Second shopping attempt and, what the heck is going on?

We are having another beautifully mild day today! Just look at this image I got off one of the trail cams.

What a gorgeous sunrise! So moody with the fog. I changed the batteries on the camera yesterday, so it’s slightly out of position from where I want the motion sensors to be focused, but that just put it in the best position to get the sun rising behind the tree.

On the down side, this was screen capped from a video, and in the video, the sun was actually flashing like a strobe light. 😀 I was able to catch a frame in between flashes. In other videos, the sun was a giant, blinding orb covering most of the frame.

The camera has since been adjusted. 😉

It was a gorgeous day for another trip to the city. In past winters, I would have appreciated the mild weather and dry roads for such a trip. It would make things more pleasant for someone who doesn’t like to shop in the first place.

Things are not normal, though, and I was dreading the idea of trying to shop at Costco, but we still needed to get bulk items in flat cart quantities.

It didn’t happen.

When I got to the Costco, the line up outside was actually longer than it was when I tried to go there on Saturday! As I messaged my family to let them know I’d arrived, the line got longer, even as I could see it moving forward.

Since I wasn’t even sure if I’d be allowed in the store with my shield, I wasn’t about to stand in line outside to find out.

I decided to go to the Walmart in the smaller city. I wouldn’t be able to get everything, as it wouldn’t all fit in a cart, but at least I know I would be able to get most of it.

So after about 2 hours of driving, I finally made it to a store.

*sigh*

On the plus side, I did get almost everything we needed. Also, it was not the least bit busy, which is what I had expected at the Costco on a Monday morning!

We’re going to run out of cat litter before the month is out, but we shouldn’t run out of either wet or dry cat food. I was even able to get the big bottles of hydrogen peroxide they were out of stock of last time, to treat the hot water tank when it gets that sulfur smell again. I got only about half the protein for the price that I would have been able to get at Costco, but I won’t be trying to shop there again this month.

So we are mostly stocked up for the month. The rest can be bought locally, though we’ll have less room in the budget than usual for that. We will manage.

At least we would be able to, if nothing breaks down.

Which brings me to the first, “what the heck is going on” topic.

There’s something wrong with the van.

In past trips, when the van was loaded down, I could feel that it was struggling with the weight. A month’s worth of cat litter and cat food for more than 25 indoor and outdoor cats adds up. Add in our own grocery items, and it becomes an issue for our vehicle. It’s get up and go just goes away! I found that loading the heaviest things in the middle of the van (we’ve taken out one of the middle seats and simply left it out), seems to help.

As I was heading home from the Walmart and was starting to leave a controlled intersection, the van just did not want to move! But move it finally did, and it even got up to speed normally.

I had intended to fill the tank at Costco, but never had a chance to, so I was going to stop at a station when I passed through the town my mother lives in. When I got there, however, something told me to just keep on going. We have jerry cans of premium gas at home for equipment we can’t use right now, so I figured I’d just use those up, rather than have it sit in the garage all winter. I just did not want to stop and get out of the van again, if I didn’t have to.

I’m glad I didn’t.

When I turned off the highway onto the gravel road, I slowed into the turn as usual, but when I tried to accelerate again, nothing happened.

The van had stalled.

It started again without issue, but when I reached the gravel road to our place and stopped at the stop sign, it stalled again. No stuttering or any kind of warning to show there was an issue.

When I stopped at the gate and then drove into the yard to unload, it was fine.

I have no idea why this has started to happen.

I had hoped we’d be able to have a winter without vehicle repair expenses for a change! I’ll have to take it in to get it looked at. Whether or not it’s something we can fix this month, or something that has to wait until next month, we shall see. Until then, thankfully, we can use my mother’s car.

Then there is the other “what the heck is going on” issue.

This is something that has actually been happening more often in general, but it was a real problem while I was driving today.

I couldn’t breathe.

I kept finding myself suddenly gasping for air.

I thought, perhaps, it was because my sinuses were a bit stuffy, but I’m a mouth breather, anyhow, so that shouldn’t be it.

This is something that I’ve had happen to me while I’m, say, sitting at my computer. I’ve never really thought of it as an issue, though. I thought it was that whole “oh, I forgot to breathe” thing that happens when you’re really focused on something (when my husband was still working as a programmer, forgetting to breathe or blink while coding was common enough to be a running joke). However, having it happen while I’m driving is something else entirely. I seemed to be better while walking around, so I thought maybe it had something to do with being in a sitting position; pressure on the diaphragm, perhaps? But then, as I was standing and telling my daughter about it, I found myself running out of breath while I was talking.

I have no idea what’s going on.

I feel fine. There is nothing out of the ordinary. There are no other symptoms. I’ll just be going along as normal, then suddenly find myself gasping for air.

I need to make a doctor’s appointment, but with all the restrictions right now, health care for non-Covid related things are rationed almost out of existence. I’ll call the clinic anyhow, and see what they suggest. Perhaps I’ll start with a telephone appointment, first. I don’t know.

Meanwhile, we had parcels to pick up at the post office. (My husband finally got the rest of his Christmas gifts from me! LOL) I got my daughter to drive and we used my mother’s car. With the restrictions, my daughter has not been able to book the 2 hours of driving with an instructor she needs to do before she can book another road test. I don’t think they’re even doing road tests right now. She does have a license, and is a very good driver, but it’s still a learner’s license, and I have to be with her when she drives.

We’ll have to go out again, tomorrow. We still need to do a dump run, though if we use my mother’s car, we won’t be able to fit much in there and will have to make several trips. Probably on different days that they’re open, rather than multiple trips in one day. The Mingle Masks I ordered should be in tomorrow, so we have to go to the post office again. Plus, they were out of deer feed today, so I’ll be picking that up at the same time, too. I’ll have to drag my daughter around and have her drive me, just to play it safe.

What I really want to do is just stay home and be a hermit.

Ah, well. It is what it is! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Stripped

A few days ago, I wrote about doing this…

Most of the sunflower stalks had been stripped of their leaves and tops, but the tallest ones were beyond the reach of the deer. I bent the stalks on each of those to bring the tops down.

This morning, they all looked like this.

They are all now stripped bare of leaves and seed heads! The deer were most efficient.

In other things I am happy to say I was able go pick up our new pasta maker in the mail. We look forward to using it soon! It had actually arrived on Friday, but I was expecting other things to be in by now, so I waited. Alas, nothing else had arrived. Including my Rare Seeds order. At this point, I suspect we won’t see either order from there from there until January, but the first part of my Veseys order should arrive next week.

Like everywhere else, people are ordering online a lot more, as local stores are either closed or not allowed to sell “non-essential” items. Like clothing. Our lock down was supposed to end on Dec. 11, but it’s already been announced that it will only be “relaxed” a bit. You still can’t buy new clothes, but now you can go to a thrift shop and buy used ones. You still can’t buy new toys for your kids, but you can buy wrapping paper and decorations, though those items are only temporarily allowed. Kids still can’t play hockey or go to the playground, but the NHL team is allowed to have practices now. They finally allowed the drive through light displays. Church services had been banned, but some had drive in services. After ticketing them for 10’s of thousands of dollars, the drive in services are now allowed, but with very stern warnings about compliance. The crazy thing is, these parking lot services went above and beyond, right from the start. Even the cars themselves were physically distanced, as if the virus can get through glass and steel and leap from vehicle to vehicle. They’re just a scapegoat, of course. Just like anyone who can’t wear a mask.

Something happened in the city just a few days ago that was incredibly disturbing. A young woman with PTSD had tried to go to a Giant Tiger to buy some groceries. Normally, why a person can’t wear a mask is not to be talked about, since it’s a privacy violation, but in this case, the young woman and her mother (who first shared the story on a group we’re on) were willing to tell why. This young woman had been raped as a child, and her rapist held his hand over her mouth as he attacked her. She now cannot have anything in front of her face without triggering her PTSD. Not a scarf or a blanket, nor a shield or mask.

When she went into the store, she was told she needed to wear a mask. She explained that she was medically exempt. Instead of honoring the mandate, which explicitly states when people are exempt from wearing a mask, they called the police.

What happened next was horrific. SIX squad cars responded. When she tried to explain she was medically exempt from wearing a mask, she was attacked, thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and a mask forcibly put over her face. She was then arrested and taken to a police station.

In the end, they let her go, because she had done nothing wrong. Later, after so many friends came to her door to check on her, she made a short video of herself, so she wouldn’t have to keep describing what happened, over and over. As you can imagine, the whole thing traumatized her all over again, but she assured those who cared for her that she was NOT suicidal, and that she was going to get through it. She just needed to be left alone for a little while.

This sort of thing is increasing. A politician in another locked down province recently shared what happened to his own son. His son and a friend were in a bar, which are allowed to be open. They are both medically exempt. His friend went to the bar to order a beer and was told he had to wear a mask. He explained he was medically exempt. They called the police. The politician’s son tried to stand up for his friend, explaining they were both medically exempt.

He ended up being tazed in the back.

As you can imagine, as someone who cannot wear a mask, these sorts of things really concern me. It’s not too bad when I go to local stores – I only go to the ones I know are safe – but I will have to go to the city to do the second half of our monthly shop. I was hoping to be able to do it after the lock down expired on the 11th, but that no longer matters. Nothing of substance is changing. I’m fortunate, in that I can get away with wearing a shield for a short time, but in some places, not even those are accepted. They say you have to wear a mask under it. Meanwhile, I struggle even with the shield, if I wear it for too long.

Part of what’s frustrating is when well meaning (and sometimes not so well meaning) people suggest wearing a mask anyway, to avoid all this. It’s just a few minutes, after all. That’s like telling someone with a peanut allergy that they should just try a different brand of peanut butter. :-/

Well, I’ve gone off on a tangent. I do try to keep things on this blog neutral but, from the start, I wanted to keep things as real as possible, talking about both the positives and the negatives of restarting our lives here. I didn’t want to put forward any illusions that things are sunshine and roses, because nothing ever is. Personally, I think we often learn more from the negatives than the positives! I never imagined I would find myself writing about being stripped of our basic human rights and dignity, but it is what it is. It’s one of the things we have to deal with.

I will say, though, that I am really, really glad we are no longer living in the city! The province we moved away from just entered a new lock down, too. Things are even worse, there – and I don’t mean with the virus.

We’re living in a house that needs major renovations, on a farm where most of the usable tools disappeared before we moved here, are being sued by the person who took them, for more money than replacing the roof would cost, and have to maintain security cameras in case our vandal does something stupid again, while our peace bond application against him has been delayed due to the Covid restrictions.

And I am still grateful to be living here.

The Re-Farmer

Well, that didn’t work out

Today was the day I was to finally face our vandal in court, in regards to the restraining order I’ve filed against him.

Nothing came of it.

The court date was cancelled.

I didn’t know that, of course, so I did my rounds early and made the drive out. We’ve had some snow last night, making the roads unpleasant, to that took a bit longer than expected. I’m glad I left as early as I did, but was wishing I’d left even earlier as I got stuck behind slow moving traffic!

I’d say my first warning that things were off was when I walked into the building, and there were no security guards in the lobby at the doors. In fact, aside from one person I saw going to the court office, the place was a ghost town!

I went down the hall to where the courtroom was, only to discover there were two of them, and nothing to tell me which was going to be used. Among all the Covid signs for distancing and sanitizing (oddly, nothing about masks, though we are under a mandate) I found some giving instructions to wait in the hall until one’s particular case was called, but that was it.

As I sat and waited, another group of people came down the hall, asking each other which court room they needed to go to. They eventually sat and waited, too. I didn’t pay much attention to them until I heard one of them coming back down the hall, saying “there’s no court!” They all left at that point, but it wasn’t 10:00 yet (the time court was scheduled for), so I waited until it was past 10, then headed for the lobby.

I could see into the court office, where someone was being served, and another person was waiting in the lobby, so I went back and forth between the two for a while.

Perhaps 20 minutes had passed by then. The longest time I’ve worn the face shield, and I was starting to struggle to breathe.

Short of breath

This really surprised me, and I tried to ignore it for a while, just lifting the shield a bit to breathe from under it every now and then, but it kept getting worse.

(image source)

Eventually, it was my turn to go into the court office, and I asked about what was going on.

All court dates have been rescheduled to Dec. 18.

Well; I guess I should say court sessions will restart then, because there is no way weeks worth of court appointments will happen on one day. I’m going to have to call them to find out what the rescheduled date will be.

While our province has been under “code red” lockdown for about a week now, this morning “enhanced restrictions” kicked in. I’m guessing that’s why court was cancelled, though no reason for it was given.

As we talked, she had to step away to double check for some of the questions, and I was increasingly struggling to breathe. Once I got answers about the court date, I asked about my options in regards to serving our vandal my defense papers for the suit he’s brought against me. I’d checked the tracking number last night, and it hadn’t been picked up yet. What do I do if he refuses to accept it? She had to get someone else to answer me, because she didn’t know, and that person was on the phone. So I sat and waited about a minute.

By the time she got to me, I was so short of breath, I could hardly speak. I quickly got my answer (if he refused it, the post office would return it it me, and I’d have to serve him in person), I rushed outside and tore the mask off.

I could not believe how much trouble I was having! My breathing wasn’t obstructed at all, yet I was struggling!

I walked the block to the van and ended up sitting there for maybe 10 minutes, with the window cracked open, because I was too dizzy to safely drive.

Why was I having to much trouble??? All I could think was that, as I was sitting with the shield on, I spent much of the time looking down at my phone. The shield was right against my chest while my head was down, which probably prevented proper air flow.

Since I was in this city, I had some shopping to do, I stopped at the small Walmart that was on my way home. I figured I would have no issues, since I would be upright and walking around.

I will say that, while everyone around me was wearing masks, I had zero issues from anyone about wearing a shield. No hassles at all.

With the “enhanced lock down”, all sorts of aisles of “non essentials” were blocked, displayed wrapped up in plastic, and other displays had signs saying “not for sale”.

I was able to get the cat litter and bird seed I needed, then went through the groceries. I had a hard time finding some things, so it took a while.

By the time I was heading for the cash desk, I was struggling again, light headed and using the cart to stay upright. There was no line, though the cashiers had customers, so I didn’t have long to wait before I was guided to one that was almost done. I was so out of it, I walked right past the “stand here” line on the floor until another staff member let me know. I think the first staff member saw I was having a hard time, and let me know I could go to a different cashier, where the customer was faster at paying. I got my stuff paid for, rushed outside and removed the shield as soon as I could.

Promptly breathing a lung full of cigarette smoke, from a group of people smoking nearby.

*sigh*

It still wasn’t as bad as trying to breathe with the shield.

I got to the van and spent some time outside, bagging my stuff (I don’t bother bringing bags in, since I can bag things better myself at the van). It was enough time that I was able to recover.

I am totally blown away by how much trouble I had. This was not at all expected.

As I’m finishing this up, I still need to head out to pick up my husband’s prescription refills. From the pharmacy that will no longer let me in, even with a shield.

And now I know even a shield is a problem for me, at least after a while.

This is so ridiculous.

The Re-Farmer

A new day

Today dawned a beautifully sunny, bitterly cold day. It doesn’t take much for the wind chill to bring a -12C (10F) morning to -22C (-7F)! It was good to get outside, though, where a whole crowd of furry adorableness was out waiting for me.

I didn’t post yesterday, other than the critter of the day photo, and I’m still debating where I should write about it at all. I generally try to focus on the things we do and find around the property, but this blog is also about our transition to life out here, and the things we deal with. Obviously, there are things I’ll never write about in a public blog, even anonymously, but I do try to cover what I can, as openly as possible. The good and the bad.

Yesterday was both.

Yesterday is also the first time it brought me to tears.

Believe me. It takes a lot to get me to that point.

The first tears were tears of … how do I even describe it? Humiliation? Frustration, to be sure. Emotional pain. Even a sense of betrayal.

My husband needed a prescription refill. The pharmacy was closed on Remembrance Day, so he ended up calling it in on the first day of our province locking things down again. They’re also pushing the mask mandates even harder, despite all evidence showing that it’s not actually accomplishing anything. Pretty much everyone is complying, but the test positivity numbers continue to go up, as we work our way through flu season.

My husband forgot to ask the pharmacy about my medical exemption. I’ve never had a problem there before. I’ve always used the sanitizer, kept my distance, but have never worn a mask, and they have never said a thing about it. However, after what happened while in a pharmacy with my mother, I figured I should ask first.

Maybe I shouldn’t have. Would it have been any different, if I just came in, as usual?

I called the pharmacy and asked if they would still honour my medical exemption. I did add that I now have a shield.

At first, the pharmacist I spoke to said yes, of course. He even joked that I might have to wrestle my way in, but added that I just needed to explain to whomever was at the door. That was a relief.

I got a call back less than a minute later.

The pharmacist had just been told that no, even with a shield, I could not come in.

This really threw me. I didn’t really get a chance to respond, as he was already offering delivery, which we can’t do because we don’t have a credit card, and debit Visa is not an alternative they can do. He said they could bring the prescription to me in the parking lot and asked if I were paying by cash. I told him by debit. It turned out they did have a wireless debit machine, so I could pay in the parking lot. I told him I had other things I needed to get, so I was transferred so floor staff. Thankfully, I already had made a list. Usually, I just go by memory.

By the time the staff member finished getting what was on my list, I was was in tears. I did make a point of telling her I had a problem with having to do this, how humiliating it was, and yeah, she could certainly hear I was crying by then.

Here’s the thing. If they offered this as a service, which I knew they already did, for anyone who chose it, that is simply good customer service. The problem is that, for someone like myself, who cannot wear a mask, there is no choice. We are simply banned. There’s a whole list of things that we can still do. Masking is the last thing recommended, and only in specific situations, and the mandates have several exemptions. Yet, outside of websites and pdfs, it’s the other way around. Masks have become the end all-be all, and if anyone has a problem with them, they become pariahs. Even as the mandates allow for medical exemptions, people insist that there is no medical reason to not wear a mask, or that it’s just for a short time, so wear it anyway. I know people who are wheelchair users that can walk short distances. It would be like telling them that, since they can walk at least a little bit, they have to leave their wheelchairs outside. Or worse, that if they can walk at all, they shouldn’t be allowed to use a wheelchair. Or they should just stay home. It’s the exact same sort of discrimination.

Anyhow.

The other place I needed to go to was the grocery store, so I pulled myself together and phoned them, too.

Will they still honour my medical exemption? I do have a shield I can wear.

Of course, was the response. Everyone does!

I told the woman I was talking to that the pharmacy would not let me in, even with a shield. She was stunned, but went to double check, just in case. She came back to assure me that I would have no problem.

I was crying again as I thanked her, this time in gratitude.

When I got to town, my first stop was the pharmacy. I called from the parking lot to let them know I was there, and two people came out with my stuff. I recognized the manager was one of them, simply because he was male and not a pharmacist; all the other staff are female. Most of the pharmacists are, too. There was a cashier with him, and I think I recognized her by her hair. They put my stuff in the van, behind my seat, for me. The manager commented that this was the first time their wireless debit machine had ever been used. The cashier was there to be trained on it.

Oh, the irony.

Because my purchase was over $100, tap wouldn’t work, so he had to hand me the machine. The cashier had the till receipt, so after they got the printout from the handheld machine, she put them together and handed me both.

I came into physical contact with both of them in the process. I would have had less physical contact with anyone, had I gone into the store.

That done, I decided to fill my tank before going into the grocery store. Normally, I go in to pay, and usually pick up some cheap energy drinks for the cooler in the van in the process.

I paid at the pump, instead.

I’ve never had a problem there before, either. At least not from the staff. I just didn’t have the energy to find out if things had changed.

At the grocery store, nothing had changed. I did wear the shield. It keeps hitting my chest and shoulders as I move around and, having put it on in the van, the wind almost blew it off as I walked to the store. It was when I coughed that the sense of irony hit me again. My chronic cough is what wearing a mask exacerbates. Usually, I cough into my sleeve or shoulder, never my hand but with the shield on, I coughed into my hand before I even realized what I was doing. :-/

As I was finishing up with my groceries, I made a point of telling the cashier how much I appreciated that they honoured medical exemptions. Like the woman I spoke to on the phone, she sounded surprised that anyone wouldn’t. I told her about the pharmacy, that the hardware store next door had kicked me out the previous week, and of the pharmacy in my mother’s town kicking me out. She could hardly believe it. The mandate has exemptions, and everyone is supposed to honour them. She was so surprised by the places I’d mentioned.

By the time I got home, I was pretty drained. It didn’t help when I was on my personal Facebook page. A friend of mine, who works at the gas station where I paid at the pump instead of going in, had posted about people not wearing masks. She talked about people being a**holes about it and giving her a hard time, and if that were the only point, I would have been completely in agreement with her. Staff are supposed to tell people about the mandate, and shouldn’t be hassled for it. Instead, she started attacking people for not wearing masks, and making digs about people buying cigarettes but not being willing to wear a mask for 5 minutes. When I tried to point out medical exemptions can include all sorts of things, it basically came down to, if she had to wear a mask, everyone else should, too. The next thing I knew, I was the subject of an onslaught of personal attacks. I actually had to get off the computer soon after and haven’t been back to Facebook since, but it was bad enough that a mutual friend messaged me privately, telling me how sorry she was to see me being bullied so badly. I’m loathe to log on again, but she did try to defend me, which means she was probably targeted, too, so I would want to come to her defense.

*sigh*

I have long been against the covering of faces in general (other than the obvious exceptions, like protecting your face from the weather), whether it be protestors wearing masks, or burkas or whatever. One of the biggest reasons is psychological. Hiding our faces dehumanizes us, even if only subconsciously. It creates a mental, as well as physical, barrier between people. And when we no longer see others as people, even the most gentle of people can become quite cruel, and believe themselves completely justified for it. With so many people hidden behind masks now, my observations have been verified, over and over, and the psychological damage is even worse than I’d originally believed.

How can we ever heal from this? Especially with so many people trying to convince everyone that masking should become permanent, so we should all just get used to it?

The “cure” is becoming so much worse than the disease.

The Re-Farmer

Shielded

I am so very glad I was able to patch up the broken pump shack window yesterday!

The winds started picking up last night, and they were still blowing this morning. It may have only been a couple of degrees below freezing, but it was bitterly cold in the wind. When I came out of the house, the cats were running around, eager to be fed – then disappeared back into the cat shelter right after eating! The kibble house and heated cat shelter are working out very well for them.

I headed out to the town my mother lives in, late in the morning, to fill out an incident report about what I’d heard outside her door on Friday. I used my computer to write out a description of what happened and what I heard and printed it out first. I’ve unfortunately had to do quite a few incident reports in the past, so I knew what information was needed. My hand writing has been getting really bad, with my finger joints and wrists giving me grief, so doing it on the computer, with my ergonomic keyboard, makes it easier for me – and for whomever has to read it!

When I got there, I found the woman I’d spoke to on the phone had just left, but the woman who answered the door knew who I was and why I was there.

I found out some interesting things, in the process.

When I called about what I’d heard outside my mother’s door, they already knew about it. I thought that perhaps the woman I’d seen outside the doors, making a phone call, had already called to complain.

I was wrong.

It turns out the second person in the hallway was the woman I was talking to!

They are not allowed to say anything themselves, nor file complaints, so she was quite happy that I was able – and willing – to do it. She had even talked to my mother, just this morning, and my mother was telling her she didn’t want me to “start a war” by filing an incident report.

The incident report was made, however. It was mentioned that they didn’t file ones my mother was willing to sign, because she was the only one willing to do so, and they didn’t want to make her more of a target. It reminded me of a PIPA workshop I’d attended, where it was specifically asked if the name of the person complaining can be given to the person being complained about. The answer was no. That would be a PIPA violation. So I brought up about the names falling under PIPA, but I got the impression that this was not what they were told. I hope they take the time to confirm it, because while the authorities that complaint goes to have to know who is making the complaint, they should not be telling anyone else who they are.

The report I made is now waiting for the person I was supposed to meet with. I hope to get a call from her, later.

When I was done there, I swung by the grocery store – where I know medical exemptions are honoured! My mother had called me last night and asked me to pick up some milk for her, so when I was done there, I gave her a quick call and met her at one of the doors to her building. She passed on to me the face shields my brother had left for me.

She, however, was wearing a mask under her nose again.

*sigh*

I told her she needed to wear the shield, and she said she would. But then, I’m sure she told my brother she would wear the shield, too!

I’m actually looking forward to seeing how these work out. There have been times, most recently while cutting wood in the past few weeks, where I should have been wearing a dust mask. However, I have far less trouble breathing sawdust than I do with wearing a mask. Even wearing the protective glasses are an issue, because they change how my regular glasses sit on my face, making it hard to see and focus. Not something you want, when using power tools! Depending on how these fit, I might be able to use these, instead. I have seen face shields used in that way before, though I’m sure they were far more heavy duty that these, but I don’t need heavy duty for what I do.

I’m amused that the packaging says they are to prevent “fluid splashing”. That’s one way to put it! 😀 Ironically, the one problem I foresee with wearing one of these is that, if my cough kicks in, I won’t be able to cough into my sleeve or cover my mouth as easily, with the shield in the way. I don’t want to actually cough on the shield, any more than I’d want to cough into a mask. That’s just disgusting.

Hopefully, my mother will actually wear hers, and we will both be shielded from harassment.

The Re-Farmer

Almost to plan

Well, most of what I intended to get done today, happened. Plus, some unplanned stuff got done. 🙂

There was quite the crowd around for breakfast – and not all of them are in this photo! Most of them came out of the cat shelter, which was quite gratifying to see.

They were hungry enough that the little kittens allowed me to pet them while they were eating, including the calico. I was also able to finally confirm that both orange tabbies are male. That leaves the two bigger kittens (behind the food bowls in the photo) that we don’t know the gender of, yet. We’re really hoping they are males, because we have had zero progress in getting those ones more socialized. At least with the little calico, there is some hope we’ll be able to get her inside before she goes into heat.

The water bowls were all frozen this morning, so I brought out some warm water for them. The cats really appreciated that! I’ll have to get that heated water bowl set up soon.

While doing my rounds, I remembered to try and get a photo under my mother’s car. It took quite a few tries!

The last time I drove it, I noticed something was loose underneath. I only saw it because of how I happened to be parked in an otherwise empty parking lot, as I walked to the car from a store. From a distance, I could see something hanging down near the front passenger tire, but once at the car, I had to look through the tire rim at just the right angle to be able to spot it.

When it was time to go to my mother’s to help her with errands, I left early so I could stop at the garage near her place. It is just a plastic shield, and it looks like a bolt probably vibrated off. Who knows when that happened, but it had to be recently, since I picked it up from the garage not that long ago. I have no way to get under there myself, but it’s such a small job, I didn’t even need to make an appointment to get it worked on. I was told to just give a call in the morning, then come on over. I will do that as soon as I can, so I don’t have to make my mother clamber up into our van anymore!

I was able to help my mother with several errands, and even get a bit of a visit. I was happy to see the mask exemption card I’d taped to her door was still there. Her municipality has a mask mandate right now, so we did get asked a couple of times if we had masks. Since I was with her, I was able to tell them we had medical exemptions, and there was no problem. Interestingly, while at the pharmacist’s counter, where they didn’t even bat and eye over our lack of masks, my mother did fish out a surgical mask from her pocket and put it on, saying she didn’t want any trouble – except no one was giving her trouble! I just cringed, because she has no ability to put one on properly. She only kept it on for maybe a minute, probably less. She didn’t even try to put it on when we got to the grocery store. I’ve helped my mother shop often enough, and the staff knows her well enough, that they talked to me about the masks, not her. It all worked out well. It was a real relief for me, given how much she struggles to breathe with a mask on. She still has a hard time understanding mask exemptions, and I could see she was concerned about being given a hard time, but the staff at all the places we went to were awesome. I did give her an exemption card to carry, but I have no idea what she did with that!

Once my mother was all set, I headed home and was expecting to hang the replacement door for the sun room back up. I wasn’t able to get another set of hands to hold it for me, so I instead worked on some cutting I needed to do. I had found a board in one of the sheds that I cut to length to make a couple of shelves in the entry. The pieces now just need some sanding and painting.

Then I started on cutting pieces that will be the frame for a cat kibble house. 😀

I’d made a rough and flexible plan for it. For the frame, I am using the pieces of wood from the frames I’ve been using to mark out garden beds. I also had a couple of extra long pieces we never used when we built the goat catcher.

I ended up changing the dimensions a bit, based on the wood I had available. All the pieces had one end slightly more damaged than the other, so I worked around that when making my measurements and cuts.

The short end pieces from the dismantled frames will be the upright pieces for the cat kibble house. The back pieces are 3 feet long, while I decided to make the front pieces 3 1/2 feet, instead of the 4 feet I was originally thinking of doing. The longer side pieces of the dismantled frames will be the length of the kibble house. I actually measured the group of kibble bowls and decided to make it 6 feet long, instead of the 5 feet I was originally thinking of. I then used the cut off pieces from those to cut cross pieces that will be the depth of the kibble house. They weren’t long enough to do the 2 1/2 feet I’d originally considered making it, so I cut them 2 feet long, instead.

I cut 4 of them, though I only need two, just in case I need extra.

The only pieces I haven’t cut yet will be the support for the roof. I will decide on the length of those later. I want a considerable overhang on the front of the roof. It can’t extend too far, though, because then it will be in the way when trying to reach the kibble bowls inside.

As for the roof itself, I’ve been finding sections of plywood in the barn and sheds that I should be able to salvage. Once I decide on how long of an overhang I want, I’ll have the dimensions I need to hunt out a piece that will fit.

The kibble house will also have a floor and three walls. For that, I plan to use wood salvaged from the junk pile. The pieces are pretty inconsistent in size, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be enough to keep the bulk of the wind and snow out. The roof will be the most important part.

As you can imagine, the noise of cutting the pieces spooked the cats quite a bit. Some of them, however, were spooked into the cat shelter. As I was putting things away, I looked to see that the indicator light for the timer was on. I could also see a little calico kitten, curled up under the heater! I am so glad the little kittens are using it. They are the ones I’m most concerned about for the winter!

Unfortunately, other critters have discovered the shelter.

Stinky came by as I was cleaning up! I had unhooked the hose, though it was too cold and stiff to put away, so I screwed it back on and used it to spray the skunk away. Long before the cats were willing to check out their new shelter, I could tell from the smell that Sir Stinks Alot had already visited. Nicky the Nose – the only one of the big toms that still visits regularly – has been seen coming out of it, too. We’re trying to discourage him from visiting, because he has been attacking our own male cats. Especially Creamsicle. 😦 If he’s in there, chances are he will chase away some of our own cats.

He’s also the daddy of way too many kittens!

I have come to the conclusion that Nicky the Nose is deaf, or at least mostly deaf. There have been a few times I’ve come towards him, even talking as I walked, while he was facing away, with no reaction. It isn’t until he turns his head and sees me that he reacts and runs off.

Tomorrow, barring some unexpected change in plan, I will continue to work on the cat kibble house, and hopefully be able to snag a daughter to help hang the sun room’s replacement door.

It’s starting to get pretty chilly out there, and there’s still plenty we need to get done before the real cold hits!

The Re-Farmer