Plans? What are those?

Today turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day! Just look at that sky!

It was nice and mild, with almost no wind, too.

Among my plans for the day was to take my mother’s car out for a test run, but also get some seeds started, now that the living room is barricaded from the cats and the shop lights are hung up by the window the current seedlings will be rotated to.

Well, that changed.

First, I got a call from my mother.

She was upset, because the specialist had put her on new medication, and she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure she still thinks didn’t happen, and he’s not her doctor, so why did he change her blood thinners to something else?

After asking questions, things became less clear! I couldn’t tell if she had a new medication added to her bubble packs, or if there was a new medication outside of her bubble packs, or what was going on with her blood thinners, which were now a different colour, and another pill was now a different size and no longer has a number on it, and…

I asked if she could read or spell to me the name of the new medication, but she just started talking about her blood thinners, and how she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure and it’s because the specialist changed her medication… but she got her prescriptions delivered only recently, so she’s only been on these “new” medications for a few days. But she was telling me it’s the new medications that where making her not feel well…

It got very confusing.


I asked if she wanted me to come over to take a look.

Well, she did need to go to the bank, and the pharmacy, and she’s running out of groceries…

Well, now!

So we worked out a time for me to come over, and for me to pick up lunch, since her fridge is getting empty… oh, and I’d better make sure the girls would take over for me at home, so that I could stay with her for a long time.


All righty, then!

So I talked to the girls about what I needed to get done, so that I could at least have space to start on the seeds, then headed to bed.

It was a very cat-interrupted night, so I didn’t get much sleep.

Then, I made a discovery when I popped out to use the bathroom during the night, then paused to talk to my husband.

The door of the cat barrier was open.

I know I latched it after I turned the lights over the aquarium greenhouses off. Did someone open it during the night? My husband had seen it open, but thought I’d done that deliberately. I mentioned it to the girls, and they basically said the same thing.

So I latched it again, after making sure there were no cats in the living room, and went back to bed.

In the morning, it was open again, and the living room was full of cats.

After spending some time checking the hook and eye latch and trying to figure out what was going on, my husband suggested pulling on the bottom of the door, like a cat might do.

Sure enough, a couple of pulls on the bottom of the door, and the hook bounced right out of the screw eye and the door swung open a few inches.


So much for a cat barricade!

I let the girls know what we found, so they could figure something out while I was away.

Because I didn’t have a chance to test drive my mother’s car to see if that shudder was done, now that I’d knocked the ice away from the moving parts of one wheel, I used our van. My mother has a little folding step stool she can use to help her climb into the van.

I left early enough to hit a bank machine before going to the Chinese restaurant for the lunch that she wanted (but no rice, because rice makes her cough… ???), only to find the door locked. Again! The sign said they were open 7 days a week, and they should have been open for more than an hour, by the time I got there. The last time I tried to go there was when I spent the night at my mother’s after her scope procedure, and she wanted take out for supper, and they were closed then, too. Was the restaurant gone?

I decided to go with the fall back option and went to the gas station that has the most awesome fried chicken and potato wedges (just chicken for me, since I’ve given up starches and sugar for Lent; the breading on the chicken is pushing it! 😁), though my mother has decided it makes her sick. While paying for it, I asked about the Chinese restaurant, and it turns out that they are now closed on Mondays – they just haven’t changed their signs yet!

Good to know!

Thankfully, my mother didn’t complain too much about the fried chicken, though she did mock me a bit for not eating any potatoes. Because, of course… 😄

After lunch, I got her to show me her pills, and we got out her bubble pack. She showed me the pills that were now different; she had called them pink, but they were more orange than the lighter yellow they had been before – and in certain lights, those lighter yellow ones had looked pink to me in the past, so that had added to my confusion! She had the prescription list from an old bubble pack that I could compare with.

There were no new medications, and no changes to her dosages.

The only difference was the prefix to the name of her blood thinners, which I told her probably meant they were from a different company.

But why would this doctor change her medications? He’s not her doctor!

Since one of her stops was the pharmacy, I told her we could ask them, but said again, she has no new medications, and no new doses, so it must be a different company – and the doctor would have nothing to do with that. It’s just that sometimes, one brand isn’t available, so the pharmacy has to substitute with another brand that’s the same thing. This has happened to my husband’s medications quite a few times, over the years. She was not reassured, but looking forward to talking to the pharmacist about it.

Before we headed out, though, my brother had reminded me to call for maintenance to tend to my mother’s shower drain. She hasn’t been showering for about a month now, because so much water accumulates at the bottom, she has to stop before it starts flooding into the rest of the bathroom. She’s been refusing to call because the call goes to the city, and that’s really bad and a waste, and she shouldn’t have to call anyone, she should just tell someone here (who that someone is I’m not sure, since she still believes the social workers from the Senior’s Centre are managers for her building), and so on. So before we headed out, I tried calling the number for the department that owns her building, only to get a recording giving me another number for maintenance calls. I didn’t have paper and pen, so I hung up and started getting paper and pen together – until my mother brought me a letter that had the maintenance number right there! She could have given that to me right from the start, instead of directing me to the other number. 😄 It was an 800 number, so not long distance, which she was concerned about, too.

I called the number, followed the automated system, and found myself talking to what sounded like a guy in his truck. Talk about going right to the source! I explained the issue, with my mother confirming details and giving permission for them to enter her place if she wasn’t home.

That being arranged, we headed out.

Sure enough, when we talked to the pharmacist, the change in her pills was exactly what I thought it was. Just a change in companies. Seeing my mother’s concern, the pharmacist took the time to explain how it works legally for when they have to do substitutions, and that if it’s made by a generic company, they have to prove to the government that the pills are exactly the same for doses, etc. before they can be approved as a substitute. When she could see my mother’s eyes start glazing over, she started explaining more to me, so that I could “translate” things in vocabulary my mother would understand. She did such a great job of it, my mother was actually reassured, and that’s saying something!

The last stop for her errands was the grocery store and, by then, it was getting to be too much for her. Even with the stool, by the end of it, she was having a really hard time getting into the van. She was even saying to me, when we get a new vehicle, to make sure it has a handle by the door that she can grab onto! There actually are handles for the seats by the sliding doors, but when we tried having her climb into the middle of the van, instead of the front seat, it was even worse! Her knees are definitely giving her a hard time – which she has also been trying to blame on her medications, because now she thinks they should somehow make her knees better, even though none of them are painkillers or related to her knees in any way. She’s been on these meds for more than a decade, and before the car accident that messed up her one knee in particular, so I don’t know why she would think that!

I might be doing more grocery trips for her, while she stays home! Mind you, with so many errands to run today, it was a lot more stress on her knees than just a grocery trip would be.

Once back at her place, with everything put away, we settled down for a cup of tea. She kept offering me pie or toast or cookies or crackers – the crackers don’t have sugar! – to go with the tea, and made sure I knew how silly she thought it was for me to give up sugar and starches! I told her she could have whatever she wanted with her tea, and didn’t have to change anything for me, but she went with just tea, too.

While we were having our tea, there was a knock at the door.

It was someone to tend to my mother’s shower drain! I couldn’t believe it! I was expecting someone to show up sometime in a few days, not right away!

The woman turned out to be a manager for the building, and she used the same super powerful stuff we had tried on our own drain when the water from the washing machine kept backing up the drain. The smell was really awful, even with the door closed and the fan on in the bathroom. As she was leaving we talked for a bit in the doorway as I asked for instructions, which helped – except that one of my mother’s neighbours popped out and started yelling and ranting at her for talking in the doorway, because everyone could hear us.

The manager took it in stride, like someone who has dealt with plenty of this sort of thing before!

We also had a small world moment; it turns out she’s related to my SIL, and has known her and my brother for many years! Too funny!

One of the things she said to do was run cold water for a while and, if it still backed up, to let a specific person know when she came in, in a couple of days, and they’d go from there. I waited a while after she left, then ran the water…

… and heard some very familiar sounds, as gurgling water filled the pipe before starting to fill the bottom of the shower!

So I quickly ran out in the off chance she hadn’t left yet, and caught her just as she was returning to the building to fill out a log book.

I was able to give her a good description of what I was hearing as the water backed up, and she was all “you’ve dealt with this before, have you?” 😄 Why yes! Yes, I have! I told her about having to get about 30 feet of drain pipe augured. At this point, it has to go to a plumber, so she told me she’d call to make those arrangements as soon as she got back to her vehicle. The plumber might come tonight, but more likely tomorrow.


I couldn’t believe how fast it was being dealt with! And to think my mother has been putting up with this, and sponge bathing, for a month because she wouldn’t make the maintenance call!

We had a chance to talk some more about our my brother and his wife – she thinks they’re fantastic, too! – and when she found out where I lived, she asked if I happened to know…

Sure enough, we have mutual friends, too!

That done, I updated my mother about the plumber needing to come in and when he might show up. After that, I did have to go before the post office closed, as my husband messaged me to let me know a package had arrived.

Since it was such a nice day, I didn’t stay home long. Instead, I switched keys and left to test drive my mother’s car. If the shuddering was no longer there, I planned to go into town and run it through a car wash to get any last ice and dirt out from the undercarriage and wheels. If it was still shuddering, I’d turn around and come home, instead.

The car was definitely running better. Of course, on the gravel road, I couldn’t really tell at all, but once I reached our little hamlet, it seemed to be running pretty smoothly – at least while I was on smooth parts of the road! Once I got to highway speeds, I could still feel some shuddering, but was that the wheel, or the road conditions? Of course, I was paranoid the whole way, but did keep going to town.

When I parked to run in and buy a car wash, the driver’s side was facing the sun. As I returned to the car, I could see that the last chunk of ice I couldn’t break off had finally fallen loose. Landing on the moving parts, of course! 😄 At least I could just knock it off, easily!

What a difference it made. While it hadn’t been bad before, the ride home was noticeably smoother, even on the rougher parts of the road! What a relief! We had been so concerned that something had broken, and it was just a matter of finding and clearing ice out of one wheel. Blows me away how it had made the entire car shudder to such an extreme!

Too bad I hadn’t been able to do this yesterday, so that I could have used my mother’s car to run her errands, today!

Ah, well. It’s taken care of now.

Once at home, I found the girls had taken care of things for me, including moving the hook part of the hook and eye latch, so it wouldn’t bounce out anymore. The only concern is that there’s still a lot of play at the bottom of the door, and Tissue is the one who’s been digging at it. She is a remarkably muscular cat, and if any of them manage to pull it out enough to get through, it’ll be her! A second latch should solve that, I think, but the package I got had only two of them, and we’ve got one on each side, so we can latch is closed behind us when going into the living room.

The main thing is, tomorrow, I need to finally get more seeds started! Tonight, I’ll be going through the packets again to bring out the ones that need to be started this early, and set a few of them up to soak overnight.

It’s a few days late, but it should still be okay, I think.

Until then, I can prep some trays and get some Jiffy pellets soaking overnight, too.

I’m just so excited to be able to finally plant seeds again! The gardening bug it hitting hard, with these mild temperatures we’ve been having, even though the ground it still covered with a couple of feet of snow. 😄

The Re-Farmer

I think we found the problem

I left really early to get our taxes done; lacking confidence in the van, I gave myself time to break down. It actually started without too much complaint, and ran well. So I got there about 45 minutes early. The tax preparer was able to take me in soon after. After explaining what I was having issues with, she just shook her head; clearly, this was not the first time she’d encountered situations like ours!

The whole thing was so simple, she was done in maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and that’s with pauses for conversation.

So I’m getting my caregiver tax credit. My husband, however, isn’t having enough deducted off his private insurance payments, and CPP Disability isn’t taking any taxes off at all. So he would have owed over $1700, where it not for his disability tax credit. So he’s going to get a small return, instead of owing.

We could “fix” this by asking both Sun Life to take off a higher percentage, and CPP to start taking some off, too, but all that would do is reduce his net monthly income, just to get a higher tax return once a year. Not worth it.

Before his return could be filed, though, I had to drive home with some forms for him to sign – at about the time my appointment should have been! – then drive the signed forms back again.

Only after all that was done and I was back home, could I finally check the tires on my mother’s car, as our mechanic recommended. Only the driver’s side tire had some snow in the rim, so I knocked that out.

Look what I found under it.

I’d say we found the problem.

I’ve knocked the ice free from all moving parts, but it’s too thick to knock off completely. The snow you see in the bottom of the rim is loose stuff knocked free from around the ice.

My guess is, the last time I used the car, I took a too wide turn somewhere and caught some loose snow. It was warm enough that, after I parked, the snow started to melt, then froze overnight, on the bottom of the tire – which is now the top of the tire in the picture.

We have some much warmer days later in the week. I will wait until then, before taking it out and test driving it. Perhaps I’ll back it out of the van and park it outside so the driver’s side is facing the sun before then.

Or maybe not. The temperatures are supposed to drop a little bit, and we’re supposed to get snow. Even though it’s the southern end of our province that’s supposed to get the most snow, we likely won’t get much sun.

If this turns out to be the cause of that very alarming shuddering, then I am very relieved!!!

Also, I love our mechanic. He’s such a sweetheart!

In other things, it looks like I’m going to have to head out again, tomorrow. We never did get to doing our second city shopping trip after my Costco run. I’m going to have to get more cat kibble. We still have the cheap stuff from the feed store, but the cats don’t like it!

Well, it’s cheap for a reason, I guess.


I really should be starting new seeds today, but the cat barrier with the door isn’t done yet, and neither is the small barrier for the opening in one of the shelf dividers. Until those are done and the living room is cat-free, I can’t move the current seedlings out of the aquarium greenhouses to make space for new seed trays.

Well, a few days shouldn’t make too much of a difference.

The Re-Farmer

Could it be that simple?

I just got off the phone with our mechanic, telling him about what my mother’s car was doing, and that my brother thought it might be the U joints or the drive shaft.

Turns out, this car doesn’t have U joints.

What he suggested was to look into the wheel rims to see if there’s any packed ice and gravel, and scrape out any that I find. Apparently, he sees this a lot with cars that drive on gravel roads. Crud gets in there and starts messing with the alignment. I mentioned that, not long ago (not the last time I used it, but the time before), when going into our driveway, the car slide off the hard packed snow and into the soft snow on the side, so there is snow in the rims. Yes, apparently that can be all it takes.

I won’t do that until after I get back from getting our taxes done, as we should be into the warmest part of the day by then; we’re expected to reach a high of -3C/27F, so any ice and snow would be softer and easier to knock out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all I had to do was clear ice and snow out of the rims to solve the problem?

The Re-Farmer

Really? What now?

But first, some adorableness. I had a parade following me this morning!

I had three others behind me as I headed back to the house. When I stopped to take this picture, Pointy Baby actually started running towards me! He is one of the few that lets me carry him while I walk. The others prefer to get underfoot on the path! It’s hard packed snow, but if my foot slides off while trying to not step on a fur ball, I sink a good 6 inches or more.

I so look forward to the snow being gone.

I so look forward to being done with other things, too.

Like car trouble.

Yesterday, I left early to go meet our beef supplier and pick up a BBQ freezer pack; three kinds of steak, burger patties, and two different types of farmer’s sausage.

It’s a good thing I left early, because I intended to use my mother’s car. I haven’t driven it in almost a week, and it was running just fine.

I didn’t notice anything wrong while on the gravel road, since everything shakes anyhow, but once I got on the highway, the whole car was still shuddering. When I got to highway speeds, I didn’t even get a mile before I pulled over. It felt like the wheels were about to fall off! I walked around and kicked the tires, but there wasn’t much I could do on the side of the road. I decided to go home and take the van.

The van hasn’t been driven for a couple of days, and it did NOT want to start! Once it did start, it ran fine, and started without problems after that.


After looking up the different possible causes for the shuddering in my mother’s car, I ruled out most of them. It didn’t have the right “symptoms”. I ended up emailing my brother about it, and we later talked on the phone. He suspects a U joint or the drive shaft.

Whatever it is, we can’t do anything about it right now. Our “unallocated funds” have already gone to replacing the tire on the van, and a few other things. Unless we go into the replacement vehicle fund, which I really don’t want to do!

I’ll talk to our mechanic later. If nothing else, I can get it towed to the garage, later in the month, and he can check it. We certainly won’t be driving it again until we have some idea of what’s going on. I also want to stick my phone under the car and try to get some pictures. I forgot to do that while doing my rounds this morning, but I’m going out again this afternoon, so I’ll do it later.

Speaking of other things funds went to, I ended up buying two different brands of tax software, and I am so incredibly frustrated. I got TurboTax again, after having problems with Ufile.

Our tax returns are simple. At least they should be. My husband has a T4A for his private insurance disability payments, and a T4A(P) for his CPP Disability. He qualifies for the Disability Tax Credit. I have zero income, and can get the Caregivers Tax Credit. Besides that, we can claim medical expenses. That’s it.

Well, with Ufile, I first had to find where the T4A and T4A(P) even was. Their category names didn’t match what was in them very well. It was very confusing, and when I did find the right form, it was missing lines. For the T4A, there was the line for what taxes are taken off, but none for the income. I went looking through the help section, where it to told me where I could input the income line from the T4A instead… and those lines didn’t come up anywhere, either! I could find nowhere to claim the Disability Tax Credit, nor my Caregivers Tax Credit.

So I got TurboTax and discovered it’s completely changed in format, but I did figure out most of it. Enough to “finish” our taxes – but while it apparently did claim my husband’s Disability Tax Credit, it wasn’t calculated into the return. For the past few years, he would come up as owing money until the credit was factored in, so he’d get the credit, minus what he would have owed. This time, he came up as getting a return… but no credit. As for mine, there was no option to apply for the Caregivers Tax Credit, so mine came to nothing at all. I went to the Canada Revenue Agency website and found the exact line numbers to apply for the credits, finally found them by going through the forms in the advanced sections – but it wouldn’t let me input anything, because our returns were already calculated, therefore it was finished. No, I had not filed them. I just saved them.

We’re looking at a difference of several thousand dollars in our favour, here.

After bashing my head against it, I finally threw in the towel.

Today, I’m going in to a tax preparer to get it done. If she can straighten this out, it’ll be well worth the fees! Especially since, according to the CRA website, there are two different amounts I can claim for under the Caregiver’s Tax Credit.

It shouldn’t be this difficult to do such basic tax returns.

I had other plans for today, but they will have to wait.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be driving around with the van again, when I really want to be using it as little as possible, all because something has suddenly gone wrong with my mother’s car!


The Re-Farmer

Unexpected progress

What a gorgeous day it is today! As I write this, we are at -2C/28F, with beautiful sunshine and next to no wind. Snow is melting all over the place! Including our nice new roof – with not a single leak into the sun room!

I’m not sure how many cats I saw this morning – I lost track after 20. That long haired tabby even let me pet him, as he followed me up the driveway. On the way back, I spotted The Distinguished Guest, tucked into a path in the snow, waiting his chance to come closer to the house and get some food.

I got a message from the garage, letting me know our van was ready to pick up. The final bill was $216 and change. It meant setting a little bit less aside for our “car payment”, but not by much.

We got to talk about his trip to the auction, and no, he was not able to find anything, and he was able to explain the issue.

We actually got approved for a larger amount loan than the cost of the vehicle we were interested in. The problem was that the monthly payments would have been $750 a month, because of the interest. As my credit score is so bad, the interest rate would have been 29%. Which is insane. To get a vehicle that meets our needs, with payments we could afford, that was also 2014 or newer, with a maximum 180,000 km… well, it just doesn’t really exist.

Of course, right now, we have nothing to improve our credit rating. We have no debt. No rent or mortgage. Nothing that would improve our credit rating.

His suggestion?

Get a credit card.

More specifically, get a card with a $300 or $500 credit limit. Max the card out every month, and pay it off every month. Which we could easily do with a single Costco shopping trip. In 6 months, we’d have a good credit score. Together with the money we are setting aside every month towards a down payment, he’d be able to get us a much newer and better vehicle, with payments within our budget.

While we were talking, his mechanic joined the conversation. He knew full well what we were going through. Thanks to the lockdowns, he lost his small trucking business 2 years ago. It wiped him out completely and, of course, his credit score was wrecked. He wanted to get a loan for a truck to start over, but couldn’t get one. He got himself a $500 credit card, maxed it out and paid it off every month, and it repaired his credit rating enough that he was able to get a lone for a truck – and those things go for about $200,000!

It’s basically the only way we have available to us to repair my credit score, so when I got home, I went online with my bank and started looking up what was available. Once I got to a certain point, though, I decided I needed to talk to someone, so I called it in. As I spoke to the representative, he told me the main issue was that I have no income – it will be based on household income. My chances of being approved was pretty low, but I could apply for a secured credit card. That, however, had to be done in person. He recommended I do that, rather than continue trying to apply over the phone.

Well, it was early enough in the day, so off I went to the nearest branch, in the town my mother lives in. I tried calling my mother to see if she would need groceries, but got no answer, so I took her car just in case.

I got in to see someone fairly quickly and explained our situation. We started the application for a secured credit card. The down side of this is they work it by locking the amount – in this case, $500, which is their minimum – in our account, so that if we ever reneged on a payment, they would get their money out of the locked funds. However, she suggested we go ahead and try for an unsecured account, first, and see how it that went.

Much to my shock, I got approved for a $1000, unsecured credit card!

I asked if it could be reduced to $500, which she was able to do.

I should be getting my card in 7-10 business days.

The whole thing was shockingly painless!

Once it comes in, it will be used only for gas and groceries, within our usual budget, that’s it!

With that done, I finally managed to connect with my mother and popped in for a visit. She only needed a few things, so I just ran out and picked them up for her. She commented that she wasn’t feeling that well, after the procedure – then started to tell me again that if they couldn’t do what she was there for, because she was on blood thinners, then what was the point? I told her, she was there for the scope; the taking of samples would have been only if they found something of concern, and for that, they would have had her come back. She started to get angry and insisted she never left the room and never had the procedure. She watched other people come and go, but not her. I explained the light sedation to her, and told her I don’t remember getting my bronchoscopy, either. Turns out she’s working herself up to thinking that the stuff they sprayed in her mouth, and lying about doing the scope on her, and her now not feeling as well is them trying to kill off old people to save money.

The sad thing is, I can’t fault her for thinking that. However, our “wonderful” health care system is now using MAiD – Medical Assistance in Dying – for that, so there’s no need for the elaborate scene she’s building up in her mind. So far, no one has tried to talk her into offing herself, at least. It’s a good thing we don’t live in BC. 😕

Anyhow, I temporarily mollified her, but I know it won’t last long. Aside from that, it was actually a really good visit, and I even got to talk to her about our plans for getting chickens (which she enthusiastically supports), and to make it so that if things happen, like the power going out for a long time, we’d be okay. Every time I bring that up, she starts talking about being able to use the old wood cookstove in the old kitchen, and I had to explain to her again, how badly damaged it is, and why it would be wildly unsafe to use it, even if we did manage to repair it. We may some day be able to fix it up, but until then, there are other things that we can do that we can do ourselves, at little cost, like building and outdoor kitchen under a shelter. In the past, she would have mocked me for the things I was talking about, but she doesn’t do that anymore. Since we’ve moved here, she gave us the hardest time over our plans, because they were so different from how she did things, and she didn’t believe we would actually do them. One example being the retaining wall I wanted to build at one end of the old kitchen garden. When I described to her what we had in mind, she laughed out loud. Then she told me how the family that used to live across the road from here (no one lives there now) had all sorts of grand plans for how they wanted to fix up the property, with retaining walls and garden beds and more. In all the years they lived there, they never did any of it. Therefore, neither would I.

Then I build the retaining wall, and we did several other things I’d told her about that she laughed at me over, or even became angry over, because she would not have done things that way. But they worked. So now, she no longer laughs.


For now, anyhow.

So it’s been a pretty productive day, even if not in the ways I expected or planned on!

I’m okay with that. 😁

The Re-Farmer

This and that…

Yesterday, I double checked with the garage to make sure they were ready to have our van towed over. Then I pumped the flat tire enough to be able to back it out of the garage without driving on the rim. We have a compressor, but the hose couldn’t possibly reach that far (I am considering making an opening in the wall so that the hose end could be passed through, in case we find ourselves in this situation again in the future), but I have a hand pump with a built in pressure gauge. I was able to get to about 20psi when I started hearing the hissing. I ended up slapping a couple of pieces of duct tape over the hole so I could get a bit more air into the tire without it leaking faster than I could pump!

We have a compressor, but the hose couldn’t possibly reach that far (I am considering making an opening in the wall so that the hose end could be passed through, in case we find ourselves in this situation again in the future), but I have a hand pump with a built in pressure gauge. I was able to get to about 20psi when I started hearing the hissing. I ended up slapping a couple of pieces of duct tape over the hole so I could get a bit more air into the tire without it leaking faster than I could pump! All I needed to do was back it out and leave it lined up with the driveway, so the tow truck could easily access it.

Then I called CAA and arranged the tow. The dispatcher couldn’t find our address, of course, since the maps have us on an “un-named road”. She got the directions in the notes, and then I got a call from the towing company soon after. Turns out, they were the same company that towed our van that last time we had to call, more than a year ago. It was the owner that called me, and he remembered taking directions from me before!

Then it was a matter of waiting until a driver was free. I was originally given a wait time of about an hour and a half. About an hour later, I got a robo call saying it would be another 45 minutes. I just hung up from that call when the phone rang again, and it was a real human, calling to make sure I knew about the delay, and apologizing for it.

I’ve always had excellent service with CAA!

I hadn’t get much sleep while at my mother’s, so I set a timer for half an hour so I could close my eyes for a bit. Of course, the cats made sure I still didn’t get much sleep! 😄 At one point, I had Fenrir on my hip, Ginger using one hand as a pillow, Butterscotch head butting my other hand, demanding pets – and then Potato Beetle decided it was a good time to walk across me and settle on my shoulder! All four of them, purring like mad.

Eventually, I de-catted myself, got up and went into the kitchen, before going back to monitoring the live feed on the driveway security camera.

I did a double take after glancing out the kitchen window.

The van was gone! We never heard or saw a thing! I thought they’d at least need me to sign something, but nope. The keys were in the van, so the driver had all he needed.

When I checked the trail cam files this morning, I could watch as he backed up our driveway, then left with the van loaded on the flatbed. From the time stamp, he left about 5 or 10 minutes before I got up, and about half an hour earlier than expected!

Today, they were able to check it out and, unfortunately – though not surprisingly, to be honest – it can’t be repaired. I’m going to need a new tire. I ended up going for the less expensive option. If things go as hoped, we won’t be driving the van for long, anyhow. So a new tire has been ordered. When it’s time to pick up the van, I’ll have a chat with him about how things went at the car auction. The fact that he didn’t call me about it tells me he didn’t find anything to meet our needs.

While waiting for the tow truck, I called the clinic to make a follow up appointment for my mother with the specialist. While doing that, I brought up my mother’s confusion about the procedure not being finished somehow, because she was still on her blood thinners. It turns out that the letter they give out is a standard letter that needs to be updated. They don’t ask people to stop taking blood thinners for a scope anymore. Only if they see something of concern and want to take samples for a biopsy will they then book another appointment, and this time the patient would stop taking any blood thinners. If they had seen anything of concern and wanted her to come back, the letter even explained that a doctor would have discussed that with the patient while they were still in the recovery room.

The clinic already had the report, though, and she was able to read it to me. They looked at both her esophagus and her trachea, and everything was “unremarkable”. They saw nothing to warrant taking any samples.

So when I got through to my mother later on, I explained it all to her, including what was in the report.

My mother was immediately suspicous.

It took some questioning, but it turns out that, because my mother doesn’t actually remember the procedure – she doesn’t even remember being taken from and returned to the recovery room – and she has had zero discomfort from it, she doesn’t think it happened. As far as she’s concerned, they had her in the room, sprayed her throat, then came back to tell her they couldn’t finish the procedure because she was on blood thinners and sent her home.

I explained to her again what the doctor had said about light sedation, and that she might not remember anything.

It wasn’t enough. She has convinced herself that the procedure never happened, because she feels no difference after it and doesn’t remember it. She even started saying that the spray didn’t do anything, though she was still feeling the effects of it when I got her home, and had explained why they instructed not to eat or drink anything for at least 2 hours.


Her follow up appointment isn’t until near the end of March. Hopefully, she’ll understand that her lack of memory is due to the light sedation, and that roughly 2 hours of her morning didn’t just disappear.


With the van waiting for a new tire, and not having to go anywhere until we get it back, I think today is going to be a nice quiet day, after all!

The Re-Farmer

Getting ready, and a 2023 garden seedling update

First, my morning cuteness!

Butterscotch has discovered the window shelf! She doesn’t spend much time there, but enough to keep Nosencrantz from using it as often. 😄 So far, the only other cat that’s checked it out is Potato Beetle, and he does just that – checks it out, then leaves.

At the moment, I’m taking a bit of a break from preparing for spending a day and a night at my mother’s. This will be the first time I’ve been away from the farm overnight since we’ve moved here! Which means I’ve been spending a fair bit of time digging around, trying to remember, where is my travel toothbrush? Do I still have a travel toothbrush? Oh, there’s a case for a full size toothbrush. What smaller bag should I use to pack into, and how much will I have to dig to find it behind the barricade made to stop the cats from using the suitcases and scratching posts? Does my husband have an extra pill case I can use for my meds and supplements?

It’s just an overnight trip, but it’s an overnight trip to my mother’s which puts a whole new level of considerations. Plus, I want to stick to my Lenten fast while also not depleting my mother’s grocery supply, so I’m not only bringing food for myself, but enough to share with her. She won’t be able to eat for at least 4 hours after the procedure, since they are going to be freezing her throat, so she’s going to be hungry.

I ended up making a quick trip into town with my mother’s car for a few things for my overnighter, plus a few extras until I can make my next city trip. That will, at the very least, have to wait until after the tire on the van is fixed. Hopefully, our mechanic will find something suitable at the auction that the financing company will accept for the loan that’s already approved. So many things are getting delayed or side tracked because of all the problems with the van!

I am so thankful we have my mother’s car that we can use as a back up vehicle. It’s been needed often enough to be worth the extra expense. Living out here, having two vehicles is a necessity, not a luxury.


While tending the seedlings in the large aquarium greenhouse, I graduated the drum gourds that germinated first. They’re getting tall enough to need more space from the lights, so that one pot has been moved to the lower tray that the onions and luffa are on. I almost, kinda, maybe, think I could see new growth in the one last pot with drum gourd seeds!

Now, in theory, I really should thin out one of the seedlings in the pot I moved. The problem is, they are both so very strong and healthy! Meanwhile, the second pair of seedlings are still recovering from being stuck in the hulls of their seeds and are not looking anywhere near as healthy yet. So I am keeping both and, when it’s time to pot them up, will thin by transplanting one out into its own pot, while the other can be potted up without removing it from the biodegradable pot. Hopefully, the one that gets thinned out will survive. The more seedlings I can keep alive until it’s time to transplant outside, the better our changes of having at least one plant survive transplanting and maybe even enjoy a full growing season!

I took a closer look at the tiny little zucca seedling. There was still just an “elbow” showing, but something seemed odd about it.

Where those roots?


I very gently poked around in the soil and found the seed leaves were still thoroughly encased in the hull, which was trapped enough by the soil that instead of the leaves lifting up, the root end was being pushed out! So I very, very carefully and gently uncovered the seed hull encased leaves while covering the roots – only to accidentally reveal a second seedling working its way out, too! That one was also still stuck in the hull, so I loosened the soil over that, too. Once they’ve gotten large and strong enough to fully emerge and start standing upright, I will gently remove the hulls, like I did with the second pair of drum gourds that germinated..

I’m just babying these suckers! 😂

I am just itching to start more seeds but, for what we’ve got, it’s still a bit too early.

Well, break time is done. Time to go dig out a bag to pack for tomorrow.

The Re-Farmer

Cat pile, totally flat, and enjoying a quiet day

My husband got this picture last night.

Just mashed together in that corner! Adorable. Later on, the entire bench was covered, and there was even one on the camp chair next to it.

This morning, I couldn’t even get a head count, they were all running around so much. It wasn’t any warmer, yet, but they seemed to be really enjoying the bright sunshine!

While doing my rounds, I made sure to check on the van.


What I found yesterday that looked like was the likely damage is now completely hidden. I’ve contacted our mechanic to let him know I won’t be home on Monday, when he was hoping to call me if he’s been successful in finding us a replacement vehicle, and also let him know we’ll be bringing the van back to get the flat fixed sometime next week.

I don’t even want to think about it right now.

Tomorrow, I’ll be prepping for staying overnight with my mother, including bringing my own food. Probably drink, too. I’m hoping she’ll accept my Lenten fast as the reason for that, but it’s not her idea of fasting, so I’ll probably be given a hard time about it. I also just don’t want to be eating her grocery supplies!

So today, I’m going to basically take a break and enjoy a quiet day. It’s going to be a while before I get another one!

The Re-Farmer

Replacement vehicle status, and just made it

I made it to the city for a Costco trip, which will be covered in another post, but I before I left, I wanted to confirm things with the replacement vehicle financing.

Yesterday, I’d messaged our mechanic, asking if he’d heard back after I’d sent in our 90 day income confirmation information. He told me that yes, it had been approved. They just needed something from him, which he’d sent in, and he was waiting for final word.



That was in the morning, and there was still no word by the time he closed. Since I was planning a trip to the city for a Costco stock up trip today, I messaged him this morning telling him this and asking if I should hold off on it. He said he would contact them and find out for me.

After about an hour or two, I got a phone call.

There was good news, and bad news.

The good news was, we were approved for financing.

The bad news was, not for that vehicle.


Apparently, it was hard to get financing for us (not surprised there, considering we’ve had no debt payments to improve our credit rating), but that did eventually come through. However, they would only finance us for a vehicle that was 2014 and older, with a maximum of 180,000 km on it.

The Caravan we were applying for was a 2016 (not the 2015 I thought he’d told me at first), and has 181,000 km.

They wouldn’t budge on that 1000 km.

But, we do have financing approved!

Now, he knows how badly we need to replace our van, and he was determined to find something for us that met our needs and was affordable to our budget. He asked me a number of questions about what we were looking for, and it basically comes down to accessibility for my husband. A vehicle like the Caravan and our current Uplander has been ideal. Yes, we’d be willing to go with an SUV type vehicle, as long as we can fit the walker (yes, it folds, but it’s a bariatric walker, so it’s larger than typical), and with his injury and pain levels, we need something my husband can climb up into, rather than scrunch down into.

There’s a major car auction this weekend. He’s going to try and find something for us! He said he will try to get back to me on Monday about how that went, though I forgot completely that I won’t be home on Monday. I’ll be driving my mother to her scope at the day surgery, then spending the night at her place to keep an eye on her.

With that settled as much as can be right now, I headed into the city with the van, did my Costco shopping, ran into my SIL as I was loading the van!, then headed home.

My younger daughter was waiting for me at the garage with the wagon when I pulled in, and was kind enough to plug the van in for me before I forgot again.

Which is when she heard the hissing.

From the driver’s side tire.

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but this tire is half flat. When I got out of the van and she told me about the noise, I took a look and actually found a split or crack of some kind, near the bottom of the tire.

I made it home just in time!

Or maybe I drove over something sharp when I drove into the garage?

Well, whatever it is, we’re going to wait before getting it fixed. We’ll just have to use my mother’s car for the next while. What bothers me about the timing of this is that, while I’m at my mother’s, it means there will be no vehicle available here at the farm. It would be just for emergency use, really, but that’s kinda the whole point.


The important thing is, this happened *after* the Costco trip, so we’re pretty well stocked up again. Our next trips shouldn’t have that much weight or bulk in them, so we can get away with using my mother’s car. That won’t be until after I’ve spend the night with my mother. Who knows. Our mechanic might actually find us a replacement vehicle this weekend! I’d still want to get it fixed, but I don’t even want to think about it until after all this other stuff is done.

What a day!

The Re-Farmer

What’s that in there? and half a step closer

So… this is what we have to entertain us when we’re using the bathroom.

The nice thing is that, while we are at -22C/-8F outside, the thermometer in the sun room was reading 0C/32F at the time I took this photo.

In other things, we got an email from the financing company about the Caravan. For proof of income, I’d sent a copy of the annual letter my husband gets from Sun Life, confirming our payments for the year, but for CPP Disability, all I had to sent them was a pdf of our automatic payments into our joint bank account. As of yesterday, the lady with the financing company thought everything looked fine.

Well, almost.

The pdf I sent was for only 60 days. The lender requested one for 3 months.

So I sent them in a 90 day statement. I even thought of doing that from the start, but they were asking for pay stubs as proof of income, so I was just hoping a bank statement would be good enough. Ah, well.

Considering the time right now, I figure if we’re going to hear anything either way, it’ll be tomorrow at the earliest.

Once again, I’m really REALLY hoping this pans out. I had to make a quick run into town today and, once again, the van did NOT want to start. For all its problems, though, I’m more comfortable driving the van in this cold, then my mother’s car.

We’re looking at going into the city for our first big stock up shopping trip for March, on Friday – the day after tomorrow. Which would be a van trip, due to the sheer volume and weight of such a trip being too much for my mother’s little car. It would be so awesome to be able to make the trip in the replacement vehicle, and not worry about whether or not our van will start!

The Re-Farmer