Getting better, and it’s a smol cat!

Yesterday, the entire family spent as much time as possible in bed, getting plenty of rest and fluids to get over our colds. I’m happy to say we’re all improved quite a bit today. Yesterday, I had to get the girls to do the morning cat feeding, but today, I was able to do it myself again.

Look what I found!

So smol!!!

This is one of the kittens from what had been the youngest litter until the bitties showed up. We’ve had some progress socializing them, though it’s hard to tell at times. There are so many white and grey kittens from two litters – eight, altogether – and they run around so much, it’s hard to keep track of them. I think this is one that has allowed me to pick it up before, but I’m not sure!

This morning, I did a head count and reached 27. Then I counted again and counted 28. I get a different number, every time I try to count heads! 😄

Yesterday, we were predicted to hit 4C/40F, but ended up reaching at least 5C/41F. Today, we’re supposed to reach a high of 3C/37F. My husband’s disability payments come in on the last business day of the month (private insurance) and third last business day of the month (CPP Disability). However, then those days fall on a Monday, as the CPP Disability has this month, it actually shows up in our account on Saturday. So we got his payment today. Normally, I would take advantage of that, and the warm temperatures, and head into the city to do our first big stock up shop for the month. However, when I was cleaning out the ground floor litter boxes this morning (we were behind on that, with everyone being sick!), I actually broke into a sweat. So while I’m feeling a lot better today, I’m still weak as a kitten (a smol kitten!), and definitely not well enough to drive to the city. We’ll see how things are over the next couple of days. I hope I can make the trip tomorrow, because the forecast for the day after says to expect snow showers. I’d really prefer not to be driving on that. More because I don’t trust other drivers! 😁

So today is going to be another quiet day of focusing on recovery.

The Re-Farmer

Goodbye, Bitty, and the kindness of strangers

Well, it’s done.

Cheddar was willing to cuddle, but when Bitty started trying to get under him to nurse, it was a bit too much!

The cat lady now has the bitty baby. She plans to put him on antibiotics right away, since his eyes are leaky (I don’t include the lysine with the inside cats’ kibble). She showed me pictures of his siblings, which is when I discovered even more good news. When she told me she found someone who worked in a vet clinic willing to adopt Bitty, I figured this was someone different, but it turned out that this is the same person who is adopting the other two! This is someone who had lost her two cats after 18 years, not long ago. For her to now adopt three yard kittens from the same litter is just amazing! I had sent photos to the cat lady, so I’m guessing she at least saw pictures of him, but that’s it.

I had an extra surprise when the cat lady and I met up in town.

Another donated cat bed, more blankets, and 6 bags of kibble! Plus treats.

The cat bed will go into the cats’ house. Maybe the blankets, too. Those are knitted and donated by volunteers.

As for Bitty, he settled into the cat carrier and never made a peep until just before he got transferred over.

I gave him the hat he likes to sleep in to keep. I can make another one!

Previously, we had talked about getting the last 2 indoor females done, plus one outdoor male. The cat lady would have come to our place, driven them to another city, further away, to get done, then hung on to them for a week to recover, then bring them back here.

Clearly, something had happened, and she never got back to me on that.

It turns out that she’s been having issues with vets cancelling appointments, lack of communication, and even people she’s trying to help making it harder for her. Plus, vet costs are getting astronomical. There isn’t much we can do to help, but I can at least drive the cats to the local vet, or meet her in town like today. Apparently, this is not common. 😥 However, our sun room is now winterized, and our nearest vet has moved to a new, bigger, location, so we can take care of things like driving the cats to and from, and have a recovery room for them.

She also has funds left from a generous donation specifically to have cats spayed and neutered in the area – and where we live is considered “in the area” because we are willing and able to drive them to town. It turns out there is a sports celebrity that has a cottage in the area, and after she was the only person willing to come out to help a stray in -40C/-40F, this is his way of saying thankyou. As long as she spends the money on spays and neuters, he will be making monthly donations!

I brought up that, because we had so many kittens this year, we really need to focus on getting outside females done. Once she was assured that we had a place for them to recover, and that we could drive them in, she said she would try the nearest vet clinic again. If all goes well, we will get two females, then two males, done before Christmas – and before the real cold is expected to set in! I’m still holding out for a mild winter, but January and February are typically the most several months (and the reason we work to have at least a couple months of supplies in stock, in case we can’t get out!).

So she will work to arrange that, then get back to me, and we’ll have to work on socializing more of the females! Calicos and torties are almost always female, but they won’t let us near them. The white and greys are getting friendlier, but we’re having a hard time telling them apart, and only a couple are confirmed male. When the girls were tending the fire pit yesterday, they had cats all over them, and every now and then would pick up a white and grey kitten, only to realize it wasn’t one of the friendlies they were expecting.

A good excuse to get the fire pit going more often! 😁

The only down side is, certain mystery health issues came back with a vengeance. My breathing issues came back a few days ago and it doesn’t seem to matter if I’m sitting or standing, lying down or leaning. Even when I was helping my mother with her shopping yesterday, I had to pause a few times because I was starting to get dizzy and ill. I made sure my mother never saw it, though! Then last night, the mystery pain in my side suddenly hit me while I tried to get into bed, making it difficult to sleep even after the spasms were under control. The pain hasn’t gone away, and at times I am having trouble standing upright.

I should go to the doctor about it, but I don’t see the point. Clinics still have to demand masks, and I can’t wear a mask. I mean, who thinks making someone with breathing difficulties wear a breathing barrier makes sense? Never mind that it’s been repeatedly demonstrated to have no benefit, while causing plenty of harm. The other thing is, I was referred to a respiratory specialist over 2 years ago, and have still heard nothing. My mother hasn’t heard from the kidney specialist she was referred to, either. Unless it’s the Vid, or an emergency, people just aren’t getting health care right now, and those testing positive for the Vid are being badly damaged or killed by the treatment protocols. Frankly, I don’t think it’s even safe for someone like me – old, broken and fat – to go to a doctor right now. I could barely get taken seriously even before all this BS. Nothing like being sent to test after test, scan after scan, procedure after procedure, with all the tests coming back normal to have doctors start looking at you funny and suggesting it’s all in your head. If they can’t find it, it must not exist.

Bah. I’m just venting right now. I’m having trouble sitting up in my chair and breathing properly as I type this, and it’s distracting.

So, back to the topic at hand!

The Bitty is now away with the cat lady, and will be reunited with his siblings in a wonderful new forever home.

I’m going to miss him, but I’m so very happy for all the bitties!

The Re-Farmer

Leyendecker and the new meds

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the new muscle relaxants we will be trying on Leyendecker. Last night, we gave him his first dose about 15 minutes before he got the rest of his meds.

I was VERY happy to discover there are no needles on those syringes. When I first saw them, I thought they were injections – and wondered just how it was to be administered into the cheek pouch!

Happily, we just need to squirt it into the side of his mouth.

Which he seriously did not like.

In fact, he’s fighting us off a lot more when it’s time to give him his meds. He’s a big boy, and that size is mostly muscle!

I made sure to check, and there is no change in his other medications. After he gets those, he soon passes out for hours.

This new stuff says it “may cause sedation or hyperactivity”.

Last night, we got hyperactivity.

That boy went nuts!

It made him much harder to dose with the rest of his medications, that’s for sure! He’s caught on to what we’re about to do and tries to fight us off. I don’t blame him for having trust issues right now!

He even clambered his way to the top of my metal shelf! He didn’t stay there long. Mostly, he tried to claw his way out of the room. He also hunted down and tackled Nosencrantz, completely ignoring all my efforts to stop him.

I ran out of the special wet cat food that came with him from the vet. He doesn’t really like it, either. I split a can between the three cats, and the other two don’t like it all that much, either. They don’t particularly care for the special dry cat food, either. I’ve been able to feed the ladies separately from Leyendecker, which means I can give them regular kibble. Today, I split up a can of wet cat food, and wow! did Leyenecker tuck into it! He emptied his bowl, but turned his nose up at my refilling it with dry cat food!

As for how he’s doing, so far, the problem has not been solved. He seems to be doing well in all respects, but he still is barely able to pee. He keeps going in and out of the litter box, leaving little spots of wet, and yowling.

Today, he got his second dose of the new meds. This time, we gave it to him after the rest of the meds were done, and letting him stop to eat or try to use the litter a few times in between pills.

Changing the order seems to have made the difference. He didn’t go hyper this time, and is now curled up on my bed and ignoring the other cats.

I might actually get some sleep tonight!

Ah, who am I kidding. I probably won’t! 😆

Here’s hoping the meds finally start to work.

The Re-Farmer

Morning disasters, and morning cuteness

What a rough start to the day.

But first, some cuteness.

I think we can safely assume this tortie is a Broccoli baby. I’m starting to see it slightly more often, though still not as much as Broccoli Baby! 😁

It’s hard to say, but it’s possible that Broccoli’s kittens are actually the oldest ones. I seem to recall seeing her showing up at the kibble house looking not-pregnant, before I discovered Junk Pile’s kittens in the cat’s house. The difference in ages would be less than a week, I think.

My morning started out pretty sh***y. Literally. While sitting on my bedside, I spotted something that looked wrong in an empty shelf. I have a wall that’s almost completely covered with salvaged shelfing. Parts of it has blocked by my craft table, so they shelves there are empty. The cats like to use them to sleep in, but this one shelf at floor level, we’ve had problems with Nosencrantz using it to poop in, instead of the litter box. It’s hard to see under there. When I discovered this had happened, one of my daughters had to crawl under the table to clean it up for me – I physically cannot get at it.

Well, it had happened again.

That shelf is now cleaned up and blocked off with a box. The cats have lost one of their napping places.

While my daughter worked on that, I went to head outside to do my morning rounds.

I found this.

The sun room was completely torn apart. I took this picture after picking up the kibble bin, which had been pulled right out of its shelf. Thankfully, the lid mostly stayed on and very little had spilled out. Stuff had been knocked off the shelf above the kibble bin, and it looks like something tried to get in behind the rest, as it was knocked askew. I was using kibble bags to hold garbage; one paper bag with burnable garbed in it, one plastic bag with non-burnables for the dump. Both were torn up. Buckets knocked over, and the litter box completely covered in stuff. It’s actually in the photo, on the left, but you can’t see it. Even the water bowl somehow got messed up, my mini-chainsaw, its case and charger, knocked off the archery target it was resting on, etc.

What a disaster.

With kittens running through it.

They were very excited by my cleaning up the mess!

The sun room still needs a thorough cleaning, but that will require taking most of the things in it out completely, so we can wash the concrete floor, but the weather has not been good for that.

My guess is, skunks. Either that or racoons. The down side of having the doors propped open for the kittens. Other critters can get it, too! I try to tie off the doors so that when a kitten squeezed in through one door, the line pulls the other door more closed. Then, when a kitten pushed through the second door, the door behind them gets pulled closed.

The problem is, even larger critters can often squeeze through some very small spaces. And some of the skunks are already pretty small, so it won’t take that much squeezing. The only reason I think racoons are a possibility is because of the kibble bin being knocked down, and signs that critters tried to get behind things on the shelf above. Skunks aren’t good climbers, but I think a racoon would have done more damage. Hard to know for sure. They left nothing behind for us to find and identify either way.

The fuzzy little grey tabby was okay with my working around it. Not only did it not run away, but it let me pick it up and cuddle it – and even started to purr!

Socialization progress increased!

Once I finished with the sun room, I could finally get out and do my morning rounds, before having to head out to my mother’s.

Which is when I found this.

My guess is, kittens jumped on top of one of them. With the other, they got under at one end, then perhaps panicked, and ran through the end where the mesh is rolled around a board to hold it down.

Which means we’re going to have to peg down the edges. Which makes it such a pain to get at the space to weed or harvest. Better than having the seedlings eaten by grasshoppers when they germinate. Now if I can just keep the kittens from crushing them, too!

I found that as I was finished my rounds and was almost ready to head inside, when I found this.

The kittens discovered the toy I left for Potato Beetle while he was isolated in here.

This group of kittens has pretty much moved into the sun room; the four little ones from one litter, and the two out of four older ones, that have been hanging out together for quite some time, now.

We’ve had some pretty heavy rain, off and on, for the past couple of days. There was more last night. As I was unlocking the gate to go to my mother’s, I saw evidence of just how much there had to have been, at some point.

When I mowed the sides of the driveway, grass clippings were blown over and mostly covering the gravel. Here, you can see that there was actually enough “wave” action to create ripples of dried grass clippings, all the way from under the gate (which the water tends to pool), to where the culvert runs under. The driveway starts to incline after that line.

What a way to start the day.

Beyond that, the phone appointment for my mother ended up being late. My mom and I have the same doctor, and I’ve had phone appointments with him where he called as much as an hour early, so I made sure to be there well before then. It ended up being late enough that I called the clinic to see if there was a problem. I was told he was running later and it might be a while.

He called not long after. After some confusion, it turned out he had no idea why we had this appointment. He had already called my mother to talk to her about the sleep study results.

He called her on the very day I’d made this appointment for her. The clinic had called her, but she wanted me to be there, so I called them back. He must have called later that afternoon.

My mother didn’t tell me about it, and had forgotten about it until he brought it up. Of course, I was confused. Though my mother did finally remember he had called, she couldn’t remember what he’d told her. So he explained it all to me again.

Yikes!

So it turns out my mother does have a form of sleep apnea – one very different from my husband’s severe obstructive sleep apnea. She’s been referred to the sleep clinic. In 6 – 8 weeks, she’ll have an appointment with a specialist, and will do and overnight sleep study at the clinic, and they will start talking treatments with her.

If my mother ends up having to use a CPAP or BiPAP, I’m not sure she’ll be able to handle it. Not so much being able to use the machine, but being willing to put up with wearing hoses on her face, and nozzles up her nose, night after night.

We will deal with that when the time comes.

The main thing is, the referral is in, and the sleep clinic will take things over about it from here on.

That done, I was able to help her with a few errands before heading home. We’re still getting rain here and there, so I will have to catch up on things tomorrow. The next couple of days should be good weather for working outside.

The Re-Farmer

Setting a little more aside

This morning, my plan was to head out early to do my morning rounds, then go to my mother’s to help her shut down her sleep test, get it all together, then bring it to the city.

Of course, that meant I got almost no sleep at all.

Since I was going to my mothers, I was actually wearing normal people clothes while doing my rounds, instead of my usual grubbies. I didn’t want to be stinking of bug spray while at my mother’s, since she does have respiratory issues, so I didn’t use any when I headed out.

I have never been attacked by such swarms of mosquitoes before – and being eaten alive by the buggers is par for the course these days!

Where are all the dragonflies? They usually show up in droves to eat the mosquitoes, but I’ve only seen one so far, this year! I suspect they, too, were negatively affected by our horrible spring.

I practically ran through my rounds, and it wasn’t until I was in the safety of my mother’s car and on the road that I realized I was leaving more then half an hour earlier than planned.

No matter. It gave me time to top up her gas tank and pick up one of those 5 Hour Energy thingies. I was going to need it. I was still early, but my mother was more than happy to be unhooked.

We finished off the questionnaire that came with the tester. These were questions on how easy or not it was to use the machine, how comfortable or not it was to sleep with, and so one. Once she was set up last night, my mother was quite fine with it, though the pulse oximeter did come off her finger, even with the tape, once during the night.

Getting the tape off was not easy. In hindsight, when I put it on, I should have deliberately folded under a corner to have something to grab onto. The tape is very light and flexible, the adhesive works quite well, and my mother’s skin is very loose and stretchy!

That done, I encouraged my mother to go back to bed after I left, then headed for the city. Once I got to the place, it was just a quick drop off with the most cheerful and friendly employee I’ve seen in ages. 😁

Since driving over an hour to take less than a minute to drop off the kit would have been quite the waste of gas, I took advantage of the situation. I am rarely in this area of the city, so I headed to a liquidation centre that was on my way back out.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

With this place, there is no way of knowing what will be available at any given time. On this trip, if I’d had the budget – or counter space – for it, I could have gotten a great deal on all kinds of Cuisinart kitchen appliances. I didn’t even bother looking at the clothing section. I did go through a section where they have things like household linens, tools, paint supplies, hunting and fishing gear, etc. I was very tempted by some heavy duty interlocking floor mats to put over our horrible kitchen floor, but it just wasn’t something I could justify picking up this time around.

I didn’t get a lot while I was there, but what I did get was mostly for our “stockpile.” I got a couple of big boxes of granola type bars. I used to get them fairly regularly at Costco, where they used to cost about $15 a box. The prices have gone up, but I haven’t look at them in ages. Here, they were at $9 a box, so I got two. I didn’t bring any ice packs along, so I wasn’t going to get a lot of refrigerated stuff, though there wasn’t a lot to choose from this time, but I did pick up some farmer’s sausages and the like. The AC works in my mother’s car. 😉 Some extra toothpaste made it into the cart, as well as a nice big box of English Breakfast tea. 😊

The big savings on this trip was on two items. The first was canned beans. The same brand name I have been getting at Costco in 9 packs, where they used to be just under a dollar a can, but the prices have gone up even at Costco. I haven’t been there this month yet, so I don’t know by how much, but at the local grocery stores, they are at just over $2 a can now. Even at Walmart, they’re at just under $2 a can. I found them at 89 cents a can. The cases were open, but they held 18 cans. I filled a case with two different flavours, though there was a third flavour available, too.

Then I found a display of bouillon cubes. In the local grocery stores, they are about $1.30 for a box, which isn’t a bad price at all. I like to keep a selection of them handy in the cupboard; chicken, beef, vegetable and mushroom. They had all but the mushroom, and at a very good price, but the vegetable cubes were on a limited time “4-for-” deal that worked out to 49 cents a package.

I picked up eight.

Once done there, my next stop was a Walmart, where I got mostly cat food. We should now have enough dry cat food for the month (for the amount we get, stocking up for longer than a month is very difficult), but I still want to pick up one more Costco sized case of wet cat food. For the pantry, I picked up a couple of big cans of iced tea mix. They’re cheaper at Walmart than Costco, and in the summer, my husband and I go through them pretty fast. Our daughters prefer iced coffee. 😄

They also had good supply of the large bottles of hydrogen peroxide, which we use to shock our hot water tank, so I got a couple more of those, as well as adding to our supply of painkillers.

All in all, a productive trip. After this, we’ll need to go over our supplies and make a final Costco shopping list. I should finally be able to use the van, so I’ll be able to stop at Canadian Tire and get more stove pellets for the litter boxes. Those bags last a long time! I likely won’t be able to make the trip until next week, though.

Tonight, we have three cats to put on fasts. Potato Beetle, Tissue and Big Rig have their date with the vet tomorrow morning. Potato Beetle is still in the sun room, so he’s easy enough to take care of, but we’ll have to keep Tissue and Big Rig with me overnight, as I have a door to close. Unfortunately, Tissue in particular has been aggressive towards Nosencrantz and Butterscotch – both of whom still refuse to leave the room.

I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep tonight.

Ah, well.

In other things, on seeing predictions for rain on the horizon, my daughters moved the bench I built under the market tent for me. There isn’t much room under there with the picnic bench, but it should at least stay dry enough that we can finally paint it. Which I was hoping to do this afternoon, except now we’re under a tornado watch. 😮 I don’t think it applies to our specific area – the watches are very general – but we do have high winds right now. Perhaps tomorrow, after dropping the cats off at the vet, we’ll be able to finally start painting that bench!

Funny how much of what we can or can’t do depends on the weather.

Anyhow. I’m just glad I got the trip to the city done, and was able to add a bit more to our supplies!

The Re-Farmer

Too wet, and a nice surprise

This morning, it looked like I’d be getting more of a day of rest than I wanted. I hoped to at least do some weed trimming. It rained last night again, however, and… well…

There’s just too much water. The vehicle gate into the yard is usually the first place to have water, but there’s enough that it’s backing up into the path along this garden bed. For the water to be high enough to do that, it means all behind the garage and in front of the outhouse is water. It’s also pooling in front of the low raised beds where the old wood pile used to be, though the newly transplanted ground cherries seem to be okay; the mulch seems to be absorbing the moisture and keeping them from being in a pool of water. The grass is getting so tall, most of the water is hidden, but we’ve got open water all over the inner yard. Mowing is just not going to be an option. The weed trimming I intended to do around the squash transplants isn’t going to happen. That lilac by the storage house has a pool of water under it again. Even the spirea on the opposite corner has water under them. The grapes are above the water level, at least. Checking the trellises and the trees, it looks like we lost at least 1 luffa to the wet. Interestingly, the sliver buffalo berry is handling it just fine. Even the saplings that are in pools of water are have leaf buds opening.

The mosquitoes weren’t too bad, thanks to the wind, so I was able to check the Korean Pine without being eaten alive.

I found a surprise next to one of them.

All the white flowers in this photo?

Strawberries. We’ve got a whole big patch of strawberries growing here!

In previous years, when I was able to keep a lane to the back gate mowed, this area had Black Eyed Susan, a local wildflower, growing here. I’d even see patched of daisies. But never strawberries! To suddenly see so many makes me quite happy.

Once back inside, I hoped to be able to take things a big easy, since working outside wasn’t much of an option, but of course, that didn’t happen.

My mother phoned. She’d gotten the call about the sleep test the doctor wrote her up for, but she’d forgotten about it. Thankfully, she told them she’d talked to me about whether she should do it at all first, rather than just telling them she didn’t need the test. She gave me the number and I called them back. It turns out they can send the test machine directly to my mother, and that was looing good – until it came to how it’s paid for. They take payment by credit card, and don’t send the machine out until the payment is made. My mother doesn’t have a credit card. Neither do I. There is still the option of picking it up and paying for it in person, but they need 2 days notice, so that the machine will be ready and waiting for pick up. Which I could do, but I emailed my brother first, just in case. He has a credit card and might be able to get that done and my mother can pay him back later. Whatever we work out, we’ll call them back about it.

Then I read another email from my he’s sent earlier. It was about the beg bug treatment schedule, including a date. I had no idea there was a date – and it’s the same day someone is supposed to be coming out to see my mother for a home care assessment.

So I called my mother back, updated her on the sleep test thing, then talked to her about the bed bug date. She needed to call my sister to make arrangements to stay there for a couple of nights, so that she won’t be exposed to the spray. She said others in her building just stay in the lobby, but I reminded her, she can’t do that, because of her health issues. She finally understood. So while she called my sister to make the arrangements, I had to find a number to call about changing the home care assessment appointment. The problem is, there is no public number directly to the home care department. Even with the guy that called me, the call display showed “private caller”, so there’s no number there. I tried calling the clinic to do it through them, but they must be really busy, because no one was answering the phone. Finally, I found a central number for our health region and left a message – the call went straight to voice mail – and left a message.

So now I’m basically keeping a handset handy and waiting to hear back.

I really dislike talking on the phone. 😀 Ah, well.

So I guess things being too wet to get work done outside is a bonus for today.

I’d really rather be outside, fighting mosquitoes while mowing the lawn, than waiting for more phone calls, to be honest!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: Latte corn, green bush beans, Yakteen gourds – and we’re officially done!

Yes!! It’s done! I can now officially say, we have finished spring planting and transplanting everything! Whether we do a fall planting or not, we’ll decide on later, but right now, everything that will be growing this year is in.

Not that the work is done, but the focus gets to change, and the pressure to get it all in, in time, is gone.

The first thing to get done was finish the bed for the last of the corn and beans.

It took another 3 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of soil to top of the rest of the bed. You can really see the difference between what we laid down earlier, and got rained on. I’d taken out the rest of the sod divots, but we still need to gather the rocks.

The bowl in the photo is holding some of the inoculated Latte bi-colour corn seeds. It came as a pack of 200, but that’s less than half the pack, and some went back into the bag. The corn was planted in the three rows in the middle, that are marked off. The plan was to have bush beans on either side, but we only had enough of the Lewis green beans from last year to fill the one side.

The only other beans we had were pole beans, so we left the last row.

Also, I’ve run out of labels that won’t fade in the sun. It’s a good thing I’m using this blog as a gardening journal! 😀

Now, all that’s left here is to mulch the area with straw.

I then decided to go ahead and transplant the Yakteen gourd. The were 4 sprouts in one pot, while the other two pots still had nothing!

The largest plant went into an empty spot in a row of cantaloupe type melons (one of the grocery store melons we saved seeds from), because one of the seedlings withered and died before we could transplant them.

The two smallest seedlings were planted together. Here, they are in a pair of empty spots in one of the rows of Kaho watermelon. The seeds in those spots never germinated, so the space is being used for the gourds.

It feels so good to be all done planting!

Which meant it was time to work on other things…

One of the low raised beds did not have supports of netting yet, so I dug out the rest of the bamboo stakes in the garden shed and use the unbroken ones. This bed has all summer squash, and it not something I expect we’ll need to cover for any reason, so we just need supports to put netting around it, if we need to. Last year, the groundhogs were enjoying themselves some squash, but nothing was bothering the plants, so if we need to put netting around them, it wont be until they are quite a bit larger.

In the low raised beds with the upright supports, it didn’t have the twine strung around yet. Because of the logs, the spacing was really off. I ended up grabbing a couple of sticks, which the arrows are pointing to, to fill in the gaps.

The hoops in the background got a couple of bamboo stakes tied across the tops.

Now, all of these beds have supports on them, whether for netting or shade cloth or whatever we need.

I think we’ll take a bit of a break and let things dry up a bit. I’d still like to take the weed washer into the larger squash bed before we lay the straw mulch down.

Then we need to put the A frame supports at the two trellises beyond the bean tunnel, for the cucumbers, peas and more pole beans, as well as mulch the hulless pumpkins that got planted out there, too.

I’d be excited for the progress, but I’m just too tired. I’ve been pushing my limits a lot, lately, and it’s catching up with me. A bit of a breather, and I should be back up to snuff in no time.

She says, optimistically… 😉

On top of this, it’s been a busy phone day. My husband had a phone appointment with the doctor to talk about his lab results, and a slight change to one of his medications because of it. Then my husband made another phone appointment… for me! I was outside, weeding, when the call came, so he sent me messages to let me know, but with muddy hands, even if I get the notifications, I can’t check my phone until I’ve washed my hands. It’s a good thing I came in when I did! The appointment was to talk about my own lab results, but first I got a call from home care to talk about my mother. The guy then called my mother and booked an appointment for and assessment next week, which he has asked me to be at. Then he called me back with the appointment time – and a concern. Because of her bed bugs, he’s going to have to be wearing the appropriate PPE, but they wouldn’t consider even doing an assessment if the potential client wasn’t going to do anything about their bed bugs. My mother told him she didn’t have an appointment, because when they asked (who? when?) in her building, who had noticed bed bugs in their units, she didn’t say anything – because she didn’t want to bother anybody!

*sigh*

I explained to him what my brother had done, and that it’s being arranged by schedule. I ended up getting the name of the site manager for her town, which I was able to pass on to my brother.

Then I had my telephone appointment with the clinic, which was basically to tell me nothing has changed. I consistently have one reading that is “on the high side”, but still within normal, so they want to keep an eye on it. All because, back in 2005 or 2006, I took a short term medication with a side effect the doctor wanted to monitor for the duration. Ever since then, everyone’s misunderstood why that was on my file.

One of the other things I did was send an email to the company I ordered the shed from. I asked a couple of questions about the amount charges and what shipping company would be used. Mostly, I’m feeling the waters to see what kind of response I get. Given the time frame for when we’re supposed to receive the boxes, if I don’t get a response soon, I will assume they are not legit and cancel the order and ask for my money back. The problem is that, in looking them up, I’ve found both that they are a scam site, and that they are not the best, but not fake, either.

Ah, well. We’ll find out soon enough.

The Re-Farmer

Long day, but the trees are in!

Oh, my goodness, what a day. And it’s not even 4pm as I start writing this!

Since I was heading to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were on the short side. It was pretty chilly out there, with rain expected, so I didn’t take the plants outside, just in case. I’m glad I didn’t, because the “light showers” we were expected to get turned into a series of downpours. :-/

A grader had made its first pass before I left, which made it easier on my mother’s car on the gravel roads, including where the water is crossing over the road again, in two places. I left early enough to put some gas in the tank of her car. That was painful. Just the other day, the prices in her town went from 188.9/L to 197.9/L One US gallon is 3.78L, and at the current exchange rate, that works out to US$5.94/gallon. Other parts of Canada are now above $2/L, so we are by no means the most expensive gas in the country.

Still, it makes for a painful fill at the pump! Most of which got used up by the time I got home again.

The visit to the doctor went all right. Medical facilities are still forced to have mandatory masks. I probably would have been okay if I just needed to go to the clinic, but I also needed to go to the lab, and they aren’t allowed to accept exemptions. Which is illegal, but that hasn’t stopped our current government from doing whatever it wanted before, and they’re not stopping now. I wore my Mingle Mask. One of the receptionists – who had her own mask pulled down every chance she could – complimented me and said she missed being able to read lips. I got my bloodwork requisition then went to the lab, and they were fine with it, too. My mother, who shouldn’t be wearing a mask either, wore hers under her nose. No one said a thing. Not even while in the examination room.

My mom was very confused when we came in to see a young woman, and thought we were taken to the wrong room. It turned out she was a student who is working with our doctor as part of her training. I’d helped my mother make a list of what she wanted to talk about, then took a picture of the list. I’m glad I did, because she didn’t bring it, though she did bring another, completely different one. By the time the student was taking my mother’s blood pressure, my mother was saying, “so… Dr. ___ didn’t want to see me, then…” The student reassured her that the doctor would be seeing her; he was just with another patient.

He did come in later, and we talked for a while longer. Then he made sure to explain to me what he wanted to change up, because there’s no way my mother would remember any of it – and might even choose to ignore. I’ll pass it on to my siblings, and between us, we should be able to get my mother to understand. It just takes a while.

That done, with a quick side trip to the lab for my mother, we headed out. I had fasted for my bloodwork, so we were going to go for lunch, but we made a quick stop at a hardware store. I picked up a box of bed bug traps. Other apartments in the building she’s in have been sprayed for bed bugs, and now we’re finding out she has them, but she cleans her bed really, really well, so she’s fine… *sigh* The more I talk to her about it, the more details she brings up, the more horrified I am. Meanwhile, she’s all proud of herself for being so thorough in cleaning her bed and mattress, and squishing so many of them… *sigh* The traps are mostly as a check to confirm, and won’t get rid of them, but it’s a step forward. She’ll have something to show. My brother and I have been really stressing that she needs to call the housing department that owns her building so her apartment can be treated, but she thinks she can handle it herself.

After picking up the trap, we had lunch – breakfast for me – then started home. I had mentioned to her that I had live trees to pick up at the post office, but suddenly she was wanting to make side trips to other towns. I said no; if we’re going to do stuff like that, we have to plan for it ahead of time. I started getting the lecture of how when I am with her, I need to make it a “holiday”, to spend just with her. By which she means, do anything and everything she wants to do. It’s not “holiday” for me at all, nor do I want it to be. I have too much work to do to lose entire days at her beck and call. At least today, it was rainy, so there’s little we can do outside right now, but those trees need to be picked up, and we need to get at them as quickly at possible, even if the holes we dug for them are too full of water to do any transplanting today.

She still got me to stop at another hardware store and pick up some soil for her, to top up her houseplants. The bags are all in outdoor garden centre displays, in the rain, which meant I got my nice white hoodie and new coat all muddy. :-/ Ah, well.

Once I got her home, I set up the traps, then went over her medications with her before finally heading to the post office, driving through a few more downpours along the way, then home.

Can you believe there are 41 trees in here? !!! I’ve got it next to the box that the highbush cranberry, sunchokes and sweet potato slips came in, for perspective.

Looking at the forecasts, we’ve got three more days where the overnight lows will be too cold to transplant any of our vegetables, but we’ll be able to work on these trees, instead. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get them all done in one day.

So much to do; so little time to do it! Especially with the weather not co-operating!

The Re-Farmer

A few surprises today, and wet, wet, wet!

Since I was wanting to go to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were cut a bit short.

That and the ground was just too wet for all of my usual checks.

It wasn’t raining quite yet, but I decided to NOT put our transplants out. With all the pots in bins and trays to water them from below, the bins already had more water in them than they probably should have, just from what rain we got yesterday. Some of them are on baking trays, which are easier to tip and drain at least some of the water out. With the bins, we’d have to remove all the pots to be able to drain it, and I would rather we didn’t knock them about too much. Especially the pots that are made to be planted directly into the soil. When they get wet, they are a lot more fragile and basically fall apart.

So today, they stay indoors.

I did remember to grab the bag with what’s left of our wood shavings to put a light mulch where the peas were planted yesterday. After switching out the memory card on the corner cam, I popped through the barbed wire fence to check on things.

The most obvious was that the “road closed, local traffic only” sign is gone.

The stand is still there. Just the sign has been removed. The stand had already been blown to the side of the road by wind, heavy as it is. I guess they’ll come back for it later. I don’t think the road has been repaired, though. I think the water levels have just finally dropped low enough.

The area in front of where the corner cam is, is where I’d sown a western wildflower mix in the fall, and I was hoping to see if anything was coming up.

I’m still not sure, but…

… we have strawberries! There are quite a few, all around. We don’t mow this area often, but I’m sure I’d have noticed strawberries if I’d seen them before, and deliberately not mown there. There were a few other things growing that didn’t look familiar, but it’s hard to say. With last year’s drought and heat waves, following even more years with lack of spring rains going back well before we moved here, it’s entirely possible that our current wet conditions mean that things that had been dormant are now finally sprouting. When I had the chance, I looked up the description for the seeds I got. It has 16 varieties native to Western Canada, but only 7 are listed.

Well, we’ll find out eventually! I’m just happy to see strawberries growing there.

I then checked out that really bad spot on the road that’s close to us. It was very muddy, and it’s getting longer, but it still looked like I could drive around it on one side. It did convince me to use our van instead of my mother’s car. Her car is lower to the ground, and I didn’t want to drag her undercarriage on some of the muddy ruts left behind by heavy trucks.

The funny thing is, I got a call from my brother later this morning. He was at work but, he knew I planned to go to my mother’s. Having driven through that spot himself just a couple of days ago, he called to recommend I take the van instead of my mother’s car, because it’s so much lower and we wouldn’t want to catch anything in the undercarriage on those ruts…

I love my brother. 😀

I also wanted to leave early enough to hit the post office first. While at the store, I picked up another bale of wood shavings and some black oil seed for the birds. Then I remembered to ask about bale twine. We’ve been using some light sisal cord for most things, but I wanted something more durable. There wasn’t any bale twine in the store, but the owner went to check in the house behind the store (I guess inventory is stored there now; the previous owner used to live there), which gave me time to load the big stuff into the van. While I did that, a Canada Post van arrived. As I went back to the counter to wait, the post master brought a package to me that had just come in, even though she hadn’t had a chance to process all the deliveries yet! That was very sweet of her.

It was also sweet of the owner to go check for me, as she came back with a pair of bale twine rolls. I hadn’t realize that size came in pairs. I’d always seen the larger ones. I asked for the smallest size; only 2800 yards. 😀

We’ll be set for a while!

The package I got was our perishable stock order from T&T Seeds, including two highbush cranberry trees. As I was writing the above, my younger daughter came by to talk about them, and now she’s outside in the rain, transplanting them!

What a sweetheart!

Once I had everything bought and paid for, it was off to my mother’s, picking up some fried pierogi for lunch (it was too early for the usual fried chicken I get as our lunch treat) on the way. My mother was already waiting for her telephone doctor’s appointment! The appointment was at 11:50. She thought it was at 10:50. When she realized we still had about an hour for the call, she dove right into those pierogi – all the while telling me she should probably stop eating pierogi, because the last time she did, that night she had severe stomach pains. Which as never happened before, but every time she has some sort of physical discomfort, she blames it on whatever food she most recently ate. :-/

Then the phone rang. The doctor called almost an hour early!

It turned out to be a fairly short call. My mother’s back is feeling much better now, though she insists the painkillers she was prescribed, have not been helping her at all. The doctor asked the expected questions about if she had twisted it, lifted something heavy, or done anything that might have triggered it. He was looking at her Xrays and couldn’t see anything that would explain the pain. The way he described it, she just has a 90 yr old back! He mentioned arthritis, but I don’t think she heard him.

Ultimately, though, he wants her to come in, in person, as it’s been a long time since she’s been to the doctor. My mother was already talking about doing exactly that. Normally, she would have to phone the clinic and talked to a receptionist to book that – though I would have been the one to actually make the call – and he did start to say that, but then changed track and simply named a date and time. It worked for us, so in a few days, I’ll be driving my mother in for that.

Hopefully, using her smaller car instead of my van, though!

Once that was booked, that was it. We were done, and much earlier than expected.

So we finished our lunch, then headed out to run errands. My mother had three places to go, and was a real trooper about climbing into our van! Especially since the van has no hand grips, like her car does. Getting out was a lot easier, but I had to insist, each time we stopped, that she wait until I brought the walker around before trying to climb out. The last stop was the grocery store, and for that I go in and get a shopping cart and bring it over for her to use as a walker, instead.

Having looked at the weather forecasts, I took advantage of being there to pick up a few little things, too, just in case I’m not able to make the rest of our stock up shopping in the city. That should be tomorrow, but we’ll see.

You know what I didn’t buy today?

Tinned meat.

Because, WOW the prices have gone up!

Cdn$4.49 is currently US$3.54 Those tins are 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces
Cdn$4.99 is $3.94 Those are 213 grams, or 7.5 ounces
Cdn$6.49 is US$5.12, for 340 grams, or 12 ounces

Small town grocery stores tend to be more expensive anyhow, but this is almost double what I last saw them at.

When my mother was almost done her own shopping, I quickly went through the till with my own stuff to get those put away in the van first. While chatting with the cashier, the increase in prices came up. He told me the prices have been going up daily! This store is affiliated with a larger franchise, so they don’t control the prices, but the whole point of being affiliated with a franchise is to be able to get inventory at lower wholesale prices, so retail prices can be lower.

Which means the wholesale prices have jumped significantly.

Thankfully, my mother only needs to buy enough for herself, and with me there to help out, she got extra in a lot of things, to stock up. She didn’t even look at the meat section, though. She’s convinced herself that meat, especially red meat, is bad, but she’ll buy deli meats or sausages instead of fresh meat. *sigh*

The main thing is that she is now stocked up for the next week or so. With her back giving her grief, she might supplement with Meals on Wheels every now and then, too.

It was raining every so slightly when I left my mother’s, but I found myself driving through several areas of heavy rain on the highway home. I’m so glad I didn’t take the transplants out this morning! The gravel roads were just soaked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more sections degraded until they were like the bad patch near our place. I messaged the family before heading out, and the girls were waiting for me at the garage with the wagon to help bring things in, since it was too muddy to drive up to the house to unload.

Just a few minutes ago, the girls came in – soaking wet! – to let me know they finished transplanting the highbush cranberry, as per the instructions that came with the trees. They planted them at the opposite end of the rows originally planned, because it has somewhat less water there, though they still had to shovel out as much water from the holes as they could. The holes they dug were mostly gravel, so the wheelbarrow of garden soil I had ready for something else was used instead of putting all the gravel back in the hole. The last of the bag of wood shavings I’d used to mulch the peas was used to mulch the cranberries. Hopefully, they will take root well enough.

It may be a couple of days before we can plant the sun chokes and sweet potato slips. The forecast says “light rain”, but it’s also supposed to be chillier than today. The sunchokes could probably handle it, but I’m not sure the sweet potato slips will. These are supposed to be a variety suited to our climate zone, but they’re still not a cool weather crop.

And we still need to get those potatoes in, but the package said not to plant them until temperatures are above 10C/50F. Looking at the 14 day trend, we won’t have overnight temperatures above that until June 7 – over a week from now! They will be under deep mulch, though, so that should protect them. I hope.

So much to get done, in a very short time, and the weather is not cooperating!

Well, we’ll do what we can. Little by little, it’ll get done.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: peas, carrots, onions and more prep

One of things we started indoors were the four seeds we managed to save from the King Tut purple peas we tried to grow last year. All for successfully germinated, and were really needing to be either transplanted, or potted up.

Potting up didn’t make sense for these, so today, they got transplanted! Being peas, they are frost hardy, so we didn’t have to wait until after our last frost date.

I did change were they were meant to be planted. I was originally thinking of using the same pea trellis we used for them last year, but there’s just 4 of them, so we’ll save the trellises for the green peas we’ve got.

As the purple peas were already looking to climb, I decided to put them here.

This is where we grew tomatoes very successfully last year, and tomatoes will be grown here again this year. It got completely reworked in the fall.

This bed was going to get a mulch of wood shavings, too, but I also did the concrete blocks on the other side of the small gate, too.

We’ll be looking at planting some climbers in here, that can use the fence as a trellis.

The bag of wood shavings left over from last year got finished off in the long bed, and most of the new bag got used up, too! There was enough to mulch the haskaps (the male haskap is blooming!) and there’s still a bit left over.

All the mulch got watered as I laid it out, as the wind was picking up and threatening to blow it away. Once it was laid down, all the mulch got watered again, multiple times, as I worked.

Of course, the bed didn’t stay looking pretty like this for long!

This bed is going to be intensely and strategically planted! Along with the purple peas, there will be tomatoes planted all along the fence. Just inside where the tomatoes will go, there will be carrots, as they are good companion plants. On the outer edge, near the bricks, will be onions, as a critter deterrent.

In the bowl are the last of the pelleted Kyoto Red seeds from last year.

Clearing out a row to plant the carrots was a bit of a challenge, as there were sticks in with the leaf mulch that had to be removed. With pelleted seed, the carrots could be spaced as they were planted. I still got only half way down the row before running out of seeds. The other half is now planted with Napoli carrots; another pelleted variety from last year. With the Napoli, there are still a LOT of seeds left, so we have the option of tucking them around other things, too. We have 2 other new varieties that are not pelleted seed, so I will likely use cornstarch gel to help plant those.

There were not a lot of the Oneida yellow onions we started from seed to transplant, but it was still close to the half way mark. Of the onions we stared from seed, we have one tray or red onions left, but there’s quite a few of those, and I didn’t want to split them up. We also had a few shallots started from seed – a whole 7 of them survived – so I used those, and there’s still half the row left. We have shallot sets, too, so I’m thinking of using some of those to finish off the row. That will be another job for tomorrow!

As for the peas, I cut some of the plastic bottles from distilled water we have so many of, to put around the peas, to protect them from the wind. One of them blew away while I was transplanting onions. I’d tried to push it into the soil, but there turned out to be too many little sticks in the leaf litter. 😀 Once I got that fixed, I added the sticks to help keep them from blowing away. They are the sticks sold for toasting marshmallows, broken in half. We got a package for cookouts last year, but I’ve been using them as supports for some of the taller squash and gourd plants that were starting to flop around a bit. They work really well for that!

This bed now has only tomatoes to be transplanted into it, and that won’t be until after our June 2 last frost date, just to be on the safe side. We will be adding netting after the tomatoes are planted. The decorative wire garden fencing that you see in one of the photos above will be placed right up against the bricks, to hold the net away from the net, which will be attached to the top of the fence. The tomatoes and onions should be fine, but the carrots will need to be protected from critters. The net won’t stop a determined groundhog, but between that, the onions and the carrots, we hope the greedy buggers will decide they’re not worth the effort!

While I was working on this, my younger daughter was working on one of the low raised beds in the main garden area.

The girls cleaned up these beds last year, and this one was the worst for crab grass.

It still was. It took my poor daughter hours to get it done, diligently and carefully pulling up all the roots she could. Unlike me, she’s agile enough that she can kneel down on the ground to work, but she still knackered her back in the process. Once inside, she ended up having to put on her corset she made for herself, to use as a back brace just so she could sit upright at the table! She plans to continue with other beds tomorrow, and will likely just wear the darn thing from the start.

Her sister ended up helping me bring the transplants back inside after everything we done. She was up sick much of the night, but was finally feeling better. It was a bit of a juggle, since the chitting potatoes were sitting on the platform the seed trays and most of the bins sits on. Those had to go outside and onto the roof of the cats’ house until all the transplants were brought into the sun room, then we had to figure out how to fit the potatoes back in! Some ended up on the swing bench under the platform. Potato Beetle has lost his favourite bed for now. 😀

I fully expect we will expand our garden again, next year, which means starting more seeds indoors. Having at least a small, portable greenhouse is going to be increasingly a necessity! We almost got one this year, but the funds ended up being reallocated. Mind you, we still haven’t gone into the old hay loft, where my brother tells me there is the frame for a carport. If all the parts and pieces are there, we’d just need to get the plastic, and we’ll have a polytunnel. I can’t get up into the hayloft anymore – my body is too broken to clamber up there – so I’ll have to ask the girls to do it.

Well… that last paragraph got quite the interruption. I hadn’t realized my mother had phoned and left a message while we were working outside. She called again. It seems the painkillers the doctor prescribed for her back pain are not helping at all, and she’s in a lot of pain. Can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t lie down… She’s convinced the doctor gave her the wrong medication. She called the pharmacist, and he assured her she got the right meds. I guess she now thinks the prescription was a mistake? So tomorrow morning, when the clinic is open, I’ll give them a call. Hopefully, either her doctor, or the doctor that saw her in the ER, will be available to call her today and talk to her about it.

My husband is feeling very sympathetic for her. She’s entering his world, and is completely unprepared for it.

My plans for tomorrow may be changing, if I find myself having to drive my mother somewhere!

The Re-Farmer