Morning finds, and a majestic visitor

There’s always a little something, when I do my morning rounds! 😀

My husband had been able to take care of the cats earlier, so when I got out, I just have to put out feed for the birds (and deer). By the time I came out, however, I found the new heated water bowl had been knocked over. There had to have been some sort of altercation at the entry of the cats’ house, because even the brick supports around it had gone flying, and the power cord to the bowl had been pulled out.

Not only was the new bowl empty, but the water in the other bowls was frozen solid!

Something better had to be found.

I quickly went to feed the birds, thinking about it, and noticed the chimney liners along the side of the house. Since cleaning up the pile behind the house, we’ve been using these to hold the insulation that gets put around the house every winter.

They were just the right size and shape. Was there one we could spare?

Not on that side of the house, so I came back around and looked at the ones along the back of the house. We have other things set up against the house to help keep the insulation from being blown away, so I was able to find one that looked like we could spare.

It’s the perfect size and shape!

The bowl is so big, I added bricks as spacers between it and the shelter. The cats immediately were all over it, until I refilled the other water bowls, too. They were very thirsty!

We will have to plug the bowl back in later, once there are two people available. With the snow accumulation, the counterweight doesn’t quite reach the ground, so one person has to hold up the roof while the other does what needs to be done, inside. When we do our monthly shop, we’ll pick up a short, appropriate extension cord that can be safely used, so we can at least not have to worry about the cord being unplugged. Not too short, though. I want to run it along the frame of the shelter, just under the roof, so there will be no issue with the cats knocking it about, and no critters chewing on it.

Thanks to my daughter digging out more paths, I was able to get at the back of the garage and the outhouse. To clear access to the outhouse, my daughter had to break up that fallen piece of tree. It was warm enough to no longer be quite frozen to the ground, but that’s as far as it’s going to be moved until, most likely, spring.

When switching out the memory card in the trail cam by the new sign, I noticed these tracks. Something had walked towards the corner, stopped, then turned around. At first, I thought they were foot prints, they were so big. That didn’t seem likely, given the piles of snow from the plow. Not even our vandal is that dedicated to causing problems! The question was, did whatever made it go far enough to trigger the motion sensor on the trail cam?

The answer is, yes!

Would you look at that majestic beauty!!

While doing my rounds and seeing deer tracks, I had been noticing some hoof prints much larger than the others. I’d say, we’ve captured the beast that made them! And what a handsome fella he is!

I’m pretty sure we’ve been seeing this same buck visiting our place since we moved here. If it is, this would be the fifth winter of visits from him. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

This morning

First of all, I’m happy to say the new heated water bowl is working out just fine!

The power cord is slightly shorter than the old one. It specifically stated on one of the labels to not use extension cords with it, and there are no other outdoor power outlets we can use here, so we had to get creative. The bowl is not on a makeshift platform to support it. That made it too high for the cats to reach the water from outside the cats’ house, but a couple of buckets and bricks now serve as surfaces that cats can use to sit on – while also providing stability to keep the bowl from getting knocked over as the cats go in and out of their house.

The cats where checking it out and using it almost immediately! 🙂

Including this roly poly Potato, who followed me when I started my rounds. 😀

There were quite a lot of deer tracks around, but this was new this morning.

The dug up the pile of dried up bush beans that had been cleared out and set aside, to eat. These were waiting to be buried in the beds in the spring, but there might not be any left by then!

Today was pretty warm, so I took advantage of it to do a small burn. While tending the burn barrel, looking at the nearby deer tracks in the snow, I found myself trying to figure out another set of tracks.

It looks like a pair of animals leaped their way through the snow! Fairly recently, too. They are very fresh, and were made after the deer had gone by. I have no idea what would have done this. The holes left in the snow are not that big, but the space between them is pretty huge! Looking at the holes nearest where I was, I couldn’t see any prints inside them, as the snow had collapsed inward as the creatures leapt about.

Any hunters or trackers out there who might know what made these?

After the burn was done, I also took advantage of the relative warmth and broke out the ice chipper.

Then I finally got to shovel the main paths wide enough that my husband can get through with his walker.

Then, because I’m a suck, I shoveled the path along the garden bed that cats had been using. 😀 It’s not wide enough for a walk, but if my husband ever needed to, he can at least cane it through here.

After I came inside, the girls went out and cleared paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back door of the garage.

Eventually, we’ll clear enough of the yard that we can drive in to unload the van, but that will be a job for our little electric snow blower. 🙂

All that done, I then worked on the cheese I’ve been making, which was really interesting. That will be in my next post! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Twenty – and a marvelous surprise!

Since the blizzard hit, I’ve been trying to get a head count on the outside cats, every chance I get. That we were consistently seeing “only” 17 or 18 at once had me concerned about the missing ones, but with how much they mill about, I couldn’t even tell which ones were missing!

Well, this morning, I am much relieved.

After topping up their kibble trays, I counted 17 again. Then another one showed up after they got their warm water. Finally, I saw Ghost Baby ghosting her way across the yard and disappearing behind the kibble house, for 19. Awesome! Just short one fur baby.

Then, as I started down the driveway, Rosencrantz emerged from under the garage door. Twenty!! Yes! For the first time since the blizzard, all 20 outside cats, including the Distinguished Guest, are all accounted for!

I am happy.

When checking the gate, I could see that the road was plowed, so I headed out to get the mail. There, I found an awesome surprise!

A dear, awesome, fabulous friend sent us a replacement heated water bowl – and that thing is HUGE!!!

One and a half gallon capacity! Thermostatically controlled, too, so it won’t stay on constantly.

Thank you, my awesome friend! You’re the best!

Later today, I’ll snag a daughter to wrestle the cats’ house roof open so we can plug it in and set it up.

The cats are going to really love having enough warm water to last all of them, all day!!

The Re-Farmer