back the van out of the garage and turn towards the road. We also need to clear enough of the yard that we have room to drive up to the house, with room to turn around.

This is one of those days were I really wish our vandal had returned the Bobcat, as my mother repeatedly requested. This could all have been finished, including the yard, in less than an hour with that thing. I was out there for more than three hours. I’m seriously considering contacting our renter and seeing if we can hire them to come over with their tractor! I’m sure we could find somewhere to squeeze that our of our budget.

Our forecast has changed, of course. We are no longer supposed to get snow tomorrow (Saturday). Sunday is supposed to be colder, but also without snow. Monday, however, it now says there will be “isolated flurries”, with rain and possibly another 5-10cm of snow.

Monday is when I have to drive into the city for Case Management about our restraining order.


At least I can be confident the roads will be plowed by then. When I first started working on our driveway, I could hear the reverse alarm of heavy equipment in the distance, so I think the main road may already be done.

For now, I’m going to have another giant mug of tea!

The Re-Farmer

Just a bit of snow…

Our first blizzard of the season has passed us by. The weather system is still going, though. On the weather radar, I can see that a swath of the US, Ontario and Quebec are being hit as the storm makes its way to the East coast.

As I write this, we are at -22C/-7.6F, with a wind chill of -36C/-32.8F (I usually round the Fahrenheit down, but decided to include the decimals today. 😀 ) Our high of the day is supposed to reach -19C/-2.2F with a wind chill of -30C/-22F Tomorrow is supposed to be a couple of degrees colder.

Then on Christmas day, we’re supposed to reach a high of -9C/15.8F with a wind chill of -14C/6.8F We’ll have these mild temperatures for a couple of days, then it’s supposed to drop around the -20C’s for a couple of days, before going back to mild temperatures in time for the new year.

It’s going to feel like spring.

The girls did some shoveling yesterday, so things wouldn’t accumulate too much as it continued to snow.

I was seeing this on the live feed from the security camera last night.

The storm came in from the west, but it was swirling so much, the winds in the image are actually coming from the east!

When one of my daughters had to take the bag of cat litter they cleaned out last night to the bin we have for it outside, she had to push the door open through a snow drift.

You can see signs of that, below.

This is how it was this morning.

You can almost see the path the girls shoveled down the sidewalk! 😀

They also shoveled in front of the cat shelters.

Do you see those icicles hanging from the cat house roof? You know what that means?

It’s warm in there! Warm enough to melt the snow from underneath.

I’m so glad that aquarium bulb is working out as a heater! It’s not enough to warm it up too much, either; too warm, and it will affect their ability to acclimatize to the winter and put them more at risk from the cold.

Some snow did get into the kibble house, unfortunately. We’ll have to clean that out later, when we’re doing more shoveling. This morning, I just did the minimum I needed to do to feed the critters.

The other water bowls were completely buried, but the heated water bowl was doing just fine!

You can see tracks in the background, between the two shelters. Those led to the storage house, so we know that some cats are still sheltering under there, too.

Once I cleared enough snow to give the cats fresh food and water, I continued clearing a path to the feeding station, where the smaller bird feeder is hanging. That will do for now. Eventually, we will need to dig paths to the compost pile, down the sidewalk and to the electricity meter, and to the garage. The girls had cleared all three doors of the garage, including where the snow blower is stored. I can see on the security camera that it isn’t completely filled it again. 😀

I was going to take pictures of the shoveling I did this morning, but I just wanted to get back inside! Plus, my glasses were frosted over and I couldn’t see. 😀

Aside from the paths, we will need to clear the driveway to the road, of course, but we will also need to clear into the yard, for when we need to drive up to the house. That has to include space for a turning radius. Plus, we will need to make paths around the house, so we can reach the septic tank, if needed, and it would be good to have a path to the fire pit, too. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the big snow blower in to see why it won’t start and get it fixed. So all we’ve got is the little electric one. We do also have an “electric shovel” that my dad used to use. We used it our first winter here. So we won’t have to do all of it by hand, at least!

All that clearing does not have to be done right away. We are well stocked and don’t have to go anywhere, so it can wait until it warms up a bit.

The last couple of winters, our first blizzards were in October, so this one was very late in the season. It may be a lot more snow than we’ve had so far, but it’s actually not too bad. We still only got hit by the edges of the storm. The more severe parts of the storm moved across the Canada/US border, so the south of the provinces all got hit a lot harder. We are doing pretty good where we are. I’m also happy to have more snow in general. Having this stored water will be essential in the spring, for gardens and fields. Lots of snow with a nice, gradual spring melt, would be ideal conditions for planting in the spring, whether it’s farmers’ crops or garden beds. Our first two summers here were drought conditions. Last year, we had a wet spring, followed by a hot, dry summer, and that wet spring was enough to keep crops going through the heat later on.

We shall see what the rest of the season brings us. I’ve seen predictions for both severe cold and mild temperatures for this winter. So far, it’s looking like the mild prediction is the one that’s panning out.

Until then, we’ll enjoy our Christmas while snowed in, all warm and cozy!

Including the outside kitties. 🙂 Relatively speaking!

I hope anyone reading this that got hit by this storm, too, is also safe, warm and well!

The Re-Farmer