That’s quite the discrepancy!

Today was forecast to be a hot one, and getting even hotter tomorrow, so my morning rounds including watering the garden beds. The nice thing was being able to use a nice, full rain barrel to water the old kitchen and south garden beds, while the soaker hose was going under the big tomato bed in the main garden area. There was even enough water in the barrel out by the trellises that I could use to start watering there.

Once the hose was available again, though, I watered them some more. Especially the pumpkins, gourds and cucumbers.

A few of the cucumbers are getting bigger, though most seem to be stagnating. I took a picture of one that is blooming, but didn’t see the baby cucumbers until I uploaded the photo to my computer! There are not a lot of flowers, so I don’t know if there are any male flowers around to pollinate them. The Baby Pam pumpkin that I found never did, and fell off the vine this morning. I spotted two other female flowers, and the little pumpkins under them were already yellow. It seems very odd for female flowers to develop first, like that. At least to me. I have never grown cucumbers before, and none of the Baby Pam we tried to grow last year germinated.

By the time I came in, at about half past noon, it was 24C/75F out there, with a “real feel” of 29C/84F. At least according to the app on my phone. The thermometer outside my husband’s window was at 25C/77F. That window was just getting out of the morning shade.

While I was watering, however…

Yeah. The bean tunnel thermometer was reading 41C/105F already!

That’s quite a discrepancy!

The tunnel gets no shade this time of year. Thankfully, the pea trellis at least gets morning shade. The other two trellises also get morning shade, but not as long, and the silver buffalo berry were still mostly shaded when I headed in. The beans and gourds planted at the tunnel, plus the hulless pumpkins planted near it, would be just baking in the sun! The pumpkins have a nice deep mulch around them, but the beans are large enough that we should start adding more than just the wood shavings and stove pellet sawdust they were planted in.

Where we live is certainly an area of extremes. Long cold winters and short hot summers. It would be nice if we could have something in between! Ah, well. Such is life on the Canadian prairies! We’ll deal. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds

After yesterday’s heat, I made a point of checking the garden more closely. Some things, like the Kaho watermelon, seem to be struggling. Most things seem to be okay, though.

Some Wonderberries are starting to ripen.

The heat seems to have done a number on them, though. All three plants had wilted parts like this.

A deer walked right through the corn and beans patches. We’ll have to put something up to make them go around. They don’t seem to be trying to eat any of the plants. Just passing through.

The sunchokes are coming up! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tell them apart from the weeds, but they are very clearly a different plant.

A few of the newly germinated beans seemed to be having a hard time, but we planted quite a bit, so if a few don’t make it, it should be okay.

All in all, things seem to have handled the heat all right. Today, and for the next while, we are expecting more average, slightly cooler, conditions. It’s just a few degrees, but it makes a big difference.

The Re-Farmer

Melted

The cats spend most of their days, sprawled all over various surfaces, usually in bizarre positions, sleeping away the hottest parts of the day.

None, however, can match David the Magnificent, in all his glory.

He looks like he’s broken! 😀

We’ve been trying to brush him as often as we can. Oddly, he has almost no fur coming off on the brush! Then there’s Cheddar, who has very short, coarse fur, that fills the brush in only a few strokes!

Unfortunately, David will not let us brush his armpit area, which is the only place he’s getting clumps in his fur. We end up having to cut them off.

What a big, fluffy, magnificent, malleable boy.

The Re-Farmer

Distractions

Last night, before doing the evening watering, I did a couple of things to – hopefully! – distract the deer away.

One of them went around the Montana Morado corn.

The aluminum tins spin freely on the twine, so I hope they will do as distractions. We can add more distractions after a while, to change things up before they get used to them.

This next one is more of a diversion than a distraction. On a wildlife group I’m on, someone had posted a picture of a deer with her fawn, in their yard. With the heat and lack of rain we’ve been having, they had put out a bucket of water for the wildlife. The mama and her baby promptly showed up and started drinking, even as the guy who posted the picture was sitting on his deck with a coffee!

We have water bowls all over the place for the cats, plus we found a way to keep using the cracked bird bath. Which is great for the cats and birds (and skunks, and probably the woodchucks and racoon), but they’re rather small for deer. I imagine they might still be drinking from them, but for the amount of water in the shallow containers, it wouldn’t slack their thirst.

It occurred to me that if we could set up water for the deer in the right place, we might be able to divert them away from the garden. The deer damage we have been seeing has been comparatively small; they seem to be just nibbling a few things on the way by. My thought it, if they can get water somewhere away from the garden beds, they won’t have a reason to go by and nibble.

The deer go through the maple grove and jump the fence at the gates along West fence line. Our kiddie pool isn’t being used right now (who knew a kiddie pool could be so useful?), so I set it up near the old willow that overhangs the fence. The rocks and bricks are there to keep it from blowing away if it gets emptied, but for little critters, like frogs or kittens, to use to climb out if they fall into the pool.

I checked it this morning, but I honestly couldn’t tell if the water level had changed much.

We’ll see if it works!

Meanwhile, here are a couple of other distractions. Some pretty, developing tomatoes!

This is one of the Mosaic Medley plants. It’s such a dark green! There are others I couldn’t get good pictures of that are a much lighter green.

More like these.

These are the itty bitty Spoon tomatoes. They’re so adorable! 😀

Last night, after setting up the deer distractions, I stayed out to do a very thorough watering of the garden beds. Last night, I ended up awake and 4am and unable to get back to sleep, so I finally gave up and headed outside to do my morning rounds early. With the expected heat, I stayed out to give all the garden beds another thorough watering.

Then I napped. LOL

This afternoon, after coming back from a dump run, I stayed out to check the south garden beds and noticed that the gourds were actually drooping from the heat. When a hot weather crop like gourds are feeling the heat, I am glad I gave everything that extra watering!

Meanwhile, as I was writing this, my daughter went out to put frozen water bottles in all the cats’ water bowls.

Any little bit to help the furry critters deal with the heat!

The Re-Farmer

The big cheese!

Just look at this big beast!

This big cheesy creature! Cheddar has grown to be such a big, meaty, boy. 😉

I usually have several cats splashed across my bed, right where the breeze from my fan in the window hits. 😀

We’re at 33C/91F right now, with a humidex of 35C/95F. Tomorrow, we’re supposed to reach a high of 34C/93F with a humidex of 37C/99F. After that, we’re supposed to drop a few degrees, but then head back up to just above 30C/86F again. Not as hot as the heat wave we left behind, but definitely higher than the long range forecasts had been predicting earlier.

Which means the cats have been spending their days in furry puddles around the house during the day…

And going nuts during the night.

Somehow, flying insects are getting into the house. In my office/bedroom, I have a shelf that has a space for them (the cats, not the insects), right up near the ceiling. Unfortunately, to get to it, they can only use the back of my office chair, since their alternative jump off point is now filled with a box fan. I have a wall shelf at the head of my bed, and I’ve set things up to prevent them from getting to the top, since that is where fragile items that don’t fit anywhere else are stored. Some of the smaller cats, however, can climb straight up on part of it. I’ve tried to block the top by storing a triangular support designed to go under the knees, or behind the back, depending on how it is oriented, where they climb. Every now and then, I’m awakened by it crashing down because a cat has decided to go for it. Last night was so bad, I had to kick them out and close the door. Unfortunately, that meant they tore around the upstairs, instead. There are no doors up there, so the girls can’t close them out.

At least the cats won’t be keeping them awake for the next while. With the increasing temperatures, even with the much improved conditions after adding a box fan to the south window, set up to blow the hot air out, it gets too hot for my daughter’s computer and drawing tablet. She’ll be working at night again, which means they won’t be going to bed until something like 5am; shortly before sunrise. So they’ll be able to deal with the cats tearing around after flying bugs during the night! 😀

Time to start leaving ice packs on the floor for the cats to cool down on again. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

It’s a little hot out there…

This is from a screen cap on my phone’s weather app. Just before 3 in the afternoon, and we’re at 35C/95F, and it feels like 38C/100F.

At least, that’s the data from the weather station this app is linked to.

This is the thermometer outside a south facing window.

Yeah. The thermometer is “only” labelled to 50C/122F, and the needle has passed that. It looks like it’s close to where a 60C/140F would be. Certainly past where a 55C/131F would be.

This thermometer is mounted on a white wall, so there’s no reflective heat from any dark surfaces, but it’s also in full sun, so it’s probably reading a bit high. Still, this is what it would feel like if someone were insane enough to be out in the sun today.

Wow.

The Re-Farmer

A little bit of progress

Yesterday, things cooled down enough it was actually worth opening up my window.

There is still a problem with that.

The three amigos and their stuffed companion!

For some reason, the cats really, really like to attack the bugs through this window screen. I try to keep on top of it, but they’ve managed to cause some minor damage already, and I’m often forced to close the window to keep them from clawing their way through the screen!

With the window closed, they prefer the spaces I’ve left for them on my utility shelf. As crack-eyed Two-Face is demonstrating! 😀

The cool of the evening was a welcome respite.

It didn’t last long, unfortunately.

By about 5pm, we reached our high of 32C/89F, with the humidex at 38C/100F. The low of 21C/70F we’re supposed to reach tonight is going to welcome, along with any rain we might get.

We have yet to try and move the counter today. I’m hoping to try this evening, but I don’t have high hopes for that.

This afternoon, I headed into town and made another deposit to the garage, against the work on my mother’s car. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, he’ll order the part and shoot to have it done at the end of July, when I can pay off the balance. I am really appreciating how patient he’s been about my mother’s car!

The down side it, almost our discretionary funds in our budget has been doing to get my mother’s car fixed, rather than towards things like what we’ll need to buy to build the cordwood outhouse, or the plywood to make a base on the trailer frame, or a cover for the old basement window to replace the one that fell off, or… the list goes on. Between that and the heat making it downright dangerous to work outside, I already feel like spring was almost completely wasted, and summer doesn’t look like it’ll be much better. 😦

Still, we do what we can, and try not to stress about what we can’t.

Once I was done at the garage, I went to the pharmacy to pick up prescription refills. We’d called them in yesterday, but one of my husband’s meds that was renewed last month, was only renewed for 30 days. They had sent a fax to the doctor’s office, but there had been no reply yet. So they filled my husband’s bubble packs without it, and when I talked to them today, the pharmacist said he would send the fax again.

Along with mine. It turns out mine was renewed for a short time, too, and there was only 15 days worth, left. I decided to wait on those. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up both at the same time, in a few days. Unfortunately, the missing medication for my husband is one of his pain killers. That is NOT going to go well for him. His pain is barely controlled as it is. Being down one of his painkillers is going to make life decidedly more unpleasant for him. 😦

My next stop was at the hardware store, where I wanted to look at different types of fasteners to use on the wire screen door I made for the basement. I ended up going with the old standby: hook and eye closures. I also found some angle plates that will solve a problem for me, in making a new screen window for the old part basement to replace the one that finally broke apart over the winter. On that, I plan to use both the 1 inch wire that I used on the door, to keep the critters out, and window screen mesh (I found rolls of it when cleaning out the basement!) to keep the bugs out. The air circulation from outside is needed to help keep the old basement dry, together with the blower fan. With the materials I have, I knew I’d have a problem making strong corners on the frame, and these right-angle plates are just what I need to solve that problem!

Once I got home, I put the hook and eye closures on the screen in the door. There are now 4 of them, and there is no way the cats will be able to push their way through anymore!

We had talked about possibly removing the basement door, but decided against it. When it is fully open, it blocks my bedroom door. So I’ll just leave my own door open, and the basement door will provide me with privacy. 😀

With the heat, just putting on those hook and eye closures was enough to leave me dripping. I’d hate to think how much hotter it would be if we didn’t have that door open! It’s like poor man’s geothermal. 😀

One of the other things I did while in town was swing by the grocery store to get more things that don’t need to be cooked. It’s been too hot to eat; none of us have appetites, and no one has the energy to cook. So fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches are the order of the day! I have been telling myself to go eat something since before I started writing this post, because I’m absolutely famished, but I have zero appetite. It’s the sort of thing where we have to make ourselves eat, just so we don’t end up getting dizzy spells or something. We have no problem making sure to stay hydrated, though, that’s for sure.

*sigh*

Well, I guess I should go make myself a food of some kind.

The Re-Farmer

Coping with the heat: building a screen “door”

Our current heat wave continues.

At 5pm, we reached 28C/82F with a humidex of 34C/93F, and we continue to get warnings for heat, flash floods and high water. Looking at the weather radar, however, it doesn’t look like the storms will hit us. We’ll be lucky to get rain. Usually, these systems come in from the North West, dip to the South of us, then get pushed back north to the East of us. Sometimes, they pass to the West of us. This time, there seems to be strong enough winds coming from the Southeast to actually push the system back to the Northwest of us!

The long range forecasts are not showing much relief, either. We’re looking to stay in the mid to high 20’s for the next two weeks. The only relief is that the lows are finally dropping to the mid to high teens, instead of staying in the 20’s, as they have been lately.

With this house, typically the basements stay cool, the main floor gets warm, while the second floor gets insanely hot. With the temperatures being so consistently hot, even the basements are starting to get warmer, though they are still significantly better than the rest of the house. The upstairs is getting unbearable. My daughter just had to stop working and shut down her computer, because it was over heating.

Normally, to help keep the house cool, the basement doors would be left open. With needing to keep the cats out of the old part basement completely, and keep the kittens in the new part basement, we have not been able to do this.

Last year, we used my daughter’s grid wall to act as a barrier in front of the old part basement door. The doorway is wider than a panel of grid wall, so we had two of them hooked together, at an angle. It did the job, but was very much in the way.

Today, I decided to do something about that.

After finishing my rounds this morning, I went into a shed not far from the barn, where I’d found some wood that was still in good shape. Some of them had 3″ deck screws in them, so I left those behind (though I did end up with a couple that had a screw at one end that I’d missed). The little wagon was great for bringing the pile over. 🙂

Earlier, I’d also cleared away and hosed down the patio blocks in front of our kitchen window.

One of the things we need to do is build some sort of bin for our garbage bags, because the skunks are tearing them apart when we put them outside. Normally, there is a bench against the wall, and some other stuff, but when I cleaned up the mess and saw the gunk from however many times this has happened, left behind, I just had to hose it all down.

This meant we had access to the basement window.

It was much easier to pass the wood through the window, rather than trying to get it in through the main doors, then the basement door, then down the stairs.

All while dodging cats and kittens.

So this worked out very well.

I had enough of the wire mesh we’d used to make a divider between the basements, to make wire mesh door.

The kittens were very … helpful. Yeah. That’s it. 😀

I measured the basement door and sized it to match that. We were considering taking the door off its hinges and putting in the screen instead.

Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way.

I had also considered putting it on hinges on the inside of the door frame, but it turns out the frame is narrower on the basement side of the door jam than on the door side.

Which makes no sense, but at this point, we’re pretty used to things not making sense in this house! 😀

For now, we’ve got it rigged up with hooks and Bungee cords. I will be going into town tomorrow, and am thinking of stopping at a hardware store and seeing what they’ve got that would work.

Personally, standing in front of it, I felt nothing. We have the big blower fan going constantly in this basement, trying to keep the floor relatively dry, but I felt no air movement at all. Later, my husband went by and said he could feel a cool breeze, so I’m hoping it was just me.

If we can work out how to secure this, so that cats can’t push their way through, I have enough of the wire mesh left to make another one for the other basement door. We could even hinge it to open into the entryway, instead of over the basement stairs. Which would be so much better!

It isn’t much, but every little bit helps to cope with this heat!

One of these years, I hope to get an actual air conditioner installed.

The Re-Farmer

Heat wave continues

I missed my daily post yesterday. The day was pretty much a total write off!

This is largely why…

This screencap was taken shortly before 1pm. We were at 30C/86F with a humidex of 37C/98F, but we easily reached the expected high of 33C/91F and humidex of 39C/102F by the end of the afternoon. The hottest time of day is typically about 4:30-5pm.

I realize you folks living in the south are probably getting a giggle out of our thinking this is really hot, but my goodness, how do you guys put up with it??? 😀 It’s a lot cooler in the house, thankfully. Well, on the main floor, at least, but we were all just melting. The girls have it the worst, on the second floor, though.

We ended up with three weather warnings at the same time, too – for the heat, high water levels and potential flash floods! Several towns and cities in the South West of our province did get hit with flash floods and severe thunderstorms. Some areas even had tornado warnings! I was keeping a close eye on the weather radar, watching the storms.

They went right past us!

The most severe parts of the system got pushed up to the North of us, and while some towns to the West certainly got hit, we got the edges of the system. Just some rain!

I am increasingly fascinated by our little local climate bubble. What is it about our geographical location that causes these weather systems to be pushed away or around? There are a lot of lakes in the area, including one huge one, so that certainly would have an effect. We’re kinda in the middle, East to West, between the biggest ones, but well to the South of the middle, from North to South.

Whatever the reason, I’m thankful that it means we aren’t getting hit by the worst of the storm systems. I really feel for some of the small towns and cities in the South-west, though. They get hit by every one!!

Today is going to be another hot one; we’re expected to hit 32C/89F with a humidex of 39C/102F again, by about 5 and 6pm. We still have the three alerts for heat, high water and flooding, throughout the South of our province. Right now, however, we’re sunny and clear. It’s insanely humid. Yesterday, I made a quick trip into town to get a couple of our 18L water jugs refilled. Even though the water was not at all cold, the jugs were covered with condensation by the time I got home! This morning, everything was still wet, as if we’d just had a rainfall.

We did, but at about 3am!

In the old kitchen garden, one of my mother’s roses has been blooming, for the first time since we moved out here.

This rose was little more than a scraggly stick for the past couple of summers. It’s overshadowed by one of the ornamental apple trees, and I really wasn’t sure if it would make it. We still worked around it, when cleaning out and mulching the garden, just to give it a chance, and it seems to have paid off! All the other roses around the house are the white Cherokee roses. I’m glad the one different type of rose is managing to survive.

When checking the sunflowers, I found another loss.

This pretty much confirms it’s a deer. The other critters it might have been would have clipped it much lower down.

It’s like a deer decided to have a quick snack while passing through!

This one will likely survive, but I doubt it will produce a seed head.

Thankfully, lots more seedlings are popping up. The replacement variety I’d picked up had lots of smaller seeds in the package than the ones I got before, so my daughter was able to plant two or three in each spot. We’ll actually have some to thin out, as they get bigger.

Assuming nothing eats them, first!

The Re-Farmer

Heat Wave

Today was our day to go into the city to do our big shopping trip.

We didn’t finish.

We currently have more weather warnings. This time for heat!

I took the above screenshot shortly before 4:30pm. We might actually go a bit higher before it starts cooling down. 30C/86F is hot enough, but check out the humidex expected for Monday! 40C = 104F

We’ve been getting enough rain lately that our municipality has removed the burn ban, completely. No restrictions at all right now! We have lots that needs to be burned, but with the heat, who wants to be around fire right now? 😀

And we don’t have air conditioning in the van anymore, nor even working fans in the console.

It did make the trip into the city … interesting!

We managed to get to the Walmart and the Costco to stock up. After gassing up at the Costco, we were going to go to a couple more places. Then road construction and detours had us doing a route march through residential areas (why are they designed to be such mazes???) before we could back track, go back through the construction, and finally take a road that would get us to the street we needed, albeit at a different spot than I was originally after. By that time, I was done. We just went home.

Part of the reason I was okay with doing that is because my daughter asked for an extra trip into the city, which we’ll be doing tomorrow. She’s buying us a new stove! Since we’ll be in the city again anyhow, we can also pick up the rest of the stuff we need for the month.

Considering she is using her savings and had to quit her job, I am extremely grateful that she is willing to do this for us. The stove we have has only three working elements right now – we stopped using the 4th when we saw sparks every time we turned it on – and even those don’t heat up well, among other issues.

There isn’t much in the monthly shop we need to get, though. The freezer and pantry are stocked up again. We also have lots of cat food and litter – we’d run out of both, completely, as of this morning! The only things left are the items we don’t want to get in bulk quantities, like fresh fruits and vegetables, or ingredients we can only find in various ethnic sections of a grocery franchise we regularly visit now.

With the current heat wave, getting work done outside is going to be difficult. Unless I start getting up at 5am, while it’s still cooler (well; not so much over the next few days). I might just have to start going that. Which means, no more staying up until 2am!

It would mean kicking cats off my bed, too. 😀

Oh, to have the life of our cats! ❤

The Re-Farmer