Looking beautiful today!

Would you look at this!

As I write this, it’s -7C/19F. I think it was about -9C/16F while I was outside this morning, and we’re still expected to warm up to -5C/23F.

It’s gloriously warm out there!

Funny how acclimatization works. 😀

Before I go on, however, I just have to share this horribly low quality picture of Nosencrantz.

Our cat is broken.

I didn’t want to disturb her with a flash.

Baby girl is enjoying life! She is the most chill cat, ever. Gosh, I’m going to miss her when she gets adopted out!!

We’re still keeping her and Butterscotch in my office/bedroom. Or should I say, we are mostly keeping the other cats out, letting them in only under supervision. Nosentrantz has shown little interest in leaving, though we take her out and carry her around. Most of the other cats are okay with her, but some are not. Beep Beep, Tissue and Turmeric, in particular, are not happy to see her. Mind you, Beep Beep is just a b*** and will randomly go after other cats anyhow, but Tissue and Turmeric will try to go after Nosencrantz, specifically. Which is a bit funny at times. Nosencrantz will be sitting on the red blanket, watching the other cats mill about, un-phased. Turmeric will see her, stand up by the bed and start batting and hissing at her, and Nosencrantz will just look at her, like she’s nuts.

Which she is.

Butterscotch, on the other hand, hardly ever comes out of her favourite corners. She’ll move from one corner to the other, come out to eat, drink or use the litter box, and if no other cats are around, she’ll come out for pets. She especially likes my husband. But she wants nothing to do with other cats! Even if they’re completely ignoring her, if she sees any, she starts snarling. She’s even started to snarl at Nosencrantz, sometimes! She just wants people. No cats.

As for the outside cats, they are quite enjoying the warmer weather!

They are very active outside, and we see them running and climbing all over the place.

With so much packed down snow, it’s become difficult to clean out the heated water bowl. The cord is completely buried, so all I can do is tip out the water into the snow.

Nice to see Ghost Baby making an appearance. I do wish we could convince her to come closer. She’s the most feral of all the yard cats.

I’m amused by the spot on the roof of the cat’s house. Even with snow on it, they’ll sit in the spot above the heat lamp inside. 😀

I took advantage of the warmth and got the burn barrel going, which required digging it out again, digging out the path the the electric meter, then started working on clearing snow away from the house.

Some of it was quite hard packed, and needed to be broken up with the ice chipper.

I think I got about a half dozen wheelbarrow loads hauled away, before the burn barrel was done and it was time to go inside. Not a lot of snow can fit in the wheelbarrow before it all just starts sliding down the sides.

Agnoos really likes it when I’m tending the burn barrel, for some reason!

It’s going to take many trips to clear the corner out. The girls and I will chip away at it over the next couple of weeks, while the temperatures are warmer, but not yet melting. We’ll need to clear away the well cap, too, which is going to be the most difficult part. We did try to keep it clear, but there was just too much snow.

While we have several snow shovels, the ergonomic one in the photos is our best one, and we prefer to wait until it’s free instead of using one of the others. Once I was done, my daughter used it to clear parts of the roof, so we don’t end up with water leaking into the house again.

Unfortunately, she noticed the shovel is starting to crack in the middle.


Looks like we’ll have to find a new one sooner rather than later. The other shovels we have are not as strong as this one, and are far more likely to break with the packed snow we have to clear. Except for the one steel one we found, and that one is just too heavy for a job this big!

My husband’s disability pay came in today, instead of Monday. We weren’t sure if they would do that again, and my plan had been to do at least part of the big shop today, if it did. Unfortunately, I was not feeling well this morning. The deli pizzas I picked up as a treat yesterday apparently did not agree with me! So that will have to wait until tomorrow, depending on how I’m feeling. I would have at least liked to make the closer trip to a Walmart. With the paw paw and tulip tree seeds, we’re going to need more soil, soon.

Now, a new snow shovel is on the list.

The Re-Farmer

Just a bit of snow…

It snowed through most of yesterday, and through the night. Big, light, fluffy snow.

Lots of it.

The forecast was for 5-10 cm (about 2-5 inches), and I think we did get close to 10 cm. It was so light and fluffy, though, it made for easy shoveling.

In the paths, at least.

It also made it easier for the cats to move around in it, too.

Along the wall and into the old kitchen garden is what I had to dig out yesterday morning, to free the sump pump hose. That also required breaking the diverter free from the ice that had connected it to the downspout, then breaking up enough of the packed snow at the other end, to finally be able to move it out of the way. We’ll have to make sure it goes back before things start to melt, since it’ll be a while before the rain barrel can be put back there.

After clearing all the paths, which went much faster than usual, it took a bit more to clear the wheel barrow!

We had left it leaning against the tree is one more little shelter for the cats to use. And they did use it – until it got mostly filled with snow.

This is next to where the main paths form a T, so there was a taller than usual pile of snow right at the wheelbarrow. A lot of it was pretty hard packed by now, so it took a bit of breaking it apart with the ice chipper, just to be able to use the snow shovel.

That ice chipper has been getting so much use this year!! Mostly for snow, not ice.

This is why we need the wheelbarrow. We need to remove the snow from around the old basement window – which can’t be seen in the photo. It does have a cover over it, plus a drift in front of it. The shallow storage container visible in the photo was in front of where the sump pump hose comes out of the wall, and is now sitting on the drift, right in front of the basement window.

It hasn’t been a problem in previous winters since we’ve moved here, but we have enough snow this year that it will melt and drain right into the basement window, which is below grade. This is a fairly small corner, and there just isn’t room for the snow, so we’ll have to haul it out of the yard.

In the process, I want to dig that path down more to the ground, so that the hose from the sump pump has a downward grade again. Right now, there is a bit of a “hill” of snow it’s running across.

As soon as things are clear enough, we need to run that hose into the old kitchen garden again. I don’t want it draining this close to the well. Not a problem while the ground is still frozen, but if we have a more average summer, the old basement does get quite wet, and the sump pump will go off regularly.


Getting most of that snow out of the corner is a job we will do, little by little, as weather permits.

The Re-Farmer

Digging out

We got them done! All the paths have been cleared.

I just had to stop, half way to the compost pile, take a glove off and get a photo. It’s hard to tell with my puffy parka, but the snow is now just below waist high on me. The path had been filled in completely at this spot, and was level with the rest of the yard.

The piles of snow from shoveling, on either side, are almost shoulder high on me in places.

The path to the feeding station was also dug out, clearing the steps to the dining room door along the way. We don’t use that door, but it’s one of our emergency exits, so the steps need to be kept clear.

While I was working on the path to the compost pile, the two deer that regularly visit came by! One came all the way to the feeding station, but my being in the path and shoveling ended up being too much for them, and they both ran off. I’m just tickled that they were willing to come as close to me as they did!

We got a burn done as well, so the burn barrel needed to be cleared, with space to move around it. Even with the wide area where we put the bag down, it’s a bit tight to stand next to a fire! I wanted to make sure there was enough fuel for the barrel to keep smoldering, so that it would slowly dry, then burn, the sawdust from the cat litter, so a path was dug until we hit branches from the pile that needs to be chipped. Just far enough to be able to dig some out, or break pieces free. Hopefully, this time it will continue to smolder and burn away the sawdust litter. Last time we did a burn, the sawdust froze before the heat of the fire could dry it and catch.

The path to the electricity meter had to be dug out too, of course, then I checked the path to the pump shack door. I just had to laugh! Our angel with the front end loader wasn’t able to push the snow further back, so it was dumped in front, completely obliterating the path to the door.

It took a lot of breaking things up with the ice chipper to be able to reopen a path!

Ah, the things we do for the yard cats. 😉

And now I sit with a huge mug of tea, and some freshly baked shortbread cookies, to warm up!

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz were doing very well, this morning. They both seem to be enjoying their recovery period in the sun room! Nosencrantz wants more attention than Butterscotch, but not enough that I can get a good look to see how the ear mite status is. Butterscotch is still so much calmer now. She’ll come over for pets and I was even able to pick her up this morning, but she will not let me check the surgical site. I’m not about to risk injuring it by forcing her; so as long as there aren’t any concerning warning signs, I figure she’s doing fine. Amazingly, she still has shown no interest in trying to escape the sun room, which is so totally different from the past. Granted, when we were trying to keep her in the sun room for lengths of time before, it was because she was about to have kittens. Once she had them, she was more than content to let Beep Beep parent both litters while she tore her way through the screen on the old door.

If this behavioural change keeps up, Butterscotch may actually be willing to become an indoor cat!

We shall see. After all those years outdoors, it would be nice for her final years to be in comfort and safety.

By the time I’m done taking care of the sun room kitties, there’s usually a crowd outside the door, waiting for their kibble! Chadiccus, however, was much more polite about it and wanting attention before food. 🙂

The water in the heated bowl was almost completely gone again, and it had been very full. It does make me wonder what other critters are coming around at night, to drink. The snow around the kibble house and water bowls is too hard packed for tracks. One of these days, it would be nice to have a spare camera set up on the area, just to see what’s going on! 🙂

I’ve not been seeing quite as many cats, all at once, of late. I haven’t seen Potato Beetle in a while. Since he came back, he had been more aggressive about being the Alpha male – though he was tackling the females as much as the males. That seemed to end after I found him with that injury above one eye. It was pretty minor and healing up nicely, the last I saw, but it seems that battle lost him his status. I think I might have seen him this morning, but he slunk away before I could get a good look and be sure.

While putting the food and water out, I heard a loud yowling from the outer yard. I’ve heard it before, but when I when to check, I couldn’t see where it was coming from. This time, I saw Creamsicle Baby out by the pump shack. I’m still not sure it was him, as he’s developed a very squeaky little meow. I went to check closer and decided the pump shack door needed to be shoveled out.

This is where the cats usually get in and out of the pump shack. When the driveway was cleared, a pile of snow was made near the pump shack. While it does not block the door, there’s a ridge of snow in front that’s pretty high. With the winds we’ve been having, more snow has drifted in front of the door. The cats are still squeezing their way through, as you can see in the photo above, but I wanted to make it easier for them. It took breaking up a lot of snow with the ice chipper before I could dig a path, but I got it clear.

The door opens inward, so I didn’t have to worry about digging it out too much. Once I got it clear enough, I went in and cleared away some snow that had blown through the hole.

I had a bit of a surprise when I opened the door, though. One of the lights was on! I forgot to shut it off, the last time I was in there. It’s a CFL bulb, not very bright, and not near a window facing the house, so we never saw that it was on. 😀 Ah, well. No harm done.

When repairing the south facing window of the pump shack a couple of summers ago, I deliberately left an opening that used to have the chimney from a wood burning stove running through it. The stove is long gone, but with a pile of tires on the outside, and various junk on the inside, it’s a way for the cats to get in and out. The shack itself is just a frame with cladding on the outside, and I noticed a new hole in the wall, where some cladding has broken. It’s not visible from the outside, as there are sheets of aluminum against the bottom of the wall on that side.

On our list of things to work on is to fix up the pump shack. The concrete floor is badly cracked up, and the old cladding – which would be quite a bit older than I am – is looking water damaged and has gaps. It would be awesome to turn this building into a little workshop and, of course, we want to get the old well repaired. There is a lot of stuff in there I just don’t know what to do with, including bags of ancient clothing and rolled up awnings stuffed into the rafters, broken furniture, an old fridge that I remember my parents using for cream cans, and even an old, tiny, two burner electric stove sitting in the corner where the wood burning cookstove used to be. That old cookstove was what we used to heat water for baths, before my dad had the well dug next to the house and got running water and an indoor bathroom. If we can fix the well and fix up the pump shack, we could turn it into a summer kitchen for canning.

That would be very handy.

After clearing a cat path to the door, I put feed out for the deer and birds – interrupting two deer that were at the feeding station! I had to interrupt them again, to go switch out the memory cards on the trail cam by the sign.

That location is a real pain to get to in the winter!!! At least I don’t have to switch the cards as often, there. Between the snow and the plow ridges, I’m not at all concerned that our vandal will fight his way over to the sign and try to steal it, like the old one, or damage it.

Not even the deer will go through the area in front of the sign! A nicely plowed road is so much easier. 😀

Coming back to the house, I found these two babies, bellies full and watching the world go by in warmth and comfort!

These cats may be semi-feral, but they do get pampered as much as we can! 😀

Rolando Moon had claimed the prime real estate! She’s such a meany to the other cats, they don’t even try to fight her for this favourite spot.

Gosh, that expression! 😀

While still a bit chilly today, we’re supposed to warm up quite a bit tomorrow – perfect for taking Beep Beep and Fenrir in to the vet. My Weather Network app on my desktop has suddenly gone haywire, so I used the app that came with my computer.

Of course, all the apps are showing something different, since they all seem to be connected to different weather stations, even though they’re all supposed to be for our specific area. This is the only one that is showing us going above freezing, in the long range forecast. Above freezing in the middle of February? Yeah, I’ll take that, thanks. It’ll make things messy, but I’d rather have a nice, slow melt of all this snow, then for things to warm up all at once, later on. With the amount of snow we have this winter, as much as it’s needed, if it melts before the municipalities get a chance to clear the ditches, we’ll get flooding. Where we are doesn’t get too bad anymore. When I was a kid, there were a couple of sections of road that would get washed out every spring. Since then, a network of municipal drainage ditches have been dug through farmers’ fields that have been doing a good job of preventing that, as has taking trees out along the sides of the roads in strategic locations. There are still a couple of spots that are at risk of being washed out, if there is enough snowmelt all at once, but we are able to use alternative routes to avoid them.

If we have a wet enough spring, we might even be able to do a controlled burn in some sections of the outer yard this year. Wouldn’t that be nice!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Seeing those warmer temperatures in the forecast has me looking way too far ahead right now! 😀

The Re-Farmer

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Digging out; not as bad as I thought

So the blizzard has passed, and has been replaced with extreme cold warnings. As I write this, we have warmed up to -26C/-15F with a wind chill of -34C/-29F

In our own little front yard microclimate, however, it felt a lot warmer, and the outside cats were out in full force!

A few were holding out for the warm water before coming out, though! 😀

The sun spot at that window must be very pleasant in there. 🙂

As for Butterscotch and Nosencrantz, they would not let me take photos! Nosencrantz wouldn’t stop wiggling around, and Butterscotch just moves away. They are eating and drinking just fine, though unfortunately, from the smell I walked into, they are finding somewhere other than the litter box to do their business. *sigh* I’m sure we’ll find all sorts of “surprises” when the sun room gets its spring clean up. The litter box is being used … by one of them, at least.

Once the critters were fed, I headed out to dig us out. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it might be, though. We didn’t have a lot of new snow, which helped. The high winds were mostly moving around existing snow which, with our garage, meant blowing the snow off the roof and dumping it into a drift in front. The van might have been able to go through the drift, if we really had to, but we could not open the doors to the addition my mother’s car is parked in. It has swing doors that need to be replaced. One of them drags on the ground, so that area needs to be cleared a lot more thoroughly, just to open it wide enough for the car to drive through.

The other side of the garage, where the snow blower, lawn mowers and wood chipper is stored, also has swing doors.

We can’t get into there right now.

When our neighbour cleared our driveway, he pushed aside a snow ridge that was creeping in front of the middle section of the garage, where the van needs to get through. Unfortunately, he pushed it too close to the double doors to that side of the garage. There is enough space that we could clear one of the doors, which would allow us to at least get in, but not with our usual snow shovels. They are a strong plastic, but not that strong. We’ll have to tackle the pile with the ice chipper and a steel shovel before the snow can be moved and really, we don’t need to get into there that badly!

Once the front of the garage was clear, I checked out the driveway and was pleasantly surprised. The road itself remained clear enough that it won’t even need to be plowed. The main road would have drifted over, but I’m sure that’s been cleared by now.

The drifting over the end of the driveway wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I could see the tracks of a vehicle using our driveway to turn around. With the walls of snow left by the plows, our driveway is the only one nearby that’s open enough to do that. All the other driveways for about a mile in either direction are into fields, or empty properties, so no one’s keeping them clear.

I did have to dig out the gate. I’d opened it before the blizzard hit, just in case. They weren’t drifted in place too deeply, but the snow was packed so hard, I had to use the ice chipper to break it up, first.

The bottom of the gate is normally about 6-8 inches above the ground, when open.

I was mostly concerned with this side. While swinging it open and closed, we noticed it started to shudder and vibrate. When our vandal busted up the hinge pins, my brother replaced them with pairs of J pins, so that no one could simply use a jack to take the gate off anymore. My concern was that a pin had snapped in the cold. I was able to check the top ones before, but couldn’t see the bottom ones. So this morning, I used the ice chipper and shovel to clear it away to check, and they were fine.

The shudder was also gone when I swung the gate back and forth, so it looks like it was the build up of ice and snow that was causing it.

On this side, I had to dig things out a bit more, just so we could swing it open further – and dig out the little path to the mini solar panel powering some decorative lights we have on the fence. We used to have several strings of white LED Christmas lights all along that fence, but they got very weathered and I finally just took them off. At some point, we want to have lights along the fence line again, but until then, the mini string of solar powered LED lights will go. The solar panel just needs to be kept clear of snow, and it’s resting on the hub of that wagon wheel in the fence.

Interestingly, the hardest area to dig out was the path to the trail cam. Talk about hard packed! I had to use the ice chipper on almost the entire path. But I got to it, and was able to switch out the memory card – and got to see the vehicle that used our driveway to turn around it! 😀 I don’t know who it is, but it’s a truck I see regularly, and I am jealous of the plow attachment. 😉

On my “when we win the lottery” shopping list is either a RAM 1500 or an F150 (the top two highest rated trucks for winter driving, last I looked) with a plow attachment.

I should probably buy a ticket… 😉

So we are now cleared out enough to get the van out of the garage and drive. We’re expecting a delivery from the pharmacy today, so the gates are being left open. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of our vandal in the trail cam files, so it looks like he’s actually avoiding using the roads past us entirely. Which is not something I intended as a condition, as that’s just not realistic in our area, but who knows what the judge or his lawyer managed to drum into him! Anyhow, between the court order, and the weather conditions, I think we’re okay to leave the gate open for a while, though I’d rather never have to close it at all.

The paths around the yard are pretty filled in. I’m leaving that job for my daughters to do, later!

For now, I’m going to call our mechanic back and book that oil change again!

The Re-Farmer

A new path, and more convoy talk

The wind changed direction this afternoon, so I took advantage of it and headed outside to shovel the path to the compost ring that was completely filled in. Knowing we would be getting a delivery from the pharmacy this evening, I made sure to unlock the gate, first. The driver always calls when he’s close so we can unlock the gate, but I knew I would still be outside when he did.

Once I got the path to the compost ring clear, I continued on and cleared the path to the back door of the garage. It want much faster, since it doesn’t get blown in as much.

I had just reached the back door of the garage when I saw a car pulling up near the chain link fence.

To go to meet him, I had to take the path to the compost ring, across to the house, then down the sidewalk to the person gate he’d pulled up to.

I’ve been meaning to make a path from the back of the garage to the vehicle gate for a while. I wish I’d done it earlier! LOL

By the time I was done, it was getting dark. I had to adjust the lighting in this photo, just to see the new path! It now joined up with the path dug along the garden bed between the two gates, where there is a path to the driveway.

Normally, the inner yard would be cleared of snow enough for us to drive up to the house, with room towards the outhouse for turning, and we wouldn’t have needed all these little paths. Last year, we were able to keep it clear just with our little Spewie, but there is too much snow for the little thing, this year. We probably could have done it if the big snow blower was working. When I was a kid, my dad would use the old Farm Hand tractor to push snow into a pile about where the kibble house is now. It would reach most of the way between the house and the maples that our now outside the chain link fence, but used to be part of the inner yard back then. I remember one year, my siblings and I carved the pile of snow into three sets of stairs, with tunnels in between, leading to a two step platform at the top. The centre staircase had a wide, curved bottom step. We wanted to carve a throne at the top, but the snow pile wasn’t tall enough. 😀 Gosh, that was fun!

This year, we’ve got snow more like what I remember as a kid.

Anyhow, without the heavier equipment, paths will have to do!

It was as I was near the garage door, and having to fling the snow ever higher, that I finally noticed just how deep it was.

I couldn’t quite stretch my arm out far enough to get a good angle, but the snow here is about hip height on me. Maybe a bit higher.

No, not all of where I was shoveling was that deep, though I wasn’t exactly shovelling right down to the ground in most of the paths, either.

After I cleared the new path, I kept on going, clearing the path in front of the garden bed, then scraping the sidewalk and clearing it wide enough for my husband’s walker. Which is really handy, when we have to use the wagon to haul stuff from the van to the house, like the sack of deer feed and other stuff I picked up today. Then I went ahead and cleared the cat paths, too, while there was still light out.

Clearing those paths is getting harder in places. The piles of snow from all the shoveling are getting high enough that the new snow I’m shovelling slides back down if I don’t throw it far enough – or falls into another path if I throw it too far! LOL

The cats were very happy with the cleared paths. 🙂

As I write this, I can see more snow blowing around in the live feed from the security camera. I’m glad I got it done when I did! It’s still rather warm out – only -8C/18F as I write this. We’re supposed to have a high of -18C/-0.4F tomorrow, then it’s supposed to warm up a little bit again, and stay there for the next week. Much nicer than the couple of days of deep freeze we got, when our mini-convoy headed out, and the big one passed through our province.

That’s one of the amazing things about the convoy for freedom. This is happening in Canada, in flippin’ January. A friend of mine in the city had gone out to cheer the convoy as it passed by. She estimated there were about 150 people, just around where she was. It was about -32C/-26F where she was, at the time. In places, the convoy is so long, it took 4 hours to go by, with people outside, cheering them on, the whole way!

As the main convoy makes its way from the Western provinces towards Ottawa, more mini-convoys from the Eastern provinces are starting to make their way out as well. They don’t have as far to go, so they started later, timed so everyone gets there on the 29th. I heard there were so many trucks from Newfoundland, they got a ferry out just to take the trucks across. I’ve also heard that one of the border crossings into Ontario had so many truckers from the US coming in to join the convoy, the line stretched back 70 miles!

Our mainstream media has been avoiding reporting on it as much as possible, but they can’t avoid it any more. Of course, they are misreporting it, completely. One of the things they’re doing is wildly underreporting how many trucks there are. It’s just a few trucks, according to them. Not very many. There is also the usual, predictable slanderous reporting. They’re portraying the truckers as “anti-vaxxers” (most of them are vaccinated, and if they’re coming in from the US, they’re allowed to cross only if fully vaccinated), of course. Today, they’ve been ramping up the disparaging portrayal. The truckers are white supremacists, right wing, extremists, racists, and homophobes. You know. All the tired old insults that get thrown out so much, the terms have lost all meaning. Then there is that truly Canadian insult that comes from the leftist media that gets trotted out every election, and is being trotted out now. The truckers are inspired by *gasp* “American style politics.” Apparently, being compared to Americans is supposed to be an insult. This time, one news station even suggested that the convoy is somehow inspired by the January 6/2021 protests in the US that the media continues to lie about. They are really pushing the idea that the truckers and their supporters are violent crazies. Oh, and another claim that is supposed to be an insult: the truckers are “anti-government”. Because if you don’t 100% agree with what the current government is doing, that can only mean you are “anti-government”.

It’s all BS of course. Unfortunately, too many people believe it, and it’s endangering lives. A number of trucks were found to have their pins pulled. In one incident, a trucker who was not part of the convoy, and did not agree with it, apparently deliberately rammed his own truck into a truck that was part of the convoy. It’s been portrayed by the media as an “accident”. With the way the media is whipping up hatred and division – while accusing the truckers in the convoy of spreading hatred and division – they may very well get people killed.

And our Prime Dictator? Apparently, he’s on vacation in Costa Rica right now, though I don’t know if that’s true.

Thankfully, we have independent media who reporting on the convoy with better accuracy and truthfulness. Best of all are all the people who are documenting it themselves and posting about it. Like this guy.

Language warning!

It’s absolutely amazing! Our Prime Dictator has actually managed to accomplish something useful, in spite of himself. He has united the country. Against him! I have never seen so many wildly diverse groups, completely united in their support for the convoy and the push to end all the mandates.

The guy who made the above video is just one of many supporters, and he can only cover so much. We are also seeing many First Nations groups stepping forward in support. FN peoples are notorious about not getting involved in anything that could be considered even remotely political, with good reason. I’d mentioned before that a group of Hutterites had planned to set up kitchens to feed the truckers. The police wouldn’t let them, apparently because the parking lot was too full, so they drove 2 1/2 hours to the next major city, ahead of the convoy, and set up there, determined to feed them all. The GoFundMe has, as of this writing, reached over $5.7 million. I can’t even estimate how many hundreds of people are even joining the convoy in their own vehicles, so it’s not just a convoy of long haul truckers, but of all sorts of vehicles, too. Then there are the people getting together to prepare meals in take-out containers to hand out to the truckers, people arranging for things like porta-potties along routes where public washrooms are few and far between, and on it goes.

Meanwhile, there is stuff like Facebook deleting groups supporting the convoy, all of Toronto’s traffic cams along the 401 not working, people posting their own videos on social media are finding there is no share button for some reason, and I’ve lost track of the number of people I know who have found themselves suddenly restricted from posting on social media, and not knowing why. For all that, there is still tonnes of stuff out there, for all to see, showing what’s actually happening, and how huge this whole thing is.

Our Prime Dictator has already tried to call in the military and RCMP to stop the convoy, and they refused. So far, publicly, he’s been vocal about framing the truckers as angry (duh!) and potentially dangerous people, chastising them and their supporters for being angry, saying we don’t want to be that way as Canadians. Pure gaslighting, of course. The only truckers he’s talked to is an organization that is heavily connected to the Liberal party, condemns the convoy, but does not actually represent the truckers at all.

It’s a remarkable thing to see happening, and I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out. What I do know is that it is going to affect all our lives, here in Canada.

The Re-Farmer

Update: I just had to include this video, too.

Digging our way out (and a Cabbages update)

What a beautiful day today!

The weather app tells me it’s -25C/-13F, with a wind chill of -36C/-33F right now, but it’s bright and sunny, and actually felt a lot warmer while we were out this morning.

While doing my rounds this morning, it was time to assess just how much the storm affected us. We got most of the snow during the day, then mostly high winds overnight.

The cats that shelter under the storage house were having issues! This path was cleared yesterday morning. One spot was mostly drifted over – you can see it further back – with a bit of space the cats could get through. The other was a steep, narrow drift they had problems jumping over!

So one of the first things I did after putting food out was shovel around the kibble house, digging out the metal water bowls in the process, and opening up their paths.

Then I went around the house with feed for the birds and deer, and startled a deer that was right next to the house, almost at the dining room window! I’ve never seen them go on the house side of where the lilacs and cherry trees are. Not even tracks.

Once the food and water was done, I made my way to the gate to unlock it.

Opening it took a fair bit of effort! Most of the driveway wasn’t bad. We could have left it and driven through the snow, just fine.

We would not have made it through the end of the driveway, though.

Once I got it open (and shovelled out the path to the gate cam), it was time to break out Spewie and start blowing some snow.

I cleared in front of the garage, first, which was a more difficult area. The wind swirls around there, so the snow was deeper, and the top more hard packed. I did eventually make it to the end of the driveway, though!

I didn’t try to go too close to the ground, though, as I didn’t want to be hitting gravel and rocks, so the snow is actually deeper than the furrow made by the snow blower by about 2 or 3 inches. More than that at the end, where the remains of a plow ridge is.

The plows had not gone by yet, but it looks like some farmer cleared a lane with their tractor. At first I thought it might have been done by a truck with a plow attachment I’ve been seeing in the trail cam files lately, but those treads are not from any pick up!

I had managed to do about 4 passes with little Spewie, all the way to the road, when it stop running. I’d tripped the power bar, where it’s plugged in, in the garage. While I was trudging to hit the switch, I could hear the reverse warning sound of heavy equipment, nearby.

It was the plow.


You can see how much I’d done on the left, where the snow is a bit lower. There was no way little Spewie could make it through that! So I had to shovel a lot of it away. Thankfully, being almost immediately after the plow went by, it was still loose and light. Once I got a fair bit of it shoveled, then I could redo the end with little Spewie.

It was still a bit much for that little machine, and one of my daughters widened the end of the driveway with a shovel while I continued working on the rest of the driveway. I didn’t stop to take any more photos, but I was able to clear enough that we will be able to back the van up to the little gate in the chain link fence to unload. The girls, meanwhile, finished shoveling out all the paths in the inner yard. The path to the compost pile was almost completely filled in!

By the time I was done, I was completely soaked from all the snow blown back onto me. My down filled coat is not as waterproof as it used to be, and my shoulders were soaked right through the layers I was wearing under it! I was wearing both a hat and cowl, which was bulky enough to hold my hood in place, so I didn’t have to close it up in front, obstructing my breathing. They were wet, all the way through, too. My glasses weren’t just frosted over. They were iced over! I was very happy to come inside and make a nice, big pot of tea to warm up with!

While all this was going on, I got some texts from the woman who will be helping us with the cats. She told me that she will be in town on Saturday, and can pass on some cat food for us. This will be much appreciated, as the store shelves have been quite empty, so we’re not as stocked up as we should be. She also expects to be able to start taking some of our cats in the next week or two, once they have finished adopting out their current batch!

She also asked about cabbages. I told her she seems to be getting a bit better, drinking water on her own again, but still not eating (at least not while I’m there to see it), so we are feeding her with a syringe. She said she should probably take Cabbages back with her when we meet on Saturday, so that they can get her to a vet right away. This is greatly appreciated, since we won’t be able to do that until the end of the month. She said she can’t make any promises, since we don’t know why she’s sick, which makes sense, of course.

So it looks like we’ll be saying goodbye to Cabbages this weekend, and she will get the vet care she needs.

I do hope this works out for her, and I am very grateful that she offered to do this.

Which makes getting ourselves dug out just that much more important!

The Re-Farmer

On the right path

While one daughter stayed indoors to do baking, another daughter and I went out to dig paths, before the temperature dropped too far.

The main path, from the house to the front of the garage, gets dug wide enough for my husband to get through with his walker, or we can haul things from the van with the wagon. In the outer yard, we also maintain paths to the meter and the burn barrel. We decided against going to the dump today, but I was at least able to do a burn while shoveling, so we don’t have those bags taking up space any more.

The area around the cat shelter and the kibble house got cleared earlier this morning, as I dug the non-heated water bowls out of the snow. This afternoon, we dug out the paths to the kibble tray under the shrine, and I even dug out the path from their kibble house to the corner of the storage house, where they get in and out of the space under it.

Paths to the feeding station and compost ring are cleared, as well as this path from the compost ring to the back door of the garage. You can sort of see the path to the outhouse, too.

I also made sure to shovel the front of the garage, so we can swing open the doors to where my mom’s car is parked on one side, and where the lawn mowers and little Spewie are stored on the other.

It would probably be faster if I took Spewie out to clear the paths, but I really don’t want to fight with so much extension cord. For the main paths, the snow has been so light and fluffy, it’s almost easier to just shovel, and I don’t mind the exercise! I really ought to bring the little snow blower out, though. We have yet to make a path to the fire pit, and it would be good to have a path around the entire house. Especially to where the septic tank is, just in case.

It’s one thing to clear paths we’ve already been keeping up on, but when the snow is knee high, it’s a bit much to be breaking entirely new paths! LOL Mind you, the snow is deeper than the snow blower is high, so maybe it’ll be easier to shovel it, after all.

I do wish we’d been able to take the big snow blower in to be fixed over the summer. It would be quite handy right now!

The Re-Farmer

Snow critters, and brief Ginger Bug update

Yesterday was a recovery day for me, so some things waited until later, and the girls took care of others for me – like shoveling the snow boulders from the driveway clearing out from in front of the garage. 😀 I’ve asked the renters how much we owe them for the awesome driveway clearing jobs, and was told to just forget out it! They are so sweet. It also snowed lightly for most of the day, so when I headed out this morning, I did some more shoveling.

But not here! At least, not yet. This is our feeding station, and you can see that the deer have dug into the snow to get at the sunflower seeds. We haven’t started buying deer feed yet, so the next time we pick up feed, I think we’ll get a couple of bags of deer feed, instead of the black oil seed we get over the summer months. The deer feed we get locally is basically just grain and sunflower seeds, though if we went into town, we could get feed that includes more stuff in it, including corn. The deer – and birds – seem to be happier with the simpler mix. The fact that it’s also cheaper is just bonus. 😉

My husband was a sweetheart and had already given the cats food and water. He had used plain tap water, however, and with ice already in the bowls, by the time I came out, the surface was frozen over already, and the cats were licking ice, even though it was only -9C/16F I had started a kettle going before I left, however, just in case, so my husband was able to bring out a jug of water – half tap water and half boiling water – for me.

Since the water was still pretty hot, I didn’t knock the ice out of the bowls completely before topping them up. The cats were drinking it before I could finish pouring! I even added some to the bird bath. I’m not doing like I did in the past; chopping the ice out with a hatched and filling it with water. The basin is already cracked and I’m amazed it hold any water at all, anymore, though we do now keep a smaller metal basin in it, and that’s what I’m putting the warm water in.

When I came back later, there was even more of kitties, taking turns drinking!

They really do seem to appreciate the warm water.

With so much deep snow, my morning rounds are less extensive, though it now includes trekking to the corner of the property, by the new sign, to make sure it’s still there and undamaged, and switch out the memory card on the trail cam. This morning, I also worked on clearing some of the walking paths, including the one to the kibble tray under the shrine.

As anyone with glasses knows, working in these sorts of conditions means working mostly blind, as the lenses fog up and then freeze over. So I was mostly looking over my glasses, and not seeing a whole lot. Even so, I could see something… odd… near the base of the shrine. A strange dark patch in the snow.

This was not there when I topped their kibble up, last night!

Something has dug a new burrow under the shrine!

I don’t know what digging critter we’ve got around here that isn’t hibernating right now. I’ve seen a little skunk in the kibble house recently (we usually just see the one big one, these days), so maybe it was a skunk? I don’t know.

Making my way back to the kibble house, I spotted our newcomer. I’d seen only flashes of her yesterday. I’m happy she weathered the blizzard all right, wherever she was at the time.

Then, because I am a suck when it comes to the cats, after I shoveled all around the cats’ house, including opening up gaps so the cats can get under it, and a path to where they go under the laundry line platform, I dug the cat path to the storage house, which is what they are in, in the above photo.

Looking at the 5 day forecast, we are supposed to reach a high of -1C/30F tomorrow, with a bit of snow, then 2C/36F with rain and snow, the day after. Which means all the areas we are digging out should melt down to the ground, or close to it. It also means that when I drive into the city, early tomorrow morning, to the courthouse for Case Management in regards to our restraining order against our vandal, it’s going to be potentially dangerous driving. The van has good snow tires, though, so that should help, but I’m really not looking forward to the drive at all.

On the plus side, when I checked the trail cam files this morning, I saw the snow plow go by twice, so I know our gravel roads are completely cleared.

Oh, I just remembered a recent conversation I had with my brother, when we were scrambling to get things done before the snow came. Particularly the garden beds. I’d mentioned wanting to get some manure, when he brought up the manure pile that used to be behind the barn. I remember that pile. We used to have a pig pen beyond it, too. The pile is gone, and there is no evidence of the pig pen, with its shelter for the pigs in one corner, left. Not only that, but there are hollows in the area, where the ground has been dug deeper, that has had me wondering. I’d say they were made with a small front end loader, like what would fit on a small tractor or the Bobcat that was here. It’s all grown over now, so it’s been like that for a long while, but… it looks like our vandal even stole the manure pile! Probably for his own fields or garden, but… who steals manure??? Of course, we don’t actually know who took it, when or why, but there’s no one else that would have done it.

On a completely different topic, we finally got to try our first Ginger Bug Pop last night! It took a week to fully ferment, in our fairly chilly dining room. We all gave it a try, and all of us found it quite tasty. It definitely worked, though I found it really sweet. I haven’t been able to get a good photo of it, yet, but I’ll make a separate post about it when I finally do.

The Re-Farmer


Oh, it was so nice to see how the driveway looked in daylight!

There is more than enough room to back out of the garage and turn around – and even room for other cars to pull in and park. So awesome!

Though we do still have a bit of clearing to do in front of the garage. It’s just a small job, now!

This picture is taken from the road. Even the cats are loving the lovely, snow free driveway!

The road has been partially plowed. It looks like someone went through with a plow attachment on their truck or something similar. When the municipal plows come through, the clear from ditch to ditch, and there’s room enough for 2 vehicles to pass each other.

Notice the pole of snow pushed into the ditch? Because he cleared so far on that side of the driveway, when the plow does go by, we won’t have a ridge running across the end of our driveway!

I was able to make my way to this fallen branch. You can see where it broke off, above. I was not able to move it. Not only is it really heavy, but it’s frozen to the ground!

While making my way to switch out memory cards on the trail cams, I cold see where the deer are passing through, too.

As expected, there wasn’t much on the trail cams. It was funny to see some of the files from the camera by the new sign. The snow covered the camera lens before the motion sensor covered it, so they were basically just out of focus snow.

Though there is more shoveling to do, especially in the inner yard, I think I’m going to have to leave it to the girls today. My body is definitely telling me I need to take a break! Time to pain killer up and go for a nap!

The Re-Farmer