An eye rolling surprise, and some cuteness

I paused what I was working on to help my daughter get some old bikes out of the barn hayloft. She and my husband have been looking at the one I got for $10 at a garage sale, and I’m told it would cost more to fix it, than get a new bike! Given the price of new bikes these days, I don’t think so, but it needs a lot of work.

There are old bikes strewn around all over the farm, and my daughter had already brought a couple over. For the ones in the hay loft, the won’t fit through the opening in the floor, where it’s accessed by a ladder. There is a pair of doors on the side facing the house that haven’t been touched since the girls went up to secure them, after they were blown open during high winds.

Except… it turned out someone else had been up there.

In the fall of 2018, we discovered our vandal had boarded the barn doors up to try and prevent us from accessing stuff he felt entitled to. It never occurred to us that he would have gone up into the hayloft and boarded the doors up from the inside! It took my daughter quite a while to get them out, without damaging the doors more. The screws were driven deep into the wood, with two of them so deep, she didn’t even see them at first. He’d done that same thing with the main doors, with one driven so far into the wood, I never did get it out. I had to break the screw – something that was not an option for my daughter, today. The second door is still attached somehow, but she could not see where. One door open was enough to fit the bikes through, though. The floor up there is increasingly unsafe to walk on – I can’t go up there at all anymore – so she very carefully grabbed 4 adult size bikes that were up there (there are also a couple of tricycles!) and lowered them down with a rope. I would remove the rope and set the bike aside, while she got the next one.

There was one bike on the lower level she hadn’t noticed earlier, but I’d seen it while scavenging through the various piles of stuff back there. I dug it out for her and, in the process, discovered a couple of piles of ceramic tiles. Maybe about 30, altogether. They weren’t the usual used salvage, either, but look like none of them have ever been used! I’m sure we can find something to do with them. 😊


After we got the bikes down, my daughter looked around for anything else worth taking out. There’s a lot of stuff there, including the ubiquitous stacks of old tires, with and without rims. She ended up passing down to me some wood that looked like it was still in decent condition. Four or five 2×6 boards that are all about 12 feet long! I say “about” because they all have rotted ends, just like the other salvage lumber in the barn we’ve been making use of as best we can. There’s more lumber up there, but it’s all pretty rotten.

After we finished up and my daughter secured the doors from the inside so they wouldn’t blow open, I headed back to the house with a few things, while she started bringing the bikes closer. We now have a collection of 8 bikes out there. We’re hoping to be able to cobble together at least one that will work!

As I came to the house, though, I was thoroughly distracted by an adorable, squished kitty!

We keep this bin under the laundry platform bench, on its side and weighed down with bricks, as a place to keep the bucket of clothes pins out of the weather. The cats love to squish in the remaining space. Adam had been asleep when I came by, and does not look at all impressed that I interrupted his nap!

It looks like he’s been getting those burrs out of his fur, little by little. I managed to sneak a pet of his back while he was eating, recently, and didn’t feel the lumps I’d felt before. His long haired tuxedo brother, Driver, still has them in his tail and won’t let me get them out, but the ones on his body seem to be gone. Even Decimous, the little black and white, is looking like he as fewer mats in his fur. That leaves Brussel for the long haired cats, and she’s so stand-offish, we’ve never been able to tell if she’s getting matts or burrs in her fur. I’m just sort of assuming there are burrs in there. Even the short hairs cats have been having problems with them!

I do wish we could socialize all the outside cats! It would make it so much easier to take care of them!

They do make life more cheerful, though, just by existing! 😊

The Re-Farmer

A bit more updating

I think the outside cats are very happy the roof is done!

I think I actually counted 28 this morning, including two of the bitties that were under the cat house!

We have been having almost rain, almost snow, lately. Many trees look like they’re covered with hoar frost, but it’s actually a layer of ice.

Something I had to deal with when switching out the memory card on the gate cam!

The entire front was covered with a layer of ice! The camera lens has a plastic protector in the front cover. I spent some time trying to melt it away with the heat of my fingers, then trying to scrape it off. Then I use my palms to try and melt the ice off the solar panel. There’s not much I can do for the divots in front of the infrared flash lights. At least not without some kind of tool that can get in, but from the looks of the file, enough light is getting through that the night vision still works. At least as much as possible, when the lens itself has a layer of ice over it!

I went around the house this morning, taking pictures from the ground (not getting very good angles in most places!) of the new shingles, and moving a few things back that got missed.

This is what’s left of the chimney! A lot of the bricks are broken, but that’s okay. We will likely use these to make paths, and broken pieces can be used mosaic style.

While they were working on the roof, I’d burned a pile of wood over burnable garbage, adding a few old and rotten pallets I’d cleaned out of the yard in the process. This morning, I found this on the banked ash pile.

I’d seen these by the house while they were working and was wondering if they were going to keep them or not. It was too funny to see they’d added them to my burn pile!

They didn’t stay there. There’s some salvageable wood in there! I moved them to the barn. The bottom one was a bit singed by hot spots in the ash pile, but that one also has more broken pieces, of it was better for that one to be singed than the one that is in better shape. 😊

I got a message from my brother saying that he wanted to come over again – not as early as yesterday, though, thankfully! I told him I was leaving to meet with the cat lady, and thought I’d miss him entirely, but he was here when I got back. So I stayed outside after the cats and other stuff was unloaded into the house. There isn’t much I can do to help him, but I still wanted to be available!

I also took advantage of the daylight and walked around looking for “flyaways”. They cleaned up as best they could in the dark, but there was bound to be stuff they missed. Especially the clear plastic strips that covered the adhesive under the shingles. Those are hard to see, even in daylight, and are so light, they were blown around all over. There were also pieces of white plastic, on white snow, that were very easy to miss. I expect we will be finding more bits and pieces when the snow melts in the spring!

My brother sent me a picture of Dishy – after he secured it to the roof! It was held by only one screw. We figure they lost the other two while working around it.

My brother also tarred around the new anchor bolts he’d put in for the antennae wires, and checked the septic stack vents. There are two of them, and they were pretty blocked with debris. Not from the roofing job, but just from years of exposure. These vents are there to ensure no vacuum forms in the pipes as water drains to the septic tank. Now that they’ve been cleared, we should notice water draining better, throughout the house. He had a chance to talk to one of my daughters about it and, now that they know, they will include checking the vents when they’re up on the roof to clean the eavestroughs. They’d cleared those before the snow fell, but my brother found the downspouts were all full again!

Oh, and I had to laugh when I came outside this morning. Do you see the roof of the kibble house, behind the satellite dish? With something in the snow?

It is a forgotten can of A&W Root Beer! One of the guys must have put it in the snow, where it wouldn’t slide away, and would stay chilled, then forgot it there. 😄

There is one thing that we found – or should I say, didn’t find – that my brother is not happy with.

The parts and pieces from our old satellite dish that was still up there. Also, the remaining supports from the one that is now stored in the basement, that we’d left in place rather than leave screw holes in the roof.

I think they got taken to the dump. Those were not supposed to be throw away.

My brother will see if he can find out what happened to it when the company contacts him with the bill.

Oh, and he remembered to tell me something our mother had said when he visited her yesterday. She was complaining that none of the roofers, or someone from the company (I still haven’t figured out who she thinks it should be) came to visit her. Then she started saying that if they did any extra patch jobs on top of replacing the shingles, she won’t pay for it.

As in, if they found and fixed any rotted areas.

So… while talking to me, when I said they’d found no rot (only later did I find out they’d found and fixed one small patch of it), she was upset because she didn’t believe they’d recognise rot when they saw it, and/or that they would have put new shingles on top of rotten wood, rather than fix it, and the roof is gong to collapse like she saw on the news, who knows how long ago.

But in talking to my brother, she’s saying that if they DID fix anything beyond what was included in the estimate, she won’t pay them… for repairing the damage she doesn’t think they’d competent enough to recognise, and/or too corrupt to fix, therefore the roof is going to collapse.

My brother and I both know that she will try to go back on her word to pay for this, so he didn’t say much, or she’d get mad at him and use that as an excuse to not do what she promised she would do.

We will both be very relieved when the bill if finally paid!

Meanwhile, as my brother was up on the roof today, and I was picking things up around the house, he noticed a dark SUV suddenly slowing riiiiiggghhhttt down as it drove past on the main road. Slow enough to almost be stopped on the road.

It kept going until we could no longer see it through the trees, then I saw it going down the road by our driveway, as if it had driven around the other way. Which, since there is a “missing” road at a one mile mark, meant driving around an extra section (which is 1 square mile) to come back from that direction.

We both recognized the vehicle as one our vandal owns.

We saw it again, driving very slowly the other direction.

With the roofers coming, but not knowing when, we’ve had the gate wide open for quite some time. I went over to close it, but I looked down the road first. From our driveway, we can see open road for about 3/4 of a mile, but there was no sign of the SUV. I should have been able to see it. For it to be gone, it had to have turned into a field, and there are only two driveways into fields out there – one of them being part of this property, that is rented out. The other is a barely-their driveway that, as far as I know, doesn’t even get used in the winter.

I closed up the gate, then started walking back when I heard an engine coming.

Sure enough, it was the same SUV. Wherever it had disappeared to, it had turned around and come back, again driving ever so slowly.

So I started walking up the driveway towards the gate. Basically, I wanted our vandal to know that we could see him stalking around the property. When he saw me, he started driving faster, turned towards his place and didn’t come back.

Since he stayed on the road and never stopped, I don’t think he could be considered in breach of the restraining order we have against him, but he sure was on the edge of it!

My guess is, he noticed the new roof and was wanting to get a better look at what was going on, since he still seems to think he has some sort of claim on this place.

Which reminds me.

It turns out he’d called my mother again, though I’m not sure about the timeline of it. He said he wanted to come and visit her. She told him, sure, and started laying out the conditions of behaviour if he did. He’d responded by saying that he was going to be there on his own terms!

My brother asked her, why are you even wanting him to come over at all? What do you think he’ll do? She told him he’d probably do the same thing he always does; make demands, rant and rave, without letting her get a word in edgewise. So my brother asked again, why do you want him to come over? She started making excuses but, my goodness… if she knows he will only continue to be verbally abusive and coercive towards her, how does she think letting him come over will help?

So we’ll have to keep an eye out on my mother, in hopes she doesn’t self sabotage again.

Meanwhile, it looks like we’re going to have to make sure to keep the gate closed and locked again. I was hoping to be able to leave it open for the winter. There isn’t much snow right now but, last year, when the snow got so deep it was hard to open and close the gate, we left it open – which our awesome neighbors took advantage of and cleared our driveway for us, before we even knew they were there! It’s just a lot more convenient to not have to be constantly locking and unlocking the gate, either for ourselves, or for when we are expecting things like prescription deliveries, etc.

I’d hoped, after things had been so quiet for so long, our vandal was finally letting go, but it looks like he’s still watching us.

Just one more reason we want to plant lots of berry bushes and trees, as privacy screens! Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the driveway.

I am really hoping we won’t have to apply to renew the restraining order when it expires, but I strongly suspect we might have to go through that all over again.

Ah, well. We will deal with what comes.

My brother managed to find all sorts of little things to do while he was here, going up and down the ladder many times, and in many different areas. While I was still gone, he even carried the step ladder up the ladder so that he could use it to get to the second level roof! I was very happy to be there so he could lower it down to me, rather than try and climb down the ladder while carrying the step ladder!

It was starting to get dark by the time he was done, and he still had errands to run. He just never seems to stop!

I love my brother, but as much as I appreciate all he does for us, I wish he would take a break sometimes! He’s burning the candle at both ends.

It’s all done, though! All that the roofers were responsible for, plus the extras my brother did.

This should make quite a difference! I’ll have to remember to ask the girls, over the next few weeks, if they notice a difference in temperature upstairs. It wouldn’t be much; it’s not like insulation was added, but those extra layers of plastic barriers under the newly laid shingles might be enough for a noticeable change for them.

The Re-Farmer

Possible trigger?

While waiting for the RCMP to call me back, a thought occurred to me, so I went to the post office.

Sure enough, I found what may have been the trigger for this.

In the mail was a letter from the Court of Queen’s Bench. The judge’s decision on our vandal’s civil suit against me.

It was dismissed.

He now owes me $500 in court costs.

I expect him to appeal. He would have picked up his mail as usual on Friday, and had the decision festering in his head for a couple of days, so it could easily have triggered him to get drunk and do something stupid last night.

I don’t know that I’m happy with why the judge dismissed the case, though I suppose she had to respond to his claim, not my defense. She basically said that he did not provide a comprehensive list of items (noting that he’d said there was “too much to list”) with a market value, such as an appraisal, included. Basically, if he can come up with a list and attach dollar amounts to things, he can include that in his appeal.

In the papers he presented to the judge, he had photos of vehicles he claimed were his (one of which is already on his property, and at least one other was given to my dad by my brother, and is not his), and they were older photos. Photos taken while many of the vehicles still look like they’re worth something. They don’t look anywhere near that good anymore. Even as scrap value, the longer they sit there, rusting away, the less they’re worth. In his picture of the post pounder, you can’t even tell what it is, because it was covered in junk. I’m the one who cleaned it up and have been trying to protect it from the elements. That was built by my late brother, so there is no market equivalent.

Still, I can see our vandal sitting there, stewing, coming up with a list of everything he thinks is his, or believes is here, and how much he can say I need to pay him for it. He could have found a way to prove things were his, and I would have let him take it. Heck, I would have been good with claims being corroborated by my brother or my mother, but in trying to do so, I found that he was claiming some things are his that they say are not. But he doesn’t actually want the stuff. He wants the money – and to destroy me.

Ah, well. I guess I “won”, but I don’t think it’s over.

Whatever he ends up doing, I can easily see the decision being enough to put him out of control, getting drunk, and deciding to do something about the one camera he could actually reach. I honestly can’t think of any logical alternative to how the camera disappeared, and I’ve been trying. I would really prefer to believe that some animal dragged it off, but… no. That just doesn’t fit.

No matter.

I called the RCMP again. It’s a good thing I did, because the clerk isn’t in today, so no one saw my message. I’ve filed a report, but there’s really nothing they can do about it. There are no witnesses, and the only evidence would be in the missing camera’s memory card. It’s not like I have a camera on my camera!

But it’s reported and on file, so there is at least that. Who knows. When the clerk comes in and gets my message, I might still get a call from a constable later.

On top of that, I got a call from the tree guy. The chippers will not be coming today, as we are expected to get rain this afternoon. Possibly heavy thunderstorms. Which I don’t expect to actually hit us, but we’ll see. He will call me again, the next time they have a few hours available.

On the plus side, I got a wonderful surprise in the mail. A big, heavy box was waiting for me.

M, you are such a sweetie! Thank you so much. The cats will love the treats and, as soon as I’m done this, I’m going to start going through those old books! 🥰 You are awesome!

I have the best friends. 💟💟

The Re-Farmer

Apparently, I”m a “ringleader”

Oh, what I day.

At least I got to start it with cows!

When I went to unlock the gate, the renter’s cows (and bull) were in the old hay yard. The grass is too high to see, but it looks like there is still water in the low spot where you can see a bunch of them gathered. They did seem to be drinking, rather than grazing.

I just love the renter’s cows. They make me smile!

I left very early for my court date with our vandal today. I did forget on detail until I went over the paperwork again last night. He’s not suing me for $10,000. He’s suing me for $13,000.

I’m glad I left as early as I did. Aside from stopping to get gas on the way out, when I got to my usual route to a place I knew I could park without time limits, I found the road was torn up. There was only 1 lane of traffic, away from where I wanted to go, and it was several blocks before I was able to take a turn back to the main road and go around another way.

When I got there, I did have a bit of a heart attack when the security guard told me there was no court today. ???!!! The court office was open, though, so I went in to ask. At first, it was confirmed: no court today. Then I showed her my case file and she said, “oh, yes. There’s court for you.”


Because this was a civil suit, it’s Court of Queens Bench – a federal court, not a provincial court. When I filed for a restraining order against our vandal, it was all provincial, and in a different court room. The court rooms are just down the hall from each other, though. There are some benefits to small city courts!

After some time, I could hear our vandal’s voice, talking to the security guards at the door. When he and his witnesses came around the corner, they saw me sitting by the doors and just stopped, taking seats at the other end of the hall.

He had said he would have two, then four, witnesses, but three were there. His wife, of course. A mutual friend whose voice I recognized, and another guy whose voice I could not recognise at all. They had bright windows behind them, so I couldn’t see him. In the end, it turned out to be a neighbour of ours that we both grew up with. Not someone I would have expected to be there, though.

No matter.

Because he was the claimant, when we finally got before the judge (about 15-20 minutes past the scheduled time), he got to talk first, with an opening statement, then calling in his witnesses, one at a time.

The first thing the judge asked him, though, was how he came up with the $13,000 he was after. He rambled about how much he thought things were worth, and that some things had sentimental value, but in the end it came down to “that’s what I think it’s worth”.

As for his opening statement, my goodness, he rambled on. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. The judge was good at keeping a poker face, but even she was starting get that “are you done yet?” look.

In a nutshell, everything is my fault. I am the “ringleader” in trying to destroy his life. I have cameras because I want him in jail. I locked the gate because I want to keep him from his stuff. I call the police on him, over and over and over, and the police came to see him, like, THREE times, and he was fingerprinted and everything. I pressed charges for no reason (his vandalizing the gate was him “opening” the gate). I applied for a restraining order for no reason. I was using the police and the courts against him because I’m so very mean and don’t want him to have his stuff. The farm’s ownership went to my brother “behind [his] back” and “in secret”. He still seems to think he has some sort of claim to the land itself, not just the stuff he claims is his. Lots of rambling about how he and my late brother did SO much to take care of the farm, and how he went to auctions and stuff to buy things that were stored on the farm because he didn’t have room out of the elements to start it, etc. My other siblings did nothing. It was just him and my late brother. And I’m mean for not letting him onto the property.

Then his witnesses came in, one at a time, and basically said the same thing. He did lots of stuff on the farm. He helped my dad a lot. He had lots of stuff on the farm. My dad wanted the farm to go to him. !!! He should be able to go onto the farm and take “his” stuff at any time. His wife even tried to make it sound like he brought his own tools over here and left them, if my father didn’t have a particular tool. Which is hilarious, because when we moved here, all the functional tools and supplies were gone.

Funny. Other than passing mentions, it was as if my mother, who actually owned the land when we moved here, didn’t exist.

The witnesses really didn’t make his case. But then, he doesn’t have one.

When I finally got to respond, it was pretty basic. I don’t claim ownership of the property or anything on it. It was my mother’s, and now it’s my brothers. He has submitted additional documentation that I wasn’t able to go over in full until later, but it didn’t add to his case. I submitted the Statement of Declaration, sign by myself, my brother and my mother, explaining why we moved out here and what my role here is – and that includes keeping things from disappearing. Because of some of the things he said, I included the transcript of a phone message he left with my brother that basically admitted he took all that stuff, and that he was going to keep suing us, even if it meant he had to sell his farm and be homeless. With lots of swearing. I also had a transcript of my dad leaving a message with my brother, shortly before he died, saying he wanted my brother to take over the farm.

My affidavit included an old email I’d sent back in 2018 to our vandal and my family where, among other things, I’d told him that if he could take stuff if he could provide proof of ownership. He never responded.

I also had the chance to say what he actually did to the gate, and that I had cameras because we found locks glued shut and the barn doors boarded up. I mentioned I have a disabled husband, and if we needed to suddenly go to the hospital, that would be a major issue. I also had the chance to mention I have no income; we live on my husband’s disability, so what does he think he can get from me?

There was lots more, of course. As expected, without someone there to keep him on a short leash, he stepped in it a few times. One of them was when he said I was using the police and courts against him and got away with it with a sob story that had the “judge wrapped around [my] fingers”. That was one moment where the judge’s poker face broke, ever so fleetingly.

Oh, one other time I think he stepped in it. He started rambling on about how this farm is apparently “worth a fortune”. And the house, too. Ha! The numbers he threw out wouldn’t even buy a “handyman’s special” house in the city. His own place, and all the stuff he’s got on it, is probably worth three times as much, if not more.

Also, apparently I have ruined him financially, because I pressed charges against him and riled a restraining order, and he had to pay a lawyer $4000. But he’s “financially ruined” because of me? Even on his pension, not to mention the golden handshake he got, he’s probably bringing in more than my husband’s disability payments, and if it isn’t, his wife’s job certainly is. But he was clearly very obsessed with the monetary value of this property, and that fact that I “control” it.

We used to be so close, years ago, but now his hatred of me is palpable. It’s remarkable.

What’s done is done, though. It’s now up to the judge. She will make her decision and we will get it in the mail within 30 days.

I am glad for that, as it means she’ll have a chance to go over all the documentation. Even after going over the stack of papers he submitted (and it was quite a stack, though mostly of photos), he still doesn’t have a case. It all comes down to the fact that 1) I don’t claim ownership over any of it and 2) he had plenty of opportunity to take his stuff, and he didn’t. It’s not like I gave him a time limit on that.

She explained at the end that if she rules in his favour, it would be for the $13,000 plus potentially the court costs, and did he want to include that? He asked what that meant, and it could be up to $500 more.

If she rules in my favour, she asked about court costs, and I said yes, too. So I might get awarded up to $500 if she rules in my favour.

It should be interesting to see what her ruling will say. Whichever direction she goes, if we don’t agree with it, we have up to 30 days to file an appeal.


I find myself wondering how it ever got to this point, but then I see how he still sees himself as a victim, taking no responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, and realize… it got here because for the first time in his life, someone actually stood up to him, and he can’t handle it. So he escalated it.

I think the judge could recognize that, though. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer

Taking a sort of break

I just need to take a brain break for a moment. Writing this is my brain break! 😀 I have just spent the last hour or so at the local cemetery, with my mother and sister. It went well, overall, but things are always a bit stressful with my mother around.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

I actually started my day with a telephone appointment with the doctor to talk about my mother. One of the things that he will get the ball rolling on is to have the home care department call my mom for an assessment, so see what sort of help she needs, if any. They can’t do that until my mother deals with her bed bug situation, which she is still treating as a big joke. She will be getting a phone call first, though, and hopefully they will talk to her about it. The doctor had questions about my mother getting infections or rashes from the bed bugs, but there is nothing he can do beyond that; it’s all on my mother to make the call to get her place treated.

At the same time, he had the results of my bloodwork and updated my prescription. It’s handy having the same doctor as my mother! So as soon as I got off the phone with him, I called the pharmacy. My husband called in his own refills to be delivered today, so I told them they would be getting a fax with my updated prescription, and asking them to include it with the delivery. I ran out of mine months ago, but without being able to go in to do my bloodwork, I was only getting 30 day refills. Each time it ran out, the pharmacy would have to contact the clinic and wait for another 30 day refill prescription to be faxed to them, so I didn’t bother calling in anymore. When I mentioned that to the doctor, he was a bit startled and assured me I’d be getting a 90 day prescription. In 2 months, I need to get more bloodwork done to see if anything needs to be changed. Meanwhile, my husband and I will be seeing the doctor in person in a couple of days.

My sister made the trip to my mother, to bring her out to the cemetery. She tries to manage it at least once a year. We met in town to have lunch at our hamlet’s single restaurant. I left a bit earlier, before the store with the post office closed. I’m happy to say, my PAL finally came in! I can now legally buy non-restricted guns and ammunition. Not that we have the money for it right now, but at least it’s an option.

So we had a nice lunch, and I let my mother know about the call she could expect from home care, but mentioned that they can’t come out until she gets the bed bug situation dealt with. She just smirked about that. I don’t know how to get through to her about her need to do this! Otherwise, her behaviour was pretty good, up until we were getting ready to leave, and she called the two staff over and started telling them to take away the “ugly” picture on the wall. There are paintings and photos from local artists for sale on the walls, and this one happened to be a portrait type painting of an old First Nations man, with slightly disheveled hair. She said a few tactless and somewhat racist things – things she gets away with, simply because of her age! My sister and I still called her out on it, so that didn’t last too long, at least. The staff handled it well, at least.

After lunch, I transferred some framed pictures my mother asked me to get out of storage – I’m glad I was able to find them at all! – into my sister’s car, then we headed to the cemetery.

It’s a very tiny cemetery connected with a church that has been closed for years now. It’s off the beaten path and tucked away among the trees. A very lovely spot. It was a bit of a surprise to see vehicles already there, including one I recognized.

It turns out our vandal had volunteered to cut the grass, and was doing it today.

He’d already used the weed trimmer around the half of the cemetery we needed to go into. When he realized I was there, he quickly packed up and left, in compliance with the restraining order. Meanwhile, my mother was there, calling out to him to come over. *sigh* I tried to explain to her that he couldn’t, and not to get him in trouble, but I don’t think she understood. Or maybe just didn’t care.

Since the grass had just been trimmed, it was all over the graves and stones, and he hadn’t had a chance to put things back. So I got a snow brush out of the van and started sweeping around the family graves.

There’s quite a few of them.

My sister, meanwhile, had brought a brush to scrub away the bird droppings, and water and rags to clean off the stones. They’d also brought a whole bunch of artificial flowers, so once everything was cleaned up and decorations returned, we set flowers out as my mother directed. She kept getting mad at us when we would ask her if she liked a particular colour grouping of flowers, but hadn’t finished setting them in place yet, because we hadn’t set them in place yet. !!

It took a while.

Then, after she said some prayers, she wanted my sister to get pictures of her by the freshly cleaned up and decorated family graves.

That was my cue to go. I suggested to my sister that she text our vandal before they left, to let him know I was gone and he could come back and finish what he was doing.

The whole thing went over pretty well, as far as such things go, but I’m mentally exhausted. It’s also the hottest part of the day, now, so I lost my productive time in the garden. I just talked to my daughters about it, and we’ve decided I need to have a “day off” from the garden. I’ve been pushing myself hard, and am in a lot of pain for it, so I really do need to back off a bit. My older daughter is going to do as much commission work as she can today, so she can take a day off work tomorrow. We’ll make a big push to get the last of the garden planted. Even if we don’t manage to get the A frame trellis supports in place, that can be finished after things have been planted. We just need to get the last stuff into the ground! I am just so incredibly tired right now, to the point it’s hard to think straight as I’m writing. Lack of sleep is part of the problem. It isn’t helping that Nosencrantz is determined to have access to the window ledge again, and keeps knocking out the window fan, leaving it dangling by its cord and bounding off the wall.

Usually at around 4:30am

It’s now doubly secured and, when I got home from my outing, I found it shifted out of place, but still on the ledge, so it’s working so far.

So, I think I’ll try and get some rest (and pain killer up!) today, and we’ll make the big push tomorrow.

Once the garden is in, we’ll celebrate with my younger daughter’s birthday pizza. It’ll be early, but her sister plans to get her some celebratory Taquitos and beer, cake and ice cream, closer to her actual birthday. 😀

The Re-Farmer


I was so distracted by a conference call I had to make this morning, I completely forgot to schedule today’s Recommended post! I will post it tomorrow and be back to Mondays and Fridays after that.

I did make sure to feed the critters before the conference call, since I had no idea how long it would be.

The cats are much more laid back out the food and take their time coming out, even though the kibble trays were empty. Clearly, they are no longer as hungry as they were when it was still cold out. I only saw 8 cats in total this morning, which means we are “missing” about 10 cats. I know some, like Potato Beetle and Broccoli, will come by later, but others have not been seen in weeks.

After the conference call was done, I went back out to do the rest of my morning rounds. One of the fun things now on the list is checking on the tulip patch. Look what showed up overnight!

Whole bunches of them now have flower buds!

We will have to keep a close eye on them. This is the stage last year, when something ate all the flower buds. We still have some rope barriers and distractions, like bells and spinny, sparkly things, around it that seems to be keeping the deer away (I can see their hoof prints in the mud, going past it), but there’s nothing to stop any small critters.

It’s a chilly and overcast day today, and the crocus flowers are mostly closed, but I was seeing more of the purple ones again.

The first wonderberry in the sun room has started blooming again, and the younger two are covered in clusters of buds. I gave up pinching off the buds; there were just too many to keep up with! We still haven’t even found a spot for them, yet. As they readily self seed, it has to be someplace they can be treated as perennials.

I did try to peak into the cats’ house to see the babies. What I saw were two adult cats so wrapped around each other that, aside from their heads, I couldn’t tell one from the other. It did seem that both were nursing kittens, but I couldn’t really tell. I’d love to be able to get those windows cleaned on the insides; they are quite smeared from the cats rubbing up against them all winter, but we aren’t going to open that roof right now.

As for the conference call, it was to set a new trial date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me. It turns out the previous date was cancelled because the judge got sick. When it was cancelled, we received an email with alternate dates; three early ones, two in May, one in June, all in the city, or three late ones, one in November, two in December, at where we have been going for my retraining order application against our vandal. The only time we had to go to court in the city was for court mediation. I left something like an hour earlier than necessary, and still ended up late. The area is a disaster to navigate. Meanwhile, our vandal didn’t even show up. Just his lawyer was there.

He doesn’t seem to have any lawyer for this one. He has no case, so I doubt any civil lawyer would take it, though when it came up during court mediation, his criminal lawyer did say he’d be willing to represent, if asked, but he hadn’t been asked.

These conference calls run through a docket and, in the past it has taken a while, but this time we were the first ones called. After clarifying that we were there to set a new trial date, and asking if we wanted to attend in person or by video call (which neither of us can do), the clerk spent some time searching and found one date in August. After clarifying that it was at our usual location, I said I was good with any date at that location. Our vandal, as I expected, jumped in and asked if it could be done in the city, and brought up the date he’d chosen before – which he knew I couldn’t do. He said he just wanted to get it over with. Ha!


The clerk told him it had be be where the “cause of action” was taken, and couldn’t be done in the city unless one of us lived there, or if we both agreed to it. He said he hadn’t known that. Then she said that the August date was the ONLY one that had an open slot we could take. So he had no choice but to accept the date the court gave us. Which is pretty much what I’d suggested be done when I tried to take the November date in the original email exchange, because I knew he’d never accept any date I chose. For me, it wasn’t so much about the date, but the location, so of course our vandal tried to choose the other location! With so many files being delayed over and over, the next available date likely would have been next year.

The main thing is, it’s done and we have a new date. Barring more crazy stuff happening, as it has since all this started back in late 2020, I look forward to a judge throwing it his case out in August.

At this point, even if we were able to do a May date more locally, I still wouldn’t be sure if I could make it. Our vandal may have vehicles that can get through the washouts, but we don’t, and those washouts might just get worse. The predicted rain started while I was writing this, and was coming down pretty hard for a while. We’re still getting weather alerts, and now they’re saying we might be getting 3.5 – 5.5cm (about 1 1/2 – 2 inches) at times. The Overland Flow Flood warning now reads:

High amounts of rainfall occurring in a short period could create overland flooding in these areas which may impact low lying areas, roads, and properties. As the ground is extremely saturated, a sudden rise in water levels could occur in some waterways and creeks Residents along these areas are cautioned about the potential sudden rise of water levels. Follow all directions by local authorities. Listen for updates and take all necessary precautions to stay safe.

We aren’t near any waterways, unless you count the municipal drainage ditches, but the washouts we already have will likely get worse. We’re supposed to get a couple of warm sunny days next, then two more days of light rain again. At least now, the 14 day forecast shows a week of sun before we are supposed to get rain again. For us, around the house and the inner and outer yards, that mostly just means more mud. The areas low enough to collect water are not a threat to any buildings we’re actually using. We are okay. I’m concerned about some of our neighbours, though. 😦

The Re-Farmer


A couple of “seriously???” moments.

The first is the flippin’ weather!

That “special weather statement”?

We’ve got another Colorado Low building up again. The Dakotas, southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northwestern Ontario – even the central region we are in – are expected to be hit with possible 25-50cm/10-20in of snow over the weekend. Plus freezing rain. As if the snow wasn’t enough.

It does have the disclaimer that “Colorado Lows are notoriously difficult to predict” and to keep a close eye on local forecasts, but still… sheesh.

If the court date had not been cancelled, I would have been running errands while in the area. I’ll be heading out again today, anyhow, and hopefully find more big bags of dry cat food.

Speaking of court dates…

I was told on the phone that our vandal had picked two dates that worked for him; one in May in the big city, and one in November, in the smaller, nearer city. After talking to my brother, who needs to book the day off work to attend as my witness, we chose the November date.

Then I got an email saying our vandal chose the May date, while we chose the November date, and were told to come to an agreement on one of the other dates. After talking about it with my brother, we went with the earlier December date, but we figured our vandal wouldn’t accept that. When I responded to the court clerk, I mentioned being told our vandal had picked the two dates, and that’s why we chose the November one. I mentioned why we wanted the closer location and longer time frame, mentioned the December date, adding that I didn’t think our vandal would agree to it. I suggested the court simply assign us a date, and we’ll just have to work with that. It’s a shame the court didn’t have any summer or fall dates available.

The clerk responded to my email, adding our vandal to the response, saying that since we couldn’t agree on a date (I suspect our vandal already responded as well), we now have a May teleconference date specifically to set a trial date. At least for that, my brother should be able to book a meeting room at work and not have to take the entire day off. :-/

What a pain. And I know full well our vandal is just f**** with us out of spite. 😦

Ah, well. We’ll deal with whatever happens.

The Re-Farmer

Ghost’s Baby!

We did get a little bit of snow last night. According to the past 24 hr data, we never dipped below 3C/37F. Which means the seedlings in the sun room handled the less severe temperature drop last night just fine, from the looks of it so far.

I had quite a surprise this morning, though.

While setting food and water out for the outside cats, I suddenly heard a very distinctive mewing sound. ALL the cats (only about 7 or 8 this morning) whipped their heads around to look! It took a moment, but I finally spotted Ghost Baby running across the snow by the storage house.

With a kitten in her mouth. A little, dark mewling baby.

Poor thing! It is way to cold and snowy to be having kittens this early.

Last year, I believe she had her kittens under the former workshop that is now stuffed with my parents’ belongings. How many she had – or how many survived – we have no way of knowing. I think one of the ‘iccuses is hers.

I figure she was trying to bring her kitten(s) closer to food, water and more secure shelter by the house. It’s unlikely she’d be bringing them to the cat’s house. The space inside it too big and open, and too many other cats use it. She was headed in the direction of the pump shack, where I know Rosencrantz has had kittens before – though last year she had her kittens in the junk pile near the chain link fence, which is why we now have a kibble tray under the shrine. I don’t think she was actually going for the pump shack, though, but just heading that way because my presence startled her.

We have a shelf by the sun room door with leftover pieces of rigid insulation covering the bottom two shelves, with openings, so that cats can use it as shelter. The “floors” have sheets of insulation, too. They’ve been pretty rough on the insulation across the front, and one side was almost completely broken up and off. It’s unlikely but, just in case, I found some more scraps of insulation and recovered one side, leaving smaller openings into the two bottom shelves. I think the spaces inside might still be too open for the comfort of a mama cat and kittens, and certainly there’s too much foot traffic, but if the adult cats use it, that leaves more hidey holes for mamas.

I did see Ghost Baby again, running into the kibble house to join the others for food. She came from a completely different direction. Another possible location for kittens is the junk pile at the edge of the spruce grove. I supposed I should stop calling it a junk pile, since we’ve cleared off most of the junk and it’s mostly a stack of salvaged boards. Butterscotch has had several litters tucked away under there since we’ve moved here. With Butterscotch now indoors, that leaves some prime real estate open. There’s also the space under the old garden shed, but there’s a lot of snow in the way, and there’s a groundhog den under it now.

With the cold and snow we’ve been having, the chances of any kittens born now surviving are not that good. I think Ghost Baby is a good mama, though, and has found a better place for her litter, however many there may be.

Meanwhile, as I was fussing with the shelf shelter, Potato Beetle got outside again! I let him be while I finished with the shelf, then snagged him back into the sun room. His appointment with the vet is this evening, so we don’t want to loose track of him! He is still favouring the leg, but moving around fairly well. I hope that means the injury is fairly minor. I think mostly we need to just keep him away from the other cats that are beating on him. He’s not the “top dog” anymore.

I think we’ll need to keep an eye outside today, and see what’s going on with Ghost Baby. If we can figure out where she’s put her kitten(s), we can move some food and water trays closer, so she doesn’t have to go all the way to the kibble house. Assuming we can get to where she is, through the snow. :-/

The weather forecasts have, of course, changed. The predicted temperatures are a bit lower, and we’re now supposed to be getting small amounts of both rain and snow over the next few days. Tonight, we were supposed to get sleet, but now it’s saying “ice pellets”. !!!

As long as the roads stay clear and relatively dry. Not only do we have the vet appointment this evening, but I’ve got to go to court tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the judge will see our vandal has no case against me and throw it out, but the way things went with our restraining order application that took a year to finally get settled, it may well just be a 10 minute session to book a new trial date. My brother is taking time off work to be there as my witness, though, so this is a major inconvenience for him. Our vandal is retired, and has all the time in the world for crap like this, so he doesn’t care. :-/

What a pain.

Well, it will be what it will be. Not much I can do about that now.

I’m going to go bake some bread now, and angst about newborn kittens in the cold.

The Re-Farmer

A quick good morning

I have just a bit of time, and decided to make a quick post, while I can. I expect to be on the phone for much of this morning.

So, here is a quick good morning from the kitties!

The heated water bowl was completely empty this morning! I was not fast enough with the camera, but as I was coming back from putting kibble in the tray under the shrine, I spotted Rosencrantz (the blurry cat in the foreground), sitting in it!

I guess a dry heated bowl makes a good butt warmer. 😀

Clearly, the cats were more interested in water than warm butts! It must have been empty for a while.

I did my morning rounds earlier than usual to get them done in time for my conference call. I would have been well on my way to court today right now, had our overlords not decided to re-impose more restrictions again. For my new visitors (hello! Welcome!), this is for a civil suit our vandal filed against me, in retaliation for my applying for a restraining order against him after his last attempt to break our gate again. More than a year ago, now. The shut downs and restrictions keep pushing things back, again and again.

This conference call will be just to reschedule, because this has to be done in court, in person. We haven’t had our first court date yet. He has no case, so I would hope a judge would see that right away (our vandal is suing me for $13,000 over things here on the farm that I don’t claim to own in the first place) and throw it out, but who knows.

If things go well, he’ll withdraw his suit, but that is highly unlikely.

As the court clerk will be running through a docket, the files with lawyers will be done first, and I don’t think our vandal has a lawyer for this, as he did for my restraining order application against him. If he does, it’ll be over fairly quickly. Otherwise, we just wait our turn with the rest of the people representing themselves. It could be over quickly, or I could be on the phone for hours.

Whenever it’s finally done, however, I still need to go out. I don’t think I’ll have the energy to do our full monthly stock up, but I at least need to go to the small city the courthouse is in.

We shall see after the conference call is done.

What a waste of time.

The Re-Farmer

Window kitties!

I made a quick trip into town this morning and this is what I found when I came back.

Six cats, all crowded together in the window!

Yes, six. Can you see the last one?

I think all four of Junk Pile’s kittens are in there, plus Butterscotch’s Bradicous and Chadicous. We’ve never been able to quite single out Junk Pile’s grayer kitten from the other ‘icouses, plus there is one we think is Ghost Baby’s. We’ve never actually seen her with a kitten. Her hideout is somewhere in the outer yard, possibly under the storage shed. We just had an extra gray tabby kitten show up at some point. 😀

The terrarium heat bulb is just above and behind them. The timer is set from dawn to dusk, with the light sensor facing this window, which means there is probably too much light for it to be on at the moment. Which is likely why they are all piled together like that!

I am so thankful my brother and his wife gave us their old dog house. The cats just love it, and it’s so fabulous that it’s wired for electricity, too!

In other things, I made my trip to town early to pick up a few things, expecting to go to my mother’s this afternoon. I got a call from my brother last night and found out she was expecting me to come over soon to help her with shopping, but she was also almost out of milk. The grocery store near her no longer carries milk in 2L plastic jugs; just cartons. The cartons are more difficult for her to handle, so she’s been buying only 1L cartons. I picked up a 2L plastic jug for her, along with our own stuff, then called her when I got home. Well, it turns out she hadn’t even opened the milk she’d bought the last time I was there until this morning, so she was fine. We worked out for me to come on Sunday, instead. Looks like my daughter will be making lots of panna cotta over the next while! 😀

Of course, we talked about quite a few other things, including our vandal and the upcoming court case. She apparently thinks he’s going to have 10 witnesses against me? For what, I have no idea. He told the court he’d have 4, but who knows what he’s telling other people. Anyhow, there was something he’d said the last time he called her, several weeks ago, that she forgot to tell me. Apparently, he’s dying of cancer, and it’s because we’re trying to put him in jail. ??? He’s left phone messages with her in the past, saying things along the lines of how us “trying to put him in jail” was somehow killing him and destroying his health. Of course, he has no thought about the effect the stress of what he’s doing has on my mother and her health. Her comment was, if he’s dying of cancer, why does he want more farm? Good point, Mom! Still, claiming to have cancer is a new one he’s trying to blame us, that’s for sure.

Well, I guess we’ll find out in court at the end of January.

At least we have adorable cats to help with the stress reduction!

The Re-Farmer