Just a few things (updated)

We continue to be teased by spring. We had high winds yesterday and through the night, and while this morning, we are at a rather okay -16C/3F, the wind chill is at -24C/-11F. During the night, we had wind chills down to -28C/-18F! Today, we’re supposed to be sunny and reaching a high of -5C/23F, and a few days from now, we’re supposed to start getting consistent highs above freezing. The first official calendar day of spring is in only two days, but it’s going to be a while before real spring finally reaches us.

It got chilly enough in the sun room for this little guy to take advantage of an empty heated water bowl!

While putting their food out, I tried petting Junk Pile, but as soon as she realized I was touching her, she got startled and moved away. I was hoping, after being able to pet and carry her yesterday, she would still be okay with contact, but apparently not.

Then, as I was returning from the sign cam, there she was, coming up the path through the garden! I tried to pet her and she acted skittish, but kept coming back until she finally let me pet her. After a while, I tried walking again, but she wouldn’t let me! I finally picked her up so I could get back to the house, and she was quite okay with that. She kept snuzzling the back of her head against my face and making this noise that was kind of like a quiet growl! While holding her, I could feel her teats were slightly swollen, from not having any kittens left to nurse her, but they lived for so short a time, she should dry up quickly. She was not in any discomfort. When I got to the house and she wanted to jump down, she still wouldn’t move away from my feet, so I had to pick her up again and deposit her onto the cat house roof, just so I could walk!

Today, I plan to take my mother’s car for a run to Walmart; the kibble bin has reached the point where it’s mostly the cheap brand we got from the feed store, and they’re actually picking out and eating the other brand and leaving the cheap stuff behind. They do eat it eventually, but they clearly don’t like it. This gives me an excuse to see how my mother’s car is doing for a longer run, since we have to go to the same city for her follow up appointment with the specialist on Monday.

I’m happy to say that my tax return came in this morning, which means that we can finally call the plumber to fix our leaking taps, as well as pick up a replacement tub surround, since he’s going to have to rip the old one off. Not that there’s much besides the arm bars holding it in place, as it is. We’re going on the most likely assumption that the last time the taps were replaced, it was done from the tub side, then covered over by the surround. I highly doubt the person that I know was hired to do it would have gone through the bedroom wall on the other side. There’s no hole in the paneling, and no sign that the entire panel itself was removed.

We don’t know how much getting all this done in the bathroom is going to cost in the end. The girls and I talked about the possibility of not putting another tub surround up at all, but taking out the old paneling and tiling it. That would be a lot more expensive, though. Plus, I’m still hoping we can at least get my daughter her new glasses right away, now that she’s got a prescription. While she was getting tested, I looked around at the frames in the clinic, and the cheapest I could see was about $180. Most were in the $300+ range, and I wasn’t even looking at the fancy brand names. She is going to try getting glasses from Zenni, which was recommended to me (thank you!), as they do have a Canadian site. I need progressives, so those were the frames I went looking at in the site, and the prices are SO much better. Apparently, “premium” progressive lenses start at about Cdn$70, so my daughter’s very basic prescription should be quite affordable.

We shall see how that goes soon enough.

The Re-Farmer


I just asked my daughter about her glasses order, and it turns out it’s already done! She was even able to order a second pair of prescription sunglasses, and even with shipping, it was still under Cdn$100! I look forward to seeing what the quality is like.

Plans? What are those?

Today turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day! Just look at that sky!

It was nice and mild, with almost no wind, too.

Among my plans for the day was to take my mother’s car out for a test run, but also get some seeds started, now that the living room is barricaded from the cats and the shop lights are hung up by the window the current seedlings will be rotated to.

Well, that changed.

First, I got a call from my mother.

She was upset, because the specialist had put her on new medication, and she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure she still thinks didn’t happen, and he’s not her doctor, so why did he change her blood thinners to something else?

After asking questions, things became less clear! I couldn’t tell if she had a new medication added to her bubble packs, or if there was a new medication outside of her bubble packs, or what was going on with her blood thinners, which were now a different colour, and another pill was now a different size and no longer has a number on it, and…

I asked if she could read or spell to me the name of the new medication, but she just started talking about her blood thinners, and how she hasn’t been feeling well since the procedure and it’s because the specialist changed her medication… but she got her prescriptions delivered only recently, so she’s only been on these “new” medications for a few days. But she was telling me it’s the new medications that where making her not feel well…

It got very confusing.


I asked if she wanted me to come over to take a look.

Well, she did need to go to the bank, and the pharmacy, and she’s running out of groceries…

Well, now!

So we worked out a time for me to come over, and for me to pick up lunch, since her fridge is getting empty… oh, and I’d better make sure the girls would take over for me at home, so that I could stay with her for a long time.


All righty, then!

So I talked to the girls about what I needed to get done, so that I could at least have space to start on the seeds, then headed to bed.

It was a very cat-interrupted night, so I didn’t get much sleep.

Then, I made a discovery when I popped out to use the bathroom during the night, then paused to talk to my husband.

The door of the cat barrier was open.

I know I latched it after I turned the lights over the aquarium greenhouses off. Did someone open it during the night? My husband had seen it open, but thought I’d done that deliberately. I mentioned it to the girls, and they basically said the same thing.

So I latched it again, after making sure there were no cats in the living room, and went back to bed.

In the morning, it was open again, and the living room was full of cats.

After spending some time checking the hook and eye latch and trying to figure out what was going on, my husband suggested pulling on the bottom of the door, like a cat might do.

Sure enough, a couple of pulls on the bottom of the door, and the hook bounced right out of the screw eye and the door swung open a few inches.


So much for a cat barricade!

I let the girls know what we found, so they could figure something out while I was away.

Because I didn’t have a chance to test drive my mother’s car to see if that shudder was done, now that I’d knocked the ice away from the moving parts of one wheel, I used our van. My mother has a little folding step stool she can use to help her climb into the van.

I left early enough to hit a bank machine before going to the Chinese restaurant for the lunch that she wanted (but no rice, because rice makes her cough… ???), only to find the door locked. Again! The sign said they were open 7 days a week, and they should have been open for more than an hour, by the time I got there. The last time I tried to go there was when I spent the night at my mother’s after her scope procedure, and she wanted take out for supper, and they were closed then, too. Was the restaurant gone?

I decided to go with the fall back option and went to the gas station that has the most awesome fried chicken and potato wedges (just chicken for me, since I’ve given up starches and sugar for Lent; the breading on the chicken is pushing it! 😁), though my mother has decided it makes her sick. While paying for it, I asked about the Chinese restaurant, and it turns out that they are now closed on Mondays – they just haven’t changed their signs yet!

Good to know!

Thankfully, my mother didn’t complain too much about the fried chicken, though she did mock me a bit for not eating any potatoes. Because, of course… 😄

After lunch, I got her to show me her pills, and we got out her bubble pack. She showed me the pills that were now different; she had called them pink, but they were more orange than the lighter yellow they had been before – and in certain lights, those lighter yellow ones had looked pink to me in the past, so that had added to my confusion! She had the prescription list from an old bubble pack that I could compare with.

There were no new medications, and no changes to her dosages.

The only difference was the prefix to the name of her blood thinners, which I told her probably meant they were from a different company.

But why would this doctor change her medications? He’s not her doctor!

Since one of her stops was the pharmacy, I told her we could ask them, but said again, she has no new medications, and no new doses, so it must be a different company – and the doctor would have nothing to do with that. It’s just that sometimes, one brand isn’t available, so the pharmacy has to substitute with another brand that’s the same thing. This has happened to my husband’s medications quite a few times, over the years. She was not reassured, but looking forward to talking to the pharmacist about it.

Before we headed out, though, my brother had reminded me to call for maintenance to tend to my mother’s shower drain. She hasn’t been showering for about a month now, because so much water accumulates at the bottom, she has to stop before it starts flooding into the rest of the bathroom. She’s been refusing to call because the call goes to the city, and that’s really bad and a waste, and she shouldn’t have to call anyone, she should just tell someone here (who that someone is I’m not sure, since she still believes the social workers from the Senior’s Centre are managers for her building), and so on. So before we headed out, I tried calling the number for the department that owns her building, only to get a recording giving me another number for maintenance calls. I didn’t have paper and pen, so I hung up and started getting paper and pen together – until my mother brought me a letter that had the maintenance number right there! She could have given that to me right from the start, instead of directing me to the other number. 😄 It was an 800 number, so not long distance, which she was concerned about, too.

I called the number, followed the automated system, and found myself talking to what sounded like a guy in his truck. Talk about going right to the source! I explained the issue, with my mother confirming details and giving permission for them to enter her place if she wasn’t home.

That being arranged, we headed out.

Sure enough, when we talked to the pharmacist, the change in her pills was exactly what I thought it was. Just a change in companies. Seeing my mother’s concern, the pharmacist took the time to explain how it works legally for when they have to do substitutions, and that if it’s made by a generic company, they have to prove to the government that the pills are exactly the same for doses, etc. before they can be approved as a substitute. When she could see my mother’s eyes start glazing over, she started explaining more to me, so that I could “translate” things in vocabulary my mother would understand. She did such a great job of it, my mother was actually reassured, and that’s saying something!

The last stop for her errands was the grocery store and, by then, it was getting to be too much for her. Even with the stool, by the end of it, she was having a really hard time getting into the van. She was even saying to me, when we get a new vehicle, to make sure it has a handle by the door that she can grab onto! There actually are handles for the seats by the sliding doors, but when we tried having her climb into the middle of the van, instead of the front seat, it was even worse! Her knees are definitely giving her a hard time – which she has also been trying to blame on her medications, because now she thinks they should somehow make her knees better, even though none of them are painkillers or related to her knees in any way. She’s been on these meds for more than a decade, and before the car accident that messed up her one knee in particular, so I don’t know why she would think that!

I might be doing more grocery trips for her, while she stays home! Mind you, with so many errands to run today, it was a lot more stress on her knees than just a grocery trip would be.

Once back at her place, with everything put away, we settled down for a cup of tea. She kept offering me pie or toast or cookies or crackers – the crackers don’t have sugar! – to go with the tea, and made sure I knew how silly she thought it was for me to give up sugar and starches! I told her she could have whatever she wanted with her tea, and didn’t have to change anything for me, but she went with just tea, too.

While we were having our tea, there was a knock at the door.

It was someone to tend to my mother’s shower drain! I couldn’t believe it! I was expecting someone to show up sometime in a few days, not right away!

The woman turned out to be a manager for the building, and she used the same super powerful stuff we had tried on our own drain when the water from the washing machine kept backing up the drain. The smell was really awful, even with the door closed and the fan on in the bathroom. As she was leaving we talked for a bit in the doorway as I asked for instructions, which helped – except that one of my mother’s neighbours popped out and started yelling and ranting at her for talking in the doorway, because everyone could hear us.

The manager took it in stride, like someone who has dealt with plenty of this sort of thing before!

We also had a small world moment; it turns out she’s related to my SIL, and has known her and my brother for many years! Too funny!

One of the things she said to do was run cold water for a while and, if it still backed up, to let a specific person know when she came in, in a couple of days, and they’d go from there. I waited a while after she left, then ran the water…

… and heard some very familiar sounds, as gurgling water filled the pipe before starting to fill the bottom of the shower!

So I quickly ran out in the off chance she hadn’t left yet, and caught her just as she was returning to the building to fill out a log book.

I was able to give her a good description of what I was hearing as the water backed up, and she was all “you’ve dealt with this before, have you?” 😄 Why yes! Yes, I have! I told her about having to get about 30 feet of drain pipe augured. At this point, it has to go to a plumber, so she told me she’d call to make those arrangements as soon as she got back to her vehicle. The plumber might come tonight, but more likely tomorrow.


I couldn’t believe how fast it was being dealt with! And to think my mother has been putting up with this, and sponge bathing, for a month because she wouldn’t make the maintenance call!

We had a chance to talk some more about our my brother and his wife – she thinks they’re fantastic, too! – and when she found out where I lived, she asked if I happened to know…

Sure enough, we have mutual friends, too!

That done, I updated my mother about the plumber needing to come in and when he might show up. After that, I did have to go before the post office closed, as my husband messaged me to let me know a package had arrived.

Since it was such a nice day, I didn’t stay home long. Instead, I switched keys and left to test drive my mother’s car. If the shuddering was no longer there, I planned to go into town and run it through a car wash to get any last ice and dirt out from the undercarriage and wheels. If it was still shuddering, I’d turn around and come home, instead.

The car was definitely running better. Of course, on the gravel road, I couldn’t really tell at all, but once I reached our little hamlet, it seemed to be running pretty smoothly – at least while I was on smooth parts of the road! Once I got to highway speeds, I could still feel some shuddering, but was that the wheel, or the road conditions? Of course, I was paranoid the whole way, but did keep going to town.

When I parked to run in and buy a car wash, the driver’s side was facing the sun. As I returned to the car, I could see that the last chunk of ice I couldn’t break off had finally fallen loose. Landing on the moving parts, of course! 😄 At least I could just knock it off, easily!

What a difference it made. While it hadn’t been bad before, the ride home was noticeably smoother, even on the rougher parts of the road! What a relief! We had been so concerned that something had broken, and it was just a matter of finding and clearing ice out of one wheel. Blows me away how it had made the entire car shudder to such an extreme!

Too bad I hadn’t been able to do this yesterday, so that I could have used my mother’s car to run her errands, today!

Ah, well. It’s taken care of now.

Once at home, I found the girls had taken care of things for me, including moving the hook part of the hook and eye latch, so it wouldn’t bounce out anymore. The only concern is that there’s still a lot of play at the bottom of the door, and Tissue is the one who’s been digging at it. She is a remarkably muscular cat, and if any of them manage to pull it out enough to get through, it’ll be her! A second latch should solve that, I think, but the package I got had only two of them, and we’ve got one on each side, so we can latch is closed behind us when going into the living room.

The main thing is, tomorrow, I need to finally get more seeds started! Tonight, I’ll be going through the packets again to bring out the ones that need to be started this early, and set a few of them up to soak overnight.

It’s a few days late, but it should still be okay, I think.

Until then, I can prep some trays and get some Jiffy pellets soaking overnight, too.

I’m just so excited to be able to finally plant seeds again! The gardening bug it hitting hard, with these mild temperatures we’ve been having, even though the ground it still covered with a couple of feet of snow. 😄

The Re-Farmer

Running all over the place

Well, I did a lot more driving today than usual! Even compared to trips to the city.

With the van back, we were finally able to make a trip to the dump. From there, I headed into town to pick up some prescription refills and printouts for our tax returns. That was certainly an interesting part of the drive. It was bright and sunny, until I started getting closer to town, when I drove into a wall of fog! It got very thick for a while, with very low visibility, as we got closer to the lake. However, once we actually got into town, it started to lighten up, though I could see it was thicker all around town. Once I reached “downtown”, it was bright and sunny again – but with a wall of fog still visible in all directions!

I took advantage of being in town to make a few more stops. By the time I was done my errands, the fog was gone, except for on the lake. Sadly, I was unable to get any photos, as it would have been too dangerous to pull over while I was in the middle of it. Ah, well.

From there, I made my way to a town I haven’t been to since my dad took me to a cattle auction when I was a kid. I remember the auction, but not the town! 😄 I knew it was a fair distance from the main highway. Even after looking it up on the map, it still turned out further than I expected.

I was aiming for a feed store that was recommended to me. Thanks, Wolfsong! I looked it up on the map and had that image in my head, but I still drove right past it! I was looking at the building and vehicles as I drove by, thinking, this should be it, but didn’t see any signs. Of course, I saw them after I turned around and came back. They just weren’t where I was expecting them to be.

Once there, I was very happy to pick up two of these.

These were the largest bags they had, and at $36.30 a bag, they were only slightly more expensive then the 11kg bags I’ve been able to find in certain places. I probably should have got more, but two will do for now. The price is worth the drive to this town, which is nearer than the Walmart I’ve been getting 11kg bags at, and certainly closer than Costco.

I hope the cats like it, because that’s what we’ll be getting!

As a bonus, they also carry supplies we’ll need to get once we’ve got a chicken coop and can finally get chickens! Though I think we can find those closer, if I’m going there to get cat food, anyhow, it makes sense to buy the supplies at the same place.

That done, I’d made arrangements for one more trip.

Farm fresh eggs.

Yup! I got a couple more flats of eggs. These were about as fresh as fresh can be, too!

I just love all those colours!

When I got there, I had just missed the egg lady, so her husband grabbed the trays – and a few last eggs from the coop! – for me, while I got to pet their adorable goats.

One of whom wanted to climb right into the van and go for a ride!

Goats have the softest, nibblely lips.

Her husband called her while I was there and, since she was at the feed store in the town my mother lives in, he was able to send her a picture of the cat food I’d gotten, to compare prices. It seems they don’t carry this brand, and it was even recommended as being the best price for cat kibble. That was a nice confirmation to get.

A lot of the driving I did today was along roads I’ve never seen before – unless you count the gap in my childhood memory! 😄 It was interesting to go through sections of road, patched but not yet repaired, from last year’s flooding. !! There’s a lot of marshland in this area, plus another lake. Actually, the lake is almost directly West of us, while this town is past it. One of these days, I need to go check out this lake. Somehow, I’ve just never gone that way. The closest has been to a few farms in that direction, but never as far as the lake itself. The satellite maps don’t tell me much about how accessible things are. The roads basically just end or go around it. If I trusted the van more, I’d love to explore the area, just to see what’s there.

I’m glad I was finally able to make the trip to this feed store. Definitely not a “let’s swing by on the way to the city” sort of place!

It has also been the perfect day for it. We’re at -2C/28F right now. The snow is melting off all the roofs, and the paths are all getting soft. The kitties are running around all over, and thoroughly enjoying themselves!

I am so looking forward to the snow being gone, and to be able to get to get work done outside again! We have so much to do, but much of it has to wait for the ground to thaw, at least somewhat. We’re going to have a very tight window to get some of the new, permanent, garden structures done before we need to start sowing and transplanting!

The Re-Farmer

Going well

I am now at my mother’s home. She did fabulous during her procedure. On the way out, they were going to have her in a wheelchair, but instead, we used her walker like a wheelchair. Once I got her home, she chose to walk instead of ride and dud very well.

My mother is indestructible. I even got comments from the nurse about how spry my mother is – and that’s with two bum knees!

Still, she was understandably tired. I insisted she lie down as soon as she was settled, and she fell asleep almost immediately.

The only strange thing was discovering her thermostat was maxed put at 30C for some reason. I was just melting! Last time I was here, she had all but turned it off, because it was so hot. Strange!

The Re-Farmer

Not the only one!

Checking the trail cam files this morning, I discovered our piebald deer isn’t the only one that got attacked by burrs!

These had gone by just before I got to the camera, and I never saw them!

That one deer not only has a tail full of burrs, but more stuck on its face.

I also saw our piebald caught on the gate cam, but only going in, so I couldn’t see if her tail was still full of burrs.

In other things, I’m still hoping to get a call of approval about financing the vehicle, so when the phone started ringing this morning, I was quick to answer.

I should have known better, considering how early in the morning the first call came in.

It was one those recorded “I’m Dave from Amazon…” scam messages. It’s bad enough that they call so early in the frikkin’ morning, but we got the same call again! It was the exact same recording, but call display showed it was from a different number.


Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that we now have two more drum gourds germinating, both in the same pot. They’re not quite free of the soil, yet, so I haven’t tried to take picture, yet. The first two are looking nice and strong. We also had a new little pepper sprouting in the pot with the first one that sprouted. There’s still one cell with no sprouts at all, and still no sign of the zucca melon. They can take quite a long time to germinate, but with how cold the house is, even on the heat mate and under the lights, I think it’s still a bit chillier than they prefer. We shall see.

I’m not going to spend the rest of the day with the phone chained to my hip… 😂

The Re-Farmer

Thief! And what a loooong day

This morning, while standing and talking to my husband, I suddenly saw a deer walking past his window! So I quietly went into the sun room, and was able to get some photos of our thieving piebald deer!

Also, that’s Sad Face on top of the cat house, having breakfast. 😁

As for the deer, she was actually able to get her head under the water bowl shelter, to reach one of the three kibble trays under there.

Yup. She was eating cat kibble!

I have been seeing hoof prints in the snow around this group of shelters, but this is the first time we’ve seen the deer in there, this winter.

I got a few more shots, including some when she was slightly spooked and had moved away, so I could see that her tail is still matted with… something. The phone camera just can’t pick up enough detail, but I’m going to go with it being lots and lots of burrs.

Today, I was due to visit with my mother, run some errands for her, then pick up a couple more flats of farm fresh eggs from our homesteading friend we were able to get so much cardboard from last year. I got to my mother’s town a bit too early for the first errand I was going to do for her at the pharmacy. It’s a holiday weekend here in Canada (in most provinces, Monday is Family Day, but also Islander Day, Heritage Day and Louis Riel Day), so some places weren’t open at all, and the pharmacy didn’t open until noon. So I did a couple of my own errands first, got the pharmacy run done, then picked up Chinese food for lunch. By the time I was at my mother’s place, she wasn’t home from church yet. I have a key to her place, though, so I was able sneak a couple of 2 pound bags of ground beef from our quarte beef order into her freezer, get the kettle going, set up lunch and heard her at the door just in time to pour the tea! She was pleasantly surprised. Which was nice because, some days, surprises make her very angry. The Chinese food place is really generous in their quantities, so by the time we were done eating, there was enough left over for her to have at least two more meals!

While we were talking, she let me know that the smoke/heat detector on her ceiling had finally been fixed. It had been beeping for a month or more, and she didn’t want to call anyone about it, because they have to call the city. She feels she should just tell people in the building about it, and it’ll magically get taken care of. She has the number to call for maintenance issues, and then there is a process they have to follow to get someone out to take care of it but, for some reason, that makes her very angry. Still, she must have finally called, because someone came out and replaced the detector completely.

Then, she told me, he “fixed” the other thing that was beeping.

That would be the CO monitor my brother set up for her, years ago.


She’s never mentioned to us that it was beeping, too!

The guy took the batteries out (they would have been the original batteries) and told her she didn’t need it, because the detector in her ceiling does the same thing.

Well, maybe the new one that got installed does, I don’t know, but he should not have handled something that didn’t belong to the building (though I can understand why he did), and he should not have told her she didn’t need it.

I tried to explain to her what it was, because now she was thinking that what’s in her ceiling isn’t a smoke/heat detector, but she doesn’t understand what a CO monitor is, either. Or maybe she thought the CO monitor was a smoke detector. I didn’t quite get the straight of it. I tried to explain to her what CO poisoning is, and that if she ever hears that thing go off, she needed to get out right away. I also said that, even if this new detector was a CO monitor, it’s good to have a back up. If one goes off, but the other doesn’t, then maybe it’s a dead battery, but if they both go off, it’s really important for her to get out of her apartment right away. Well, that got her angry, and she started going on about how no one had these for so many years and it was never a problem. I told her that people died from CO poisoning, and that’s why these monitors are now being made.

She didn’t believe me.

She also had a clock that needed a new battery, but she had only one AA battery, so I changed the battery on her clock and offered to buy her more batteries when I went to the grocery store for her. She told me not to. She didn’t need them, and she didn’t want new batteries for the CO monitor, because the guy told her she didn’t need it. She was even angry that my brother had bought it in the first place, and told me she’d paid him X amount for it – which means she now thinks that my brother somehow cheated her by buying this and expecting her to pay for it (which I know full well is not how things would have happened).

I’m sure the guy meant well when he “helped” her, but this is an example of why there’s usually a restriction on contractors/maintenance staff when it comes to doing anything beyond what they are there to do.

After it became clear she was going to completely reject anything I told her, I said I would talk to my brother and maybe she’ll believe him if she won’t believe me. Then I went to the grocery store and, before going inside, sent him a message about it. He ended up phoning me while I was still in the grocery store, so I called him back once I was back in the car (also: my phone rings so rarely, when I heard it, I thought it was someone else’s phone near me! 😄) and explained it some more. He was equally frustrated, and said he would call Mom. I started heading back then decided to turn around and buy the batteries for her, anyhow.

By the time I got to her place, she had started to watch TV and didn’t say a thing about the call from my brother, until I pulled out the batteries and started putting them in. She was clearly unhappy that I had told him about it. Unfortunately, once the batteries were in, the monitor gave a loud, piercing noise, which was just to show that it was now working. My mother got angry again, saying that she didn’t need it and I shouldn’t put batteries in. The noise stopped, though, so I just put it back down on her shelf and left it.

The rest of the visit was more peaceful, and she was actually on much better behaviour than usual. I was just waiting to hear from my friend about the eggs, which was going to be a while. I even suggested my mother go ahead and take a nap, as I know she usually does in the afternoons, but we ended up talking some more. My friend was in the city for longer than she expected. By the time I got a message that they were on their way home, I think my mother was so tired, she was ready to kick me out! 😄 I had ordered extra eggs as a surprise for her, and had been telling my mother about the different coloured eggs, so before I left, I said I might swing by on the way home to show her the colourful eggs. When I did swing by with the eggs, I brought in the dozen I got for her and said they were for her. She started to tell me no, she didn’t need them, she has lots, but I said that these are farm fresh eggs and I’m sure she’ll love them.

So she took them without any other fight, which tells me that she was very happy with the surprise, even if she wouldn’t say so! 😄

Before I left, she told me she had something she wanted to ask me about, and headed for her bedroom. I took advantage of the moment and quickly grabbed the CO monitor and put it back on the wall where it belonged. I was afraid she might throw it away if I didn’t, and if she didn’t see me put it up, chances are she’d forget about it completely, whereas if she saw me put it up, she was more likely to take it off and throw it away.

Here’s hoping my reasoning is correct!

She then began opening up a suitcase she’d taken down from the top of her closet. There was stuff in it that she said she’d put there to protect it from when her apartment was being sprayed for bed bugs (her building is now officially declared bed bug free). She pulled a few things out, then showed me some fabric with what looked like pre-printed cushion designs, and asked me if she’d given me fabric like it (I think she meant fabric for the backs of the cushions?). I told her no – but it did give me the opportunity to ask me about a strange bundle of lacy ovals of fabric she did give me. She vaguely told me it was given to her from my nephew’s wedding. I think she was telling me they were place mats, though they don’t look like any place mats I’ve ever seen! I also couldn’t get the straight of why she gave them to me. Ah, well.

Once I told her she had not given me any other fabric, she seemed strangely satisfied, then declared that now she knows…

It was stolen by the beg bug exterminator.

She’s also convinced he stole a jar of coins.

This is something she’s done before. She was once so convinced someone had gone into her apartment while she was in the lobby and stole some cash, she was talking to everyone in the building about it – loud enough for the person she suspected to hear – and even taped a note to her door about how it was a sin to steal XXX amount of money.

Then she found the cash hidden in a different spot. After weeks of not-so-subtly accusing this person of stealing it.

She is now convinced that the exterminator went into a suitcase at the top of her closet, carefully moved some stuff off the top, stole some fabric, and put everything else back again.

Plus a jar of change, but on another occasion.

The sad thing is that this accusation merely reflects something she would do; go into other people’s stuff. It’s like when she’s been here, goes to the washroom, and we can hear her rifling through the cupboards. We can’t let her go into any rooms unsupervised, because she’ll start digging into closets and dresser drawers. In the past, she’s actually hidden things and thrown away things of ours, because she didn’t approve of them. Of course, she feels perfectly entitled to do this, because we’re family, but it also means she assumes everyone does the same thing.


After that, she got me to put the suitcase back in her closet, because she can get it down on her own, but can’t get it back up!

There was other weird stuff to deal with during the visit, too. Needless to say, by the time I finally was heading home, I was feeling incredibly drained.

And this was a good visit!

She’s got her medical appointment in a week. I’m going to be driving her in, driving her home, then staying with her for the required 24 hours to monitor her after the scope procedure.

Today had been the longest time I’ve spent with my mother in years. It’s going to be a real challenge to be spending the night with her! Especially since Lent is starting in a few days. I’ve decided to give up sugar – including simple carbs – for Lent this year. I’m going to have to make sure to bring my own food, and be prepared for many lectures about it.


Ah, well. It’ll be what it will be. I’ve been through worse.

The Re-Farmer

Am I jumping the gun?

Okay, yeah. I probably am, but I can’t help it!

I just got off the phone with a financing company, regarding our application to finance another vehicle yesterday.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Here’s the story.

Yesterday, I had to make a trip to the smaller, closer city, making my usual stop for gas at the town my mother lives in. I used our van because it was a bit chillier, and the van handles the cold better than my mother’s car. That and getting my mother’s car out of the lean to on the garage is a pain. The doors need to be replaced, and I have to park the car at an angle, just so I can open the door without hitting anything.

By the time I got to the gas station, the temperature gauge on the van was almost in the middle, which is typical for the trip in these temperatures. It took just a few minutes to run in, get what I needed, pay for stuff and head out. No long enough for the engine to completely cool down.

The first thing was, the van did NOT want to start. It tends to stall easily when first starting anyhow, but when I first started it at home, it was just the usual “it’s cold!” sort or start. This time, it took a couple of tries, but I got it going.

I immediately noticed the temperature gauge didn’t move.

I pulled ahead to an out of the way parking area I normally pause in to send updates to the family or get my drink ready, etc., shut the engine off and started it again. It started fine, but the gauge’s needle didn’t move.

I made the rest of the drive, and it stayed on cold, the whole time. Once parked, I shut the engine off and started it again. It started fine, but no change on the gauge.

I messaged my family to update them, then phoned our usual garage. After explaining what was happening, I asked if I could swing by on my way home so they could quickly check it. Once that was worked out, I quickly did my errands, then headed to town.

Once again, the van did NOT want to start. Once it did, however, it ran fine.

I even made sure to take the shorter, but longer, route. I could have taken a different highway that was longer in distance, with a higher speed limit the whole way. The shorter route goes through several small towns and villages, so the speed limit is all over the place, but it also has houses and farms all along the way. I figured that, if I did break down, at least I’d be close to a door I could knock on. The other route has almost nothing along the way. Even the farmhouses aren’t near the highway. The drive went fine, though. Aside from the temperature gauge staying on cold, everything else seemed to be running smoothly, and the van was heating up nicely.

Once at the garage, I talked to the owner for awhile, explaining what was going on in more detail, including the issues with starting as the only other thing that seemed to have changed. He had one of his guys quickly go out and do a scan while we talked some more.

One of the things we talked about was the confusion from when we’d applied for financing a vehicle from him earlier, so I found out more about that. It turns out he’d sent info for two vehicles because he remembered that we needed something that would fit a bariatric walker for my husband. The one that we were applying for, a newer vehicle with higher mileage and a lower price, would not have had room for it. The other one was a few years older, had lower mileage and was more expensive, but it would have been more accessible for my husband and his walker. Then there was the whole thing about the company wanting a huge down payment for one, while approving only a 1 year term for the other (which would have had monthly payments of almost a thousand dollars, once their interested was included).

Well, it turns out he’s with a different financing company now, and I got the very strong impression that what happened to us was motivation for him to do that, because he’d been very happy with them when I applied! This one will do long term financing, with no down payments.

Then the guy came in with the results, and it turned out to just be a sensor that needs to be replaced. Since I’d have no way of knowing if the engine started to overheat, we rather have to get that done. Unfortunately, it’ll mean going into the funds we’ve set aside to save up for getting a replacement vehicle before next winter.

While making the appointment for next week, I once again asked if he could keep an eye out for something to meet our needs that was cheap.

“Well,” he says to me, “there’s the 2015 Caravan.”


I hadn’t even looked at the vehicles for sale when I drove in, since I was already looking ahead to try and find a parking spot, so I never noticed it.

We had a Grand Caravan before we got our current van, and were very happy with it. It’s amazing what you can fit in the back of one of those, with the Stow n Go seats folded down.

Yup. I ended up starting an application for financing. I filled out just enough to give him something to send in, and he said I’d get a phone call for the rest of the information.

Which I just got.

I much prefer that, since our situation requires explanation. First, there’s my husband’s employment status (technically, he’s considered employed for as long as he’s on the company’s disability insurance), and why I can’t have an income of my own. Which normally means he would be the one applying, not me, but I would be the owner and driver of the vehicle, so it has to be me, not him. Also, he’s on both private insurance and CPP Disability, so he’s actually got 2 sources of income, while I have none. Then there’s explaining how we neither own nor rent, but also have zero rent or mortgage, thanks to our custodial arrangement to live here.

Once that was cleared up and the call was done, I needed to email in pictures of my photo ID. The next step – if it gets that far – would be to email in pictures of a voided check.

If all goes well, that will happen pretty soon. It’s entirely possible we’ll have an answer before the end of the day. Last time, however, it took something like a week or more, so… who knows.

Still. I’m just thinking how nice it would be if I could cancel that appointment for the van, because we’ll be picking up our new van, instead.

Oh, my goodness! That last sentence was interrupted by a phone call. I didn’t recognize the number, but answered it anyway, since it might be a different department of the financing company.


It was a cradle dial, then someone started telling me that they were calling about our computer, and could he talk to the main user of our computer?

Which is laughable, considering just how many computers we have in this household.

Yeah. I just laughed and hung up on him.

Gah! Now I’m on pins and needles, waiting for a call.

It’s a really sweet van, and would meet our needs much better than the SUV we originally applied for. It would also be the newest vehicle we’ve ever owned! 😄

Oh, and one more reason to really hope this works out. When it was time to leave the garage, the van didn’t want to start again. I don’t know how a malfunctioning sensor on the temperature gauge could affect that, so I’m not sure replacing the sensor would solve that problem.

I don’t want to get my hopes up, but… Gosh, that would be so nice if it works out!

The Re-Farmer

A little extra warmth

First, I have to share this bit of adorableness.

This is one of the grey and whites – though the lighting makes it look more brown than grey! – that lets us pet him. He is so tiny!!

And yes, I know. He’s got leaky eyes. There’s nothing we’re able to do about it at this time. They all get it, off and on, especially in the winter.

Today, the ceramic heat bulbs we ordered came in.

The brand we ordered before is no longer available, but these are the same thing. The dimensions seem a little different – a bit broader and narrower at the top – but that might be just me. The old one is still in the garbage can in the sun room. If I remember, I’ll compare when I set a bulb up tonight. It’s so much warmer these days, it almost seemed unnecessary, but I don’t think the babies will mind a bit of extra warmth!

Today has been a very quiet day. I’m currently working on a reflective crochet pony tail hat while watching videos on building outdoor kitchens. My poor younger daughter is not doing well today (my older daughter has gone back to working at night and sleeping during the day, as she finds herself more productive that way). She did so much in the basement yesterday, she’s hobbling around with a cane, today. It’s a huge job, and not quite done yet. The mess the cats have been making is bad enough, but she’s getting into the corner of the basement that was most affected by the failed weeping tile during the spring flooding, and that will involve moving around an old gutted radio, a gutted phonograph, and my mother’s old sewing machine (which should still work), all of which are pretty large pieces of furniture. She’s been working section by section, and once she’s cleaned up each section of mess, she’s been bleaching the heck out it, so we won’t end up with mold and mildew problems. It’s unlikely we’ll get the level of moisture we did last year, as it’s quite unlikely we’ll see that level of flooding again, but it’ll help for when we’re able to finally paint things down there. The down side is, there’s really no one in a position to help her much at all, so she’s doing this almost completely on her own. 😔 She’s paying for it today, so she’s pain killered up and using today to recover.

We’re one heck of a gimpy family!

Ah, well. We do what we can and, little by little, we’re getting it done.

The Re-Farmer

Too many!

One of the things I’ve found since starting this blog, is many, many other really awesome blogs that are out there. I started following many of them, and for awhile, was able to keep on top of them, visiting regularly, etc. Getting email notifications for new posts made that easy, since I tend not to use WP Reader, and forget it exists.

There’s a slight problem with that.

I really don’t have the time to keep up with them all.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to catch up this evening – with many stops to do things that need to be done around the house – and have just managed to bring it down to over 3,750 email notifications.

It was over 3,800 when I started. The most I’ve ever had! And that’s after cutting down the number of email notifications I get, while telling myself it would be easier to keep on top of blogs through Reader… only I still don’t have the time to go through Reader, and there’s no way to really get the older posts I missed.

In the past, I’ve gotten the number down quite a bit, resolving to keep going back to my blog email and go through the rest and keep it from getting overwhelming again, but then… 2000 + notifications later, I’m farther behind than before. On top of that, if there are any direct emails in there, they’d be buried in pages of notifications. So I’m not going to do a bulk deleted or anything like that – which I wouldn’t anyhow, because I do actually want to catch up on old posts. There’s a reason I follow all these blogs!

So… if you’re a blogger and haven’t heard from me in a while, no, I haven’t stopped following you, or no longer like your blog. I just haven’t been able to visit in a while!

The Re-Farmer

A good day to burn things

We’re still having slightly above average highs lately. It’s been quite nice!

The outside cats think so, too.

I counted 21 this morning. I also found both heated water bowls completely dry, which hasn’t happened in quite a while! We had some very thirsty cats, this morning!

The tabby in the above picture is from the oldest litter, and one of the shiest cat, so it’s rare to get a decent photo of it. I love that pattern on the sides of its nose, the way the black lines are split, and those black, black lips.

The little one drinking water lets us pet him. I’ve even been able to pick him up and give him a cuddle! He’s one of two of that seem to be staying really, really small.

We had a pretty quiet day. Because it’s so nice out, my daughters got the fire pit going, getting rid of the clean burnable garbage in the process, then having themselves a cook out.

My younger daughter has been working really hard on cleaning up the new part basement. My “work shop” is down there, where I was hoping to be able to regularly do wood carving, but it’s gotten increasingly painful for me to navigate the stairs. That basement is where most of the litter boxes are, and most of the food bowls. Unfortunately, the cats have been making a mess down there, including peeing all over the work table. My daughter has been cleaning that up and even taking apart the table – which is basically a sheet of plywood laid on top of some legs, but not attached – and sanitizing all sorts of things. She brought up a bunch of burnable garbage, so today I took that to the burn ring (the burn barrel is no longer useable and needs to be replaced), to get a fire going and get rid of the accumulating wood pellet litter. I was even able to dig one of the old, rotten pallets from the junk pile out of the snow and get that burning. The sawdust from the pellet litter takes a while to smolder away, so I like to get a decent amount of wood burnt down to coals, then cover the whole thing with a sheet of metal, leaving a small gap for the air to get in, and letting it smolder. It can take several days before the sawdust finally smolders itself away.

I got that to the smoldering stage at about the same time the girls were finishing up at the fire pit. We’ve been keeping clean wood, such as maple and non-diseased apple branches, stacked between the tall stumps of three dead trees I took down, our first year here. We’ve been making a point of using it up lately, as some of it is getting pretty old and starting to decompose – we’ve had various levels of fire bans our first four summers here, so last summer was the first time we got to use the fire pit for any decent amount! As we were packing up their chairs and cook out supplies, they told me they’d been talking about building an actual firewood shelter. Those three tree stumps have been so handy to hold the fire wood, they were thinking we could keep using those, and just put some sort of roof over them, instead of the scrap sheet of fibreglass we’re currently using. We don’t want to build anything too elaborate, since we’re planning to build an outdoor kitchen in a different area – one that doesn’t have overhanging branches or trees nearby! – that will incorporate the fire pit, too. That might take a while, so slapping together something for firewood by the current firepit certainly won’t be a waste of effort.

Between the fire pit and the burn barrel, we spent several hours outside, burning things! It was perfect weather to do it. We’ve got maybe another week of these milder temperatures before we’re supposed to start getting below average highs, which will probably continue into February. Nothing extreme – it looks like Western Canada is going to be hit with extreme cold again, but by the time the system reaches us, it won’t be as severe. Of course, the different weather sources give different forecasts, and one of them is still saying we’ll have above average highs for most of February.

I’m happy, either way. After the extreme cold we had the past few winters, this is really, really appreciated. Not to mention easier on the vehicles. I wish I could say it was easier on the heat bills, but the rates keep going up, so we’re paying more with our equal payment plan now then ever. 🙁 Ah, well. I’ll take what we can get!

The Re-Farmer