Oh, what a beautiful day!

My goodness, how awesome it is out there today!

At the time I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was only -18C (about 0F), with no wind chill to speak of. As I write this, less than an hour later, we’re already warmed up to -15C/5F, again with basically no wind chill. We’re supposed to get a high of -10C/14F today. It’s going to seem tropical, after the past week!

I still wasn’t quite able to do my usual rounds. The wind has blown over many of the paths dug out in the snow. I decided it was a good day to test out the new heated gloves and do some digging, starting with the plow ridge across the driveway. My mother’s car had a hard time getting through it, yesterday!

Some of the cattens kept me company.

They love that tire that’s used to keep the doors from blowing open. It gets nice and warm! With how much warmer it is, I’m seeing them running around and playing, all over the place!

Along with the plow ridge, I also cleared the path to the compost heap. The wind had completely filled in parts of it, and the snow was brick-like on top, so that took a while. I didn’t even try to dig the path to the sign cam – too long! – but I had my nice new boots, and plowed my way through the wind packed snow. That was almost as tiring as shoveling! It’ll be easier to dig out later, though. The boots are awesome.

As for the gloves…

They are nice and warm, even without turning on the heat. They didn’t seem to get any more pliable by the time I was done, unfortunately. The long cuffs are great – except that they’re not wide enough to go over the cuffs of my parka, nor narrow enough to go under. So I ended up with both cuffs all bunched up. The stiffness of the gloves makes it hard to put on the second glove, but there was an extra problem. These XL gloves fit my wide hands just fine – but I have short fingers. So any time I tried to do something like adjust the other glove, it was hard to get a good grip with floppy finger tips! Plus, the touch screen sensitive parts on the thumb and pointer finger are slightly ridged and harder, so that gets pushed around more, too. I didn’t even try to test the touch screen sensitivity. I have to take a glove off to get my phone out of my pocket, anyhow, so there was no need – plus, just handling my phone with the gloves would be unnecessarily difficult. The last thing I wanted to do was drop my phone in the snow. I did get a lot of use out of the wrist straps while switching out the memory cards, pausing to get my phone out, or to dig out a tissue to blow my know while digging. I like being able to just drop the gloves and have them hanging!

It’s been quite a while since I switched out the trail cam memory cards. Today is the first time I saw the batteries on the solar cam at anything other than 100%! When I first opened it up and checked, it said the batteries were at 75%, but after I switched the memory card out it went up to 80%. Which tells me that it’s more about the cold. Much to my surprise, the older sign cam’s battery meter was still full bars. I suppose that makes sense, though. The gate cam is mounted on a stand in the open. It would have had the full blast of yesterday’s winds coming from the southeast. The sign cam is not only under a tree, but the sign it’s monitoring, as well as the trees across the road, would have stopped all wind from that direction, so it was quite protected.

It should be interesting to see the files over those freezing cold days! The camera that got stolen would do weird things when it got really cold, like turn everything pink. The new camera has had some cold spells before, but not quite like what we’ve had for the past week, so I’ve yet to get a good look at how it handles severe winter conditions.

Considering how many days of files I’ve got to go through, I think I’ll make some tea, first! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Bedraggled baby

This is what I found, when I was about to go into the sun room with the kibble.

One very bedraggled baby taking advantage of the empty heated water bowl!

Also, that has got to be the whitest nose I’ve ever seen on a cat. I think it may just be how the camera picked up the lighting. Particularly since the eyes look so light, too.

I am somewhat concerned about the long haired cats outside. None of them are socialized, really. There’s one that sometimes lets me pet him. We can’t get near the others. Their fur could get to incredibly matted. Even if we were able to get them to the point that we could pet them, I just can’t see them ever letting us brush mats out of their fur!

The Re-Farmer

Oh, that face

One of the things I like about letting the cats use the sun room for the winter, is looking out the bathroom window and seeing them all in a pile on the swing bench.

Sometimes, though, we see this guy.

He was loafed by himself by the old kitchen door and looking completely miserable. But then, he always looks miserable. That beat up face, though…

We really don’t want to encourage him to stick around. He attacks our own yard cats – even the females – way too often. And, of course, he gets them pregnant.

And yet I would love nothing more than to socialize him. Clearly, he’s had a brutal life. As long as he’s not bothering the other cats, we’re certainly not going to chase him out of the sun room in winter. As I write this, we are at -29C/-20F with a wind chill of -38C/-36F. The thermometer in the sun room was reading -20C/-4F when I was putting the food out. Far better, I’m sure, than the many shelters there are around the property, even besides the ones we’ve provided for them. Plus, there is food and warm water.

How can I possibly say no to that face?

The Re-Farmer

Rainbow sun dogs, and kitty in a bowl!

Wow, did the temperatures sure drop overnight! Especially with the wind chill.

It does make for pretty sun dogs, though.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever seen rainbow sun dogs before, other than in photographs! The colours were much brighter in real life.

As I write this, we’re at -19C/-2F, with a wind chill of -31C/-24F. It’s actually gotten colder from when I was doing my rounds this morning! It was “only” -16C/3F with a wind chill of -25C/13F Our high for this afternoon is supposed to be -16C/3F with a wind chill of -29C/-20F If I could avoid heading to the city today, I would, but it’s supposed to get colder over the next few days, so this is my window.

The kitties are taking full advantage of the sun room, including this little shrimp.

The photo sucks because I was taking it through a screen window. This tortie has been named Phantom by the girls, because it has a black “mask” over one eye. She was so solidly asleep that, not only was I able to go into the room and set out kibble in various containers in the sun room, I was able to actually PET HER!!!! Just for a few moments before she woke up, saw I was touching her and ran off. Even then, she only ran as far as the door, then stopped to look at me, until I went over to untie it so I could do the outside kibble trays.

It would make life so much easier if we could socialize more of the females. I don’t like the idea of having to trap them, as that would make them even more distrustful of us. Still, it’s better than having so many litters of kittens again!!!

The Re-Farmer

Rosy Rosencrantz. Also, it’s been a year!

I was so happy to see Rosencrantz in the sun room!

It’s been so long since I’ve seen her, I was starting to wonder if she was coming back at all. She’s looking pretty thicksome, so wherever she’s been for the past month or so, she’s been well fed!

We’ve been talking to the Cat Lady about setting up traps to catch female yard cats for spays. Rosencrantz is almost friendly enough that we might… maybe… be able to get her into a carrier. She did not look like a happy mama. Last year, she had kittens insanely early, was clearly coming to me for help, but I couldn’t get to where she had them in the junk pile. Everything was too frozen to the ground, and they clearly died soon after. Once things thawed out, we never did try to get to that spot. I was just not ready to see if there was anything left of them. Then she had another litter – 3 grey and whites, Pinky and a tortoise shell – also in the junk pile, but somewhere in a different spot. She became increasingly hissy and snarly when I tried to pet her. Her behaviour actually reminded me of how Butterscotch used to be, and Butterscotch is her mother. When Butterscotch was spayed, her uterus was in really bad shape, but when Cabbages was done, she had a twisted uterus, too, and she was only 2 yrs old. Cabbages was from Butterscotch’s second litter, the summer we brought her and Beep Beep into the basement to have their babies, and we discovered she was killing off her first litter because she wanted out so badly. I suspect there may be a genetic defect in Butterscotch’s line.

Here’s hoping we’ll be able to start getting that done in the time window, where it’s warm enough to safely trap them and not fear they’d freeze before the trap got checked, but before the ladies start going into heat!

Also, the Cat Lady messaged me on the 1 year anniversary since they took in Cabbages! Where did that year go? Cabbages is doing so well, now. It’s quite the miracle! She’s living the high life, getting fed salmon and chicken so much, she turns her nose up at cat food. 😄

I’m so glad we found the Cat Lady. She and her family are just amazing!

The Re-Farmer

Waiting for breakfast

This is what I have to wade through, in the mornings!

The one using the empty heated water bowl as a butt warmer is hilarious!

Also, they’ve done quite a job of knocking things out of the shelves and off the counter. We’ll have to wait until the ground is dry before we can move things out to pick it all up. Until then, we need to watch our step for all little stuff that got knocked out of their various containers!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a shrimp!

Nosencrantz may turn into a ball of anxiety around the other cats, but she’s completely different, with me!

She has completely adopted me as her own, personal human. Incredibly affectionate. This is her napping after a hard session of “pet my face! Now!” 😄

She has the softest fur of all the cats.

Does it make up for her habit of crapping in all the wrong places? I gotta admit, when I had crawl on my hands and busted up knees to clean up another mess in the shelf behind my night stand at 2am, I certainly didn’t think so!

I’ve blocked off the space now. She has lost one of her hidey holes for when she runs away from the other cats.

After I cleaned everything up, blocked it off, and went back to bed, the little bugger came over and began snuggling me.

*sigh*

I’m such a sucker for the cats.

The Re-Farmer