Well, today is going to be a day of rest, whether I intended it or not.

And a day of painkillers.

Last night, I finished setting up the living room so that, once we build the cat barriers, it will be a plant room.

We hardly use the living room. The aquarium greenhouses are there, so of course I’m checking on those regularly, as well as tending the few plants we’ve been able to keep in there without the cats absolutely destroying them. My husband’s leather working desk is there, but between the pain and the mind numbing meds, he doesn’t use it as often as he’d like. The TV (which was here when we moved in) is there, which we tend to forget even exists.

So it’s been cat heaven in there.

The whole room needed to be complete rearranged, which meant taking a lot of stuff out completely, then working section by section. Move stuff out of the way. Vacuum. Empty the cat hair filled cannister after a few passes. Vacuum again. Empty the canister. Clear the next section. Repeat.

The frustrating thing was discovering all the spots a couple of our boys has been spraying. Yes, all the males are fixed, but we have two that still spray, and in the most inconvenient and inaccessible spaces. Leyendecker didn’t start spraying until after he got blocked and miraculously survived. Gee, thanks, dude. 😕

It was also the time to do little things, like replace a ceiling hook with something stronger (I had to get my younger daughter to climb the little step ladder to do that for me!) for the grow lights, and set up a power bar in a better space, since where it was hanging before would be blocked by shelves. Thanks, M, for the Alien Tape! It works great!

We had the couch in the middle of the room, close to the TV, since when we do watch movies, we always use the subtitles. It’s a big TV, but it’s still hard to read the subtitles from across the room. Well, that had to change, so I took advantage of the situation to not only use the pet hair attachment on our vacuum cleaner on all sides, but to tip it over so we could find where that piece of spring I found when I first moved it came from. How that cats managed to snap that, I have no idea!

My daughters helped as much as they could, but it really was a one person job for the most part. One of the things that had to be moved out was this monster.

This is my older daughter’s jade tree that almost got killed during the move, because of how cold it got in the van when we stopped to try and sleep in the drive out. What started out as three small plants now has 7 trunks, and is thriving – in spite of many attempts by cats to destroy it! It is just massive, heavy, of course, and very awkward to carry! 😂 I can hardly imagine how big it would be, if it hadn’t had so many branches lost to the cold during the move, or broken off by cats.

We had the pair of these cheap, square Ikea tables side by side before but, with the new arrangement, they are now stacked on top of each other – and secured together. The girls found a way to secure the pot with a Bungee cord, so it couldn’t get knocked off by the cats. At some point, it needs to be transplanted into a bigger pot, which is going to make it even more difficult to move around! We do have wheeled plant platforms, but that’s not much use then the plant is several feet above the floor.

But it’s done. The mini greenhouse frame and several shelves (a couple of them are bookshelves converted from old TVs, back when the screens were in wooden cabinets) are now set up all along the window, stuff that was taken out are all back and in their new spots, and we actually have an open space in the middle of the living room, instead of it being cut in half by the couch and shelves. All we need to do now is get the cat barriers built and set up.

I look forward to the cats not having access to that room. Ever since I finished last night, they’ve been all over the place, investigating things and crawling into spaces they shouldn’t be in!

I “celebrated” by watching a movie when I was done.

From across the room.

Boy, do I need a new prescription for my glasses!

During the night is when I started paying for it all. My whole body has stiffened up, and everything is hurting – and that’s with painkillers!

A day of rest it is!

The Re-Farmer

Protecting the jade tree, and critter capers

So… we’ve had problems with the more recent additions to our cat colony indoors. They’ve decided our plants are for them to play with and dig in.

One of the pots we’ve been trying to protect is has the parent jade trees that we brought with us when we moved. During the drive out, it got cold enough to kill some of the plants in the back of the van, and most of the jade tree died off, but it amazingly did recover and has been doing very well.

Now the cats are trying to kill it.

Mostly Cabbages, and her dirt digging, but the other cats have discovered that jade tree leaves make good toys. We’ve done a number of things to protect the plants but, with this particular pot, some cats – and we’re not sure which ones – have managed to knock aside the things we’ve used to protect it, and get right into the middle of the pot. Along with the soil being dug up, the stems of the plants were being bent outwards, with some getting snapped off.

Yesterday, I engaged in a bit of a rescue.

You can see cat toothmarks on a number of leaves!

I was able to get the pot outside – a job that required one daughter with a spray bottle to keep the cats at bay, while the other opened the doors for me.

The pipes that you see are the spare uprights from one of the shelves we put up in the old basement. The basement is too low for the full height of the shelves, so we never added on the top self. In trying to protect the several jade trees in this pot, I shoved 4 of the unused uprights from the shelf into the pot, and used them and some cotton yarn as supports.

I discovered they also work really well to water the pot. I can just pour water into a pipe to water from below. The pot is actually a self-watering pot, but the opening to the reservoir on the bottom is small and hard to get at.

In their efforts to get at the middle of the pot, the cats ended up pushing the yarn down the pipes, and they were no longer supporting the plant stems. All the stems were bent and spread outwards, like a massive spider. So I redid it, this time making sure to loop around some of the bigger stems. It should not slide down anymore.

I’m amazed by how resilient jade trees are!

After replacing the dug out soil in the middle, I had the thought that using some of the grass clippings and garden soil mix I had left over from “hilling” the potato bags might help keep the cats out of it. Then I gave the whole thing a nice shower with the hose, with water that had been warmed by the sun.

When it was brought back inside, one of the first things that happened was several cats going over to investigate.

Then start chewing on the grass clippings.


They were so determined to get at it, I ended up trying to put a leftover piece of wire mesh around the bottom. It wasn’t big enough, so I tried protecting the rest with a transparent recycling bag. We still had to make liberal use of the spray bottle to keep the cats away!

Of course, we couldn’t stay in the living room all evening, monitoring a plant pot. Coming back a couple of hours later, we found some determined cat had managed to get under the plastic and spread grass clippings all over the place.

And our vacuum cleaner is broken, with no budget to replace it until next month.


In the end, with the assistance of a daughter keeping the cats at bay while opening doors for me, we moved the pot into the sun room to keep it safe.

In the process, I discovered a piece of the jade tree had been broken off, so I stuck it into another jade tree pot; a smaller one with a plastic ring cut from the top of a Costco corn puff container to protect it.

That was yesterday.

This morning, I was awakened by the noise of cats trying to get through the screen between the basements again. There’s nothing I can do about that, so I tried to ignore it.

Then I heard the big thump.

Going into the living room, I found one of the pots with an aloe vera in it, on the floor.

Thankfully, between the dense plant and the plastic protector around it, it didn’t actually fall out of the pot and virtually no soil was lost.

As I put it back on the shelf, I saw the dirt.

The smaller jade tree, with its protective collar, had been dug into. Some small, determined cat managed to reach through the opening and get at the soil.

I moved the pot to the dining table, went back to clean up a bit, returned to the dining room, just in time to discover Susan – SUSAN!! – on the table, trying to get into the pot.


I ended up shoving some mesh fabric around the opening, but it looks like this pot is going to have to go into the sun room, too.

A while later, I went to do my rounds outside and found two cats on the platform under the basement window, looking at me. Possibly Turmeric and Susan. Or Saffron and Big Rig. It’s a bit hard to see through the two layers of mesh on the window.


I let the girls know they were there. The last time I tried to go into that basement to get cats out, I popped a kneecap on the stairs.

So… that was my start to the day. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Desperate Measures

One of the down sides of having so many cats in the house is how much they “love” our houseplants! We’ve had to get increasingly creative to protect them. The smaller ones ended up getting hung up. Thankfully, my daughter’s orchid kokedama are very light, as they ended up being hung from a curtain rod we don’t use. I had several succulents, one of which was apparently delicious to cats. I’ve managed to save two, while a third ended up being totally destroyed.

The problem is with the larger plants. I have a big umbrella tree, we have a whole bunch of aloe vera (less than we started out with) and several jade trees. We’re down a few jade trees, too. 😦 I also had 5 avocados growing in one large pot. They had been doing very well, too.

Then Cabbages happened.

She has a thing for digging in dirt. She’s not interested in the plants themselves. She just wants to dig. The other cats like to bite the aloe vera leaves, which at least won’t harm them, but they also like to break of jade tree leaves, and play with them like cat toys. Jade trees are not good for cats! None of the other cats have Cabbage’s obsession with dirt digging. Thank God for that, or I wouldn’t have any plants left!

We’ve tried many things to deter them. Our aloe vera now all have protective rings of plastic around their bases (except the biggest one, which is so big, with so many babies growing under it, it can protect itself!), cut from those cheese ball and pork rind containers from Costco we’d been keeping to use as garden cloche. They’ve been coming in handy for a lot of other things!

The umbrella tree got a ring of 1 inch wire mesh around its base. The kittens would still jump over it and sit in the middle of the umbrella tree but, as they’ve grown bigger, they seem to have stopped doing that. The smaller plants got the plastic containers put over them as cloche, but some of the cats figure out how to knock those off – and the pots under them. The larger jade trees got various things stuck into the soil to both support their stems, which were being pushed over by cats sitting in the middle of the pots, and to make things difficult for the cats to get in.

The pot the avocado were growing in is a large double-layer pot. The inner pot holds the soil while the outer pot has a reservoir for water, so the roots can be watered from below. In one corner is a triangular piece that holds a float in place, and covered the opening where water is poured into the base.

This pot is on a shelf by the dining room window, along with a number of other plants. Eventually, though, we were down to just one other plant on the shelf; another jade tree. To stop the digging, we tried things like putting duct tape, sticky side up, over the dirt. The jade tree got a plastic collar, which kept getting knocked out of place, so we tried wrapping it with plastic, and even sticking in dozens of bamboo skewers in all directions, to dissuade the digging. Nothing worked for long. We even ended up putting the pot on top of an upturned bucket to raise it higher above the window ledge that cats like to lie on, but Cabbages is very determined, and still managed to get in to dig!

The remaining two avocados got a shield of hardware cloth around the perimeter of the soil. That worked for a while, until Cabbages discovered she could just jump over the top. We ended up putting a box over the top, but it was too late for the avocado. We just needed to stop her from making a mess. When she started digging, she throws dirt everywhere! She knows not to try for it while we’re around, too, so we’d find the mess in the morning, of after we’d been outside for a few hours.

Well, she still managed to get the box off the top and get into the dirt again. She also got into the jade tree again. So today, my daughters got the pot outside. The remains of the avocado were removed, and the jade tree was transplanted into the bigger pot. The hardware cloth got wrapped around it again, and the extra piece I had left from the roll got folded over the top as a cover. Then it went back to the shelf at the dining room window.

This evening, I went into the dining room only to find David lounging on the table – they are not allowed on the dining table – so at first I missed it. My husband was coming in behind me and saw it right away. The hardware cloth that was on top was gone, the rest was askew, and there was dirt, everywhere.

I was not a happy camper!

This time, it looked like Cabbages got under the mesh. The cover for the water reservoir was knocked completely off, too. We found the wire mesh that had been on top, rolled up under the dining table, with Tissue curled up inside. !!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

The hardware cloth got placed around the jade tree again, but instead of putting it on the inside of the put and pushing it into the soil, it was jammed between the inner and outer pots. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long enough anymore, so the piece that had been over the top was squeezed in, too. Then, we got the remains of a roll of 1 inch wire mesh and used that to create a top.

The wire mesh on the sides has been pushed down quite far between the two layers of pots, so there’s no way a cat is getting under it or lifting it out. The 1 inch mesh on the top is wider than paws, so if a cat tries to jump on top, it will hold the weight, but little paws will tend to slip through, which will be a deterrent.

The down sides are, we can no longer use the opening in the corner to water into the bottom of the reservoir, and watering from the top is going to be a challenge! We also can’t reach the plant to tend it. The top is held in place with a couple of twist ties, but the wire ends along some edges were also bent inwards, to help hold it in place. It can be taken off, but it’ll be a pain in the butt.

It should, however, finally be safe from Cabbages and her digging!

This poor plant!

The Re-Farmer

Yes, I got kitten pictures for you!

I just couldn’t let a day go buy without kitten pictures, could I?

Well, yes, I could, but I don’t want to. 🙂

Our scorcher of a day was finally cooled down by a lovely rainfall – storms will once again go right past us, it looks like – so no chance to make use of the new mower.



So I decided it was a good time to once again do some practice carving on the spoon blank that came with my carving kit.

Which meant spending lots of time with adorable little furballs with sharp, sharp claws.

They were determined to use me as a bed, after using me as a jungle gym.

Even Beep Beep got in on the action, clambering over her babies, then lying on her back, going from laying with her head in my elbow to licking my nose enthusiastically! 😀

Apparently, I tasted good today, because all the kittens were after my arms and fingers. It might have something to do with the ham I had with lunch before coming downstairs.

It was pretty rough and tumble, with Beep Beep moving around and pushing her own kittens around before giving up and moving on.

Eventually, a daughter was able to come and rescue me.

Big Rig REALLY liked that glove.

Yes, one is missing. Nicco snuggled with Beep Beep on another chair until Beep Beep took off.

Once the kittens were extricated, I went back to trying to carve, only to have them return. Which was okay. I can continue to carve with a couple of kittens on the table in front of me.

Yeah, my arm is a mess! When Beep Beep was shifting around, she pushed Big Rig off my arm. She grabbed my arm as she fell and was dangling there for a while before she was able to scramble up.

Yes, it is all cleaned up and treated with antibiotic cream.

Saffron is just adorable! Turmeric was content on my lap for a while.

It didn’t last, of course.

They certainly do make things interesting!!

I did, at least, get some progress on that spoon! 😀

Unfortunately, there was other damage.

From the other cats.

At one point, I had two kittens in my arms and three on my head and shoulders, when we heard a loud crash above us. The three kittens exploded off my shoulders to the ground. The two in my arms, thankfully, didn’t panic like that.

Which reminds me. I need to get my husband to check my shoulders for wounds.

Later, as my daughters were on their way from the second floor to rescue me, they found the cause.

One of the cats had knocked over a plant pot with a substantial jade tree in it.

I am not impressed.

After seeing how the jade tree recovered after our move, however, I would not be surprised to see now branches and leaves growing out of that stem.

Assuming the cats don’t destroy it completely, before then. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Transplants finally indoors… mostly

So most of the indoor plants that I transplanted have been sitting outside all this time. The only ones that came inside where ones that I could hang up.


The ivy went back to the living room, but is now in the middle, with the two types of ivy strung out onto hooks on either side. One container of little succulents went to hang at the kitchen window, where I hope they will get better light. Another bowl of succulents that the cats just loved to try and eat is now hanging in the dining room.

All of these are on hooks that were already up when we moved in, which has worked out rather well.

Inside the house was one big jade tree that did not need to be transplanted, but also an odd collection of succulents in a large planter that used to have our avocado tree. Half of that got broken off during the move, then the last of it just up and died. I think it was simply too cold in the house for it. So what I ended up doing was sticking succulent leaves that the cats kept knocking off into the dirt, and most of them took. Meanwhile, I started two more avocado seeds, and they have been ready to transplant for a while now.

Yard work has been put on hold again. Yesterday, I didn’t get back to it because we had hours of wonderful, glorious rain. It came down hard enough to take out our internet at one point, but none of us complained!

Today, we were back to the heat. So I focused on getting the indoor plants taken care of.

I started by removing the succulents from the pot I needed for the avocado pits. I realized I needed potting soil for them, though. It seems weird to be buying soil when we have so much of it outside, so I checked the compost pile.

No go. It’s got too many sticks and crud in the older stuff for it to be useful, and the areas we’ve been adding to aren’t composted well enough, yet.

So I ended up digging out an old plastic colander that was hanging behind the wood stove in the old kitchen (it used to be ours, from when we last moved out of province) and ended up using it to sift garden soil into a bucket. The garden soil is not only very rocky, but filled with all sorts of grass, clover, and weeds, so I wanted get that out. I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes as I did it, though.

While working on transplanting the avocados, I ended up going out for more soil, this time from a planter my mom made out of an old cream separator basin. I’ve left it where it was, so the stump it was sitting on would be more visible.

This was in the full sun, so while I wasn’t being eaten by mosquitoes, I was instead dripping sweat into my glasses!

Later, I decided to get more, this time digging out a huge stainless steel colander we no longer use in the kitchen, that fits nicely over a 5 gallon bucket. I used bug repellent and tried getting soil from the garden again. This time, however, I found the tiniest of red ants in the bucket, so I went back to the old planter.

I only needed a relatively small amount of soil, so it didn’t take long. I brought the whole bucket inside and transplanted a jade tree, then started bringing plants in from outside.

As I walked past the bucket, arms full of aloe vera, I found the bucket staring at me.

Fenrir had jumped in and was just sitting in the dirt, looking at me!

All the cats were really interested in what I was doing!

In the end, I got most of the plants outside, in. It did mean changing things up quite a bit.

I tried putting the big aloe back where it was in the dining room, but it’s just too big. Not only were the branches getting hung up in my daughter’s orchids and taking up space needed for other pots, it’s tall enough that it even gets in the way of the plant hanging above!

The big planter with the avocados in it had been where the huge jade tree is in the above photo, but I moved it to the other table, thinking I’d be able to get more around it.

This works a bit better, but my goodness, that aloe is difficult to move. It’s not just the size or weight of the pot; its leaves are very stabby!!! And they have teeth!

The bigger pot with the avocado was heavier, but much easier to move! Even with water sloshing around.

The flags around the edges are to keep the cats out.

This pot is self watering, with an inner pot that absorbs water from the bottom, and the outer pot gets filled when the float shows it’s getting low.

As you can see, it was pretty full of water when I moved it.

The plant hanging above it is the one the cats like to try and eat. It is doing very well, now that it’s hung up!!

I don’t know that the avocado are going to make it, though. While the root systems were very strong, when the pits split, they took up more space. The little glass jars I was using to sprout them are slightly narrower at the top. I ended up having to split the pits apart to pull them out, one half at a time, place them back together, then stick them in the soil.

It looks so weird to have this huge pot and just a couple of sprouting stems in the dirt! LOL

If they do survive, this should be a better location for them. There is a heat vent in between the shelves, and it’s right at the end of one shelf. It should get more heat in the winter than in the previous location.

This jade tree is doing so very well! Can you believe, this was started from broken leaves from the original tree?

This group of succulents used to be part of a tiny succulent “garden” my daughter got, years ago. After the move, they weren’t getting enough light where we had it, so they were getting very long and leggy. These are from our attempts to save them, by rooting leaves.

They don’t seem to have liked being outside.

I think I’m going to have to put stakes around this pot, too – I’ve already had to chase DahBoy out of it! The cats had gotten spoiled by having access to the tops of these shelves after the plants got moved outside.

Unfortunately, we still have 3 pots with aloe vera outside, and I have no idea where to put them. Other windows are either too dark for plants, or have other things around them, with no space for plant pots.

I’m thinking we need to put more hangers up.

And maybe, I should stop propagating the succulents. I still have a bunch that need to be potted!

The Re-Farmer