Temperatures continue to be on the cold side. Last night, we were supposed to reach a low of -27C (-16F), with a windchill of -34C (-29F) – at least that’s what The Weather Network predicted. My phone’s app was predicting low of -24C (-11F). Either way, bitterly cold.

Our high for today is supposed to warm up to -17C (1F) with a windchill of -23C (-9F), so warmer than yesterday, but still a day I would have stayed home, if I didn’t have to go into town to pick up prescription refills. I made sure to start the van near the end of my rounds, to let it warm up a bit before I headed out. Yes, it was plugged in, but I still didn’t want to take it out before the engine had a chance to warm up at least a little bit. I still have bad memories of a cracked engine block (on a rental with no block heater)!

One of the things I started doing years ago, back when we were living in the city, where it wasn’t unusual for me to be heading out sometimes 3 times a day for various things, was keep water bottles in the van. I used to keep them in an insulated grocery bag until we finally found a really nice cooler that fit between the seats. Though we don’t go out anywhere near as often as we used to, it’s still been handy to keep the cooler in the van, with a few water bottles. In the summer, when we go into the city to do our monthly shop, we can put ice packs in it for our insulated grocery bags with frozen items, or those that need refrigeration. Sometimes, when I’m getting gas, there are really good deals on energy drinks, like 4 for $7, so I’ll get a bunch and put the bag in the cooler with the water bottles, just to have them handy for days when we’re heading out and feel the need for one.

This morning was one of those days.

Back in the van after locking the gate behind me, I remembered the drinks in the cooler and reached back to grab one.

The first thing that came to mind when I opened the lid was “hmm… the lid wasn’t closed.” It was down, but not pushed all the way.

The next thing that came to mind as I dug into the bag for a drink was, “what the heck is that? That’s not a can.”

So I got out of the van so I could check the cooler from the side door.

I was wrong. It was, indeed, a can.

An exploded can!

Yup. It got cold enough last night for the cans to burst!

Now, we’ve had things survive just fine in colder temperatures – yes, they froze, but they didn’t burst. How full the cooler is makes a difference, too. When it’s almost completely full, the water bottles at the top and bottom would freeze completely, while the ones in the middle would still have liquid water in them. But with the lid not pushed all the way down, it was enough for things to get messy!

After I got home, I made sure to bring the cooler inside.

The damage was not as extensive as I thought. Only 2 cans exploded.

Two more cans, plus the remaining water bottles, were frozen solid, but intact.

I guess the take away from this is 1) make sure there’s more bottles and cans in the cooler, and 2) make sure that lid is pushed all the way down!

Otherwise, things can get messy!


The Re-Farmer


After publishing the above post, I went to check the files on the memory card from the trail cam. Yesterday, knowing the cold had already brought the battery level down to one bar, even though fresh batteries had been put in just a couple of days earlier, I brought the camera inside and switched out a new set of batteries. The previous set, now warmed up, will be switched back again later.

When I checked the trail cam this morning, I saw the battery level was down to 1 bar already, so I was curious to see how many files were made before the camera shut itself off due to low power.

There were no files.


That means that the fresh, room temperature batteries I’d put in became too cold to power the camera before anything triggered the motion sensor. And I know it should have been triggered at least twice. As I was heading out, I saw tracks in the snow showing that someone had backed into our driveway to turn around, as well as tracks from (most likely) my brother’s dog going through, including the smudge in the snow where he squeezed under the gate.

Even with two months of bitter cold last year, this is the first time I’ve had this happen to the batteries in the trail cam!

I don't think they like him

This morning, while doing my rounds, I had an unexpected visitor – my brother’s beautiful dog! He is usually very shy and tends to sneak up behind a person, and under their hand, for sneaky pets, but not today! He was quite happy to come right up for some attention.

While I was petting him, I heard a noise above my head.

As usual, the cats had followed me while I was doing my rounds. Butterscotch and Beep Beep will bully each other to be carried. This morning, Butterscotch came along, and she was not happy to see our visitor!

Sadly, when I paused to take the picture, my visitor went away.

As I started back, I saw Butterscotch was not the only one unhappy with our visitor!

Even Junk Pile cat had been following along and was up a tree, but before I could get a picture, he’d jumped down and bolted further into the grove.

I want a dog. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Photo of the Day: Spoiled beast!

Dave likes to sit on my husband’s chest while he tries to use his computer. Which typically results in my husband losing the use of at least one hand, because he ends up having to support a cat butt.

The house is getting a bit chilly these days, so my husband has taken to wearing a vest. Dave quickly discovered that the inside of the vest makes a nice warm nest, while my husband discovered that the vest frees up both his hands so he can use the computer.

Win, win!

They have been spending quality time together in the mornings.

What a beastly beast he is! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning company

I admit, my morning rounds are not as consistent as they should be. Some mornings, when my daughter has a shift, it’s earlier – and this time of year, pitch black, still! Others, like today, I can wait until there’s actually light out.

Which means, I can get pictures of the company I get. 😀

I always do the cat food and water first, then do the feeding station. The cats will happily abandon food and fresh water to come join me.

Because, apparently, bird bath water is better.

They also like to use the bird feeder pole as a scratching post. 😀

Creamsicle was all set to jump on me!

I didn’t let him.

As I finished up at the feeding station, I realized I had an audience.

Gosh, they are so funny.

Also, that aloe vera behind Dave is the baby of one we had before our move. It’s about half the size of the mama was. We called it the sarlacc, so I guess this is sarlacc junior. 😀

The frost covered spruces were very pretty this morning. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

The things I’ve been finding

I’ll start with the things I found today. 🙂

The first thing I found this morning was a Pump Shack kitten! After opening up the sun room to let the other kittens out and get some cat kibble, I turned to find him at the door, waiting to see if he could sneak past me for some food!


He never did come in while I was there, but after I put food out by the junk pile and pump shack, I came back to find him, with Junk Pile kitten and Rosencrantz (his mom), sharing food with Doom Guy and Keith.

We rarely see Rosencrantz these days, and we haven’t seen Guildenstern in ages. Same with Jim, Bobby and Rolando Moon. I hope they are okay, wherever they are.

While checking the yard for any fallen branches or damage, I found…


One of the tree mushrooms had fallen.

That thing is really big!

I looked around for the others I’d spotted a few days back; they are not only still there, but bigger than ever. All this rain is definitely mushroom weather!

The final find of the day was something my daughter had to point out to me, or I would have missed it entirely.

During the night, I kept hearing the kittens getting onto the dining table, where they are not allowed to be. In coming out to chase them off, they were usually already down, but I could see the cords from our ceiling fan swinging. They were getting on the table to try and play with them!

A friend of mine has had success with using aluminum foil to get her cats from doing where they are not supposed to, so I figured I’d give it a try, leaving sheets of them in front of each chair that they are using to get onto the table.


As you can see by the paw prints, it didn’t work!

Another find I made was a few days ago, during my rare times to the basement. I needed a washer of a particular size and hoped I could find one among the various drawers and cabinets down there.

I found this.


The old syringe my dad used to use to treat cattle. I remember it used to be stored in a case, together with needles of various sizes, but there is only the syringe, now. Check out the inner chamber, that would be sterilized and reused, again and again – as did the needles! They certainly don’t make them like this, anymore!

Interestingly, we found these just the next day.


I found them with my feet. These are the sorts of medicine bottles that would have been used with that syringe.

Knowing my brother was coming with some wheels to try on the old trailer frame in the hay yard by the barn, my daughter and I went to pull it out of the grass. It’s really heavy, so we were not going to be able to drag it out of the old hay yard, through the barn, and into the outer yard, as I’d hope we might be able to, but we didn’t want to just leave it in the grass again, either. Leaning against the barn were some old tires, so I dragged several out to put under the frame. While pulling out the first tire, I stepped on something that my foot slipped on, and found an old medicine bottle, half buried in the dirt. I moved it aside but when I came back for the next tire, I stepped on another one!

We took them into the barn. I don’t know what we’ll do with them, but I want to keep these! 😀

The Re-Farmer