Taking a sort of break

I just need to take a brain break for a moment. Writing this is my brain break! 😀 I have just spent the last hour or so at the local cemetery, with my mother and sister. It went well, overall, but things are always a bit stressful with my mother around.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

I actually started my day with a telephone appointment with the doctor to talk about my mother. One of the things that he will get the ball rolling on is to have the home care department call my mom for an assessment, so see what sort of help she needs, if any. They can’t do that until my mother deals with her bed bug situation, which she is still treating as a big joke. She will be getting a phone call first, though, and hopefully they will talk to her about it. The doctor had questions about my mother getting infections or rashes from the bed bugs, but there is nothing he can do beyond that; it’s all on my mother to make the call to get her place treated.

At the same time, he had the results of my bloodwork and updated my prescription. It’s handy having the same doctor as my mother! So as soon as I got off the phone with him, I called the pharmacy. My husband called in his own refills to be delivered today, so I told them they would be getting a fax with my updated prescription, and asking them to include it with the delivery. I ran out of mine months ago, but without being able to go in to do my bloodwork, I was only getting 30 day refills. Each time it ran out, the pharmacy would have to contact the clinic and wait for another 30 day refill prescription to be faxed to them, so I didn’t bother calling in anymore. When I mentioned that to the doctor, he was a bit startled and assured me I’d be getting a 90 day prescription. In 2 months, I need to get more bloodwork done to see if anything needs to be changed. Meanwhile, my husband and I will be seeing the doctor in person in a couple of days.

My sister made the trip to my mother, to bring her out to the cemetery. She tries to manage it at least once a year. We met in town to have lunch at our hamlet’s single restaurant. I left a bit earlier, before the store with the post office closed. I’m happy to say, my PAL finally came in! I can now legally buy non-restricted guns and ammunition. Not that we have the money for it right now, but at least it’s an option.

So we had a nice lunch, and I let my mother know about the call she could expect from home care, but mentioned that they can’t come out until she gets the bed bug situation dealt with. She just smirked about that. I don’t know how to get through to her about her need to do this! Otherwise, her behaviour was pretty good, up until we were getting ready to leave, and she called the two staff over and started telling them to take away the “ugly” picture on the wall. There are paintings and photos from local artists for sale on the walls, and this one happened to be a portrait type painting of an old First Nations man, with slightly disheveled hair. She said a few tactless and somewhat racist things – things she gets away with, simply because of her age! My sister and I still called her out on it, so that didn’t last too long, at least. The staff handled it well, at least.

After lunch, I transferred some framed pictures my mother asked me to get out of storage – I’m glad I was able to find them at all! – into my sister’s car, then we headed to the cemetery.

It’s a very tiny cemetery connected with a church that has been closed for years now. It’s off the beaten path and tucked away among the trees. A very lovely spot. It was a bit of a surprise to see vehicles already there, including one I recognized.

It turns out our vandal had volunteered to cut the grass, and was doing it today.

He’d already used the weed trimmer around the half of the cemetery we needed to go into. When he realized I was there, he quickly packed up and left, in compliance with the restraining order. Meanwhile, my mother was there, calling out to him to come over. *sigh* I tried to explain to her that he couldn’t, and not to get him in trouble, but I don’t think she understood. Or maybe just didn’t care.

Since the grass had just been trimmed, it was all over the graves and stones, and he hadn’t had a chance to put things back. So I got a snow brush out of the van and started sweeping around the family graves.

There’s quite a few of them.

My sister, meanwhile, had brought a brush to scrub away the bird droppings, and water and rags to clean off the stones. They’d also brought a whole bunch of artificial flowers, so once everything was cleaned up and decorations returned, we set flowers out as my mother directed. She kept getting mad at us when we would ask her if she liked a particular colour grouping of flowers, but hadn’t finished setting them in place yet, because we hadn’t set them in place yet. !!

It took a while.

Then, after she said some prayers, she wanted my sister to get pictures of her by the freshly cleaned up and decorated family graves.

That was my cue to go. I suggested to my sister that she text our vandal before they left, to let him know I was gone and he could come back and finish what he was doing.

The whole thing went over pretty well, as far as such things go, but I’m mentally exhausted. It’s also the hottest part of the day, now, so I lost my productive time in the garden. I just talked to my daughters about it, and we’ve decided I need to have a “day off” from the garden. I’ve been pushing myself hard, and am in a lot of pain for it, so I really do need to back off a bit. My older daughter is going to do as much commission work as she can today, so she can take a day off work tomorrow. We’ll make a big push to get the last of the garden planted. Even if we don’t manage to get the A frame trellis supports in place, that can be finished after things have been planted. We just need to get the last stuff into the ground! I am just so incredibly tired right now, to the point it’s hard to think straight as I’m writing. Lack of sleep is part of the problem. It isn’t helping that Nosencrantz is determined to have access to the window ledge again, and keeps knocking out the window fan, leaving it dangling by its cord and bounding off the wall.

Usually at around 4:30am

It’s now doubly secured and, when I got home from my outing, I found it shifted out of place, but still on the ledge, so it’s working so far.

So, I think I’ll try and get some rest (and pain killer up!) today, and we’ll make the big push tomorrow.

Once the garden is in, we’ll celebrate with my younger daughter’s birthday pizza. It’ll be early, but her sister plans to get her some celebratory Taquitos and beer, cake and ice cream, closer to her actual birthday. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Awesome!

Happy Christmas to those who follow the orthodox calendar. 🙂 Happy Three Kings day. Today is our last day of of the Christmas season, and what a lovely day it turned out to be.

It was another cold one, but there was almost no wind chill, so it was quite bearable.

This morning, we had one deer at the feeding station, while this one just hung out at the gate for a while. I was able to get this picture through the kitchen window.

The deer and the cats are quite used to each other.

I even caught a flash of deer tail going past while I was setting out kibble and warm water for the cats. The deer didn’t run off until I came around with more feed.

Potato Beetle was quite content to enjoy the sunshine in his insulated corner, while the other cats ate. 😀

I found this interesting! One of the selling features of the Starlink system for more northern areas like ours, is that the dish keeps itself warm. You can see the icicles that show it’s working!

I hope the dish won’t need to adjust itself, because it’s quite attached to the roof at the moment. 😀

The roads were plowed yesterday evening, so before taking my mom’s little car out to help her with errands, I opened the gate and began to shovel away the plow ridge at the end of the driveway. While I was shovelling, a familiar looking front end loader came around the corner and headed my way. The driver stopped on the road and motioned to me, but my glasses were frosted over and I couldn’t see more than an arm waving around, so I came over as he opened the door – and offered to clear the driveway for me!

Of course, I said yes!!

This shot was taken after he was done and was backing out to the road again.

Now, I’m pretty sure that’s the renter’s front end loader. I don’t know of any others like it around. However, I did not recognize the driver. It could be they have a new hired hand? I don’t know. Whoever he was, I made sure to thank him enthusiastically, and I was soon off to my mother’s.

My mother had a few errands to run this morning, including a stop at the credit union. With all the restrictions still going on, and so many places that don’t recognize medical mask exemptions, even when I wear the Mingle Mask, I would just open the door for her and wait outside. Today, I used the wait to pop over to the mail box – I finally was able to print out the photo I needed, and have sent off my forms to get my PAL (Possession and Acquisition License), after passing my Firearms Safety course at the end of November. My mother was faster than I expected, and came out while I was about to top up her washer fluid. One of the staff came out with her, to help with the doors. As I helped her back into her car, she told me that the lady helping her saw me outside, and asked my mother to tell me that I was welcome to come in with her. I used to come in with her all the time, but as the restrictions got more draconian, and more warning signs popped up on doorways, I stopped. It’s good to know that they are reasonable.

Unlike our next stop at the pharmacy, which doesn’t recognise medical exemptions, so I can’t go to help my mother at all. You’d think, of all places, a pharmacy would get that some people just can’t wear masks; especially since the (illegal) mandates specifically mention exemptions, but some places really seem to enjoy our medical apartheid. At least they don’t harass my mother about covering her nose. She shouldn’t be wearing a mask at all, and can’t breathe if both her nose and mouth are covered.

The grocery store was our last stop and they are always good, there. My mother was able to stock up quite a bit, and will be set for a while. Between the beef I gave her, and the venison my sister gave her, she didn’t need to buy any meat at all. Which is good, because food prices are getting insane.

Aside from that, I was able to visit with my mother, and we had lunch before heading out for errands. Which is when I was able to show her pictures of her new great-grandson, who was born this morning! My SIL also sent birth pictures of his big brother from a couple years ago, and my goodness, they look so much alike! So far, their mother seems to be doing okay. She has some medical issues that they are keeping an eye on, but she should be home after 48 hours. Meanwhile, my brother and his wife are still there, helping out.

A new baby in the family was definitely the highlight of a very good day!

The Re-Farmer

Not my garden, and sighting

This afternoon, I got to visit my sister and her husband on their farm.

We may be in the boonies, but they are even more in the boonies than we are! 😀

Before I left their place, we did a tour of their yard and garden, and I really appreciated being able to see how theirs is doing, in this heat.

Her row of rhubarb was a study in extremes. In the middle, she had these MASSIVE leaves and stalks – which is normal for her rhubarb – but in other areas, they were smaller and wimpy, like ours, and at one end of the row, they were basically dead. So strange!

Where I’m standing to take this photo used to be part of their garden, but they reduced its size. That area is now full of self-seeded dill. This end of the garden is where they have their annuals, with some rows already cleared and tilled. At the far end are their perennials, including onions (different from the ones they have in the rows visible at the annual end), horseradish, asparagus, sorrel, mint, and a few other things. They’ve got determinate tomatoes, and I could see some very large ones developing. No peas or corn, but they do have beans, beats and potatoes, among other things.

They usually water their garden from the nearby creek. In this photo, you can see a platform on the shore, and the end of the hose is between the two sticks in the water, with a float. This is where they pump the water from.

The creek is about 3 feet lower than usual this year, and it’s got to the point that they are watering using their well water. They only water every couple of days, though, unlike the nightly watering we are having to do. It has actually been lower than this, in the past.

After all those years… LOL

When my brother in law retired from farming (like where we are, most of the land is rented out), he took over much of the gardening. The first time a deer got into their garden, he put up the fence.

Deer are not the only issue they have. They also have to deal with black bears, raccoons and…

Yup. They have woodchucks, too. This den is under the deck of a now-empty house they share a yard with. There are dens in other areas, too. Apparently, their woodchucks have plenty of other food to eat besides their garden, because their deer fence is just touching the ground at the bottom, not buried, and they’re not trying to get it.

Which is as good a segue as any as to why I visited them today. My brother in law finally had time to help sight the scope on my crossbow.

Now, this is something we could have done ourselves, except we don’t have anything to accurately measure longer distances. My BIL is an avid hunter and has a range finder, so we figured we’d go to him and get it done right.

He never even used it. He just paced off the distance, just as he would have in sighting the scopes on his rifles! 😀

Now, he had plenty of experience with rifle scopes, but he’d never worked with a crossbow before, so the first thing he did was spend time reading the instruction manual (I brought everything! LOL). We had only finger tightened the scope, so after he checked it a few times and confirmed that it was the right distance for me, he tightened that down, and then we went to his target bale.

The instructions said to start at 10 yards, which is about where the corner of that fence is, then moving to 20 yards to fine tune the scope. He is sitting at 20 yards in the photo, which is what we need the scope to be sighted to.

Also, do you see that white blob on the creek in the background?

That is a flock of pelicans. 😀

He was expecting it to take only about half an hour to sight the scope, but we ended up out there, in the heat, for probably more than an hour before we stopped.

He did the final shots at about 30 yards, before we called it for the day.

The bolt here is the first shot done at 30 years. He was aiming for the target on the left.

If you look at the top right, there is a single hole. That was the first shot at 10 years, before he started adjusting the scope.

Above and to the right of the centre target are a series of holes. He hit the exact same spot a couple of times. The instruction manual described how many clicks equaled 1 inch at 20 yards and, according to that, with the number of adjustments he made, it should have been hitting to the left of the centre target! After hitting the same spot a couple of times, the bolt ended up so far into the target, the fletchings were squeezed into the hole, too. One of them ended up coming loose. It just needs a bit of fletching glue to fix and it’ll be fine, but that’s when he started to aim at the other target.

By the time he was done, he could get a good grouping at 30 yards, but it was still hitting to the right of the target. He’d adjusted it so far, he wasn’t sure it could go any further. The scope we have is different from any of his. In fact, it had a whole extra knob to adjust, but not even the scope’s instruction sheet (which was for rifles, not crossbows) had it labelled on their diagram.

So the crossbow is not sighted, but it is closer, and we are in a position that we can figure the rest out ourselves. Of course my husband, with his military background and marksman qualifications, knows how to do it. The main issue was measuring distance. Which my BIL just paced off, anyhow.

I think we can manage more accuracy than that, with what we have! 😀

Adjusting the scope was not the only thing that was a problem. The other was cocking it in the first place. The kit came with a rope cocker. There is a rock cocking groove at the end of the stock, just before it can be adjusted to size. The middle of the rope goes in the groove, two hooks with pulleys hook onto the string, from under the stock, and there are a pair of handles to pull on. At just shy of 6′ tall, he actually had trouble cocking it, once he straightened up past a certain point. He already had doubts that I could cock a bow with 220lb draw weight, but in the end, I’m basically too short. If he, at about 8 inches taller than me, was having a hard time, it’s pretty much assured that I don’t have the height and arm length to be able to raise the string high enough to latch in place!

He recommended we pick up a crank cocker.

Since we were never able to complete sighting the scope, I never fired the crossbow myself. That will just have to wait a bit longer.

In shooting the crossbow, he had a couple of issues with it. Obviously, the scope itself was one. I know that a lot of people who buy kits will replace the kit scope with a higher quality one right away. This wasn’t a matter of quality of materials, but adjustment. He also didn’t like the trigger, which was something else I saw some reviewers complaining about. It does, however, shoot well and shoot true. Once the scope is properly sighted, we should have no issues with it. I’ve seen reviewers complain about the adjustable stock, but he had no issues with that.

He also really didn’t like the rope cocker. He had mentioned to me that he had a friend who bought a crossbow and, the first time he tried to cock it, it slipped and he almost groined himself severely. He then immediately got rid of it. As my BIL was repeatedly cocking the bow, he said he could see just how easily that could happen. Eventually, I learned that when this person had tried to cock his bow, the stirrup slipped off his foot.

The instructions are EXTREMELY clear about how important foot placement in the cocking stirrup is. Which rather makes me wonder just how closely instructions were being followed. Mind you, this happened quite some time ago. The instructions may well include that now because people were hurting themselves by having just their toes in the stirrup, instead of having it under the middle of their foot.

There’s a reason the instruction manual has more safety warnings than pretty much anything else! This is not a toy.

So now we need to figure out where to set up a target practice area, mark out distances, and figure the rest out ourselves.

I did have some unexpected disappointments about the whole thing. While they are not being mean or malicious about it, it’s clear neither my BIL nor my sister are confident in me. Not just in being able to use and shoot the bow (yes, I have the physical strength pull 220lbs draw weight with the rope cocker), but they seemed to assume that this was some sort of spur of the moment thing I decided to do, without any sort of research or analysis, first. Like I was thinking of it as… well… some kinds of toy. The fact that I hope to actually use it to hunt is another area they clearly didn’t have confidence in me about, with both or them, at one point or another, making sure to mention that a deer will run off after being shot, and then it needs to be tracked. I knew that, of course. It happens even when hunting with a rifle. Why did they assume I would not know that? There were a few other… assumptions… made that had me wondering. I think part of it, for my BIL, was simply because he assumed that since he was having such a hard time with some things, I would have an even harder time, and not things where my height would make a difference. Was it because I am female, and they assume I’m weak? Or because I’m fat? Or because I’m the baby sister? I don’t know. It was off putting, even though I could tell they did not have any ill will behind their comments. More like their filter was off. 😀

Well, we shall see how things work out over time. First things first. We need to get that scope sighted properly, and then I have to practice. My husband will be able to cock the bow, no problem, and honestly, I think I might still be able to as well. Even if I can, we will be getting a silent crank. The rope cocker, it turns out, squeaks! 😀

My daughters, meanwhile, are pining for a compound bow.

I foresee a future Christmas gift…

The Re-Farmer

Frazzled

Oh, my goodness, what a day!

Also, I owe my daughter a new tent.

!!!

Today was the day we were planning on having an outdoor family gathering to celebrate 3 birthdays and an anniversary. I’d been keeping a close eye on the weather radar, and aside from one bit of rain that sidled past us early in the day, it looked like the main system was going to miss most of the province completely. An Alberta Clipper was making its way across the prairies, and we were getting all sorts of warnings for thunderstorms, frost, rain, and even possible snow. None of that was going to reach us, though.

The only thing for us to watch out for was the wind.

In the morning, things were looking well enough that I started putting the walls on my daughter’s market tent that we had set up near the fire pit, over the picnic table. It was windy enough that we thought the fire might be an issue, but the tent seemed fine.

I had ordered Chinese food, which my brother picked up on his way over. It was around the time we were expecting him to arrive that we decided to start the fire. We wanted to get some good coals built up in case anyone wanted to roast some wienies later, plus the wind made it a bit on the cool side, and a fire would help keep us warm.

I must say, it was a bit surreal to be at the fire pit and have a car suddenly pull up to us! 😀 I rather like having a yard big enough that not only could my brother drive right up to the fire pit, but when he moved his car later, he had room to turn around.

It was at about that time that the gusts started picking up.

Hard.

At that point, my brother started trying to tie the corners of the tent to nearby trees.

Then one side collapsed completely.

The tent has sides that close up like an accordion. That means there are a couple of hubs, with 4 pieces of metal affixed to them, on each side. One of those hubs gave out.

No, not the plastic piece in the middle. All 4 aluminum supports it held, snapped.

Once we realized there was no way it was going back up, it took 4 of us to take the sides off, shorten the legs and fold the tent into itself – with a picnic table in the way – while increasing gusts of winds tried to tear everything out of our hands.

And my daughters had just got the fire going, too! That promptly turned into a mini fire tornado. So that got put out right away.

Then we went to plan…

C.

Plan B was to use the sun room and old kitchen, but we figured my mom would rather be at the dining table. Once we got all the supplies in (the only thing we hadn’t taken out yet was the food!), we opened up the table to fit everyone and started setting up there.

My sister arrived with my mother just in time for that!

As for the family gathering itself, it was … good, but very draining! My mother was in fine form, which we do expect, but my goodness, it just sucks the energy out from everyone. Once she was sitting at the table, and we were all doing various things to set up food and drink, she kept making demands and asking where this, that or the other thing was, and if she couldn’t see someone (never mind that her back was to the kitchen, which meant if she couldn’t see us, it was because we were there and busy), she kept asking where that person was, because only that person could do whatever it was she wanted. Including people who were already doing the things she wanted them to do!

Still, we did eventually get it all settled. Though we got a “dinner for 6” and there was 7 of us, there was more than enough for everyone – plus my brother got a bit extra, just in case, my sister brought some tomatoes, cucumbers and onions from her garden and made a salad, plus we’d made a fruit salad. My mother had brought a sausage, because she was afraid there wouldn’t be enough to eat. She also brought her own box of tissues; apparently, she thought we wouldn’t have any. My sister told me she once brought soap when visiting her place. Just ordinary hand soap. Because she didn’t think my sister would have soap?? Anyhow. We had so much food, we forgot about the sausage (which she insisted we keep), and settled in for coffee and tea. After getting her tea, my mother started asking for something to go with it. I’d already asked her if she wanted milk or sugar, and she’d said no. So what was she looking for?

Something to eat, with the tea. Like crackers or cookies or something. !!!

So I broke out the cake I’d picked up. I figured we would take some time to digest first, since we were all so full, but nope! My mother had to have something with her tea! 😀

It wasn’t until they were getting ready to leave that my mother remembered she’d brought a bottle of wine. My brother and sister, who were both going to drive soon, couldn’t have any. She started saying that “just a little” was okay, and when everyone politely declined, she suggested my husband have some (he’d already had to move away from the table, due to pain, but was still nearby). At that point, we were all, NO! He *can’t* have alcohol, because of the medications he’s on. Just a little will be okay? No. None. No alcohol for him. Since she was the only one who would be drinking any, she decided it wasn’t worth cracking open the bottle and took it home. 😀

Overall, it was a pretty good visit. There was only one incident where my mother lost it and started shouting (over the ceiling fan, of all things), but we were able to calm her down. She had some confusion when my brother said he would like to drive her home, and she couldn’t seem to understand that, as far as driving goes, it made no difference if he or my sister drove her. They both had to go through her town, first. As he took her stuff to his vehicle (she took some of the crab apples we picked. 🙂 ), I followed out and discovered some branches had come down in the yard. My mother followed and asked for my dad’s walker, so my brother was kind enough to pick up the biggest one while I got the walker for her. The winds were still really high, and small branches were falling everywhere. As I came back from the sun room with the walker, I found my mother had taken the broom we keep by the main entry, and was sweeping the concrete in front of the door. She’d already made numerous passive aggressive digs at me for things like not clearing the table fast enough for her, or whatever other perceived failure in my housekeeping she found (like not dusting the ceiling fan before they arrived), but to start sweeping the front, in the middle of a wind storm, while branches were still falling down… that was a bit much, even for her!

Then she decided she wanted to walk around the yard and look at my garden – specifically, the area where the old wood pile used to be, that I now have beets, carrots and parsley growing. She’d missed that area, the last time she was here. When she saw the parsley, she asked for some to take home, which I was happy to do. We have much more than we need. 🙂 She tried walking around more of the yard, but with the winds, she turned around rather quickly!

There was only one last confused round of shouting as everyone was getting ready to leave. It turned out my mother had cards for all of us, but none of us knew this, so when my sister started to leave while my mother was in the bathroom (going through the cupboards and drawers, with the water running to try and hide the noises), she almost started panicking! But it all got done, and they were all able to head out at the same time. After locking the gate, I picked up a few more larger branches that had come down. This evening, I’m going to have to be more thorough in doing my rounds, to see what else has come down.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am SO glad we got those trees cut away from the roof and the power lines!

Ah, as much as the winds have been an issue for us, at least we didn’t lose power. I just got off the phone with my brother, and the power there had been off for about 3 hours. Thankfully, he has an inverter and can hook his truck up to provide power to the house. The power came on while we were talking on the phone, so that’s a relief for them. They’re quite a bit further south than we are, so they tend to get the weather systems that miss us entirely!

Meanwhile, I’ve had some kitten therapy to recharge, and had better go do my rounds while it’s still light out!

The Re-Farmer