Road conditions and cursed laundry update

First, obligatory cat picture!

I think I spotted about 8 or 10 cats in total this morning; they move around so much, it’s hard to tell some of them apart. πŸ˜€

I did the walk to check on the washed out road to the south of us again, and things are much improved.

This deeper section is now about half as wide as it was before. The other section that was much wider but shallower is also substantially reduced.

While walking back, I saw something that made me very happy. A grader went by on the main road!

So of course, I had to check that washout, too.

Click on the images to see them in a larger size.

The patch job is holding out, and with the water receding, it shouldn’t get any bigger – hopefully! My goodness, though, that’s a lot of gravel that washed into our side of the fence line! In the middle picture, the grader is still visible, but it’s hard to see with the trees in the background.

I’d gone though our back gate to check this area out, and as I headed back through the outer yard, I saw a gravel truck going by. I know there are a lot more washouts to the west of us. The company we bought our garden soil from mostly works with gravel, as well as doing driveways, road repairs, etc. Once I got inside, I sent an email to the renter, who also happens to be on our municipal council, to thank them for doing such a great job dealing with all this. Then I sent a direct message to his wife to pass on that I’d sent the email to check at his leisure. I knew he would be incredibly busy. I was right! His wife told me he was out hauling. Their own farm came very close to major damage, but the water started to recede just in time. She also told me the gravel company has been working tirelessly, cleaning things up. So I made sure to pass on thanks to them, too! I’m sure the council has been hearing plenty of complaints, so I wanted to make sure to pass on some appreciation. There’s only so much they can do until the water recedes, and I totally understand how frustrated they must have been.

One thing about this time of year, is that I can actually see the state of the outer yard in some places.

This is in the part of the outer yard that leads to the back gate. Those tire tracks have been here longer than we have. I’ve put that stick there so that, when I’m trying to mow a lane to the back gate, I can see where it gets particularly rough. The whole section is full of ruts that there’s just no avoiding.

I wonder if this year, we’ll finally manage to do a controlled burn? The whole area is such a fire hazard in the summer, with all that thatch, a controlled burn would make is much safer – but with old buildings and sheds in the area, there’s a risk of one of them catching fire. With so much moisture this spring, it would be easier to control a burn.

When it comes to the risk, it’s 6 of one, and a half dozen of the other.

After finishing my rounds, I called the appliance repair guy that did the warranty work on our washing machine before. I was able to explain and describe what happened. He confirmed that the machine turning itself on and draining is a fail safe. With the drain still not tested properly – and I really don’t know how to test it without the washing machine, since it sends the most water through, under pressure, than anything else – what should have been a good thing is now a problem.

There is no way he can come out here for at least a week, so he described what to try first. We’ll have to pop the back panel off to do it. There is an air hose that goes from the electronics panel to under the tub; with the water sitting in the tub overnight, it may have gotten clogged. We’ll need to detach it from the top and try blowing through it. If it’s not clogged, he wants us to do a test wash. After putting the air hose back, of course, we need to run an empty load. With nothing in the tub, the water level should reach only about 5 inches deep. If it keeps on filling without stopping, we would need to shut it off, unplug it again, and call him back. Otherwise, if it starts working as it should and goes through a wash cycle, that may do a reset on the electronics (we had to do this when we first bought the machine), and that should solve any weird issues, there.

To do this, we’ll have to first pull the dryer out, so we can access the back of the washing machine.

The dryer duct needs to be replaced, as we found out the cats had damaged it, the last time we had to get back there. When my daughter put my super wet laundry into the dryer after she foot stomp washed it for me, the glass in the entire house fogged up! Going into the dining room and kitchen areas was like being in a sauna.

Which was actually really pleasant, and I’m sure the plants loves it, but not good for the house! πŸ˜€

Since the grader went by, I decided to make the trip into town.

I actually passed the grader, working the other half of the road, on the way out. πŸ™‚

Then I reached the washout.

Please excuse my terrible picture. I just stopped, stuck my phone out the window, and shot blind.

Right in front of me is where the municipal drainage ditch runs under the road. The area I noted earlier as looking like it would flood, is indeed washed out, and it extends almost as far as where the culvert is.

Knowing the grader went through here already, I wasn’t too worried about being able to cross it in our tender van. πŸ˜‰

The next area of concern was there the gravel road reached the highway. I knew it had been washed out badly, but this is a major intersection (as for as out rural municipality goes!) and I knew it would have been a priority fix. Sure enough, it was completely redone with fresh gravel, though the driveways to the nearby church, and into a private residence (thankfully, no one lives there right now) are badly damaged and under fast running water.

In fact, the whole way to town, the ditch on that side was a fast flowing little river. This ditch is a main drain straight to the lake and, from the looks of it, the two municipalities it crosses had managed to clear the snow out – again – to keep the water flowing. There’s just so much of it, even the driveways and roads that didn’t get washed out, still had all the gravel around the culverts washed away, exposing the rock foundations.

Town itself was all right, in the places I needed to get to. I know in other areas, there are major problems.

My first stop was the hardware store. This is a small store, and their major appliances are in the basement. I don’t normally go down there, so I made a point of looking around while there. I found the dryer duct I needed, and also picked up vent filters. With so much cat hair floating around, I knew this was something we needed, but hadn’t actually found any until today. One pack has 24 filters in them.

I got two.

While I was at it, I also picked up more of the drain maintenance stuff that uses bacteria and enzymes to help keep the plumping clean. I also got a product that’s a fast clog clearer – not something I got before, because it’s strong enough that the bottles are sold in their own plastic bags, to avoid any risk if there’s a spill. We’ll have to be very careful using it. It may not be designed specifically as septic safe, but with so much water flowing into our septic tank and the pump going off so often right now, I’m not too worried about that right now. Then, once that’s done, we can use the other stuff to get the bacteria and enzymes established again.

Since I was in town anyhow, I made a quick stop at the grocery store for a few small things, then remembered to stop at the store we found those storage bins that have been so handy for our seed starts. Happily, they restocked on the larger bins, so I got 4 more. I also found some plant clips and picked up some new wooden clothes pins. The ones we have now are really old and starting to fall apart. There are plastic ones, too, but they’re so old, many of them have become brittle and snap when we try to use them.

I forgot to look for clothes line at the hardware store, but that’s okay. We should probably measure how much we need, first, to replace the broken clothesline. I might pick up some more pullies, too. When my dad set up the posts for the clothes line, he made it to hold three of them. Back then, we were using a wringer washer, and had no clothes dryer. There’s just one clothes line, now. The posts are starting to lean inwards, though, so we’ll have to do something to correct that. I’d like to have the option of hanging clothes outside, if we want or need to.

We now have what we need for when we get behind the washer and dryer. I don’t know that we’ll get to that today, though. We need to set up the sun room so we can bring in more plants.

Which I’ll be talking about in my next post. The plants, I mean, not the sun room. I’m so excited!


The Re-Farmer

Beauty and the Beast!

This morning, I managed to introduce Nosencrantz to a cozy spot in a shelf by my leaning sheep (a large stuffed sheep I use as back support when sitting up in bed). It made for an excellent photo angle!

She is such a beauty!

She even stayed there a while, where she could watch the activities in the room, but I think it’s just too exposed for her liking, and she was soon back in her cubby hole behind the night stand.

Also, she had to put up with the beast overnight.

I barely managed to shot of Turmeric’s nekkid belly.

For a cat that’s just come out of surgery, she got really active once the drugs wore off.

We’re supposed to watch if she’s going for the incision, and put her in a cone or a shirt, if necessary. She seems to be quite enthused about licking her shaved belly, but as you can see by the silver still on the incision, she’s leaving it alone. All the sliver around the incision is licked off, but not on the incision itself.

We kept her closed up with me overnight for observation. She got a bit of solid food, and there was no throwing up or anything of concern. Unfortunately, her presence meant trouble for Butterscotch and Nosencrantz. I caught poor Nosencrantz peeing in the new bed I made for her because Turmeric wouldn’t let her get at the litter box. 😦

I needed to do laundry today, anyhow.

So… it was another mostly sleepless night. At least there weren’t any all-out cat fights. The surgery did slow her down that much. Overall, Turmeric is recovering very well, and I was able to let her out and about again this morning.

Which will give Butterscotch and Nosencrantz a bit of a break, at least.

The Re-Farmer

Cat adoption update

I got a phone call from the Cat Lady this morning.

Cabbages finally made it in to the special vet to be spayed this morning, and she is recovering nicely. So that is good news.

The other good news is that we have an appointment for Turmeric to be spayed, early next month.

Turmeric will be coming back to us for recovery, while also being added to the adoption list with the Cat Lady’s new rescue organization.

That’s the good news.

The not so good news is that the organization she left, with them wanting to send Saffron and Nicco to BC being the last straw for her, isn’t too happy with her. As a large organization, they have access to lots of resources – and they are making it difficult for her to access those resources!

Which is making things more difficult for her in general. As you can imagine, things are incredibly stressful for her right now!

You’d think they would be more interested in rescuing cats and be glad to work with other organizations with the same goals, but apparently not.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of the things they did was stop accepting intakes through our local vet. The vet was taking in “too many” really sick cats, and the bills were really high, so they basically cut off that clinic temporarily.

Well, guess who is the vet that agreed to work with the Cat Lady?

Yup! Turmeric is going to the same local vet we’ve been using all this time!

They have become incredibly busy, though, so it’s hard to get an appointment in. I noticed a while ago that they have extended hours, and are even open on Sundays, which had been their one day off, a few months ago. Clearly, people are happy with this clinic!

The other news is with Saffron and Nicco. Using what resources she still has access to, she has worked something out with another rescue in the city. They have adoption facilities in a non-franchise pet store that is very busy. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s still better than being sent half way across the country! She’s known the woman who runs it for 20 years, so she knows they are a good place. The fur-girls will be going there, now that they are recovered from being spayed. With how successful and busy this place is, she’s expecting them to be homed within a week.

I found out something else when she contacted me about the appointment for Turmeric.

While her new rescue organization has lots of support and is getting donations, most of this is being bankrolled by her husband right now. Thankfully, he owns a business that didn’t get destroyed by government restrictions over the past two years, and can afford it for now. So all the out-of-pocket stuff they’ve been doing has really been out of his pocket! So when we bring Turmeric in to be spayed, and will not be getting any bill for it, it’s because HE is paying for it!

What an amazing man. Her whole family has really been all in with her cat rescue operations!

All the more reason I want to help out with the fundraiser I’ve got through Ko-fi.

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The only problem is, as with the rescues, not a lot of people are donating. I’ll keep the fundraiser going for a while longer, but if people aren’t interested, I’ll just shut it down and refund the (much appreciated!) donations currently made. Everyone is going through hard times right now, and I understand that they have priorities that are higher on the list than cats! We shall see how it works out.

As for myself, I’m just in awe of the Cat Lady, and all she is going through right now, trying to do right for the kitties.

She’s awesome!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: seed start update

We have new seedlings!

Yesterday morning, I spotted a Cup of Moldova seedling starting to break the surface. By the end of the day, it was up, and another had emerged. This morning, I found several more. They are tiny and barely visible in the above photo, but they’re there!

The Cup of Moldova are set up lower from the lights than the other tray, and no extra heat source.

This morning, single Sophie’s Choice showed up, too!

This tray is on a heat mat and slightly higher. With the heat mat, the water in the tray dried out a lot faster than the metal tray. At the moment, both need a top up, but the pots are still quite moist and could do with a little bit of drying out. The new luffa seeds still show no signs of germination. They are the ones that need the heat mat the most.

The seedlings in the corner pot are Wonderberry. They actually showed up really fast. After only 3 days, if I remember correctly. Much, much faster than our first seeding. I planted 5 seeds in that pot, so we’re looking at a 20% germination rate on the second seeding.

I keep forgetting to take photos of the onions in the small tank. They have stagnated. I think I will find a way to move them into the mini-greenhouse to see if that helps.

As for what’s in the mini-greenhouse…

As for the seedling that survive the Great Cat Crush, they are still struggling. A few pots that had been in the corner look like they got eaten, even though we had a screen in front of the open mini-greenhouse cover. We do still have a few surviving peppers and eggplant, and even a few tomatoes, but not very many. We didn’t plant many peppers or eggplant to begin with, so I’m thinking it might be a good idea to plant more when we start our next batch of seeds. Hopefully, the new tomato starts will survive the cats. While we’ve got a few Sophie’s Choice seeds left, plus a couple other varieties that will be started next, we have no Cup of Moldova seeds left, and those are the paste tomatoes I wanted to have a lot of.

The luffa and Canteen gourd in this tray are struggling, too.

The new Canteen gourds are doing much better. The first Wonderberry is managing well, too. There had been a second on in there, but I thinned it out, as it was so tiny.

The shallots seem to be doing better than the onions in the small aquarium greenhouse – except that it looks like the tray got dug into in one corner by a cat.

Also, absolutely everything is covered in cat hair. *sigh*

I think we’ve finally got things worked out to keep the cats out while increasing air circulation in the mini-greenhouse. We really should at least be leaving the front open completely, if not removing the cover entirely, but we’d lose everything to the cats if we did that.

It will be good when we can finally transfer them to the sun room. Overnight temperatures are still too low, though; the thermometer in there read just below freezing when I headed out this morning. We could make use of the ceramic heat bulb in the corner the plants will be in to help, if necessary. I’m also thinking of making use of some of the larger sheets of rigid insulation we’ve got left, cover some pieces with foil, and set them up to reflect light for the seedlings. We’d still need to rotate the trays, but it would help keep them from getting too leggy, plus actually provide some warmth and insulation overnight. We’ll see if we can figure out a set up that will work.

As mild as things are right now, we are expecting things to dip a bit over the next few days, and there’s usually at least one more blizzard around our anniversary in April, before winter finally breaks. For parts of the province, that might actually happen today. It looks like we’ll be mostly clear where we are, but the south of the province is getting predictions of both rain and heavy snow.

Today may be the first day of spring, but winter isn’t ready to let go, quite yet!

The Re-Farmer

Hidey Hole

Butterscotch, in her favourite hidey hole.

She has been coming out more often, even with other cats around, though she wants nothing to do with them, and is more likely to growl and hiss, even if they’re just going by, than anything else.

Interestingly – and not necessarily in a good way – she and Beep Beep are not getting along at all. I’m sure they remember each other, but Beep Beep has been pretty aggressive towards Butterscotch. Mind you, Beep Beep bullies the other cats a fair bit, too, but she seems to be unhappy to be reunited with Butterscotch!

The main thing is the Butterscotch actually does seem to be happier now that she’s indoors, which was so totally unexpected based on her past behaviour. She would just rather be with people (not me, though! LOL) instead of other cats.

I can totally understand that feeling. πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Got some progress

Well, today, I finally got it done. My daughter and I made it to Costco in the city and survived. πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t too bad, actually, though I did have some concerns when we first headed out.

Of course, the critters got fed before we left – and Ghost Baby made an appearance, too! As you can see, it was snowing again.

Chadiccus is not impressed with more snow.

It was coming down heavier by the time we left; enough to make visibility a bit of a concern. Especially when passing oncoming trucks, and all the snow they were kicking up. The main concern was more about deer than traffic – and I counted at least three dead deer on the side of the road, just between our place and the town my mother lives in. By the time we picked up a bit of gas and breakfast, it was starting to clear up, though, so that was good. We did see several deer crossing the highway on the way home, though. Thankfully, visibility was just fine at the time, and all the traffic could see them and slow down!

One of the changes in today’s plans had to be about my glasses. I don’t know how much they will cost, but I did have an idea of what our shopping list would cost, and I knew we probably couldn’t do both. I still thought I might be able to get an eye test, though, which our insurance covers 100%, once every 2 years. While standing at the counter, being ignored, I noticed their sign on the eye exam door making a big deal about masks, due to close proximity. All restrictions are supposed to be lifted in our province tomorrow, but I’ve been able to go without even my Mingle Mask (which I shouldn’t be wearing, either), without any problems lately. This Costco location has been particularly good, except for the odd harassment from customers, though I’ve heard of others getting abuse from staff. I think it can depend on who’s on shift at any given moment, and how much they are into power tripping. Either way, after reading the sign, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and left. I’ll see if I can get a eye exam somewhere, later, and hopefully will not have to deal with medical discrimination any more.

There were a couple of things I found at Costco that I decided was worth getting, even though they were not on our list. One was a large bag of soil for seed starting. I’d been getting smaller bags until now, because that’s all that was in stock. With this one, we now have enough for all the seed starting we need to do, and probably have some left over, all at a significantly lower cost.

The other thing I got was a shop light that was remarkably affordable.

Last year, we rigged up the long aquarium light fixtures that are currently being used on the big aquarium greenhouse that they were designed for. This is brighter, and much less fragile! If I can avoid moving those more than I have to, that’ll be a good thing.

While it’s intended for the sun room, once we start transferring our seedlings there, I have it rigged up in front of the mini-greenhouse right now. For an overcast day like today, it’ll be much more efficient than the little lights I’ve been making do with right now. I’ve actually got it hanging from one end from a plant hook in the ceiling of the living room, in front of the mini-greenhouse. It’s braced in place, but I do have some concerns a cat will knock it aside. If that happens, at worst, it’ll just be dangling from the ceiling and not lighting up inside the mini-greenhouse. We are still relying on the aluminum foil lining the back and sides to reflect the light. At some point, we might be able to get smaller lights that will fit under the shelves of the mini-greenhouse but, honestly, by the time we’re ready to invest in those types of lights, we’ll be using larger, sturdier shelving to start seeds in, so it’ll be a moot point.

This light can be linked to others, so if it works out in the sun room, we might pick up more. If they’re still available by the time we can test it out, of course.

The remote control is an interesting thing to have. It means that we’ll be able to control the light from inside the house, if we want to. Most likely from the bathroom window, which overlooks the run room.

We’ll see how it works out and adjust accordingly.

While we were unloading the van, I spotted an Agnoos. He was having so much fun rolling around on the cat house roof, he almost rolled himself right off of it! πŸ˜€ Silly boy!

So we finally did the big shopping trip we normally would have done at the end of last month, and are all stocked up again. We now also have all we need for starting the remaining seeds, and even an extra light. About the only thing we’re short on is a storage bin of the appropriate size and shape for when we start the kulli corn. We’ve been saving our toilet paper tubes to use again, with some modifications after things didn’t work out as planned, last year. We got 100 kulli corn seeds in total which, if we can find the right size and shape storage bin, we should be able to fit into one bin. We still have the under-bed storage bin we used last year, but that will be too long for just the corn. Last year, it fit both corn and sunflowers. It worked, but I’d like something less awkward to move around, and we’re not starting sunflowers indoors this year.

Oh, there was something else that has progressed. Or should I say, has actually stalled. We hit the mail before heading into the city, and I found a letter from the RCMP. My PAL application went through, but my “credit card” didn’t work. They can’t do debit Visa. I don’t have a credit card. The letter included a form for new credit card information, but I’ll have to phone them tomorrow and see if I can mail them a check, or if I have to go to the bank and get a cashier’s check. There is also a letter saying the quality of the photo I sent them was not good enough, and they want another one. I could probably use the same photo; the problem would have been with my printer. I’ve printed other photos since then, and the quality has been much better, so I’ll try again.

Anyhow. We got some good progress during what has turned out to be a very dreary day. Not as warm as was predicted (no surprise there). We’re also getting predictions of above freezing temperatures tomorrow, but still overcast, so… we’ll see what actually happens!

Tomorrow, however, is pizza night. One of my daughters has a birthday this month, so she’s treating the whole family to pizza. The place she wants to order from is a 45 minute drive away, but what birthday girl wants, birthday girl gets. πŸ˜‰

The Re-Farmer

Thirteen… I think! Plus Cat Lady update

Hard to get a head count, when they move around so much.

But I think I saw 13 cats in total this morning, out of the 18 yard cats we have outside right now.

I’ve been in touch with the Cat Lady recently. Yesterday was Cabbages’ day to be spayed, at the special vet that works with cats that have had neurological problems.

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

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Cabbages seems to have recovered completely, however, so that’s amazing news. The original plan had been for her to stay with them for another 2 weeks, then go to someone she’d found to adopt her, that works in animal welfare. It’s looking like that won’t happen, though. Cabbages has adopted her daughter, instead, and it looks like she will be staying where she is!

Saffron and Nicco should be on their way to fosters, and the adoption process will begin. It seems that the three of them remembered each other, as the Cat Lady found them all sleeping together in a big pile. πŸ™‚

With her help, we’ve had 6 cats spayed, vaccinated, etc. at a steeply discounted price. The amount we pay for can be done as we are able. Two had already been paid for, and I let her know that I’d made a payment for 2 more, and would be able to send a payment for the last two at the end of this month. She let me know that we do not have to make the next payment.

It was already paid for by donation!

I asked for our thanks to be passed on, if possible, and it will be. It turns out that someone had bequeathed a donation to the organization for spays and neuters! That was so thoughtful of them, and much appreciated.

There are some issues going on, partly in regards to the vet bills with the clinic we use, partly due to finding fosters, so we do not have any more appointments set up, yet. The Cat Lady is trying to find us an alternate clinic we can take cats to. Worst case scenario, she would pick up cats from us to stay with her for a few days, they would have their appointments with a vet, and then they might have to stay with us for a while until fosters can be found and the adoption process started. Which works for us. We’re already taking care of them all, so there wouldn’t be much change. We still have several females to do that are indoors, but we should also be able to start catching some of the outdoor males, as well. Of all the outdoor cats that we can actually catch, Rolando Moon is the only female left, and she’s already fixed. Oh, and sometimes Rosencrantz, depending on her mood. It would be better if we could have started with the females, but that would require trapping, and we’re not going to do that until the temperatures are safer.

The Cat Lady will contact us as soon as she has information, and then we’ll decide on which cats are next in line for a vet visit.

We’re okay with any delays. At least the process is happening, and we will slowly be able to find forever homes for most of the cats.

The Re-Farmer

Hard Crab Apple Cider follow up – I am the queen of procrastination!

We’ve had a busy day outside our living room window!

We’ve had quite a few deer visiting the feeding station, and just plain hanging out. The piebald has been standing around the old junk pile (maybe we should start calling it something else, since we cleared out the junk and there’s just old stacked boards now), chillin’ for at least a couple of hours. Others have just been wandering around the area, sometimes at the feeding station, sometimes nibbling lilac twigs, sometimes among the spruces, nibbling whatever underbrush they happen to be next to.

Keith had front row seating to watch them all, with his ever tragic expression!

Now that Saffron is gone, other cats have been sitting on the warm light fixture over the seedlings. Especially Fenrir and, pictured above, Beep Beep.

It must feel nice on their still nekkid bellies!

Today, I finally got around to sterilizing bottles and equipment, and bottling the second carboy of hard crab apple sider.

The one I meant to bottle months ago!

The other other we had fermenting was bottled back in August. If you follow that link, the post has links to the whole process of making it, starting from when we picked the apples back in September, of 2020. We had no apples in 2021, so no new crab apple brews of any kind, sadly.

So… yeah. This carboy has been fermenting since September of 2020.

When the other carboy was bottled, we didn’t do a hydrometer reading, so I did that from the last bottle we’ve got of it, while preparing to bottle the second batch.

I really hate doing hydrometer readings. I can’t read the tiny numbers and have to take pictures to be able to see them – but the camera does NOT want to focus on the hydrometer.


After – hopefully – reading the hydrometer right, the ABV calculator I’ve got came to 10.5% Alcohol By Volume.

For the second carboy, I did a reading before starting to bottle, and the calculation came to 11.8% Alcohol By Volume.

Not too shabby!

The jug we’re using as the carboy after racking the initial brew was repurposed from a 3L wine bottle. I was able to fill three 750L bottles, plus a 250ml bottle, before it was down to the dregs.

Of course, we had to do a taste test to compare the two.

The first thing you’ll notice in the pictures, is that the cider I was about to bottle is a darker colour compared to the one already bottled.

The previously bottled cider had a strong, almost bitter, taste to it. It tasted stronger of alcohol, too, though it had a lower percentage.

The newly bottled cider had a fruitier, smoother taste.

Both tasted good, but I prefer the one that stayed in the carboy for 1 1/2 years. That extra 7 months seems to have made a positive difference.

I do hope we have crab apples this year. I look forward to making this again!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and various updates

Gotta love weather forecasts.

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

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

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

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

For the outside cats, this is spring, already.

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

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

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

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

Speaking of trying to trip me…

Agnoos really wanted attention!

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

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

In other things:

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

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

As for my mother’s car…

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

That would be the less expensive of the potential problems.

Not going to happen.

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

All that over a car. :-/

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

All in good time.


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

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

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

We did not get any deliveries.

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

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

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

We’ll see how that works.

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

The Re-Farmer

Well, she’s away!

The tow truck arrived much, much earlier than expected!

Thankfully, the dispatcher called ahead of time and worked out exactly where we were on his map. It’s a good thing, too, because he was a mile off. The paved provincial road that runs through our little hamlet ends at the highway, then restarts again on our side of the highway, but north of us, so it’s a frequent error.

They came from a town much further away, too, which was a surprise, but I guess CAA could only call whomever was available.

Hopefully, some time tomorrow, we’ll get a call from the mechanic to confirm what’s wrong, and get an estimate. That will decide if we can get it fixed right away, or have to wait until the end of the month. :-/

Thank God we have my mother’s car to fall back on at times like this!!! Having a working vehicle is essential out here.

The Re-Farmer