Look what I found!

The kittens that hang out under the cats’ house are getting more active and exploratory. When I came out this morning, there were three of them, playing rough and tumble on the laundry platform. As I did my usual back and forth, they would run under the cats’ house, but come out again more quickly.

This little one is being seen more frequently.

This one, we see most often. I wish I’d been able to get a photo a few second before. It had been playing on the step, and when it turned to look at me, it still had a dried leaf in its mouth! So cute. 🙂

Lately, while putting the kibble out, one of the cats basically starts growling at me – and other cats. She certainly is happy to see the food, but just seems angry about it, too. Very strange.

As soon as I could, I was back outside to start mowing. I focused on the areas I wasn’t able to do before, starting with the west yard and around the fire pit area. I was even able to mow paths to and around the Korean Pine, in the outer yard. I had to raise the lawn mower way up to be able to get through! After doing the north yard, I was able to keep on going and redo the south yard, including the area that had been under water in front of the outhouse. It started to rain while I was out there, but it was a light rain, so I kept on going.

When I got to mowing near the kibble and cat houses, I saw no cats or kittens arounds, so I paused to move the water bowls away. The heated water bowl was still plugged into the extension cord leading into the cats’ house, even though there is currently no power to it, so I started unplugging it to move it away.

I got growled at, from inside the cats’ house.

I sometimes put kibble just inside the entry, but I knew the bowl had been knocked upside down. Once I unplugged and moved the water bowl, I looked to see where it was.

I found kittens, instead.

I held aside the strips of carpet to take a quick picture, then left them alone while moving the water bowls. I then made a point to quickly mow around the area, so I could be away from them faster.

When I was done mowing and ready to return the water bowls, I grabbed one of the cat beds I’d crocheted and left in the shelf shelter and brought it over, along with some extra kibble. Looking inside, there was one kitten near the entry. The others had been moved away. I put the kitten in the cat bed, straightened out and moved the food bowl, then put the kitten back, bed and all, further in from the entry. The mama was growling at me while I did this, but then I put kibble in the bowl, and left so I think she was happy with that.

Looking at the picture, I can spot 5 kittens. They look to be just barely old enough to have opened their eyes, so I’m guessing about a week or so. Which actually ties in to how long the mama has been growling at me when I do the kibble in the mornings!

So now we have 4 kittens under the cats’ house, and 5 inside the cats’ house!

And there are still the oldest of the kittens, which had been born in the cats’ house then moved away. We don’t know where their new nest is, other than somewhere beyond the pump shack. Honestly, I would have expected those ones to have been brought to the kibble house first, given their ages. I do hope they are okay. There’s really no way to find out, one way or the other, until they start showing up for food!

I do enjoy seeing them when I come out in the mornings. They really brighten the day! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Brave baby

When putting kibble out this morning, I put the kibble for the kittens on the frame of the sledge under the cat’s house. Partly to entice the kittens a bit further out, and party to not have kibble on damp ground.

Not that it stays there long enough to be an issue.

One of the kittens is much bolder than the others, allowing me to get a bit closer. I still had to zoom in for the photo, but was not so far away that the digital zoom on my camera just messed everything up. 🙂 It will even sit there and watch me as I move around. For a little while, at least.

The Re-Farmer

Morning glare

Oh, Broccoli. You are so funny!

Would you look at that malevolent glare! I get that look from all the young mamas when I put kibble out in the mornings. They come running for the food, but give me THAT look if I don’t leave right away, or if I walk by while they’re eating.

Broccoli is one that runs from place to place to eat. Most of the cats will eat in the kibble house. Some prefer the tray under the shrine. Others prefer this tray outside the kibble house. Now that I’m putting kibble on the roof of the cat’s house, some clearly prefer that, too (no skunks up there!). Broccoli, meanwhile, has no preference, except maybe the roof. She just runs back and forth, from spot to spot!

I saw some of the kittens again this morning, playing around the kibble house. They hid as soon as they saw me. If it weren’t for the insane amount of mosquitoes, I’d settle in with a chair and start getting them used to me. I don’t want to do that while doused with mosquito repellant, as I don’t think the kittens would like that smell at all.

They do seem to be a bit more relaxed and playful around the cat’s house, though, so that’s a good sign.

I wonder when more litters will start showing up?

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

The mamas are regularly out in full force in the mornings.

I’ve taken to leaving small amounts of kibble on the cat’s house roof, too. Because skunks can’t climb.

No sign of kittens today, yet.

We’ll have to remember to switch out the frozen water bottles in their bowls several times today. It’s supposed to get quite hot.

Not this hot! This is what the bean tunnel thermometer was reading at about 10:30am. Our high of the day is expected to be 26C/79F, and it’s already 24C/75F as I write this. The weather app says the “feels like” reading is the same but, clearly, it feels a lot hotter while in direct sunlight!

It looks like all of our male cats have disappeared. The only ones left are Sad Face and The Distinguished Guest – and they hate each other and often fight, so they tend not to be around at the same time.

Speaking of fighting, I heard some snarling outside the living room window last night. I headed out with a flashlight, and a huge racoon was near the window, snarling and warning me off. It ran off, then back again, then snarled in a different direction, which is when I saw the second, smaller racoon at the feeding station.

I left them be.

The Re-Farmer

Kitten surprise

After finishing my morning rounds and coming back to the house, I spotted kittens under the cats’ house again. I put some food out for them, then waited.

At first, I just saw the little tabby on the left, but I did briefly see the calico taking a peak off to the right. I’m happy to saw the eye that looked injured is now open, and she’s looking much better. I put a bit of food where I saw her, but the third, darker kitten came to eat, instead.

I kept slowly coming closer, so they’d get used to my presence, and tried to take some video. Which is when we had a kitten surprise!

There’s a fourth kitten!

It has much longer fur than the others. We might have another “David” out there! Long haired yard cats are very unusual.

I did see one more kitten, today. I came out of the sun room with frozen water bottles to put in their water bowls and startled a mama going by, carrying a white and black kitten. I ignored her, since she was already quite unhappy that I was there, so I didn’t see where she ended up going with the kitten. She was gone so fast, I thought she had to have just gone under the set up we made to harden off the transplants. We’ve left it there, to provide a little extra shade and shelter for the cats.

Which makes a total of five kittens I saw this morning, with two that I’ve never seen before!

The Re-Farmer

Three

The kittens we saw yesterday were back this morning! It is now confirmed: there are three of them.

When I saw they were under the cat’s house again, I put a scoop of kibble in the open spot they were peaking through, then hid away. The kittens were very enthusiastic about solid food! Then mama – the white tail tip confirms it’s Braddiccus – came over to stand guard. And have a bit of a snack with her babies. 🙂

The little calico didn’t come out all the way, though I did catch a glimpse of her one eye that’s got something wrong with it. Her siblings were bolder today, with one of them checking out the big water bowl. After they were gone again, I moved that bowl away, gave it a scrubbing, and left it closer to the kibble house. That left the 3 metal pans that we use as water bowls for them to drink from. Less chance of a kitten falling in, on those!

So this would be the litter that was inside the cat’s house, with Junk Pile’s litter, earlier in the spring. I’m surprised these ones are being brought over to the house first, when Junk Pile’s litter was born earlier. I would expect the mama with her older kittens would have been here first. But then, maybe she is, and we’re just not around to see her!

The Re-Farmer

Kitten sighting

While coming back to the sun room door after working in the garden, I spotted some unexpected movement.

Kittens, dashing under the cat’s house!

One of the mamas brought her babies to the kibble house, and they are not kittens I recognise.

It took some patience, some hiding behind the hand rail near the sun room door, and my phone zoomed in, to finally get some photos. This was the best I could get, and it’s cropped quite tightly.

As so often happens, I see more in photos than I could in the moment. In this case, it was finding that there is something wrong with the little calico’s eye. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing when they’ll even be back at the kibble house again, never mind any chance of catching it to get a better look. That doesn’t look like the usual eye infections we sometimes see in the yard cats.

Hopefully, we will have more success socializing this year’s kittens than last year. Hopefully, whatever is wrong with it is something that will heal on its own.

Poor baby!

In the end, I think I saw a third, darker kitten, but I’m not certain.

The Re-Farmer

Staying out of the rain, and taking a chance.

We had thunderstorms pass over us during the night, and it was still raining when I headed out to do my morning rounds.

The girls heard cat’s arguing with each other last night. When they went out to check, Potato Beetle came into the sun room, where he got to spend a nice, dry night, with his own food and water. Thankfully, that meant he had no interest in the food when he went out in the morning, because there’s a very wet and bedraggled TDG looking back at me in the photo – and he’s the one Potato had been threatened by!

All the cats were looking so wet!

And you can certainly see why. All the areas that had finally been almost dry are wet again, including this spot the cats normally use to get under the storage house. Even though they can’t get under there right now, because of the water, they still run through here. So do the skunks. The grass is so tall, you can’t really see that the whole area is under water again.

That lilac bush is struggling so much! It’s basically drowning. It still managed to bloom, though!

The main garden area has got a lot of areas with standing water. If we are to loose anything we planted at this point, it’s going to be from being drowned!

Along the bean tunnel, however, I saw both types of beans have started coming up!

I didn’t look too closely at things because, even though it was raining, I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They don’t mind being out in the rain!

I was keeping a close eye on the forecasts and weather radar. They were predicting a series of thunderstorms throughout the morning and afternoon, including at times when I would expect to be on the road with my mother, to take her to her doctor’s appointment.

So I left early. I figured, I could fill up the tank on my mother’s car and find something to do before it was time to pick up my mother. I’m trying to spend as little time at her place as possible, right now.

Which reminds me… my brother used his Power of Attorney to speak on my mother’s behalf and get her place treated for bedbugs. It’s a good thing he did. She could never have navigated the calls or followed through on them. It was totally beyond her abilities.

Her building is owned by a the provincial government, but the department that administrates it was almost impossible to get to. He got numbers to call from the senior’s centre in my mother’s town, chased a few of them down, found that the contact person he normally would have talked to was away for the week, sent some emails (because he was doing this from work and couldn’t be on hold for 20 minutes, over and over!) and eventually found out that the province is aware there are bedbugs in her building. It’s a problem with quite a few buildings they run. So much so, that they are being treated on a schedule. The next time they are in my mother’s area, she will get a note slid under her door with date and time and instructions. Which my mother won’t understand. My brother was supposed to get a copy of that note and its instructions emailed to him, but he never got it. All he knows for sure is, she’s supposed to be out of her apartment for 6 hours while they take care of the rest. When he told my mother this, she said she would just hang out in the lobby.

For 6 hours.

While her apartment – and any others in the building – are getting sprayed.

My mother, who has respiratory issues…

Yeah…

No.

We’ll find other arrangements.

Once I got to my mother’s, we headed out again soon after. We got to the clinic quite early, but she ended up getting called in early, too!

Oh, the poor doctor.

We were there to talk about breathing issues she’s been having, but when he came in, instead of telling him about it, she started saying things like, “please help me with my breathing…” as if he already knew everything. She and I had been talking about it, and it was as if she thought he somehow heard and knew everything she had said to me!

Between the two of us, we managed to drag out enough information from her that he could figure out what sorts of tests to have done. Any tentative conclusions we both reached by the end of it may be correct, but other things need to be ruled out, first. It will take a few weeks, at least, before all the tests are done and he gets the results.

So that worked out fairly well. Even as we left, though, the doctor commented to me that my mother’s symptoms are quite strange – and they certainly are! Hopefully, we’ll have some answers, or at least a direction to look, after the tests are done. The one that will take the most time will require a call from the city, then someone has to pick up some equipment for my mother to use at home, then the equipment, and the data collected, returned. It may take up to 3 weeks, before all that’s done.

The rain continued off and on, and there was still severe weather on the radar, so we didn’t do my mother’s usual stop at a restaurant (I made sure to ask if she’d had lunch before we left!), and I took her home, with only a stop at the grocery store first. Since I was there with her car, it allowed her to pick up and stock up on a lot more, so she took advantage of it.

I feel much better, knowing my mother has at least some food stocked up, even if it’s just for about a week or so.

It had stopped raining for most of my drive home, more or less, but I’m glad I didn’t linger. The gravel roads are being destroyed by all the rain again. My mother’s car handled it well so far, but we’re supposed to get more storms tomorrow, and that spot near our place is already only passable on one side again. The road past our driveway is still closed, too, for all that I regularly see traffic going by, including small cars. One of these days, I should make the walk to the washout to see how it looks.

On a completely different topic, I found a site before I left for my mother’s, and sent some links to my family to check out while I was away. It was one of those “is this too good to be true?” places. It’s a clearance site for Lowe’s, with various sheds at massive discounts. As in, insanely massive. They were all in the same price range, roughly between $85-$90 Cdn, regardless of original price. It seems that these are all abandoned orders – stuff people already bought and paid for, but never picked up.

After much discussion, we decided to take a chance.

This is what we ordered.

Image belongs to lowescheap.com

They have a 30 day trial period, but it’s unlikely we’d put it together within that time. We’d open the box to check, but would need to make a foundation for it before we could assemble it.

I was sorely tempted by their largest shed. That one did not come with a floor, which I could live with, but also did not come with shingles. Which is not a big deal, but for something that large, we wouldn’t be able to get them for quite some time.

So we went with a plastic one that was the largest, complete shed available. At 20’x8′, it includes two sets of double doors, 2 windows, 2 skylights, some shelves, shutters and a “foundation”, among other things. We’re a bit confused about the included foundation, because it also says a foundation is needed. Looking at the diagram, I think they mean what looks like a 4″ sub floor as the included foundation. We’d have to find and prepare a spot for a foundation, somewhere in the inner yard, where it would be most useful.

The total cost, in Canadian dollars, came out to just over $133 after shipping. Which is insanely cheap. Hopefully, we will actually get what we ordered, and it’s as good as the specs describe it. If it is, it will be a big help. If not… well, hopefully, we’d be able to get our money back.

The thing is, I’ve looked at other sites with deeply discounted products, including things like chicken coops, sheds, garage kits, etc., that I could quickly spot as scam sites. Seeing images stolen from other sites was usually the first warning! This one, however, actually looks legitimate.

Well, we’ll know soon enough. And if it does turn out to be legitimate, we will certainly get more! One that is currently on the site is a 12’x8′ cedar Cabana, with a split door and 2 windows with window boxes. It’s pretty much exactly what my younger daughter wants as the focal point of the peony garden she wants to plant, well away from the house. There’s currently a branch pile that needs to be chipped where she wants to plant it, so it’s not like we’re in any hurry! Looking around at some of the other sheds, there are even some that could easily be converted to a chicken coop, and cost far less than if we build one ourselves, even using salvaged wood.

Here’s hoping!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and so many lilacs!

It’s been a while since I posted a picture of the yard cats. They’ve been really skittish, lately.

There are 6 in the kibble house, plus I saw Rosencrantz at the kibble tray under the shrine. Which, I believe, makes 7 mamas. I also saw Potato Beetle and, later on, TDG and Toesencrantz. I suspect their skittishness is related to the skunks that have been coming out for kibble, too! I’m starting to put less kibble out, more often, so the cats get a chance to finish most of the kibble off before the skunks show up.

While doing my morning rounds, I started bringing over what I needed to start working on what will be the squash patch. That meant moving the wheelbarrow almost the entire length of the lilac hedge.

They are opening up slightly later than the ones closer to the house, and there are SO MANY flower clusters! I just love this hedge. It took my mother decades to slowly plant them along the fence line, starting from a single lilac bush at this end. Which is pretty amazing!

Also, we seriously need to mow in here, but finishing the transplanting is priority right now! Unfortunately, the tall grass hides more mosquitoes, and we’re already running out of bug spray again! 😀

The Re-Farmer