Puffy

We have a new visitor to the feeding station, today!

I haven’t seen grouse in the yard in quite a while, and whenever we did, they tended to be under some bushes or trees. This is the first time we’ve seen one at the feeding station!

Such a pretty bird, all puffed up to stay warm.

I think there was too much movement in the window, as it started to move away, but it did come back, and actually stayed at the feeding station for quite a long time.

I hope it comes back again! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

The reality of things

I’ve been told I should make sure to add warnings before I post certain things, so I’ll start with that. Towards the end of this post, there are pictures of a dead bird.

Aside from that, during my morning rounds, I did get photos of Two Face. Her wound is healing quite nicely. You can hardly tell where it is, if you’re not looking for it!

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Feathery friend, and progress

I had a nice surprise on my morning rounds today. 🙂

It was just standing there, watching me! I got some video as I went past. I’m still in the process of uploading it, but the embedded link below should work once that’s done.

Grouse, I’ve noticed, are not the brightest birds. I headed into town later today and, on the way home, saw a bird on the side of the road. As I passed it, I could see it was a grouse. It wasn’t until then that it just turned around. Checking my mirror, I saw it still just standing there on the road, completely unperturbed by a vehicle going past so closely!

After my rounds, I stayed out to start mowing before things got too hot.

I finished some 5 hours later! Heat or no heat, I didn’t want to stop until it was done.

Then it was a trip to the dump, then into town. One of the things I picked up was marking paint.

I got tired of looking for the rocks I have to mow around! Four rocks and the remains of a tree stump in the yard, plus another rock in the “driveway” I mow to the back gate.

The girls, meanwhile, took care of the house. Not just the cleaning and stuff inside (including cleaning kitten eyes), but they are doing the eaves, as well. The last time they tried to do the eaves, they got attacked by horse flies, and today was the first chance to get up there again. As I write this, my younger daughter is up on the roof, cleaning the second floor eaves, too.

My daughters are awesome!

The day is not quite done. I have the last coat of paint on the gate to do (thanks to the girls flipping it for me while I mowed), and I want to get it done tonight. That way, by tomorrow evening, both sides of the gate can finally be moved out of the garage, and we can start parking the van in there again! 😀

Back to work I go!

The Re-Farmer

Bonus Critter: road block

I was just heading out to pick up my daughter from work the other day, when I saw an odd shape on the road.

A strange, bowling pin shaped bird.

I slowed down, expecting it to fly away, or at least get off the road.

It didn’t.

I finally came to a full stop, and it just looked at me! LOL

The grouse didn’t start to move off the road until I began to drive around it.

I love those fuzzy legs.

Visitors

I had a couple of visitors while doing my rounds this morning.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard one of these guys, and even longer since I’ve seen one.

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What I found interesting is that, when it saw me coming, it just walked away, then stayed to watch me for a while, before finally flying off. Usually, I don’t even know one’s been around until I hear it flying away.

At one point, I was under a tree when some bits of bark and debris began falling on my head.

Why?

Because of this little lady.

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Who was not at all happy to see our other visitor.

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My brother’s dog came by, and even came over to let me pet him, without doing the “sneaking up from behind” shyness he usually displays. He still played a bit shy, but he seemed more interested in getting pets, instead. 😀

I just adore that dog. He is so sweet!

The Re-Farmer

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello, all, and Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope those of you who take part in it had a wonderful day. 🙂

This year, today also happens to be the first day of Lent, which we each observe in different ways.  My “fast” will be the same as the last couple of years; I am giving up Facebook for Lent.  I spend way too much time on there!  I’ve already caught myself almost going onto it when I sat at the computer (I removed the shortcut on my phone), just out of habit.  I only went on this morning to post my usual note letting people know that if they wanted to reach me, they’d have to use something other than Facebook for the next while.  And wish people Happy Valentine’s day at the same time.

We’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day.  I suppose I could always be cheesy and say that we don’t need to, because every day is Valentine’s day, but the truth is, we’re just not particularly romantic.  😀  Very early in our relationship, I told my (future) husband that, while I enjoy things like flowers, I’m more of a kitchen appliance kind of woman. 😀  Since then, it’s expended to things like yarn and tools.  Nothing like a sweet, sweet skein of gorgeous yarn, or a set of calipers, to make my heart go pitter patter!  Still, we basically just wish each other Happy Valentine’s day, then get on with our day.  After almost 30 years of marriage, we’re pretty laid back about such things. 😀

Unfortunately, yesterday was hard on my husband, so he had to deal with the fallout from that, today. 😦

My morning still started out with some aggressive cuddles, though.

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“You weren’t planning to get up, where you?”

Our mama cat was all over me this morning, draping herself over whatever limb she could get at, and trapping me!

Her boy does the same to my daughters.

I honestly don’t know why she likes me so much.  Even when she isn’t cuddling hard, she still tries to be near me all the time.

Not that I mind, except that we haven’t been able to trim her claws for quite a long time.

It was a warm day today – about -7C when I went to feed the outside cats.  Which made it a relatively rare day when all 7 of them were out at the same time.

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My daughters were kind enough to lay out a new piece of cardboard for me yesterday, while we were gone for so long.  The first time I laid the cardboard out, the cats weren’t sure about going on it for a while, but this time, I think they were quite happy to have something a bit warmer on their toes!

It was warm enough that I stayed out after putting the deer feed and bird seed out and dug out the ice chipper.  The packed snow was starting to encroach in spots.  One of the areas I cleared was a side section of the concrete steps.  Strangely, the cats loved it.  After I moved on to the sidewalk, I looked back to see Rolando Moon rolling ecstatically on the freshly cleared concrete.  Then Beep Beep and Nasty Crime Boy took turns, all in that same section of step!  I have no idea what was attracting them to that one spot.

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“You may touch the royal paw.”

Rolando even let me pet her a bit.

A bit.

Meanwhile, my husband was able to call in some prescription refills today.  Being warmer today than it will be for a while, I was going to take advantage of it and install those new headlight bulbs before my daughter and I headed into town.

Now, I’ve changed automotive light bulbs before, but not on this vehicle.  We’ve had it for less than a year.  Our previous van was pretty straightforward.  You could just look at it and figure out how to open things up.

Not so much, this one.  After looking around and not seeing how to open up the casing, we decided to do it later.

I did get out the new gas cap and put it on, leaving the tethered old gas cap in place while I turned on the engine to see if the “check gas cap” alert still came on.

It did.

*sigh*

So it’s likely a faulty sensor.

I put the old gas cap back for now, since I want to make sure I can remove the tether without having to cut it.  I’m sure I can, but just haven’t had the time to fiddle with it.

While we drove to town, my daughter dug out the instruction manual and found the section for replacing the bulbs.  Turns out there was a pin somewhere in there that needs to be pulled out, first.  I never noticed a pin anywhere when I was looking.

She also looked up the “check gas cap” alert.  It says that when it comes on, it means that gas cap is off, so go put it back on.  (*duh!)

The gas cap is on just fine, so that’s not the problem, but it confirmed what I already thought.  I was just hoping for a bit more information for, say, why the alert would continue after ensuring the cap was on.

Once we were back from town, I started working on the headlights while my daughter took our stuff in, then shoveled her way back.  It had started to snow by then, so she shoveled the path to the burn barrel, too.  It was finally a warm, wind free enough day for a burn to be done.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to do one!

While she got her workout in outside, I was able to hang up a light and see what I was doing under the hood, thanks to the 200ft of extension cords from the house to the garage.  (That was so sweet of my brother to buy those for us!)  I found the pin, which was nowhere near where I expected to be, and managed to get it out.  Then I had to loosen a bolt.

To do that, I needed a wrench.

I found a couple of very old tools hanging about, but it turns out there are pretty much no tools left in the garage at all.  There’s lot of other weird stuff, but no tools.

I’m told there used to be lots of tools, not only in the garage, but in the basement of the house, too.

Not sure what happened to them all.

Thankfully, we have our own tool kits.

After much fin-angling, I finally got the casing off and the burnt out bulb out.  That thing did NOT want to come out!  But I got it done.  The second one went much smoother!  Only partly because I knew what I was doing this time. 😀

So we now have new, brighter headlight bulbs.

I’m kinda looking forward to our next night drive after dark, now. 🙂

One more thing to tick off the “to do” list.

Later on, after I got supper in the oven and the girls were outside doing the burn, I heard a loud bang.  It seemed like something hit the house!  I even felt the floor shake.  I popped my head outside to look and asked the girls about it, but they heard and saw nothing.

I still don’t know what caused the noise.  Perhaps something in the basement fell?  I don’t know.

Looking out the dining room window, though, I saw this…

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A grouse, under the bushes.

Looking at the tracks, I kinda wondered if maybe the grouse flew into the house, fell into the snow, then tucked itself under the bush to recover.

Or it’s just sitting there, taking shelter from the snow.

I’m pretty sure a grouse isn’t big enough to have made that noise, though.  I’m still wondering what it could have been.

Also, my phone camera takes terrible zoomed in shots.  At least I had one decent shot I could drop down.

Interestingly, for all the animals I saw today, including the usual birds and squirrels at the feeding station, I haven’t see a single deer.  It’s possible I just missed them, but my husband said he hadn’t seen any, either.

I won’t be surprised to find the now-buried-in-snow feed is all dug up and eaten by morning, though.

It was good to get a break from the cold, today.  We had a high of -2C by this evening.  By midnight, we’re supposed to his -21C, with a windchill of -32C.

Tomorrow, by 8am, it is supposed to be -25C, with a windchill of -39C.

Talk about a severe drop!

Tomorrow’s high of the day is supposed to be -19C, with a windchill of -28C.  We need to go into town again for doctor’s appointments in that. 😦  That’s the coldest it’s supposed to be over the next few days, at least, but we won’t see temperatures in the single digits again for another week.

I think we’re going to be staying home as much as possible for the next while!

The Re-Farmer

 

 

 

Today’s Critter Visits

It was quite busy outside our living room window, today!

When I brought more feed out, I scattered some a little closer to the house.  Little by little, I’ll bring it closer, but not by too much.  Just up to the path between the house and some bushes.

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I love it when the deer come out early enough that the sun is shining on the area.  There’s just a few early morning hours where this spot gets full sun, and only in the winter.

We are thinking that we are getting two, possibly three, groups of deer.  There’s the pair that came today and yesterday.  There’s not a lot to distinguish deer apart this time of year, in general, but of the two, one has a darker patch on its chest.  It’s also a dick.  It will chase the other one away from the food, even after it’s eaten and moved away, even striking with his hooves.  The other one is smaller and thinner.  I’m curious about the relationship between these two, with one so obviously not friendly to the other.

Then there is the group of 4; a doe, her twins and a buck.  They’ve only come a couple of times, and I at first thought the doe was the first deer that visited us for several days before the 4 showed up, but now I’m not so sure.  That would be the possible third “group” of one.

A strange thing happened today, while the deer were here.  Our cats have been watching them off and on, too, but without much interest.  At least compared to when the squirrels are there.  But today, something changed.  The mama ended up spending probably an hour or more at the window, tail flared like a bottle brush, growling at them!  I tried to get some video with the noise she was making.  I’ve never heard anything quite like it from her before.  Even her boy was looking at her funny.  Attempts to calm her down did not work.  Very odd.

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Moving the feed closer meant the birds came closer, too, which made for better photos.  I prefer to not zoom in all the way, if I can avoid it, as that cuts out a lot of light in an area that’s already dark, most of the time.  This jay (and it’s mate, later on) had come to the closer pile of seeds, and I got some good shots.  Some of the smaller birds, such as the chickadees and sparrows, came even closer – I think some seeds got blown towards the path – but they move so often, I couldn’t get a shot.

Then some of the cats came over…

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We got a laugh at Beep Beep, jumping up onto the stone cross.  You could tell her feet were cold, and she seemed to be wanting to get away from the snow.  Except, of course, there’s snow on the stone, too.

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Rolando Moon came over and got comfortable on a patch of seeds.  We’ve seen several cats do that; go over to the seeds, maybe snuffle around a bit, then settle right in the thickest area.  It would be warmer than sitting on the snow.

For all their coming around, none of the cats have caught a bird.

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The largest of our bird visitors, this grouse is easily as big as Rolando Moon, which makes it bigger than most of the outside cats.

I love how it looks when it stretches its neck out. 😀

The Re-Farmer