First sighting!

I was out again this evening, when it cooled down a bit (as I write this, it’s past 10pm, and we’ve finally cooled down to 26C/79F, from a high of 31C/88F), to do more transplanting. I was able to fit 13 Black Beauty tomatoes into one row in a second bed, which leaves another 13 extras I can give away.

After putting the rest of the Black Beauties in the sun room, I started to get the rest of the transplants from the picnic table, when I spotted not-Junkpile sitting rather strangely beside the storage house.

Then parts of her moved and turned out to be…

… bitty bebbehs!!

It was getting dark and I zoomed in so as not to disturb them because, of course, they ran away as I skirted around them to get the trays of plants. My daughters came out to help, and we saw them dashing about, hiding in the lilacs.

Later, I saw the mama up on the cat house roof, looking for kibble and growling at me. I’d already given them their evening feeding – early, so avoid feeding the skunks and racoons – but she wasn’t the only hungry mama around. I set out about half what I usually do, putting most of it on the cat house roof, where the skunks can’t get it. The racoons can get up there, of course, but they’ll go for the trays in the kibble house, first.

There are more very round cats wandering around. Junk Pile, who lost her first litter that she had so incredibly early in the year, looks like she’s about to explode. Caramel and one of the grey tabbies that we can’t get near are looking round, too.

And I can now confirm that least one, maybe two, of the white and greys are female. One of them, simply because I’ve seen her getting some action with the males. The other – the one with the distinctive almost black spots – is starting to look round.


Hopefully, they will all have small litters like this one, instead of the usual four or five.

Tomorrow, we’re supposed to hit 28C/82F, but by the time that happens, I should be on the way back from my eye exam. My daughter is coming along as a back up driver, in case they do that eye dilation test. I haven’t had my eyes tested since several years before we moved out here, so… 8 years? Nine?

If all goes well, though, I’ll be able to get some work done outside during the cooler hours.

Assuming my body is up to it. I just had to get my daughter to clean the litter boxes in my room for me, when I could barely bend over to put my inside shoes on – and I was sitting down! 😄

Getting old sucks.

The Re-Farmer

Well… the first ones are here (sad update)

There was quite a crowd when I came out this morning. I think I actually counted 26 cats, though it’s possible I double counted one of the white and greys.

It was while I was by the cat house that I heard it.

The tiniest of squeaky noises.

It took a moment of standing completely still to listen, but the noise was definitely there, and definitely repeating itself.

After going around the other side of the cat house with the kibble, I was able to peek into the small window facing south. The window is half covered with frost, but there was enough visibility that I could see across the inside of the cat house, were we put a box with an old pillow inside for the cats.

Yes. There it most definitely was.


Our first litter of kittens of the year have been born.

I was pretty sure it would be soon, as when I saw the pregnant mama yesterday, she looked rather damp in the back. She is actually in the photo above; the tabby at the very top of the picture.

Alas, she apparently did not have her kittens in the cat house. At least not to start. We have the shelf shelter up against the shelf shelter, and the bottom two shelves have rigid insulation inside, and in front, along with extras like a cardboard box and cat beds inside. I always put a handful of kibble into the openings of each. The bottom one isn’t as open anymore, as the cats have slowly broken the insulation forming the front “walls”, making the opening larger and larger, and the top one has been used as a scratching post in one corner so much, the insulation is torn away with only the cardboard box inside keeping the weather out from the hole!

Going past the shelf shelter later on, I saw one of the white and greys in the bottom shelf, batting at something and looking very startled and confused.

It turned out to be a dead, newborn kitten.

It must have been further back in the shelf when I put the kibble in, because I couldn’t see it at all at the time. Other cats came around to check it out, also looking rather confused over the poor thing.

As the ground is too frozen to bury it, I wrapped it in some paper towel, and we were cremate it later. Poor baby.

I can say for sure there is at least one surviving kitten that I could hear and see moving, and one that didn’t make it. If there are any other survivors, I have no way of knowing. We’re not going to pop open the roof of the cat house to see, because the last thing I want is for the mama to get spooked and move them away. For a litter born this early in the year, their chances of survival are very low, but their best chance of survival is right where they are now. It’s unfortunate the mama is one of the more feral cats, or we’d find a way to bring her and the babies inside.

I suppose I ought to let the cat lady know about it, but she’s recovering from surgery right now and has enough on her plate. There’s nothing more we can do about them right now, anyhow.

One a completely different note, I found this interesting, while doing my rounds.

When we had that wind storm blowing snow two days ago, there was no new snow. Just what the winds picked up off the ground. Yesterday we actually reached 0C/32F, so things started to melt a bit. Now, you can really see that, along with snow, the winds picked up all sorts of dirt, too. Since most of the fields are still covered with snow, that would consist mostly of sand picked up from the roads. The blown in snow is incredibly hard packed, too. Part of my path to the sign cam was filled in, and the blown in snow is so hard packed, it actually holds my weight when I walk on it, just like the packed snow on the bottom of path!

We’re expecting more winds today, from the northeast instead of south/southeast, as it was during the wind storm. Nothing as severe as before, thankfully. We’ll still be taking the van instead of my mother’s car to my daughters eye exam this afternoon, though, just to be on the safe side!

The Re-Farmer

Update: Well, my daughter and I are back from her eye exam (and saying hello to some goats while picking up more eggs on the way home). As I was walking up to the house, I saw Rolando Moon start to go into the bottom of the shelf shelter, then back off strangely. I went to check but couldn’t really see anything, but I was able to reach in and pull out a cat bed we have in there. Sure enough, there was another dead kitten in there. Crud. I wrapped it up with its sibling for later cremation. Poor baby.

I topped up the kibble for the evening and tried to see through the small window of the cat house again, but no luck. The window is just too dirty on the inside. Wherever the surviving kitten is in there (however many there may be), it was no longer anywhere I could see. I was not about to keep mucking about, though. I saw the mama in there, then she went into the sun room to eat. The last thing I want to do is spook her into moving her surviving babies away.

More yard cats is the last thing we need, but we adore them anyway, and it’s always sad when the little ones don’t make it.

Pretty Poser, and this is $171

We had another lovely day today! Nice and sunny, with a high of -9C/16F, and almost no wind chill at all. The cats are quite loving it, romping around in the sun and the snow.

I had the hardest time getting this picture of Pointy Baby! He kept trying to reach out to me, or my phone. I managed to catch a shot during one split second he gave me a pretty pose! I counted 24 cats outside this morning.

With my last trip to the city, where were very few things on my list that I didn’t get, and I wasn’t intending to make another trip so soon. However, I’m going to be helping my mother with errands tomorrow, and I don’t want to shop on the weekend, so I figured I’d better head out today, before some things start running too low. I went to the closer Walmart, with the possible extra trip to Canadian Tire to get more stove pellet litter. I ended up not needing the extra trip.

This is $171.11

They had hardwood pellets in stock this time, and the price has actually gone down! They were $5 each. At Canadian Tire, the hardwood pellets have gone up in price from $6.99 to almost $8, while their softwood pellets stayed the same price. The Walmart price had been comparable to the Canadian Tire price, but I’d only ever seen softwood pellets. These hardwood pellets are the same brand that Canadian Tire carries. So I got two, and I would have gotten two more, if I weren’t also getting kibble.

Their inventory of large kibble bags was low again, except for the super cheap no-name brand, which come in 7kg/15lb bags. There were no 11kg/24lb bags, so I picked up a couple of 9kg/20lb bags, plus their largest size case of canned cat food. They all cost just under $30 each.

I wasn’t able to find the usual shampoo and conditioner we use, in the big bottles with pumps. I haven’t seen those in quite a while, so I got smaller bottles of the same brand – two types with different oils in them – to try. They were on sale, at under $5 each.

The only thing on my list that was groceries was the icing sugar, but I also grabbed some red rooibos tea. My husband requested nacho fixings, so I got the giant jar of olives (which was cheaper than at the wholesale place!) and no-name brand tortilla chips. I got a couple of loaves of rye bread. I saw some bakery cookies for sale and got some salted caramel chip cookies as a treat, plus a variety pack of gum to keep in the van. One last extra was a couple of packages of biodegradable pots. All of these were between $3 and $5.

They didn’t have the larger size pots that I would prefer to use for certain seeds, but these ones will do for others. Eventually, when we’re planting seeds that aren’t as much of an issue for size or potting up, we’ll just use the red solo cups we have so much of. I expect we’ll need at least a couple more bags of seed starting mix, but not for quite a while.

Everything except the big bags and the canned cat food fit into just one of my hard sided grocery bags.

With this done, anything else we need for the month can be picked up locally, as needed. We will be making one more trip to the city, though, to get the materials we need to build a cat barrier to the living room. This is a project the girls are planning out and paying for, so they get to tell me when that’s going to happen! 😄

After the shopping was unloaded, we loaded the van up again for a trip to the dump and I headed out again. That’s a quick trip, at least.

Then, more running around tomorrow, this time with my mother’s car. After that, I should be able to play hermit again for a little while! 😄

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

Winter doesn’t want to let go

We are slowly coming out of what should be the last bitterly cold night of the winter. Last night, we dipped to at least -33C/-27F, with wind chills in the -40’s C/F The sun room, however, never seem to get much colder than -10 to -15C (14 to 5F).

The cattens took full advantage of that.

My husband got this picture through the bathroom window last night. From what I can see, there is only one adult in the pile; Broccoli.

As I write this, we’re coming up on 9am. My desktop’s weather app says we are at -28C/-18F still, with a wind chill of -38C/-36F The app on my phone, however, says we’ve warmed up to -26C/3F with a wind chill of -33C/-27F We should warm up a few degrees before I have to try starting my mother’s car. She and I spoke on the phone last night and already talked about rescheduling her appointment, if I don’t think her car would be safe to drive.

While getting bundled up before doing the outside cat stuff, I noticed something that is a first since we’ve moved here.

There is frost on the doorknob of the main entry door! We do have a sheet of insulation between the doors, but it doesn’t cover about 8 inches on the knob side of the door. We’ve got frost on the bottom, and on the windows, but I’ve never seed frost on the doorknob like this before. Not even last winter, when we didn’t insulate the door at all, since the hinges were a problem and we didn’t want to open it if we could avoid it.

I just realized that’s quite the reflection of me with my parka tucked under my arm! 😄

I had another surprise as I fought my way past the barricade of cattens under the old kitchen doors to feed them. Several of them were wanting to get into the old kitchen (which is colder than the sun room right now!), including one of the tabbies. We have several tabbies among the babies this year and, so far, only Judgement, a brown tabby, has been socialized.

This baby?

I got to pet him.

And I don’t mean just sneaking a pet while he (or she) was eating, only to have him run away. Nope.

After filling a couple of kibble trays, he was still spinning around at my feet, so I started petting him. He was a bit startled, looked at me in shock – then started pushing his head against my hand for more pets!

After that, food was more interesting, but I’m just amazed!

Also… I’m not sure who’s baby this is. We have a dark grey tabby that’s got a bit of white on him, and we have one that’s almost a black tabby, also with a bit of white on him. There’s also a big, fully grey tabby with more spotty markings from the oldest litter that I haven’t seen around for a while. This tabby is smaller.

I’m so losing track of all the cats, but…

Is this a new one?

Unlikely, but possible. The only reason I even suspect it’s a new cat is because I was able to pet it!

I didn’t even try to do a head count. Even the brief time I was outside the sun room was brutal.

Ah, the irony. My husband got me an early Valentine’s Day gift – heated gloves. They arrived at the post office, yesterday. I didn’t dare drive either of the vehicles to get the mail, so I’m leaving early to do it before going to my mother’s.

I’m going to have heated gloves, just in time for the end of the bitter cold!

The Re-Farmer

One last day

This is it. According to the forecasts, this should be the LAST day we have stuff like this.

It’s been almost 2 hours since I took this screencap. We’re still at -28C/-18F, but the wind chill has gone from -37C/-35F to -40C/F. I don’t know what was different about this morning, but for the first time this winter, I was actually concerned about frost bite on my fingers. They HURT! I’m still doing short rounds, and the only extra thing I had to do was dump buckets of cat litter sawdust into the burn ring, and my fingers were hurting well before that.

The thermometer in the sun room, however, was reading about -17C/1F last night, while the outside temperatures had dipped below -30C/-22F. When their food was topped up for the night, it all went into bowls in the sun room, to encourage cats to stay in, or come into, the sun room. I think it worked since, this morning, there was still kibble and an almost full heated water bowl outside, while all the kibble in the sun room was gone, and the water bowl was occupied again.

Yup. This fluffy little bugger was curled up in the empty heated water bowl again. Look at that frost on his fur!

The lighting was better this time, and his nose actually looks pink instead of white, like it did in the last shot I got of him in there. You can see colour in his eyes this time, too.

I want to snuggle that baby.

Baby won’t let me snuggle him.


Our high of the day is supposed to reach -25 or -26C (-13 or -15F), depending on what app I look at, though the wind chill is supposed to be about -33C/-27F Yesterday, we had a hint of what was to come, reaching a high of -16C/3F. It was bright and sunny, and every time I glanced out the kitchen window, I was seeing cats running around and playing on the snow-clear sidewalk. The cats are really going to appreciate the back-side of today!

Tomorrow, we start to reach highs warmer than -20C/-4F, then warm up dramatically. One of my apps even forecasts 0C/32F on Monday! After about a week or so, it’ll dip down to the double digits again, but we are not expected to drop to -20C/-4F again, for the rest of the month. Possibly for the rest of the winter!

I’m glad things are starting to warm up tomorrow, though I will have to at least head over to the garage and try starting my mother’s car today. It’s plugged in, with its block heater, battery warmer and trickle charger, but… well, that car just does not like the cold, and has a very bad history of problems.

One of these days, we’ll have to invest in a heater for the garage. There used to be a kerosene heater in there, I’m told, that was used while vehicles were being worked on, but it’s among the things that disappeared before we moved here.

Tomorrow, I will be driving my mother to a medical appointment with a specialist in the smaller, closer city. She called me last night and, by the time we were done, we worked out a sort of schedule. I’ll head over early enough to pick up her prescription refills, since she doesn’t know if she’ll be home in time for them to deliver in the afternoon, and grab lunch. After lunch, we plan to leave early enough that, if road conditions are poor, we’ll still have plenty of time to get there. Then, depending on how long things take and how she feels, we might take advantage of being in the city so she can do some shopping. Since I also have parcels to pick up, and the post office isn’t open on the weekends, I’ll have to leave even earlier.

So I’m going to be out pretty much all day. While the temperatures are supposed to reach a high of -17C/1F, at the time I need to be leaving, we’re supposed to still be around -27C/-17F. Our current 15km/h (9mph) winds right now have the wind chill at -40C/F, and the predicted wind speed for the morning is -17km/h (11mph), which means that the windchill when I have to leave may be even colder than right now. Thank God we have a garage with room enough for both vehicles! Even if my mother’s car barely fits in the lean to addition it’s in. 😁

My mother’s car has a habit of not starting in temperatures like this. The van does better in the cold, but not by much! Plus, it’s so hard for her to get in and out of the van.

I’m really feeling the fact that we weren’t able to get that replacement vehicle!

But, we’re almost over the worst of it.

Isn’t amazing how the weather can play such a huge part in planning things out? Especially at a time of year when, if things go wrong, it can be life threatening. I’ve long had an interest in weather and climate but, since moving back to the farm, it’s become almost an obsession! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Bedraggled baby

This is what I found, when I was about to go into the sun room with the kibble.

One very bedraggled baby taking advantage of the empty heated water bowl!

Also, that has got to be the whitest nose I’ve ever seen on a cat. I think it may just be how the camera picked up the lighting. Particularly since the eyes look so light, too.

I am somewhat concerned about the long haired cats outside. None of them are socialized, really. There’s one that sometimes lets me pet him. We can’t get near the others. Their fur could get to incredibly matted. Even if we were able to get them to the point that we could pet them, I just can’t see them ever letting us brush mats out of their fur!

The Re-Farmer

Waiting for breakfast

This is what I have to wade through, in the mornings!

The one using the empty heated water bowl as a butt warmer is hilarious!

Also, they’ve done quite a job of knocking things out of the shelves and off the counter. We’ll have to wait until the ground is dry before we can move things out to pick it all up. Until then, we need to watch our step for all little stuff that got knocked out of their various containers!

The Re-Farmer