Huge progress!

Do you see this lady?

This is Fenrir, calmly chilling on my bed, and NOT trying to attack Nosencrantz!

Yes, we have made HUGE progress.

Of all the cats, none are so determined to get into my office/bedroom – the isolation ward – than Fenrir. So many times, I’d open the door and she’ll teleport through in the blink of an eye.

Then immediately go searching for Nosencrantz and try to attack her.

Well, I’ve been trying to let her in more often, kicking her out as soon as she started behaving aggressively. I think she’s learning.

Last night, I let her in, and she just found places to nap. Or crawled onto me while I was trying to type. Before my room became the isolation ward, that was her favourite thing; to curl up on my chest while I was at my computer, and make it difficult to actually get any work done!

I even had her in the room while doing the evening feeding with wet cat food. She ate from a bowl right next to Marlee – Marlee!!! – and they didn’t growl at each other. She was even okay around Butterscotch, one of her adopted mothers. She behaved so well, I allowed her to stay in the room overnight.

Which worked until about 3am, when I was awakened by a cat fight next to my bed, and out she went.

With Fenrir behaving so much better, I’ve even tried leaving my door open and allowing other cats to wander in and out. Marlee isn’t too happy with that, but most of them ignore her growling.

Except Turmeric.

Turmeric may have calmed down a LOT since she was spayed, but she will still go after Nosencrantz and Marlee, with no provocation at all. I don’t see her going after Butterscotch, but I suspect that has more to do with lack of opportunity.

Still, getting Fenrir to the point that I can actually leave her in my room, with the door closed and unsupervised, is HUGE!

At some point, I want to be able to leave my door open so Marlee – who is very interested in the rest of the house – and Nosencratnz can go exploring. Butterscotch, too, though I don’t expect her to. She’s enjoying her retirement too much.

Now, if we can just get Turmeric on board.

The Re-Farmer

Socialization progress

Things have been warming up nicely here, now that the cold snap has passed. Yesterday, we exceeded our predicted high and reached -13C/9F, though the wind chill was -23C/-9F. Today, we’ve already reached -13C/9F and are expected to warm up to -10C/14F

Seeing what’s been going on with severe weather in the US and Canada right now, I am extremely thankful to be in a bubble of milder temperatures. It’s heartbreaking to hear that so many have died, while ten’s of thousands are without power. The amount of snow some places are getting is mind boggling. My husband grew up in New Brunswick. He is much more familiar with those levels of snow than what we typically get here in the less humid prairies!

Depending on what the winds are like today, I’m hoping to get back outside and start clearing the paths that have drifted over, and opening up more of them. I plan to “cheat” and break out little Spewie. I’ll put up with dragging around extremely long extension cords for the amount that needs to be cleared. I want to get it done before we get more snow, later in the week. If all goes well, I’ll head out for a small shopping trip. Mostly for cat food – the one thing we haven’t been able to stock up on. We simply need too much of it. We did get a lot for December, but with the cold we’ve had, the outside cats have been needing extra food, so we’ve gone through it faster. We’re not out, but I’d like to get more before we start getting too low. I’d really prefer not to go anywhere near a store until after New Year’s, but it is what it is!

Meanwhile, we’ve been focusing on socializing the littles.

These two have been easy.

That’s my arm Bobby and Walnut are sleeping on.

Yes, the bitty has a name, now! My daughters had shared a picture with some of their friends, and one of them commented that he looked like a bobcat that fell into some bleach. So now he is Bobby – short for Itty Bitty Bobby!

One of my daughters had bee supervising the cats while I was doing other things; Marlee was in a mood and doing a lot of snarling at them! She started watching The Victorian Farm, Christmas Special on my computer, so when I came back, I moved the monitor so I could lay down on my bed to watch it with her.

I fell asleep, and woke up to find Walnut on my arm. Then I moved, and her head rolled aside, which is when I found myself staring into the giant eyes of Bobby!

Since I was trapped, anyways, I stayed for a nap. ๐Ÿ˜ I was able to get this photo before I managed to slither my arm out from under them to get up.

I’m happy to say that Butterscotch is increasing tolerant of the littles.

For Butterscotch and Bobby to be so close together, without Butterscotch hissing and leaving, is huge on its own, but for them to even be touching paws? Major progress, there! Not only that, but I’ve even seen Butterscotch come up to Bobby to sniff him, and even groom him a bit! I don’t blame Butterscotch for not wanting to be around kittens, now that we know her last few litters must have been incredibly painful for her. I’m so glad we were able to get her fixed! I doubt she’d still be alive right now, if we hadn’t, she was so damaged inside. That she is now willing to tolerate the littles means she is healing in other ways, too.

Nosencrantz has started to get used to them, too, but Marlee… well, she just doesn’t seem to like the other cats in general, and especially doesn’t like the kittens. She’ll start growling as soon as she sees them, even if they are nowhere near her. The kittens aren’t at all intimidated by her, and generally ignore the hissing, until they get close enough that she swats at them.

As for Bobby’s sibling, whom I’m now calling Sprite (short for Soot Sprite), there has been some progress. He (or she) still leaves if a human approaches, but in a calmer way, rather than in a panic. He’s even gone under my desk and office chair while I’m there. Wheel checks before moving my chair is a necessity, as both Sprite and Bobby like to hang out there! My daughters and I took turns playing with them with a cat toy on a string. Walnut and Bobby were right into it, and Sprite even joined them for a bit. One of my daughters was even able to pet Sprite when he paused beside her, though he did run off once he realized he was being touched by a human. Still, progress is progress!

Bobby, unfortunately, has been getting really stuffy. Both he and Walnut are sneezing. I’ve started to add lysine into their wet cat food – something we have not been doing with the inside cats. The 300gr tubs come with tiny little scoops buried in them – I at first thought they didn’t have any, they are buried so deep! – and one scoop is the equivalent of a pressed caplet. I mix one of those into a can of wet cat food. We split it up among all the bowls, so that means all the cats in the room will be getting some, but it’s the only way we can be sure the kittens will get some. Hopefully, we’ll see some improvement before the Cat Lady comes to get the littles.

I am hoping to hear about our financing application soon. Today would be awesome, but we shall see. If we are approved, that means we should be able to trade in the van and have the replacement vehicle before New Years – and I’ll be able to meet the cat lady with the littles (and Tissue) part way, rather than have her driving all the way to our place.

Oh, my goodness!!!! I am so excited! I just noticed that Sprite and Bobby were cuddled together in baby jail. Not only did I (hopefully) get pictures, but I was able to pet Sprite!!!! He didn’t run away!

Squeeeee!!!!!!!

Yeah. I know. I’m a suck for the kitties.

๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

The Re-Farmer

Kitty progress – so excited!

Okay, so we’ve been having good progress with the littles overall.

Walnut and Leyendecker napping together is very good. Leyendecker will sometimes groom and play with them, but generally will just nap on my bed, and he’s good with having a little company.

Also, my blanket is absolutely covered in cat hair. Even after washing, there’s still cat hair stuck in the fibres!

Also, also, my carpet is horrific. The cats keep spilling the kibble bowls and kicking sawdust out of the litter box, but I can’t vacuum it right now. It would be too much of a terror for kittens we are working to socialize!

The bitty (we need a name for this guy!) has rediscovered the security of baby jail, and likes to chill in one of the upper level beds.

He is SO much more settled and getting socialized. Last night, I found myself being cuddled by both littles against my back. When I lie on my side, I have my top leg bent and my bottom leg straight. That turns out to create a perfect little nest for a bitty, and I’ve been waking up to find him there. I can tell it’s the bitty because of how tiny and light he is! He has also discovered that playing with fingers is a fun thing to do, and then he discovered this strange protuberance in the middle of my face that is quite fascinating. And tasty, apparently.

Also, he is very sharp.

What a way to be awakened during the night!

While nowhere near as greedy for cuddles as Walnut is, the bitty is really enjoying getting pets and cuddles.

Which is working out perfectly, because he’s now helping his soot sprite sibling settle in.

Yes!!!! We caught the other bitty!

I have had no opportunity to get a photo, but I’ll be sure to try to get one later.

For the past few days, we’ve kept one of the hard sided cat carriers in the sun room with the door open. When putting food out, I’d toss a handful into there. The cats had explored it, and I would often find a cat sitting on the blanket inside, just chillin’

This morning, I came into the sun room, and the little soot sprite was looking at me from the doorway of the carrier.

I very quickly just closed the door. The carrier opens from the top, so I used that to put some kibble in with it. I then quickly did the food and water for the rest of the cats – Broccoli was eating on the cat house roof, and while I could come pretty close, she would not let me touch her.

I’d really love to bring Mama in, and reunite the family! Especially since I see she is still letting even a much older kitten nurse her.

Once the food and water was done, I brought the carrier in and let a daughter take over while I finished my rounds. We’d already reached our forecasted high of the day, -15C/5F, though after having no wind yesterday, a wind chill of -24C/-11F was more of a downer. Still, I did finally switch out the memory card at the sign cam. We’re going to have to dig a path to there again. A lot of the paths around the house are now drifted over. With the more pleasant weather ahead, it’ll be good to get as much of that cleared again before the next snowfall.

Meanwhile, my daughter was able to put the bitty tabby into the carrier with his sibling, then gave all the cats some wet cat food, with the siblings sharing a bowl. They reunited quite comfortably. She had the door open a bit and the bitty tabby went out, but the bitty tuxedo didn’t go out until she opened the top. Once the carrier was available again, I took it back to the sun room. Who knows. I might catch Broccoli in there, too!

The bitty tabby immediately started playing with and chasing around his sibling. The tuxedo has been exploring, as well, but is nowhere near as nervous as the tabby was when we first brought him in. I’m sure the tuxedo remembers Walnut, too. Of course, the tuxedo still won’t let us near it, but I don’t think it will take long.

Marlee is not a happy camper. Anytime she sees a kitten, she starts growling!

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz seem more accepting of the new addition.

My daughter let Cheddar in. He when straight to the new kitten, snuffled it – then started grooming it!

Cheddar is such a good dude.

So now I sit, monitoring an exploring soot sprite, sitting in the world’s creakiest office chair, which isn’t helping things. We’ll need to take turns supervising the new addition. Not so much that we’re worried about the tuxedo, but more because Marlee is not enjoying them and we try to keep them away from her favourite corner as much as we can. The kittens pretty much ignore her growling and hissing, and sometimes want to go over and check her out in spite of it, and we just want to reduce her stress levels.

I’m just so happy we finally got the last bitty!!!!

The Re-Farmer

Cat status – a rough night!

So… I didn’t get much sleep last night.

The fact that we can’t keep the littles inside baby jail, because they can climb up to where the openings are larger and squeeze their way out, is making it more difficult.

First, the good news.

Walnut has adapted very quickly.

One of the few times I drifted off, I woke to feel something small against my leg. I was able to grab my phone and use the selfie setting, with flash, to get this picture and see who it was. It took a few tries, but the flash did not wake her up!

Walnut is all over the room. In fact, she’s been making it hard to work on this post, because she keeps climbing me, or trying to walk across my keyboard. I have a brief respite, as she leapt from the back of my office chair onto the top of the baby jail. It has a couple of strips of cardboard and towels over 3/4 of the top. The towels were to help calm down any cats inside, but the other cats like to use it as a bed now, and their feet keep pushing the towel through the cage, so I added the carboard.

The bitty tabby, however, is having more difficult. It’s shy around me, plays with Walnut, and keeps going after the other cats. These kittens are used to having a lot of other cats around them, without much issue. Walnut in particular would be used to being part of a cuddle pile. The bitty tabby was just getting used to that when we brought her in. Plus, of course, she is looking for a mama to comfort nurse.

Marlee has been in a state, ever since the littles arrived. Most of the nice, she was growling and snarling, even if they weren’t near her. She’s been batting at them if they come too close – and even snarling and growling at me when I try to calm her down! She’s spent most of her time in her new favourite spot on the rolled up blanket near my bed, but she also liked to spend time loafing in baby jail, or under my vanity – both spots the littles have taken over.

Cheddar has been good, overall. He’d come in and immediately sniff at whichever kitten was nearby – usually Walnut – and even give them kisses. Walnut responded to Cheddar by immediately nuzzling him and rubbing her shoulders against him. That was too much for him, though, and he was soon asking me to open the door to let him out!

Leyendecker has also been all right, for the most part. At one point, I’d turned the light on to see what Marlee was snarling at, and found him on my office chair, as usual – but with Walnut curled up with him! He couldn’t tolerate that for long, though, and soon left the chair to her and went to sleep on my bed.

Butterscotch… is Butterscotch. She is done with kittens. Wants nothing to do with kittens. She’ll ignore them, but if the come too close, she’ll start hissing. The problem for her is, once she goes down to the floor to get some food or something, the bitty tabby comes running, and that gets her really upset!

Nosencrantz spends most of her time on her favourite spot by the ceiling, but when she did come down, she ended up under my foot stool. It’s a favourite spot, normally, because it’s kept right next to the heat vent, which the bitty tabby has discovered. It also is a good hiding spot. The bitty tabby tends to run under there when I move around, but Nosencrantz started snarling and batting at her every bit as much as Marlee.

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz both ended up at the top of the shelf to get away from the littles. Which was fine, until…

… Leyendecker jumped up to get away from the littles, too.

Butterscotch was NOT happy!

One of my daughters took over supervisor duty while I did the morning rounds, and she ended up having to kick Leyendecker out.

Meanwhile…

… still no luck in snagging the other bitty.

What an adorable little soot sprite!

If we could get Broccoli, too, that would be fantastic. She could stay with her babies longer, and even Walnut would enjoy her mothering. Broccoli has been letting some of the white and greys nurse, too, even though they are so much older and not her kittens.

I now have Walnut on my chest, attacking my face and the end of my braid.

She’s sharp!

Anyhow… Where was I?

I’ve been making a point of…

Oh, dear.

Walnut just tried to run away with my braid. It didn’t work and she fell onto the floor. Now she’s back, trying to attack my braid, and face, again!

What a little beast!

As I was saying… I’ve been making a point of leaving extra food in the sun room, so the cats don’t have to go outside to eat. The adults and the cattens don’t have too much issue with going out to eat. Especially the long haired ones. The littles would rather stay in the sun room, which I want to encourage. At least until this cold snap passes. Hopefully, that will also make it easier to catch the last bitty – and maybe even Broccoli.

I don’t think Marlee would be happy with the additions, but at least it would only be until the end of the year, when the Cat Lady will come for them.

The Re-Farmer

Finally done, kitty progress, and a beat up Shop Towel!

First, the good stuff about Marlee.

She may still snarl and growl at the other cats, but she’s doing really well. Last night, I put her on my bed and she actually stayed for a while, rolling around and streeeeettcching herself out. I sent a picture to the cat lady, who was shocked. She’d never shown them her belly!

The outside cats have been pretty excited about their wet cat food treats this morning, with a couple of them cleaning out the bowl for me. I’ve been mixing in some lysine before doling it out.

I spotted the tuxedo in his favourite spot under the cat house, so he got a big dollop. I later spotted the bitty tabby under the cat house in a different spot, but couldn’t get a picture. Pinky kept blocking my view!

I left quite early to take my mother’s car to the garage, and my daughters took turns supervising the cats in my room, and indulging Marlee. She has started to jump up onto the bed with them, and rolling around while being petted. She still snarls and growls at most of the other cats, but she was okay with lying on my bed next to Cheddar, which is awesome.

Cheddar is really good with other cats!

Big Rig has been a pain! She wants out of the room, but when we did let her out, she immediately went after one of the other cats. She has only a tiny incision, but if she’s going to be picking fights with other cats, we’re going to have to keep her isolated longer, to give it more time to heal. The last thing we want is for her to open it up because she’s being a big B to the other cats! The problem is, even when being kept in my room, she’s been going after Butterscotch, too! I’m not impressed with her. ๐Ÿคจ

As I write this, she’s made her way onto my arms and is currently using one of my elbows as a pillow, while her body is sliding down and pushing my keyboard further and further away.

She makes it quite difficult to type!

While I was in town, I was early enough to fill my mother’s gas tank and get a car wash. I figured the mechanic deals with enough filthy vehicles. Especially with our current temperatures hovering around freezing, making for some very messy roads. When I dropped off the keys, I was still almost an hour early, so I went for lunch. He wasn’t very busy, and since I was just there for an oil change and coolant check, he got it in and finished before my official appointment, so it was ready and waiting when I got back. It has been so long since the oil was changed (thankfully, it doesn’t get used all that much), the tag from wherever it was done last was unreadable. Whoever did it last hadn’t done a good job, and it may have been leaking slightly all this time. The oil level was a bit low when I checked it, but not much, so it wasn’t too bad, at least. The filter was changed and the coolant topped up as well, and now my mother’s car is very happy! I could feel the difference as I drove home.

Gotta make sure it never gets that long between oil changes again!!!

By the time I got home, it was time to feed the outside cats again. This time, I saw Shop Towel coming a lot closer than usual – he was smelling that wet cat food and I could see he was wanting some! I don’t know of there was any left, by the time he showed up. My focus is on making sure the bitties get their fill.

Shop Towel (aka: Sad Face) was not looking good today!

He has clearly been in fights recently. You can even see blood in his fur on his side. We haven’t been hearing any cat fights, so this likely happened at one of the other farms in his territory.

I want to snuggle that sad faced boy so badly!

I ended up sending a picture to the cat lady. I told her, this isn’t one of our cats, but he’s been coming around for a few years. Because he’s so aggressive with our male cats, we haven’t been encouraging him to stick around, aside from filling his belly. We’re not exactly chasing him off, either. We’d love to actually befriend him, but not with the way he behaves with the other cats. I suggested that, if we could ever trap him, he’d be a good candidate for a TNR.

Much to my surprise, the cat lady said that she knows of a farm with no other cats where he could be released! That would be ideal for him – and there would be a better chance of him being at least somewhat socialized, if he’s not fighting for territory with other males.

Of course, the idea of a farm that doesn’t have cats is just… so foreign to me! ๐Ÿ˜„ Usually, they just show up.

Now that the car is taken care of and the cats brought home, we actually have some quiet time over the next while. No trips to the city, no errands, no more waiting for the roofers… I can actually stay home for the next few days! About the only thing I expect to need to do is help my mother with her shopping, now that her car is done.

I look forward to tucking my head into my shell and being a hermit for a while!

The Re-Farmer

So far, so good!

Well, we had our first night with Marlee!

I made sure to have as few cats as possible in my room overnight, so I could leave the baby jail open, and Marlee could come out any time she felt comfortable. That meant Nozencrantz and Butterscotch, who simply won’t leave, Big Rig, who wants to leave, but we’re keeping her isolated for a while longer as she recovers from surgery, and Marlee.

This morning, she was not in the cage. I eventually found her, peeking at me from under my vanity – then she came out for pets! Which is really funny because she’ll be enjoying pets, but if she so much as hears another cat moving, she would hiss and growl – while still demanding pets! After a while, she seemed to be trying to get at her food bowl inside the baby jail, from outside, so I put her in and she enthusiastically ate and drank. For a cat that has known hunger for the past couple of years, I fully expect her to be taking many opportunities to eat!

What I can’t tell is if she has used a litter box. The one in the cage looked unused, but there are two others that should could have used. Or, she might have used some corner of my room that I haven’t found, yet! The cat lady uses stove pellets for litter, too, so I know she is at least used to that.

I made sure to update the cat lady about how the night went, and they are SO happy with how Marlee has been doing. Her husband was saying, cats know when they are home! I hope that’s how Marlee feels, because after all she’s been through, she deserves a soft and comfortable life indoors, with lots of love! The only issue we might have is with the other cats. Unlike Nosencrantz, however, I’m sure Marlee will handle potential conflict better, and not collapse into a ball of panic and anxiety, like Nosencrantz sometimes does.

So that’s good news!

I did get a daughter to stay in my room and supervise while I did the morning rounds, just in case. Cheddar forced his way into the room as I was leaving, but this is Cheddar. He accepts all cats. Marlee hisses at him, and he’s completely oblivious. If any cats gets through to her, I’m betting it’ll be Cheddar. Even Nosencrantz and Butterscotch like Cheddar!

The outside cats were completely out of water in both heated water bowls this morning! The heated bowl that isn’t working and has been sitting in the sun room, full of ice, has been melting, though, so they do still have access to water. Once I got their food and warm water out, I got one of the big cans of donated wet cat food and emptied into a bowl, then broke it into much. I didn’t think of it until later, but I should have mixed in some lysine while I was at it.

After that, it was a race. There were kittens in the sun room, so I gave them a few spoonfuls, dropped spoonfuls in front of the cats in the shelf shelter, then quickly started dropping spoonfuls across the roof of the cat house, where most of the big cats were still eating.

By then, I had the attention of the kittens that hide under the cat house, so I quickly dropped some food for them before adding to the trays in the kibble house and under the water shelter. By then, all the cats were pretty excited about this whole wet cat food nothing – it’s the first time most of them have ever had any – so I was able to dump the bowl onto the tray inside the cat house entry, for the bitties.

Then, as I was starting to leave, I saw a little face poking out from under the cat house, near the counterweight. I hadn’t left any wet food there! So I started scraping the bowl and managed to leave a bit for that one, too.

I had considered using more than one can; they’re big cans, but that’s a lot of cats. In the end, I decided I’ll just do it again when I feed them in the late afternoon. The main thing is to get it to the bitties. What I’m spreading out for the older cats is a distraction. A treat, not a feeding.

That done, I finished off my morning rounds, and as I came back into the sun room, I found this adorable trio.

That’s Pointy Baby on the left, Pinky in the middle and Gooby on the right.

It’s funny how they like to sit on the board the heat bulb’s fixture is attached to! I’ve got it on the top shelf, so cats can sit under it on the bottom shelf for warmth, without any chance of them touching the bulb. It might be a bit too high for the warmth, but I do see kittens under there every now and then.

Today, I finally have a day where I don’t have to go anywhere. Now that the morning rounds are done, I am seriously considering pain killering up and going back to bed! I can finally have a day of rest – until I have to go out again, tomorrow, and get my mother’s car to the garage for a much needed oil change. Thankfully, it’s supposed to be just below freezing tomorrow, so I will be able to walk around town while I wait and do a few errands.

I think a day spent at home and loving on a traumatized cat, is a good plan!

The Re-Farmer

One more day

Well, here we are. One more day with the roofers. I turned out to be right when my brother, his wife and I were guessing how long it would take them do finish the job.

I have not taken any pictures today, so here is an adorable “selfie” with Pointy Baby, who decided to join me while I was doing my rounds yesterday morning.

I started this morning’s rounds even earlier that yesterday; it was just barely light out, and the sun wasn’t going to rise for another 2 hours. Not because I was expecting the roofers to come that early (it never came up, when I spoke with them yesterday), but because I’d received a message from my brother letting me know he was on his way! For him, he actually had to get up at 4am so he could arrive here at a decent hour. It took him at least an hour just to get things loaded into his truck. He always brings as many tools as supplies as he thinks he might need, having learned long ago that our father’s tools were constantly being “borrowed”, or used and not put back, or simply lost.

So I got my rounds done early, then I backed the van up to the house to load it with the garbage bags we keep to freeze in the old kitchen, until we can make a dump run. I wanted to make sure I got that done before the roofers had their own truck parked by the house.

I decided to do a meat loaf with potato wedges for the crew today, and my brother arrived just before they went into the oven. He then did his usual running around and finding things to work on or check out – like going into the barn to see if he could find where the metal roof has been leaking, to searching the basements for antennae wire, before he was up on the roof. He’d brought heavy duty anchors for the guy wires on the TV antennae, but when he got up there, he discovered one of them was broken! So he found more wire and was back up on the roof to replace the broken one.

Which meant he had to drag up our step ladder to the very highest point of the roof, borrowing one of the stabilizer boards the roofers had left up there to hold it. Thankfully, it was a wire that was mounted only half way up the antennae’s pole, and not one of the ones mounted at the top! Still, he scares me sometimes! He even took pictures of the step ladder after setting it up, the wires, the mounts, etc. I don’t know why he’s so utterly committed to making sure that antennae stays up there, but my goodness, he took some risks to replace that wire!

He was still up there when I brought the recycling and electronics waste to the van, then did the dump run. The roofers still weren’t there when I got back! While my brother was still working up on the roof, I started shoveling out more of the paths and around the fire pit, so that when things warm up, the paths will melt clear. It was while I was working around the fire pit that the roofing crew arrived, and my brother was able to talk to them for a bit. I shoveled the paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back of the garage, too. Earlier, my brother had told me that he saw the roofers had put shingles over the fascia in one area, when they are supposed to go under. He came over while I was shoveling behind the garage and let me know what he’d found out. It turns out they did put shingles under the fascia – then added more on top, so that it would look nice! My brother was very happy. He’s not used to “looks nice” being an important consideration, most times!

One of the things I’d mentioned to my brother is that I’d told the crew that the outhouse was fixed up and useable, if for some reason the inside bathroom wasn’t available, making sure they knew where the toilet paper was tucked away. When my brother joined me in the house later, he told me it looked like the crew was using it – there were fresh footprints in the path I’d shoveled to the door! ๐Ÿ˜… Whatever they’re more comfortable with! ๐Ÿ˜

My brother didn’t stay for too much longer after the roofers were here; he’d already had a long day of it. He’d considered stopping to pick up our mother on the way here, but it was too early. I’m glad he didn’t. She would have been absolutely furious about the state of the house, because it doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. Her expectations of how we are supposed to keep the house are a lot higher than her own expectations for herself. He was, however, going to stop by her place on the way home.

I do hope she is kind to him. He’s got so much going on right now, that last thing he needs to for her to give him a hard time!

After we said our goodbyes, however, I saw him coming back to the house, setting up our own ladder on the side of the roof the roofers weren’t working on, and going up. Several times! I don’t know what he was doing there, but it was quite some time before he was finally done and heading out. That man always seems to think of one more job to do, one more task to complete…

Oh! I just remembered something very interesting he told me. When I was done shovelling, he had done back into the barn to get some more photos, so I went to join him. He ended up being able to bring down a some lumber that was up there for me, and I was talking about how great it was to have lumber – even such a small amount – that isn’t rotting. As we were walking back towards the house, he commented on the shed with the collapsed roof, and how the wall joists would still be strong. We could just put a new roof on it. I told him I wanted to take it apart and use the wood to build something else. That reminded me of the old wagon I was looking at, in the car graveyard. I told him that the chassis looked like it was still good, and I hoped to bring it over. The wooden sides are rotted, so I’d get rid of that, but if the rest of it is in good shape, I want to build a mobile chicken coop on it. Once he was sure which piece of equipment I was talking about, he told me that that wagon is probably close to 100 years old! He thinks it might have been build in the mid 1930’s. He would be very happy if we could fix it up and use it again! I’m just hoping it hasn’t been too damaged from sitting out in the elements for who knows how many decades. I’m even more excited about finding a way to use it, now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

But that will have to wait until the snow is gone, and the ground dry enough to roll it close to the barn!

Well, I think I’ve spent enough time on the computer. Time to see what the status is with the roofers, and probably feed the outside kitties again. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The Re-Farmer

What a day!

So much good news today!

While doing my morning rounds, I was very happy to spot all of the bitties. I was worried about the orange caterpillar, as I did not see it at all yesterday, but he was there today!

The little tuxedo came outside to eat, even though there was kibble inside. I found the orange bitty, with one of the white and greys wrapped around him! A few minutes later I came back, and there was the grey and white tabby. That one is a very boisterous kitty!

Last night, I didn’t get much sleep. I had to close up the three kittens from outside in the baby jail we put together for them, as they were just too active during the night, and their presence was keeping Butterscotch and Noserncrantz from coming down to eat or use the litter.

When I woke in the morning, Princess was asleep at the foot of my bed. She is small enough that she was able to squeeze through the larger openings in the top level of the baby jail!

When it was time to head out, I had those three, plus Big Rig. We just managed to fit two hard carriers and two soft carriers all in a row in the back of the van.

Big Rig was most angry about the whole thing. The kittens, however, were pretty chill and were soon curled up and relaxing.

I was just starting to drive out when a truck pulled into the driveway, hauling a trailer. The roofers had arrived!

I was expecting it to be just one guy, checking the place out and maybe dropping off supplies, but nope. They were going to get started!

So that changed my plans a bit.

I stopped along the way to get some gas, and some cat treats for the kitties, then continued on to meet with the cat lady. We were meeting in the parking lot of the smaller, closer Walmart that I sometimes go to. Her husband was driving their SUV, which was a bit scary, since he’d just had that accident (their truck was written off completely). As we transferred the kitties, we talked about my coming out to meet them again on Sunday. That’s as long as she’ll be able to hang on to them after their visit with the vet. On Sunday, she’s going to be picking up litters with 8 kittens in total. They are outdoor cats that an older gentleman is doing his best to take care of, but the RM (Rural Municipality) is going to come shoot them on Sunday if she doesn’t pick them up! So she’s going to be taking the sickest ones for now, which means ours have to come back sooner, to make space.

But not all of them, perhaps.

I’ve just been getting updates from her. Apparently, she has already found a home for Princess!! It will be confirmed tomorrow. She told me that suddenly, she’s had a number of people that have recently lost their older cats to illness or old age, and are interested in adopting. She said she hoped to get more of our cats adopted out between Christmas and New Year’s – and now it looks like she’s already found a home for one of them!

When I meet up with her on Sunday, not only will I be taking back the kitties, but she already sent me a photo of cat food donations she has for us! Four big bags of kibble, plus two cased of large size cans of wet cat food! She wants me to give wet cat food to the bitties, but it would be very difficult to get wet cat food for them, without having the bigger cats come around and eat it all, first. With that much donated cat food, we’ll be able to spread it out among the kibble trays, then put some where the bitties are, and they’ll have a chance to actually get some!

After we were done, my plan had been to go the rest of the way to the city and do the Costco shopping, but in the end, I just went to the Walmart we were already so close to. Since I’ll be back in just a few days, I didn’t want the extra driving.

It doesn’t take much to convince me to NOT go to the city.

I’m glad I changed my mind on that. There were a few things that I couldn’t get, and I skipped going to the Canadian Tire to get pellets for the litter for now, but it meant I got home quite a bit earlier.

The outside cats were all over the tarps they laid out to catch what was being thrown off the roof!

Unfortunately, it turned out one of the guys was very allergic to cats.

When I got there, he asked if we could make some coffee and tea, which we were quite happy to do – it’s not like there’s a coffee shop they can go to for their breaks nearby! Actually, my daughter got that started while I brought the shopping in, then put away the van. She’s still pretty sick, so as soon as I was able to take over, she disappeared back upstairs, so as not to pass her cold on to the guys. It gave me a chance to heat up the chili I’d made yesterday, and I was able to offer them chili and rice as well. There were four guys working on the roof, but only two came in for tea and food during their break. I’m sure they had worked up quite an appetite by then, too!

They had cleared off all the old shingled and checked where we had problems with leaking. They could see where water had got in, but there was NO rot!

Amazingly, they kept at it until the east side of the house was done; the roof over the “new part” of the house, including the main entry, plus the section of roof above the second floor windows. It was fully dark by the time they stopped!

Things got really crazy after they’d laid down the plastic, and were starting to bring up the packages of shingles. They were dropping really hard – each package weighs about 80 pounds – and the whole house would shake! One particularly hard drop resulted in the plastic cover over the kitchen light to fall off, and it broke when it hit the floor. It’s a very old light fixture and has been needing to be replaced for a long time, so I’m not concerned about the breakage, but I did go out to let them know what had happened. There’s really nothing they can do about it, without risking injury. Still, we had a few things vibrating off shelves on our walls. Nothing else that broke, at least!

They will be back again to do the west side of the house tomorrow. Now that they know how to get here (they got lost, this morning! Someone gave them bad directions), I expect they were get here around 7:30 or 8 in the morning. They’ll be bringing another guy on the crew, which should make it 5 in total.

I will have to remember to tell them they can’t drop packages of shingles like that on the run room roof. It’ll shatter the windows. They’re going to have to find some way to drop them off higher up on the roof, or on the other side of the old kitchen.

Tomorrow, I was supposed to go to my mother’s to help her with errands. She’d told me my sister was also going to be visiting with her, so I called to confirm that. If my sister could drive my mother around, I could stay home while the roofers are here.

Well, it turned out my sister cancelled on coming out. I told my mother about the roofers being here, and that they were expecting to finish tomorrow.

*sigh*

The first thing she wanted to know is if my brother were here. She wanted him to be here while the roofers were here, and apparently he’d promised to do so. Which I don’t think he did. He can’t just not show up for work like that. I told her that, and said that’s part of why I wanted to be here, rather than at her place. I could keep an eye on things. Since she was already working herself up, being angry at my brother, I thought I’d tell her the good news about there not being any rot to repair, so far. Well, that made her angry, too, as she sarcastically commented “oh, sure… as if they’d know.” Which blew me away. Yes, once the old shingles were off, they would be able to see if there was any actual rot. Then she started ranting about making sure there was “insurance” (she meant warranty). I said yes, there are warranties. At least two of them; a materials warranty, and a workmanship warranty. She wants it written down. Yes, Mom, it’s part of the contract. It’s all spelled out. Oh, sure, she says; they’ll give us a receipt, but she wanted the warranty in writing.

My brother and I have both been trying to explain to her that this is a professional company that deals with contracts and warranties and roofing is all they do. I even commented on how she was used to just hiring some neighbour, and one that drink so the job, too. But he did a good job, she insisted! My response was “did he?” Apparently, she’d hired him to do the roof of the storage house. Where the eavestroughs were never put back on again, and are just hovering, several inches away from the eaves. That roof is also a simple roof compared to the house. One thing is for sure. There would have been no contract, no warranty, and maybe – maybe! – just an invoice. But she would have had no problem with doing that again, instead of hiring a professional roofing company!

I had to change the subject back to tomorrow. My mother has simply decided that the roofers are going to go a bad job, they are going to over charge, and they are going to try and cheat her, because she’s an old lady, and companies always cheat old ladies. Never mind that they’re dealing with my brother, not her. She is determined to be angry about all of it!

She was still upset when I finally finished the call but, in the end, I will not be going over there tomorrow. I will call in the evening and see about coming out the day after, though it will be with my van, since her car isn’t booked with the garage until next week.

That was the only sour note of the day. Well. That and the amazing crashing on the roof when they dropped those packages of shingles!

It’s not even 7pm as I write this, but I feel ready to go to bed already! Hopefully, get some actual sleep, too. But first, I think I’ll make some stew for the crew for tomorrow. And we’ll be sure to have a pot of coffee, and a kettle going for tea, too! It’s supposed to be a lot warmer. The forecasted high is now -4C/24F tomorrow. If it’s a calm day, it would be a good day to do a burn, too.

We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

Sun room progress

I was able to get at least a bit of progress in the sun room today. This is what where it was left off after my daughter worked on it.

The only thing different is the addition of the new kibble bin that doesn’t fit on the shelf. The room has been slowly becoming a disaster, and using it as a recovery ward for the cats certainly hasn’t helped. Where the swing bench had been was the worst of it, with so much stuff fallen behind, and the messes the cats made. The rest was going to be easy after that!

Because of the mess the cats made on this side of the sun room, it needed extra cleaning after being emptied out.

It got emptied, then vacuumed, including around the windows and walls – lots of cobwebs! The windows finally got washed on the inside. The shorter extension cord could finally be wrapped on its hooks (there are no outlets in this room), and I added some hooks so the longer extension cord that is powering the kibble house is now running through the tops of the doors rather than the bottom.

Then the kittens got kicked out and the door closed so that floor could get a thorough washing. Some areas needed to be scrubbed by hand, and I still couldn’t get all the stains out. Last of all, it got rinsed of cleaners, with the ceiling fan running to help it dry faster.

It was getting pretty dark by the time I starting to bring stuff in again, though mostly to protect some things from critter damage. The floor is still damp, too.

After five years, I think we’ve got a pretty good bead on how we need to use this space. The main thing is mobility friendly access. When we first moved here, my husband kept his walker in the main entry, folded up against the washer and drier. There were two problems with that. First, it was in the way of using the washer and drier, and second, it became increasingly difficult for him to get in and out with it. The door’s threshold is fairly high, requiring him to lift the walker wheels over it, and then there are two steps to go down. He didn’t mind it too much at first but, over time, his back just kept getting worse. Then we finally cleared and cleaned the sunroom, which was a HUGE job (I still can’t believe all the stuff my parents had in there!). My dad kept his own walker in the sun room, and now my husband’s walker is kept here, and it’s much easier for him to get in and out. I still want to get little door ramps for him, as he does still need to lift his walker a bit to get through the door, but it’s greatly improved his ability to get in and out by using the sunroom.

So access is a primary concern when it comes to how we want to set things up.

We also use the room a lot for keeping tools and supplies, and we need to find a better way to organize those. The table saw I found in one of sheds had been by the door into the old kitchen, but there it ended up blocking access to things, It’s now set up near the counter shelf by the doors to outside, with the miter saw I got at a garage sale sitting on top of it for now. The swing bench will stay where it is now – right in the corner, with no shelf behind it. The last time we moved things around, I’d set it up against the wall with the two windows, but my husband moved it against the shelf, so he could sit on it and see outside. That blocked access to the shelf and, before we knew it, all sorts of things were falling behind it and getting stuck – and of course, the cats took full advantage of that! So now the cube shelf will go against the wall under the bathroom window. I’m going to try and keep all the tool related stuff on that side.

We found using the room as a greenhouse was handy, but we need to figure out a more efficient way to do it. Being able to set up a surface to hold transplants over the swing bench worked out pretty well, even if it meant only the cats could use the bench! So this side is going to be organized in a way that we’ll be able to set transplants up again in the spring, including a better way of setting up the lights. For a “sun” room, it’s actually pretty dark in there!

One other thing we use this room for is an isolation ward for recovering cats. Which means we’ll be wanting to set up food and water bowls, and a litter box, which is currently in the cats’ house outside. It hasn’t been used yet but, once snow is on the ground, I think the kittens will figure it out! We’ll get another one for the sun room.

We will also be using this room to store things for the winter, until they’re needed again in the spring.

All of this, we will need to figure out as we bring things back inside. Now that that floor has been cleared and sanitized, we can work out how to organize things most efficiently.

While I was finishing up and things were getting dark, I was very happy to see how well the new solar powered motion sensor light was working out. When I checked on it last night, it didn’t turn on. It’s mounted to the top of the outer door, so it should have turned on when I opened it. It didn’t turn on, but I startled some critter out of the kibble house! I could hear it run across the yard, and slam into the chain link fence as it went under it. It sounded bigger than a skunk. I’m thinking racoon, but they usually freeze instead of running away, so I’m not sure. As I came out of the sun room to check, I heard more noise – from the four deer in the yard that got startled and ran out towards the barn! I grabbed a flashlight and went back out again. I could hear something was crunching kibble, but couldn’t see what it was. From the sound, I was pretty sure that one, at least, was a skunk, which turned out to be correct.

With all that going on, the new light would have been very helpful, but it just wasn’t turning on. I knew it worked, because when switching it from off to either high or low light, it turns on and stays on for about a minute before shutting itself off. I had turned it on just before starting to screw it onto the door. Thankfully, the way it is sitting, I didn’t have to unscrew it from the door, and could shift it enough to reach the switch and turn it on. I’m not completely sure why it was off, but my guess is that I switched it off by accident. While I was attaching it to the door, at one point it slipped and started to fall. I managed to catch it, but must have hit the switch in the process. Whatever it was, I got it going again, and set to the brighter light.

Which was really handy as I finished up! I had plenty of light to see what I was doing – and it even lights up as far as the inside of the kibble house. The cats running around also triggered the motion sensor, which means any skunks, racoons or deer will also trigger it. Hopefully, that will be a deterrent.

Ha! Who am I kidding! It won’t deter them, but it’ll make it easier for us to see what’s stealing the kibble!

If all goes well, we should have the sunroom organized and finished tomorrow. Then we can go back to putting the garden to bed for the winter. We’ve got some nice, warm days coming up, which means we can give the trees we planted one more deep watering before the temperatures drop again.

As long as the weather holds, there will always be a bit more we can get done!

The Re-Farmer

Bitty Baby update, and a bit of progress

I was really concerned about the bitty babies last night! We dipped at least as low as -7C/19F during the night. I knew if the bitties were inside the cat house, they would be okay – especially if they had a mama to curl up with – but if any of them got caught outside, and the board ramp was knocked over, they couldn’t get back in on their own.

The board ramp was knocked over this morning. The brick it was braced against was frozen to the ground. I suspect we are still getting skunk visits during the night. We don’t see them around anymore, though I’ve seen the odd one on the security camera live feed at night. They go into the cat house entry to eat any kibble that’s left there.

Thankfully, I spotted all four of the bitties through one of the windows. The board ramp is back, but I didn’t want to hang around too much, or they’d be tempted to go outside.

There was no mama. I didn’t even see an adult cat come out of the cat house when I went outside. The bitties have the cat house to themselves; all the other kittens seem to be leaving it to them, other than when they pop into the entry to nibble on some kibble.

All the shallow water bowls were frozen, and the big bowl had a layer of ice on top, but I had some nice, warm water for them. The board ramp I set up for the water bowl shelter is being well used, with lots of little footprints in the frost.

I tried to do a head count, and I think I counted 21, plus the four bitties. Rolando Moon came around later. If any of the mamas came around, it wasn’t while I was there to see them.

With all those growing kittens and cattens, and the temperatures dropping, they are going through the kibble faster. We’re going to have to pick up more before the end of the month. The cat lady is going to try and get some donated cat food for us, too, though we don’t know when she’ll be able to do that.

Before starting on this post, I sent an email to her through her cat rescue’s email address. We usually text, but that’s always a pain out here. Especially if I want to send photos. My phone is supposed to link up to the wifi for calls or texts, if there is no data signal available, but it’s never been good at actually accomplishing that. So I sent the email, with a few pictures, explaining the situation. Hopefully, she knows of a foster family that can take in kittens that aren’t weaned yet. While the kittens don’t look like they are starving or dehydrated, that may just be a “yet”. At least the clones have figured out kibble is food, but I don’t know about the other two.

Hopefully, I will hear back from her soon.

In other things, I got some progress on those willow branches I’d pruned. I dragged them all over to where we’re building up a burn pile where the big branch pile that got chipped used to me, and sorted through them there. Only a few of the branches went straight to the burn pile. With most of them, even if the branches were kind of wonky, most had enough straight sections that I could still use them in sections. It’s still nowhere near enough to finish the wattle weaving, but there will be at least a bit more progress.

Though both today and tomorrow are supposed to have highs just above freezing, with tomorrow slightly warmer than today, we are no longer getting rain and snow. We will be nice and sunny, which makes it a good time to get some things covered. I’m glad I picked up the 3 pack of medium duty tarps at Costco a while back. One of the things that needs to be covered is my late brother’s post pounder that he built. It needs to be refurbished, and that’s not a job we can do right now, but we can at least keep it from getting worse. The trap I’d wrapped around it before was torn to shreds by the wind, and I finally cut the remains away completely, not long ago. The plastic that was covering the motor was also starting to tear, so I made a priority of at least covering that, first. The tarps I have are only 8’x10′, but that should be enough to cover most of it, if I do it right. I’ve learned from how and where the old tarp started shredding, where I need to put some sort of padding, first. Between that and being more strategic on how the tarp is tied down, I hope to be able to reduce the damage from high winds.

The other thing I need cover is the wood pile – formerly junk pile – near the house. The groundhogs absolutely destroyed the old tarp that was over it before, for nesting material – then disappeared. The top boards may be pretty rotten, but the further down we go in the pile, the better shape the wood, and I’d like to keep them from getting worse. This year, however, we had not been able to mow, weed walk or weed a lot of areas as we normally would have, and one side of the pile is among those. It’s completely full of mostly thistles right now. I’ll have to cut away enough of that to be able to reach the pile from all sides, so it can be re-covered with a new tarp. The old tarp was held down by whatever heavy things where handy. This time, I want to actually peg it to the ground.

There is still much to get done before the snow flies – and stays!

The Re-Farmer