A bit of running around, and thank you, M!

I had a bit of running around to do after the morning rounds, but nothing that had to get me out earlier, or needing to rush through things. Which is good, because I got more done, too. 😊

It snowed lightly all night, so the cats at a bit more to deal with for their roof kibble by morning!

I counted thirty while putting out the food and water.

The branch pile I burned yesterday smoldered all night. I left my computer on with the live feed for the garage cam aimed at it, so it could be monitored. When the camera switched to infrared, I could see hot spots glowing through the falling snow. This morning, I broke it up a bit to stir the embers around, then raked it into a smaller pile. This will keep smoldering for days, if I keep banking it like this, which is what I want. We still have the other, bigger pile to burn, but there is no hurry on that.

After I finished my usual rounds, I decided to go ahead and do some shovelling. It wasn’t really necessary, but I would rather open up the paths now, while the snow it still light, than be trying to do it after the paths have been walked on and packed down. Aside from around the cat shelters and the paths to and from the main doors, I cleared the cat paths, the fire pit and access to the covered firewood pile, a path around the house, and paths to the compost heap, the back of the garage, and the outhouse. It sounds like a lot, but it was easy and fast to do. If we warm up at all, what snow is left in the paths is more likely to melt away, making it easier to keep them clear later one – as long as it’s just light snow.

When I was done with the shovelling, I spotted Shop Towel visiting the kibble house (making 31). You can really tell he’s the daddy of all those white and grey kittens!

What a barrel chested beast he is!

Once all that was done, it was off to run errands. First was a stop at the post office to pick up a parcel, only it turned out to not be in the mail. Our general store is now a Purolator drop off location. Which is good for us, because we used to have to go to the next town to pick up our Purolator parcels.

After that, it was off to town to the hardware store, and then the pharmacy. The company my husband’s insurance is with had some changes made that didn’t affect his coverage, but did affect how/where things were billed. Everything was supposed to transfer over seamlessly, but for some reason, his slow release insulin was suddenly no longer covered. This stuff costs more than $500 a box without coverage, so he hasn’t been able to get more. Once we found out there was a problem, he checked the insurance company’s app, and it said this was still covered, so he sent them an email explaining what happened. It took until yesterday for them to finally respond and it was basically just a letter saying, yeah, it’s still covered. Your pharmacy can still bill us. If they’ve got a problem, they can contact us.

So I printed off the letter and brought it in, since it had the information they would need. Their system still came up as not covered, so I left the letter with them and asked for his prescription to be delivered tomorrow, if they were able to figure it out by then. Then I went ahead with getting a refill on my own prescription, since I was there, which meant I had to wait a while. That turned out to be a good thing, because they got my husband’s billing issues fixed and I was able to get his insulin, too. It was a bit of a shock when the cashier scanned the tags on the prescriptions and there was an extra almost $150 on it, though! It turns out they already have my husband’s next batch of bubble packs in the system. These are now put together in the city and sent here, so whoever is doing it in the city just does the refills every four weeks and sent the packs out automatically. Meanwhile, we just picked up a month’s worth of bubble packs last week, so he won’t need more until next month, but because it’s in their system already, he got billed for next month’s refills! Once that got cleared up, it was removed, so I just had his insulin to pay for.

It gets confusing at times, that’s for sure!

That done, I was finally able to head home, and soon we will be setting up this.

Would you look at the size of that heated water bowl!!! I put the container in it for perspective. That’s what I use to scoop the kibble and it holds about a gallon.

Thank you, M, for your generous donation. The kitties are going to be so happy!

I snagged an outdoor extension cord from the garage, so we can plug in both working heated water bowls. Unfortunately, the cord for the new bowl doesn’t seem very long at all. The older, smaller bowl we’re using now has a longer cord and it just barely reaches from its corner. What we may end up having to do is moving the kibble house over to where the water bowl shelter is, and putting the water bowl shelter where the kibble house is, for it to reach. I don’t want to buy longer extension cords for this, because the excess will just be in the way. I will have to buy a replacement block heater cord, since I took the extension cord for that, but our temperatures are nowhere near cold enough to need to plug the van in, yet. That can wait until next month.


Once we’ve got the water bowl situation figured out, we’ll have to make sure to put something beside the new water bowl for the kittens to climb on. It’s so tall, and some of them are so little, they’ll have a hard time reaching the water, otherwise!

Hopefully, with this new bowl, there will be enough liquid water to last until morning. Right now, the smaller heated water bowl is pretty much empty every morning, even though we refill it at least a couple of times during the day. It does make me wonder what creature is coming over during the night and drinking that much water! It’s certainly more than just the cats drinking it. One of these days, when we have a spare trail cam, it would be interesting to set one up facing the cat shelters to see what goes on when we’re not there to see it!

The Re-Farmer

Got it done!

It was pretty mild when I came out to do my rounds this morning.

The older cats really prefer to eat kibble on the cat house roof, even in the snow!

Also, once it was pointed out to me, I just can’t unsee the fact that Caramel is plaid.

Also, also… I counted 30 this morning.

When I was done my rounds, I decided to stay out and get a weather dependent job done. There was no breeze at all, and snow on the ground, which meant it was safe to burn a branch pile.

When the big branch pile was chipped and cleaned up, they left a pile of debris that could not be chipped. While preparing branches for the wattle weave raised be, we added quite a lot of small, green branches to it. The conditions that made it safe to do a bonfire like this also made it hard to keep a fire going – especially with all those green branches – so I took advantage of the situation and started bringing over branches from the pile by the garage that was too decomposed to chip. Those have been sitting there for years, so the fire really got going once they caught!

I was even able to rake up most of the debris. I know there’s still some left, but I won’t be able to dig those out until spring.

By the time I was finishing up this pile, it had started to snow, but that didn’t last long.

Once that was raked up, I also raked up the path of twigs that got dropped along the way. 😁

After about three hours, I banked the fire by raking up more debris and soil. It should continue to smolder for some time, but should not flame up. Even if it does, there’s a large ring of bare soil around it, and beyond that, any grass and the other pile of wood that needs to be burned are far enough away and have enough snow on them that they are not at risk.

I’m glad to finally get this done.

Next is the logs the chippers set aside that I stacked around some garbage that was too much for the burn barrel.

That’s going to be quite the bonfire when we finally get around to it!

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds, and a majestic visitor

There’s always a little something, when I do my morning rounds! 😀

My husband had been able to take care of the cats earlier, so when I got out, I just have to put out feed for the birds (and deer). By the time I came out, however, I found the new heated water bowl had been knocked over. There had to have been some sort of altercation at the entry of the cats’ house, because even the brick supports around it had gone flying, and the power cord to the bowl had been pulled out.

Not only was the new bowl empty, but the water in the other bowls was frozen solid!

Something better had to be found.

I quickly went to feed the birds, thinking about it, and noticed the chimney liners along the side of the house. Since cleaning up the pile behind the house, we’ve been using these to hold the insulation that gets put around the house every winter.

They were just the right size and shape. Was there one we could spare?

Not on that side of the house, so I came back around and looked at the ones along the back of the house. We have other things set up against the house to help keep the insulation from being blown away, so I was able to find one that looked like we could spare.

It’s the perfect size and shape!

The bowl is so big, I added bricks as spacers between it and the shelter. The cats immediately were all over it, until I refilled the other water bowls, too. They were very thirsty!

We will have to plug the bowl back in later, once there are two people available. With the snow accumulation, the counterweight doesn’t quite reach the ground, so one person has to hold up the roof while the other does what needs to be done, inside. When we do our monthly shop, we’ll pick up a short, appropriate extension cord that can be safely used, so we can at least not have to worry about the cord being unplugged. Not too short, though. I want to run it along the frame of the shelter, just under the roof, so there will be no issue with the cats knocking it about, and no critters chewing on it.

Thanks to my daughter digging out more paths, I was able to get at the back of the garage and the outhouse. To clear access to the outhouse, my daughter had to break up that fallen piece of tree. It was warm enough to no longer be quite frozen to the ground, but that’s as far as it’s going to be moved until, most likely, spring.

When switching out the memory card in the trail cam by the new sign, I noticed these tracks. Something had walked towards the corner, stopped, then turned around. At first, I thought they were foot prints, they were so big. That didn’t seem likely, given the piles of snow from the plow. Not even our vandal is that dedicated to causing problems! The question was, did whatever made it go far enough to trigger the motion sensor on the trail cam?

The answer is, yes!

Would you look at that majestic beauty!!

While doing my rounds and seeing deer tracks, I had been noticing some hoof prints much larger than the others. I’d say, we’ve captured the beast that made them! And what a handsome fella he is!

I’m pretty sure we’ve been seeing this same buck visiting our place since we moved here. If it is, this would be the fifth winter of visits from him. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

First snow of the year is a doozy!

When I tried to make my last post using my phone, I hoped to get enough of a data signal to publish a text post.

I never did.

After about an hour of trying, our internet started to come back sporadically, and it finally posted.

Our internet continues to go in and out, but I did manage to upload photos and am daring to make a proper blog post!!

While this year’s kittens have seen some snow a little while ago, this is the first time in their lives that snow has actually accumulated on the ground for any length of time. I’m sure it’s been a bit of a shock to them! It was sunny to see one using my foot prints to get around.

The kibble house was nice and dry, though I had to knock snow out of the tray on the side, and the one under the shrine. Then I had to dig out the water bowls, knock out the slush inside, and refresh them with warm water.

Then I shoveled some snow to make paths from the sun room, around the kibble house, to the shrine, to the bird and deer feeding station (we have yet to see signs of deer coming around to the house) and the sidewalk to the small gate. Later, we will need to shovel a path to the power pole so we can read the meter, and the burn barrel. But not yet. The snow is incredibly wet and heavy, and still coming down.

Then I went to check on the gate and switch out the trail cam memory card.

Not going to get too many files off of this one!!

It’s not going to be easy to clear the driveway. The snow is so wet, and there is water under it. We’re doing to have to do something, though, because I need to be able to get out of our driveway very early on Monday, for my court date in the city. And it’s supposed to continue snowing trough Friday and Saturday!

This sheltered area is going to be such a nice place for a little sanctuary, once we clear out the dead trees and set up some seating.

Butterscotch caught up with me as I was using my walking stick to knock snow off of low hanging branches so they wouldn’t break.

I did find some broken branches, too.

There wasn’t too many of them, but the few there were, were rather large!

This one is more “piece of tree” than branch! I could clean up the others, but this one will likely wait until spring.

This is on the north side of the house, reminding me once again of just how glad I am we were able to get those trees cut away from the roof and power lines!!!

The snow is so wet and sticky, it even stuck to the wire mesh on the squash tunnel!

This was a disappointing find. I’d left the gazebo tent out to cover the picnic table and BBQ, set as low as it could go, but it couldn’t handle this wet, wet, heavy snow and just collapsed. The canopy even tore, too.

I used a garden hoe to clear as much of the snow off as I could, but we will likely leave it here. It is still serving as a cover for the BBQ (the cover it came with was torn to shreds by the wind, already), the picnic table, and any critters to take shelter under them.

Before heading in, I took the snow off the roof of the cat’s house, since we will need to lift it to replace the smoke detector in the near future. Then, since I was shoveling around it for access, anyhow, I went ahead and shoveled the cat path to the storage house, too.

Right now, we continue to have wet snow falling. It’s only 0C/32F with a wind chill of -7C/20F. It’s not snowing especially heavily, but it is constant. Looking at the live feed on the security camera, I can’t see the road past our gate. My brother’s field across the road is just a while blur. A lot more branches than usual are in view, hanging down from the weight of the snow. By Sunday, the snow is expected to stop and we will have our coldest day, at -5C/23F, but amazingly, we’re not predicted to reach 1C/34F by Tuesday!

For today, we will be staying indoors, except for topping out the kibble and water for the outside cats later on. While I had my baking day yesterday, my younger daughter wants to do her own baking today, too. A day of quiet domesticity is going to be much enjoyed!

The Re-Farmer

Wind damage and salvaged apples

Yesterday’s high winds knocked quite a few branches down.

This one would have landed on the tent, if it had still been there.

We haven’t figured out what to do with the tent yet (other than keep the canvas parts). You can see two of the metal pieces that broke. On the table is the hub they had been attached to. It has no damage to it. :-/

We didn’t lose any trees this time, but we did lose part of one.

This is the apple tree at the very end of the row. In the spring, we had cut away the dead part in the middle, but the saplings that sprouted out the base looked healthy. They don’t have a lot of apples on them, but the ones they do have are larger than any of the other trees, so these young trees were already drooping from the weight.

This one simply broke away from the trunk of the original tree.

When I came back this morning, I was intending to pick the apples off, then cut away the broken tree.

Once I got a better look at it, however, I realized it was still quite attached to the roots. It just wasn’t attached to the dead tree trunk. Even after a chilly night, there wasn’t even any wilting at all.

In fact, it might actually be salvageable.

So instead of cutting it away, I took advantage of the remains of the dead tree, and tied it upright again.

If I can keep it supported upright long, as the tree grows, it should be able to old its own without the support of the trunk. It might take a few years, but that’s okay.

If it survives at all. If it doesn’t, I’ll cut it away then.

Check out the size of this apple!

It would have gotten larger, too, as it ripened. They probably could have used 2 or 3 more weeks.

These are all the apples from that one branch, including a few that had fallen to the ground.

I will be including them with my juicing, today. I’ll start off with just the sweet ones I used to make the crab apple cider vinegar; I’m hoping to get enough to do two gallons of hard apple cider. As the jugs will need room for the sugar, it’ll get less than 2 gallons of juice needed, but still pretty close. Once I get that, I don’t mind mixing different types of apples. Any remaining juice will be for drinking. 🙂

The juicer is out of storage, and now I need to get off the computer, get everything prepped and start juicing! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

A wild morning – but I have my new “toy”!

Wouldn’t you know it, since I was planning on heading out early, I ended up not being able to sleep at all last night.

Which is why I was awake when the edges of the predicted storms passed us by. At about 5am, the winds picked up like crazy, there was some rain and quite a light show, but that was it. We did lose internet a few times, too.

In the end, I managed about an hour of sleep before I quickly did my morning rounds. No time for kitty pictures. Sorry!

The first thing I saw when I stepped outside was this…

One of the dead branches from an elm finally came down.

Aside from the usual small, mostly willow, branches scattered about the yard, there was only one other larger branch that came down.

This is such a huge improvement from our first summer out here!

My mothers flowers seemed to really like the rain. The patch of lilies is starting to open up now. 🙂

Such a cheerful colour!

After I rushed through the morning routine, I headed out to a small city, somewhat closer than the city we usually go to, for our monthly shopping. After doing some searching online of the several hardware stores we could go to, including the local ones, I ended up settling on Canadian Tire. Thanks to Father’s Day sales and the incredible generosity of a friend (you know who you are! You’re the best!!), I was able to afford a higher end machine that we otherwise would have.

I made a point of getting a photo of my screen, so I could show an employee exactly what I was after, if needed. It was needed! There was no display model I was after, so the employee went to their storage area to bring it out for me on a flat cart.

When I bought our electric snow blower, I got their last one in stock, and just wheeled it out of the store. Somehow, I expected to do that same today, but nope! It was in a rather large box. 😀

While checking out, the cashier said she would call someone to help me load it into the van. She ended up paging someone several times. The box wasn’t really that heavy, so I was considering just letting her know I’d do it myself, when a guy showed up. As he was loading it into the van, he asked if I had oil.

I did, but I asked if there was a specific kind of oil I should have.

It turns out, I don’t have it. So I was really glad I ended up with this guy helping out. He also just happened to be a mechanic, and was soon telling me about which oils I could use, and which was the one he used and recommended himself. All my other machines, including the van, use 5W30, which he said would be a bit thin. For this machine, he recommended 30. Which I didn’t even realize was a thing. I ended up going back into the store after him and he found some for me. Once again, I was glad, because 1) it was at the opposite end of the store from the lawnmower sections and 2) I’m short. He was able to reach it more me. 😀

Once at home, it was assembly time!

Here are all the parts and pieces. 😀

All done, and filled with oil and fuel!

Among the things I discovered as I went through the owners manual before starting it, was that it has no prime pump, which is awesome. When I was ready to test it out, I discovered it is also raised and lowered by a lever at one wheel, instead of a lever at each wheel. So much easier!

The mower started with the first pull, and I barely even had to strain! With the heat (it’s currently 30C/89F, feeling like 36C/96F) right now, I did just a quick couple of passes.

It runs like a dream!!! I am so happy!

Then I put it away, because while it’s already 30C right now, we haven’t reached the high of the day, yet!

We have more thunderstorms predicted tonight, but I’m hoping to have a cooler break this evening, where I can put the new mower through it’s paces.

I am so looking forward to using this thing!!!

The Re-Farmer