Pushing her limits, and changes of plans

Now that we have the living room barricaded to the cats and turned into a plant room, we’ve decided that we will work on bringing Nosencrantz and Marlee in with us every now and then, to try and get them used to being outside of my office/bedroom, but not have to worry about other cats.

Yesterday, I was able to grab Nosencrantz and give it a go.

She was not happy.

I set her on the couch while setting up my tea and trying to find something to watch on TV for a while. Ended up watching The French Chef, because absolutely nothing newer appealed to me! Once I settled on the couch, I shifted her over against my leg, she leaned hard against me and did. Not. Move. for nearly an hour. When she finally did move, it was to tuck her face against my leg.

Which is an improvement from previous times we tried bringing her out. The last time I did, she crouched onto a step between the old and new parts of the house, frozen in panic, even as other cats had to basically jump over her to go through the doorway. She was so stressed, she shat herself. *sigh*

With no other cats around, she was definitely stressed, but not to that point. We’ll need to do this more often.

The frustrating thing is that, if I could just leave my door open, I’m sure she would eventually go exploring. As would Marlee and maybe Butterscotch. Unlike the other two, Butterscotch is not the least bit stressed out, has zero interest in leaving the room, and is very happily living her best life. If the door is open, some – not all – of the other cats come in and out, which would be fine…

Except for Turmeric.

While other cats will sometimes go for Nozencrantz in particular, or maybe even act aggressive towards Butterscotch and Marlee, it’s not much different from when they get ticked off at each other. Even with Potato Beetle added to the mix, aside from the rare altercation with one of the other males, his integration into being an indoor cat has been seamless. Why it’s so different with both the ladies, I just can’t figure out. Especially since, when Butterscotch and Nosencrantz were first brought into the house, Nosencratnz did leave the room and start exploring. Then some of the other cats got aggressive with her, and she’s been a bundle of stress and anxiety ever since.

Turmeric, however, is the one cat that is most aggressive. She’ll be absolutely fine, but as soon as she comes into my room, it’s like she’s hunting for the ladies. I tried having my door open last night, just because I was tired of having to get up every few minutes to let Leyendecker, Cheddar or Fenrir in and out, over and over. The other cats ignored the open door. Only Turmeric came in, saw Marlee in her favourite spot in Baby Jail (we still have the cage set up, simply because Marlee likes going in there so much, and Butterscotch likes to sit on top of it), and made a beeline straight for her, snarling away. She wouldn’t stop, and I had to close my door again. *sigh*

So we’ll see how it works, bringing them out for supervised time in the plant room. Marlee doesn’t like to be picked up or carried, so it might be a bit harder to get her in there.

All in good time.


My plans for the day changed a bit. I was debating whether or not to go to my mother’s today or tomorrow, as I had some things for her. Then I got a call from my brother. He just had a very strange call from my mother. She started talking to him about some disturbing dreams she had, then said she thought he should come visit. He told her he was taking a test right then, so that wouldn’t be a good idea.

The line went dead.

He tried calling her back, but her line was busy. After about 7 times trying to get through to her, he finally called me.

Only then did he realize he’d forgotten to pause his test. It’s a timed exam!

He’s really stressed out about this exam. The last I talked to him, there were no exam times available until next month, so getting to do it today had to have been a pretty last minute thing. He’s been working on this course for some months now, and he’s concerned that if he doesn’t pass it, it might actually put his job at risk. I can’t imagine him failing the exam, but understand the stress he’s feeling. His employer has paid thousands of dollars for this course, and the exam along costs over a thousand dollars – and if he fails, it’s another thousand + to take it again later.

My mother would have no ability to understand what he’s going through. It’s so completely out of her experience, and outside her ability to comprehend.

So he was quite concerned about her. He wasn’t sure if she’s accidentally hung up by pressing a button on the phone with her face, or if she deliberately hung up, or of something else happened. Especially with the line being busy immediately after. Even with calls between him and I in the past, we’ve had weird things happen with the line, and one of us would try to call back the other only to get a busy signal because, at the other person’s end of the line, it hadn’t been cut off yet.

I told him I was considering visiting her this afternoon, and promised I would check up on her. He, meanwhile, did try to call her again, and finally got through.

It turns out that yes, she did hang up on him, and immediately called our sister, because she “didn’t hear what she wanted to hear”. So was our sister going to come over? Oh, no. She’s working today. I don’t think my mother even asked her to come over.

First, our sister works nights. She had plenty of time to come over for a quick visit.

Two, since he was in the middle of this test when my mother called, she was actually calling him while he was working, but still expected him to drop everything and visit her.

On top of all that, I don’t think she even considers how badly she hurt him, a few months ago. Frankly, it’s a testament to what a good man he is that he hasn’t cut her out of his life completely.

Yes, it was that bad.

And she totally doesn’t get it.


I had other errands to run, so I did those in my mother’s town instead of the one closer to us – things are noticeably more expensive where she lives, but for the amount I needed to get, it wasn’t worth the cost of gas to go elsewhere.

There were a couple of things I brought for her, and one that I made for her. I wasn’t sure how she would handle it. She kept saying she needs a new chair, to replace the one she uses at her little dining table. She said it was breaking, but it turns out that only the vinyl seat is starting to crack. So I got some blanket yard and crocheted a cushy for her tushy. Just a rectangle in waffle weave stitch, so it’s twice as thick as ordinary single crochet. I made ties at each corner, even though I couldn’t quite remember how the legs were on this chair. It’s got a metal frame, and the legs are all one piece of metal tubing, forming a triangle shape on the sides from the back for the legs. Turns out there’s just open space under the front half of the seat, so my ties at the front were too short, but I could at least tie the back to the frame. I told her it would hide the cracks until she can find a suitable replacement chair. She did laugh about it, but accepted the cover. I knew it would be either that, or she would get angry and rant about how she’s worth having a new chair, or that I wasted yarn or something. There’s no in between with her!

The bottom of the triangles that form the legs has also been leaving black marks on her flooring, from being slid back and forth constantly, for years. So I got some self adhesive felted floor protectors that came in a long, narrow strip that could be cut to size. I cut a couple of pieces and stuck those on the bottom of her chair, and she seemed happy about that, too.

Overall, it was a very good visit. She was definitely having one of her better days. It wasn’t until I was almost ready to leave that she started to tell me about her dreams. They were definitely nightmares, where she thought she was losing her mind, and needed to get home – but home was an area of the city my parents lived in, before they bought the farm – and so on. Then she started asking me if I knew what these dreams might mean. Which seems to be the crux of the problem. It’s not just that she had these nightmares (it turned out she woke from one nightmare, couldn’t sleep for hours, then when she did fall asleep, she had another nightmare). She thinks these dreams had some sort of prophetic meaning.

So we talked a while about dreams, and how sometimes things you worry about in the back of your mind can lead to disturbing dreams. I also described similar dreams that people often have, about needing to get somewhere, or trying to run away from something, but it’s like something is holding you back and keeping you from getting where you need to go. She practically lit up as I described these, as it was familiar to her. Knowing other people get dreams like this was a sort of revelation for her.

I think she felt better by the time we were done talking about it and I headed home. It’s hard to know. She might feel better about it now, but start feeling bad about it again, later.

Needless to say, as soon as I got home, I sent a message off to my brother to reassure him. As far as I know, he was still working on his exam at the time, so I don’t expect to hear back from him for a while. He’s got enough on his plate, that’s for sure!

Hopefully, she’ll ease off on giving him a hard time. Probably not, but it would sure be nice!

The Re-Farmer

These are two different cats, plus some updates

A while back, I was seeing the one ‘iccus that was still around. Chaddicus? Thadiccus? I know it’s not Bradiccus, because he had a white tail tip and was… well… male… and I don’t think it’s Saddicus…). This cat was very pregnant, so when I heard a kitten squeaking that one day, I assumed it was … Thadiccus. I’ll settle on Thadiccus.

But then I started seeing the mama, and finding dead babies, and when she came to me for comfort and cuddles, I realized it was Junk Pile.

Except this morning, I saw both of them at the same time.

That’s Junk Pile on the right, sitting on the roof. She no longer lets me touch her, never mind carry her, but at least she doesn’t run off quite as much.

That’s Thaddicus in the kibble house.

Junk Pile has more white on her chest area, but if you can’t see that area, they look almost identical. We also don’t often see them both at the same time, and I hadn’t seen Junk Pile for days before the kitten sadness.

Thaddicus is not pregnant anymore.

Which means, there is a litter of kittens somewhere outside the yard. If they survived being born this early in the year.


Thaddicus tends not to relax when people are around, so the chances of her lying in a position where I might see if she’s nursing is very low.

Meanwhile, Rosencrantz is also getting pretty big. She tends to have her litters in the junk pile by the chain link fence. I was really hoping we’d be able to catch her and get her fixed before she got pregnant again.

At least last year’s kittens were mostly male, and the Cat Lady has been able to help us with the females that we’d been able to socialize. Still, we have three calicos and two torties that are quite feral, so we will potentially have quite a few litters again this year.


Well, we’ll see how many of the males disappear over the summer, and find their own territory somewhere else.


My attempt to find a new doctor has not been successful. I found a third clinic in the town we’ve been going to and called them this morning, but they are not accepting new patients. When I asked, the receptionist knew of only one doctor that was accepting new patients, and that was in the smaller city where the specialist I took my mother to see is located, and I know that would be more than my mother would be willing to put up with. My husband and I still have some options to explore, but unless we’re willing to go to the cities, there are no doctors available for my mother.

So, we’ll likely wait to see when new doctors transfer to our doctor’s clinic, to replace the three that are leaving.

In between all that, I’ve been cleaning up and cleaning out this blog, to reclaim media storage space. It has been unexpectedly frustrating.

I’ve been taking out my old Critter of the Day and Photo of the Day posts. I hadn’t realized just how many of them there were! I started doing these in 2018! Most of these had only a line or two of text, or none at all. All had at least one image, with some having two or three images. So far, I’ve deleted images from and trashed over 270 posts. The first frustration is that so far, this has only recovered a little over 1% of my 13 gigs of storage space. On the plus side, 1% storage space is enough for a lot of photos!

I was going to start with the oldest posts and work my way to the more recent, since it was a while before we figured out how much to reduce our file sizes and not use up memory too quickly, so a lot of those files are larger, even though we had already started to crop and resize fairly quickly. A number of them won’t be removed, since the images in them are stored on Flickr. Flickr limits the number of files you can upload, however, so I can’t use that anymore, without getting a Pro account. I don’t want more annual fees.

The biggest frustrations I’ve been having is with WordPress’ lack of media organization. Everything that’s uploaded is there by date of upload, but if you try to do a search for, say, all images uploaded in a specific year and month, the only thing that will come up are images where the year and month are part of the file name. The only way to see all the images for a month is to keep scrolling back in time. Which is fine for the most recent couple of years, but this is a very photo heavy blog, and after a while, WordPress starts really struggling. Then I start getting pop ups saying WordPress is not responding, asking me if I want to wait or cancel, as thumbnails of images stop loading for a while before suddenly whole groups of them will appear. Then I can scroll down a bit more, and the while thing starts over again.

Last night, I did that for hours, just to reach 2019, when suddenly there was a glitch and I had to reload – but the reload put me right back at the start.

There’s a reason I was trying to scroll back through all the images to get to 2018 (I never got past 2019). What I had started to do was do a search for all Critter of the Day posts. You’d think all the posts with Critter of the Day in the title would show up, but nope. Every post with the word “critter” or “day” would also show up. Still, it made it easier to go through the old posts, and I did even get some going back to 2018 that I tried to deal with. I would open each appropriate post in a new tab in edit mode, then open the image/s I wanted to get rid of in another tab. From there, I would cut and past the file name of the image into another tab I had for the media files and do a search for that specific file. Once it came up, I could delete the image, go back to trash the post, then move on to the next one.

The problem?

Sometimes, the searches just didn’t work.

Obviously, the image is somewhere in my media storage, but they don’t come up in the search. This was a particular problem with early images, when I was using only descriptive words for the file names. I’ve since changed to starting every image file with the numerical year, month and day. That way, if nothing else, I can do a search for the numerical part of the file name and a whole bunch of files will come up. I then find the exact one I’m after, delete that one, then trash the post it was in.

Except sometimes, even that didn’t work. There are some files that simply will not come up in the media search, even though I am copying and pasting the exact file name as it shows on the image. The search cannot have the .jpg or .png file extension, or it won’t come up. Some images had an _ added to them for some reason, and most of the time, if those were there, the image wouldn’t come up in a search (but today, I had a whole bunch work, anyway!).

So while I was able to clean out almost 300 images, there are some that I will have to find the hard way. By scrolling through years of images to get to the date the post was made.

After much wasted time and frustration yesterday, I tried again today, slowly scrolling through media files in between doing other things. I still barely made it to 2019.

So instead, I’ve been going through the post files, looking for the picture of the day titles, from more recent to older. These newer posts have images that are all coming up in a media search, so it’s been a lot more productive.

But I still have only freed up about 1% of storage space total.

This is going to be a long, slow, monotonous job.

Looking through all those old photos, though… Gosh, there are some really good photos! I had fun with them, too. Especially the silly deer faces – I had a whole daily series of photos just for silly deer faces! But, this is not a photography blog and, unlike other posts that are still getting hits years later, they are just taking up space. Aside for the first day or two after being uploaded, no one sees them.

Ah, well. This is all a learning process!

I’m done with that for today, though. There’s probably another two or three hundred more posts to go through before I’m done!

Time for a break from that!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that’s going to make things difficult

First, the cuteness.

Gooby followed me around while I did my morning rounds, and posed nicely while I was switching out memory cards on the sign cam.

I got a call back from the plumber today, and we’re looking at him coming in some time in the middle of next week. From the sounds of it, he was driving (hopefully, hands free!) while talking to me and couldn’t give me anything more concrete, but we’ll get a call once he has the info. It’s not an emergency situation, so I don’t mind the wait. We have everything else we need, ready and waiting, barring any unforeseeable damage that might be found once the old tub surround is removed.

We got a bit of a boost in the mail today; a carbon tax relief check. One government takes a whole bunch away, another gives a pittance back. It’ll help with the work we need to get done, at least.

The reason I made sure to go to the mail today was because my mother phones yesterday about a letter she got from her doctor. We have the same doctor, so my husband and I got the same letter.

Our doctor is leaving the clinic for one in the city, as of April 1st.

The letter invites his patients to follow him to the new clinic, while offering virtual and phone visits, but driving that far for in person visits is a bit much for all three of us. The current clinic is already pushing it for distance as it is.

So I called the clinic to ask about other doctors there that are accepting new patients.

It turns out they are losing THREE doctors, not just one. There is one doctor that is willing to see their patients for now, but she can’t possibly take on that many new patients. Not that my mother would be willing to see her. She was already complaining about the doctor we’re losing, because he’s not white, but for a doctor to be both not white and female… that would be just too much for her to handle. 🤨

So I started doing some searches. There is only one other clinic in that town, and when I called, their answering service mentioned one doctor that was accepting new patients. I looked up the name and discovered both the clinic and that doctor have way too many negative reviews.

So I tried looking up doctors in the smaller city – that would be pushing it too much for my husband, but not as much for my mother.

That was pretty discouraging, too.

I finally tried looking at the town closest to us. We won’t go there anymore, but my mother might. No go.

There’s a town to the north of us that my husband and I could try, but that would be too far for my mother, plus it would require me to drive south to my mother’s town, then north to this other town, then back to my mother’s town, and finally back home, adding an extra hour of driving time.

Our province does have a service we can register with that will pair people up with family doctors, but if there aren’t doctors withing our area accepting new patients, it’s not going to help us.

What will most likely happen is, we’ll have to wait for new doctors to transfer over to the clinic that we’ve been going, and start seeing one of them.

With my husband’s private disability insurance, he must be “under the care of a doctor”. Every year, he has to fill out a form that includes mentioning how many doctor’s visits he’s had. Thankfully, phone and virtual appointments count, so until we are able to find a new doctor, it will have to do.

The “fun” of living in a rural area. Doctors tend not to want to work out in the boonies. There are simply more patients in the cities. As I understand it, doctors that have recently immigrated to Canada are required to serve in rural communities for a certain number of years first – five, I believe. Which is about how long our doctor as been at this clinic.

Oh, wow!

As I was typing this, I got a message from my SIL. It turns out there where is a mobile medical unit in our province that does house calls.

That would be ideal for my mother!

Time to go contact them and find out how it works!

The Re-Farmer

Update: looks like the mobile clinic is for the city only. However, I did just find there’s another clinic in the town we’ve been going to. This one looks more hopeful!

My spot

I finally had a chance to do a burn yesterday. While setting up, I brought out a camp chair to use in between tending the flames.

I didn’t get to use it much.

Pointy Baby was quick to claim it as his own – when he wasn’t jumping up on me, demanding attention!

In the end, I wasn’t able to stay out too long. It to way too windy, so I covered the burn ring as soon as I could, then left it to smolder.

The cats are happy to have the camp chair back in the sun room, for their naps!

The Re-Farmer

K, I’m exhausted, plus hard times for kitties!

Today I took my mother for her follow up appointment with the specialist, to tell her how her scope went.

The one she still thinks didn’t happen, because she doesn’t remember the procedure.

The one where, even after the explanation by the pharmacist that seemed to mollify her, she still thinks prescribed her new medications, replacing other medications she suddenly now things worked so well (which rather contradicts why she went to the doctor over concerns that lead her to this specialist in the first place).

It didn’t help that, once we got there, we ended up waiting in the examination room for an hour before he came to see her!

My mother wasn’t at her worse behaviour towards me, but she certainly wasn’t having one of her better days.

I am so exhausted.

As for her procedure, they found no problems. No damage to her esophagus or trachea at all. No, he didn’t change her medications on her and did not give her any new prescriptions.

As for her not remembering the procedure, he talked about the medicine they put into her IV (she’d never mentioned an IV to me; only the throat spray) and how he’d talked to her about not finding any reason to take any samples…

It wasn’t until we were driving home that something finally cleared up for me. After her procedure, she talked to me about how a doctor she’d never seen before had spoken to her and told her they didn’t “finish” because she was on blood thinners, so she was convinced that taking samples was THE reason she was there, but they didn’t do anything at all, because she didn’t stop her blood thinners.

On the drive home, she suddenly asked me, was this the same doctor that we saw last time?

Yes, it was.

She didn’t recognise him. It must be because he was wearing a mask.

No, he wasn’t. No one at the clinic was wearing a mask.

Which is when I asked her if she hadn’t recognized him at the hospital. There was a pause, and I could almost hear the “click” in her brain, and she said, no, she hadn’t.

All this time, she thought the procedure had been done by a completely different doctor she’d never met before.

Once she realized what was going on, she commented that she’s been having a harder time remembering faces.


There was a whole lot of other stuff we talked about during the hours I spent with her, and most of them were not pleasant. Even telling her mundane stuff, like how we had to replace the parts inside the toilet tank, and need to call a plumber for the bathroom fixtures, she suddenly went off on a tangent about how I only ever talk about “bad” stuff, and how if I only went to church, we would have blessings and nothing would ever go wrong anymore. *sigh* She’s been watching too much TV prosperity gospel. Particularly stuff by people on talk shows, selling their books. God is not a magic genie in a bottle, there to answer our wishes.

It gets really mentally exhausting trying to keep up with the sudden changes in topic or getting blindsided by illogical assumptions.

It made the hours seem so much longer, that’s for sure.

But, it went over okay overall, even if she went off on how she wished she never saw this doctor, and that the procedure was a total waste of time, etc., etc.

I was more than happy to get home.

Before I settled in for the evening, though, I decided to feed the outside cats, first.

When I go into the old kitchen, the cats in the sun room hear the noises I make and get pretty active. I started to hear a very unusual meowing, though. One I did not recognise. I opened the inner door to see, and discovered The Distinguished Guest was there.

Then he turned to walk towards an empty food bowl.

Using only three legs.

He wasn’t putting any weight on one front paw, if he could avoid it. I couldn’t see any blood or obvious injury, but recently we’d heard a cat fight outside, and when my daughter checked, she saw it was Shop Towel and TDG again – the two toms that wander in and out, but don’t live here.

I’m so glad we brought Potato Beetle inside.

Poor TDG is having a really hard time, but he won’t let us near him. He was hungry enough to not run away completely while I was putting kibble out, but he did keep running off to other trays, as I moved around.

I’m still sure that he used to be a pet that got dumped. When he first showed up, he did allow us to pet him, but now he’s gotten completely feral.

I really don’t know how to help him. I don’t want to contact the rescue about him. For starters, we have no way of knowing when he’ll be around, so it’s not like we can count on trapping him. Plus, she’s still recovering from major surgery.

She did contact me last night, sharing about how Cabbages, the bitties, and the other outside kittens that got adopted out.

Including Plushy, who just went through some major surgery, too!

Thankfully, he went to a family of means!

He had been perfectly fine until one morning, he threw up and there was blood. They immediately took him to a vet. They X-rayed him and found an intestinal blockage, from a twist. It’s the sort of thing that can happen randomly and has no specific cause. They put him into surgery immediately, and found all his intestines were messed up. It ended up taking a team of 3 vets 4 hours (and $6000, up front!!!!) to save him. Apparently, they were amazed he didn’t die as a kitten, with how is insides looked. !!!

He is now on special food, because his intestines are now shorter, but is doing fine. In fact, other than throwing up blood that one time, there had been no sign of any problems at all! While he was living with the cat lady and getting vet care, there was no sign of problems. Of course, while he was living here, when he finally decided that human contact was an enjoyable thing, we saw no issues, either. Yet, apparently his insides were messed up and, while it’s not actually unusual, when it happens, they usually die as kittens.

The Cat Lady even commented about how so many cats from us have had problems. With Tissue, it was behavioural. Cabbages had her major health problems (she’s doing fantastic now, and angry at the Cat Lady for being chastised after stealing a chicken leg off the counter), Muffin is a total homewrecker that is all over her husband, but won’t let the Cat Lady come near her, and of the two bitties they still have, the tuxedo turns out to have a “grade 3” heart murmur, which is apparently the most common type. Not a major issue, but still something to keep an ear on.

The bitties are going to be fixed during spring break, and they are totally loving life with the Cat Lady and the other rescues!

I wonder if we’d ever even discover they had issues if they had remained yard cats? Yard cats tend to have such short life spans, we’d probably never know if they disappeared because of something like this, or if a coyote or eagle or something got them.

I’m just glad the family that has Plushy now was both willing and able to have her taken care of!

The Re-Farmer

So many! and… no wonder we were having problems

I counted 26 this morning!

It always amazes me how many of the cats have a preference for eating under the water bowl shelter. At one point, I counted 5 under there.

They also really appreciate that sheet of insulation under the kibble house in the winter. Every now and then, I’ll walk past the back of it and see a whole bunch of noses peaking out from under the back wall, where there is a much smaller gap.

I’ve been seeing Rosencrantz again and, unfortunately, she is looking pregnant, too. She had a really early litter last year, though not as early as Junk Pile did this year, and lost it. She went on to have a late second litter with 3 white and greys, Pinky, with his unique patches of mixed orange and grey fur, and a tortie.

For the third day in a row, Junk Pile followed me around while I was doing my rounds, all the way to the sign cam, and let me pick her up and carry her back to the house. She rode calmly in my arms, the back of her head nuzzled against my face. What a massive change in personality! I’ll take it, though. Hopefully, it means we’ll be able to catch her and get her spayed this year.

On a completely different note…

I made it to the Walmart with my mother’s car yesterday. I’m happy to say it ran well, and the roads that were so treacherous just a few days ago are now clear.

One of the things I was able to pick up was a universal fill valve and flapper kit for the toilet. We’ve been having issues for a while now, because … well… see for yourself.

That bit of white hose is almost completely blocked. It was taking forever for the tank to refill after flushing. The flapper would also get stuck slightly open, which meant the water was draining almost faster than it could be refilled. We would have to hold the lever down until the bowl was completely emptied, or the flapper wouldn’t close properly. The flow of water was so slow, it often wouldn’t finish flushing, so we’d have to wait 5 or 10 minutes to flush again.

The flapper couldn’t be replaced; there is something very different about it, and my daughter couldn’t even see how it was attached, but her sister scrubbed out as much of the gunk as she could, and it is working much better. The tank refills so much faster now! The only thing we have to tweak is how much water is in the bowl. For some reason, it has always been very low, and this old valve doesn’t seem to have any way to adjust water levels for the bowl; just the tank. Getting that adjusted will help a lot with reducing the clogs and slow drains we’ve had the entire time we’ve lived here! My daughters are also planning to scrub the inside of the tank as best they can, but it’s lines with Styrofoam insulation, which we have to be careful not to damage. I’ll have to look for the septic safe anti-iron tank tablets again. The last few times I’ve looked, they were out of stock. I’m hoping to avoid having to order online.

Oh, that reminds me. I made a quick stop at the post office on my way out, yesterday, and my new, low limit credit card was in. Once I was home again, I had to call the toll free number to activate it. Of course, the guy I spoke to had a whole spiel he had to give after activating it, to try and sell me insurance, so if I loose my job or something, the balance will be paid. Of course, I was laughing at that, since I cannot get a job. When I mentioned that I want to keep the limit low and just use the card to rebuild my credit rating, he finished off the call with some advice. He gave me the date for my billing cycle, which is the 7th. My intention was to use the card at the end of the month, for gas and groceries, when we do our city shopping, then pay it off right away. He suggested I wait until about 2 days before the due date, which would still be within the 21 day interest free grace period. Waiting to pay until just before the next billing cycle improves the credit rating faster. It would also be helpful to include regular automated payments taken from the card. This shows that the card is actually being used regularly. With the card I have, gas, groceries and automatic payments have a 1% cash back, while everything else has a .5% cash back. I don’t have anything I want to put on automatic payment, though. With our utilities, I like to pay manually, because I always over pay a bit, to build up a credit. That way, if we are ever in a pickle or things just get really tight for some reason, we could have a month or two of reduced payments, or even no payments at all, to free funds up in the budget.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

Just a few things (updated)

We continue to be teased by spring. We had high winds yesterday and through the night, and while this morning, we are at a rather okay -16C/3F, the wind chill is at -24C/-11F. During the night, we had wind chills down to -28C/-18F! Today, we’re supposed to be sunny and reaching a high of -5C/23F, and a few days from now, we’re supposed to start getting consistent highs above freezing. The first official calendar day of spring is in only two days, but it’s going to be a while before real spring finally reaches us.

It got chilly enough in the sun room for this little guy to take advantage of an empty heated water bowl!

While putting their food out, I tried petting Junk Pile, but as soon as she realized I was touching her, she got startled and moved away. I was hoping, after being able to pet and carry her yesterday, she would still be okay with contact, but apparently not.

Then, as I was returning from the sign cam, there she was, coming up the path through the garden! I tried to pet her and she acted skittish, but kept coming back until she finally let me pet her. After a while, I tried walking again, but she wouldn’t let me! I finally picked her up so I could get back to the house, and she was quite okay with that. She kept snuzzling the back of her head against my face and making this noise that was kind of like a quiet growl! While holding her, I could feel her teats were slightly swollen, from not having any kittens left to nurse her, but they lived for so short a time, she should dry up quickly. She was not in any discomfort. When I got to the house and she wanted to jump down, she still wouldn’t move away from my feet, so I had to pick her up again and deposit her onto the cat house roof, just so I could walk!

Today, I plan to take my mother’s car for a run to Walmart; the kibble bin has reached the point where it’s mostly the cheap brand we got from the feed store, and they’re actually picking out and eating the other brand and leaving the cheap stuff behind. They do eat it eventually, but they clearly don’t like it. This gives me an excuse to see how my mother’s car is doing for a longer run, since we have to go to the same city for her follow up appointment with the specialist on Monday.

I’m happy to say that my tax return came in this morning, which means that we can finally call the plumber to fix our leaking taps, as well as pick up a replacement tub surround, since he’s going to have to rip the old one off. Not that there’s much besides the arm bars holding it in place, as it is. We’re going on the most likely assumption that the last time the taps were replaced, it was done from the tub side, then covered over by the surround. I highly doubt the person that I know was hired to do it would have gone through the bedroom wall on the other side. There’s no hole in the paneling, and no sign that the entire panel itself was removed.

We don’t know how much getting all this done in the bathroom is going to cost in the end. The girls and I talked about the possibility of not putting another tub surround up at all, but taking out the old paneling and tiling it. That would be a lot more expensive, though. Plus, I’m still hoping we can at least get my daughter her new glasses right away, now that she’s got a prescription. While she was getting tested, I looked around at the frames in the clinic, and the cheapest I could see was about $180. Most were in the $300+ range, and I wasn’t even looking at the fancy brand names. She is going to try getting glasses from Zenni, which was recommended to me (thank you!), as they do have a Canadian site. I need progressives, so those were the frames I went looking at in the site, and the prices are SO much better. Apparently, “premium” progressive lenses start at about Cdn$70, so my daughter’s very basic prescription should be quite affordable.

We shall see how that goes soon enough.

The Re-Farmer


I just asked my daughter about her glasses order, and it turns out it’s already done! She was even able to order a second pair of prescription sunglasses, and even with shipping, it was still under Cdn$100! I look forward to seeing what the quality is like.

Don’t let the cuteness fool you!

Check out Nosencrantz, all tucked up on her window shelf.

She had her face tucked into her front paws, but my trying to take a picture disturbed her.

This is her, in abject terror and anxiety. She freezes like this, and hardly moves.

I was vacuuming, and all the other hiding places were filled with other cats, so she just stayed on her shelf, frozen into an adorable loaf of anxiety.

She got lots of love and comfort after the vacuuming was done!

The Re-Farmer

Strange Behaviour (sad update)

I tried to do a head count while feeding the outside cats this morning, and I think I counted 23. What concerned me is that I couldn’t see the mama cat anywhere, nor could I make anything out through the windows of the cats’ house. I think I may have heard a squeak, but it could easily have been something else.

While switching out the memory card on the gate cam, a whole bunch of cats came running up the driveway to follow me around. Including one that had me doing a double take.

It was the mama.

(I’d thought she was one of the ‘iccuses, but now I realize she’s Junk Pile!)

This is a cat that I’ve only ever been able to touch by sneaking while she ate, and that was rare. Today, however, she was coming right up to my feet. I reached out to pet her a few times and at first, she nervously backed away, but when I finally got to stroke her back, she stopped and let me pet her.

While trying to walk back to the inner yard, she kept running ahead, then stopping and blocking my feet, then running ahead, then blocking my feet, over and over. Finally, I picked her up – and she let me! I started walking again, which was too much for her, so she jumped down, but was running ahead, then blocking my feet, all the way to the house.

At that point, went down another path to cross the main garden area, and switch the memory card on the sign cam. There is just a narrow, hard packed path through the snow, and if my feet slip off the packed snow, I find myself sunk up to my knee. I often have cats following me, running ahead, and trying to trip me up, and this morning, there were the usual 3 or 4 of them.

On my way back, there she was.

She was doing the same thing; getting under my feet, then running ahead, getting under my feet, then running ahead. On this path, that’s actually kind of dangerous, so I picked her up again and tried to carry her.

Not only did she allow me to carry her all the way back to the house, but she actually snuggled up against me!!!

This from a cat that wouldn’t even let us touch her, without being sneaky about it, before.

It wasn’t until I got in front of the house that the finally wanted to jump down, but allowed me to lower her closer to the ground, first. She ran ahead of me towards the cat shelters, then ran into the cat house.

I tried looking through the windows, but it’s so hard to see into there. The larger windows have too much reflection, and the small one is too dirty on the inside. I tried moving the strips of carpet over the entrance and could finally see her. The larger cat bed in there has been moved (and it pretty torn up!) and is now next to the litter box (which has not been changed in months, because we can’t easily get at it; I doubt the cats are even using it anymore), and I could see other cat blankets pushed around. While I was looking, she moved to the cardboard box with the pillow in it that’s still in the other corner, and where I saw movement yesterday morning, when I first heard kitten noises.

With this very unusual behaviour, I can’t help but feel that she is asking for help.

The problem is, with the snow around the back of the cat house, the counterweight will probably not be able to drop as far as it should, which means needing someone to actually hold the roof open. My daughter and I will be doing that soon; I want to wait until it’s a bit warmer (it was -17C/1F with a wind chill of -28C/-18F while I was out this morning). We’ll bring the hard sided cat carrier out, in case we need to move babies, and hopefully be able to straighten things out inside the cat house a bit as well.

If we do end up moving the babies, then what?

With her strange behaviour this morning, I’m guessing Junk Pile would be willing to come along. The question is, do we set up a “cave” for her in the sun room?

Or do we take her inside.

I still have the baby jail cage in my room. The other cats like to go into there for naps, or just when they want to be left alone.

Well… we’ll make that decision after we see what we find in the cat house.

The Re-Farmer

Update: warning; some graphic details to follow

well, it’s done. After having to chip the packed snow away from the crates supporting the counterweight, my daughter and I were able to open the cat house roof, with the cat carrier nearby for any babies we found.

My daughter is absolutely devastated.

What we found were pieces.

Nature at work. When mamas lose their babies, they “clean up” by eating the remains. If it wasn’t the mama, any of the other cats could have done it. I hadn’t mentioned before, but even yesterday, when I found the second dead kitten in the shelf shelter, it was missing its head, so the cats had already been at that one.

While my daughter looked away, I got the large pieces out, then had to use the snow scraper to bring the smaller bits close enough for me to reach them. A couple of times she looked back, only to be telling me where I’d missed another piece. Once we were sure I got all the bits, we straightened out the cat beds and blankets, then closed the roof up again. At that point, my daughter took the cat carrier in while I finished up.

After clearing the snow out of the hole and putting the crates back under the counterweight, I got a bucket to pick the bits up out of the snow to add them to the other remains awaiting cremation (it’s too windy to start a fire now). Only then did I realize there were two tails parts. These were the remains of two kittens, not one.


I guess the mama coming to me for attention this morning was her looking for comfort after losing her babies.

We knew the chances of survival for kittens born this early in the year was low, but this is the first time we’ve had to clean up the bodies. My daughter is very tender hearted, and having a hard time with it. She was totally unprepared for what we found.


Well… the first ones are here (sad update)

There was quite a crowd when I came out this morning. I think I actually counted 26 cats, though it’s possible I double counted one of the white and greys.

It was while I was by the cat house that I heard it.

The tiniest of squeaky noises.

It took a moment of standing completely still to listen, but the noise was definitely there, and definitely repeating itself.

After going around the other side of the cat house with the kibble, I was able to peek into the small window facing south. The window is half covered with frost, but there was enough visibility that I could see across the inside of the cat house, were we put a box with an old pillow inside for the cats.

Yes. There it most definitely was.


Our first litter of kittens of the year have been born.

I was pretty sure it would be soon, as when I saw the pregnant mama yesterday, she looked rather damp in the back. She is actually in the photo above; the tabby at the very top of the picture.

Alas, she apparently did not have her kittens in the cat house. At least not to start. We have the shelf shelter up against the shelf shelter, and the bottom two shelves have rigid insulation inside, and in front, along with extras like a cardboard box and cat beds inside. I always put a handful of kibble into the openings of each. The bottom one isn’t as open anymore, as the cats have slowly broken the insulation forming the front “walls”, making the opening larger and larger, and the top one has been used as a scratching post in one corner so much, the insulation is torn away with only the cardboard box inside keeping the weather out from the hole!

Going past the shelf shelter later on, I saw one of the white and greys in the bottom shelf, batting at something and looking very startled and confused.

It turned out to be a dead, newborn kitten.

It must have been further back in the shelf when I put the kibble in, because I couldn’t see it at all at the time. Other cats came around to check it out, also looking rather confused over the poor thing.

As the ground is too frozen to bury it, I wrapped it in some paper towel, and we were cremate it later. Poor baby.

I can say for sure there is at least one surviving kitten that I could hear and see moving, and one that didn’t make it. If there are any other survivors, I have no way of knowing. We’re not going to pop open the roof of the cat house to see, because the last thing I want is for the mama to get spooked and move them away. For a litter born this early in the year, their chances of survival are very low, but their best chance of survival is right where they are now. It’s unfortunate the mama is one of the more feral cats, or we’d find a way to bring her and the babies inside.

I suppose I ought to let the cat lady know about it, but she’s recovering from surgery right now and has enough on her plate. There’s nothing more we can do about them right now, anyhow.

One a completely different note, I found this interesting, while doing my rounds.

When we had that wind storm blowing snow two days ago, there was no new snow. Just what the winds picked up off the ground. Yesterday we actually reached 0C/32F, so things started to melt a bit. Now, you can really see that, along with snow, the winds picked up all sorts of dirt, too. Since most of the fields are still covered with snow, that would consist mostly of sand picked up from the roads. The blown in snow is incredibly hard packed, too. Part of my path to the sign cam was filled in, and the blown in snow is so hard packed, it actually holds my weight when I walk on it, just like the packed snow on the bottom of path!

We’re expecting more winds today, from the northeast instead of south/southeast, as it was during the wind storm. Nothing as severe as before, thankfully. We’ll still be taking the van instead of my mother’s car to my daughters eye exam this afternoon, though, just to be on the safe side!

The Re-Farmer

Update: Well, my daughter and I are back from her eye exam (and saying hello to some goats while picking up more eggs on the way home). As I was walking up to the house, I saw Rolando Moon start to go into the bottom of the shelf shelter, then back off strangely. I went to check but couldn’t really see anything, but I was able to reach in and pull out a cat bed we have in there. Sure enough, there was another dead kitten in there. Crud. I wrapped it up with its sibling for later cremation. Poor baby.

I topped up the kibble for the evening and tried to see through the small window of the cat house again, but no luck. The window is just too dirty on the inside. Wherever the surviving kitten is in there (however many there may be), it was no longer anywhere I could see. I was not about to keep mucking about, though. I saw the mama in there, then she went into the sun room to eat. The last thing I want to do is spook her into moving her surviving babies away.

More yard cats is the last thing we need, but we adore them anyway, and it’s always sad when the little ones don’t make it.