One last blast, and choosing something difficult

We’re still under an extreme cold weather advisory right now. Today is supposed to be the coldest day of our current cold snap, and then things are supposed to start warming up again.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a few times this winter, though… 😕

I took this screen cap a little while ago, with us at -27C/-17F and a wind chill of -35C/-31F, and it’s already warmed up a degree since. What I find interesting is that the hourly forecast says we’re supposed to be -31C/-24F right now. Now, that’s the kind if “wrong forecast” I prefer. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick something up while I was in town yesterday, so I likely will have to go out today.

Of course, if we get a call saying we can pick up our new Caravan because the financing is approved, that would be bonus!

We shall see!

Today is also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. For the past few years, I have chosen to “fast” by giving up social media. Which has gotten to be too easy. So I decided to give up something that I’ve been considering for a while, but is going to be hard, and it’s actually going to be a dietary fast this time.

I’m going to be giving up sugar and starchy foods.

Traditionally, meat is given up but, again, that’s too easy. To be honest, giving up sugar isn’t that hard, either; we don’t eat a lot of sweets, so it’s basically no more sugar in my tea, and no more home-made hot chocolate. But starches? Bread, potatoes, pasta… that’s going to be more of a challenge. I’ve been slowly already cutting back on them, and what struck me is how much these get used as “filler”. These are things that bulk up a meal, extend meat, or hold other foods. I have an egg salad sandwich instead of plain egg salad, because the bread allows me to eat the egg salad with my hands. I mix bread crumbs into ground beef to make a meat loaf mostly because it bulks things up, stretching the amount of meat used. Things like that. It’s also such a habit to include starches. It’s just been ingrained that a “proper” meal has a protein, vegetable and starch, and what meal is complete without bread of some kind? I think the habit part is going to be the most difficult to catch myself on.

So that is going to be my Lenten fast this year. No sugars or starches for 40 days.

Well… I haven’t had breakfast yet. Time to go make myself a food.

The Re-Farmer


Y’know, if the weather forecasts are going to be wrong and constantly changing, it’d be really nice if things would go in the other direction.

Instead, we’re getting this for tonight.

Wind chills of -40 to -45C (-40 to 49F) to overnight???

Granted, this is a province wide warning that applies only to the south, and we’re central. Looking at the local forecasts, I’m seeing predictions of a continual drop until it reaches -29C/-20F by 8am tomorrow morning, with wind chills of -39C/-38F.

It’s not much better than the weather warning, but I’ll take what I can get!

I’m glad my daughter reminded me to plug the van in. I just wish we were able to get that ceramic terrarium heat bulb set up in the sun room, but the fixture we were using with the old bulb isn’t working anymore. We don’t have any other fixture we can safely set up in there.

The high of the day is supposed to be -26C/-15F starting around 2pm. From then on, even the overnight lows are expected to be a bit warmer than that. By Sunday, we’re supposed to reach -4C/25F, and Monday, when I’m supposed to be driving my mother to her medical appointment, it’s supposed to be -7C/19F.

Assuming the forecasts don’t change again.

The Re-Farmer

Long day, and still chill!

Well, I’m happy to say that my mother’s car ran well today, though it certainly did not enjoy starting! I made sure to give it time to warm up in the garage, before taking it out into that wind.

My first stop was to the post office, where I had several packages to pick up. One of them was these:

The heated gloves my husband got for me!

They were listed as XL, but they fit quite snugly when I tried them on. They were too stiff to wear while driving, though, so I went back to my mittens!

These have some interesting features. Obviously, they have batteries. The USB charging cable can charge both at the same time, so I’ve got that happening right now.

The third finger on each hand has a finger loop on it. You can just see one on the right glove. I have no idea what that’s for. The finger tips are touch screen compatible. They have wrist loops to keep them from getting lost, as well as being water resistant and having adjustable cuffs.

It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that one of the other parcels was also something my husband had ordered for me. A new pair of the “Military Tactical work boots” to replace the ones he got me last year. I love the side zipper feature on these, and wore them almost constantly, until the leather finally split and cracked on the side of one boot. This time, as soon as he unboxed them, my husband treated them with some leather conditioner – something we actually found while cleaning up the basement. A full gallon jug of it, barely used! He plans to treat the leather regularly with it, so hopefully this pair will last longer.

One other thing that came in the mail was particularly important: my husband’s disabled parking permit! He doesn’t get out much, but when he does, it will make things much easier for him to be park closer.

After picking everything up at the post office, it was off to my mother’s town. The roads were not too bad, though I was driving against blowing snow. Stopping for gas in the wind wasn’t too bad, either. Then it was off to get my mother’s prescriptions, hit the bank, then stop at the Chinese food place to pick up lunch. I even managed to get to my mother’s a bit earlier than I was shooting for!

We had a decent amount of time to visit and have lunch (breakfast, for me!), then head out early for her appointment. I’m glad we did leave early; it was blowing snow the whole way, with very little shelter along the route. Even as small as the profile of my mother’s car is, I could feel us being buffeted, and the engine working to maintain speed against the wind. The place was easy to find, and had plenty of parking, so we didn’t even lose time with that, and got there about half an hour early.

The specialist my mother was seeing shares a building with another clinic and a pharmacy. As we came in, there were signs all over, saying that even though there are no longer any restrictions, they still required masks. Which is bizarre, since yet another study was just released showing that wearing masks or not makes no difference in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, even when comparing surgical masks with N95 masks, at all (there’s now close to 80 such studies, just in the last few years, with exactly the same end results). You’d think the medical community would be on top of this sort of thing. We passed several of these signs just going through the two sets of doors; I’m not sure my mother even saw them. There were even stand alone signs scattered around main lobby area. As we entered, a woman wearing a mask started coming over, asking which doctor we were there to see. I gave the name and she directed us to the doors behind us. Doors that didn’t have a single sign on them. We walked in, and there wasn’t a mask in sight. Not the receptionist, not the other patients, and not the doctor. It was like a sanctuary of sanity in a sea of junk science!

Getting there early meant we got brought into the examination room early, but the doctor took longer with another patient, so he actually saw us late. Which was fine, except my mother got it in her head that the car would freeze and not start because we were waiting soooo long. I reminded her that I spent more time with her in her apartment before we headed out, and the car started just fine. Plus, the day was still getting warmer! She wasn’t satisfied until the doctor finally came in and she brought it up with him – and he promised to give us a boost if the car didn’t start! 😄

The visit started out a bit confusing, because we were thinking we were there about her breathing issues, but this was a referral about her acid reflux. When she gets really bad heart burn while lying down, she also has trouble breathing, and thinks she’s having a heart attack. Her heart checked out extremely healthy – fantastic for someone in her 90’s – but she still can’t accept that there’s nothing wrong with her heart. The doctor tried questioning her, but eventually started explaining things more to me, while simplifying things for my mother, as he figured out that I would be working to explain things to her later on. He asked her all kinds of questions, but it’s really hard to get clear answers from her, because she keeps wanting to talk about other things.

One of the things that came out is that my mother has been taking all her pills – she thinks she’s taking a lot, but really, it’s not that many – with food. She’s on a medication for acid reflux, that is in her bubble packs as a morning pill. It is NOT supposed to be taken with food, which I never saw indicated anywhere. She should also be taking it in the evening. She takes her evening pills at 5pm, but doesn’t go to bed until 11, so we talked about changing the timing.

After questioning her more, he decided it was appropriate to get a scope done on her, to check if there is any damage from the reflux. Then he talked to her about dietary changes. I recognized what he was talking about and reminded my mother that I’d given her a printout of what foods were good and which weren’t, and she said she never looks at it. *sigh* High acid foods are things she should be avoiding, like citrus fruits, onions and garlic, and tomatoes.

My mother loves her onions and tomatoes.

My sister recently gave her onions and a jar of tomatoes from her garden.

I’ve sent the food list to my sister, and we’ve talked about this before, but my sister just seems to forget completely!

A few more things were discussed, and then we headed out, stopping to get some information about the scope from the receptionist.

My mother was already trying to back out of it, asking if she really needed to get it done.


When she has these “attacks”, she gets really scared and things she is literally dying. But she hasn’t had one in a while, so now she doesn’t want to actually do anything about it.

The appointment was set for the end of this month and, after checking with my mother, my number got put down as the person to call with more information and instructions, closer to the date, which I will then pass on and explain to her. We also got a printout for her about the procedure and what she needs to do in advance. That was something for us to go over when I got her home.

I had offered to help my mother with shopping if she felt up to it, but she wanted to do that in her own town. All she needed was milk, anyhow. I did realize, with the longish drive ahead, it would be a good idea to find a public washroom before we got on the highway. There was a Walmart handy, so I ended up going in, while she stayed warm in the car, so I picked up milk for her, anyhow! I’m glad it worked out that way because, by the time we got her home, I don’t think either of us was up to a grocery trip!

I then spent perhaps an hour going through things with her. While driving home and talking about her medication change, she suddenly told me she was already taking that one pill (she didn’t understand what it was for, even though it has been explained to her by me, my brother and her doctor) in the evening. That was something the specialist should have been told! She was still taking it with food, though, and too early, so we worked out that she would be taking that one pill shortly before bed. I had quite a time convincing her that it was ONLY the one pill that needed to be changed, and that she didn’t need to change anything else. She kept thinking she shouldn’t take any of them with food now, but I know for sure that at least one of them is supposed to be taken with food. Then we went over the printout. I marked out on her calendar, when she needs to stop taking things like blood thinners (and confirming which of her pills is a blood thinner – when the doctor had asked about them, she couldn’t remember exactly why she was on them, other than “they are to prevent stroke”, and she’s been on them longer than we’ve been back, so I don’t know, either), vitamins, aspirin, etc, when to start fasting, and when not to take any of her meds at all. Then more notes were written down inside the cover of her bubble packs, complete with little drawings of the pill shapes.

While going through the printout, I got to the part where it said they would have her lying down on her left side.

But she can’t lie on her left side, she tells me. If she does, she gets the pain and problems with breathing.


Yes, she’s mentioned that she slept on her side (which is recommended for reflux) to the doctor, but didn’t specify why she slept only on her right side.

Turns out that she gets these attacks every time she tries sleeping on her left side. They happen when she’s on her right side, only sometimes, and that’s when she wants to go to a doctor about it.

That was something the specialist should have been told, but she seemed surprised that this wasn’t automatically understood when she had said she slept on her side!


It took some doing, but we got through it. Before I left, she paid me back for the lunch and gas, so before heading home, I stopped at the bank again to do a deposit, then went back to the gas station to fill the tank again. Driving against the wind really did a number on the mileage!

I am so glad I had the wind at my back for the drive home.

Where my mother is, it is sheltered, but the gas station is not. WOW did the wind increase since morning! It’s still blowing now. Even though the temperature is a relatively warm -18C/about 0F, the wind chill was about -33C/-27F. I think the wind chill was even colder while I was filling the tank again! It was absolutely brutal! I picked up a couple other little things then headed back to the car, pausing to check for messages from the family before I left. Which is the only reason I saw the notification from my bank about the purchase I’d just made.

The number was very off.

They forgot to charge me for the gas!

So I went back in and paid for it. 😄

I’m glad I caught it when I did, or I wouldn’t have seen it until I got home.

And I was sure glad to get home! The running around is pretty draining, but all that time trying to explain things to my mother gets pretty difficult after a while, even though she was definitely having one of her good days.

I’m glad it got done, though.

I’ll also be glad when this chill finally ends. It’s still only -18C/about 0F out there, and the wind chill is still at -33C/-27F! If the forecast is right, the winds will die down in a few hours, and then things will steadily warm up over the next while.

I’m looking forward the air no longer hurting my face!

The Re-Farmer

Winter doesn’t want to let go

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

The cattens took full advantage of that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This baby?

I got to pet him.

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

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

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

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

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

Is this a new one?

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

One last day

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

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

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

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

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

I want to snuggle that baby.

Baby won’t let me snuggle him.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Bitter cold still here, and… oh. That’s why!

Well, that cold wave is still over us, and we are still getting temperatures quite a bit lower than what has been forecast!

Before I headed outside, it was -32C/-26F out there. The wind chill was -42F/-44F. I’ve been trying to wait a bit longer to head out, so as not to disturb the cats keeping warm in the sun room, but it hasn’t really been working. I am writing this more than 2 hours after the above screen cap was taken, and we’re still at -31C/-24F, with a wind chill of -43F/-45F.

Even in the sun room, the wall thermometer was reading -20C/-4F when I came in. That’s what our high of the day is supposed to be today.

I don’t think that’ll happen! 😄

I noticed that no cats have been sitting on top of the board supporting the light fixture we have set up, with the ceramic heat bulb. After giving the cats their kibble and warm water (the kibble outside is not being eaten much, while the kibble in the sun room is disappearing quickly – go figure!😉), I made a point of wading through the eating cats to reach the fixture and put my hand under to check the heat.

There was none.

I touched the bulb and wiggled it around, finding it moved as if it were loose in the socket. Very loose.

So I cut the twine that was holding it in place and flipped it over.


That would do it.

I can’t really think of how this happened. Best guess would be that it was from their jumping onto the board to sit on it. While the fixture was tied to the frame of the mini greenhouse, so it couldn’t be knocked off, it could still slide from side to side. I suppose it’s possible it got jarred so many times, the bulb finally broke.

The flat panel heater my husband got puts out almost no heat at all. So there is no heat source in there at the moment.

We’ve ordered replacement heat bulbs.

Until then, I should look through our collection of lightbulbs and see if we have a 100w incandescent bulb. That can act as a mild heat source, too. Just until the new ceramic bulbs come in.

It makes me wonder if we should check the heat bulb in the cat house again. With the accumulated ice and snow on and around it, I’m not sure we’d be able to open it without cracking the frame. We’re going to need to do it at some point, though. I noticed the heat shield above the fixture has been bent up. Why the cats are going after something that’s attached to the ceiling and top of the wall escapes me, but… well… it’s not like cats need much reason for what they do! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Keeping warm!

We have been so spoiled by the mild winter we’ve had so far!

As I write this, it’s coming up on noon, and we have warmed up to -28C/-18F but the wind chill has gotten colder, at -40C/F (it’s the came in both Celsius and Fahrenheit at that point!). It’s bright and sunny out there, with clear skies. As I look out my window while writing this, I don’t see even a light breeze in the trees, but it doesn’t take much to drive the wind chill down at these temperatures.

When I went into the sun room this morning, the wall thermometer was at about -18C/0F, while outside it was at about -31C/-24F. I had made sure to top up the heated water bowl in the sun room yesterday the evening, and it was a bit less than half full this morning – with a sheet of ice starting to form on the surface! When unfastening the cord holding the doors propped open, just enough for the cats to squeeze in and out, I had to be careful not to touch the metal door handle for long with my bare hands. Tending to the outside cats was all I did out there this morning. The trail cams are probably frozen. With the sign cam, which is batteries only, it typically stops recording when the batteries get too cold, but starts up again as they warm up. It has fresh batteries, so it should be good. The solar powered trail cam is still on its first set of batteries, and they’re still showing as 100%. It’s in full sun, so it should actually be warmer than ambient temperature (the images include a temperature display, and it’s internal temperature is always at least a few degrees higher than the actual temperature). How it does in these temperatures will be the ultimate test for it. If it does well, we will be getting more like it, to replace the older ones that are starting to glitch out more often. We won’t be able to get the exact same camera, as they are no longer available, but there is a new version from the same company.

There was no way I was going out there to switch out the memory cards, though. Not today!

I didn’t even try for a head count with the outside cats, but the last I looked out the bathroom window, the swing bench was covered by a mass of multicoloured fur!

Even the inside cats are feeling it. Though I turned down the thermostat a bit, the furnace has been going almost constantly. That vibrating noise is sometimes there, mostly not. Of course, most of our heat vents has a cat on it. While tending the greenhouse aquarium, Fenrir wouldn’t even wait for me to put everything back before she was trying to climb onto the light fixtures – which were one on top of the other at the time! Once they were in place again, she settled right in.

Belly warmer!

She looks like such a Sphinx in that pose!

Beep Beep was also quick to climb on. Fenrir is actually looking at her, out of frame, sitting on the end of the fixture, trying to figure out why Fenrir is in her spot!

Those fixtures stay nice and toasty, and the more agile cats take full advantage of that.

That, and body heat. Especially upstairs. The girls have their heaters going, and usually several cats each, curled up against them all night long!

Meanwhile, I popped onto Facebook this morning, and saw a friend post a screencap of her weather app. At 8am, she was at 19C/66F.

She’s also just moved to Puerto Vallarta.

After living in the Yukon for several years.

Funny. I find I know an awful lot of Canadians who have either moved permanently South, or are planning to do so over the next year or two!

Days like today, I find myself thinking that sounds like a pretty good idea!

The Re-Farmer


I just got off the phone to cancel the vet appointment this morning.

By the time I was done, the temperature had actually dropped even further. Our van just isn’t safe in these temperatures.

The clinic’s answering service doesn’t take messages, so I had to wait until they opened to call and cancel. The receptionist had no issues with such a short notice cancelation. She had troubles herself this morning!

We will wait until the cold snap breaks, then book another appointment. Thankfully, grandma hasn’t been pawing at her face or making those glancing noises of late. We still want to check her out, but it’s not any emergency.

The forecast was wrong again. I just wish it were wrong in the other direction!

The Re-Farmer

A Cold Christmas Eve!

Today is Christmas Eve. In our family, we celebrate our non-traditional Christmas Wigilia feast today, after the first star shines. I have a terrible habit of starting the turkey too early, though, so I’m keeping myself busy writing this, before I go spatchcock the turkey. We had gotten to enjoy brining the turkey in the past, leaving it to sit in the brine using our largest stock pot and leaving it in the old kitchen overnight.

It’s just too darn cold in there, and since I’ve discovered spatchocking is much easier than I thought it would be, we are quite enjoying doing it that way!

But first, the cute things update!

Walnut has settled right in. I now have three cats to fight over for my office chair!

Things were a lot calmer last night, and I actually got some sleep. It wasn’t until about 5am that the noises started. The bitty tabby (we need to come up with a name for that one!) was wandering around, squeaking. I was eventually able to gently catch it and hold it close. It does NOT want human attention, but even though it clearly wanted down, it did start purring as a cuddled it and pet it.

I got a message from the Cat Lady last night. She had gotten home from a long drive, delivering Plushy and Princess to their forever home. They settled right in! I can’t post the picture she sent me, but they were both curled up on the crossed legs of their new human, lounging and stretched out, like it was nothing new or strange at all.

Heading out this morning was definitely something I had to work myself up to.

This is the temperature after I was done; -26C/-15F with a wind chill of -42C/-44F I don’t even try to switch the memory card on the sign cam right now. The batteries would be frozen, anyhow. I did do the gate cam, though. We definitely need to get more of this solar powered type. The batteries on that still read 100%. It’s being powered entirely by solar – though it does need clearing of frost or snow, frequently! If this were one of they kinds where the solar panel charges rechargeable batteries (which many trail cams specifically say not to use) instead, it’d be dead right now.

I’ve been making a point of putting out most of the kibble in the sun room instead of outside these days, with various impromptu containers scattered around, so as many cats can eat at the same time as possible in there. I’ve also been topping up their food in there more often, and adding hot water to the frozen water bowl, to melt the ice and they can drink without having to go outside.

When I went outside, I found there was still kibble on the roof of the cat house – no surprise they don’t want to eat there right now! – but there was also a surprising amount in the kibble house trays. The trays under the water bowl shelter, however, were empty. They seem to prefer eating under there, which I am surprised by. There’s little to cut the wind under there, but it is a less open space, I suppose. I find myself wondering if we should modify the kibble house to make a “second floor” across the middle. That would enclose the kibble trays more and give them more of a sense of security, and we could maybe even add more kibble trays to the top, so more cats can fit in there and not be fighting over space around the food.

Something to think about, for the summer.


While the large water bowl had its usual crown of frost around the edges, the small one was completely frozen across the top.

The bowl is still working; there was plenty of liquid water underneath, but the cats couldn’t get at it!

So I took this bowl and set it up in the sun room, where I could plug it in. There’s no outlet in the sun room, so we have extension cords going through the window from the old kitchen. Usually, I use the two outdoor power cords, one of which powers the cat house, and the other powers the ceramic heat bulb in the sun room, but there’s also a household extension cord that was here when we moved in. It was run up and around the door frame, and I’ve been using it to charge my baby chainsaw (battery powered pruner). That puts the water bowl well away from food bowls, but that’s okay. Plus, I still topped up the broken heated water bowl, which just had ice in it.

I did see flashes of the little soot sprite. I’m afraid my last attempt to catch the tuxedo bitty has made him even more nervous to come out when I’m in the room. Normally, I’d try to lure it with treats or wet cat food, but with so many other cats around, that can’t really work. I’d be fighting off too many other cats!

Well, it’s supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We’re supposed to have a high of -17C/1F. After that, things are expected to keep warming up, though not as much as earlier forecasts were predicting before. It’ll still be almost balmy, compared to today. The yard cats will likely be running around outside a lot more, so I hope that will give more opportunity to catch the bitty tuxedo – and maybe Broccoli! Yes, they’re old enough to wean, but it would be so great to reunite them with their mama!

Well, it’s time to start getting things set up for tonight. It’s going to be a very quiet Christmas, with just the four of us, and I’m quite happy with that.

I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may 2023 be a year of peace and joy for you all!

The Re-Farmer

Well… at least it’s pretty

Check out these sundogs I saw this morning.

So pretty!

Of course, sundogs only happen when it’s really cold. We may not be as severely cold as the rest of Western Canada is right now, but…

I took this shortly before heading outside. -23C/-9F is one thing. A wind chill of -38C/-36F is something else! And to think that where were used to live is seeing -38C/-36F or colder, before wind chill!

Needless to say, I did the short rounds this morning!

This thermometer is mounted in a very sheltered corner that is south facing. It is shaded by part of the house through the morning, though.

This thermometer is almost flat against a cold wall, in the sun room. If anything, it’s reading a bit low. Especially with that frosted window beside it. The other window is a double pane window. The frosted one lost one of the panes before we moved here.

No question as to why the outside cats have pretty much moved into the sun room! Especially with the ceramic heat bulb, a cozy soft swing bench, and a cat bed under it. Plus, there are floor mats and sheets of insulation scattered about to keep their little toe beans protected from the concrete floor. Add in food and water, and they’re all set. Except for the lack of a litter box, they have little reason to go outside. I checked as best I could through the reflections on the windows, and I could see no cats at all in the cat house this morning.

Today we’re supposed to reach a high of -19C/-2F, then tomorrow, dip back to -20C/-4F. After that, it’s supposed to start warming up, eventually reaching a high of -5C/23F. The weather app on my desktop that had been forecasting 1C/34F for New Year’s? It’s now saying we’ll see a quick drop to -10C/14F

That’s still really pleasant for the time of year, so I don’t have a problem with that!

The Re-Farmer