It’s fixed!

Before I catch up on the other stuff, I just have to share the best part of all.

My brother made it out today, and he got the outlet fixed for us!

He tried getting here using his usual route, only to find the road closed sign was still at the south end of the road past our place, so he turned around and took a different route, adding an extra 3 miles of gravel road to the drive. It rained steadily all last night, and the section of road near our intersection was so muddy, he had difficulty getting through with is 4 wheel drive. The grader went through a couple of days ago, but even it went around that spot! It’s just mush in the middle of the road.

But he made it and checked the outlet for us, and it turned out to be less damaged than he feared it might be.

When I noticed what happened, I quickly unplugged the 2 power bars that were plugged into it and just dropped them. After that, we were more interested in making sure nothing started burning in the wall. When we moved the DVD shelf to access the outlet, I never even thought to look at either of them.

I think we found the cause of the fry out.

This power bar had the TV plugged into, as well as the Xbox, I think (we use is as a DVD player, but it doesn’t always work) and the USB adapter for our Roku. He thinks something had to have been drawing a lot of power, but they should have only been using just a trickle. So we still don’t know why it blew.

As my brother was removing the receptacle, he commented that our father had installed it some 50 years ago!

Can you tell?

I’m pretty sure that 61 visible on the white sticker is the original price.

Marshall Wells hasn’t been around since 1988 and, even before then, it had been bought out a couple of times and was under a different name since about 1978.

While replacing the receptacle, my brother found one of the wires was loose, and the ground was no longer attached at the wall. He replaced the ground wire but discovered he couldn’t screw it in to the wall – it was stripped. There was a second hole, and that was stripped, too. He had to drill a third hole and use a new, longer screw! The end of the black wire was melted, so he repaired that, too.

Of course, it was tested out right away, after I turned the breaker back on, and all worked perfectly!

And my daughter’s computers started turning on. A light upstairs turned on, too. I had no idea until then, that any of the ceiling lights was on that breaker, too.

We now have a light and fan in the bathroom again. 😀

Then, because he’s a sweetheart, and had his bag with 5 or 6 different lengths of screws handy, my brother “fixed” the main door by replacing some of the hinge screws with longer ones. I hadn’t done it before, because the door is hollow, so I didn’t think it would help any, but it did. He was able to pull a couple of the other hinge screws out with just his fingers. !! We still need to replace the entire door and frame, as the fame itself is splitting at the top and middle hinges. My brother suggested I use longer screws into the frame, too, to compensate. A door is only as secure as its frame, though, and I want an insulated metal door with a metal frame! He doesn’t think it needs to be replaced, but if we want to do it, he’s okay with that.

The main thing is, we can use the main door again. I don’t know how long that will last, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, my older daughter has been busily catching up on commissions. I believe all of her clients were okay with the delay, too, which is nice.

Then, after he was finished here, my brother was going to go to town to pick up some milk for our mother, in the plastic 2L jugs that are no longer available where she lives, then drive back to her place – adding almost an extra hour to his drive home!

My brother is the best!

He mentioned talking to our mother last night, and that they’d talked about her getting home care and Meals on Wheels, since she is in so much pain right now. I had brought that up with her, too, and she seems agreeable to that. I’m also thinking she might finally be willing to get a hospital bed through home care, like my husband was able to do. I think being able to adjust the height, and have support under her knees or sleep at an incline would be a help.

We shall see how her telephone appointment with the doctor does, a couple of days from now.

The Re-Farmer

All set up

Well, my brother is just awesome.

And determined.

We were perfectly willing to wait until spring before setting our new Starlink dish up permanently on the roof, but my brother wasn’t. Not at all!

Of course, it turned out to be more difficult than even he expected.

One of the first things he wanted to do – while it was still relatively warm and the sun was bright – was seal the ridiculously large hole we had to make to fit the widest part through (I still don’t know what it’s called) with caulk. He even used his heat gun on it to cure the surface a little bit, before continuing. It’ll take longer to cure because of the cold, but at least tomorrow, we’re supposed to get above freezing.

Then one of the satellites was removed (except the part you can see on the roof), leaving the stand, which we were expecting to be able to use to hold the Starlink dish.

Well, it turned out to be much larger than the support post on the dish. My brother thought he could squeeze it to fit, but the metal turned out to be way too strong. He struggled for nearly an hour up there, using tools I’ve never seen before, before finally giving up. We would have to use the stand it came with. Which meant removing the existing tripod, first. We really didn’t want to make new holes in the roof, but there was no option available for us at the time.

Removing the original support required removing ice and snow.

The ice dam was about six inches deep in places, and he had to clear it all the way to the edge on one side, first to remove the coax cable that was already there – and affixed to the roof in a couple of places – then to be able to run the new cable across. Which also required moving the ladder.

This would have been a LOT easier in the summer!

My brother put most of the screws he took out, back into the roof after, to make sure there were no open holes for water to get in. In the summer, we’ll have to remember to fill them.

Once everything was clear, it didn’t take long at all to install it.

I didn’t get a good picture of the completed job, but once the stand was secure, the cable was run across the roof, then across the side of the house, before running down to where it enters the house. There was a huge amount of excess cable – it comes with 150 feet – which was quickly wrapped and secured to the wall. In the spring, I’ll take it down and redo it neatly, but for now, he just needed to get it up and tucked away, where it’s protected.

By the time he was done, it was starting to get dark, and he just dashed off home – but not until after he made sure the parts of the satellite dish were tucked away into the old basement! There is still one piece of the support attached to the roof, but there was no need to remove it, for now.

The unexpected thing is just how much the new dish is pointing north. Those tree branches are actually an obstruction! According to the app, we should expect signal interruption every 17 minutes. The app actually tracks that stuff. Looking at the log now, the last time we had an outage, it was because there was “no signal received”, and it lasted for only 2 seconds. It was happened more than 3 hours ago. In fact, looking at the log, the outages happened pretty much only during the time it was being physically moved around and frankly, I’m amazed there was any signal at all during some of those times. While my brother was working on trying to fit on the existing support, I had to pass the dish up to him several times. I had the base on the shelf against the sun room window, so I could safely put it down in between tests. Several times, the dish started to move, looking for a signal. This was almost right up against the house, and partly under the eaves. How it managed to get any signal at all amazes me. Especially considering the dish is facing North, and the house itself would have been obstructing the signal!

I do have to say some positive things about our Xplornet dishes. They are rock solid, they were installed very well, and we usually had decent speed on it. If we got enough signal strength for it. And that was the problem. We just kept losing our signal. Even when they had tech guys coming out, according to their equipment, we should have had a good clear signal, and they never did figure out why we weren’t. That doesn’t even take into account the problems we would have in high winds, or if there was bad weather to the south of us. The problem just kept getting worse and worse, too.

That will be the big test with this system. How does it hold out in bad weather? So far, we’re expecting things to get colder, the closer we get to Christmas, but there are no storms on the horizon, or even high winds. It might be a while before that test finally happens.

I suspect it will be just fine.

The Re-Farmer

Still working!

Just a quick morning update.

The kitties were quite happy for some fresh kibble this morning! Their heated water bowl was completely empty again. The snow it too packed for tracks, but I strongly suspect we have deer drinking it during the night.

Tuxedo Mask got his eye treatment, and we should be able to let him out tomorrow. His eyes are looking excellent.

I am happy to say that our Starlink is still working. 😀 It even moved.

The dish lines itself up to get the best signal. When we first set it up, it was pointing straight up. Now it’s facing North. I thought it might tilt a bit to the North, based on what I was finding online, but I didn’t expect it to tilt quite this much.

After finishing my rounds and checking the trail cam files, I just had to share this image of me the sign cam caught while I was about to switch out the microdisc.

Butterscotch was making the job much more difficult!

Clearly, I have been forgiven for trying to turn her into an inside cat.

With the trail cam on a mounting plate, it can move around while still on the post. I can put it upside down, to make it easier to remove the microdisc, though I do still have to be careful. The spring is surprisingly strong and shoots that disc right out, if I’m not careful! Still, it’s a lot better than trying to get it from below.

Except when there’s a cat in the way!

Meanwhile, I had updated my siblings about how things went with the Starlink set up. Just a little while ago, I got a call from my brother, asking if it’s a good time for him to come over.

He wants to mount it on the roof for us, using one of the mounts for the satellite dishes. He even has something that can fill that hole we had to make to put the cable through the wall. I was more than willing to wait, but having the dish sitting on the ground in the middle of the yard was driving him nuts. He knows we don’t have everything needed to mount it ourselves, and when I brought up about the ice, he didn’t care. He just wants it properly mounted!

So he is on his way over now and should be here in a couple of hours.

I have the best brother. ❤

The Re-Farmer

Feeling chipper today!

I am so excited!!!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, and WOW! do I have a wonderful gift to be excited for!

A few days ago, I wrote about a proposal I’d made to my mother. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a garden shed we do not yet have a prepared space for, I suggested she give us the money to put towards getting the tools and equipment needed to clean things up (things she is constantly complaining about). She said she would only discuss it with my brother. Not because he’s the one who now owns the property, but because he’s a man, and I shouldn’t be doing “men’s work.”

The day before Thanksgiving, my brother made the drive out to join my mother for church and go out for lunch. Among the things they talked about was the farm, and what we were doing. Of course, my mother was complaining about what a terrible job we are doing, and apparently my daughters don’t sweep the floor.

???

How she would even know that, one way or the other, I have no idea. It’s an assumption she’s making. My husband is Metis, which means he’s an Indian, and all Indians are dirty and have dirty houses, therefore we are dirty and never sweep the floor.

Aint’ racism fun? :-/

The irony is that, when I was a kid, my mother made a big deal about teaching me my “duties as a woman” and I was forced to do not only the housework, but things like making my brother’s beds – and hers! Basically, I was expected to be a little household slave. It was very much an abusive situation, though I didn’t understand that at the time, just as I didn’t understand for many years that my reaction to housework after having a family myself was what we now know as PTSD. I was fine if it was just me. I even had a job as a housekeeper at a resort hotel without any problem. As soon as other family members were part of the picture, however… well, let’s just say it was unpleasant. It took many years for me to recognize what was happening and work through it. I still have that response, but I now know how to spot it happening and take steps. What it comes down to, though, is that I am a terrible housekeeper directly because of the trauma she caused when I was a child. I couldn’t even begin to explain it to her. She wouldn’t be able to grasp it.

But I digress.

As my mother criticized me and my daughters for her perceived ideas of how we run the household, my brother tried to tell her to encourage me, rather than attack me. He even asked her outright if she were punishing me for not sweeping the floor, and she said yes!

Well, my brother is an amazing man, and he continued to defend me and tell her she needs to encourage me rather than attack me. She brought up about the “mess” in the yard – most of which are the branch piles – and in the end, she actually agreed to pay for a wood chipper.

!!!!

More specifically, she told my brother to make the arrangements, and she would pay for it.

Since equipment like this tends to be on short supply this time of year, my brother and his wife went shopping yesterday. They had to go to a bit far afield to find one in stock, but they did get one. Then, since it was already loaded in the car, they came over last night to drop it off!

This baby will chip branches up to 3 inches thick, and he made sure to pick the version with a more powerful engine.

It was starting to get dark by the time they got here, so I took a picture this morning. Yes, it’s still in the box. Today, I plan to spend some quality time with the instruction manual and assemble it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start using it tonight. I will probably have to pick up more fuel, but it should already have the oil it needs. If not, I probably already have the right kind.

This morning, I phoned my mother to say thank you. She knew nothing about it, yet! My brother will bring her the full receipt (he left a gift receipt with me) later.

Of course, my other had to try and bring me down and made sure I knew that this actually belongs to my brother. Which is a given, as far as I’m concerned. What’s on the farm belongs to the farm, and the farm belongs to him. It’s just a matter of semantics, really. Still, he made sure to get this for me, because it’s a tool we need to do the job, and I am over the moon with excitement. We should be able to make a massive dent in all those branch piles, before winter sets in!

I can hardly wait to fire it up!

The Re-Farmer

Ghost Baby appears, and that’s a LOT of dill!

There’s nothing like heading outside to do my morning rounds, and being greeted by so many kitties!

It’s going to be hard to tell those tabbies apart. 😀

Ghost Baby even made an appearance this morning. She is very shy and skittish, so I didn’t try to move any closer to get a photo. My apologies for the horrible zoom shot. She kept going from tray to tray for food, but she’s shy even of the other cats. I did eventually see her at a kibble tray by herself, so I’m happy to say she did get something to eat.

Our mild days and overnight temperatures continue, but I’m still surprised by how many squash and gourd blossoms are still opening.

So pretty!

On the down side, it looks like the lack of pollinators has lost us some Teddy squash. A couple of the smaller ones got wizened and fell off, and it looks like we’re going to lose one more. Which leaves us only 2 Teddy squash, one on each plant, that are actually growing.

I did my rounds a bit earlier and faster, as I had to drive my mother around for an appointment and some errands. There was even plans for her to stop by at the farm for a visit, but after her appointment and one other stop, she was just too tired. We’ll have to do it another day. However, my brother had visited her yesterday, and left a gift for us.

This is a bag of dill! It’s huge! The whole plants are in there, in various stages, so we’ll have dill leaves to dehydrate, crowns to use for pickling, and dried seeds to plant next year. I want to find a spot that can be a permanent dill bed, so they can reseed themselves year after year, and not be growing around other herbs or vegetables.

My mother was so tired from the trip, she practically kicked me out after I picked up the bag! 😀

I had a more welcoming response when I got home. I noticed the kibble trays were empty, so I topped them up a bit. While I was doing that, Nosencrantz came up and let me give her enthusiastic, full body pets and ear skritches!

More progress with her, at least! 😀 Still no luck with the others. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Well, that didn’t happen as planned!

Oy. What a day!

My main goal for the day, having used the weed trimmer all over the inner yard for the past two days, was to get the mowing done. So I checked over the riding mower, topped up the oil (it burns through oil rather quickly) and the gas, and got it going. I didn’t even have to recharge the battery this time. 😉

I barely got 30 feet of actual mowing when it simply stopped.

Not the motor. That was still running. It just stopped moving.

The chain has fallen off again.

*sigh*

I didn’t want to deal with it then. Putting the chain back and tightening it is not an issue. The problem is finding a safe way to access it, with the materials we have.

No worries. I broke out the push mower. It would mean a LOT of walking, but I don’t mind that.

My husbands prescription refills were due to be delivered, so I had the gate open for the driver. I decided this was a good time to mow outside the gate.

Which is where I found these.

Little puffball mushrooms!

I’d run over a couple with the mower, but once I realized they were there, I worked around them. They are edible at this stage, but I am leaving them be. I’d rather they reach the spore stage and spread. 🙂 They are so small, I’d rather get an area infused with the Giant Puffball spores we have, and hopefully be able to have steak sized mushroom slices. 😀

After mowing the area on either side of the driveway outside the gate, I started working on the level area between the fence and the ditch. The far end of this is where we want to spread the pollinator wildflower mix of seeds we have, so I wanted to start preparing the area by mowing it, and cutting away the saplings that are starting to spread into there. I really don’t want that area to get filled with trees. That was allowed to happen on the other side of the driveway, and it really affects visibility.

I started cutting along the the barbed wire fence first. Where it was open enough, I would even go under the wire a bit.

I didn’t even get halfway down the length of the fence, when I somehow managed to get the barbed wire stuck in the mower. It slid over the top of the plastic cover the air filter fits into, then somehow managed to slide in between the plastic cover and the motor, getting stuck.

So I shut the mower off and fought with the wire, trying to get it out. A barb was basically right in the middle, and kept catching, but every time I tried to move the mower so the barb would be at a wider gap, it would roll right back again as soon as I tried to use both hands to get the wire out.

Eventually, I got it out, but in the gap, I could see a couple of wire pieces had come loose.

Of course, it wouldn’t start after that.

After fussing with it for a bit, I took the mower back to the garage so I could take the cover off. After fighting with it for a while, I realized I would have to take off the plastic cover with the air filter, but I couldn’t for the life of me see how it detached. Also, while I could see where the end of one wire piece was supposed to be attached, I couldn’t see where the other one was supposed to be attached. The user manual had nothing about the engine. I went online to try and find a diagram, but while I found some with one of the pieces – which I finally found a name for; a governor control arm – none had both. For my specific brand of mower, all I could find was a pdf version of the owners manual I already had. I knew the general location the piece was supposed to be attached, but I could not see what and where it was supposed to hook up.

This was the point that I decided I needed some guidance. I was able to contact my brother and his wife and arrange to go over. The timing worked out perfectly. I was just starting to load the lawn mower into the van when the driver arrived with the prescriptions.

I’m glad I did.

My brother has the lovely set up that allowed us to work on the mower at a comfortable height. They also had company, so I had two people available to figure it out! 🙂

After taking the cover off the air filter and checking out what was loose, we had to take the whole piece off. It turns out there was a reason I couldn’t see how it was removed. The screws were hidden under the air filter.

I have to admit, I actually felt rather encouraged when neither of them could figure it out at first, either! 😀

Here was the problem.

Once it was open, my brother was able to get the end of what turned out to be the control arm for the choke, back where it belonged. The green arrow is where it had come loose, and it was a pain in the butt to get back into place!

The governor control arm is the piece below. The end with the purple arrow had been in the hole on the governor where the other purple arrow is pointing. That end had still been attached.

The other end had been attached somewhere around where the blue arrow is pointing. Somewhere around there, there should have been a hole for the end of the control arm to slide into.

After much searching and moving things as much as could be done without having to unhook the fuel line, we came to a conclusion.

The reason we couldn’t find where it was supposed to be attached, was because something had to have broken off. We couldn’t actually see what looked like the rough edge of broken plastic, but there could be no other possibility.

My brother was determined to get it going for me, with at least a temporary fix. After searching around among his supplies, he found a length of ceiling tile wire. He used it to create a small loop for the control arm, then wrapped it around that plastic part the blue arrow is pointing to, under another control arm with a spring on it (not visible in the photo). I can’t remember the name of that one, anymore.

Once the wire loop was attached, it was still difficult to get the end of the governor control arm in place. That thing has no flexibility! Eventually he got it, though. Then everything was put back together, and the mower got tested out.

It started like a dream. Even better than when I’d started it earlier!

There is still the possibility that the wire might vibrate out of position or something, but that gives me time to try and find the part. Which is going to be a bit of a challenge, since none of us have any idea what it’s called.

By the time that was done, I got invited to stay for supper, which was very sweet of them. 🙂 Especially since supper included smoked ribs! 😀 I didn’t want to stay too long, though, as I knew it would be dark before I got home, and this time of year, there are a lot of deer crossing the highways.

Once home, it was full dark, and I didn’t even bother unloading the mower. I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

I think, however, I will finish mowing the inner and outer yards first, before moving back to the strip along the road!

The Re-Farmer

Awesome!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

I have the best brother in the world! And the best sister-in-law!

We were looking over our options on how to get some of the supplies we needed. I even put feelers out to see if there was someone local who could give me a ride or something. No responses.

The grocery store in town had begun offering delivery service when the shut downs started. Was that still happening? And would they deliver here? I looked it up and discovered they do deliveries 3 days a week, including Fridays – today. Unfortunately, orders have to be called in before 11am, and it was past that when I found that the service was still available, so I didn’t bother to call to see if they’d deliver as far away as us.

After failing there, I headed outside and started up my mother’s car, hoping to be able to use it to make at least a short trip to the general store/post office. Even before I started it, when the key was turned part way and the console fan turned on, it immediately started making horrible noises! The car did start, with all sorts of nasty, frozen belt and fan noises, and the engine revved itself way too high.

I shut it off.

In my head, I know I probably should have just let it run for a while and warm up, but every time I thought of doing that, I’d remember an engine block cracked from the cold, and dying on the side of a highway, all those years ago. At these temperatures, it’s just too dangerous to risk a breakdown and not even know if I’d have cell phone reception to call for help.

After trying a few other options that didn’t pan out (made more challenging with our continued internet connectivity problems), I finally sent an email to my older brother and his wife. Long story short, I emailed them a shopping list and, after my brother got home from the office, they went back into the city to pick the stuff up, then drove to our place to drop it off, tonight!

They are so awesome!

Then, because my brother wasn’t done being awesome, he checked on my mothers car.

Of course, when he started it, it wasn’t making the noises or revving like mad for him, like it did for me! We popped the hood and he checked things out. It still ran rough, but he assured me everything was okay. He told me to leave it running for about half an hour, and it should be fine. Then they left, unable to stay for longer. By the time I went out again to shut the car off, it seemed to be running smoothly again.

So I guess I should make it a habit of starting both vehicles and just letting them run for a while, as I do my morning rounds. At least for the next few days.

*sigh*

While my brother and I were fussing with the car, the girls put away the groceries, so I didn’t see what they got until later. They did get everything on the list I sent them, but more of it! So we – and the cats – are going to be just fine for the next while. Plus, because they were able to go into the city to get it all, their getting more than I asked for, still cost less than if I’d made the trip into town. When I sent an e-transfer to pay them back, I made sure to add extra to cover the cost of gas, and we still have an ample budget left to buy locally, when we are finally able to emerge from our frozen cave and do things like refill our water jugs.

I am just to grateful that they were able to do this for us, and willing to do it so late in the day (waiting until tomorrow would have been just fine!), making the long drive and even taking the time to check on my mom’s car.

My brother and his wife are the best!!!

The Re-Farmer

ps: as an aside, as I write this, we’ve dropped to -37C (-35F), with a wind chill of -45C (-49F). All the forecasts telling us when things are supposed to start warming up seem to keep getting pushed further ahead, as this polar vortex stubbornly hangs around!

Pretty morning

We had a light snowfall all night, with almost no wind. This morning, the trees looked like they were covered in frost!

It’s enough to almost make the junk cars in the old hay yard look pretty.

Almost.

Fresh tracks at the feeding station, and around to the ornamental apply trees in the old kitchen garden, show we had quite a few deer visits in the night!

As promised, I got a picture of the wonderful gift from my brother and his wife.

Well. The box, at least! No point in opening the box until spring!

Being the incredibly thoughtful person he is, on noticing the spikes into the soil are not very long, my brother included a length of angle iron we can pound into the ground, and wired to tie the post to it, for extra support!

I find myself thinking… if we have a fire, that might thaw out the ground enough to install this, and we can have some winter cook outs! With the fire bans, we aren’t using the fire pit in the summer anywhere near as much as I had expected to.

It’s supposed to be pretty mild for the next while…

Yeah. I’m just looking for excuses to get this set up out there! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Clearing snow before it snows, and I think they’ve figured it out!

We had ourselves a very pleasant surprise today! Company!

Sort of…

I got an email from my older brother, asking if he could swing by this afternoon. Considering that it’s a 1 1/2 hour drive for him, this was a welcome surprise!

I got his message after doing my morning rounds, which included changing the batteries on the new camera with ones that weren’t frozen. The camera still couldn’t show a display on the screen inside, though; more than the batteries was frozen! So I had no way of knowing if it was even working or not. At least I was able to confirm how much easier it is to change the batteries on this thing. I did not have to take it down to do it!

Then, after things warmed up a bit more, we brought out Spewie, our little electric snow blower, and gave it a workout!

With a daughter helping by controlling the 200 ft of extension cord, so it wouldn’t keep getting hung up on the snow and unplugging itself, it was done much more quickly! We got the area needed to drive the van to the house, with turning space, widened the path to the compost heap, and even managed a path around the house, in case we need to reach the septic tank. I didn’t try to make a path to the fire pit or the barn this time, though.

Of course, it’s now snowing. We’re expected to only get a centimeter or so, so it should be fine. Even if it’s more, it’ll be easier to clear, later! It does seem funny to rush to clear away snow, before more snow arrives, though. 😀

The great thing is, when my brother got to our place, he was able to drive right up to the house, like he normally prefers to do. 🙂

He didn’t come into the house, due to the restrictions still in place, but we were able to exchange our Christmas gifts. 🙂 We gave him and his wife the olive server and cutlery I’d carved, using maple I’d cut away from the pump shack so I could reach and fix the window.

I will have to get a picture later, of what they gave us: a fire pit cooking grill! One that is mounted on a post, and can be swung off and on the fire! We are so excited! It can be used above the set up we have now, or replace it completely. I can’t wait to try it out! The ground it too frozen to install it now, though, so it’ll have to wait until spring. *sigh* 😉

While he was here, my brother took a look at my mother’s car. I had not hooked the trickle charger back up, because 1) the battery does not have + or – symbols on it, though I was pretty sure which was which, and 2) I could not figure out how the clamps would go on, while being flat enough for the cover to be put back in place.

While he was there, he ended up completely moving how the cords for the trickle charger, battery warmer, block heater and extension cord were set up. I had set it up as it was before, across the front, with zip ties holding things in place so nothing would drop onto the belts below (which had happened already, and I had to buy a new extension cord). This was not how he’d had it before, but how a mechanic had set it up, after some work was done. He’d had it set up tucked under the frame by the battery. He was able to get it to all fit into there again, and there are no moving parts they could fall onto in there!

While he was setting it up, and even double checking with a volt meter to ensure it was working, he searched and searched the battery for something to show with side was positive, which was negative. He did find the letters POS hidden under one of the clamps. I’ll have to take his word for it, because while I could see that something was under there, there was no way I could tell that it was letters!

So that is now done, and the trickle charger is finally hooked up. I try to use my mother’s car as much as possible, but over the winter, who knows how long that will be. We hardly use our own vehicle, this time of year!

Speaking of which…

After my brother left, I headed out to the post office – one of my husband’s Christmas gifts finally arrived! LOL – then into town to pick up a few last things before New Year’s. Normally, we would have done our monthly shop by now, but between the holidays and the weather, the end of December just doesn’t work out for that! With all the restrictions happening right now, we haven’t been able to stock up as well as usual, so we’re running out of things more than usual, too. Nothing essential, really, but I still prefer to stock up at least a little bit, just in case we can’t get into the city as planned. Last month, I didn’t even go to the city at all, but went to the Walmart of a smaller city, instead. It’s not as well stocked as the bigger stores in the bigger city, but at least I knew I wouldn’t be harassed for wearing a shield instead of a mask. As far as I know, 2 of the 3 stores we normally go to for our monthly stock up are safe for people with medical exemptions, and I’ve heard the one Costco location we usually go to is actually offering both masks and shields to people, and when people have gone in mask-less, they’ve only been warned if the mask nazi’s … er… inspectors where in the store. The inspectors are threatening stores with fines, even though the mandates expressly stipulate medical exemptions. But then, one store made the news for kicking a woman out for not wearing a mask, and she didn’t have hands to put one on. The exemptions clearly state that people who cannot put on or take off a mask themselves are exempt. It all seems so very arbitrary, which makes it difficult for people who can’t wear masks to know, from one day to the next, if they will be left alone, harassed, kicked out, fined or arrested.

I’m just thankful that we are isolated enough that it doesn’t affect us as much on a daily basis. Just in our own extended family, we’ve got people dealing with everything from trying to figure out how to get to work with the day-cares closed, to job losses, home losses, and dealing with severe depression as a result. I’ve always been grateful that my husband has such excellent private health insurance when he went on long term disability and, for all the challenges, happy that we left the city to live on and take care of the farm. Now, I am even more grateful for it. I honestly don’t know how we would have managed, if we were still living in the city we were in before. Our daughters could have stayed behind, too, but they chose to move out to help take care of the property, and their father, instead. They gave up a lot to do it, but it’s now turning out to have been worth it, for reasons we never imagined.

What a crazy world we live in, right now!

But I digress!

On a more fun note, after I got back from town, I was able to bring the van into the yard to unload it.

We were being watched.

Creamsicle Jr. was not alone at first. By the time I got my phone out to take a picture, Nostrildamus had come out to say hello. He had been sitting behind Creamsicle Jr.

Directly under the terrarium heater bulb.

In front of the light sensor on the timer.

I think they’ve figured it out.

If a cat is siting under the bulb, it is blocking the light sensor, which turns on the heat. While it’s unlikely that they made any sort of connection to the timer, it would be easy for them to figure out that if they sit in just the right spot during the day, that thing above their head starts getting warm again.

One thing about the yard cats; they do have to be smart, if they’re going to survive! 😀

I’m happy that the littlest ones are handling the cold as well as they are. Being born so late in the year, they were the ones most at risk from the cold. Not only are they doing all right, they’re downright playful in the snow! 🙂 They’re even regularly following me out to the gate when I check it, and switch out the memory cards. They still won’t come close to me, but they will follow me! 😀 (I’m happy to say that, while showing the new trail cam to my brother, I found it had thawed out enough to start working again! I didn’t even have to reset the date and time. 🙂 )

For now, judging by how often I’ve seen the red bar across the top of my browser, warning me that auto save didn’t work because I’m offline, I’d say the weather system has hit us quite thoroughly, and it’s taking our internet out in the process. That, and my weather app will not reload! The temperatures are still relatively mild, but I can see the snow falling on the security camera’s live feed. It seems to be enough to mess with our satellite. That secondary dish may have started working again after we pruned more branches, but it still doesn’t have a good signal at the best of times. It doesn’t take much to make it worse!

At some point, I’ll be able to post this… 😉

The Re-Farmer

A new Q!

Have I mentioned that my brother is the best?

I just can’t say it enough.

My brother is the best!

I got a call from him, early this evening. He just finished loading up their big BBQ into his truck and was ready to bring it over!

This was something he had offered to us when I told him about what we’d done with the fire pit, for outdoor cooking. They got themselves a smaller BBQ, as their older one was too big for just the 2 of them, and it was just sitting there, unused. Today, he up and decided to deliver it!

There aren’t a lot of places we can put a BBQ right now. Basically, there’s the concrete and patio blocks in front of the sun room where it can stay for the winter.

So I quickly went out and moved the shelf I was planning to moved now that the sun room door is finished. It would be much harder to move it, with a BBQ in the way!

With the shelf moved away, you can really see how much the concrete under the rain barrel has sunk! This is likely from years of the rain barrel being allowed to overflow.

Which might have something to do with why the sun room has been shifting, and why I had such troubles with the door!

Ya think?

Since it’s that time of year, anyhow, I took advantage of the situation and emptied the rain barrel into the old kitchen garden.

After breaking through ice about an inch thick!

It will be much easier to go through here to the old kitchen garden, now that the shelf is moved. We had originally intended to put the shelf in storage, with most of the other stuff that belonged to my parents, and had put it aside until we could bring the van over to take it. It was so handy, we left it. 🙂

Inside the shelf are the pieces of rigid insulation that had been used for the “cat condo” we made for the cats in the sun room last winter. We will likely use some of them for the kibble house, under the food containers. We also plan to leave the two bottom shelves empty, except for some pieces of insulation on the “floor”, for the cats to be able to tuck into it for shelter. We did that last winter, and they made full use of it.

There it is! Our new Q!

We’ve never had anything bigger than 3 burners before; this one has five. It’s so big, he had to take the lid off to fit it under his truck cap! My brother even fired it up to test it out, including the extra burner for pots and pans on the side. It even starts better than any BBQ we’ve had before. 🙂

Chances are, we won’t be able to use it until spring, but at least now we have the option! We don’t have any BBQ tools, but with all the summer stuff on clearance right now, this is probably the best time of year to get more. 🙂 I really look forward to using it!

Sadly, they were not able to stay for long. I’m glad my SIL made it out; she hadn’t been able to for a while, as she recovered from surgery. We did get a chance to walk around the yard, and show them what we’ve been doing. Technically, my brother is my “landlord”, so it’s probably a good idea for him to know what’s going on. 😉 Unlike my mother, they are actually quite happy with how things are shaping up, and are not offended by us doing things like using mulch. 😀

Somehow, they found my glee, as I demonstrated opening and closing the sun room door repeatedly, very amusing. 😀

It’s probably a good thing they didn’t stay any longer. They’ve got a long drive back, and wanted to make a quick stop to visit our mother along the way. From what I’m seeing on the live feed for the security camera, there are strong winds and snow right now!

I’ve gotta get that kibble house done!

The Re-Farmer