That was fast!

Wow, did my order from Lee Valley come in fast! After picking up my mother’s car from the garage, I swung by the post office to pick up the mail, and found this.

Only three days to get here – including the weekend!

Now we just have to wait for enough snow to melt before we can get into the old garden shed, bring out the scythe and get a good look at it.

I was doing a bit of research, and it seems the curvy handle design is called an American scythe. These are apparently known for being very heavy, but the one we have has an aluminum handle, and is very light. I remember having no issues with the weight when I was a kid and my dad was showing me how to use it. Being much older and more broken now, I expect to fully appreciate the light weight and more ergonomic design! πŸ˜€

As for my mother’s car, my daughter drove it home, and she reports it running just fine. Nothing out of the ordinary, and the check engine light stayed off. We also didn’t get charged for the check up. He did the check, cleared the codes and ran it for an hour, and found no issues. So it does look like it was simply triggered by the changing of the battery. That was best case scenario, too.

I am feeling much relieved!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and various updates

Gotta love weather forecasts.

We are supposed to be warming up, and predicted highs and overnight lows were all forecasted to be above -20C/-4F at night, and around the -15C/5F range during the day. Pleasant stuff, really.

At the same time, the app on my phone had a warnings that the cold spell would through to today. I’d read that, look at the forecasted temperatures, and wonder what “cold spell” they were talking about.

This morning, the actual temperature was -28C/-18F before wind chill.

We’ve already warmed up to -16C/3F as I write this, but it’s frustrating to see such wildly different predictions, at the same time, within the same app.

For the outside cats, this is spring, already.

And by “spring”, I mean “mating season.” This morning, I looked out the kitchen window and saw Tuxedo Mask, whom you can see by the water bowls in the above photo, getting lucky with Broccoli.

We don’t know how many female cats we have out there right now; most of the newest cats that are reaching their first birthday in the next couple of months, are cats we haven’t been able to get close enough to see. Of the ones that we could, only Nosencrantz, who is now fixed and indoors, and Broccoli, whom we can’t touch, were identifiable as female. Of course, with the older cats, we know that Ghost Baby, Junk Pile and Rosencrantz are female. Tuxedo Mask is Junk Pile’s baby, while Broccoli is Butterscotch’s, and with both tuxedos and calicos showing up in litters only since we’ve moved out here, we’ve at least got some new bloodlines being introduced. When we first moved here, it was mostly orange tabbies.

By the time the Cat Lady is ready to start taking in outdoor cats for adopting, we’re probably already going to have more kittens. Which I don’t mind, really. If they got taken earlier, they’d probably still get spayed, and I’m not okay with kitty abortions any more than I am human ones. They can be spayed later.

While setting food out under the shrine, I found myself being watched! I’m not sure which if the ‘iccuses this is, other than it’s not Chadiccus, who was busily trying to trip me over by the kibble house, or Bradiccus, who it the only one with a white tail tip.

Speaking of trying to trip me…

Agnoos really wanted attention!

When I came into the sun room, he had the prime spot in the window, on the pillow lined box. πŸ˜€

We’re leaving the sun room doors propped open regularly now, with the heated water bowl in there kept on. The outside heated water bowl had ice across the top, but was not frozen solid, which suggests it is still working, at least a bit. Very odd. I look forward to being able to being able to pick it up and give it a thorough examination. Since we know the extension cords are fine and the water bowl is still plugged in, that leaves the cord to the bowl itself, and most of it is under packed snow. Maybe the deer stepped in it or something and damaged it somehow. There is nothing obvious that can be seen, without being able to actually pick up the bowl and looking under it. At least we’ve got the second one’s cord taped up and it’s working fine, inside the sun room. It just means we can’t close the outside doors completely! With things warming up (if we can trust the forecast), that should be okay now.

In other things:

We have our van back. The tensioner got replaced and, so far, that seems to be making a difference – though I get the sense that there is something draining our battery while the engine is off. No idea what it could be. The mechanic wasn’t seeing anything obvious.

Our wipers are working again. Something got misaligned somehow – possibly accidentally knocked about while the alternator was being replaced. With the wipers mounted so low and under the hood, that’s entirely possible. It took next to nothing for him to fix it, and there was no charge for it. The cost to replace the tensioner was on the low end of the estimate, so we are still under budget on that, which is nice.

As for my mother’s car…

We’re still hopeful it’s something minor setting off the check engine light. After I’d sent him the codes my scanner showed, he’d done his own research. If it is related to the transmission, he couldn’t do the work himself. With one code’s possibility, it would have to go into the city to get the work done. With the other, it might have to go to a Dodge dealership for recalibration after the part was installed – a part which he might be able to find second hand, for $1200.

That would be the less expensive of the potential problems.

Not going to happen.

Those are the worst case possibilities, and our mechanic knows we wouldn’t be able to afford that kind of work. It’s my mother’s car, but I already know she wouldn’t pay for it, even if I asked her to, which I won’t. I’m sure he remembers how difficult it was to get her to pay for the major work that needed to be done, the first time we brought her car in to him. He’d owned the garage for less than a year, at the time, and her car was stuck on a lift, with parts and pieces removed, for about a month before my mother finally agreed to pay for it. My mother firmly believes that all garages lie and cheat little old ladies like her, so even if work clearly does need to be done, she doesn’t believe it. My poor brother put up with a lot of abuse from her, when he was the one getting her car taken care of for her. He’s much kinder and gentler than I am, and her behaviour was very hurtful to him. I’ve become an old crone with very thick skin and, as frustrating as her behaviour can be, at least she can’t hurt me anymore. My brother is a much better person than I am! πŸ˜€

All that over a car. :-/

We shall see what the garage finds. I don’t have any expectations for when he can give it a thorough check, since he’ll be working it around the appointments he already has.

All in good time.

Meanwhile…

When we discovered the belt broke on our new vacuum cleaner (probably my fault… LOL), I ordered replacement belts from Hoover in early February. They sent me a USPS tracking number, but it always read, ‘information unavailable’. Once we got a running vehicle and I could check the mail, confirming it was not in, I contacted Hoover about it not being in.

I got a response saying that, according to their information, it was delivered. It turns out that, once the package got to Canada, it was shipped by Purolator. I got a new tracking number and…

According to Purolator, it was delivered to us on Feb. 28.

We did not get any deliveries.

I wrote back saying we don’t have it; wherever they delivered it to, it wasn’t us. I also mentioned we might not even be in their delivery zone.

This morning, I got a new email. They’re sending it to us again – with a different delivery company! I also got an order confirmation for the re-order. I made sure to write back to explain our physical address won’t show up on GPS because our road is not labelled on maps, asking that our land line phone number be available for the driver if they need to call for directions. I also made sure to mention we are in a cell phone dead zone, so a driver might not be able to get a signal in our area.

I recognise the delivery company name, though, only because companies my daughter has ordered from have used them. They are not common here. If I remember correctly, they were one of the delivery drivers that left her package tied to the gate.

We’ll see how that works.

I think it’s time for me to send another edit to Google Maps to get our road properly labelled.

The Re-Farmer

Well, that’s a concern!

After seeing a deer eating cat kibble out of the kibble house, it was no surprise to find the trays were completely empty and tossed about this morning.

What was alarming was the remarkable amount of blood, inside the kibble house!

I was able to get a photo after I’d straightened things out and the cats had a chance to eat. This is the largest patch of blood, but there was blood all across to the other side, too.

You can even see spots of blood around – and in! – the water bowls!

None of the cats looked injured. I was worried when I couldn’t see Potato Beetle right away, but then he came running and went into the sun room to eat.

I noticed that the heated water bowls water was frozen, so I checked through the opening in the cat’s house, confirming that it’s still plugged in. I knew the extension cord into the house was still plugged in, which left one more place to check.

That required some digging.

We have the plug ends in a waterproof cord protector. While clearing the snow from along the sun room, so the sump pump hose could be put back where it belonged, the extension cord running under the door got snagged a bit. The door kept the cord from being pulled from that direction, so this cord protector got pulled, instead. I thought perhaps it might have been enough to unplug the cords a bit, inside.

They were fine.

I did, however, find this.

More blood drops, next to the deer poop.

There was a very small blood trail up the shoveled cat path to the storage house, then it continued down the path the cats made in the snow, along the side of the building. The cat’s path then splits, with one going around the back of the building, and the other continuing across the yard towards the collapsing log building. The snow was too deep for me to follow it, but I could see a few spots of red towards the collapsing building.

I don’t hear anything on that side of the house from my office/bedroom, but the girls never heard anything either, and they usually hear all of the cat fights. My husband’s window is closest, but he sleeps with a CPAP, so he doesn’t hear anything. It’s not loud, but enough to make a difference.

For the amount of blood in the kibble house, I would expect it to be really obvious if one of the yard cats was injured, but they all look fine, running around in the sun and enjoying themselves. I stayed out to do a burn, and had plenty of time to watch them as they checked me out. No visible signs of injury.

Which is both alarming and perplexing.

Since I was outside, anyhow, I left the door to the sun room open.

Which Rolando Moon appreciated!

They all like that box with the old pillow in it best. πŸ˜€

They will be most upset, when this corner gets converted to a greenhouse again!

I’ve left the doors open slightly, and let Rolando Moon continue to enjoy her sun spot. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile…

I’m still waiting to hear from the mechanic about our van. When that’s ready, I’ll drive my mother’s car over and switch vehicles, so it can be checked again. The codes that came up for my mother’s car were not particularly informative. On the one hand, it could simply be that work was done, and the check engine like would turn off on its own after a few days. On the other, it could be transmission troubles. I’d been messaging with my brother as well as the mechanic, yesterday. My mother has had troubles with this car, with my brother getting things taken care of for her until we took that job over, for a long time. She’s told me to sell the car a few times. I mentioned this to the mechanic; he knows what budget I have left, the last of which is going towards the van right now, and that we are on a fixed income. He told me he would do a complete safety check and see what comes up, as well as looking up the value of the car. If it does end up needing more work than it’s worth, he said he’d be willing to buy it off of us for his lot. It turns out he has a few cars he sells, too. I had no idea until yesterday! I mentioned that we do need a small car for my mother, since it’s dangerous for her to struggle in and out of our van, he said he has a few smaller cars, and would be willing to take my mother’s car in as a trade.

That takes a load off. I would, of course, still talk to my mother and brother about it, if it came to that point. My brother is already up to date on the situation, but I’m not going to try to explain it to my mother, just yet. It’s entirely possible there’s no major problem at all, and all we’ll need is for the mechanic to reset the codes.

In other things, today is the first day of Lent. For the last few years, the thing I’ve given up for Lent has been Facebook. As I’ve been signing up on a number of platforms to try and move away from Facebook, I’ll be giving them all up for Lent. Even on platforms like Messenger, Signal and Telegram, I’ll be staying off groups and just using them for direct communication, and my video platforms will be reduced to research and learning videos only. Blogging will continue as usual, of course.

It’s not going to be easy. I spend way too much time online, though, so this will be a good thing. Besides, if it was easy, it wouldn’t mean much to give it up for Lent!

The Re-Farmer

Heavy sigh

First, let’s look at adorable cats.

Like this picture of Nosencrantz my daughter took.

She was very, very interesting in smelling my daughter’s phone!

While doing my morning rounds, I got entertained by Chadiccus.

Who just loves flinging himself onto the ground in front of my feet and rolling, trusting that I will somehow not step on or trip over him.

The morning rounds done and critters fed, my daughter and I headed to town to pick up my mother’s car and drop off the van again.

New batteries are a lot more expensive than I remember. The bill was over $200. Which was less than half of what we had budgeted, so that worked out. Getting a new tensioner for the van installed is going to cost between $100 and $150.

After paying for the work on the car, then dealing with the van, my daughter drove my mother’s car across the street to the grocery store to do some shopping. I caught up with her, but just needed to get a couple of our big water bottles refilled, so I was quickly finished and went to the car. Things being a bit chilly, I started it to warm up.

The check engine light was on.

*sigh*

I sent a text to our mechanic about it. He told me it was there when he’d started it, but hadn’t scanned it. He just assumed it had been there before, like with our van. Since we’d never been able to start my mother’s car after that “pop” happened, I’d never seen it before.

My OBDII scanner was in the van.

So I walked over to get it, and happened to cross paths with the mechanic as he came out to get the next vehicle he had to work on. We chatted a bit, and he’ll let us know an estimate on the wipers for the van as soon as he can, then I went to do a scan on my mother’s car.

The first issue was finding the port to plug the frikkin thing in. I knew more or less where it was, but just can’t see it. I took several flash pictures of the underside of the dash before I could finally see it, then I still had to find it by feel.

I finally got it in and did a scan, and got two fault codes with a message reading “2Gray fault codes might only be clearable by the ECU itself after ‘N’ fault-free drive cycles have completed.”

One of the codes was P161B and labelled “null”. When I did the web lookup, it came up as “not found.” Once at home I did a search, specifically for the code and my other’s make and model car, and got some information.

“… It is a check engine light code which indicates that the catalyst’s system efficiency is less than the required threshold. In simple terms, it means that more pollution is added into the air than what was supposed to be because of your car. Other symptoms that may indicate this problem are when the Check Engine Light illuminates and when there is a visible lack of engine power.”

For possible causes:

  • Rarely – faulty Powertrain Control Module (PCM-programming required after replacement)
  • Rough running engine due to misfiring plugs. Many engines have misfire codes to indicate the cylinder effected, such as P0307 for number 7.
  • A large vacuum leak would cause a massive amount of un-metered air to enter the intake manifold resulting in an overly lean mixture.

The engine is running smoothly.

The other code was: P0700 Transmission Control System (MIL Request)

The web look up had some pretty extreme possibilities, ranging from ‘work was just done’ to ‘transmission is worn out’.

Looking it up at home, I found:

  • Faulty transmission control module
  • Transmission valve body fault
  • Shift solenoid issues
  • Open or short in the wiring harness

This car has a long history of electrical problems.

Looking at the symptoms:

  • Check Engine Light displayed on the dashboard
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Transmission shifting problems
  • Engine stalling, running poorly, or dying

I’ve noticed poor mileage for as long as we’ve been taking care of the car for my mother, however it doesn’t seem to have any problems shifting that I can remember, nor does it have a history of stalling, etc. When we got the EGR valve replaced and our mechanic told us to stop buying gas where we were, we also stopped buying gas there for my mother’s car, and it has been running noticeably smoother, since.

Well, I guess when we pick up our van tomorrow, we will be dropping my mother’s car off again to get looked at. It may have a spiffy new battery, but we never did find out what that “POP” noise I’d heard was from.

My mother has been talking about selling the car for quite some time. My brother and I have both resisted, mostly because we do need a smaller car that she can get in and out of. It is very difficult for her to get in and out of our van, and I’m the closest one available to help her with errands. It’s also been our emergency back up vehicle.

It would be bizarre, indeed, if we end up having to sell and replace my mother’s car, faster than our van.

That’s a decision we’ll have to make, together with my mother and brother, after the garage has had another chance to check it out.

On a more entertaining note, my daughter came in while I was writing this and shared something she’d seen. When we got back with my mother’s car and parked it in the garage, my daughter went ahead to get the wagon to bring our stuff to the house. As she entered the inner yard, she startled a deer – in front of the kibble house! Our first confirmation that yes, it has been the deer drinking up all the water when we’ve found the heated water bowl empty. Because of where my daughter was, the deer started running down the cat path to the storage house, then cut through the West yard to go to the maple grove. The snow, however, is so deep, it had to repeatedly leap, as if jumping a fence, just to get through. It was quite a struggle!

No surprise we are seeing so many deer on the roads these days. They can actually move around.

The Re-Farmer

Looks like good news this morning

I heard back from our mechanic today.

First thing is that it looks like my mother’s car simply needs a new battery. !! He has no idea what made that “POP” noise I heard; possibly a backfire, though it didn’t sound at all like a backfire to me. He put in another battery and it’s running fine. A new one has been ordered and we should be able to pick it up tomorrow. A battery is much more affordable than I feared!

While we are there to get my mother’s car, he will check the belt and tensioner on our van. He said the tensioner did seem kind of finicky when they worked on it. I’ll talk to him about our wipers and the issues with the EGR valve when we are there tomorrow. With spring coming, we just can’t be without working windshield wipers!

We ran out of deer feed yesterday, so after taking care of the outside cats, I made a quick run to the local general store. I’ve got the onboard computer display on my van set to display voltage all the time, now. When I started the engine, it was at 12.2 volts or so, but very quickly went up to 14.3 volts, where it stayed. I kept the music off, but I did turn on the rear defogger, and it still held.

The trip is just 3 miles. I spent maybe 5 minutes – definitely less than 10 – inside, but when I started the engine, the display read 11.1 volts! It quickly went up to 14.4, but before I even drove my first mile, it dropped to 14.0 volts and stayed there – and I didn’t have anything but lights and heat running.

I look forward to getting that checked tomorrow!

Meanwhile…

… the outside cats are doing just fine. No signs of fighting this morning.

And I am amused by the one-eyed smiley face on the heated water bowl!

After I got back with the deer feed, I grabbed a couple of containers to put feed out for the birds and the deer – double what I usually do, because the entire bag doesn’t quite fit into the storage bin we transfer it to! πŸ˜€ When I came around the corner of the house, our usual two deer ran off – then stopped and watched me through the trees. Once I started heading away from the feeding station, they both came running, not even waiting for me to be completely gone.

They know who brings their treats!

I tried to spread the seeds out more, so they’re not fighting over one little spot, but… they seem to like to eat together out of one little spot! πŸ˜€

While checking out the deer through the window, I was enchanted by a rolling ball of fluff.

David is so adorable. When he sees us, he twists his head upside down, makes cutesy faces at us and start rolling around and twisting himself into a pretzel, to get us to pay attention to him.

It works, every time!

The Re-Farmer

I’m getting really tired of this van

*sigh*

What a day.

Things started off well enough.

Susan got to watch the piebald deer chasing the other two regulars away.

I discovered a strange, furry fruit in the Korean Lilac!

Once outside with the kibble, I was greeted by a very dishevelled Potato Beetle. He headed into the sun room to eat, as usual, so I closed the door to keep him in!

The Distinguished Guest was looking ever more dishevelled than Potato Beetle, making it clear who else was involved.

From the many tufts of long, black, with the occasional white, fur around the kibble house, I’d say Potato Beetle had the upper hand in this battle!

Yeah, that’s blood in the snow, too.

By the time I got back from shopping, several hours later, Potato Beetle was looking a lot better, though with some new scratches on his nose. So when he wanted out while we were loading things into the house, we let him be.

My trip to the city didn’t quite go as planned.

Our big city shopping routine now usually includes a stop at Canadian Tire, first, where we pick up the wood pellets we use for litter. While there, I got more seed starting mix and more trays to fit the mini-greenhouse shelves, and a few other things.

It was snowing lightly in the city, so when I loaded up the van, there was melted snow on the windshield, and the streets were wet and messy, so while going to the nearby international grocery store, I had to use my wipers.

They didn’t work.

All I heard was the sound of them moving lower down into their recess under the hood, and that was it.

When I parked, I tried again, and I could hear that they were trying to move, but they could do nothing more than wiggle a bit. I popped the hood, which is the only way to access them, and they were slightly overlapping each other, but I could see nothing obvious that would be a problem.

Thankfully, I have a long handled windshield cleaner. It’s meant for the inside of the windshield, but i had paper towel in the van, too, so I was able to give the outside of the windshield a good cleaning before heading into the store.

Costco, in another part of the city, would have been my last stop. Since I didn’t want to be driving on messy streets with no wipers, I decided to instead to go a nearby Superstore. It meant getting a lot less than I wanted to, since at Costco I have access to a flat cart and can really load up, but half a shop is better than no shop!

When I finished loading up the van and was getting ready to go, I noticed something.

The check engine light was back on.

That light has been on since we had the EGR valve replaced. It got looked at, the code reset, only to turn on again almost immediately. Our mechanic tried to clean the lines as best he could after replacing the valve, but there are still bits of crud he couldn’t get at, and those are likely tripping the sensor. Since we hardly used the van last year, we didn’t take it back in. Our mechanic reset the code when he replaced the alternator.

I hooked up my OBDII reader, got the codes, screen captured them, and texted them to our mechanic. It’s Sunday, so he’s closed, but he’ll at least be able to see them tomorrow.

Before continuing on, I went through the displays from our onboard computer, which I do fairly regularly.

There was something odd.

When I picked up the van, I went through the displays and the battery read at 15 volts. I don’t remember ever seeing it at higher than 14.4 volts, so that stuck in my mind.

It was now reading 13 volts.

I had the heat, lights and a CD playing. With a brand new alternator, it should still have been at full charge.

I decided to monitor it while driving.

It kept dropping.

By the time I reached the highway to home, it was down to 12.4 volts.

On a hunch, I turned off the CD.

It immediately began to increase, eventually topping up at 14.6 volts and holding.

On the trip home, I drive through the town my mother lives in, which is the only place the speed limit is reduced. Once I was clear and back at highway speeds, I turned the music back on.

It held at 14.6 volts.

Great! Just some weird glitch or something.

When I got home, I had to back the van up to the small gate for unloading. I pulled partially into the garage so I would have space to turn the van around and maneuver to the gate.

In the minute or so that took, the battery was down to 12.2 volts.

!!!

I shut the music off, then the engine, and we unloaded. Leaving the girls to put the groceries away, I parked the van in the garage, which did not require any manoeuvring. Just one wide turn, taking maybe 30 seconds.

With the music off, the battery was back up to 14.2 by the time I parked it in the garage.

What the heck???

So I need to pass that on to our mechanic, too. This should not be happening! Not with a brand new alternator.

We have actually had something similar happen to us in the past, long, long ago. We bought an old car that had been sitting for many years, and one of the first things it needed was a new battery. We even got a high end one. Then we had some other work done to fix it up from being parked for so long, including a new alternator. The battery immediately started to die. If we had the radio, lights and wipers on at the same time, it would stall and we’d need a boost to get it going again.

Not fun while driving in downtown Victoria, BC, in a downpour, at night!

We took it to a different garage, the mechanic took one look and said, “that’s the wrong size alternator” and got us the right one. There was nothing wrong with the first alternator; it just couldn’t handle the power needs of the vehicle.

When we went back to the first place (a Canadian Tire), they said they would reimburse us if we could provide the computer printout to prove it was the wrong alternator, but the garage that fixed it was old school. They never hooked it up to a computer, because they could just see at a glance, that it was the wrong one for that car. So we never got our money back for the first mix up.

This is not the kind of mistake our mechanic would make. At least, I don’t think so! However, I have noticed odd electrical… gremlins… in the van, for some time. Things would start working, then stop, then start again. Loose wires, perhaps? The radio is particularly weird. It doesn’t always turn on or off until after several tries, and if we’re on a bumpy road, the volume will start adjusting itself up or down, and the knob for the volume doesn’t work right away. Which sometimes has us frantically spinning the knob, trying to turn down the volume, only to have it keep getting louder before it finally kicks in.

Whatever the problem is, it’s not showing up on the sensors.

We just got the van back, for crying out loud!!!

Can we win that lottery now? Please? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

The Re-Farmer

Our van is home, the car is not… and the tree seeds are in!

We have transportation again!! Yay!!

While waiting for a call from the tow truck driver, we had gotten the automated call from CAA assuring us that they hadn’t forgotten about us; they were just really busy. The tracker on the website did change to “dispatched”, noting that a driver had been found, but never got to “en route”.

Instead, I got a phone call from the driver, telling me, “I’m in your driveway right now, looking at your car.” !!!

I’m glad I opened the door this morning. πŸ™‚

I’m also glad we had moved my mother’s car to where we normally park the van, because the driver would have been hooped.

What he ended up doing was backing his truck up until he could hook up and raise the rear wheels, then set up a dolly under the front wheels. We didn’t even need to put my mother’s car in neutral.

One of the things involved in hooking up the front wheels was to use a long bar as a lever to lift the dolly – and the car – in place. He could do it on once side, but on the other, there wasn’t quite enough room.

If the car had been in its usual spot, he could not have done it at all. There just isn’t enough space in that area.

He did have to very carefully pull the car out of the garage far enough to use the bar – a touchy thing, with it not properly put together, yet!

Once it was pulled back, it revealed this.

This dark spot in the dirt floor looks new and fresh.

Not good.

What was good is that I was able to ride into town with the driver.

We saw SO many deer along the way! He mentioned scaring some away from our yard when he came in, too.

When we got to the garage, there was no parking spot for my mother’s car. I quickly ran in and let them know. He gave me the key to our van and I moved it, and the tow truck driver very deftly maneuvered my mother’s car into the spot I’d just emptied.

While he was doing that, I went back in to pay for the work on the van. After taxes, it ended up costing $600.30 Then we talked a bit about my mother’s car, and I told him no hurry on that, because we can’t pay for work until next month – the van took up the budget for this month!

Once I was done there, I drove across the street to the grocery store and picked up some deli pizzas for supper.

Because I wanted to. πŸ˜€

Plus a bit of groceries. My husband’s main disability payment comes in on the last business day of the month, which would be the expected day to go into the city and do our big shop. However, the last business day is a Monday, and sometimes it comes in on the Saturday instead. Which would be nice. I’m not a fan of shopping in the city on the weekend, but I’d rather get it over with if I can. We’ll see, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, on the way home, I was able to stop at the post office just before it closed, and pick up the mail. Along with a package for my husband, we got these.

Our tree seeds are in!

Mind you, they probably came in days ago, but we haven’t been able to go to the mail since before my mother’s car died.

These are already cold stratified, so we should be able to start them right away. We’ll go over the instructions again, first. Until we can work on them, I put them back in the bubble pack envelope and tucked them into a fridge drawer, until we can get started.

There was another nice surprise in the mail.

We got a rebate check from our vehicle insurance company. We’ve gotten one for the past 2 years, and for two vehicles, they were a little more than $100. When it was announced that we’d be getting rebate checks again, that’s what I was expecting.

Instead, it was more than $500.

I have sent a message to the garage, letting him know we got our rebates in, so as long as a fix is under $500, we can do it right away and not have to wait until the end of March. He said he’ll check it tomorrow and let me know.

Here’s hoping!

Now I think I’m going to spend some time reading instructions on how to start paw paw and tulip tree seeds!

The Re-Farmer

Morning destruction and rearranging the mini-greenhouse

So I was all concerned that the cats would somehow go after the mini-greenhouse and wreck our new transplants.

I was wrong.

This morning, I came into the living room to find our big Jade Tree on the floor.

*sigh*

That thing needs to be repotted into a bigger, wider pot, but right now the only thing keeping the cats from digging in the soil is a combination of how little space there is for them to get into, and cayenne pepper. The plant is too big to cage, the way we have with the others.

As for the mini-greenhouse. it was fine, but it wasn’t getting any real sunlight. It was getting light, certainly, but was too far back from the window to get full sunlight. Putting it by the window is not an option, because it’s too cold.

So things got rearranged.

After cleaning up and clearing out the spot the big Jade Tree was in (the replacement band for our vacuum is probably waiting to be picked up at the post office, so it was mostly a crevice tool job), I emptied the mini-greenhouse.

I was happy to see the transplants are looking nice and strong, still. The metal tray had no water left in it, so that’s working like it’s supposed to.

The mini-greenhouse then got moved, chair and all, to the spot the Jade Tree was in, where it does actually get some sunlight.

But only on the bottom shelf, so I set the light with the full spectrum bulb up above the higher tray. It’s the best we can do right now. There’s a mirror on the wall, so there’s at least some reflected light, too.

The cats, of course, were very curious, and “grandma” immediately claimed the sun spot.

The Jade Tree got set up where the mini-greenhouse was. Since there’s no need to access a zippered front, I could move it close enough to get some direct sunlight – then reapplied the cayenne pepper. I was messy about it, too, with pepper on the tray under the pot (I decided to use one of the oven liner trays I got for the aquarium greenhouses), and the little table it sits on, just to discourage them from coming anywhere near the pot!

After that, I was finally able to go the morning rounds.

It was only -25C/-13F, bright and sunny, and the cats were loving it! There’s 12 visible in the photo, with a couple in the sun room, and more running around. The only ones I didn’t see where Rosencrantz and Ghost Baby.

While out, I opened up the garage for when the tow truck came for my mother’s car. Just for a lark, I tried starting it again. Nothing. Only the electrical stuff turns on, so I get the console display and the fan turns on, but nothing else.

Then I came inside and found Tissue INSIDE the mini-greenhouse! There’s just enough of a gap at the bottom, from the cover being over the back of the chair, that she got in. The lamp and the shelf it was on were knocked askew, as was one Sophie’s Choice tomato, but not damage.

That gap is now filled.

That done, I called CAA to arrange the tow for my mother’s car. I was warned that it could take 48 hours! It was arranged, though. I don’t expect it to take that long. I’m still waiting for a call from the driver, though, and the online tracker still only says “received”, not “dispatched”. The ETA is still listed as an hour from the time I’m writing this, and I don’t expect that, either!

However, I did get a message from the garage. Our van is ready. The tow truck is my ride in, though, so I have to wait.

Though I’m seriously considering finding someone I can get a ride from. I really want our van back!!! We’re warming up enough for the next while that I’m not as worried about the van not being in the garage, as long as we can still plug it in. Especially since we don’t know when the tow truck will get here.

Gotta figure something out!

The Re-Farmer

Kitty updates, and changed plans

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

That will be nice!

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

Chadiccus is so done with this cold!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things are going to be set back for a while.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that’s more or less worked out.

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

The Re-Farmer

Still cold out there!

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

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

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

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

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

*sigh*

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

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

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

This is the dining room door.

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

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

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

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

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

Wow!

If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser to reimburse the cat lady for Cabbages’ vet bills, click on the button below, orΒ click here. If you would like to read more about it,Β click here.

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

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

We’ll figure it out. I do miss living in a free country, though. 😦

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

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

The Re-Farmer