Winter doesn’t want to let go

We are slowly coming out of what should be the last bitterly cold night of the winter. Last night, we dipped to at least -33C/-27F, with wind chills in the -40’s C/F The sun room, however, never seem to get much colder than -10 to -15C (14 to 5F).

The cattens took full advantage of that.

My husband got this picture through the bathroom window last night. From what I can see, there is only one adult in the pile; Broccoli.

As I write this, we’re coming up on 9am. My desktop’s weather app says we are at -28C/-18F still, with a wind chill of -38C/-36F The app on my phone, however, says we’ve warmed up to -26C/3F with a wind chill of -33C/-27F We should warm up a few degrees before I have to try starting my mother’s car. She and I spoke on the phone last night and already talked about rescheduling her appointment, if I don’t think her car would be safe to drive.

While getting bundled up before doing the outside cat stuff, I noticed something that is a first since we’ve moved here.

There is frost on the doorknob of the main entry door! We do have a sheet of insulation between the doors, but it doesn’t cover about 8 inches on the knob side of the door. We’ve got frost on the bottom, and on the windows, but I’ve never seed frost on the doorknob like this before. Not even last winter, when we didn’t insulate the door at all, since the hinges were a problem and we didn’t want to open it if we could avoid it.

I just realized that’s quite the reflection of me with my parka tucked under my arm! 😄

I had another surprise as I fought my way past the barricade of cattens under the old kitchen doors to feed them. Several of them were wanting to get into the old kitchen (which is colder than the sun room right now!), including one of the tabbies. We have several tabbies among the babies this year and, so far, only Judgement, a brown tabby, has been socialized.

This baby?

I got to pet him.

And I don’t mean just sneaking a pet while he (or she) was eating, only to have him run away. Nope.

After filling a couple of kibble trays, he was still spinning around at my feet, so I started petting him. He was a bit startled, looked at me in shock – then started pushing his head against my hand for more pets!

After that, food was more interesting, but I’m just amazed!

Also… I’m not sure who’s baby this is. We have a dark grey tabby that’s got a bit of white on him, and we have one that’s almost a black tabby, also with a bit of white on him. There’s also a big, fully grey tabby with more spotty markings from the oldest litter that I haven’t seen around for a while. This tabby is smaller.

I’m so losing track of all the cats, but…

Is this a new one?

Unlikely, but possible. The only reason I even suspect it’s a new cat is because I was able to pet it!

I didn’t even try to do a head count. Even the brief time I was outside the sun room was brutal.

Ah, the irony. My husband got me an early Valentine’s Day gift – heated gloves. They arrived at the post office, yesterday. I didn’t dare drive either of the vehicles to get the mail, so I’m leaving early to do it before going to my mother’s.

I’m going to have heated gloves, just in time for the end of the bitter cold!

The Re-Farmer

Keeping warm!

We have been so spoiled by the mild winter we’ve had so far!

As I write this, it’s coming up on noon, and we have warmed up to -28C/-18F but the wind chill has gotten colder, at -40C/F (it’s the came in both Celsius and Fahrenheit at that point!). It’s bright and sunny out there, with clear skies. As I look out my window while writing this, I don’t see even a light breeze in the trees, but it doesn’t take much to drive the wind chill down at these temperatures.

When I went into the sun room this morning, the wall thermometer was at about -18C/0F, while outside it was at about -31C/-24F. I had made sure to top up the heated water bowl in the sun room yesterday the evening, and it was a bit less than half full this morning – with a sheet of ice starting to form on the surface! When unfastening the cord holding the doors propped open, just enough for the cats to squeeze in and out, I had to be careful not to touch the metal door handle for long with my bare hands. Tending to the outside cats was all I did out there this morning. The trail cams are probably frozen. With the sign cam, which is batteries only, it typically stops recording when the batteries get too cold, but starts up again as they warm up. It has fresh batteries, so it should be good. The solar powered trail cam is still on its first set of batteries, and they’re still showing as 100%. It’s in full sun, so it should actually be warmer than ambient temperature (the images include a temperature display, and it’s internal temperature is always at least a few degrees higher than the actual temperature). How it does in these temperatures will be the ultimate test for it. If it does well, we will be getting more like it, to replace the older ones that are starting to glitch out more often. We won’t be able to get the exact same camera, as they are no longer available, but there is a new version from the same company.

There was no way I was going out there to switch out the memory cards, though. Not today!

I didn’t even try for a head count with the outside cats, but the last I looked out the bathroom window, the swing bench was covered by a mass of multicoloured fur!

Even the inside cats are feeling it. Though I turned down the thermostat a bit, the furnace has been going almost constantly. That vibrating noise is sometimes there, mostly not. Of course, most of our heat vents has a cat on it. While tending the greenhouse aquarium, Fenrir wouldn’t even wait for me to put everything back before she was trying to climb onto the light fixtures – which were one on top of the other at the time! Once they were in place again, she settled right in.

Belly warmer!

She looks like such a Sphinx in that pose!

Beep Beep was also quick to climb on. Fenrir is actually looking at her, out of frame, sitting on the end of the fixture, trying to figure out why Fenrir is in her spot!

Those fixtures stay nice and toasty, and the more agile cats take full advantage of that.

That, and body heat. Especially upstairs. The girls have their heaters going, and usually several cats each, curled up against them all night long!

Meanwhile, I popped onto Facebook this morning, and saw a friend post a screencap of her weather app. At 8am, she was at 19C/66F.

She’s also just moved to Puerto Vallarta.

After living in the Yukon for several years.

Funny. I find I know an awful lot of Canadians who have either moved permanently South, or are planning to do so over the next year or two!

Days like today, I find myself thinking that sounds like a pretty good idea!

The Re-Farmer


I just got off the phone to cancel the vet appointment this morning.

By the time I was done, the temperature had actually dropped even further. Our van just isn’t safe in these temperatures.

The clinic’s answering service doesn’t take messages, so I had to wait until they opened to call and cancel. The receptionist had no issues with such a short notice cancelation. She had troubles herself this morning!

We will wait until the cold snap breaks, then book another appointment. Thankfully, grandma hasn’t been pawing at her face or making those glancing noises of late. We still want to check her out, but it’s not any emergency.

The forecast was wrong again. I just wish it were wrong in the other direction!

The Re-Farmer

Bitter cold, and it’s the little things that are going to do us in!

I am SO glad I was able to get the big shop done yesterday!

The temperatures were expected to go down over the next while, but still be just below average. Of course, the forecasts change constantly it still wasn’t by much.

Yeah, well… this is what we were at this morning.

Just in case the image isn’t loading for you, just after 8 this morning, we were at -31C/-24F, with a wind chill of -41C/-42F Our high of the day is still supposed to be -20C/-4F, which is actually our 30 year average low for the day, but the record low is -36C/-33F, so it’s still well within the norm. Will we actually warm up that much by this afternoon? I sure hope so, because we need to go into town! As it is, I cut my morning rounds down as much as I could, basically just making sure the outside cats had food and warm water, and that was pretty much is. I only counted 19 this morning. Most were in the sun room, but the ones outside were actually dancing around with their paws from the cold!

I’m really not looking forward to tomorrow morning. We have a vet appointment at 8:30 am, and it’s supposed to be about -28C/-18F at that time. Any wind chill on top of that will be brutal. We’ll be using the van for this trip because, for all the problems it has, it still handles the cold better than my mother’s car.

Speaking of handling problems, I finally got tired of one annoyance last night and did something about it.

I added string lights near my door.

This corner has the door to the old basement, and the door to my office/bedroom, and it is always really dark. It’s not too bad during the day but at night, even with string lights around the mirror hanging opposite my bedroom door, it is ridiculously dark. Usually, that results in tripping over or stepping on a cat at my door when I try to go in. Yesterday, it was an annoyance when I kept having to go into the old basement to check on things.

Also, those stairs really, really suck. And not just because my knees are shot.

The set of string lights I had on our Advent wreath got missed when the Christmas decorations were put away, so I added batteries and taped it around the basement door. It’s bright enough that I can now see the door handles, and even grey or black cats on the grey mat under my door (to protect the floor from their scratching).

As for why I kept having to go into the basement: noises.

Too many out of place noises.

Our well pump, every now and then, makes a vibrating noise when it starts. Of course, it stops by the time I get down to check it, and everything looks fine, but it really bothers me. At least it doesn’t make the grinding noise it used to. We have figured out that it would do that when too much water was being used at once, such as if the water for the shower was turned on too full. The pressure tank was being emptied faster than the pump could refill it, so it would start grinding. It means less water pressure while we are taking a shower, but that’s a small thing compared to burning out our pump and losing water completely. The vibrating noise is something else, though, and I can’t tell if it’s coming from the pump or the pipes to the tanks. Nothing has changed down there, though, so there is no obvious reason for it to start making that noise. It also seems to be a winter/cold weather thing, but I have no way to tell.

The pump has been going off more often, too. Even when no one is using the water, I would hear it start up. Some nights, I’ll be awakened because it’s turning on again. I’m the only one who can hear it, since my husband sleeps with a CPAP, which makes just enough noise to drown most things out, and the girls are on the second floor.

The problem is usually the toilet.

Ultimately, though, the source of the problem is our water. It is so full of iron and minerals, it’s messing things up. We’ll need to get a plumber in to fix the bathtub taps because the build up is getting so bad, the hot water tap leaks, even if only the cold water it turned on! When the plumber was here to clear the drain to the septic tank for us, he did take a quick look to give us an estimate, and he thinks he can fix it, rather than have to replace it, but we’d have to take off and replace the tub surround, since that’s the only way to access the taps.

It’s the toilet that is having more problems now. There must be quite a buildup inside the refill hose, as hardly any water flows through it, and it’s taking longer and longer for the tank to refill. The entire inside, which is lined with Styrofoam insulation, is coated with iron, which is also interfering with the flap. Sometimes, after flushing, the flap doesn’t seal right, so the tank keeps draining about as fast as the water is flowing to refill it, so the tank simply doesn’t fill. Unless someone happens to use the bathroom soon after and notices it – because there isn’t enough water to flush! – it’ll keep going for hours. Which is how I end up being awakened by the well pump going off repeatedly during the night! All that needs to be done is to give the lever a wiggle; the flap will settle in place and the tank will finally start filling. Looking at the parts and pieces, though, what I’d really like to do is simply replace all the innards. It’s all so coated with iron and minerals, that would probably be the best way to not just solve a couple of small problems, but keep them from happening again for a long time.

Which leads me to another little problem we’ve been having, thanks to our water quality.

The bathroom sink.

This still has the original tap and faucet set, from the mid 70’s or so. When the water flow starts to get bad, we usually just unscrew a piece from the faucet, give the parts a scrub, then put it back. If it’s really bad, we’ll soak the pieces in CLR for a while. The problem just kept coming back faster in between cleanings, though, and getting worse.

Last night, I had the pieces soaking in CLR again, but when I put them back, the flow was even worse than before the soak and scrub. I gave it some extra scrubbing, but that made things worse again, not better. I tried clearing the openings more directly but, again, it just got worse. When I put it back in place and almost no water could go through anymore, I had to do something more drastic! I took the part in question (I don’t know what it’s called) over to my craft table and tried to clear the holes with a pin. Which worked on one side, but not the other.

After much fighting with it, I managed to separate the pieces.

The grey piece at the top of the picture wasn’t too hard to clean. Especially when I was eventually able to get out the two other pieces inside. It was all so full of rust and gunk, each layer needed to be cleaned before I could get the next one out. The openings are large enough, the T pin I was using had no problem clearing them of scale and rust.

The real problem was the green piece.

The conical part you can see, with the fine mesh of holes, was still clogged. The holes on the bottom are even smaller, much fewer, and barely visible. I cleared them with a pin as best I could, but it was just not working well.

Eventually, I did get it to the point that the conical part started spinning around. Only then could I figure out where the pieces came apart. After much fussing – and the use of a tiny screwdriver – I was finally able to pop the conical part off.

Well, no wonder we were having problems!

Note that this is AFTER multiple soaks in CLR.

After wiping them down, I set the conical part aside to soak in CLR again, while I used the pin to clear the holes in the other part – holes that are much larger on the inside than the outside! Eventually, I got it to the point that I could see through all the holes when I held it up to the light. Not all the holes you see in the photo go all the way through. There’s just the circle of holes around the outer edge, plus another circle of holes half way to the centre.

Then I took the pin and cleared every last hole in the conical part.

By the time I was done and everything was put back together, it was 2am.

One of my daughters happened to be using the bathroom, so she put the newly cleaned part back together with the other parts and screwed it all back into the faucet for me.

Then we stood there and watched in awe over how much water was flowing through, as we let it run to make sure there was no CLR residue left. It hasn’t flowed this well in decades!

Now, if we could just get the toilet tank parts to flow as well!

At least this was a small thing we could take care of ourselves. There’s another new thing that is stressing me out.

The furnace has started making noises.

Of course, with this cold, the furnace is turning on more often, and staying on longer. This house is not very efficient, either, so we lose heat quickly. For all the time the furnace is on, the upstairs is still very cold. There’s only one heat vent for the entire second floor, and the girls have not noticed any real difference since the roof was done. Ah, well. It would have been nice!

Last night, I kept hearing the furnace turn on and start making a strange vibrating noise which – like the well pump – would stop by the time I hobbled my way down the basement stairs to check it.

I ended up turning the thermostat down, so at least the furnace would turn on less frequently, and not stay running as along. Oddly, after I did that, the vibrating noise seems to have stopped completely! Which doesn’t make any sense at all.

What we need to do is get someone to come in and give it a check, and do any maintenance stuff it needs. The problem is, we need to set aside funds for a replacement vehicle. Funds that would normally cover the cost of such irregular expenses. It becomes a battle of priorities over the dwindling “unallocated funds” part of our budget, since rising costs for everything else keeps chipping away at that, too.

It’s all these little things that are going to do us in. The well pump. The septic. The furnace. The taps. The toilet. The lights. The outlets. etc. All these accumulative things. Yes, it’s an old house. This sort of thing must be expected. Especially since there’s very little of this that we can do ourselves, and our resources are so limited.

So we try to focus on the stuff we do have control over, and juggle the budget to find ways to pay people to come in for the stuff we don’t.

The crazy thing is, a significant portion of these problems are caused by our water. It’s simply to loaded with iron and minerals. What I’d like to do is add a filter to the line going into the well pump. A simple filter would extend the life of all sorts of things! There are types that can be cleared without having to open it up to change filters, which would require re-priming the pump. Adding a filter is not going to be done until the pump is replaced, and we’ve already had three plumbers not want to do that (my brother already bought a new pump and all the fittings) due to the risk of the foot valve, at the bottom of the well, disintegrating and losing our water completely. That would turn a job of a few hundred dollars into a job of several thousand dollars, because of the set up we have, and the lack of availability of parts we would need. The valve itself is cheap. It’s all the other stuff that would have to be done to get to it that gets expensive!

Yup. It’s all those little things. They sure do add up!

The Re-Farmer

Cold, but beautiful, and a vet trip booked

The temperatures dropped quite a lot overnight, and it was still -22C/-8C when I headed out this morning. It was, however, a bright and sunny morning, with no wind, making it quite pleasant out!

And quite beautiful!

Tomorrow, we’re expected to have one last “warm” day, with a high of -10C/14F. A brief respite on the day my husband and I are going for our doctor appointments – if we don’t get rescheduled again! – before we start getting hit with a cold streak. Depending on where I look, we’ll have about a week with highs colder than -20C/-4F before things start warming up again. Which is still warmer than it has been, the past couple of winters, so I’m not complaining! The cats and cattens are certainly using the sun room more often again. I counted 24 this morning. 😊

It is an inside cat that we are concerned about right now. Our grandma cat, who moved out here with us, is behaving strangely. At first, we thought she had something stuck in the back of her throat. She would make glakking noises and paw at her face. Then she stopped doing it, so I figured whatever was bugging her had worked itself loose and she was fine.

Except, it turns out she’s still be doing it. I just haven’t been around her to hear it.

Last night, my husband called me over because she was sounding really bad while in his room, but had just run off. I found her and tried to take a look – and found blood on one of her front paws! With the help of a daughter, I was able to wash her paw – she did NOT want to be held for this! – but there was no injury on her paw. We tried looking into her mouth, but she didn’t like that, either. Still, from what we could see, there was no injury or blood there, either.

So this morning, I called the vet, hoping to get her booked for Saturday. My husband’s smaller CPP Disability comes in on Friday, so I’ll be in the city for a much needed Costco trip. They were fully booked on Saturday, but we were able to get a Sunday appointment – for 8:30am. Thank goodness this vet is relatively close! After I described what was going on, they did offer us an appointment for tonight, but we just don’t have the extra funds for a vet trip until disability comes in. To be honest, now that we’re going to start making “car payments” so we can get a replacement vehicle before next winter, we really can’t afford any vet trips, but we’ll manage. I’m hoping it’s something relatively minor – something stuck in her throat that can be pulled out and she’ll be fine. Worst case scenario… well. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Since bringing in Butterscotch and Beep Beep from outside, we’ve got three grandmas in the house. Unfortunately, that means we can probably expect more health problems to crop up.

We’ll just deal with things as they come, and do the best we can.

The Re-Farmer

A Cold Christmas Eve!

Today is Christmas Eve. In our family, we celebrate our non-traditional Christmas Wigilia feast today, after the first star shines. I have a terrible habit of starting the turkey too early, though, so I’m keeping myself busy writing this, before I go spatchcock the turkey. We had gotten to enjoy brining the turkey in the past, leaving it to sit in the brine using our largest stock pot and leaving it in the old kitchen overnight.

It’s just too darn cold in there, and since I’ve discovered spatchocking is much easier than I thought it would be, we are quite enjoying doing it that way!

But first, the cute things update!

Walnut has settled right in. I now have three cats to fight over for my office chair!

Things were a lot calmer last night, and I actually got some sleep. It wasn’t until about 5am that the noises started. The bitty tabby (we need to come up with a name for that one!) was wandering around, squeaking. I was eventually able to gently catch it and hold it close. It does NOT want human attention, but even though it clearly wanted down, it did start purring as a cuddled it and pet it.

I got a message from the Cat Lady last night. She had gotten home from a long drive, delivering Plushy and Princess to their forever home. They settled right in! I can’t post the picture she sent me, but they were both curled up on the crossed legs of their new human, lounging and stretched out, like it was nothing new or strange at all.

Heading out this morning was definitely something I had to work myself up to.

This is the temperature after I was done; -26C/-15F with a wind chill of -42C/-44F I don’t even try to switch the memory card on the sign cam right now. The batteries would be frozen, anyhow. I did do the gate cam, though. We definitely need to get more of this solar powered type. The batteries on that still read 100%. It’s being powered entirely by solar – though it does need clearing of frost or snow, frequently! If this were one of they kinds where the solar panel charges rechargeable batteries (which many trail cams specifically say not to use) instead, it’d be dead right now.

I’ve been making a point of putting out most of the kibble in the sun room instead of outside these days, with various impromptu containers scattered around, so as many cats can eat at the same time as possible in there. I’ve also been topping up their food in there more often, and adding hot water to the frozen water bowl, to melt the ice and they can drink without having to go outside.

When I went outside, I found there was still kibble on the roof of the cat house – no surprise they don’t want to eat there right now! – but there was also a surprising amount in the kibble house trays. The trays under the water bowl shelter, however, were empty. They seem to prefer eating under there, which I am surprised by. There’s little to cut the wind under there, but it is a less open space, I suppose. I find myself wondering if we should modify the kibble house to make a “second floor” across the middle. That would enclose the kibble trays more and give them more of a sense of security, and we could maybe even add more kibble trays to the top, so more cats can fit in there and not be fighting over space around the food.

Something to think about, for the summer.


While the large water bowl had its usual crown of frost around the edges, the small one was completely frozen across the top.

The bowl is still working; there was plenty of liquid water underneath, but the cats couldn’t get at it!

So I took this bowl and set it up in the sun room, where I could plug it in. There’s no outlet in the sun room, so we have extension cords going through the window from the old kitchen. Usually, I use the two outdoor power cords, one of which powers the cat house, and the other powers the ceramic heat bulb in the sun room, but there’s also a household extension cord that was here when we moved in. It was run up and around the door frame, and I’ve been using it to charge my baby chainsaw (battery powered pruner). That puts the water bowl well away from food bowls, but that’s okay. Plus, I still topped up the broken heated water bowl, which just had ice in it.

I did see flashes of the little soot sprite. I’m afraid my last attempt to catch the tuxedo bitty has made him even more nervous to come out when I’m in the room. Normally, I’d try to lure it with treats or wet cat food, but with so many other cats around, that can’t really work. I’d be fighting off too many other cats!

Well, it’s supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We’re supposed to have a high of -17C/1F. After that, things are expected to keep warming up, though not as much as earlier forecasts were predicting before. It’ll still be almost balmy, compared to today. The yard cats will likely be running around outside a lot more, so I hope that will give more opportunity to catch the bitty tuxedo – and maybe Broccoli! Yes, they’re old enough to wean, but it would be so great to reunite them with their mama!

Well, it’s time to start getting things set up for tonight. It’s going to be a very quiet Christmas, with just the four of us, and I’m quite happy with that.

I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may 2023 be a year of peace and joy for you all!

The Re-Farmer

It could be worse!

The temperatures are pretty brutal out there right now, but we are very fortunate where we are. We aren’t getting any weather warnings, for starters. Western Canada is being absolutely blasted with extreme cold right now. Eastern Canada has their own weather warnings, though not as cold. Here, in the middle, we’re in a gap of almost mild temperatures.

Speaking of which…

Can you believe this?

I took this screen cap of the weather app that came with my computer, just a little while ago. We’re at -22C/-8F, with a wind chill of -30C/-22F I was definitely feeling that wind chill while doing my rounds, and actually skipped switching out the memory card on the sign came. Because my parents planted tall trees close to the house, rather than along the fence line, there is far less protection from the wind once I start crossing the old garden area. The lilac hedge and few trees that are there do help, but not that much.

I made sure to start the van and let it run for a while, while doing the rest of my rounds, though.

What’s unbelievable, though, is the forecast for around New Year’s. According to this app, not only are we going to warm up, but actually reach highs of 1C/34F!

I actually don’t believe it. My phone’s AccuWeather app says we’re going to reach -7C/19F around New Year’s. I think that will be more likely!

Still, that’s really incredible and, according to the AccuWeather website, which has extremely long range forecasts, what we’re getting now is almost the coldest we’ll get for the rest of the winter. There’s a few days they’re predicting will hit -22C/8F again, but not cold snaps that last days, like we’re in right now.

When I was looking at the Farmer’s Almanac forecast for this winter, they were predicting some areas getting brutal cold, while others having a mild winter. From their map, we were in a sort of in between area that could go either way. It’s starting to look like the Farmer’s Almanac was pretty spot on, and that we lucked out by getting the milder temperatures this year.

After the last couple of winters, I consider that a huge blessing!

It’s still pretty fekkin’ cold, though.

The large heated water bowl gets a thick ring of frost around the top edge, but the smaller one actually gets a sheet of ice that hangs like a shelf above the warmer water!

I’ve completely stopped trying to knock the ice out of the metal bowls and refilling them. The cats are mostly using the sun room for shelter now, so I’m putting more food out in there, and topping up the broken heated water bowl. It freezes over night, but from the level the ice is at when I pour in the warm water, they are getting plenty to drink before they have to go outside.

Both bitties have moved into the sun room, for the most part. I sometimes see the tuxedo outside. There’s no litter box in there (it’s in the cat house), and they seem to be going outside to do their business. At least, so far, I’m not seeing any messes in the sun room.

After breakfast, they all go back to their favourite spots!

I just had to get a picture of these two.

Pointy Baby (in front) and his older cousin are such a matched set! The older one is so fluffy! They both seem to have that mix if white and black fur on their sides that make them look like they’re going grey!

Pointy Baby is extremely friendly and can’t get enough attention, but we’ve had no success in socializing his cousin.

In other things, today we bring the van to the garage. I am really, really hoping it’s just some minor thing that he can fix right away. If it’s major… well, we’ll have to make some decisions.

If all goes well, after the van is done, I’ll finally pick up those eggs I was supposed to pick up earlier, then do at bit of grocery shopping to last us until after New Year’s. There is no way I’m going into the city for the big shop I was hoping to do, this close to Christmas, and I figure it won’t be much better after Christmas, either.

I am so nervous about what the van’s diagnosis will be!

The Re-Farmer

So far, so good

First, the cute good news!

Marlee has discovered a new, favourite space to loaf in.

As I was going to bed last night, she was wandering around and I started to pet her. Bending over hurts after a while, so I lifted her onto the bed to sit with her. She does NOT like to be picked up, and likes being carried even less, but once she was on the bed and I started petting her, she turned into a purr monster. Rolling around, grabbing my hand, insisting I pet her face, doing cozy toes against my hand, and generally ensuring I was not going to bed any time soon! At one point, I think she saw a cat moving out of the corner of her eye and started to hiss and purr at the same time!

She is such a sweet cat!

In other things…

While doing my rounds this morning, I tried starting my mother’s car.

It didn’t start smoothly, but it did start. It may have been plugged in, but it was still -25C/-13F at the time, so it’s going to complain. I left it to run for a bit, and it was fine.

At this point, I find myself thinking that her car not starting when it was time to leave was God’s way of telling me I should use the van. It was only while driving the van that I realized the car would never have made it through the snow in the driveway at the time.

Of course, I started my rounds with feeding the outside kitties. The kittens spend most of their time on the swing bench now. The thermometer in there was reading -12C/10F. It’s right against an exterior wall, so it likely reading colder than the ambient temperature.

Some of the kitties run off when I come in with the food, while others crowd in front of the door, giving me no room to step down, and try to get into the old kitchen! It would be a lot easier if I could keep the kibble bin in the sun room, but that would just attract racoons.

While I was bending over to set out kibble, I looked up to find one last kitten on the swing bench, looking right into my face.

It was the grey and white bitty tabby! This is the first time I’ve seen it in the sun room, though I did figure it had found its way in by now. I dropped some kibble in front of it and it ran off, but I did see it eating with other cats on the floor, soon after.

The bitty tuxedo was outside, and went after the kibble I put in one of the openings to under the cat house. When it was still there after I topped up the water, I reached over to pet it. It hissed at me and ran the rest of the way under, but at least I got to touch it!

When I was finishing my rounds and going inside, I spotted the bitty tuxedo on the swing bench.

I just love that teeny, tiny white mustache!

Later, my husband got this photo from the bathroom window.

The bitty tabby is at the front. It looks like it’s nursing on its mama – along with one of the grey and whites! Broccoli seems just find with nursing whatever kitten wants to!

They crowd so close together on the swing bench, it’s hard to count them. While looking through the bathroom window, before my husband got the above picture, I counted at least 11 cats on the bend, three more above the heat bulb, and three more on the floor, eating. I couldn’t tell if there were any in the cat bed under the bench.

That cat lady is working to make space for the bitties. She’d like to take them within the next couple of weeks. I don’t know if that will work. They are still too skittish. I’m glad they’re going into the sun room, though, and taking advantage of the huge pile of body heat on the swing bench!

Today is going to be a quiet day of staying indoors and warm as much as possible! Tomorrow, I take the van in to the garage. I’ll be getting an oil change, as well has getting it checked to find out what’s going on with the brakes warning we’re getting. It could be as simple as the brake fluid is low (or too cold). Hopefully, it’s not something major. If it is, we’ll have to decide whether it’s worth fixing, or if we’re trading up sooner rather than later!

We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

It’s funny, but…

As I write this, we are currently at -21C/-6F, with a wind chill of -32C/-26F. Which means it’s that time when I start seeing this going around online.

This is, of course, wrong in places. There is no “last cookout of the season.” Winter is the best time to have a cookout, regardless of temperature! Especially at midnight on New Year’s. 😄

Yeah, it’s funny, but…

I also saw a post from someone who doesn’t live very far from us. Their furnace is fueled by natural gas. It stopped working last night.

The natural gas chilled to a gel, and stopped flowing.

I didn’t know natural gas could do that.

Someone else tried to drag out a hose to fill their animal’s water troughs, but the hose froze before they got there.

Thank God we’re going to be warming up and staying mild for at least the next week to ten days!

The Re-Farmer