*heavy sigh*

Last year, May was a very warm month. More like the height of summer, than spring.

This year?

Snow? Really?

Yeah, I know. It’s not really that unusual. It’s just that all those warm days that were being forecast keep turning into colder days. Predicting 2-4 cm (under 2 inches) as well feels a bit like getting kicked when you’re down.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and more digging

The snow continued to fall all night, with more wind than snow, and we’re still supposed to get the odd flurries today. The winds have died down a bit. I haven’t been able to do my usual walk-around to see how many downed branches there are. It doesn’t look like we’ve lost any more trees in the spruce grove.

I saw about 8 outside cats while putting their kibble out, than at least a couple skulking around the yard, heading towards food while trying to avoid me. Thanks to the shoveling done yesterday, their paths and feeding areas were clear enough to put food out without having to redo them.

The water accumulated near the storage house has frozen over, which I’m actually happy to see. It covers the path the cats use to get under the storage house for shelter. Yesterday, I saw cats running over it, and the meltwater was all slush they were splashing through. Getting wet in these temperatures is not a good thing. Thankfully, the space under the storage house seems to stay completely dry, except maybe around some of the edges.

It’s almost noon and -8C/18F as I write this, which is colder than our overnight low. I did find a way to set up the ceramic heater bulb in the sun room, and it does seem to be enough to keep the temperatures in there above freezing. All the seedlings are looking fine.

Warm enough that Potato Beetle has no interest in leaving! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thankfully, he also had no interest in where I’ve got the heat bulb set up, on a small plant stand to keep it elevated off the floor, just in case water gets in. I had some concerns he might knock it over, but he’s completely ignoring it. With his favourite spot on the plant shelf now filled with a bin with kulli corn (it would be too cold for those to germinate, but hopefully, they’ll just remain dormant until it’s warm enough), he’s using the swing bench a lot more. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gotta love that tongue blep!

I was just able to take a quick peek at his leg, and everything seems okay there. I am amused that after escaping the sun room and disappearing for a few days, he just waltzed back in again on his own, and now doesn’t want to leave! Silly boy. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did a bit more shoveling this morning, clearing the sidewalks and patio, and a path to the burn barrel. I started a path to the garage, but stopped when I hit water. The path to the compost pile was mostly clear; just a couple of drifts needed to be broken through. The feeding station and the east side of the house was almost completely blown clear, so no digging was needed there. I ended up leaving extra feed out for the birds and the deer – who were already in the yard, waiting and watching while I cleared a path on the south side of the house, so I could bring the feed out.

We still have water seeping into our basement. I’d set the blower fan facing more towards the new part basement, and the seepage there was slow enough that most of that area was able to dry out. I adjusted the fan so it’s now aimed more towards the opposite corner, where the sump pump is. Any standing water gets swept into the floor drain. Meanwhile, our septic pump continues to be our acting sump pump, getting triggered often with all the water seeping through the drain from the weeping tile under the new part basement. With the old basement regularly getting wet, when we cleaned it out, we made sure elevate everything, or otherwise protect it from water. That has come in handy a few times, with the septic problems we’ve been having. It’s kind of nice to be dealing with clean water instead, for a change!

For those who are newer to this blog, getting the basements cleaned up was a HUGE job. If you’re interested, you can read about it at the following links. All links will open in new tabs.

Clean up: old basement. It begins!
Clean up: old basement. Day 2 progress
Clean up: old basement. Day 3 progress
Clean up: old basement. Mopping and scrubbing
Clean up: old basement progress, and finding things
Clean up: both basements, progress and things we find!
Clean up: old basement progress
Shelving it

Wow. I forgot how long it took to get that job done. And that’s just the old basement. We still had to do the new basement after that.

This place was such a disaster when we moved here. Mind you, it still is, but at least now it’s our disaster, and not 40 years+ of my parents’ disaster. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Re-Farmer

Ghost’s Baby!

We did get a little bit of snow last night. According to the past 24 hr data, we never dipped below 3C/37F. Which means the seedlings in the sun room handled the less severe temperature drop last night just fine, from the looks of it so far.

I had quite a surprise this morning, though.

While setting food and water out for the outside cats, I suddenly heard a very distinctive mewing sound. ALL the cats (only about 7 or 8 this morning) whipped their heads around to look! It took a moment, but I finally spotted Ghost Baby running across the snow by the storage house.

With a kitten in her mouth. A little, dark mewling baby.

Poor thing! It is way to cold and snowy to be having kittens this early.

Last year, I believe she had her kittens under the former workshop that is now stuffed with my parents’ belongings. How many she had – or how many survived – we have no way of knowing. I think one of the ‘iccuses is hers.

I figure she was trying to bring her kitten(s) closer to food, water and more secure shelter by the house. It’s unlikely she’d be bringing them to the cat’s house. The space inside it too big and open, and too many other cats use it. She was headed in the direction of the pump shack, where I know Rosencrantz has had kittens before – though last year she had her kittens in the junk pile near the chain link fence, which is why we now have a kibble tray under the shrine. I don’t think she was actually going for the pump shack, though, but just heading that way because my presence startled her.

We have a shelf by the sun room door with leftover pieces of rigid insulation covering the bottom two shelves, with openings, so that cats can use it as shelter. The “floors” have sheets of insulation, too. They’ve been pretty rough on the insulation across the front, and one side was almost completely broken up and off. It’s unlikely but, just in case, I found some more scraps of insulation and recovered one side, leaving smaller openings into the two bottom shelves. I think the spaces inside might still be too open for the comfort of a mama cat and kittens, and certainly there’s too much foot traffic, but if the adult cats use it, that leaves more hidey holes for mamas.

I did see Ghost Baby again, running into the kibble house to join the others for food. She came from a completely different direction. Another possible location for kittens is the junk pile at the edge of the spruce grove. I supposed I should stop calling it a junk pile, since we’ve cleared off most of the junk and it’s mostly a stack of salvaged boards. Butterscotch has had several litters tucked away under there since we’ve moved here. With Butterscotch now indoors, that leaves some prime real estate open. There’s also the space under the old garden shed, but there’s a lot of snow in the way, and there’s a groundhog den under it now.

With the cold and snow we’ve been having, the chances of any kittens born now surviving are not that good. I think Ghost Baby is a good mama, though, and has found a better place for her litter, however many there may be.

Meanwhile, as I was fussing with the shelf shelter, Potato Beetle got outside again! I let him be while I finished with the shelf, then snagged him back into the sun room. His appointment with the vet is this evening, so we don’t want to loose track of him! He is still favouring the leg, but moving around fairly well. I hope that means the injury is fairly minor. I think mostly we need to just keep him away from the other cats that are beating on him. He’s not the “top dog” anymore.

I think we’ll need to keep an eye outside today, and see what’s going on with Ghost Baby. If we can figure out where she’s put her kitten(s), we can move some food and water trays closer, so she doesn’t have to go all the way to the kibble house. Assuming we can get to where she is, through the snow. :-/

The weather forecasts have, of course, changed. The predicted temperatures are a bit lower, and we’re now supposed to be getting small amounts of both rain and snow over the next few days. Tonight, we were supposed to get sleet, but now it’s saying “ice pellets”. !!!

As long as the roads stay clear and relatively dry. Not only do we have the vet appointment this evening, but I’ve got to go to court tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the judge will see our vandal has no case against me and throw it out, but the way things went with our restraining order application that took a year to finally get settled, it may well just be a 10 minute session to book a new trial date. My brother is taking time off work to be there as my witness, though, so this is a major inconvenience for him. Our vandal is retired, and has all the time in the world for crap like this, so he doesn’t care. :-/

What a pain.

Well, it will be what it will be. Not much I can do about that now.

I’m going to go bake some bread now, and angst about newborn kittens in the cold.

The Re-Farmer

Tired

Oh, cool!

Just as I started writing this, I caught some movement on the security camera live feed. There is currently a deer slowly making it’s way down our driveway.

Contributing to this…

While heading to the driveway cam while doing my morning rounds, I found the driveway filled with deer tracks in the fresh snow.

Right up until the gate.

Just before the gate, the tracks started to disappear, and by the time I reached the gate itself, they were completely gone, covered with windswept snow. What a difference that spruce grove makes!

The outside cats were happy to see me. Their trays were completely empty. Even in the sun room. The heated water bowl was completely dry, and the food containers scattered.

I don’t know how much is the cats and how much might be from the skunk I now see fairly regularly on the security camera, but every morning, the sun room is in disarray. I am inclined to think it’s the cats, because I don’t think the skunks can get up onto the counter shelf, under the bathroom window. We keep all sorts of things on there; too many things, but they’re handy there. One of the things I had on there was an unopened 3 pack of suet for the feeder. Not only did they manage to open up the outside packaging, but the shrink wrap on all three blocks has been torn off, and the suet looks clawed up and chewed on.

So we’re going to have to reorganize that shelf, and find some way to seal up the suet blocks, while still keeping them handy.

They also got into the two new bags of kibble that were sitting on the swing bench. Thankfully, the kibble bin was mostly empty, so I was able to fit both 11kg/24lb bags into the bin.

There was one mystery this morning, though.

With the leaks in the ceiling, I had placed a scrap piece of rigid insulation on top of the feed bin lids. The plastic cracks in the bitter cold, so there are holes in the lids, and I didn’t want to chance water getting into the food. When I go into the bins, I set the sheet aside, but make sure to put it back when I’m done.

It’s gone.

I have no idea where it could be. Since the doors are propped partially open in such a way that they cannot be opened wider – the cats have to squeeze and snake their way around the door frame to get in – and they were still in position, there is no way it got dragged outside. I can see it being pulled out if a cat was digging to get at the bins, but it should have just fallen to the floor in front of the shelf. Even if it landed on another cat or something and got knocked further, there really isn’t a lot of places it could be. But it’s gone! It should be interesting to see where we find it, when we do the clean up later today.

If we find it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m not really looking forward to the job. Partly because I’m still quite tired from yesterday. These trips to the city are really draining, even when they go well. Just being around so many people sucks the energy right out of me.

So yes, there’s that. Another part of it, however, is definitely the weather. Winter is just dragging on and on. We were supposed to be only a degree or so colder than yesterday, when it was actually warm enough to rain (the trail cams both had a layer of ice covering parts of them!). Even as I write this, the forecast it still saying we will be reaching a high of -1C/30F, but it’s noon as I write this, and we’re still at -5C/23F, with a wind chill of -13C/9F. The average high for today, over the past 30 years, is 5C/41F. Though I suppose I should be glad we’re nowhere near the 30 year record cold for today, which is -18C/-0.4F That was set in 2018, which was our first spring here. The record high for today was 15C/59F, set in 2010. In 2001, there was a record snowfall of 77.5mm, or about 3 inches. So we don’t have much to complain about, really but, gosh, it really starts to drag on a body. Especially when it’s so overcast, too. It’s all I can do to stay awake right now.

Another change in the 5 day forecast has happened. Friday (the day after tomorrow) was expected to reach 5C/41F, but now it’s saying we should be reaching 7C/45F.

Considering how often we’ve ended up colder than predicted, I won’t be holding my breath on that.

I’m now seriously considering finding a way to set up a heater in the sun room to use overnight, so we can move our seedlings in there. The overnight temperatures are still too low for seedlings, but we need to start the next batch soon, and there is going to be a lot more that need starting this time. We need the space.

Meanwhile, I’m just feeling so…

Tired.

The Re-Farmer

Still not in the clear

As I write this, it’s coming up on 2pm, and the septic guy has not made it out yet.

I’m happy to say that we did not get any additional flooding in the basement during the night. So far, we can get away with flushing the toilet now and then, and washing our hands, but showers, laundry and doing the dishes are all out. If we do use water, that drain opening in the basement floor does fill a bit, but it’s not overflowing and slowly drains back into the tank again. The septic pump continues to run as usual.

We had a cold night, and the winds were bitterly cold this morning.

It was cold enough to freeze the mud from when the front end loader went through the softer areas. Solid enough that, when I had to drive over it later on, the van didn’t break through the ice at all.

My husband, sweetheart that his is, offered to cover the costs of getting prepared food. His tax return came in yesterday, thankfully. So this morning, I headed into town to pick up a bucket of chicken or something like that, only to find the chicken place wasn’t open yet. In fact, none of the restaurants with take out were open yet. So I went to the grocery store and picked up a bunch of prepared and quick heat foods for the day. The problem right now not being able to do the dishes. We do still have pots and pans to cook with, but nowhere to put dirty dishes anymore.

Note for future: not only do we need an outdoor bathroom in a different location – one that doesn’t collect a lake of meltwater in front of it – but when we build our outdoor kitchen, we need to make sure to have the supplies needed to wash up, then collect and dispose of the dirty water. We do have a few things we can use, if we really get desperate, but they would be quite awkward to work with. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!

After I got back, my daughters took over putting things away and preparing the food while I headed back to the septic tank. I wanted to get the insulated tarp loose, so when the septic guy arrived, he would just need to pull it back and go.

That, of course, turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated.

We were really, really thorough about making sure that tarp couldn’t get blown away.

I ended up having to dig out the far corner as well, which still had a drift of hard packed snow on top.

I forgot we’d used old fence posts across the fold, to weigh it down.

I finally got it so that the tarp can be pulled back to access the cover. Then I returned it and weighed it down with one of the fence posts, until we need to lift it, since we do still need to keep this area insulated!

It would have been much better if it could have been lifted from the other end, away from the house, but it was easier get the tarp out from under the things weighing it down along the house, and breaking up the snow on it, than trying to chip through that layer of ice.

There is a downspout at the corner of the sun room that we put the rain barrel under. The barrel blocks access into the garden quite a bit, so I’ve been thinking of turning the down spout towards the garden, so that the rain barrel can be put around the corner, instead of on the sidewalk in front of the sun room. If we put a high enough platform under it, we’ll also have room for a tap to fill watering cans from the bottom, too. The diverter we use when the barrel is full currently drains near a rose bush in front of the steps to the laundry platform at the clothes line. If we redirect the down spout, it will instead drain into the old kitchen garden. What I want to do is attach a collapsible overflow pipe to the rain barrel, instead, so we don’t have to worry about using the diverter at all. The whole set up will still be in the way of traffic zones, but not as much as it is now.

Now I’m thinking we need to do the same thing with the downspout on the opposite corner, by the septic tank. The ground slopes downwards to the west, but the downspout runs to the north. If we turn it, yes, it’ll be in the way, since it’ll be running across the path we’ve made along the side of the house, but I’m sure we can work around that. Another rain barrel certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. In fact, we could use three more, just for around the house. We will have to make sure they all have overflow drains. I’d like to have a couple more rain barrels at the garage, too, since we have garden beds that way already, and there will be trees and shrubs planted beyond the garage, too. So we’re looking at at least 5 rain barrels, though if we could get a couple of those big water tanks instead, that would be even better.

One of these days, I need to snag my brother and his trailer, and make a trip to the salvage yard in the city. Along with rain barrels, we want to pick up bricks, blocks and pavers, too.

But that’s something to do in the summer, perhaps. Right now, I just want to be able to take a shower and not flood our basement.

The Re-Farmer

Kitty updates, and changed plans

It was another bitterly cold morning today BUT this should be the last day of it. We’ve already warmed up considerably (it’s late afternoon as I write this), and it should keep warming up and stay very mild, well into March.

That will be nice!

I topped up the kibble inside the sun room – then took a hammer to break the layer of ice that had formed at the top of the heated water bowl! Yes, it was on and working, but it is warmed from below. It got so cold last night, the top froze over.

Chadiccus is so done with this cold!

I got some updates on the kitties the Cat Lady took.

Nicco and Saffron are doing very well after their visit to the vet. They were found to be quite healthy, for all their tiny size.

The two of them are getting along well, and they are looking to adopt them out together. Which is interesting, since Saffron has been one of the more aggressive ones responsible for the scratches on Nicco’s nose. It’s just the two of them, though, which changes things dramatically.

I let the Cat Lady know that the two of them are only a day apart in age, and that Nicco is Cabbages’ older sister, by a few months. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cabbages, meanwhile, as discovered how to open up drawers! I’m not too surprised, as most of the cats here have figured out how to open most of our cupboards, but we don’t have many drawers they could get into. They’ve shown no interest.

I did warn her about Cabbages’ love of digging in dirt.

They’ve already discovered that, apparently, and have had to lock their spider plant in another room!

I should send her a picture of the cage we had to build around the smaller jade tree.

Gosh, Cabbages is looking so great!! Hard to believe she came so close to dying, and all the other vets were recommending euthanasia!

If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser to reimburse the cat lady for Cabbagesโ€™ vet bills, click on the button below, or click here. If you would like to read more about it, click here.

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This afternoon, I got a phone call from the Cat Lady. She had just gotten off the phone with the organization that’s helping with the cat vet visits and adoptions, and wanted to call me about it right away.

Things are going to be set back for a while.

The vet clinic/hospital we’ve been using is off the list for about a month. Apparently, they’ve been taking in an unusual number of sick cats, and the vet expenses are getting too much. (They run entirely by donations and adoption fees, so the money is always tight.) So no appointments are going to be made there in March, though the Cat Lady is going to look at other towns as possibilities for our cats.

There has also been an issue with one of their fosters. They had taken in kittens that turned out to be sick with something I can’t remember the name of. The kittens were lost, and how the foster has to disinfect their entire home, and the home cannot have any cats in it for at least 30 days, to ensure no other cats catch this. This was one of the fosters lined up to take cats from our place, which obviously is not going to happen for a while.

So it looks like things will be set back at least a month before the next pair of cats goes out.

Which just means nothing much changes for us. As it is, by the time we would be starting on the outside cats… well, the males would be going, but from the activity I’m already seeing outside, there are already new litters on the way. Usually, they start giving birth around the end of April, early May. I don’t even know how many females we have out there anymore, though there are now two fewer, with Butterscotch and Nosencrantz now spayed and indoors.

In other things, I cleared it with the garage, then arranged to have my mother’s car towed in. Much to my surprise, I was asked if I needed a ride in, too! Some drivers are taking passengers now, though masks are still required. I mentioned I have a medical exemption, so I was put on hold while that was looked into. It took so long, she finally just made a note of it on file and left it to the driver.

They don’t wear masks themselves, so I’m not worried about it.

Of course, they had to ask the usual questions, and I just had to laugh out loud when I was asked if I had to isolate. No, I don’t have to isolate. That’s our normal state out here!

After an hour or so, I got an automated call assuring me that no, they had not forgotten about us. Things were just that backed up.

Then I got a call from one of the two companies, telling me that they still hadn’t found an available driver in our area. I reassured them that we were in no hurry; it could even wait until tomorrow. I had just been messaging our mechanic and, while he had the part, he was so busy, he couldn’t be sure when he’d be able to get to the van today.

After updating the garage about the tow, he suggested doing it tomorrow afternoon, instead. So I called CAA back and ended up cancelling the tow for today, and will book it again tomorrow.

I’m glad I double checked with the garage. Otherwise, I might have gone into town with the tow truck, only to have no way to get home again, if the van wasn’t ready today!

I’m actually happier with the switch to tomorrow. It’s supposed to be much warmer than today, and warmer still, on the day after! This should make it safer to drive, and do at least a smaller trip to the city. Thanks to the Cat Lady swinging by yesterday, we have enough dry kibble to last us. She even gave us more canned cat food and some treats! Cat food was the only thing we’ve been running out of, partly due to the stores being out of stock so much.

So that’s more or less worked out.

Not what was planned for the day, but that’s okay. We’re good!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and some things still buried

The bitter cold is still hanging in there. Even with the sun shining so bright and clear, we don’t reach our high of the day until late in the afternoon. Thankfully, the deep freeze is supposed to end today and tomorrow, and then keep warming up as we head into March. I’m not holding my breath on that, since the cold has already been sticking around longer than forecast.

The outside cats have handled things well, with their shelters all over the place, plenty of food and access to warm water.

The winter sown seeds are still buried, though. I just cleared them a bit; any more than that will be done when we’re hauling snow away with the wheelbarrow, so we don’t end up with melted snow draining into the basement.

We ended up leaving the doors to the sun room partly open all night, when we saw cats using the swing bench as a bed. Potato Beetle prefers to eat in here, well away from the main crowd of cats – and an aggressive Distinguished Guest. Agnoos has a liking for the sun room, too.

Plus, sitting on rigid insulation instead of snow must be much nicer on the butt!

The heated water bowl was frozen over, though I’d made sure to turn on the power bar, so I topped it up with some warm water, too.

It wasn’t until I uploaded this picture of Broccoli, peaking at me, that I suddenly remembered something.

When I took the set up on the mini-greenhouse frame off, I had unplugged the power bar.

I never plugged it back in.

Yeah, that might explain the heated water bowl not working!

It’s plugged in now. ๐Ÿ˜€

Meanwhile, I’ve heard from the Cat Lady today. She sent me pictures of a very roly poly and healthy looking Cabbages, snuggled up with her daughter.

They watch cat videos together.

*melt*

Yeah, I’m thinking Cabbages might not be going anywhere else. She is quite bonded with Tiny Human!

At the time I’m writing this, both Nicco and Saffron should be recovering from surgery. The cat lady promised to let me know how they did. She’ll be swinging by here today to drop off kibble for us, so we’ll probably get updated then.

If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser to reimburse the cat lady for Cabbagesโ€™ vet bills, click on the button below, orย click here. If you would like to read more about it,ย click here.

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This morning turned out to be a busy phone morning. At least by our standards. ๐Ÿ˜€ My husband had phoned in a prescription refill to be delivered today, so I called for my own refill, only to discover they had no refills left on file. Just last month, they’d had to fax my doctor to get more refills, and for some reason, he’d only added another 30 days.

So while they faxed the clinic again, I called them up. The receptionist figured my doctor wanted me to come in, and could I do that this morning?

Uhm. No. Even if we had transportation, they’re a 45 minute drive away.

When I explained we had no transportation, she set up a phone appointment for me, for late this morning.

That done, I tried to move on to other things, only to have the phone ring again.

It was a Jehovah’s Witness lady that calls every now and then. Normally, I don’t have any problem chatting with her, but had to cut it short this time.

Then my mother phoned, just 10 minutes before the doctor was supposed to call me!

Normally, our phone rings maybe once every week or two. ๐Ÿ˜€

The call with the doctor went well. He did want me to get some blood work done. I told him we have no transportation right now, so I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to come in. They no longer fax requisitions to other labs, so no chance of getting it done closer. Which is fine. Whenever we have wheels again, I can go in at any time, pick the requisition up at the reception desk, then turn around to the lab across the room.

I think I’ll wait until after March 15, when our province is supposed to finally open up completely.

Which has nothing at all to do with the trucker protests. Nope. Not at all…

We’ll see if it actually happens or not.

Hopefully, our van will be ready for pick up tomorrow. I want to contact the garage again to make sure they have the space for my mother’s car before I arrange a tow. Then I have to figure out how to get there myself, to pick up our van.

I really look forward to having transportation again!!

The Re-Farmer

Still cold out there!

Man, am I looking forward to the backside of February.

I’m sure the cats are, too, in their own kitty way! Not a lot of them out and about this morning. Bright and sunny, but a very chill wind.

I’ve been leaving the sun room doors open while I do the morning rounds. After removing the frame of the mini-greenhouse, we no longer have anywhere for the heat bulb or light, but I went ahead and turned the power bar on for the heated water bowl again. I swept up the area a bit, poured the remaining kibble into one of the old ice cream buckets we store in there, then lay the sheets of rigid insulation on the floor again.

Potato Beetle may not want to be kept in the sun room anymore, but he was the first one to dash in when the doors opened.

Then started eating kibble out of the floor sweepings, instead of the bucket.

*sigh*

He did eventually start eating not-dirty kibble, but sheesh! ๐Ÿ˜€

Agnoose and Tuxedo Mask are quite happy to go into the sun room, too. The box nests we made in the shelf by the window are still there, and they made themselves at home in the sun spots. So I left the doors slightly open when I finished my founds and came back inside. We can close them after the cats leave on their own. ๐Ÿ™‚

With the really long fall we had, one thing we missed doing before the snow finally arrived, was putting the insulation back between the doors. With the door in the dining room, we would just put them in between the main door and the storm door, and leave it. With the main entry door, we’d attached the insulation to the inner door with self-adhesive Velcro strips. Some of them kept falling off, though, and we never found a satisfactory substitute. With the inner door breaking at the hinges and frame, we simply don’t use it right now.

This is the dining room door.

The loop of paracord is attached to the outer door, which would sometimes pop open. It allowed us to let the cats look out the window, and not worry the door would fly open and they’d get outside.

The main entry door just has some frost in one bottom corner.

This is actually a lot less than what we had during our first winter here!

At some point, both doors, and frames, will need to be replaced with proper exterior doors. The main entry first, of course. I was going to get an estimate from the company that installed the new windows the summer before we moved in, but I haven’t been able to find them. Even the sign they had on the highway is gone. I fear they were one of the many small businesses that disappeared, due to the government restrictions. I would prefer not to go with one of the big franchises, but they seem to be the only ones left.

In other things, I’ve been in contact with the cat lady today. She is going to swing by tomorrow with some kibble for us! We’re running low, and have no way to go pick up more. She’ll drop off an extra cat carrier, too, for the next time we bring cats to the vet that she will pick up for adopting out. It turns out she had all these bags just sitting in her garage. She was able to coupon them for 27 cents each. !!! But her own cats won’t eat it. They only eat the $80 a bag stuff. Which is what Cabbages is eating now, too. I also found out that they are vegetarians! She buys all sorts of chicken and cooks it for the cats, but they only eat fish, themselves.

Wow!

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I also finally heard back from the garage about the van. I completely forgot that yesterday was a statutory holiday, and he was closed. He’ll be able to do the van earlier, and has ordered the part today.

Now we just have to figure out how to get there to pick up the van when it’s ready. Since we have to tow my mother’s car in, we could potentially have arranged it for the same day, and gotten a ride in with the tow truck, but they don’t allow passengers anymore.

We’ll figure it out. I do miss living in a free country, though. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Yesterday, the House of Commons voted in favour of the Emergency Measures Act – with no end date! Not a surprise, since the NDP were going to support it, no matter what their constituents wanted, nor how many laws are broken. It’s now up to the Senate. I’m told they’re supposed to vote on it today.

If you’re the praying sort, place pray for Canada. We need all the divine intervention we can get right now.

The Re-Farmer

Well, I pulled a dumb

But first, the fun stuff.

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz are still being kept apart in my bedroom/office (which is about twice the size of the sun room they just spent 2 weeks in), but we are allowing some of the more chill cats in and introducing them.

Nosencrantz will sometimes hiss at cats when they come too close, but not always. Lots of tentative sniffing going around. Then I put Nosencrantz next to David, and she lay down beside him, all snuggled up, for a while.

David is a favourite snuggle cat. It’s not unusual to find two or three other cats using him as a pillow, or mashed up against him.

Butterscotch, on the other hand, has discovered the laundry basket bed in the corner of my closet, and moved right in. The few times she’s come out, she’s tucked herself under a chair and snarled at any cat that comes into view. Which seems to confuse the other cats, because they typically didn’t even notice her until she made noise. However, if I am petting her as they go by, she is fine and even allows some sniffing to happen.

The forecast we had for things to slightly warm up turned out to be completely wrong. Early this morning, we hit -40C/-40F, and that was without the wind chill. So I waited until things “warmed up” to -27C/-17F before I headed outside. I hoped the cats would stay in their shelters longer if I did that, but no. They were outside, waiting for me, when I came out! They are made of sturdier stuff than I am!

Nutmeg is tired of winter, too!

I got word back from our mechanic about our van. It’s going to need a new alternator and, after taxes, we’re looking at close to $600. So that’s going to have to wait until the end of the month, and we’ll have to juggle our budget to pay for it. Until then, we will thankfully be able to use my mother’s car.

This morning, I decided to move it from the addition on the garage it gets parked in, and into the main garage area where the van is usually parked. Where her car is, the doors don’t open well, one of them is breaking, and it barely fits. We pull in closer to the inner wall, which means if I have a passenger, they have to get out before hand, because the door can’t open. The outer wall has shelving and a counter against it. I park at a bit of an angle, so that I can open the driver’s door enough to get out comfortably, without the door hitting the edge of the counter. If we have anything to unload in the back seat, it has to be unloaded before doing into the garage.

Which is a distraction that can lead to forgetfulness.

After clearing the snow and opening the doors, I discovered I made a dumb.

I forgot to plug in the car.

No surprise that it wouldn’t start.

I plugged it in, then continued clearing in front of the garage. It’s just light snow, but not something I want to build up.

Because we are now getting blizzard warnings, too!!!

Today is Thursday. Apparently, it’s supposed to start snowing tonight, and keep snowing through Saturday, when it’s supposed to warm up to -12C/10F, and get as much as 10cm/4in of snow.

*sigh*

Before heading inside, I tried starting my mother’s car again. It sounded better, but still wouldn’t start, and I didn’t want to push it. It sounds like the battery is frozen. My mother’s car has a block heater, battery warmer and trickle charger, so it should just need a bit of time. I’ve left the south facing doors open, so that the sun can warm up the black car a bit, and will try again later.

I can’t believe I forgot to plug it in. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

This is not a minor thing.

Years ago, while living in BC, my husband and I rented a car to surprise the family with a Christmas visit. The rental car didn’t have a block heater; no rental place we called had cars with block heaters. We stopped for the night in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, when temperatures plummeted to -61F/-78F with the wind chill. Much to our surprise, it started in the morning, but broke down soon after we reached the highway. This was in the days before cell phones, so my husband got out to walk for help. Stupid dangerous, but he got picked up by a tow truck. We spent another 3 days in Swift Current, waiting for the car to thaw out in a garage, before finally taking the train the rest of the way. We eventually learned that the engine block had cracked in the cold.

Thankfully, we haven’t hit temperatures that severe, but it can still do damage. And with the van at the garage in town already, this is our only transportation.

After coming back in and talking about it with my husband, he told me something I hadn’t known. My FIL had forgotten to plug in his car, the night my MIL had a brain aneurism, shortly after New Year’s. They didn’t live far from the hospital, but the car wouldn’t start, and he had to wait for an ambulance. Given the circumstances, it would have made no difference if he’d gotten her to the hospital sooner, but for a long time after that, in the winter my FIL would regularly ask my husband if he remembered to plug in our vehicle.

This is not something to take lightly. Especially when living as relatively isolated as we do, now.

I will give it a bit more time, then try and start it again. I’m supposed to go into town to pick up some things at the grocery store today. Before the blizzard hits! We’re running low on cat food again.

*sigh*

February is always the hardest month of winter. Everyone is so tired of the cold and snow by then. This year, we had those few really warm days that teased us with hints of spring. Looking at the long range forecast, immediately after the blizzard is done, temperatures are supposed to drop again, then slowly get milder through into March.

Which would be nice, if it happens.

The Re-Farmer

God Bless good neighbours!

There is most definitely a plus to not closing our gate anymore, to avoid having it freeze shut again.

Our angel with a front end loader showed up yesterday! What a beautiful sight!

With the temperatures, no one went out while he was still here, but I did make sure to send a note to the renter to pass on our thanks. Like many others, they were pretty snowed in, too. Having that front end loader sure makes a difference, though! Their kids were home; school was cancelled, and the buses haven’t been running for days anyhow, due to icy road conditions. Plus a shortage of drivers. I don’t know if that’s because the drivers are snowed in at their homes, too, or if they just don’t have as many employed right now. Could well be both!

The driver even made the area in front of our person gate wider. I think he could see, by the tracks in the snow from the tow truck, that the area in front is used, and where space is needed for turning around.

The cats are loving it! After the front end loader was done, I could see on the security camera, cats running around and playing all over the plowed areas! They were having a blast!

This morning, after feeding the critters, I started a bit of shoveling, including clearing part of the snow ridge in front of the people gate, where we unload the van. I couldn’t stay out for too long. I hadn’t put toe warmers on this morning, and my boots that are supposed to be rated to -40C/-40F… aren’t. ๐Ÿ˜€ The girls and I will head out later in the day to clear the paths. I’m just so grateful that the big job is done. Yes, we couldn’t have gotten out with my mother’s car, but this makes life so much easier!

The kitties were looking pretty miserable when they came out for kibble! As you can see by the nose in the window, they were eager to get back into shelter, once they had their fill of kibble and warm water! I do wish I’d been able to catch the death glare I was getting from Caramel, who is drinking water in the above photo. I think she is going to be a very happy camper, once we manage to catch her and she gets placed into a forever home – indoors!

This is what the temperature was like shortly after I got back inside – and still is now, as I am writing this! The -28C/-18F is bang on, but I’m happy to say we weren’t getting that -36C/-33F wind chill. The wind may be coming from the south, which we normally have issues with, it’s only 9 kmh/5 1/2 mph, and what trees and outbuildings we have on the south side are enough to reduce that. Still, it wasn’t a good morning to be out there for very long, that’s for sure!

The 14 day forecast is looking pretty good, though more snow is on the way. On Sunday – tomorrow – we’re expecting less than 5cm/2in, but on Tuesday, they’re predicting another 5-10cm/2-4in, then another 2-4cm/1-2in starting late Thursday and into Friday. I know so many people who are even more snowed in than we have been. Many have the equipment to dig their way out, but they’re running out of room for all the piled up snow! It takes my old brother, who lives closer to the city, 4 hours to clear his driveway with his snow blower. My sister’s husband uses their tractor and it takes him 2 hours, though for where they are, it’s generally a longer wait for their roads to be plowed, so it only gets them so far.

I’m liking the sight of warmer temperatures in the forecast, but the warmer weather also tends to bring more moisture – and more snow!

As much as we needed that precipitation, we have enough, now. ๐Ÿ˜€

The Re-Farmer