Look what I found!

The kittens that hang out under the cats’ house are getting more active and exploratory. When I came out this morning, there were three of them, playing rough and tumble on the laundry platform. As I did my usual back and forth, they would run under the cats’ house, but come out again more quickly.

This little one is being seen more frequently.

This one, we see most often. I wish I’d been able to get a photo a few second before. It had been playing on the step, and when it turned to look at me, it still had a dried leaf in its mouth! So cute. 🙂

Lately, while putting the kibble out, one of the cats basically starts growling at me – and other cats. She certainly is happy to see the food, but just seems angry about it, too. Very strange.

As soon as I could, I was back outside to start mowing. I focused on the areas I wasn’t able to do before, starting with the west yard and around the fire pit area. I was even able to mow paths to and around the Korean Pine, in the outer yard. I had to raise the lawn mower way up to be able to get through! After doing the north yard, I was able to keep on going and redo the south yard, including the area that had been under water in front of the outhouse. It started to rain while I was out there, but it was a light rain, so I kept on going.

When I got to mowing near the kibble and cat houses, I saw no cats or kittens arounds, so I paused to move the water bowls away. The heated water bowl was still plugged into the extension cord leading into the cats’ house, even though there is currently no power to it, so I started unplugging it to move it away.

I got growled at, from inside the cats’ house.

I sometimes put kibble just inside the entry, but I knew the bowl had been knocked upside down. Once I unplugged and moved the water bowl, I looked to see where it was.

I found kittens, instead.

I held aside the strips of carpet to take a quick picture, then left them alone while moving the water bowls. I then made a point to quickly mow around the area, so I could be away from them faster.

When I was done mowing and ready to return the water bowls, I grabbed one of the cat beds I’d crocheted and left in the shelf shelter and brought it over, along with some extra kibble. Looking inside, there was one kitten near the entry. The others had been moved away. I put the kitten in the cat bed, straightened out and moved the food bowl, then put the kitten back, bed and all, further in from the entry. The mama was growling at me while I did this, but then I put kibble in the bowl, and left so I think she was happy with that.

Looking at the picture, I can spot 5 kittens. They look to be just barely old enough to have opened their eyes, so I’m guessing about a week or so. Which actually ties in to how long the mama has been growling at me when I do the kibble in the mornings!

So now we have 4 kittens under the cats’ house, and 5 inside the cats’ house!

And there are still the oldest of the kittens, which had been born in the cats’ house then moved away. We don’t know where their new nest is, other than somewhere beyond the pump shack. Honestly, I would have expected those ones to have been brought to the kibble house first, given their ages. I do hope they are okay. There’s really no way to find out, one way or the other, until they start showing up for food!

I do enjoy seeing them when I come out in the mornings. They really brighten the day! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Kitten surprise

After finishing my morning rounds and coming back to the house, I spotted kittens under the cats’ house again. I put some food out for them, then waited.

At first, I just saw the little tabby on the left, but I did briefly see the calico taking a peak off to the right. I’m happy to saw the eye that looked injured is now open, and she’s looking much better. I put a bit of food where I saw her, but the third, darker kitten came to eat, instead.

I kept slowly coming closer, so they’d get used to my presence, and tried to take some video. Which is when we had a kitten surprise!

There’s a fourth kitten!

It has much longer fur than the others. We might have another “David” out there! Long haired yard cats are very unusual.

I did see one more kitten, today. I came out of the sun room with frozen water bottles to put in their water bowls and startled a mama going by, carrying a white and black kitten. I ignored her, since she was already quite unhappy that I was there, so I didn’t see where she ended up going with the kitten. She was gone so fast, I thought she had to have just gone under the set up we made to harden off the transplants. We’ve left it there, to provide a little extra shade and shelter for the cats.

Which makes a total of five kittens I saw this morning, with two that I’ve never seen before!

The Re-Farmer

Three

The kittens we saw yesterday were back this morning! It is now confirmed: there are three of them.

When I saw they were under the cat’s house again, I put a scoop of kibble in the open spot they were peaking through, then hid away. The kittens were very enthusiastic about solid food! Then mama – the white tail tip confirms it’s Braddiccus – came over to stand guard. And have a bit of a snack with her babies. 🙂

The little calico didn’t come out all the way, though I did catch a glimpse of her one eye that’s got something wrong with it. Her siblings were bolder today, with one of them checking out the big water bowl. After they were gone again, I moved that bowl away, gave it a scrubbing, and left it closer to the kibble house. That left the 3 metal pans that we use as water bowls for them to drink from. Less chance of a kitten falling in, on those!

So this would be the litter that was inside the cat’s house, with Junk Pile’s litter, earlier in the spring. I’m surprised these ones are being brought over to the house first, when Junk Pile’s litter was born earlier. I would expect the mama with her older kittens would have been here first. But then, maybe she is, and we’re just not around to see her!

The Re-Farmer

Kitten sighting

While coming back to the sun room door after working in the garden, I spotted some unexpected movement.

Kittens, dashing under the cat’s house!

One of the mamas brought her babies to the kibble house, and they are not kittens I recognise.

It took some patience, some hiding behind the hand rail near the sun room door, and my phone zoomed in, to finally get some photos. This was the best I could get, and it’s cropped quite tightly.

As so often happens, I see more in photos than I could in the moment. In this case, it was finding that there is something wrong with the little calico’s eye. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing when they’ll even be back at the kibble house again, never mind any chance of catching it to get a better look. That doesn’t look like the usual eye infections we sometimes see in the yard cats.

Hopefully, we will have more success socializing this year’s kittens than last year. Hopefully, whatever is wrong with it is something that will heal on its own.

Poor baby!

In the end, I think I saw a third, darker kitten, but I’m not certain.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, a mama surprise and… now gone

Before I get into what took up most of my day, here are some kitty pictures.

While the mama burst out of the shelf and hid behind the kibble house again, I put some food in both shelves of the shelf shelter, then stuck my phone in and managed to get a decent picture of the babies.

They are SO mashed into that corner!

Today was a warmer day with no rain, so I started taking the transplants outside.

Mama did not like that.

After the transplants were out and I continued my morning rounds, I came around and found the little calico in the grass by the kibble house.

I can’t tell if it’s eyes are shut because of its age, or because it has gooby eyes like David and Keith did, when they were little.

I put it back in the shelf, then found it in the grass a few minutes later.

I put it back in the shelf, then found it in the grass again.

I put it in the shelf, then found a different one in the grass!

That is one ticked off looking kitten. 😀

Sadly, the mama kept trying to take the kittens out, even while I was around. I kept putting them back after she would eventually drop them, hoping she would stop.

She just waited until I was gone.

After I was back inside, I went into the sun room several times to check. Which is when I had a surprise.

That white tail tip. There’s only one grey tabby with a white tail tip.

The mama is Bradiccus!

We were sure Bradiccus was male!

I suppose the first hint should have been that we still saw Bradiccus around, even after Chadiccus, Agnoos and Tuxedo Mask all disappeared. The young males all tend to take off shortly after the snow is gone. Sometimes they come back for the winter. Sometimes we never see them again.

I guess that means the other ‘iccuses that are still around are female, too. They run around too much for us to really see, one way or the other.

I had another surprise later on. While puttering in the kitchen, I could see the two mamas that are co-parenting, hovering around the big branch pile, near where the entrance into the pile is. The last time I did a burn, I had heard a kitten in there, but haven’t heard any since, so I was sure they’d moved it. So it was quite unexpected to see the little tuxedo emerge with one of the moms. Then all three of them went across to my late father’s car before disappearing around it.

When I came out later on, I took a quick peak, and sure enough, the shelf shelter was empty. Bradiccus had moved her kittens out. I figured it would happen, but I still hoped they wouldn’t be dragged off again to some unknown nest.

Ah, well. Such is life with yard cats!

The Re-Farmer

Look what we found!

Last night, my daughters heard the sounds of a kitten meowing outside. It was dark and raining, so we went out to check.

What we found, barely visible in the shadows, was a kitten on the patio blocks in front of the shelf shelter. It appeared that a cat was moving her kittens into the shelf! By the time I got out, there was no sign of the mother, but I saw the kibble trays were all empty. After topping those up, I quickly scooped up the cold, wet kitten – it was even smaller than the last kitten we found in the lawn! – and tucked it into the bottom shelf shelter. I just wanted to get it out of the rain, and it would be easy for the mama to find.

When I came out of the sun room to do my morning rounds, one of the ‘iccuses exploded out of the shelf shelter. I came prepared, though. I grabbed a scoop of kibble, along with my usual container full, and quickly poured some into both shelves that are insulated and enclosed, then filled the rest of the kibble trays. Potato Beetle emerged from the cats’ house while I did, but he preferred to follow me into the sun room to eat there. Aside from him, I saw only 3 other yard cats, and I think they were all mamas.

While going past the shelf after setting out some bird seed (we have no feeders out right now, because of the racoons, so it’s a daily toss onto the ground), I quickly stuck my phone into the openings and got pictures.

There were kittens in the higher shelf. It was terribly out of focus, but I could see three kittens.

Just a little while ago, I went out to chase a pair of skunks out of the kibble house. The mama ran out of the shelter shelf and hid around the back of the kibble house, so I quickly tried to take another picture.

I was wrong! There are four kittens. 🙂

I hope the mama is willing to let her litter stay here. We will try to avoid using the sun room door as much as we can, since it’s right next to the shelf. Good thing my brother did a quick fix on the main entry door! It’s still a high traffic area, though. Not only is the kibble and bird seed store in there, so are many of our yard and garden tools and supplies and, of course, the transplants in the sun room, with the outside platform we put them next to it, too. The fact that she actually brought her kittens so this shelf anyway suggests maybe her previous location got rained out or something.

I believe this is now the third litter we’ve seen kittens from, though the other two have been moved twice now. Broccoli has her litter around somewhere, too, and I’m sure Ghost Baby must have a litter. How many will survive long enough to start coming to the kibble house with their moms, we won’t know for probably at least another month, maybe two. The shyer mothers tend to keep their babies away longer, but after a while, they start coming over on their own.

Hopefully, these ones will do well in their new home.

The Re-Farmer

Things that make us smile

I had a few pleasant surprises this morning. Such as some new crocuses that exploded into bloom overnight!

When I checked them this morning, there was only this one cluster of purple crocuses. I just got back from walking around the yard with my daughters, and a second cluster was blooming, next to it!

There may be only a couple of clusters of purple crocuses, but the yellow ones burst into bloom all through the area we planted them – and there are more spikes of leaves that we can see that haven’t developed flower buds yet. It’s going to be so beautiful, once they all start blooming!

There was another wonderful surprise this morning, in the sun room.

The very first Tulip tree has emerged! I was really wondering how these would do, as there is so much mold on the soil and pots.

Meanwhile, in the big aquarium greenhouse, there are now 4 out of 8 watermelons germinated, and another Apple gourd is breaking through.

Oh, and I have to make a correction about those peppers in the sun room.

I really out to read my labels. They’re eggplant. The peppers are still in the mini-greenhouse in the living room! 😀

I’m seeing a lot fewer cats around when I put the food out in the morning.

Only 3 came to the kibble house.

The Distinguished Guest is still limping, but he is putting weight on that injured leg again. He’s pretty skittish right now and I wasn’t able to come near him.

Speaking of skittish, there were 4 at the tray under the shrine, and I had to zoom in from quite a distance to not scare them off from the food.

After doing my morning rounds, I headed into the city to finally do our second shop that we normally would have done a week ago. We’re able to pull the van into the yard to unload now, which is much nicer!

After things were put away, the I joined the girls to look at things outside. They wanted to see the new seedlings (there are SO many Kulli corn coming up, too!), and we found a potato.

Or should I say, a Potato Beetle.

This is partly why I wanted to put a platform for the transplants above the swing bench. Last year, we had bins right on the bench. The platform is high enough that any cats in the sun room can still use the swing bench as a bed.

He’s really liking that roll of mosquito netting!

It’s 20C/68F right now, and tomorrow is supposed to hit 22C/72F. The sun room gets warm enough, we leave the inner door open with the screen window in the outer door open all the way, the ceiling fan on, and even the inner door of the old kitchen open, and the screen window of the outer door open, too. It’s a lot cooler in the the old kitchen, so it should help cool the sun room down, while the sun room should help warm the old kitchen up a bit. We wouldn’t want things to get too hot in the sun room for the plants – or for Potato Beetle!

Gosh, he’s adorable.

While checking things out, the girls and I went into the main garden area, where there is another garlic bed mulched with straw. They helped me remove the straw just over to the bale nearby, and we had a very pleasant surprise.

Almost all the garlic is coming up already! They’re mostly yellow from lack of light, and uncovering them will help with that. This bed warmed up much faster than the other ones. These are the Porcelain Music garlic.

We checked the other beds and, with their straw mulch gone, they are no longer frozen in the middle. We should be seeing garlic coming up there soon, too.

Before heading inside, I checked one more thing – the cat’s house! I’ve looked through the windows a few times today, and usually saw two adult faces looking back at me. The adults happened to be out this time, though.

It is very hard to see through the smudged up window, but I am positive there are now two litters in here.

That tuxedo in the back is one of the first kittens I saw. The grey tabby and the grey and white it’s using as a pillow are its siblings. I could never tell how many more there were, but thought there could be 4, or even as many as 6, but we just couldn’t see them well enough. I was pretty sure there was at least one more dark, possibly black, kitten.

Looking at the photo above, it looks like there are two much smaller kittens! And possibly that 4th dark, possibly black, kitten I can never be sure I’m seeing.

If it wouldn’t result in the mamas moving the kittens and hiding them somewhere else, I’d be popping up the roof to check on them, and start socializing them.

And clean the inside of the windows, so we can see them better! 😀

At it is, I’m concerned just looking through the windows might scare the mamas away with their babies. After I checked in them, I started heading to the sun room and found a matched set of cats – Junk Pile and the ‘iccus that’s been hanging out with her – coming around the corner of the cat house. They froze in matched poses, with matching expressions of alarm, staring at me. Even when they finally moved, it was like they were synchronized! Too funny.

I quickly headed in so they could go in to the babies. If my guess is right, these two mamas are taking care of both litters together, as we would sometimes see Butterscotch and Beep Beep do. Well. Mostly Beep Beep. Butterscotch spent as little time with her kittens as she could!

So many things to make us smile today!

The Re-Farmer

The current state of things

This morning’s rounds were extended rounds – but about a mile and a half! 😀

The first order of business was to check the old basement. The south side of the basement is still slowly getting wetter. The sump pump is doing its job quite well. The north side hasn’t really changed much, and I’ve no doubt the big blower fan is doing a lot to keep that side more under control. The larger puddles of water got swept into the drain or the sump pump reservoir, and another of the chimney blocks was brought upstairs, before I headed outside.

I hadn’t slept much, so I was outside earlier than the cats are used to, so I didn’t see many of them! 😀

The first cat I saw was The Distinguished Guest (TDG), and he was limping. Favoring the same leg that Potato Beetle still does. Now that we know why Potato Beetle was limping, I have less concern. It’s probably a bite or claw injury. Considering how aggressive TDG has been to the other cats, I can’t say I feel much sympathy for him. I didn’t see Potato Beetle this morning, and whenever that happens, I worry that TDG has injured him and he’s suffering somewhere. 😦

I don’t know where Rosencrantz has set herself up again but, wherever it is, it’s very close by. She just seemed to magically appear at the kibble house of late! The only thing I can say for sure is that she’s not coming from the junk pile.

Speaking of junk piles, while Junk Pile (we have GOT to come up with a better for her!) was eating, I blindly took a couple of shots of her kittens through the window. This was the best one. I think I count 5 in there.

While switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I was happy to see the water on the driveway has actually receded. To get to the sign cam, I went outside the fence line and didn’t even try to go through the snow and water along the garden area. While I was at it, I “made” a bridge. 😉

This sheet of plywood I found in the garage was set up over the drainage ditch, turned the other direction, so I could drive over it with the riding mower. Which isn’t working and, according to the place I last took it to, not really worth paying someone to fix, anymore. Since we won’t be driving a riding mower through here anytime soon, I pulled up up the plywood and laid it the other way. That helped increase the flow of water, too. I don’t know who dug this drainage ditch, how long ago, or what they used to do it. All I know is that it’s very uneven and rough, even for just a push mower.

That done, I went for a walk to check out the state of the road heading south. For the first half mile, it was actually pretty good. There’s an area that has a series of small ponds on one side that has the potential to be an issue if we get the predicted rains – we’re still under a rainfall warning that extends to the north of us, with accompanying flood warnings – but this morning, it was still pretty good.

Then I got to where the municipal drainage ditch crosses the road.

The culvert is marked with that red plastic tube on the left, and is the only reason this section isn’t already washed out.

This drainage ditch crosses the quarter section we’re on, cutting through the rented out fields into our neighbour’s quarter, until it crosses the road here.

The drainage ditch then cuts across the corner of this quarter section to another road and another culvert.

I wasn’t going to go that far to check the state of the road, seeing how things are here!

The drainage ditch is completely full; the line of higher soil, created by dredging, marks one side of it. Right now, we’ve got one flooded field draining into another flooded field!

The first area that’s washed out is past the drainage ditch. You can somewhat see how much of the gravel has been washed off the road and into the ditch.

The second wash out has done a lot more damage to the road.

Half the road has been washed down right to the rock base!

I took this next wide angle shot while standing in the middle of the second wash out.

There is still SO much snow and ice.

Here, I’m standing in between the two washed out sections. The water is flowing with remarkable speed!

I took some video, too. Once I have time, I’ll test out my new movie making software and make a little video to upload.

So this road is not a viable alternate route for us. When I get a chance, I plan to walk the road to the north and see how things are, there. We may not be able to avoid the pothole riddled main road, though.

Enough snow has melted that I could check out a few other areas, once I got back home. The path to the outhouse and the back of the garage is still full of water, and the pit under the outhouse is flooded to the top.

The garlic beds are clear of snow, but the soil under the mulch is still frozen solid.

Our first high raised bed is also clear of snow – but the snow around it is still quite deep!

I noticed one of the cages protecting the raspberry bushes we got my daughter for her birthday last year was knocked aside, so I made my way through the snow to get to it. Some of it even held my weight, though when it did give out, I found myself knee deep in snow.

Once we have rows of high raised beds built here, I can see that it will greatly affect the snow in the area.

The arrow in the above photo is pointing to the raspberry bush, and shows where the cage is supposed to be. The cages got dug out of the scrap pile around the old garden shed and placed over the raspberry bushes, after we discovered the deer were nibbling on them.

I found a couple of large rocks under the trees to weigh the cage down. Hopefully, it will hold until we find a more permanent way to protect the raspberries.

Hopefully, the raspberries have survived. Shortly after we transplanted them last year, they got hit by that one unusually cold night in late May that killed off so much. Then there was the drought, the heat waves and the deer. Now we’ve got this winter that just doesn’t want to let go. These poor bushes have had a very rough start! At this point, there’s no way to see if they’ve survived the winter. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

The snow has receded enough that I was able to check out a few more areas before heading back inside. Another check on the basement, then the last chimney block was brought upstairs. Getting those up the old basement stairs has been a real pain. It’s one thing to carry a block down the hallway or across the yard. It’s quite another to safely get them up those stairs. I finally got it worked out, though. Basically, once a block was lifted to the highest step I could reach while standing at the bottom, I had to go up a couple of steps, to line myself up with the next step it would go on, carefully bend at the knees (my busted up knees!), grab the block and brace it against my belly (sometimes, my extra girth comes in quite handy!), straighten my knees to lift the block while using the hand rail to keep from falling backwards, and use my belly to place it on the next step.

Then the process is repeated, step by step, to the top. Thankfully, there is room for a block in front of the door, which has to be kept closed to keep the cats out. Then it’s, open the door, chase away cats, wrestle the block clear of the door with enough space to get past it, chase away the cats again, then close the door – hopefully remembering to turn the light off, first!

After that, it gets easy. The only difficult part is getting through the old kitchen door, without letting any cats through.

It’ll be a while before we can prep the area the blocks are going into, so we can take our time getting the blocks out the rest of the way. Getting them out of that basement was the main hurdle, and I’m very glad it’s finally done!

And that’s the state of things for now. As I write this, we’re at 5C/41F and we’re supposed to reach a high of 9C/48F, so things are melting. The rains are supposed to hit us this evening and continue through tomorrow, before changing to a mix of rain and snow, the day after, with highs of 4C/40F.

Then, three days later, they are now saying we’re supposed to get a high of 18C/64F. Long range forecast after that has highs ranging from 16C/61F to 19C/66F for the next week.

Hopefully, by then, the soil will have thawed enough to be able to absorb more of that moisture!

We shall see how things turn out.

The Re-Farmer

Morning finds

As I write this, we are still getting weather alerts for another Colorado Low that might sweep up our way. Maybe. For now, we’re at 4C/39F, with an expected high of 6C/43F, and a small amount of rain.

We’re checking the old basement regularly, sweeping the water collecting on the north side into the drain. The big blower fan makes a difference in keeping that under control, too. The south side of the basement is seeing more damps spots, as moisture is seeping through the concrete in patches. I noticed the water level in the sump pump reservoir had gone down quite a bit, so it looks like it got triggered during the night and actually worked this time. No blockages! We’ll have to keep that in mind next fall, and insulate the pipe where it comes out of the house for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve set up a pedestal fan in the south side of the basement to help dry things out. Normally, we’d take the block of foam insulation out of the window, then switch from the winter window to the summer screen window we built, to help with air circulation, but it’s still too cold for that.

This sort of dampness in the old basement is normal; the dryness that we’ve had since moving out here is what was unusual. My brother had all sorts of things set up to help keep it under control, including having a box fan on a platform he built under the window. That fan is one of the things that disappeared before we moved in, but there is still an old dehumidifier. The reservoir for it disappeared, which is odd, because the girls had to use it upstairs when they painted. High humidity was causing the fresh paint to slough off. Somehow, when it got put back into the basement, the reservoir disappeared and we simply cannot find it. Thankfully, I discovered that the drip valve has standard threading on it. I could hook up a short hose and have it drain directly into the sump pump reservoir. Which is much more convenient than having to remember to empty the reservoir regularly! Now that it seems the sump pump is working fine, we know we can turn the dehumidifier on to help keep the basement drier, if we need to.

For now, the fans are still enough.

Then it was time to head outside and feed the critters.

There are the 11 in the photo, plus Rolando Moon was circling around for some breakfast. 🙂

While Junk Pile was busily eating, I refreshed the water bowls with warm water, then quickly shoved my phone right up against the window to try and get a photo of her babies.

There are at least 4 kittens, though I wouldn’t be surprised of there was actually 6. I’ve noticed that she moves them away from the window when she’s with them, and worried that she might move them somewhere else. However, I see that the timer is knocked down, which means the light sensor is always in shadow. The heat bulb, which you can partially see at the top, would be on all the time.

She left her babies in the warm spot while she went to get food!

For those who may be wondering, you can see part of the protective aluminum heat shield on the side. It continues up and above the ceramic heat bulb. There is also a smoke detector installed inside.

I’ve been seeing Rosencrantz around a lot, lately. She is no longer meowing at me while trying to pull me places. I suspect she has lost her litter. Even if she had moved them somewhere else, I would expect her to quickly eat and go, like Junk Pile and Ghost Baby are doing. She just hangs around, and even followed me a bit, while I was doing my rounds. There is still no way we can get into the old freezer where I think she had her litter. It’ll take a few more days of thawing out, at least, before we can move some of the stuff out of the way.

The box nest set up I’d made showed no signs of use, so I moved it out. It probably won’t be used, but I set it up against the house by the sun room window, barricaded on one side with a garbage can to ensure it can’t be moved, and pieces of rigid insulation strategically placed around and over it, so ensure no water or wind can get in. If nothing else, some cats might use it as a safe and cozy spot to sleep.

I made sure to check the old kitchen garden.

Good to see at least some of the snow is melting away. The hose end if from the sump pump, and it does indeed look like water had been pumped here. I’ve got it aimed at the straw, so the water won’t erode the soil away or get too muddy.

It’s going to be a while before we plant in here. :-/

It looks like the honeysuckle got chewed on by the deer! Just the one big stem. We’ll see if that one survives, since it wasn’t chewed all the way around.

I was able to access the old garden shed and took a peek inside. Critters can get into it, and things look rather knocked about. The old scythe is no longer hanging where I’d put it. There’s too much in the way to bother trying to reach it. The blade looks quite rusted, but we might be able to restore it.

Once things melt away in the main garden area some more, I want to dig out the black plastic tarps/landscape fabric (not sure what it started out as, originally) that we salvaged when cleaning up the old wood pile. The plan is to lay it out on the ground where we will be making new, temporary garden beds for the potatoes. Those should arrive around the end of May. The black plastic will help warm the soil up faster, while also killing most of the grass and weeds. We’ll be using straw to grow potatoes using the Ruth Stout, heavy mulching method. This time, we have the wood chipper and can put the straw through the shredder chute, first. I think that will work better than using the straw as is.

While heading up the driveway to switch out the trail cam memory card, I saw something unexpected.

A sunk disappearing under a garage door.

Not the main roll up door, which we don’t close all the way because the latches on the sides get stuck. Not the doors to where my mother’s car is parked, which has a larger gap under one of them, created by critters continually squeezing their way in and out. No. It went under one of the doors to the side where the lawn mowers and chipper are kept.

Critters have never been able to get into that side with the door closed before.

That hole in the ground wasn’t there, yesterday.

I opened the door to look, but saw no sign of the skunk. The back of the room has a lot of stuff just shoved into it to make room for the equipment we use, so it was likely somewhere in that area.

I suspect there is a nest with baby skunks in there now! I certainly wasn’t going to dig around and find out, though. 😉

I was going to just change the memory card on the driveway cam, since access to the sign cam has too much snow and water to get to it right now. Then I remembered that I could access it from the road side of the fence. Having the camera right at the fence like that is a bit of a risk, since it would be easy for anyone to reach it and steal it, however it does mean I can still get to it. With trees all along the fence line, the snow didn’t get as deep, so there is a corridor all along the fence line that can be walked on, right next to the drifted snow, and the piles left by the snow plow in the ditch. This area doesn’t accumulate any water, like on the garden side of the fence.

I look forward to seeing if the wildflower seeds I broadcast there in the fall will grow. 🙂

Speaking of growing things, I got to spend some time tending the seedlings in the sun room, too; rotating trays, watering where needed, etc. They are handling being in there pretty well. I’m a bit concerned about the kulli corn we planted. The sun room can get very warm during the day – it was about 25C/77F in there, when I got back from the city! – but drops to just above freezing at night, even with finding a way to set up a bit of heat in that corner overnight. I’m able to have the warming lamp directly under where the larger bin of seeds are, but the smaller bin is on the highest shelf, which may not be getting much warmth.

One of the first things I do in the morning is turn on the lights for the seedlings in the living room. Last night, I could just see a Yellow Pear tomato trying to sprout. 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of those today.

We need to start more seeds today. It looks like we’ll have to start using the small aquarium greenhouse for those. There’s an open shelf in the mini-greenhouse, but there aren’t any seedlings in the big aquarium greenhouse ready to be moved into it yet. We’ll be having to move the larger tomato plants currently in the mini-greenhouse to the sun room before then.

We’ll figure it out.

We kind of have to! 😀

The Re-Farmer

New kits, new cats?

Well now!

I just have a bit of time before I head to the city, but I just had to share this first!

While putting kibble out, I heard the distinctive sounds of cat asserting their dominance, somewhere in the outer yard. So as soon as I was done putting kibble in the tray under the shrine, which is nearest the gate to the outer yard, I went to look. A quick pause to check the box next I put near where Rosencrantz has her kittens showed it untouched, which did not surprise me – though she already surprised me by teleporting next to me while I was putting kibble in the tray near the kibble house! Which makes me think she may have moved them already, though I have no idea where.

Once in the outer yard, I could see The Distinguished Guest and Rolando Moon by the pump shack, looking very, very tense. Both had their fur all puffed out. I headed over to chase The Distinguished Guest away and realized…

That wasn’t Rolando Moon.

That’s a long haired ginger.

We don’t have any long haired gingers!

Well, I guess we do, now!

Given their behaviour, I’m just going to assume this is a male.

Then I went back to put warm water out for the cats and saw movement inside the cat’s house window they are under.

Much to my surprise, I saw little squirmy wormies in the sunlight, and a Junk Pile coming up to them.

Since I was already so close, when I was finished with the water, I tried to take a photo through the very dirty window. I didn’t want to step right in front of it or do anything to startle Junk Pile.

Coming back from the rest of my rounds, I tried again, because I could see them so clearly in the sun spot through the window. I stayed well away and zoomed in.

There is at least one, maybe two, tuxedos in there!

I’m amazed any cat would have her kittens in here. This is a large space and a lot of cats use it.

I notice she is about as close to directly under the ceramic heat bulb as possible in there. 🙂 With the sun shining in so brightly, it would be off right now, but as soon as the sensor on the timer is in shadow, it’ll turn back on again.

I do hope the other cats leave her alone! I saw several of them in there when I was doing my evening rounds. These babies are so new, they look like they’re still a bit damp!

This will be Junk Pile’s second litter. Agnoos and Tuxedo Mask, both her babies from last year, have not been seen in quite a while. Likely, they are out expanding their territory and finding themselves some lady cats. Two of the ‘iccuses are hers, but I’m not sure which ones, other than not Bradiccus (who is still around) or Chadiccus (who is also AWOL). Those two are Butterscotch’s. There is one ‘iccus that has more white on him and looks a lot like Junk Pile, and I think that one is hers. We have no way to know for sure, but I think at least one of them is Ghost Baby’s.

I know we’re about to have a population explosion that is going to make things a bit more crowded out there, but I can’t help but be excited for kittens. We’ve never been able to socialize Junk Pile, but with her kittens in there, we at least have a chance with them – as long as she doesn’t move them! If we can socialize them, there’s a better chance of adopting them out.

The Re-Farmer