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