Stalled

Things have been pretty hectic, the past couple of days. First, with our trip to the city hospital for the angiogram, which went very well (and my husband is recovering very well, too, though he’s still not supposed to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for a while longer), then we took advantage of what seems like will be our last day of warm weather for the rest of the year, and got stuff done outside.

Which means I have lots of photos to up load and several posts to write.

I have not, however, been able to upload photos. For some reason, my uploads are failing, and I’ve been trying repeatedly, for hours. One two different accounts and two different browsers.

I can’t eve blame it on our internet connection, which seems to be fine. It may be a WordPress issue. I can’t tell.

Meanwhile, the severe weather predicted has been increasing in severeness, and the timeline has been shortening. We went from predictions of snow tomorrow (Thursday), to snow starting tonight and blizzard conditions for Friday and Saturday, to getting weather alerts right now saying to expect up to 25cm (almost 10 inches) of snow tonight. However, when I look at the local forecasts, it says to expect 3cm tonight and up to 4cm tomorrow, with a mix of rain and snow.

One thing is for sure, we’ve got the winds!! As I’ve looked out my office window throughout the day, I’ve been watching the maples getting stripped of their leaves.

Whatever snow we do get, if any, it’s still early enough that we could expect it go be gone soon. I certainly hope so, because I still need to get some straw to cover our septic tank before it freezes. Technically, for the type of tank we have, it isn’t necessary, but I’m not about to take any chances! At least we got it emptied yesterday, so we’re set for another 6 months.

So if posts are a bit light over the next while, it’s because I still can’t upload my photos, or the weather has kicked out our internet! I’ll just have a lot of posts to make up for it, when I’m able. 🙂

Wherever you are, I hope you’ve got better conditions than we do right now! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Slowing down, and cats, cats, cats!

With all the rain we’ve been having, life is starting to slow down on the home front lately. After the various trips made in the last while, we’ve got a couple of “days off” to just stay home.

It’s been either too wet or too windy to do the junk wood burning I had hoped to do, so there has been no progress there at all. While there are a number of things I want to do around the yard, they are not things that should be done in the rain. We’re supposed to warm up over the next few days, and even start approaching 30C by Tuesday, so I hope to get a chance to work on those.

Yesterday was a quiet day in which I got to spend some quality time with my hooks. My husband requested a pair of warm and cozy slippers for winter, so I picked up some blanket yarn while in the city for my medical appointment. I wanted to try something different, too, so I basically made up the pattern as I went along. I am very happy with how they turned out, so I plan to pick up more of the blanket yarn and do different sizes for myself and the girls.

We had rain all night and most of the morning, so it was pretty damp when I did my morning rounds.

The cats inside even seem to be feeling it. This is what I woke up to.

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Morning company

In the last while, the kittens have become more interested in following me around as I do my morning rounds. Especially when I go to switch the memory card in the trail cam. Usually, it’s just one or two kittens, though.

This morning, my daughter came along, and that really got their attention, so we had 4 of them from the start. 😀

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Blustery

The girls and I were able to get out for a wonderful visit with my older brother today. We had a fantastic time, and we got a tour of their yard, including the hundreds of new trees they planted!

Gotta love having a big enough yard to be able to do something like that. 😀

Blue Spruce tips

This picture is of one of their blue spruces that they planted years ago, looking nice and healthy, in spite of the dryness. What a difference it makes when something is planted with planning and care! At least some of the blue spruce I have found here would have been planted at about the same time, give or take a year or two, and should be looking more like this. Hopefully, with the clearing I’ve done, the surviving ones will recover.

Of course, the RCMP called me back after we left. I wasn’t expecting a follow up call so soon! The officer is going to call again this evening, so I’m staying near the phone now.

It’s been one heck of a day, outside. While there were high winds at my brother’s, the winds are even higher here at home. I’ve already done a check around the yard. There are lots of small branches on the ground but, so far at least, not a lot of larger ones. It’s getting winder even as I write this, though, so I’m not going to start picking them up until tomorrow, at the earliest. (Oh, wow, are the maple branches out my window ever being flung around as I write this!!!) The bird feeder was blown over when we got back and I put it back up again, only to have it blow over soon after. I’m leaving it for now, since there’s no point in putting it back up until things calm down.

Right now, we’re at 30C, with a “real feel” of 34C. We were supposed to get thunderstorms tonight, but now the predictions are for thunderstorms starting tomorrow afternoon. The weather system causing the winds right now has storms in it, too, but from the weather radar, they’re all going to pass to the north of us.

What a thing, to actually wish for storms to hit, just so we can get some rain!

The Re-Farmer

Unexpected Clean Up: pruning apple tree losses

Yesterday, I heard some odd meowing noises out my window, so I went to check it out.

I walked right by one of the apple trees by the old kitchen garden, completely missing it was the source of the meowing!

The base of this tree is one of the cats’ favorite rolling-in-the-dirt places. When I first spotted them, though, he was mostly hidden behind the tree. It was his Aunty Beep Beep that had me laughing. It looked like a pair of eyes was watching me from the ground!

Then she rolled around some more; the epitome of grace. Not. 😀

Since I was there anyhow, I stopped to take a good look at this apple tree.

You can see one branch is hanging quite low, weighted down by apples as they get bitter.

Much if it, however, did not survive the winter. It wasn’t doing well last year, and I guess that polar vortex that kept hitting us was too much for parts of it.

As you can see from its base, it has been cut back a few times. I don’t think there’s anything left of the original graft. The two main trunks that you see in the above picture seemed to be dead. With living and dead branches so entwined together, it was really hard to tell where one branch started another began. I couldn’t tell if they were completely dead, or if they still had a live branch or two on them.

Either way, down they came.

Not a living thing on either of them.

I cut them at about 3 feet above ground, with the intention of cutting the remains, further down. Instead, I decided to make use of them.

I took the branch that was hanging down the most and braced it against one of the remaining trunks. It had a secondary branch that immediately began leaning over in the other direction, so I used rope and the remaining trunk pieces to support them. If they survive, with this support, they will continue to grow stronger, upwards.

This is not a healthy tree, however, so we shall see.

This is how it looks now.

It’s hard to tell, with the maple grove in the background, and with the dead wood gone, there’s surprisingly little left. Basically, they’re just suckers that have survived while the rest of the tree has slowly died.

After finishing with this one, I turned to another apple tree next to it.

This tree had quite a bit pruned away, but also had signs of a fungal disease.

The branches that had the most signs of disease seem to have died.

Once again, with how twisted the branches were around each other, it was hard to see how much of any particular main branch was dead.

I ended up taking out three major branches.

One of them did have a still-living off shoot, but…

The part of it closest to the main branch is blackened. It almost looked burned.

One of the dead branches I cut out was so intertwined with others, it was really hard to pull out of the tree, with several dead branches breaking off and staying stuck among the living.

After cleaning it out, one of the living branches ended up hanging down almost to the ground. It turns out to have been supported by one of the dead sections. I could have mucked about to give it support, but in the end decided it would be better for the tree to take that weight off completely.

There was a third apple tree, growing between the plums, with a dead piece I cut off as well, though I neglected to take photos of that one.

I haven’t done much beyond maintaining what I did in this area last year, trying to focus on the East yard and the spruce grove, instead. Even so, I can see how the trees that seemed the weakest last year are either struggling even more this year, or have died outright. The row of apple trees to the north of the spruce grove is no exception. I don’t think we’ll be getting many apples this year. Not just in quantity, but they bloomed so late, it’s unlikely they’ll have time to ripen before the cold sets in. One that had been pruned back the summer before we arrived had started to recover fairly well, but not enough to survive this past winter. Others in that row have lost quite a few branches. Those, I think I’ll leave pruning back until next spring or so.

Something we will have to keep in mind as we plant more food trees: either they will be varieties hardy enough for our bitter winters, or we will have to ensure they get extra protection wrapped around them in the fall.

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

Well, now

This morning was more relaxed for me, thanks to my family taking care of critter feeding. Before heading out to take my mother to her doctor’s appointment, I just had to switch out the memory card on the trail cam, then do some of my usual walk-about.

While walking in the outer yard, past where the grass is overgrown between trees, I noticed a large area of the grass trampled down. Some creature or creatures had surely been tumbling about in there!

As a paused to look, there was an explosion of cats and kittens from under one of the trees!

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Box Baby

We have been enjoying our company lately – as much as possible in this heat! Yesterday was a scorcher. 29C with a “real feel” of 35C! We were supposed to get thunderstorms, and one did quickly pass over us, but for the most part, they all passed us by. Which meant very little rain.

Today, we were supposed to get a series of thunderstorms, but again, they passed us by. We are, however, FINALLY getting a solid rainfall right now, and it’s even cooled down a bit. We need rain so much! At least it’s not as dry as last year, but it’s still way too dry. Yesterday, my friend and I went to get the mail, stopping at a park nearby. When we lived here, years ago, we once released a snapping turtle found on the side of the highway into the pond in the park.

The pond is completely dry right now. Even with the one downpour we had earlier, the only side of it was what maybe-couldbe-kindalookslike some mud, visible between some grasses.

Today, the girls arranged to take Dave to the vet in town. He got a check up and vaccinations, as well as a deworming pill. We got some antibiotic eye drops to take home. His eyes are getting better on their own, but the drops should help his eyes clear up faster. The vet says it’s from cat herpes, and that pretty much all outdoor cats have it (and worms).

He is a bit under sized for his age, which we could see just by comparing him to the other litters. However, aside from his eyes, he seems quite healthy. He’ll be coming back in a month for another round of vaccinations, and likely another deworming pill. Since we now almost exactly when he was born (thanks to date stamps on the photos I took!), we know to come back in November to get him fixed.

He was a very tired kitty when we got him home.

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