Exhausted, and Facebook thieves.

This is why I’m exhausted. At least physically.

It was too windy to start taking down trees, though from a direction that allowed me to take the transplants out. So instead, I started mowing the driveway and outer yard. The inner yard really needs a mow, too, but not as urgently as the outer yard. That and I had the gate open for a prescription delivery, so that gave me a chance to mow all the way to the road, which is behind me in the picture above.

You can really see how far I had been able to scythe and mow the grass last year, and where I couldn’t. I was basically mowing old hay with fresh grass growing through it, which meant constant back and forthing in small sections to get it done.

This will need to be raked up so it doesn’t smother the grass below. I am quite happy to have it for mulch!

I mowed until I ran out of gas a second time and then just stopped. I was physically done for the day! Thankfully, today was a cooler day – as I write this, we’ve reached our forecasted high of 18C/64F – making it much more pleasant to work in. That’s about average for this time of year. The next couple of days are supposed to be in the 28-29C/82-84F range. The record high for today is 30C/86F, but the record low is -3C/27F, so I’m not about to complain!

Before I started on the mowing, I had to head into town to get more cat kibble. We ran out of outside cat kibble awfully fast for an 11kg bag. I had gone into town a couple days ago and looked for some, but a 9kg bag was almost $44, so I figured I could wait. This morning, however, I finished off the bin for the outside cats – and that was after adding the last of the kibble from a bag for the inside cats. They still have enough in a bin to last until I can do the big shop, plus wet cat food, but there was no more spare for the outside cats.

While I was in town a couple of days ago, which was Victoria Day and a statutory holiday I completely forgot about, my daughter gave me her wallet and asked me to pick up some hoagies for her.

I wasn’t able to do that.

The entire section was completely empty!

I was also finding other sections strangely empty – until I thought about it and realized that the empty shelves were basically all for BBQ/picnic type stuff, including certain condiments. I’m thinking some organization was having a big first BBQ of the year and cleaned out the supply!

So I went to a different store today, hoping to find kibble at a better price. The same brand name 9kg bag was even more expensive, but they did have a house brand that was a reasonable price.

While I was there, I went ahead and looked to see if they had any hoagies. They had lots, but…

… I just about had a heart attack over that price! Those bags aren’t any bigger than the ones the other store normally carries.

Yes, the labels on this brand say Smokies. We call them hoagies.

No, I didn’t buy any.

Yikes!

While I was there, I ran into someone that I know that works there, and he started asking me if I was moving.

Yup. My Facebook thief was at it again, with posts listing items for a moving sale. The same post they’ve sent out at least twice before, that I know of.

I’ve had friends send me screen captures of all the stuff I’m supposedly selling. I had sent a friend request to this person from my new account which, understandably, he ignored. Usually, it’s the friend request from someone already on your friends list that is the fake! So I told him what happened, and asked him to report my old account and any strange posts like this. He then told me that he started to suddenly get Messenger messages from someone on his friends list that were very odd. Asking for help, much like the message that fooled me. He’d been ignoring them, since this was someone who normally never communicates with him, but suddenly he was getting all these messages asking “why won’t you answer?”, etc.

I had also had a chance this morning to talk on the phone with a friend from where we lived before moving here. On seeing strange posts from “me” about giving away a PS5 because I caught my “boyfriend” cheating me, she actually DM’s “me” to ask if I was okay, and what happened with my husband. The thief tried to pretend to be me and said “I” got a divorce because “I” caught my husband (no longer a boyfriend? πŸ˜„) cheating on me. It became pretty clear this was not me, and she asked for my husband’s name and where did she live, only to have the person start playing a guilt try, saying things like “why are you asking me all these questions”. So I was able to clear that up with her, too.

When I was outside mowing, the pharmacy delivery driver arrived, and we talked for a while. He saw the “moving sale” I was supposedly having, too. I asked him to report my original page and any posts from it. By this time, because people were getting confused with my new account and old account (my new account’s name was almost identical to my old account) I had changed my display name a bit. Hopefully, people would still recognize that it’s me, but not get mixed up with the old account.

One of the things that I noticed about the screencaps of comments people are sending me, is that there are people showing interest in these items “I” am selling, but I have no idea who they are. They are not on my original friends list. Either they got added after my account was stolen, or the thief is using other stolen or fake account to leave comments and make the scam post look legitimate.

It might be working.

As I was writing this post, I got a message from another friend, with screen captures of someone commenting about the PS5 giveaway, saying he’d take it and offering to pay for shipping. This was an online friend I’d already reconnected with, but not someone I know in person, so I quickly sent him a message, explaining about the screencap of his comments. I thought there might be several possibilities: either he really did think this was me (even though I messaged him about my stolen account after sending a friend request), he knew it wasn’t me and was trying to play the thief, it was being posted by a cloned account, or his account was stolen, like mine was.

It turned out he’d been tricked!

I’m so glad I stopped working on this post to message him right away, because while we were chatting, the thief contacted him and asked for $61 for shipping.

And this is why these scammers steal accounts. Some people actually fall for their fake posts, and send them money, thinking they are sending money to someone they know.

He responded by telling them to F off. Then he sent me the response he got to that…

“You sound skeptic from your last message, that very wrong if you think am here to play you or just trying to take advantage of you. When I know how people work hard nowadays to get money, I will never think of taking someone advantages over you and playing you, please take that out off your mind that is really awful thing on the earth that I will never think about doing.”

As if that weren’t enough, while I was chatting with my friend that sent me the screencaps, and the guy who almost got scammed, I got a message from someone I don’t know, but we have a mutual friend (I have my settings so that “friends of friends” can contact me). They saw the moving sale list and were interested in the 55″ TV and wanted to know the make and model number. How they ended up DMing me to my new account, instead of my original account, I don’t know, but I’m glad it worked out that way. I told them about the stolen account and asked them to report it. When I found out about the other person getting the message about sending money for shipping, I let them know about that, too. Not long after, they let me know that they told my thief that they were reporting them, and the thief took the ad down.

So it looks like, when they make these posts and tag people on my original friends list, the posts show up on their profile pages, and their friends can see it, too. Which would explain the people I don’t know being able to comment on “my” posts – they’re commenting through someone else’s page. The farther removed the viewers are from the stolen account, the easier for them to be tricked, since they don’t know me and wouldn’t recognize that these are not things I would normally post. The friend I talked to on the phone this morning told me she had gone looking through my old profile page, trying to figure out what was going on. She noticed that a lot of things that she saw me sharing in the past (I hit the share button a lot!) were gone, leaving only innocuous posts about Advent or other holidays. Even the posts she saw before, like the one where “I” was giving away a PS5 because of a cheating boyfriend were gone. Those ones get reported so much, Facebook might actually be taking them down, too.

You’d think, with so many people reporting the account as hacked, me reporting it as stolen from me, and even my finally being able to send in proof of ID, Facebook would finally clue in that there’s a problem with this account. But nope. Even with the ID part, where it says the identify confirmation is done by both automated systems and a real human being, did not seem to work. They seemed to think I was trying to recover my new account, not my original account. You have to be logged out to go through this process, but you still start from the “recover your account” stage, where I would have found my original account (which I can do because I got a notification telling me what my primary email address had been changed to, but was never able to use the “if this wasn’t us, click here” option) and gone from there.

It is such a mess, and Facebook has been so incredibly useless. If it weren’t for the fact that someone is actively using my account, pretending to be me, while trying to scam people, this would be the thing to drive me off Facebook completely.

While going through all this, I am hearing from SO many people who have had their accounts hacked, stolen or cloned, or had strange messages from people similar to the one that fooled me.

With Facebook being so useless about recovering accounts, it’s no wonder. The scammers are having a field day.

Which all leaves me with another level of exhaustion. I am wasting so much time dealing with this.

The Re-Farmer

Got some stuff done, and a seedling mystery!

Well, I am just a sucker for punishment or something.

I headed out this afternoon and ended up checking the push mowers. We still have my mother’s old mower. We bought the other one when I simply couldn’t start it anymore. The prime pump needs to be replaced. Though that’s not the only thing wrong with it, it’s the one thing that keeps it from running.

After checking over the newer mower, I gassed it up and got it started. It took a while, but once it got going, it started on the first pull again, as usual. It needs a new air filter, and I was sure I had a spare, but can’t find it.

Then, since it was running and had gas, I decided to do a bit of mowing.

In the super tall and thick grass that never got mowed at all last year.

In what was probably the hottest part of the day. It’s past 6pm as I write this, and we’re at 29C/85F right now, so it was at least that, at the time.

My goal was to mow a lane to the barn, making sure to pass close to the pile of garden soil.

This is after I mowed over it twice, at two different heights, sending the clipped grass towards the middle for easier gathering. You can see in the foreground, where the grass is greener. That’s as far as we’d been able to mow, last year. The dried grass is all the thatch from last year. The green grass on the left is misleading; it’s just like the part that I mowed, with the new grass is tall enough to somewhat hide the thatch. In reality, it’s almost all dead, dry grass and hardly any fresh new grass.

I raked the clippings into piles; this is after my daughter had already hauled away several loads with the wagon. Once I finished raking, I grabbed the wheelbarrow to help with the rest. The clippings are now in the main garden area, ready to be used as a mulch.

We’re going to have to take the mower in for servicing. I can’t see the problem, but the self propeller won’t self propel anymore, and when I tried to use it, it made an awful racket. I remember now that it broke last year, but we hardly use the self propeller, so I forgot about it. Of course, getting an oil change, the blade sharpened, and a basic maintenance check would certainly be in order. At least it’s still useable. And if we can get my mother’s old mower fixed, we could have two people mowing at once. The refurbished riding mower my brother bought us when we first moved here, sadly, is toast. Not only does a chain keep falling off (when we had it looked at, we were told that, for the cost of fixing it up, it wasn’t worth it!), rendering it immobile, but the tires need replacing, too. They’ve become cracked, and now one of them is completely flat. If we can figure out where to put it, we should get it out of the garage workshop our mowers and blowers, etc. are stored in, because it takes up a lot of space!

Anyhow.

We got the small area we needed mowed clear; next priority is a path to the shed near the barn. Little by little, we’ll get the rest done, but the main thing is access to the garden soil pile and the barn. Raking up the clippings for use in the garden will help with the health of the grass, too, though it will likely take at least a couple more mows before we’ve dealt with all the old thatch.

That done, I did a bit of watering from the rain barrel. Hopefully, we’ll get that promised rain, because it’s going to need a refill!

The transplant trays in the sun room got watered, too. They didn’t dry up as much as if they had been outside today, but it still gets hot enough in there that, together with the fan and the cross breeze between the sun room and old kitchen doors, things dry out pretty quickly.

With the transplants, we have had a few losses. One of them was an African Drum gourd seedling that started dying when they were still set up in the living room. It never recovered, so I took the pot it was in and set it aside to make space in the tray. The pot, of course, dried out completely, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw green poking out! One of the drum gourd seeds that hadn’t germinated was breaking soil. So I found room for it in the tray with the one remaining luffa and watered it, and now there is a second seed germinating!

That was just one surprise, though. While tending the tomatoes, I found these.

A squash or gourd suddenly appeared in the pot on the right a couple of days ago, and now two more have shown up in the pot on the left!

I have no idea how these seeds got in there. I did reuse the seed starting mix from the few pots where seeds never germinated, mixing it in with the potting soil used to pot up the tomatoes, but I was pretty careful to remove anything larger from the potting soil. We’ve had issues with finding sticks and rocks in both the seed starting mix and the potting soil mix. Even when breaking up the soil from the used pots, I remember looking for the failed seeds and never found any, so I figured they’d rotted away. I have no idea what kind of squash these might even be, anymore. There are several possibilities.

Well, when the time comes, they’ll be transplanted and, if they survive, we’ll find out what they are!

With the heat we’ve been having, it is so tempting to start direct sowing – and we actually can direct sow the Montana Morado corn at the end of this week. My sister and her husband, who live south of us, but not as far south as my brother, put their garden in this past weekend. It’s traditional for a lot of people to put their gardens in on Mother’s Day weekend. For others, it’s the May long weekend – Victoria Day in most provinces – which is next weekend, but that’s still almost 2 weeks before our last frost date. As hot as it is today, we’ve now got a forecast a few days from now with a high of only 8C/46F and an overnight low of 3C/37F. Long range forecasts show days with highs of 23C/73F and overnight lows of 5C/41F, or 20C/68F highs followed by 4C/39F. That sort of temperature whiplash would be hard on our heat loving transplants, and we don’t have enough materials to protect them from the overnight chills.

Which is okay. We still have lots of work to do to prepare the existing beds, never mind build the new trellis tunnels we need for our climbers. One of the low raised beds is so full of weeds right now, you can hardly see where it is among the crab grass and weeds in the paths!

One of the things that keeps getting delayed is cutting the trees I need to make the trellis tunnel(s). Which is okay, because it gives me time to rework the design and construction in my mind. We talked about making low raised beds at the base of the tunnels 2 ft wide on the outside, with the tunnel’s vertical supports being part of the inside walls and a 4 ft wide path inside the tunnel. However, we’ve been working with beds at about 3 ft wide for growing space. I’m now thinking of going with beds 3 feet wide, with the tunnel’s vertical supports one foot in from the inside. This way, we can plant our climbers inside the tunnel, and still have 2 ft wide growing space on the outsides. That would add 2 feet to the horizontal distance between the vertical supports.

I think it’s doable, and the dimensions will better match the high raised beds we will be building.

In the end, the final decision will be based on what materials we can scrounge together.

We shall see how that works out!

The Re-Farmer

Chipping away, and a sick kitty update

Yesterday I got a call back from the third roofing company we want to get an estimate from for my brother, and arranged for him to come by today. With the gate having to be unlocked and open anyway, I took advantage of it to mow the driveway.

And then keep mowing.

And mowing.

And mowing some more!

As for the roof, we will get the estimate tomorrow. While chatting with him, I mentioned getting estimates several years ago, and what a difference it is, now. He told me that some things have gone up in price by 100% since then!

Once I get the numbers, I’ll pass them on to my brother and after that, it’s in the hands of him and my mother. Hopefully, she won’t decide to string us along again and back out of her promise to pay for it again. Prices will only keep going up. The north side of the roof, where the ice and snow melts away last, is looking really bad right now. If would be really good if we could get a new roof before winter.

I asked my daughters to switch from sleeping during the day and being up at night, so we can get more things done faster during the day. As I write this, my younger daughter is outside building a mini-kibble house for the water bowls. It’ll be nice for the cats to not have water bowls buried in snow in the winter!

That gave me the time to finish mowing the outer yard.

“Finish” being a relative term. Basically, I’ve just been chipping away at the overgrown areas, little by little. Whenever I started working on a area that hadn’t been mowed or scythed before, I’d have to go back and forth with the mower at least three time, to actually get the grass cut properly.

I got the area in front of the shed with the collapsed roof done, expanding from what I’d been able to do when I used the scythe. We need space to get in, but also to set aside the lumber we will be salvaging. There is an old metal garage door leaning against a wall in there. Once the roof pieces over it are clear, I want to set it on the ground nearby. Salvaged wood can go on top of it, and be kept off the ground. We can then cover it with a tarp or something for the winter.

I was also able to widen the area along the driveway and to where the branch pile used to be. I want to mow around that area more, as we will be doing scrap wood burns there.

What I really need to do is get a path mown to the barn. I went into there to grab some stuff I thought my daughter could use in building the kibble house. Dragging it through the tall grass – even the area I’d scythed earlier – is not easy! There are things under the collapsed shed roof that need to be moved to the barn to protect them, and there’s no way I’m going to drag those though the tall grass.

I also started to push further beyond the pump shack. Normally, there would be a lane wide enough to drive in, all the way to the back gate from here. Last year, all I managed was a walking path. At some point, I want to get at least a path mowed. I still need to do some repairs on the back gate. One side of it got ripped away from the gate post, likely by a startled deer, in the winter. It’s up again, but not repaired.

I also got good progress getting a path cleared to the storage shed. I wasn’t up to fighting that tall grass all the way, when there were higher traffic areas that I needed to finish, first. Still, it’s going to make a big difference.

We’ll give the grass clippings a day or two to dry in the sun, the rake it up for eventual use in the garden.

I so wish we could use that shed as a workshop, which is what it used to be. With my parents’ belongings stored in there, there is just no space. We can’t even get at the back of it. It’s all blocked by bags and boxes and furniture.

My sister had been digging around in there, trying to find boxes with photos to take, so I tried looking around a bit. The boxes are stacked on top of each other, and the stacks are starting to collapse. We’re going to have to get in there and figure out what to do. Part of the problem is, when it started to be used as storage for my parents’ stuff, no one had a grasp of just how much there would be, so the first things put in there were not done with any sort of plan in mind. They were just sort of stacked wherever. Soft things, like the bags of clothes (so many clothes!!!) are filling spaces that should have been left open as paths – and would have been if we’d known about all the large items that would have to be squeezed in among the boxes and bags. Even as we were moving things over there, the girls did try to rearrange things to fit more efficiently, but there was only so much they could do.

The one shed that has a good roof and isn’t rotting away, and we can’t use it.

Frustrating.

Meanwhile, my mother still gets these moments of urgency, asking me if the door is locked (we don’t have a key), and worried that someone is going to steal all her stuff. As if anyone wants her bags of old clothes that she doesn’t even want herself, or dozens of (mostly salvaged) mirrors we kept finding all over the place! For all that she left the farm years before we moved here, leaving so much stuff behind for others to deal with, she is still so attached to her belongings. Which means we’re stuck hanging on to them.

*sigh*

On a less pleasant note, I called the vet clinic this morning, asking to talk to one of the doctors. I got a call back shortly after I got back inside from mowing.

We are in a very frustrating situation.

Leyendecker seems to be doing better. His appetite is improving. He’s more active. He seems like he’s better in so many ways, but one.

He’s still not voiding.

Every time we see him try and use the litter, at best, there are just a few damp spots. The girls have seen him trying to pee in other places, too, and not succeeding. There has been nothing to clean up.

After describing this to the vet, she said the only option left would be the surgery to make him a “girl”, but there is no way we’re doing that to him. It would just leave him with other problems, and he’d still have a short life, and a much less pleasant one. The longer he can’t pee, though, the more the potassium levels will be building up again – and he was already at “potassium levels of death”, to quote the vet, when they first saw him.

There is only one option left.

The added problem?

Keith has suddenly started having problems, too.

Yesterday, my younger daughter and I watched him try and use the litter, unsuccessfully, and start yowling in distress. My poor daughter was so upset, she started crying.

One of the things Keith likes to do is run in front of us into the bathroom, then fling himself onto the mat in front of the toilet, so we can pay attention to him. Last night, I came in and found him lying on the mat and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure he was still alive until I pet him for a while and he started purring a bit and eventually shifting position. I checked him again during the night, and found him loafed around the side of the toilet, looking miserable.

I haven’t seen him yet during the day, but my husband has been keeping an eye on him, and says he is looking in really bad shape.

I brought this up with the doctor, and we’re looking at the same situation as Leyendecker – and my daughter already used up almost all her savings to pay for his treatment. Right now, she might have enough left for them both to have one final appointment with the vet.

It’s been decided, though. We’ll keep monitoring Keith. If he starts voiding again on his own, it should work out, but if not, tomorrow, I’m making an appointment for them both.

Talk about brutal.

Which really, really sucks. They are the sweetest boys. But the more time goes by, the more internal damage is happening, and the worse it will be for them.

There is no real choice.

F***

Meanwhile, we’re trying to figure out what the heck is going on. We even looked up to see if there were any recalls on cat food we didn’t know about (there is only one brand so far this year, and it’s a brand I’ve never heard of before). We make sure they have a variety of both wet and dry cat foods, and they have access to water at various points around the house. Most of the litter boxes are downstairs, but there are some upstairs, too. We did not allow the cats access to the basement until we cleaned it out, disposing of all sorts of potentially dangerous substances in the process. And yet, somehow, Cabbages was getting into something none of the other cats was getting into, that slowly poisoned her over a long period of time before she finally became sick (and is now thriving, thanks to the Cat Lady’s efforts). The vet said the toxin was either from anti-flea chemicals (which we don’t have) or fertilizers (which we don’t have in the house). So how did it happen?

Leyendecker did not have crystals in his urine, so the vet says muscle spasms, but if that were it the muscle relaxants – and he’s on two of them! – would be working.

And now Keith is having problems?

What the heck? These are all younger cats, too. Keith is the oldest of the sick kitties, and he’s only about four years old!

I just don’t know what to think.

The Re-Farmer

Overgrown

I started my morning rounds early, to beat the heat, and decided to mow some of the lawn, while I could.

We can’t even use the clippings as mulch, as it’s so full of dandelion and Chinese Elm seeds.

The kittens were under the cat’s house. They were not happy with the noisy machine. One ran out and under the laundry platform. The mamas, weren’t happy, either, so I tried to get that area done as quickly as possible.

I did only the south lawns for now, but did make a point of mowing paths to the burn barrel and electricity meter.

This area has not been mowed at all, this year. I want to restore the rusted blade on the scythe and give it a good sharpening. At this point, it would probably be easier to scythe the grass in the outer yard, than mow it.

The grass was still quite wet and the ground still squelches, but there was no standing water, at least. I just had to frequently stop to unclog the expeller opening of wet grass.

The white rose in front of the sunroom is amazing! The honeysuckle are in full bloom, too, and even the dwarf Korean lilacs are starting to open. Right now, the yard is filled with the fragrance of roses. The pink rose even has loads of buds. Far more than we’ve seen on it before. It took 4 years, but we have got it growing again!

Nice to see some of our native pollinators out. Bumbles are my favourite. πŸ’•

I don’t know that we’ll be able to finish mowing the inner yard today. We are still getting storm predictions, but they all seem to be missing us. We shall see. For now, I’m just happy to get as much done as we have!

The Re-Farmer

Future wildflower area, and something’s missing

After breaking the lawn mower in the strip along the road, I finally got back to it, today.

Here is how it looked before I started, from each end.

I suppose one good thing about the drought conditions is that this area has never gotten overgrown. There were saplings starting, so I went over the area with the lopper first, cutting them as close to the ground as I could. The last time I had to do that, we didn’t have loppers, so a lot of these saplings were growing out of the ragged ends of smaller saplings before, that had been mowed over rather than cut with pruning shears. The larger ones had been cut with pruning shears, and there was enough of them that I had needed a wheelbarrow to clean up. This time, I could just pick up the larger ones by hand and didn’t even get an armful.

Here is how it looked when I was done.

The plan for this area is to convert it to native wildflowers for the pollinators. The mix we have has 16 annuals and perennials, chosen for Western Canadian climates. We intend to start at the far end (where the lawn mower can be seen in the one photo), as that end is near the garden. Over time, I intend to continually scatter more seeds down the line, with a goal of this entire strip being full of wildflowers. Once that is established, we won’t need to mow it regularly any more, and we will just need to keep on top of cutting away any saplings that try to establish themselves, and do a single mow, at the highest setting, at the end of the year.

What we can’t do is follow the instructions. This is the method we had intended to follow.

Method Three involves more planning but requires no chemicals. Till in the late summer or early fall the year before planting. You may allow the soil to lie fallow or plant a cover crop after tilling. A cover crop may be important if your site is on a slope. A green manure cover crop such as buckwheat or annual rye grass will hold the soil until spring, help add beneficial organic matter and help snuff out germinating weeds. In the spring, light cultivation will be needed to loosen the soil and turn under all existing growth just prior to planting. ‘

https://www.veseys.com/us/westernmixwildflowers.html

Well, we can’t till this area. Even if we had a working tiller. You can’t see them in the photos, but there are several large rocks peaking through the soil, and I have no doubt there are more that cannot be seen. I had hoped to at least go over the area with a harrow, but we still need to figure out a safe way to get under the riding mower, which has a tow hitch, to put the chain back on, so it will move. It hasn’t exactly been a priority.

Then there are these instructions:

Sowing:Β 

Once your ground is bare and loose, you are ready to sow. Following are a couple of tips that will make the whole process simple and successful. First, choose a nearly windless day and, second, separate the seed you’re planting, no matter the amount, in roughly two equal parts. Put the first half in a clean bucket or coffee can and add in roughly 10 parts of light sand or vermiculite. There are two reasons for the sand. It will dilute the seed and help you spread it more evenly. More important, since it is lighter-colored than the freshly-tilled soil, you’ll be able to see where you’ve been as you sow. You can simply hand-sow, keeping the seeding as even as possible. Or use a hand-crank seeder. The amount of seed you sow depends on the sort of flower display you want. Many people sow up to two or even three times the minimum seeding rates on seed packages to assure heavy bloom. Avoid planting higher densities since this will inhibit good growth. Sow the first half of your seed/sand mix over the entire area to be seeded. Then go back, mix the second half of your seed with sand and spread that seed over the whole area. This way, you’ll avoid bare spots. Once the seed is evenly sown, you can rake to barely cover the seed with soil. Or, simply compress the seed into the freshly-tilled ground. A lawn roller is perfect for the job, and for smaller areas, a piece of plywood laid down and walked on will do.

Okay, so we can broadcast the seed easily enough, but things like getting rid of all the roots of what’s already there, and having “bare and loose” soil first is out of the question. We’ll be lucky if we can loosen the soil at all. As for raking or tamping down to compress the seed into the soil? Ha! Nope. Not gonna happen. It’s just too large of an area. We will also not be able to do any watering here, at all. We have enough hose that we can reach the furthest corner of the furthest garden bed with the spray nozzle on the hose. I have no intention of buying yet another length of hose, to water outside the garden area.

Nope.

The instructions say to prepare the soil, then plant in the spring, after last frost. Since we can’t water the area, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and broadcast the seeds in the fall. I had expected to be doing that around now, but we are having relatively warm temperatures for the next while, and we’re also getting rain. I don’t want the seeds to germinate. I want them to go dormant before getting covered with snow. Then, when the snow melts in the spring, they will get their moisture.

This goes against all the instructions but… well, these are wildflowers. Wildflowers manage to propagate themselves without freshly turned soil, tamping down or clearing of other plant roots. I’m going to be trying to copy nature, here.

So we will do as much as we can first – which, unless we can get under the mower, is basically what I’ve done today. I’ll be using garden soil instead of sand to help broadcast the seed more evenly. Since I don’t want the seeds to germinate, I will probably wait until the end of the month, or even into October, to do it. Whatever survives, survives. If we keep broadcasting seeds, year after year, eventually the area will get filled. Hopefully with a good variety.

So that’s done as much as possible for today.

This is the first time I’ve been out this way, on foot, all year, which means today was the first time I was able to check out, and get a photo of, this.

This is the corner post of the property’s fence line.

It needs replacing, as does most of the fence, but that is not what I was taking a pictures of.

I was taking a picture of what isn’t there.

My father’s name.

Many years ago, my dad took a piece of red plastic and used gold coloured, metal, self adhesive, letters to put his initial and surname on it. The sign was mounted on this post. Back in the day, before any of these roads had names, and well before the driveway marker system was implemented, the sign was used as a landmark when giving people directions to our place.

We don’t go out often, and the sign can be easily seen only when we are on the return trip, but seeing that flash of red while turning the corner always made me feel good. It was a memory of my father.

Some time ago, however, I realized I wasn’t seeing that flash of red anymore. Today, I got to look around to see why.

There isn’t a trace of that sign. The reflector at the top got broken in half, though, and the rest of it is on the ground, but that’s all I could find.

The road that goes past our driveway has our family name, as well as a numerical name. When we first moved here, the road sign with our family name was at the top of the stop sign across the intersection. One day, the stop sign was lying broken on the ground, and the road sign with our family name on it was gone. I am 99% sure this was done by our vandal, and I’m just as sure that he is responsible for the sign on this fence post being gone. When it happened, I have no way to know.

What a childish, petty thing to do.

If we ever do get the road sign replaced (I’ll have to contact the municipal council again about that), or replace the sign on the fence, we’ll have to set up a trail cam on it, because I just know that our vandal will go after it again.

Switching out memory cards in this location would be much more inconvenient, that’s for sure!! But it would need to be done.

What a pain.

The Re-Farmer

A much better day today, and what will I do with these?

After yesterday being such a crappy day, I’m happy to say that today was much improved!

This morning, I found several bright bits of sunshine in the garden.

Several of our summer squash blossoms are now fully open! There are just male flowers right now, so it’s still too early to expect baby squash, but it’s still very exciting to see!

The summer squash was not the only thing in bloom.

Some irises in the flower garden outside the living room window started blooming today. These have been here for as long as I can remember, coming back year after year, decade after decade. They may well have originally been planted here before I was even born.

We got the trip to the smaller city that I meant to do yesterday. One of our stops was to Canadian Tire, where I was finally able to find the air filter I needed for the push mower. After double checking exactly what I was looking for, I realized that the last couple of times we’d looked for a filter, this type wasn’t in stock at all, so I was happy to find one.

We also made a stop at the nearby Walmart. We ran out of kibble this morning, and had a few other things we needed to pick up. Thankfully, we were able to get everything on the list, and still stayed under budget – something we couldn’t have done if we’d had to buy in town.

One of the other things we needed to get was more gas for the lawnmowers, so pretty much as soon as we got home, I changed the air filter on the push mower, and was finally able to finish most of the mowing.

I had started to move along the driveway with the riding mower, a couple of days ago, but there was no way I could use the riding mower to do the area in front of the barn. This is the first time this area has been mowed this year, and it was tall enough to make hay! I’ll go back with a rake and the wagon to pick up clippings for mulch. There was no way I was going to use the bag. I’d have needed to stop to empty it so often, I would never have been able to finish it all in one evening. As it is, there is still another area that needs to be done, but it’s not used at much. At least now, we don’t have to wade through knee high grass to get to the barn and shed!

I also finally got to cut the main garden area, that is too rough to use the riding mower on. Frankly, found myself thinking I maybe should have used the weed trimmer over all of it, but at the highest setting, the push mower was able to do the job.

I had done most of this area with the riding mower; the strip along the right was done with the push mower; you can tell by the darker green, because I had the mower set so much higher. This strip had been plowed, so there are still furrows. If I wanted to get the rest, among those trees, I’d have to use the weed trimmer.

It’s just a guess, but I’m pretty sure where I was standing to take the photo is where the telephone lines are buried. A thing to keep in mind when we plant the trees we are planning on.

This photo was taken from the same spot, facing the other way.

Not much left of that pile of garden soil!

Part of this section was also plowed. You can see the gate in the back, where the tractor and plow would have entered. The plow was dropped starting along the trees on the right. Why there, I have no idea. There hasn’t been garden there since I was a babe. My parents did try gardening here, when they first moved the garden closer to the house (it used to be way out by the car graveyard, when my parents first moved out here). As I child, I remember when the area that has the trees right, now, was a cabbage patch. The area the dirt pile is on now was no longer being used by then. I remember asking my mother why they stopped using this section, and she told me it was too rocky.

Considering how many rocks are everywhere else, that’s saying a lot! πŸ˜€

Anyhow, I still wonder why the plowing was starting that far back, but then, my sister thinks the person who did it was drunk at the time, so who knows? The furrows mean it’s another area for the push mower, though the section to the right is flat enough for the riding mower.

I was even able to do some mowing among the trees, to open up some of the paths. The plants at the bottom of the dead spruce tree in the left foreground bloom beautifully, so I’m making sure to leave them be. I’ll have to do the rest of the area around the trees with the weed trimmer.

Mid term goal is to plant low growing ground covers that we can walk on in the paths, while in between the trees will be a combination of ground cover and flowers, with one exception. The morel mushroom spawn my husband got for me for Christmas will be “planted” under one of the elms in the maple grove. He also got giant puffball spawn for me, too, but they like to grow among grass, not under any particular type of tree. I still haven’t quite decided what area I want to inoculate with those, yet. Just somewhere we won’t be going over with the mower.

That is not the only thing I have to figure out where to put. We also have these.

These are the Jiffy pellets we planted the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers in, some 2 months ago. The one that had sprouted got transplanted into the old kitchen garden. When a second one suddenly sprouted, almost a week later, I transplanted it a short distance away.

That made me curious enough to look at the rest of the pellets. I haven’t been watering the tray they were in, but when I lifted some of them up, I saw roots! No sprouts, just roots.

So I moved them all onto one of the baking sheets we got to hold the Solo cups we were using to start seeds, and added water.

Almost overnight, more started to sprout.

Currently, there are 7 new sprouts!

Why did it take these so long to sprout? Especially when the ones that were direct sown, in far less ideal conditions, sprouted so quickly??

And what will we do with them? At this point, I don’t think there’s enough growing season for them to fully mature, but now that they’re finally germinating, I don’t want to just toss them. Also, there’s no more room for sunflowers in the old kitchen garden, and the space they would have gone into in the garden got the Mongolian Giants transplanted into it, since these hadn’t sprouted at all at the time, and we thought they were a lost cause.

I think we will transplant them near the Dorinny corn. That wicked frost we had in late May didn’t seem to affect the corn sprouts at the time, but then they disappeared. They are supposed to be a Canadian frost-hardy hybrid, but that was an unusually cold night. While they looked unharmed the next morning, I guess it took a couple of days for the damage to become visible. However, the other corn seeds that hadn’t geminated yet came up soon after, so we will still have Dorinny corn, but it also means we have entire rows in the block with only one or two corn plants in them. I figure, we can make use of the empty space and transplant these sunflowers into them. Sure, they may not reach full maturity, but at least they’ll have a chance. Who knows. We might have a long and mild fall.

Then there are these.

These are the pink celery that should have been started indoors much earlier. They’ll eventually go into a container (or two?), so we can keep them outdoors for most of the growing season, then try using the sun room as a green house to extend their growing season though late fall.

Assuming they survive being transplanted. We’ll see.

All in all, it’s been a really good day. I finally got things done that kept getting delayed, I got to see the kittens, we had a fabulous supper of butter chicken one daughter made while I was mowing, and there’s panna cotta setting in the fridge, made by my other daughter. And tomorrow, we will be celebrating Father’s Day and my younger daughter’s birthday, early, with a pizza night. πŸ™‚

I’m looking forward to a great weekend!

The Re-Farmer

A little bit of progress

First, the cute stuff!

Beep Beep is such a good mama!

The kittens have taken to napping under the couch regularly. Beep Beep can just barely squeeze under there, herself. A little while ago, my daughter saw her squeeze part way there, then start wiggling oddly. Moments later, some sleepy kitties came out. She then flopped on the floor for them to nurse. She actually woke them up for lunch! πŸ˜€ They’re more than old enough to be weaned, but it’s still great bonding time. πŸ™‚

My daughter got the broken flexible pipe replaced. She did just the one for now.

The other has been left for now, partly to make sure the cold water is working fine and there are no leaks. With the hot water, there is at least a shut off valve at the hot water tank. When we replaced the tank shortly after moving here, the plumber added one on for us. When it’s time to replace the other piece, only the hot water to the house will need to be shut off, and not all the water.

For some reason, the copper pipes are painted, including the end of the flexible hose. My daughter tells me the pipes to the old sink in the entry way, which now supply water to the washing machine, were also painted.

Why paint copper??

As for me, I headed outside for a last bit of mowing.

That’s 4 days of mowing, now, and I’m skipping some places!

I did do an extra bit, though.

I mowed a path to and around the old Farm Hand tractor. Next, we’ll be going in there with the weed trimmer. Once we can access the tractor, we need to cut away the trees that are growing through it. We aren’t able to maintain the tractor itself, but we can at least prevent some types of damage to it!

For the last couple of summers, I’d been able to keep an area to the back gate mowed, large enough to drive through. This year, between the rain and the heat, I just never made it that far.

Today, after mowing the area in front of the storage shed, I decided to mow a path to the back gate. It’s our “emergency exit”, so I don’t want to leave it entirely.

A path, however, is all I was up to!

I cranked the mower up as high as it can go – which is higher than the riding mower can go – and only managed a path twice the width of the mower itself. I actually took 8 passes, just to get it as good as this! The first pass, I had the front wheels up almost the whole way, just to get the height down enough to not choke out the mower.

My daughter suggested it would probably be easier to use the old scythe in the garden shed, instead of a mower, for this stuff! She’s probably right. This is hay that’s being cut! Heck, if we had the equipment (well… working equipment), we could probably get a couple of large round bales just in this section! πŸ˜€

I’m hoping to at least keep up a path to the back gate. I don’t expect to make the wide “driveway” I’d kept clear last year. I’d hoped to do more, since the area becomes quite the fire hazard, but we just can’t keep up with it all. More time is being spent on the lawn than anything else right now. As much as I love mowing the lawn, there are other things that need to get done! Ultimately, the goal is to have less lawn, with trees in some areas, and raised garden beds in others. Maybe even a greenhouse or two. Other areas, I hope to replace the grass with moss.

Until then, though, there’s an awful lot of grass to cut!

One of the things that is quite visible when the grass is tall, is a path through the grass, worn down by cats, leading from the yard to under the storage shed. While I was working on the path to the back gate, and was turning to make another pass, I noticed Junk Pile cat, sitting in the newly mowed grass in the shade of the shed, watching me. I think her kittens might be under there. When I told my daughter about it, she said she saw them this morning! Junk Pile cat had brought them to the house for food. πŸ™‚

I look forward to seeing them more often and, hopefully, being able to socialize them at least a bit. And their mom, too!

The Re-Farmer

Back at it

After taking yesterday to recover, I was feeling well enough to continue working outside today.

But first, I got to release the kitties!

πŸ˜€

They now know they are allowed to be upstairs when I open the basement door, so they and Beep Beep are all at the top step, waiting for me. As they all go rushing up, there’s an equal rush from the adults cats, going the other direction!

For now, we’re still going to keep them in the basement over night, during days when we’re not around to keep an eye on them, or if we have to go in and out of the house a lot. Keith and Fenrir in particular are not happy about the babies, so we have to keep an eye on them.

The kittens have discovered a safe place to chill out, where the big cats can’t get at them.

Well. Almost.

“If I can’t see them, they can’t see me, right?”

They are certainly entertaining!!

Once I was done my morning rounds, I headed outside to continue mowing around the old garden area.

This time, I remembered to wear my wrist brace. Much to my surprise, it was my wrist that was hurting the most, yesterday. I guess stopping to empty that clippings bag so often was just too much for it.

I really ought to get a doctor to look at that. Knowing me, I probably broke something back when I was helping my brother with patching the shed roof. πŸ˜€

One of the things I’ve noticed this year is Saskatoon bushes in places I had not noticed them before. This year is looking to be a really good year for Saskatoons. At least it would be…

I found this large Saskatoon bush among the lilac hedge while mowing. There were no Saskatoon berries here in the last two summers.

This summer, the bush is just full of berries!

None of which I’d be willing to pick and eat.

While some of the bushes have their leaves infested with insect eggs that are weakening them, this one actually looks diseased. A few of the berries look great, but most are smaller, kinda wizened looking, and some have the same spots that are on the leaves.

Such a shame.

Still, while doing my rounds this morning, I was able to gather berries from other trees that are just fine! I will have to try and remember to bring a basket or something with me for the next while, to gather them as they ripen. I’ve been lifting up the bottom of my shirt to make a pouch to hold them, which works fine – right up until I need both hands to switch out the memory cards on the trail came or something. πŸ˜‰

Once again, while mowing, I made ample use of the grass clippings. Since I was working close to them, I worked the clippings around the sunflowers.

The clippings are doing triple duty. For the smaller, late planted sunflowers, it’ll help keep them from being overgrown by grass and weeds. The mulch is part of our larger plan to build up and amend the neglected soil here, but for this area, it’s also being used to help level out the poorly plowed area.

The poor lawn mower. No matter how careful I was, I still ended up hitting lumps of rocky soil, hidden by the grass. Other times, the wheels would slide into ruts, dropping the blade onto furrows, leaving me to manhandle the machine out. I must say, I was very happy to see my daughter coming out, letting me know she had finished work for the day and could take over for me! The old garden area is the most difficult area to work on. At some point, we’re going to have to go out there with garden hoes and break apart the worst of the hills the bad plow job left behind. It would be better to use heavy equipment to level the whole area out, but we make do with what we can.

For now, the inner yard is done. Tomorrow, I’ll be checking the blade on the mower and probably giving it a sharpen, before I start working on the outer yard!

That poor little mower is really getting a workout! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

I’ll be feeling this tomorrow!

I am in so much pain right now. Chances are, I’ll hardly be able to walk tomorrow. But it was worth it!

Let’s back up a bit.

This morning, I got a call from the pharmacy, letting me know my husband’s painkillers were ready to pick up.

Oh, what wonderful news to start the day!

I skipped my morning routine, which my daughters were kind enough to do most of for me, and headed to the garage.

The first thing I did was hose down the area the wasp nest was in. They were still hanging around, but I was able to get the door open and drive out.

I left the door open. πŸ˜€

Once in town, and the prescriptions were picked up, I swung by the hardware store to look at what they had for wasp spray. I basically had only two choices: a foam type and a non-foam type. They were also both designed to be used on the nests themselves. I talked to a staff member and ended up going with the non-foam type, as it was also supposed to contact kill for some time after use. Since the next itself was already destroyed, I needed to spray the area to keep them from coming back and building a new one.

Once at home, I made sure to park in the yard, then headed for the garage with the wasp spray. I couldn’t see any wasps, though I could hear some. I closed the garage door from the outside…

… and there they were! They were bouncing right off of me. I moved away and headed for the house, figuring I would give them time to calm down, but they followed me!

I’m glad I happened to be wearing a golf shirt, with thicker fabric. At one point, I looked down and there were two wasps on my boob, stuck in the fabric, trying to sting me! I was able to pull the fabric away from my body and blow them away.

It was only later than I realized, I did get stung! Right on the boob. I never really felt anything. It took a while, but I realized why it didn’t hurt. Some 20 years ago, I had breast reduction surgery. With the amount of tissue removed, it was basically a complete reconstruction. I was warned in advance that, since nerves were being cut, I would lose some sensation, and that it might never return. I did regain most of it, but I do have areas where I don’t feel anything at all. It looks like the wasp stung me in one of those areas!

Which is… good? LOL

Since I didn’t want wasps around the house, I went back to the garage and went in through the back door. I could see some of them going through the opening in the wall, but not as many as I was hearing.

I then proceeded to spray the heck out of the area where the nest was, up to the underside of the roof peak, and along the beam on either side of where the nest was above the door.

What I didn’t count on was how quickly I’d run out. I had intended to spray the opening from the outside, but by the time I went out there, the can was pretty much empty.

When I was done spraying, I went to switch out the trail cam memory cards, which was the only part of skipped morning routine left for me to do.

I had company.

She is not meowing at me in this picture. She is hissing! Oh, what a mean kitty she is! πŸ˜€

I checked on it the garage throughout the day. I only ever saw one dead wasp on the ground. From the inside, I could see wasps land in the opening, start to come in, then leave. So they could tell that something was amiss.

By the end of the day, when I had to put the van back in the garage (we’re expecting more storms tonight), I was no longer seeing or hearing any wasps. So I hope this took care of the problem!!

Today was another hot one, but there were a few things that just needed to get done. One of them was to finally put those latches on the new basement window. With the distraction of the wasp nest, I never did get it done yesterday.

I only gone one side done, though. When I went to do the other side, I discovered the hole for the post to go into was just a bit smaller than the first one. New latches of this time all have a standard size post, no matter what size the rest of the latch is. I’ll have to find – or buy – a round file to enlarge the hole just the tiniest bit, before I can put on the new latch.

So that’s only half done.

I then had to start mowing the lawn. Between the heat and the rain, the yard had gotten really over grown. With another storm looking like it will hit tonight, decided to go for it.

For the first time since getting the new mower, I kept the bag on to keep the grass clippings for the entire time I mowed. The grass was so tall and thick in the first area I worked on, I had to empty the bag about every 50 feet or so!

In the end, I got only a small section done before I had to stop, go inside and cool down.

The best place to cool down is the basement! It was a great excuse to check on the old basement.

What a difference! The area the dehumidifier is in is almost completely dry. I checked the hose and, to be honest, I couldn’t really tell if water was dripping through there, but I’m assuming it is. The water that was all over and around the well pump, from condensation, is almost completely dry.

The section under the window is also noticeably drier, though it still had big wet patches. There are still damp spots under the furnaces, so I changed the angle on the blower fan to face the floor under there. The last thing we need is for the new electric furnace to start rusting!

My making a commotion in the old part basement attracted attention, of course. I had a whole bunch of kitties at the divider, watching me and wanting to play!

So I went around to the new part basement and joined the kitties for a while. Though I’d washed up after coming inside, my clothes probably still smelled of bug spray, so they actually left me alone a fair bit.

A few days ago, I’d started another hair pin using lilac wood. I’d roughed it out to the sanding stage, so I finished it off today.

Given the size and shape of the piece of branch I used, there wasn’t a lot of options for what to do with it. I still wanted to highlight the colours inside, so I made a simple spiral cut. This picture is after it was completed and oiled.

My daughter is ecstatic with it! πŸ˜€ It’s longer than the first one I made, too, which is much better for her mass of curly hair.

By the time I was done with that, I found the kittens were all done, too!

I had hoped in this time, I would have gotten enough rest so I could go back outside and continue mowing, but it wasn’t. I ended up needing to nap! This meant I was going back outside at the hottest part of the day 28C/77F, with a real feel of about 32C/90F! Thankfully, though, the sun was low enough that the areas I needed to work on were mostly in the shade. After moving the van to where I’d already cut, the grass, I then spent several hours working on the lawn, with many, many stops to empty the grass bag.

I now have plenty of clippings to mulch the new garden area where the wood pile used to be. I added a lot around the grape vines, to help keep down the things that are trying to encroach on them. The old kitchen garden has piles all over, which the girls will spread out for me, tomorrow. When working on the north yards, I added the clippings to the compost pile already there, and it’s now full.

We need to start a new compost pile.

I love this new mower. With the frequent stops to empty the bag, it got harder and harder for me to pull on the cord to restart it. No matter how rubber my arm got, though, it started every time! With the old push mower, I would have had to stop long before finishing.

I’m so glad to finally get that done. Everything looks so much better now! I still need to go around the old garden area, then the garden area itself – today, I just mowed around the potatoes, which are coming up quite nicely – but that can wait for another day! I got the main parts done, and the rest can wait a bit longer, if the weather doesn’t co-operate.

It’s been a bit frustrating this year. As much as I appreciate the rain, between that and the heat waves, the lawn is about all we’ve been able to keep up with. I’ve barely managed to do any clean up near where we plan to build the cordwood outhouse, and we certainly haven’t been able to start on clearing where we will be building it. This year, I was supposed to continue clearing the spruce grow – I even have a working chain saw to make that job easier! We’ve done nothing.

With my husband being in the hospital for 3 weeks last spring, and so many follow up medical appointments, it’s no surprise we fell behind on this stuff last year. It’s now feeling like we’re going to lose another year, this time to weather!

Maybe we’ll have a long and mild fall to make up for lost time. Here’s hoping!

I’m just happy I managed to get done as much as I did today. I expect that tomorrow is going to be a major pain day because of it, but it was worth it to finally get this stuff done! The yard look so much better now. It’s more of a psychological boost than anything else, but those are important, too!

The Re-Farmer

Gotta be quick!

Taking advantage of a break to quickly post!

My attempts at getting kitten pictures has been a failure today. Those little buggers move fast! πŸ˜€

So do flowers, actually. At least with the winds we had when I was doing my rounds this morning!

These delicate little wildflowers have burst into bloom now. It’s interesting how there always seems to be some wildflower blooming, one after the others.

These wild roses are almost completely engulfed by the spirea!

One of our goals is to pull up most, if not all, of the spirea from here. The junk pile, in general, needs to be cleared so we can get access to it and start cleaning it up. I’m hoping the wood pile that makes up the bulk of it will still have some salvageable wood in there. One of the things I want to build is a box to put our garbage bags into, so the animals can’t tear them apart.

I noticed in the area around the stone cross, which had been full of spirea, now has what looks like flowers coming up. If they are what I think they are, they won’t bloom for a while yet, but I’m seeing them pop up all over, in areas that have been cleared up. Especially where I’ve also been able to finally mow. It seems once the grass (or, in this area, the spirea) was no longer the dominant plant, all sorts of greenery is now able to grow. When I get to mowing in the maple grove, there are some paths I plan to deliberately leave alone, just to see what is there.

After my morning rounds, I got back outside as quick as I could, to finish mowing around the old garden area.

I was almost done when I ran out of gas, so I took a quick rest and hydration break. The Potato Beetle came over for cuddles. I’m rather surprised, considering how covered in bug spray I was!

I’m happy to say, I managed to finish the old garden area, including the section I hadn’t been able to get to at all, yet. After this, I can start going into the maple grove.

But not today.

For the last half hour or so of mowing, there was a whole lot of thundering happening, so I was really happy to get that last bit finished before putting away the mower.

Since then, we have had a quick storm pass by, with a heavy downpour. We also lost internet for a while, and then we momentarily lost power. Just enough to cause the computers to restart, and the security camera to reset its position.

I love power bars.

Looking at the weather radar, we seem to be in the path of several small but severe thunderstorms for the rest of the day.

Which means it’s time to quickly get caught up, then shut down the computer, in case we lose power again. No doubt, once the winds pick up again, we’ll lose internet again.

It’s going to be an interesting day!

The Re-Farmer