A little bit of progress. And kittens

Today was a statutory holiday, and the pharmacy my daughter works at is closed for those, so my daughter had the day off. We still made a quick trip into town, as there was a festival going on. It was the market we wanted to check out, after I mentioned some of the vendors I saw. Unfortunately, half the market wasn’t set up today, so it was a bit of a wasted trip.

Except we got churros. Which makes up for that. These are a once a year thing, so it’s a really special treat. 😀

Another treat we had was when we got home and found the little furry bean, lying in a sun spot.

Is this little guy gorgeous, or what?

While things are starting to cool down, it still wasn’t until evening that I headed out into the yard to water a few things. I was pleasantly surprised to see Guildenstern coming into the yard with her baby.

After watching them for a bit, Junk Pile Kitten ran into the lilac bushes, so I settled myself on the steps at the door on that side and watched.

I was not disappointed.

What a beauty! Just look at those eyes!

He came pretty close to me, playing with a couple of the sun room kittens that came by. Including his brother, Keith. 🙂

I was able to get a bit of pruning done in the yard. Some of it was getting rid of low hanging branches that were starting to hang too low. Some of it was in the lilac near where I’ve planted the haskap berry bushes. Some of the branches were hanging low enough to be all stabby at me when I try to mow around the bed, but most of what I cut away was dead branches, twisted among and around the live ones. That opened the bush up quite a bit.

The kittens immediately took advantage of that.

There was 4 of them in there, at one point! 😀

As I was hauling the branches off to the wood pile, my husband went around to get some photos of the sun going down through the trees. We could see a cat off by the pump shack. After putting the wheelbarrow away, I decided to see which cat was out there, because Beep Beep has been pretty vicious about chasing Rosencrantz off in that direction.

It was, indeed, Rosencrantz, but I had another pleasant surprise, too.

She and her baby are using the pump shack again! It looks like the little guy can squeeze himself through that hole in the bottom of the door.

The hole was not that big before.

He is such a dark grey little kitty!

The other kittens came around, and he did play with one of them that came over, a little bit, but for the most part they stayed away from each other.

I’m really glad they have stayed nice and close. I hope Pump Shack Baby will make friends with the sun room kittens and start coming to the house for food.

I may not have gotten a lot of work done outside, but seeing the two other kittens is enough to make up for that. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Kitty Cuddles, and technical difficulties

First, the cute stuff.

My husband passed the furry little bean off to me this morning, while I was at the desktop. Dave promptly curled up in a ball and fell asleep on my chest, making the most interesting nose noises.

He then abruptly stood up, clambered up my shoulder, leapt across the chasm to my bed, and snuggled up to Fenrir.

He burrowed right into her fur and went back to sleep.

She didn’t even open her eyes.

That didn’t stop him from stretching out and luxuriating.

And twisting himself into this weird shape. That’s his bottom leg curled up in front. It’s like his head is coming out from under Fenrir, rather than attached to his body. 😀

Also on my bed was this furry black mama orb.

She typically ignores our new addition, but has been getting more accommodating; even a bit playful with him.

But cuddles?

This is a pretty huge new step in their relationship! 😀

As I was finishing up on my computer this morning, before heading into town for the afternoon, my husband came over to talk.

Our conversation was interrupted by a sudden, bizarre noise. I thought, for a moment, it was actually coming from outside.

Nope.

It was coming from my computer.

Once we established that, we could figure out that it was coming from a fan.

So I shut it down, and my wonderful, darling husband opened it up for me while I was away.

It was a mighty battle, but he was able to defeat the dust bunnies that had taken up residence in there.

Both fans were cakes on pretty solidly!

By the time I got home, my desktop was once again running on silent mode. 😀

Ah, but the technical stuff didn’t end there!

My husband gifted me with his new phone. My own phone plan is done next month, and he realized that his new tablet meets his needs quite well. So we’re transferring his new phone to me, then when my contract is done, we’re going to just switch things with the provider, and drop a phone off our bundle. This will knock a substantial chunk off our mobile phone bill (which is crazy high, considering we barely get any signal where we live).

So several hours were then spent getting those switched and set up.

I’ve been using Samsung phones for many years. The new phone is an LG. The user interface is going to take some getting used to! 😀

As I did my evening rounds, however, I had opportunity to test out the camera. It’s a dual lens camera, and supposed to be one of the better cell phone cameras out there.

Looks like Guildenstern has moved Junk Pile cat out of the yard.

Or maybe they’re just visiting another junk pile.

Well… not really a junk pile. The kitten is hiding under a hood that is over a pallet that it’s attached to. It has a handle attached to it. I think it was built to be a sort of sled, to be dragged behind a snowmobile.

Guildenstern was watching me suspiciously!

I do wish they would just stay with the other cats and kittens. The kittens would play with each other, but Butterscotch and Beep Beep have both been going after and chasing away Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, lately.

Rosencrantz seems to have taken her baby some place well outside the inner yard. No sign of that one, since the one day we saw it by the junk pile.

Ah, well. Such is life with semi-feral cats!

As for the camera… well, so far, the digital zoom does seem to be better than my old camera phone.

🙂

The Re-Farmer

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

Good Morning!

It was lovely doing my rounds with morning, and I just wanted to share some of my flowering finds. 🙂

One of my mother’s fancy lilacs is now blooming. Last year, while cleaning up this flower bed, I took out a maple tree that was growing in the middle of it!

At its base, where I had pruned and cleared quite a bit, there is now massive new growth of this lilac.

Swallowtails love lilacs, we’ve noticed. 🙂 I wasn’t able to get a picture of one this morning, though.

The first couple of my mother’s poppies opened this morning. This one is near the lilac bush in the above picture. The large leaves you see to the left is a small cherry tree. Small enough that I hope to transplant it to a better location, by next year.

Another poppy that opened up this morning is under the bird bath.

We’re going to have lots of these blooming, this year!

I tried making my way through an area of the spruce grove this morning, but there were too many fallen trees and undergrowth blocking my way. The wild roses scattered throughout, however, were blooming enthusiastically in the mess. It should be interesting to see how they do after the area is cleaned up, and they have more light and space. 🙂

This is one of the plants I’ve been seeing growing all over the places where I had pruned branches and cleared away deadwood. This one is near the south fence of the spruce grove, where I’d managed to do some clearing before the snow fell, last year. This is the first of the flowers I’m seeing from this plant. I don’t know the name of it, but we’re going to have quite a lot of these, all over the place! 🙂

I also did a bit of patriotic decorating today.

Canada Day will be here soon, so I set up four sturdy little flags that we have, on the East fence line, facing the road.

Kinda wishing I had more! I love how they look. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: south fence path progress, and finding flowers

Today, I finally had both the time and the weather conditions to work on the south fence line of the spruce grove (there there aren’t actually any spruces left…).

So, while waiting for the freshly washed gates to dry, I brought out the weed trimmer, my new reciprocating saw, and a whole lot of extension cord!

Here is my first progress shot.

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Clean up: spruce grove, south fence continued

Last year, before it finally got too cold to work on cleaning and clearing the trees, I did manage to get some areas on the south side of the spruce grove done. Just a bit by the garage, and more more by the gate.

One of my goals for the day was to finally start working on clearing that middle section. Since we now have a working electric chain saw, which is the perfect size for the job, I figured it would be nice and quick. When cutting some of the larger trees, I’d made a point of leaving fairly tall stumps, so they would be easily visible and no one would trip over them. I intended to cut those flat with the ground, too.

I tested the chain saw out, first, of course.

Then went back to cutting by hand.

Check this out.

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Clean up: garden prep and bale

Yes! It’s finally done!

We’ve broken down and removed the straw bale we got for mulch last year.

It’s amazing just how much material is packed into a round bale.

The girls continued taking wheel barrows of straw to the garden until the core was small enough to tip over and roll away.

There was still plenty left behind, of course.

Despite rolling against the grain, it still left a trail, all the way to the garden. 😀

Note in the above photo, how wide the mulched area in the garden is. We’ve already widened it on one side a bit, since we last worked on it.

Once in place, the core could simply be unrolled, leaving behind a thick enough layer that it only needed to be tamped down in places.

You can really see the difference between what was the bottom of the bale and the top; the part that was touching the ground is still tightly wrapped, and already starting to decompose, while the top is much looser, as it had room to spread while we took layers off to cover the septic tank and mulch the old kitchen garden.

This is where the bale sat all winter. When it was first moved, and my daughter was raking up what was left behind to haul away, she noticed lots of worms. When I was transplanting the raspberries, I noticed plenty of worms, too. This is a good sign!

This area behind the house is very spotty as far as how the grass is going, with the area closest to the house having almost no grass at all. So we’re not too worried about the grass that was under the bale; we’ll need to find some shade hardy grass seed for the area, anyhow.

And here we have the mulched garden area for next year. In the foreground, to the left, is a big gooseberry bush that I hope will actually produce some berries this year. Next to it is a chokecherry, then where the raspberries were transplanted, a crab apple tree, and the compost. Which, I discovered as I tried to turn it, was used for garbage at some point, as I found pieces of food tray foam and the remains of a plastic tray that held transplants. Plus, lots of branches, still. This is where a pile of pruned branches and cut back trees were piled, then moved to the middle of the garden, before we moved here. The plan had been to burn them – yes, even when it was right on the compost pile, under that apple tree! – but we broke it down and moved it manually, last spring. We’ll have fire pit fuel for a long time, just from that one pile!

The next steps for the mulched garden area is to “frame” it with some of those logs we have from getting the trees cleared. The idea is to keep the straw from being dragged around with our feet as we work in it. Other material will be added to it, to build up the layers and improve that rock-hard soil. Covering it all with landscape cloth to prevent the grass and weeds from growing through the mulch would be good, if we can get enough to cover the whole area.

We’re getting a pretty decent sized garden out of this! Obviously, nothing close to what it was before, but we can amend and re-claim sections of it, little by little, over the years, while planning out where we want to put more permanent plantings.

Slowly but surely, we’ll get it done! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clear

Things have been rather hectic the past couple of days, to the point that I even missed yesterday’s critter of the day photo – I ended up driving my mother to the emergency and staying with her until she got the all clear to go home. She is fine, but she was scared about some chest pains. They never found what caused the pains, but once again, her heart is checking out just fine. They couldn’t identify what was causing the pains, so she had to go a regular doctor to start that process. :-/

In the middle of this, the girls took down a branch from the Chinese Elm in front of the kitchen window. The outside cats are going to miss their last easy access to the roof!

Getting it down took some doing. While one person used the extended pruning saw, the other pulled on a rope that was slung around the branch. This way, when the branch finally fell, it wouldn’t land on the roof, but get pulled away.

It worked. It landed right on my mother’s fancy lilac bush, but when I checked it later, there wasn’t a single broken branch on it! Very flexible branches!

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