Our 2021 garden: the weather was not willing

We did not get the predicted thunderstorms last night, though we did get rain. While I was out doing my morning rounds, I could hear thunder around us, and it was even starting to rain a bit by the time I was done. So, no work was done on the garden bed I’d started on yesterday. We had rain on and off all day, so hopefully those bottom layers got a good soaking.

A few more of the Mongolian Giant sunflowers have started to open up. If the mild temperature continue, I hope to at least see some Hopi Black Dye sunflowers open as well, before the first frost hits. Some areas in our province have already had frost in August, but so far, we are good.

I am really hoping that first frost holds off for quite a while, so that these Red Kuri squash get a chance to mature. Our first frost date for our area is Sept. 10; just over a week from now. From the looks of our long range forecasts, we will continue to have very nice overnight temperatures; cool, but nowhere near freezing.

I especially would love for the Teddy winter squash to have a chance. Yes, we finally have fruit developing on them! Again. I found three of them this morning. Where the Red Kuri/Little Gem squash ripen to a deep orange-red, the Teddy are a mini acorn squash, becoming a deep green and only about a pound in size. The critters have been staying away, after using the cayenne pepper all over the garden beds, even though we have no been able to re-apply the cayenne due to the rain. I am hoping that, having gotten a mouth full of pepper, the critters have learned to associate the garden beds with “ouch”. 😀 If we can keep them away, these are supposed to be a prolific variety, and their small mature size should mean they may have a chance to fully ripen if we have a mild fall.

After checking the outside of the squash tunnel on the winter squash side, I went through the inside of the tunnel and found something waiting for me!

One of the Halona melons had dropped to the ground! I am so happy with how they are doing. 🙂 Of course, after finding this, I checked all the others, but none were loose. After I finished my morning rounds, I made a quick trip into town to run some errands, then headed out again later to meet a friend. While I was gone and there was a break in the rain, the girls picked the beans and some summer squash – and found two more Halona melons on the ground! I’m a bit surprised that it’s only the Halona melons that are dropping; the Pixies are still hanging in there. Literally! 😀

My friend and I went to the local Farmer’s Market this afternoon, and I had a chance to talk to my neighbour that sells pork – this time with a budget, and I picked up some sausages. 🙂 We had a chance to talk for quite a while, and I’m really looking forward to being able to get together with them. There are quite a few things they are doing that I would like to do as well, and I am eager to see their methods! And, from the looks of it, I won’t be able to go back to the market this year. Starting tomorrow, our province is imposing medical apartheid. With nothing to justify it, either. If we want to go to any “non-essential” places, we will have to show our papers to prove we’ve gotten the double jab for Schrodinger’s virus. The jab that works so well, those that have already got it are going to have to get a third one, while still covering their faces and remaining in physical isolation from other human beings. Our government doesn’t actually have the authority to impose such segregation, but they’re doing it anyhow, and people are being forced to comply through threats and coercion. Most illogically, while those who can’t have, or decline to have, the jab are now barred from doing things like buying food from a farmer at a market, instead of in a grocery store, the market vendors themselves are not required to have the jab. The levels of psychological manipulation and behavioural modification from our politicians and in the media, including social media, have gone into overdrive and, sadly, many people are getting sucked in and don’t even realize it. The levels of bullying and verbal abuse I’m seeing online has also increased substantially, in just the last few days. In typical gaslighting fashion, the same people who are doing the bullying are also the same people virtue signalling about how, if we don’t like it, don’t take it out on the poor employees trying to enforce the (illegal) restrictions. The obvious implication being that people who disagree with anyone being forced to partake in medical interventions against their will are the bullies when they voice their objections.

Meanwhile, another neighbor of ours I only recently met in person had an accident almost a week ago, breaking his neck. He requires surgery but isn’t getting it, nor is his family allowed to see him. They are literally denying him health care right now, because he is declining medical certain medical procedures that are unnecessary. Our health care system sucked before this, but now, it’s gotten beyond ridiculous.

Ugh. I was talking about my garden. I didn’t intend to go into a rant. It’s part of what we’re dealing with now, though, so I’m leaving it there.

I am so incredibly thankful that we are living here on the farm, and not in any urban setting. When I came up with the sub-title for the blog, “Sometimes you need to go back, to go forward”, I had no idea how true that would be.

The Re-Farmer

But it’s a good tired…

Okay, I just have to start with the obligatory garden photos. 😀 I took these yesterday.

The largest seed head of the Mongolian Giant sunflowers is opening up beautifully. Still nowhere near the size a Mongolian Giant seed head should be, but we’ll see what happens in what’s left of our growing season.

What amazed me, though, was seeing several of these.

The King Tut purple peas are still growing and producing! The green peas next to them are basically gone; completely died off and dried out, barely visible among the weeds and wildflowers that are left. Peas do not usually last this long, so I’m quite impressed!

I didn’t get to posting yesterday for a happy reason. An old friend from high school is in the province and was able to come for a visit. Even my husband was able to join us for a while. Aside from running into her briefly at the grocery store, we haven’t seen each other since we graduated! We had 35 years of catching up to do, and it was awesome. 🙂 Then, she and I headed out to a local farmer’s market. I’ve driven past it many times, but had never stopped in. With the crazy going on these days, I wasn’t sure if it was even a safe place to go for someone who can’t wear a mask. The mandates were over, though, so we gave it a visit, and that was awesome, too. No issues at all. Best of all, I found a vendor that has a homestead and supplies pork, among other things – and they live only a few miles away from us! In the spring, we’ll be able to make arrangements for getting a half pig in the fall, so they know how many piglets to raise. So now we have local suppliers for both beef and pork!

The place has a little bistro during market hours, and we ended up enjoying some awesome food and just talking until they closed down. Wonderful people running the place. We definitely will be coming back before my friend heads home.

Today was our city shopping trip, so I headed out as soon as I was done my morning rounds. I actually made it to Costco this time. With restrictions relaxed, I didn’t have to worry about being able to stand in line outside. It was the most pleasant Costco trip I’ve had in a long time. Unfortunately, by the end of it, my hip was giving out, so that was the only stop I made before heading home. Which was okay. I was able to stock up on the main things. It was a bit disconcerting, though. I didn’t buy more than I usually did at Costco. In fact, I probably bought less than usual. And yet the final bill was about $200 more than the last time I was able to do a full stock-up trip there. Prices have really gone up in the past few months. 😦

While I was out, I got word about a freedom rally in town this evening. I had time to get home, unload, then head out again. I wanted to be early, because I wasn’t quite sure where it was happening. It’s not an area of town I usually go to. There were people already there and even my friend was eventually able to join us, so that was awesome. The rally was to protest the school board forcing children to wear masks all the time which is, at its most basic, illegal. The government and health department can make recommendations, but cannot force, anything that goes against the charter rights and freedoms, or the human rights code. That’s actually written into the health act and the charter. Anyhow, there was a really good turnout, and I ended up meeting people in person that I’d been getting to know online, and even a family that may become “neighbours” soon! It was funny to discover we had other personal connections, too.

The people from the school board were not particularly useful to talk to. Their stance was basically, they’re just following orders. Now where in history have we heard that line before?

While there, I learned our province has made another step backwards. While I was on the road home from the city, our government announced that the mask mandates start again tomorrow, even in many outdoor venues that had been exempt before. There is no actual reason to do this. We aren’t seeing any surge in hospitalizations or deaths. It’s all been so arbitrary, and like all the lockdowns and restrictions is just as illegal as the schools forcing kids to wear masks.

All the families there with school aged children were planning to homeschool, rather than engage in government enforced child abuse. The school is going to lose a lot of funding over this. Some of the parents I spoke to told me they were getting to many calls from the school to get them to register this year, it bordered on harassment. I’m hoping to keep in touch with some of these families, since we homeschooled the girls completely. I look forward to being able to help and encourage a new generation of families taking this route! There is the makings of a vibrant local community. Something that didn’t exist, when we last lived here and were homeschooling.

The whole event just happened to be next to the grocery store, so when it was all done, I stopped by to pick up a few things I wasn’t able to get in the city before heading home. Even with the the sale prices, I still spent way too much money. 😦

One of the things I want to do is get chickens, for eggs and meat, but we are not at all ready to have birds yet. I was hoping to get to that point in a year or two, but the way things are going, I think we need to prioritize that and make it so that we can get chicks in the spring.

So, along with building high raised garden beds for next year, we need to build/acquire a chicken coop. Preferably a mobile one. That way, the chickens will be playing a significant part in soil preparation for planting.

After all the running around over the past couple of days, and being around so many people, I am feeling quite tired. It is, however, a good tired!

It has been a wonderful couple of days. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Never quite good enough, and bigger concerns

Before I get into my topic, here’s a Ginger picture for you to enjoy!

I interrupted his nap! 😀

Such a sweet baby boy he is! 🙂

Now, onto less fun stuff.

I mentioned in my last post about our garden progress, that I’d showed photos of the pea beds to my mother.

As expected, she had nothing positive to say.

When we moved out here, she had made such a big deal about us having to plant a garden and was so angry when we didn’t, and now that we are growing a garden – and a very large one, this year – she’s still angry! It doesn’t matter what I do; it’s never going to be good enough! I’ve learned to accept that, though. 😉

There were, however, other concerns.

In showing her a photo of the pea beds, she could not recognize where they were. She even asked if it was “in the yard” (meaning in the lawn to the south of the house), and there is nothing in the yard that looks even remotely like that area. She thought the poplar poles were steel, and was thoroughly perplexed by the “screen”; she used the Polish word for screen, but she meant the strings I’d put up on the one trellis for the peas to climb. It took me saying it was just twine I found in the basement, three times before she was willing to accept it. She also seemed confused about the poplar posts. I told her where I got them from, then dropped it. She was having a hard enough time understanding what I was showing her in the photos. I didn’t want to try and explain something she couldn’t see. I had even shown her where we made the bed for the tomatoes, at the chain link fence. She looked at it, but didn’t say anything. I’m not sure she recognized where it was, even though her flower bed and lilac bush were visible in the photo.

Of course, she had to make negative comments about the nice, new garden soil the peas were planted in. She tried to mock me for buying soil, only to put it on top of other soil (where else it would go?). That was when I told her that I’ve been testing the soil (still not finished doing that), and that is it low on nutrients. How could that be? She never had a problem growing things! *sigh* I had to explain – again – that nothing has been done for that soil for a very, very long time! It’s not that she doesn’t understand the concept. She just refuses to accept it.

I showed her a picture of all the cups of seeds we have in the big fish tank greenhouse. She asked about the cups, and I explained about the double cupping and – anticipating the objection I could see building up – mentioned that there are people who have been using the same cups for 10 years, and they’re still good. Then I showed her what I had in the little tank, and her only question was, no more fish? No more fish, Mom. Just plants!

From there she launched into how she should have told us, before we moved, to just sell everything (she’s upset that we have aquariums), because we could have moved right into the house as it was; it already had furniture, etc. I had to explain to her that no, the house was really unlivable. I told her about how my dad’s old bed broke, and the bed upstairs had mouse poop under the covers, and the state of the mattresses. We didn’t get past that. She was wondering how there could be mice, when there were cats, and I pointed out that the cats were outside, not in the house! Then the subject got changed.

The thing is, before we moved, she did tell us to just sell everything. And we did sell and get rid of a LOT of stuff, but this was a conversation we had many times. It was a major point of contention, because she convinced us to move out by offering to pay for the movers, but then basically tried to back out of it. I think she really believes we could have moved out with little more than the clothes on our backs, and everything would have been just fine. The odd thing was for her to bring it up as if it had never been discussed before.

We went back to talking garden stuff, and I showed her a picture of the tomato seedlings and luffa in the sun room. Then I tried to explain to her what luffa were. She cut me off in mid sentence, telling me she didn’t want to hear about it because she had never heard of them before and didn’t care.

I called her on her behaviour at that point. She tried to use her age to justify it; she could say stuff like that, because she’s older than me. I did run with the joke, but also pointed out that age is no excuse to treat people like this.

I don’t know that it sunk in.

Thankfully, I’ve reached a point in my life where she can no longer hurt me, but she can – and does – hurt others in the family, and is completely oblivious to it, so if I can get her to think about the effect her words can have on other people, I will try.

That part, at least, was pretty normal for conversations with her. I am having other concerns. Among them, she’s been complaining of dizziness and headaches. Her knees are bothering her a lot more than usual, as is her mystery pain in her side. Usually, when I come out to help her with her shopping, she takes advantage of having a driver to run other errands, but today, it was just the grocery shopping, and that was it. Yesterday, she had suggested going to the hardware store, because she wants to buy us fence posts for that section by the garden. I didn’t bring it up, because she clearly wasn’t up to doing anything beyond her grocery shopping.

It’s not just her physical health that is at issue. For the past while, in conversations with her, I’ve noticed what I can only describe as a sort of malaise. Usually, she makes quite a big deal of her aches and pains (there was a clear element of using them to get attention involved), following by loud proclamations about how she wants to live! She’s not ready to go to heaven yet! There are too many things she wants to do!

She hasn’t done that in a while. Instead, I’m having to ask her questions to find out about things like the headaches and increased pain. She’s also tried dismissing them as just being part of getting old, which is really unusual for her. Basically, I’m seeing red flags for both her physical health, her mental acuity, and her psychological state. Part of my concern is that she’s had her second jab recently. After her first one, she complained of pain in basically all her joints, nausea, etc. All reactions many other people have described having after getting the C19 jab. Now she’s got the headaches and nausea; also common reactions, but too common to associate with any specific thing. All I can say is that it’s unusual for her, and it started after she got her second jab. She’s not associating it with the shot, though. She’s convinced the nurse or whoever it was, faked giving it to her, because my mother never felt the needle. The malaise, though, had started after her first jab.

Another part of the problem is the continued restrictions. In fact, the province went and shut down churches again. Churches are not, and have never been, transmission hubs in this province (nor anywhere else, as far as I’ve been able to find; it’s always been mostly through either nursing homes and long term care centres, or other places indoors with extended contact, like family homes). All the social activities that my mother enjoyed so much are still banned. Even within her building, people are still having to sneak visits with each other, hiding from the caretakers. Her municipality – as well as ours – has never even had a single case. Being able to go to church again was pretty much the only thing my mother had left to look forward to.

I’m seeing my mother in decline, and a lot of it is directly because of our province putting everyone basically under house arrest and turning us into a police state, as if that could somehow, magically, control Schrodinger’s virus. (Thank God we don’t live in the city! It’s much worse there.) The very things that had her wanting to live have been taken away. Now, her biggest excitement is being able to go grocery shopping, and even that has started to cause her more pain.

This has got to change.

The Re-Farmer

So frustrating!

Well, today – after three delays due to pandemic lock downs – I finally went to court for our restraining order application against our vandal.

Only to find it was delayed for a fourth time.

The frustrating part is that I called to confirm, just a couple of days ago. I was even put on hold while the person talked to someone else to be sure. Then she gave me the number for the Crown office, where I could get other questions I had answered, and I spoke to someone there, just yesterday. Though the prosecutor I spoke to had no connection to my specific application, as far as he knew, this courthouse was open.

Worse, my brother booked a day off work to be there for me.

We both came very early (more on why, later) but couldn’t figure out which court room was going to be used. One of them turned out to have a trial in session in it, but I went to the court office nearby and asked.

image source

One of the people there recognized me and remembered my call from a couple of days ago. As far as she knew, I had been told of the date shift. Everything had been delayed again, until April 23rd. Near that date, I’m going to have to call again to find out if it’s been shifted again, or if I have a new court date. While I was there, the person at the counter looked up the file, and it did say today’s date. However, only those files that have legal representatives are going ahead today, virtually, through the big city. Mine is a private prosecution, so even if our vandal lawyered up, it still would have been shifted.

I had actually gotten through to the Crown office, yesterday, so I knew what to expect. There were three possible outcomes, assuming our vandal showed up. The judge would first ask if both parties agreed to the application. In his experience, the person the order is being applied against never accepts that option. Next, we would be offered mediation. For this, we would sit down with a third party, who would try to work out an arrangement between us. I don’t know if our vandal would agree to that, but even if he did, I don’t know that I would. After we pressed charges when he broke our gate, he had to go through some sort of program where he was seeing a psychiatrist (or a psychologist? I don’t know. We were never informed) regularly. Once the program was complete, the charges were stayed. The thing is, even while he was going through the program, he was still making abusive calls to my mother, and actually using it against her. He still hasn’t taking any sort of responsibility for his actions. If that didn’t work, how would mediation be any better? Anyhow. If mediation was not agreed upon, it would then go to a hearing, another court date would be booked, and for that we would be able to file additional evidence, affidavits, bring witnesses, etc.

None of this can happen, though, because everything got shifted again.

This is getting beyond ridiculous. We have been fortunate, in that our vandal has (so far) only engaged in property damage, creeping around the driveway, watching us from the road, and verbal abuse. However, considering the sudden bunch of calls he left on my mother’s answering machine not long ago, he is not all there. For all we know, he might go on a drinking binge after his wife leaves for work, have another “mental break” (as his wife described it), grab one of his many guns and come after us. We may have a crossbow now (and yes, it’s assembled, but the scope isn’t sighted yet), but that isn’t much defense against a gun.

How many other people in similar situations – or worse – are there, whose applications are being repeatedly delayed like ours? In our province alone, likely dozens. And for what? Schrodinger’s virus, where we hadn’t even been part of the pandemic until our provincial government created the very environment that would create an epidemic? Even at the highest rates, our uptick of excess deaths at the end of last year happened after the strictest lock downs, which cannot possibly stop a virus, were enforced, and includes people who died because of the restrictions – and still didn’t reach exceptionally high rates. We’ve had much higher spikes in excess deaths just within the last five years. The increases in suicides and other deaths of despair, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and child abuse is a consequence that is being acknowledged in at least some places. People have been trying to warn for months about the increases in deaths due to lack of timely medical care that are happening now, and which we’re going to be hit with for years, because of the restrictions. Situations like ours isn’t even on anyone’s radar, from what I’ve seen.

Okay. Rant over.

The session was supposed to start at 10am. The smaller city it was to be held in is about 45 minutes away, on the highway. Last night, we started to get a combination of snow, sleet and rain. Not heavy, but enough to make the roads more dangerous. Normally, I would have left and hour + early and taken a particular route, but this morning, I left 2 hours early and took a route that was longer (in time, not distance), but less isolated. I am glad I did, because it took me more than an hour to get there. I was happy to see the plow trucks out, clearing the slush away. It seems the conditions had actually improved by the time I was on the road. I saw one car (empty) far into a large ditch. What was more telling was the tire tracks I could see in the slush on the shoulders. Something happened in that area that had people swerving all over and, in some areas, I could tell people had reversed and pulled over.

When I got to the building the courts and court office is in, it was mostly empty. Not seeing security guards at the door should have been my first warning, but I was so early, I thought they might not have set up yet. After a quick run to the washroom, I came out to find a single person walking down the hall towards the court rooms, and that was it.

That person turned out to be my brother. I didn’t recognize him, because he was masked. *sigh* He recognized me, though. Even with the light from windows behind me, I was the only person with a visible face (I had my Mingle Mask). That and, let’s face it, I have a rather distinctive short, rotund silhouette. 😉

We were trying to figure out which court room was going to be used when I saw a lawyer looking dude come around, so I asked if he knew which room was being used for general session. He only knew of a trial that was happening in one room, already started, and suggested we try the court office. Only one person was allowed in at a time, so my brother waited in the lobby while I went in, and that’s when I found out about the shift.

So my brother and I headed out – he happened to park right next to my van – and talked along the way, but there’s nowhere to even sit over a hot non-denominational beverage (I don’t drink coffee… LOL) and talk. He booked a day off work, drove all the way over to the courthouse – about the same distance as my drive – and it turned out to be for nothing. Watching my gas gauge on the way home, I figure it cost us about $30 in gas for this trip. Each.

At least I was able to take advantage of it and make a quick Walmart run. My brother just headed home.

Once I was safety parked, I made a point of calling my mother to update her on what happened. Or, should I say, what didn’t happen. She was frustrated, too. She is really worried about our safety.

But what can we do? Apparently, nothing at all.

I’m not going to waste my time or energy worrying about it, and will just do what we can for now.

So I promptly let it go and did my shopping.

Walmart is getting their Easter inventory in. There were so many eggs, they were on pallets in the aisles, rather than in the fridges! (For those outside of North America, our eggs get washed before they get packed in cartons, which removes their coating, so we have to keep our eggs in the fridge to keep them from spoiling). I don’t think it was much of a concern, though, considering how fast people were already grabbing eggs from the pallets. I’d actually forgotten about Easter preparations. It’s still too early for that, isn’t it??

They did get more canning supplies in, but I didn’t see more 750ml jars. I didn’t see a lot of snap lids or rings, either. Thankfully, I don’t need more rings or lids right now. I got another case of 500ml jars. We will continue to stock up on the jars throughout the summer, little by little. They sell out fast, but I don’t think there is currently any shortage of canning jars at the moment. I imagine there will be, later in the year. A lot of people will be gardening for the first time this year.

Speaking of which…

I decided to pick up some Jiffy pots. I’ll talk about why in another post, but as I was going through the till, the cashier asked me about them. She wondered if you had to somehow use the Jiffy pellets in them, and I told her that she could use whatever soil mix she wanted, and that they were designed to be buried with the transplants. It turned out that she was going to try growing a garden this year, but she is in an apartment and would be growing indoors. I told her that, if she were growing in containers, she could still bury the pot with the transplants in her containers.

I hope her indoor gardening attempts work out well for her. 🙂

I hope the same for all the people who are going to try growing their own food for the first time this year!

For us, if nothing else, focusing on the gardening and taking care of this place helps relieve the frustration of dealing with our vandal. Very good for mental health! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Still a bit chilly, and unexpected things

We’re still on the chilly side these days, and will continue to be for a while longer. As I write these, we are just below freezing, and our predicted highs aren’t going to be much warmer. It’s like that mild weather we had, and my being able to do some clean up in the spruce grove, was just a tease!

I think the cats are still appreciating the kibble house, and not having to be on the frozen ground to eat. Their water is freezing solid overnight again (except for the heated water bowl, of course), and they’re enjoying the warm water they’re still getting every morning.

I look forward to when we can take that tarp off the kibble house and give it a good paint job! It’s still too cold for paint.

At least the snow is mostly gone, so I can extend my rounds, checking the fence lines, etc. Which is where I found this poor little pussy willow, desperately trying to develop its catkins! 😀 At least since we cleared this fence line, it is finally getting morning sun and warmth.

One of the things we will need to do today is go into town and retrieve my mother’s car. A bit late to help my mother, though! Yesterday, shortly after noon, I got a call from my mother. When I asked how she was doing, she told me she was “dressed”. Meaning, she was dressed up and all ready to head out. !!

We had been talking about me helping her with errands when I got her car back, and I was suggesting Wednesday or Thursday, hoping it would be done by then. Somehow, my mother thought it had been settled for Wednesday! So she was all ready to go for her errands, and for me to show up at the usual time. Of course, I didn’t show up because I didn’t know this! 😀 I told her I didn’t have her car, but she had quite a few errands to run, and didn’t want to delay them. So I headed out right away and, just in case, brought our little step stool for her to use to get in and out of the van. She has one just like it, but I wasn’t sure if she’d grab it or not. I’m glad I did, because she had forgotten hers. She realized this while waiting for me, outside the door where I usually meet her, sitting in her walker. She was going to give me her keys so I could run in and get hers, but it wasn’t necessary. It turns out she doesn’t need it so much to get out of the van, but getting in is much harder for her.

One of the stops she needed to make was at the Senior’s centre which, unfortunately, has stairs, so she has to leave her walker outside and hobble in. 😦 I helped her with the door and saw there was quite a few people inside, so I told her I’d wait for her outside. One of the social workers that I’ve been talking to about the horrible caretakers in my mother’s building came out to chat. She asked how my mother was doing, since my mother has a habit of saying she’s having troubles when she’s actually doing pretty well, but saying she’s doing well when she’s having troubles. Which isn’t all that unusual, I’ve found! 😉 One of the things I mentioned was that my mother was getting some serious cabin fever.

Which is when I found out something interesting. Not a good interesting, either.

When our province locked down even harder (which, as I predicted a year ago, actually caused an increase in deaths and illnesses; the first uptick of excess deaths our province had was during the annual winter increase, since the pandemic bypassed our province entirely until then, and no one in either of our municipalities has ever tested positive), buildings such as my mother’s locked their doors and only “authorized” personnel were allowed in, while residents were told to stay in their own apartments as much as possible, though they were “graciously” allowed to not wear masks within their own homes. :-/ “Authorized” personnel included the social workers, and people making deliveries. Because of the caretakers, my mother would sneak me or my siblings in through a side door, as we brought her groceries in. Yes, technically we were allowed in the building to do this, but the caretakers look for any excuse to harass people. Especially my mother, who is one of the few people to stand up to them.

Well, it turns out that my mother’s building is the only one that’s still locked up. All the other buildings run by the province are open. The social worker speculated on just who was responsible for keeping the residents locked up, and I half-joked that it made it easier to “control the inmates”. Unfortunately, the joke was too close to reality. She told me that one of my mother’s neighbours is considering putting a sign on her door to turn her apartment number to “Cell ##”, because she feels like she is in a prison. To be honest, in a real prison, they’d have more freedoms than the people living in my mother’s building, it seems. The frustrating thing is, there’s nothing we can do about it. The people living there are too afraid of the caretakers to complain, and since it’s a government run building, instead of a privately run building, getting abusive employees fired is pretty much impossible. The social workers have been trying to get the problem addressed for years – long before my mother has lived there – and had their own jobs threatened, instead.

It’s so frustrating. I was hoping my mother was serious about escaping to another building in town – one where meals are included, so she wouldn’t even need to do grocery shopping – but she chose this building because her church is right across the street. She wouldn’t be able to walk to church from the other building. That and she really doesn’t want to go through the hassle of moving again, even though this time I’d be available to help with our van. Truthfully, with the exception of the caretakers, this place is pretty ideal for her. She shouldn’t have to move, just to get away from crappy employees.

What a mess.

After my mother finished at the senior’s centres, we did the rest of my mother’s errands, finishing with some grocery shopping. After everything was brought in and put away, I was even able to stay for tea. Before I left, I gave my mother a big hug. She almost started crying. 😦

Just before I got home, I heard my phone going off, so I checked my messages before unlocking the gate. It was from the garage, letting me know my mother’s car was ready! It was too close to their closing time, though. I suppose I could have grabbed my daughter and left immediately, but since I had just finished helping my mother with her errands, there was no longer any rush.


Today, I need to focus and prepare for tomorrow. We finally have our court date for the restraining order against our vandal. I really don’t know what to expect. I think the most likely thing to happen is that they will run through the docket as quick as they can, and it’ll be rescheduled for a hearing at a later date. Of course, what I hope will happen is that the restraining order will be granted. A restraining order is just a piece of paper, but it does give the police more to work with and, more importantly, our vandal will have his guns removed, and he’ll have to stop drinking. The order is for a year, and then I would have to re-apply, if I felt it was warranted, but I would hope that a year of being dry, and having to prove it regularly, will make a difference in his mental state. It’s a faint hope, but it’s there, nonetheless. There’s still his vexatious litigation against me to deal with, but that court date is in July. If he were at all sensible, he would drop that, as he has no case. It’s basically just his way of getting back at me for applying for the restraining order after he tried to break the gate again.

What a mess.

As crazy at it is, I have no regrets for moving out here. The positives far outweigh the negatives, and it’s still better than what we left behind.

Still, it would be nice if all we needed to do was take care of this place for my family, which is why we moved out here to begin with!

The Re-Farmer

This and that, and… why have my fonts changed?

I did some unexpected running around yesterday and didn’t have a chance to post. Now that I am, I’m seeing that the title font in my editor has changed. I did not change the default font. I’m not even sure how I would do that!

Well, we’ll see if anything is different after I hit “publish”. So far, it looks the same as always when I hit “preview”.

WordPress gets weird at times!


For the last couple of mornings, I have been happy to see that the outside cats are using the cat house again. When I head out, I’ve been seeing a big mass of orange in the window and, as I come closer, three heads will pop out to look at me! Unfortunately, when I try to get closer to get a picture, Creamsicle Jr. gets spooked and runs off.

I’m still heating up water for them, which they really seem to appreciate!

Yesterday, the plan was to drive my husband to the clinic to get some blood work done. Unfortunately, he had another really bad pain day, and could not handle the trip. I should see if they will fax the requisition to the lab in the town closer to us. I think he would better handle a 15-20 minute drive, over a 40-45 minute drive!

I still wanted to take the van out on the highway, though, and see about blowing more carbon out of the lines at highway speeds. So I headed out to the Walmart in the small, nearer city to finally pick up the rest of the month’s supply of cat litter and dry kibble.

You can tell that spring is in the air, though, when you start seeing birds in the Walmart!

This little guy was checking out the bird seed aisle, and finding stray seeds to eat! 😀

While there, I hoped to pick up more 750ml canning jars, but there weren’t any. I’d picked up the last one, previously, and it doesn’t look like they got more. So I got more wide mouth 500ml jars (2 cups/half a quart). I think these are the two sizes that will be the most useful for us. The plan is to pick up a case or two every month over the summer, so that we’ll have a good stock available by the time we are harvesting from the garden. Assuming everything goes well and we actually have enough to preserve. I usually go with “hope for the best, plan for the worst” but in this case, we’re also planning for the best!

The van, I’m happy to say, ran well. I even loaded the heavy stuff in the back, rather than the middle, and didn’t feel any of the issues I’d noticed before, that had us splitting our trips and loading the heaviest things in the middle of the van.

Later on, I made sure to call my mother to arrange a grocery shopping trip for her. That was set for this afternoon.

If all had gone to plan, I’d be on the road to her place right now.

Does anything go to plan? 😀

It was quite late when I got a call from my mother. She had suddenly developed pain in her bones. Especially her already damaged knees.

My mother had received the vaccine for Schrodinger’s virus a couple of days before.

She was obviously quite concerned, but as we talked I suggested it might also be because of the fluctuating temperatures. That calmed her down, and she decided she would take some Tylenol, bundle up for the night, and keep the cordless phone by her bedside, just in case.

I’m happy to say she was feeling better today. When she got the shot, she had the usual adverse reactions everyone seems to be getting; her arm was sore, redness and swelling. Fatigue, as well. No allergic reactions, but I wouldn’t expect any from her. She has an iron constitution. Muscle and joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting are all on the list of adverse reactions that are being reported. We will have to keep an eye on her after the second shot, as reactions are reportedly worse after that one.

Though she was feeling better, she wasn’t up to actually going out, so I was going to do her shopping for her. We had a bit of a snow storm happening this morning; not unusually cold, but colder, with blowing snow, low visibility, etc. It was supposed to get worse in the afternoon, so I headed out in the morning. I popped in to go over her list with her and be really clear on what she wanted. I noticed things that were not on the list and asked her about them. It’s always hard to shop for someone else. Especially when shopping is often a “see what’s good” or “whatever’s on sale” situation.

There were a few things on her list she would have picked up at the pharmacy, but the pharmacy kicked me out because they don’t honour medical mask exemptions, so she said she would get those items, later. She’s not willing to pay the grocery store prices for the same things. 😀

Just me and her list did make for a very quick trip! I was even able to stay for a short visit, which I haven’t been able to do for a while.

So she is doing all right, but is very tired and will be getting lots of rest for the next while. My siblings and I are going to have to watch not to pester her with phone calls to check up on her! 😀

Thankfully, the local weather has actually improved; whatever was being forecast for this afternoon seems to be missing up.

I’m good with that.


The Re-Farmer

Of course…

Image source

Well, I’m back from taking the van to the garage.

I should be happy. I really should.

As I write this, we are still at -21C/-6F with a wind chill of -30C/-22F.

Before heading out, I made a point of starting the van, then headed back inside to give it a good 15 minutes to warm up. As usual, the power steering pump was whining loudly when I started the engine.

When I came back to it later, for the first time in weeks, the noise was gone.

Because, of course it was. I was finally getting it checked today.

As I was driving, I did hear a slight whine, but only while doing a hard turn, for example, but not if I were just changing lanes, and not at all while driving straight.

When I got there, I was happy to see he didn’t have other vehicles in the bays, which meant I wouldn’t be spending hours waiting for him to squeeze a check in between other jobs. He just had to deal with getting a vehicle outside loaded and hauled away. I had a chance to talk to him about the noise now being gone, even though it was there when I first started it. Yes, he agreed it could be just the cold causing it. He asked me other questions, and I told him that we’d had problems with the pump leaking before, but not for years (since I topped it up with a leak-stop fluid, it’s not been an issue). There’s no puddles under the vehicle, the fluid level is still fine, etc. Since I had the opportunity, I mentioned the power train error code that I got with the OBDII reader, and he also thought it was probably just the residual carbon from changing out the valve, and that it will clear itself after the van has been run a bit. Then I left the keys and went to the grocery store. Since I was stuck in town, anyhow, may as well get a few things!

It did not take him long at all to call me back.

He could find nothing wrong.

He could not recreate the noise. The closest he could get was when he turned the steering wheel as far as he could, and at that point, the noise was nothing out of the ordinary.

Everything checks out fine.

At which point I was saying, I should be happy to hear this, but the van has become like a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Thankfully, he took my concerns seriously, and told me to keep an eye on it over the next while, as things are warmer. If the noise comes back, he wants be to bring it back and he’ll check it again. If it doesn’t come back, then it was likely the cold causing it.

Now if only medical doctors took our mystery health issues as seriously when they don’t know the answers, as our mechanic does about our vehicles!

That done, I took the van back to the grocery store to load up the cart I’d left at the door, went to fill the gas tank, then headed home.

When we had the valve replaced, one of the things he recommended I do for the next while is floor it, every chance I got. I normally never do that. I tend to be a “gentle” driver. I do the speed limit. I don’t slalem back and forth between lanes. When I get on the highway, while I do try to get to speed quickly, I don’t gun it. I don’t even like passing people, if I can avoid it, and that is partly because the van has no get up and go.

Or should I say “had” no get up and go.

On the way home today, I followed his instructions and floored it whenever I could do so safely (clear road, no other traffic, etc.).

The van’s get up and go is the best it’s been since we bought it.

While the poor quality gas would have cause problems to escalate since the move, that build up of carbon probably started long before we owned it.

If I hadn’t been assured, long ago, that the vehicle was actually worth maintaining, we probably would have tried to trade it in for something else, instead of spending all that money on it.

Even so, with our need for a reliable vehicle that meets my husbands mobility needs, the constant issues cropping up are adding a level of stress I just don’t need!

However, having had it checked out, and with tomorrow supposed to reach above freezing temperatures again, I am finally going to try and make a trip to the city and do a full, much needed, monthly shop. I’m going to try going to Costco, in our usual location, which I’m told does accept face shields or Mingle Masks, and even complete medical exemptions still – though that seems to depend on who is on shift at any given time.

And if that goes well, I’ll later be able to pick up the replacement hot water tank and get it installed.

Just thinking about making these trips is stressing me out. Not just because of the vehicle paranoia, but because going out in public, surrounded by faceless people, is increasingly becoming the stuff of nightmares. As a student of psychology, I understand the effect it’s having and why, but knowing that, and feeling that, are two very different things.

Thank God we don’t live in the city anymore. If I were surrounded by this on a daily basis, I’m pretty sure I would have wigged out long ago.

The Re-Farmer

Problem found

What a lovely day we are having today!

As I write this, we are at -5C/23F, and are expected to get a bit warmer. After the deep freeze we just had, this is feeling downright tropical!

I meant to post this picture yesterday, but I just didn’t have the brain space to do a blog post, so I’m sharing it today!

Their matched, angry looking expressions make me giggle. 😀

There were lots of kitties out while I was doing their food and water this morning.

The Potato Beetle brought luggage.

This was attached to his tail! A whole lot of stuff, stuck to a couple of burrs, stuck to his tail. The blue is from the tarp covering the kibble house. It looks like there’s some jute cord in there, too, and I have no idea where that would be from. I haven’t used any outside, yet. You don’t get a real sense of perspective on the size in the photo. It was like he had a small birds nest stuck to him!

Nostrildamus was quite eager for attention this morning.

He was trying to climb onto me while I was taking is picture. I am so happy with this shot!

Butterscotch was out and about, too, and followed me around. She let me carry her back to the house, and I took advantage of the cat house roof. I put her down on it, then kept petting her, and was finally able to get a really good look at her wounded leg. The gash is completely closed and barely visible. If there were not a suture in the middle of it, I probably would not have been able to spot it, as she moved around.

The whole area is still nekkid. The fur is not really growing back at all, yet. Which means she’s cold, all on the inside of her thigh. Which is better than a gaping wound, of course, but I can tell she’s uncomfortable when she sits in the snow.


I took the van in to the garage yesterday. When I got there, I went over again with him about what the van was doing (he sees so many vehicles, I’m not going to assume he remembers everything I told him before! LOL), and he asked a few questions.

When I had come to the front door I saw, for the first time, a sign about masking. Most other places have them plastered all over, but he had just the one on the door. So I paused to put on my Mingle Mask before going in. There was no one else inside and, while he had his back to me when I came into the office, I could see he wasn’t wearing a mask, so I asked “can I take this thing off?” He said yes as he turned around, then saw the Mingle Mask. He had this “wtf is that?” look on his face, so I told him, I can’t wear a mask, but I can breathe with this.

As we were talking and I gave him the keys, I mentioned I was going to go to the grocery store across the street, but might have to come back. There’s no place else to go to wait. He told me to take my time at the grocery store, because he’s not allowed to have people wait in his office anymore. Which is ridiculous, considering how much space he’s got in there.

I did take my time with the groceries, but still ended up sitting outside and waiting. Thankfully, the grocery store has a picnic table in a sheltered corner, where the staff takes their smoke breaks. While I was there, a woman came by for a smoke and we chatted for a bit. After a while, I walked into the parking lot to check, and saw that my van was outside the garage door. I asked if it might be okay to bring the cart over there to unload it, but she saw I had two of the big water jug refills and said it would be really hard to get the cart through the snow. Instead, she helped me bring it into the vestibule, moving a divider for me, so I got get it nearer the exit doors. There was a staff member in charge of cleaning the carts, and she ended up keeping an eye on my groceries for me, while I went back to the garage. She even offered to help me load the water jugs when I came back with the van! They were so sweet. 🙂

As for the van…

The mechanic was outside when I came over – it turned out he had just tried phoning me, but I never heard my cell phone ring! As I came up, the first thing he asked me was, where do I buy my fuel?

We always but our fuel at either Costco (usually once a month, though we haven’t been to Costco for quite a while) or at a co-op. As members, we get a check at the end of the fiscal year, with the amount based on how much gas or groceries we buy, though I haven’t tried to shop at the local co-op grocery store since the restrictions went nuts.

As soon as I told him it was at the co-op, he just shook his head.

My EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation) valve needs to be replaced.

I had no idea what that was, so he explained it to me. It’s no wonder I didn’t know what it was. It’s been so long since I’ve tinkered with engines, they didn’t even have these, yet. I was aware of the EGR valve’s function in newer vehicles, but not as part with a name to it.

Gosh, I suddenly feel old.

He told me the co-op gas stations have the worst quality fuel available. This is something I’ve heard others saying, too, but I didn’t seem to be having any problems, so…


It turns out he sees this a lot, and every time he does, it’s people who buy their gas at the co-ops. The crappy fuel leaves behind a lot of carbon, and these valves end up completely clogged. He said they can sometimes be cleaned, but usually need replacing. I figure, by the time he sees the vehicles, they’re long past the stage where the valve can be just cleaned out!

This is in line with my brother’s thoughts when I described what the van was doing, though he hadn’t specifically mentioned the EGR valve. It might even be why our van sometimes doesn’t want to start at all – something it did with the mechanic one time, as he tried to drive the van into the garage when I had the winter tires put on. That was a problem we’ve had every now and then, since we got the van. Whoever owned it before us did not maintain it well, and we spent an awful lot of money getting it fixed up after we bought it. Considering we got it at a price low enough, I could use my debit card to pay for it, I suppose we can’t really complain!

So while it’s only been a little over 3 years that we’ve been buying this gas, if there were already a build up in the valve before, it would have gotten a lot worse, a lot faster.

As I think about it, I realize that if we weren’t in the habit of doing a monthly shop, with the van being so heavily loaded, we probably would not have noticed it was becoming a problem, and likely would have kept going for months, if not years, before catching it.

The part is being ordered, and I am bringing the van back on Thursday morning. It’s going to cost $425, plus taxes.


I won’t be getting my new chainsaw this month! 😀

While we were in his office, booking the next appointment, he saw someone coming in and quickly put a mask on, so I quickly put my Mingle Mask on, too, so as not to get him in trouble. We were both muttering under our breath about not being able to breath without a mask, never mind with one. I think he he’s medically exempt, too, but is being forced to wear one when customers are around. This town has an awful lot of Covid Karens that would eagerly phone the snitch lines, or the police, on anyone they deem non-complaint. At least he’s alone in the shop, most of the time, and can take it off to breathe.

(Which reminds me; my doctor is going to refer me to a respiratory specialist. The puffer he got me to try has made no difference, and this is now something for the specialists. Hopefully, I will get someone better than the last respiratory specialist I saw, when we lived in the city. His conclusion had been, I’m fat, so that must be why I’m coughing, and he would react with open surprise when test after test came back showing me normal and healthy. :-/ Then he just gave up and sent me back to my regular doctor.)

Meanwhile, the van should be okay to drive, though I will be avoiding heavy loads until after the valve is replaced. He assured me that, while it might keep stalling on me, I would be able to restart it and keep on going. Once it’s replaced, that sluggishness I was noticing should go away, as well. It seems quite a few little things I was noticing, including the fuel economy dropping and the idle starting to sound rougher, were probably all warning signs of this problem.

Now I’m wondering about my mother’s car. She always bought fuel at the co-op, too, and I’ve noticed it has terrible mileage.

After booking the appointment and loading up the groceries, I filled the gas tank on the way home.

At a different gas station!

Dang it. One of our favourite places to stop on the way to the city was the co-op gas station in my mother’s town. There are such wonderful people working there, plus they’ve got an excellent convenience store. But getting a few bucks a year back isn’t anywhere near enough to make up for having to pay over $400 to fix the damage it causes. :-/

We’ll probably still stop there, just to go into the store for snacks, home baked by one of the gas jockeys. ❤

So that’s where we are at, with the van situation. It’s going to be an expensive fix, but knowing what’s wrong is actually a huge relief.

I must admit, though; I’m getting really, really tired of vehicle problems. It’s a lot more stressful, when living in such relative isolation, because we depend on having a vehicle so very much. That’s one of the more major downsides of living out here. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Cute stuff, and some productivity

Before I get into various things, I want to share some cute stuff with you, first!

Our collection of baskets that had been stored in the big fish tank ended up on top of the piano for now. The cats love to go up there, so I fully expected them to take advantage of the situation.

It wasn’t long before I found Tissue and Leyendecker among them!

Tissue is in three baskets at once! 😀

The largest baskets, with decorations on them, are the ones we use for our family Easter basket. There are some smaller ones in the collection that we found while cleaning up the house, including a basket that used to be my very own basket to take to church for blessing on Holy Saturday, along with the family basket, when I was a child!

Here is some more cuteness for you to enjoy…

This piece of foam is what was inside the new washing machine when we bought it. Our old mama cat, who moved out here with us, immediately adopted it as her favourite bed, and now Cabbages loves to join “grandma” for cuddles!

The cats also like to bite off pieces along the edges and spit them out.

Our living room carpet is continually covered in cat fur, foam from this thing, cardboard from their scratch pad, and the dirt they’re still managing to dig out of some of our plant pots! The cats leave trails of detritus, everywhere they go. 😀

Our old mama cat has been quick to adopt any new cats introduced to the house, and is STILL allowing several of the kittens – now almost adults – to try and nurse on her, including Cabbages. Cabbages has been taking a long time to socialize but, thankfully, she is getting along quite well with the other cats. Grandma and Keith are her favourites!

Cabbages and Keith will spend hours like this, all snuggled together and napping on my bed.

Cabbages has finally reached a point where we can pet her regularly, and she doesn’t immediately run off. She seems torn between not wanting those big, clumsy humans clomping about near her, and wanting those scritches and pets. She will even tolerate being picked up and held, if only briefly. That is significant progress!

In other things, we warmed up enough today that I finally switched out the memory cards on the trail cams. That micro SD card I put in the new camera this morning, which had been used only once and did not require formatting in the camera when I put it in the first time, needed to be formatted this morning. *sigh* Why would it work fine the first time, after I’d formatted it in the computer, but need to be formatted in the camera, the next time it was used? The other micro SD cards I’d bought at the same time had done the same thing. I had assumed it was because they were not as high end, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem, after all.

Ah, well. I’ll figure it out.

With the bitter cold we’ve had for the past few days, I was not expecting to find much on the cards. Especially from the new camera, which has been just dying with the colder temperatures.

I was surprised.

The older camera was shut down when I switched out the memory card. When it gets cold and the batteries can’t handle it anymore, it shuts itself off. When I turned it back on, the batteries were still at half power, so it was just from the cold. There were still a few files on the card, though, all from one day.

The new camera had files recorded on each day of the deep freeze! This camera displays the temperature, and it actually kept on recording with an internal temperature of -25C/-13F !! Previously, this camera would die before reaching -20C/-4F! It did shut itself down during the nights; the only night files we did get, had a warning displayed in large red letters, saying it was low power. This camera will actually turn itself back on again when the temperatures warm up. I am totally shocked – in a happy way – that it kept working through the deep freeze. I have no idea why it would stop working before, but is working now, at these temperatures. I’m not complaining, that’s for sure! I did still have to warm up the camera with my hands, so I could see the screen, but that would only be a real problem if I had to do it during the deep freeze, because of the frost bite risk. Since I don’t even bother switching out the cards in temperatures like that, it’s a moot point.

This afternoon, we warmed up to -14C/7F, which made me a lot more comfortable about heading out to help my mother with her grocery shopping. She didn’t need much, but took advantage of having access to her car and stocked up on other things. I gave her some of my extra Mingle Masks, hoping she would use one instead of struggling with the surgical mask she normally uses, but she wasn’t up to it. Still, she has them, and saw on me how to use them, so I hope she gives them a try. She will actually be able to breathe in those. She still would have to use the type she struggles with at the pharmacy, though, so she might not bother. Frustrating.

After helping my mother with her shopping, I went back to the grocery store to pick up a few things to tide us over until we can do our big shop, whenever that will be. I had to pick up some bigger stuff, like cat litter and cat food, so there wasn’t enough room in her car for her shopping, her walker, and my shopping, all at once. Which is fine by me. The final bill was a shocker, though. I didn’t get very much, but it cost almost $270. Considerably more than if I’d been able to go to the city to buy the same things.

Bird tracks in the snow, found when I came home. This is nowhere near the bird feeders, but those are sunflower seed shells on the snow. Which shows just how windy things go!

There’s a reason we try to do monthly shops in the city. We save at least several hundred dollars every month by doing that, which means we have more budget left over to buy fresh foods locally. The more we’re forced to make smaller, local shopping trips, the more gets eaten out of our budget, and the less we can get overall, either locally, or in the city.

I did splurge on one thing, though.

I bought a 240 count bag of those red plastic beer cups.

I’m on several cold climate gardening groups, which are all busily talking about starting seeds indoors right now. I’ve seen people recommend using these as pots to start seeds in. They just need to have drainage holes punched into their bottoms. While I will be starting some seeds (like onions) in Jiffy pellets, and others (like corn) in toilet paper tubes, I learned from last year, that I need something bigger to start squash in. I did transplants outdoors too soon because they had gotten too big in their starter trays, only to lose most of them to one last late frost. By starting them in something bigger, even if the weather is not cooperative and they get in the ground later, they will have enough room to keep growing in their pots.

Ideally, I would be using biodegradable pots that can be put straight into the ground, with no disruption of the roots. That’s what I will be doing with the toilet paper tubes and corn. I’ve been looking at pots like that. The Jiffy peat pots are relatively inexpensive, and come in larger count packages. I would have ordered some last night, along with the seeds and plants I got for my daughters, but they were sold out. The alternatives were “cow pots” – the same idea, but made with cow manure instead of peat. They are way too expensive, though.

So when I saw the beer cups in the store, I went for it. They are the size I need, and can be reused. With 240 of them, I have more than enough to plant everything we have that need to be started indoors, and need the extra space.

Now I just have to figure out what to put under the the drainage holes. I can think of all sorts of possibilities, but they all require buying something, and that’s just not an option right now. Even if I could find them, they are “non essential” and stores still wouldn’t be able to sell them. (Like with clothes.) Maybe I’ll find something later in the month that I’ll be allowed to buy. The first seeds need to be started the second half of March, so I have a bit of time to find, or even build, something.

One more little step of progress towards our gardening. 🙂

Tomorrow, we take the van in to the garage and hopefully find out why it’s been stalling. What we find out then will determine what we do and when, in regards to getting the monthly shopping done, and picking up the new hot water tank on warranty.

Ah, that reminds me. I asked around about how this location has been about medical mask exemptions and things like shields and Mingle Masks. It turns out they’ve gone full mask nazi, even to the point of staff following people around, harassing them and kicking them out.

That is going to be a problem. At the very least, I need to go to the customer service desk with the sticker from the hot water tank, and warranty authorization number.

I did find out another location has been safe to go to. As far as I have been told, I need to go back to where the tank was purchased, but that may mean only the franchise, not the specific store. The first tank we got was from a location in town that told me they don’t do warranties, so I had to go to this other location. The one that was recommended to me is actually a bit closer; just in a town to the north of us, that we almost never go to.

I’ll have to make some phone calls.

What a hassle even the simplest things have become.

The Re-Farmer

It’s still cold out there, and… on a more serious note

One of the first things I do in the morning, before heading outside to do my rounds, is check the weather.

This morning, at a time when I would normally be starting to head outside, it was -36C/-32.8F

Yeeeaaaaahhhhh…. No.

I waited a couple of hours before heading out, but it was still -28C/-18.4F At least there was no windchill, and the “real feel” was -25C/-13F

The wait meant I had a whole lot more cats to greet me when I came out! There were none at all, inside the cat shelter. They were all out and about.

They have quite a lot of food out, but still prefer the fresh kibble. Which they quickly abandoned, once they saw there was fresh, warm water!

One of them was eager enough to take a short cut through the snow! LOL

Once again, I skipped switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, but I did head out to the garage to double check that the vehicles were plugged in, and grab some sheets of insulation. We had used these to line the windows in the sun room last winter, when we were keeping the doors propped open so the cats could shelter in it. With the outer door fixed, and that cats having a lovely warm shelter of their own, we didn’t insulate the sun room this winter. That leaves the pieces available to use inside the fish tanks to help keep the seed trays warm.


It wasn’t a lot of extra time to do that, but even so, I could feel the cold in my lungs. Thank God I’m already a shallow breather, due to my chronic cough. In temperatures like these breathing deeply can injure the lungs.

Image source – available on t-shirts and mugs! (not an affiliate link)

There may have been no wind chill this morning, but as I glance at my weather app, I see we’ve almost reached our high of the day, at -24C/-18F – but the wind chill is now -30C/-20F!

Thankfully, tomorrow we should be back to more normal temperatures, and be warmer than -20C. Which is good, because tomorrow afternoon, I am heading out to help my mother with her errands, and have to do a bit of grocery shopping for ourselves, too.

It should be even warmer on Friday, when I take the van in to the garage to get checked over. I really hope he finds why it has begun to stall and have troubles when fully loaded. We were already splitting our monthly shop into a couple of trips, and if the van has problems with just a half load already, and have to make more frequent, even smaller shops, we lose all the benefits of bulk shopping. Plus, our province has kept up a lot of restrictions, loosening some but increasing others, with no change in the mask mandates. There are still a lot of places that refuse to accept medical exemptions, and going out to shop feels like going out to battle, every time. Being surrounded by faceless people is also starting to freak me out more and more. I’m even playing Pokemon Go less. The game has things you can do right from home, without having to go places, and among the thing you can do is exchange gifts with people that are on your friends list. You get to see each person’s avatar in the process, and people are putting masks on their avatars. It’s bad enough that the option is even available, but it’s like a punch to the gut, every time I see a masked avatar. Every avatar represents the person playing, and that person just turned themselves into an NPC.

It’s one thing to know, intellectually, the sort of psychological damage this sort of dehumanization causes. It’s quite another to feel it. And rather surprising, considering how little we go out anyhow. I don’t even want to imagine how wigged out I would be, if I had to be surrounded by it every day. I completely understand my friend who has self isolated for months, because being surrounded by masks triggers her PTSD!

At least I know what the cause of the discomfort is. Most people would have no idea. And why would they? All they would know is that their stress and anxiety is increasing, and there are so many things contributing to that right now. Unfortunately, that cognitive dissonance would cause all sorts of anger, even rage, towards anyone without a mask, and they wouldn’t understand why.

A bit of a rant, there, I suppose, but that lack of awareness directly affects people like myself, who can’t wear a mask. Even in places that recognize medical exemptions, it’s the other customers that become more aggressive and abusive. I have been fortunate so far. I may have been kicked out of stores that refuse to honour medical exemptions (which is illegal, but then, so are the mask mandates), but I haven’t been harassed by other customers, yet. It has, however, affected familial relationships and friendships in a negative way.

I have never enjoyed shopping to begin with. Now, it’s like walking around with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head, never knowing if it’ll drop.

The Re-Farmer