Those eyes! And this is $223

I counted 22 cats outside while doing their kibble and warm water this morning!

One of them was Pinky, the only kitten with orange we had last year. I was even able to pet him a bit, though he’s not quite comfortable with attention. I heard from the Cat Lady this morning; it’s been a while, due to her health issues, so it was quite a relief to hear from her. She had someone who was looking for an orange kitten and asked if we had any, so I tried to get pictures of him. This person might be okay with a young cat, instead, so I also sent a picture of Turmeric.

This, however, is not Pinky, nor Turmeric. It’s one of the cats we can’t come near, and I don’t usually see him sitting still when I’m around. I just had to zoom in to take some pictures, because this is the first time I’ve had a really good look at his eyes!

They are so very pale! Most of our cats have eyes that are gold or green, but this one’s eyes look almost like a pale blue! The photo doesn’t do justice to how light they really are. In the shade of the water shelter, they seemed to glow white. Just gorgeous!

After finished my morning rounds, I had to make a trip to a Walmart to get more kibble. The outside cats may be eating less again, but we still weren’t going to have enough to last until our next stock up trip to the city. I just went to the smaller, closer Walmart, and used the trip to pick up a few other things – including some extras for the freezer, and even some treats.

This is $223.46 – after taxes.

Usually, I get the biggest bags of kibble they have – and this time, there was plenty of cat food in stock – but I got the sense the cats were getting tired of it. There’s just one brand and one flavour in the 10kg size. So this time, I got two 9kg bags for the outside cats, and a 7.5kg bag for the inside cats, all in different flavours. The larger bags were just under $30 each, and the smaller one just under $22. Once I got home, I topped up their food, and they were eating quite enthusiastically, so I think I was right about the “getting tired of it” part.

They also had stove pellets in stock this time, so I got a bag for the cat litters. Just one, and it saved me from having to go to another store. When it’s time to stock up, I’ll get several bags from Canadian Tire. This bag cost almost $8. Canadian Tire has softwood pellets for just under $7.

Eggs were on my list, and the 18 count eggs were a good price, at $5.58 each, so I got two. Bread was on my list as well, so I got a couple loaves of rye bread ($3.47 each) and a couple packages of wraps ($6.27 each), which are bread products we don’t make ourselves. I also got a larger Walmart brand of hot dog wieners at $5, so there’s a couple of bags of hot dog buns ($3.67 each) to go with those. The weather has been so mild, we’ve been talking about getting the fire pit going, so these are a treat for the girls to cook over the fire. Also on my list was cheese, so I got Havarti, old and marble from the 2 for $10 selection. I had butter on my list, too, but I got just one pound. The cheap, no-name butter was $5.97. Much better than the local prices, but still getting quite high for no-name!

Not on my list, but at an excellent price, were a couple of chickens for the freezer. They were selling at under $2 a pound. I got the biggest ones I could find, but they’re still much smaller than the ones we got from my homesteading neighbour. At less than $10 a chicken, I won’t say no to something I can add to our supply if I can get it! I also got some sour cream, just because we were out, but I also got some carrots that were a very good price. We do still have the Black Nebula carrots, but we’re just not using them. They’ve got so many root hairs on them, and they’re so small, they’re not worth cleaning. Plus, the colour makes anything cooked with them look pretty unappetizing, to be honest. They’d be good for fresh eating or for juicing, if we could get all those root hairs off, but I think the last of them are just going to get composted.

Too bad we don’t have chickens yet. They’d love them!

Oh, and I got another bag of seed starting mix. We’ve got to get those onion seeds started! I was gong to do that this afternoon, until I realized I couldn’t put off getting more kibble. One last thing I got that wasn’t on the list was a deodorant for the girls to try. The price was really, really good, but it’s not a brand they usually use (my husband and I use antiperspirant), and I wasn’t sure they’d like the scent. I like to pick up stuff like deodorant, tooth paste and other toiletries when the price is good, to stock up our supplies, just in case. With this year’s mild winter, we’ve been able to get out as needed for a change, but last year, with the vehicles freezing and/or not being able to get through the roads or driveway at times, we definitely started to run low on such things before we could finally go shopping!

I also got some treats for my husband and I. The Valentine’s Day stuff is out, so I got some Cinnamon Hearts for my husband. One of the side effects of all the drugs he’s on is that he’s lost much of his sense of taste, so something that’s spicy hot is appreciated. He can actually taste it! It’s something handy to have, if his blood sugars suddenly drop again. He’s definitely had some scary moments. Which isn’t supposed to happen, since he’s on a slow release insulin that is taken only once a week, but it does. 🙁 For myself, I got some dark chocolate mint wafers. I also got a vitamin water drink for the road, and a bag of chocolate almonds to keep in the van. I like to have some sort of munchy in the van for those days when we’re running around, but aren’t able to stop and eat. Usually, it’s a big container of mixed nuts from Costco, but we aren’t going to make it to Costco until the end of the month for our regular stock up trip. Not making it to Costco for our January stock up has left us making way too many smaller trips.

With what I got today, we should not be running out of anything until the end of the month, when we do our February stock up trip. This time, Costco is going to be done first! It seems that if we try to split our shopping days and do the other locations first, we end up not making it to Costco at all, but doing more smaller trips instead – and that takes more out of the budget, for less supplies.

December and January are always odd months for trips, but this winter, even more so than usual. Extra trips involving cat stuff certainly changed things, too!

Hopefully, things will start settling down again, and we can be our usual hermit selves. 😉😄

The Re-Farmer

Van news, and this is $265

Oy. What a day this has turned out to be!

I’m glad to be home and done with it, though. Looking at the life security camera feed, I’m seeing a lot of whiteouts from blowing snow!

So… First the sort of bad, sort of good news.

I dropped the van off early and talked to the mechanic in detail about what was going on, including that the warning light had turned on again when I drove in, then went for lunch. Normally, I would have walked around town to run as many errands as I could, on the way to where I usually go for lunch, but the winds were too brutal today. Instead, I basically crossed the parking lot to a hotel across the way, and went to another Chinese restaurant. Just that short walk was more than enough to convince me to stick close!

The van was done by the time I got back. He’d done the oil change it was booked for. As for the rest…

*sigh*

When he hooked up his reader, about 40 codes came up. He cleared them, but two wouldn’t stay cleared. There is a bearing in each of two tires that is starting to go. This was a known problem, and not extremely urgent, but they do need to be replaced. The problem is, replacing them will cost at least $1000 – more than the van is worth. Getting the rest fixed as well would bring the cost to over $4000.

So… I paid for the oil change.

The bearings will last a bit longer, so we can use the van, but it’s on its last legs. I’d already talked to him about replacing it, and to be on the lookout for a truck or van for us for January or February, but it looks like we can’t wait.

He has used vehicles for sale that I walked past, and I noticed a 2008 SUV, among several others. My husband’s walker should be able to fit in the back of an SUV all right, plus it would be something he could climb up into, like a van or truck, rather than down into, like most cars, which is incredibly painful for him. We hadn’t considered an SUV because we wouldn’t be able to do things like haul the gas powered snow blower to be serviced in it, but we don’t have the luxury of choice right now.

I asked him about it, but the 2008 was already sold. Of the others he had, and discussing our needs, he suggested a 2013 Ford Explorer. It was actually a lower price than the other, older ones, but it has 260,000 km on it, which brought the price down – and he lowered it even more, for us, if we’re interested. And yes, he will take the van as a trade in, though it’ll only get us about $300 towards it. This particular vehicle is all wheel drive, and has a number of amenities that would be quite useful. It also happened to be owned by a family member of his – just one owner – and he’s been the one that serviced it the entire time she had it. He told me about some of the work he’d done on it.

In the end, I got information about it from him, along with a form to apply for financing. We’ve already talked it over as a family and have decided to go for it. We just can’t be without a reliable vehicle, and with my mother’s car – which doubles as our back up vehicle – sometimes not starting on us, that means we have two unreliable vehicles right now! What choice to we really have? I’d much rather have another van, but beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, the price is really good for a 2013 vehicle!

So we’ll have to start that process. It’ll be a moot point, if we don’t qualify for financing, anyhow.

Once I had the van back, I contacted the lady about the eggs, then went to the grocery store. I also updated the family and asked my husband to send our regrets to his brother; we’d been invited to do Christmas Day at their place, but we will be driving as little as possible until the van is replaced.

We traditionally do our main celebratory meal on Christmas Eve, as part of Polish tradition, and already have a turkey thawing out. I got more for the meal, plus a few things to make sure we won’t be running out of things until after New Year’s.

This is what $264 and change looks like. Though I got a lot of things on sale, it’s still about $50-$60 or more higher than if I’d been able to get to the city to buy it. Especially when including the cat kibble.

My husband requested some Caesar Salad mixes, plus I got a couple of kit salads for our Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners. Potatoes in 10kg bags were on a very good sale – less than $5 a bag – so I got one of Russets, one of red. There’s sweet potatoes, broccoli, rye bread and wraps, Mandarin oranges, Caesar Salad dressing, cheddar cheese, mozza cheese, some chicken “fries” as an appetizer for Christmas, and a cake for dessert. There’s bacon to drape over the turkey when we roast it (we plan to spatchcock the turkey), and some pork chops that were a good price. Oh, and a big bag of potato and cheddar pierogi. Last of all, an energy drink for the ride home!

I think I remembered everything.

That done, it was off to pick up the eggs!

Two flats of farm fresh eggs, for $25.

That done, I stopped for some gas on the way home – I considered getting a car wash, to get rid of any ice and snow built up under the van, but it was closed due to the cold temperatures. Their convenience store had a lot of stuff for Christmas, including a big box of Stroopwafels, which is a rare treat for us, so I had to get that!

And yes. I bought lotto tickets, too!

One last stop on the way home was the general store and post office. I got some drinks and alcoholic eggnog for Christmas and picked up the mail. I knew there was one package waiting for me, but there turned out to be three. I was very excited when I opened them, with one of them being an incredible surprise, but those will get their own posts!

After that, I finally headed home. One of my daughters got the wagon to the garage for me, since we can’t pull into the yard to unload right now, so that got loaded up. By then, it was late enough to give the outside cats a feeding and top up the sun room water bowl.

Shortly after I got home, I started getting messages from the cat lady. The vet that does the spay clinics just set a date for another one, and did we have any females to do? She also wanted to take the bitties.

Long story short, I now have one white and grey kitten that’s female in the baby jail. My daughter was able to catch the grey and white bitty tabby, but not the bitty tuxedo. We don’t know if the bitties are male or female.

Oh, dear.

The bitty is so small, it has already managed to get out of baby jail, but the white and grey just squeezed out, too!

Marlee does not like the kittens, and has been snarling any time she sees them!

Ah, well. I will let them explore until it’s time to do the evening wet cat food feeding. Hopefully, I can get them into the baby jail to eat in peace. After that, I suppose I’ll have to watch my feet during the night!

The date for the spay clinic is Jan 2 and, after I explained about our van issues, the cat lady said she will come out, likely Dec. 31, to pick them up. We should be able to catch the bitty tuxedo by then, and maybe another outside female, but we’ll also get Tissue done – the last inside cat to get fixed. This will give us time to socialize any we can bring inside, too. The bitties will stay with the Cat Lady and she will adopt them out, but the others will come back to us. The vet does ferals, so if we can catch any of the unsocialized females, they can be added to the list, too!

The bitty tabby is hiding somewhere, but the white and grey is busily playing with the cat tree behind me. 😄

So… it’s been a much busier day than expected, that’s for sure!!!

The Re-Farmer

Tiny fruit!

Look at the itty bitty fruit I found in the mock orange this morning!

He was not impressed with my shoveling the paths after doing the food and water!

Also, it is confirmed that he’s a he. I was able to pluck him out of the tree and cuddle him for a bit, and finally got a chance to check.

We are all sort of dancing around when we will be bringing him inside. He is so tiny, it’s actually startling to come out with the kibble in the mornings and see him there in the snow, so small he looks like something one of the older kittens coughed up rather than another kitten!

We want to leave him with his mother as long as possible, or at least with whichever of the mamas is nursing him. So far, I’ve only seen Junk Pile nursing him with her own kittens, once – and I haven’t seen her nursing even her own kittens since! So it’s entirely possible that he’s on his own, weaned early, and getting only the food and water we’re providing. However, we can’t be sure of that.

So when do we bring him in? We have one cold day coming up, with a high of -11C/12F, in a couple of days, then it’s going to warm up quite a bit after that. We definitely want to bring him in before the winter temperatures really kick in. So far he doesn’t seem to be having any trouble with the temperatures we have now, and seems quite happy to run around and play in the snow. If I look at the long range forecasts, including those that extent to January, we are looking at a very mild December but, of course, the further ahead the forecast, the less accurate it is, so who knows right now.

Do we assume his mother has weaned him and bring him in now? Or do we give him a couple more weeks, to be sure?

Well, we’ll probably made that decision in the next couple of days, before we get that one day cold snap that’s been forecast.

In other things, my younger daughter and I headed out today. I was originally planning to go to the nearest Walmart, but my daughters had their own shopping list for the international grocery store, so we hit the city, instead, where we could do both very handily. Mostly, I needed to pick up more kibble. The difference in price on that alone makes it worth the cost of gas to go into the city. I was able to get 10kg bags for just over $25 each. Locally, the biggest bags they carry are 7.5kg or 8kg bags, and they cost almost $35 each – if they even have them in stock.

Of course, we picked up a few other things while we were there, then headed to the international grocery store for my daughter’s shopping. They have take out food, too, so we picked up some steamed dumplings in a dim sum combo for the drive home. I was leery of doing that, as the last time I got dim sum there, not only was the service terrible, but the dim sum was way over cooked and tasted horrible. I’m happy to say, I had no problems at all this time. Service was immediate and, oh my goodness, did those dumplings ever hit the spot!

Things like this are the treats we allow ourselves to make up for creeping out of our hermitage, making the drive to the city, and putting up with other humans. 😉

Once at home, I backed into the yard to unload. We used my mother’s car today, and one of the snow piles I made from clearing around the cat shelters was almost too deep for it! 😂 I think maybe tomorrow, I’ll shovel out a lane for driving into the yard and backing up to the house. May as well do that while the snow is light!

Once everything was unloaded, we gave the cats their evening feeding as much to get them away from the car, and out of the sun room, as anything else. After I finished parking the car in the garage, my daughter was still trying to get one last kitten out of the sun room! I never saw the bitty baby while we were doing all this, though. Which may be a good thing. Now that we’re all pretty much in agreement about bringing the bitty in (which will bring the number of indoor cats up to 15), it’s hard not to just up and grab him! But more time with the mamas is better for him right now.

Must.

Resist.

The bitty!

The Re-Farmer

More off the list, an anniversary – and that didn’t take long! (Updated)

I made it into the city today, but not for a Costco stock-up shopping trip. In fact, very little of what I got today was for stocking up.

After I got home and settled in to start this post, I found a notification from WordPress.

Today is our 5th anniversary since starting this blog!

Five years ago today, my husband and younger daughter were already here for almost a week, having left even earlier than planned when my FIL was suddenly hospitalized. My older daughter and I were downsizing, sorting, and packing things like mad before the movers arrived to finish packing, and we would make the drive out.

Somehow, in the middle of all this, we thought it would be a good idea to start a blog.

What were we thinking? 😂

Things sure have changed in five years!

Anyhow.

I’m happy to say that I took my mother’s car into the city and there were no issues at all with the repaired tire rim. Nothing else broke down either. That’s something I’m always grateful for!

All the stops I planned to make were along one strip, and all pretty close to each other, which made it very convenience.

Not any shorter, though!

My first stop was somewhere I’ve never been to before; Tool Town. I needed to get an affordable tarp large enough to cover that shed roof for the winter.

Oh, this is a dangerous place for me to be in!!! The location is actually pretty small but, my goodness, it was jam packed with so many things we could use!! I had to stick to my budget, though. I got a 20’x30′ medium weight tarp that should do well to cover the needed parts of the shed. Then I just walked through the aisles, ogling all the stuff I wanted to buy! I did get one more item that was on my list, though I was expecting to get it at Canadian Tire. Some time ago, we got a solar powered motion sensor light that’s facing the old kitchen garden, and it works quite well. We have a motion sensor light over the main entry door, but we use the sun room door almost exclusively now. That’s where the cat shelters are, and with things getting dark so quickly, we decided it would be good to get another motion sensor light for over the sun room door. There’s no wiring there, so it has to be solar powered. They had a sale on a larger size light, with two brightness options, for the same price as the smaller size, which was the same was what we already have. So I got the bigger, brighter one. The two items together was still under budget, so that was an added bonus!

My next stop was Canadian Tire, where I got a couple of bags of stove pellets for the litter boxes. I would have gotten more, but I didn’t want to put too much weight in my mother’s little car, and I still needed to get more kibble. I also went looking for a new kibble bin, since the racoons broke apart the lid on the one we have now. There was a sale on 80L bins, making them the same price as the 72L bins. It was the right size for our shelf, so I got the 80L bin. I also got a couple of little things, including a new pair of safety glasses. I bought some not long ago, but they’ve gone missing!

I also checked the prices on tarps. Canadian Tire didn’t have the same size as what I’d about, but the one I got was about a third the cost of their closest size – and that’s before the sale price I actually paid!

It was as I was loading the stuff in the car that I noticed a corner of the bin’s lid was cracked. So I grabbed the lid and went back in to customer service. I left the broken lid and my receipt with the employee after explaining what happened, then quickly went to grab a different one. I figured it would be faster that way.

Well, not quite.

Despite there being so many of the 80L bins on display, there was only 1 matching lid left – and it had a chunk missing from one corner! This was a temporary display, and I knew they had some in the regular aisle for storage bins, so I went there, only to find there were no lids at all in that size.

I went back to customer service and told the employee there weren’t any other lids, except one broken one, on the floor. She called it in to get someone to look elsewhere, but after some time he called back to say he couldn’t find any at all, anywhere.

A bin isn’t much use without a lid, so I returned it. I just hoped I would find something somewhere else.

My next stop was at the international grocery store, where I could also grab a late lunch. There are a few things that we only find in this store, such as the big slabs of uncut bacon, which also happened to be on sale today. I even remembered to go through their pharmacy section and did find some lecithin for the outside cats that was NOT soy based. It was in capsules, but we can open those. I have to remember to ask the cat lady where she gets hers. We might have to order the containers of powdered lecithin online, which I would really prefer not to do, but for so many outside cats, we’d need containers with a whole lot more than what I found! I don’t want to be paying extra for capsules we’ll be breaking open, either.

Update: I messaged the cat lady, asking where she got her lecithin. You mean lysine, she asked?

Oops!

Well, lysine is a lot easier to find, and cheaper. She’s been buying the capsules for humans (the same thing marketed for cats is more expensive) and breaking them open. With so many cats, that’s going to get old fast, so I found and ordered a couple of tubs of the powder. Until it gets here, I can pick up the capsules and use that. So many of the little kittens are dealing with the gooby eyes and stuffy noses right now, I won’t want to wait before treating them.

That done, my last top was at Walmart, where I got a couple of 10kg bags of kibble, and a small cat bed for inside the cats’ house. I had looked through the window where the cat bed is set up, and it was full of bigger kittens, while the bitty baby was by the box bed it’s too small to climb into! I was able to find a small bed that should do nicely. I did also find a new kibble bin that was affordable – and with an intact lid! There weren’t a lot of options for the size and shape I needed. I would have preferred a semi-transparent bin, so we can see how much is in it, but I had to settle for a completely opaque one. After that, I just got a few small items.

When it came time to pay, I went to the single line for the cashiers, instead of the self checkout. There were plenty of tills, and one guy that kept an eye on them before telling the next person in line which till to go to next.

He goofed with me.

The till he sent me to had a couple with a very full cart. It looked like they had to do some price checks, too. They split their purchases into two bills, which made things take longer. The second bill included a microwave, which they got the extended warranty on, so that added more time, too. In the end, they had over $500 in stuff on the second bill alone. Which is fine, but while I was standing there waiting, the guy was sending other customers to other tills, instead of redirecting me to a faster till. At least 8 people who had been in line behind me were through with their purchases, before I was even able to start unloading my cart.

Then he sent a customer to wait behind me, and the couple in front of me wasn’t even paying for their stuff, yet!

It’s a good thing I wasn’t in any hurry, but I sure was glad to finally get out of there.

That done, I could finally start heading home.

While I was gone, the girls started working on the sun room, so there was quite a bit of stuff outside when I drove into the yard to unload. They didn’t get everything out, but they did get the swing bench out, which was the main thing to move. We haven’t been able to get around it to clean up, and when we’ve had yard cats in there for varying lengths of time, they don’t always use the litter box we had in there. Instead, they’d go behind the swing bench.

My daughter was able to get that mess cleaned up, and what a difference that made!

After unloading, I started setting up the new kibble bin, but discovered a problem. The bin just barely fits in the shelf – but only with the lid off! With the lid on, it’s too tall.

Ah, well, It will just have to sit on the floor.

We didn’t open the cat shelter to put in the new cat bed. For the time being, it went onto the swing bench.

It immediately had kittens in it, checking things out.

Then the tuxedo claimed it. That didn’t take long at all! 😄😄

Last I saw, he was asleep in it!

One thing I did make sure to do right away was set up the motion sensor light. I was going to put it above the sun room door, only to realize the solar panel would be shaded by the eaves, so I ended up attaching it to the outer door itself. There was just enough room above the window to screw it in place.

It’s full dark now, so I will be going outside to test the motion sensor later. Before setting it up, I put it on the brighter setting. If it works as it should, it will probably be triggered by cats a lot, but I don’t mind that! 😁 Mostly, I just want to be able to see when we’re topping up the kibble for the evening. It gets dark quite early right now!

So this trip is done, and we only have the Costco trip left for the final stocking up for the month.

That one can wait until after Halloween, though!

The Re-Farmer

One last shop and… ouch

I saw one good thing when heading into town with the cats this morning. The gas prices dropped 10 cents per litre, overnight. At 169.9 cents per liter, it’s still higher than it should be, but every little bit helps.

I was going to fill the jerry can after dropping off the cats, but the cats didn’t get dropped off. On deciding to head into the city, that will just have to wait again.

Before hitting the Costco, I went to a Canadian Tire to pick up a couple of bags of stove pellets for cat litter. I also picked up some ant traps. I would prefer not to kill off ant hills, since ants are also pollinators, but there are a couple of hills that are large enough to damage some garden plants, plus we’re seeing more of them in the house.

We’ve hardly used the van this month at all, and the gas tank was almost full when I left home. Costco gas prices were 159.9 cents per liter for regular. A considerable difference! So I topped up the tank, anyhow.

I had expected doing a Costco shop in the middle of the week would be quite, but nope. It was insanely busy! At least I wasn’t fighting a flat cart around crowds of people. With the other stock up shopping done already, I didn’t need to get more dry cat food. I was able to just just a regular cart for a change!

In the end, I didn’t get much at all.

With reason.

This is what Cdn$350 looks like. Plus change.

Under the cart is a package of Kirkland brand toilet paper, a package of 60 eggs, and a case of the cheaper canned cat food. 48 cans in that size.

I also got 10 pounds of butter (at $5 a pound, that’s at least a dollar cheaper than other no-name or house brand butters, but higher for Costco prices), a package with 3 whole chickens, a triple pack of all-beef wieners, and a pork tenderloin. There’s a 6 pack of canned chicken, mayonnaise, peanut butter, cooking oil, AAA batteries, 2 packages of tortilla wraps, and a 2 pack of hot dog buns. Oh, plus a package of white button mushrooms and a big block of marble cheese.

That’s it.

This is one of the smallest Costco shopping trips I’ve done, but it still came out to pennies over $350

That’s just painful! There aren’t even any fruits or vegetables in there, either.

I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if our own garden was producing, but it just barely is. Most things are, if not a complete loss, at least a month behind in growth and development.

Ouch.

The Re-Farmer

Monthly shop, changed plans, and soooo tired

It’s just past 5pm as I start this post, and I could go to bed right now! What a day it has turned out to be.

One of my husband’s disability payments came in today, so it would be our normal day to go into the city and to at least half of our monthly stocking up shopping in the city.

Except, I got a call from my Mom last night.

Her apartment is being sprayed for bed bugs again, today. She needs to be away from the spray for at least 12 hours. Last time, she stayed at my sisters, but she did not want to do that. There is a motel right next to her building, so she was going to book a room there. They did not have any vacancies, however.

After talking to her about it, I ended up calling another motel in town and booking a room for her, and arranging to be at my mother’s place before the exterminators showed up.

Which meant doing my morning rounds (and finishing off the outside kibble bin!) earlier than usual.

I had a sad find.

One of our highbush cranberry saplings had been chomped! It was doing so well, too. 😥 I doubt it can recover from this. I figure it was a deer. Nothing else seemed to be damaged, at least. Not that I stuck around to check too closely. Since I was going to be leaving soon, I didn’t use any bug spray. I got eaten alive! How aggressive and voracious they are this year!

A short version of my rounds done, I headed out with my mother’s car, since I was expecting to drive her to her motel room. Since the road closed sign was removed earlier this week, I drove up our road, through were it was washed out this spring.

What an excellent job done on the repairs! I can’t remember the road ever looking so good. 😁 They built it up a bit, too. Hopefully, that will prevent it from getting washed out again.

The motel I booked my mom at is with the gas station I usually go to. I had to fill her tank anyhow, so I went ahead and got her registered, got her key, and even went ahead and paid for it, so she wouldn’t have to bother. Not having a credit card threw them for a bit, as they don’t really have any alternative. They took my driver’s license number, instead. Then, just in case, I made sure to leave my contact information along with her information, in case of emergency.

Then it was off to my mother’s. Last time, they showed up right at 9 and they did her apartment first, so I was sort of expecting the same. I was about half an hour early, which gave us time to bag up her bedding, and I cleared her storage closet floor that she forgot about. She didn’t back up anywhere near as much as last time. She’s just so tired and frustrated. She kept saying she only saw two bed bugs this morning and she killed them, so it should be fine. She simply refuses to accept that there would be more of them that she can see, and that she would not be able to see the eggs at all. No amount of cleaning or running her fingers along the edging of her mattress to squish things will get rid of them. Not only does she refuse to believe me (or my siblings; we’ve all been trying to explain it to her), but she’s starting to get angry at being told this. She isn’t getting it, and not because she can’t understand our explanations. She simply refuses to accept it. This is only the second time her apartment is being spray. One of her neighbours was getting sprayed for the 6th time!

The exterminators, however, didn’t arrive at nine. By 10, we were wondering what was going on. I ended up phoning the provincial department that owns her building. It turned out they didn’t start with this town this time. They started in another town, about a half hour’s drive away. There was no way to know when they would arrive at my mother’s building.

In the end, I just had to leave. I needed to get to the city. My mother had a neighbour that would be able to drive her to her motel (I’m so glad I got the key already!), so I promised I would check on her on the way home, then went on to the city.

Since I was using my mother’s little car, a Costco trip was out of the question. There’s no way her car could fit our usual Costco trips. Instead of the usual 3 or 4 places I usually hit on these trips, I only did two. The first was a Walmart, where getting more cat food was a priority. I got only four 9 kg bags this time. Usually, I get six 7kg bags of their house brand, but the cats don’t like it as much, and I decided the bigger bags was worth it.

It’s a good thing those bags have waterproof linings on the inside, because while I was loading the back of my mother’s car, I got hit with a deluge of rain! At one point, I thought it might actually turn to hail.

Hatchbacks provide zero shelter! With our van, I could at least have had partial shelter under the lift gate, but a hatchback does nothing!

I spent just under $300 at the Walmart, and half of that was cat food, including a case of wet cat food. And that’s only about a third of what we need for the month.

Next, I went to the international grocery store we like, where I could also pick up some dim sum for breakfast… er… lunch! 😂 This is the store where we can get things like a big slab of uncut bacon, and a particular band of energy drinks no one else seems to carry anymore.

One thing I did NOT get here was butter.

Those brand name butters used to be just over $6 a pound. Now their regular price is almost $10! We’ve never bought these butters, and would just get the house brand. Those are almost $6 a pound, now. Not that long ago, they were in the $3.50 range.

I just checked out an exchange rate converter. As of today:

Cdn$9.79 = US$7.47

Cdn$9.99 + US$7.62

Sale price $8.49 = US$6.49

Cdn$5.99 = US$4.57

The last time we were at Costco, their house brand butter was just under $5/US$3.81 a pound. I hope they haven’t gone up much, since! We typically buy 10 pounds of butter for 1 month.

I didn’t buy butter, but I did end up buying some ghee. The sale price for the jar was almost $23/US$17.54 It’s shelf stable, though, and has a higher smoke point, to it may be worth it. We’ve never used ghee before. If we like it, we’ll learn how to make our own ghee.

The shopping done, I headed home, making sure to stop to see how my mother was doing along the way. I even remembered to pick up a little something for her to snack on along with her complimentary coffee. Only it turned out there was no en suite coffee set up. The complimentary coffee was at the gas station. This is the gas station that has the excellent fried chicken and wedges my mother likes so much, so when I got her her complimentary coffee, I also picked up enough chicken and wedges for a couple of meals. With the exterminators taking so long, I figured my mother hadn’t had lunch at all, and I think I was right. She was quite ready to have her “supper”, even though it was not even 3pm yet! 😁

Since I had stuff in the car that needed to be refrigerated, I couldn’t stay too long. She was well set up, though. My sister will be taking my mother home tomorrow, and helping her wash her bedding. I’ll be back again with the equipment for my mother’s sleep test, the day after. The equipment needs to be returned to the city on Tuesday, so that will be a good time to do the rest of our stock up shopping.

Once at home, Potato Beetle had to be put into a carrier in the sun room before the car could be unloaded. After everything was unloaded and I’d topped up the kibble trays outside, as well as his in the sun room, I made sure to give him some of the kitty treats I also picked up. I think he forgave me the indignity of being put into the carrier for that!

Exactly a week from now, he’ll be at the vet getting snipped, then it’s another 4 days in the sun room before we can let him out again.

As for me, I am practically falling asleep in my chair as I type this! These trips drain me at the best of times, but all the extra stuff with my mother just sucked the energy out of me.

I wonder how badly I’ll screw myself up if I got to bed at only 6pm? 😄

Oh, crud. I just remembered. My mother’s car is still in the front yard. I forgot to put it in the garage!

Guess I’d better put some pants on and take care of that.

🤣

The Re-Farmer

Yesterday’s monthly shop

I’m glad I was able to do the city trip yesterday. It rained all night, so today, the gravel roads are all muddy again – especially that one really bad spot near our place – and the yard is completely saturated. Yesterday, I was able to back up to the house to unload. The vehicle gate was still muddy, but I could at least drive through with minimal spinning of tires. Today, that area of the driveway is all water again. So are a number of areas in the yards.

I’d left a bit earlier than usual, making my regular stop to get a bit of gas at the town my mother lives in. Too early for their fried chicken to be available, so “breakfast” was a protein bar, instead. 😀 I also paid the “idiot tax” and bought a lotto ticket, as well as a couple of on-sale energy drinks for the cooler in the van. Grand total was just over $45.

This trip is our usual series of three stores, finishing at Costco. The first was Canadian Tire, where I picked up a couple more 40 pound bags of the stove pellets we use as cat litter. We still had plenty, but I’m starting to use it as mulch in the garden again – it works really well for the finer seedlings – so I wanted to get more. I also got an extra spool of line for the weed trimmer, as it’s going to get a major workout in the old garden area, soon, and a package of short bamboo stakes that I thought might work for some hoops for the garden (more on that in another post). The PVC pipe I got to use as hoops last year is a bit too stiff and kept breaking the doweling I used last year. Metal stakes would be better, but finding any small enough to fit into the pipe is more difficult, and more expensive, so I’ll try the bamboo for now. I also picked up a roll of half inch PEX pipe. It is more flexible, and we can cut it to the lengths we need. Plus, it’ll be easier to find metal stakes to hold it in place.

I also finally picked up something I’ve been eyeballing for a while, now.

White Carolina strawberries! We have 4 transplants of red strawberries, which will be planted with the purple asparagus. There are 10 roots in this package, and I’m not really sure where we’ll plant them – several options come to mind – but we’ll figure it out. More perennial food plants is worth it. Altogether, this stop was just over $100.

After that, it was off to the international grocery store, though I did make one extra side trip, first. They share a parking lot with a Dollar Tree, and I wanted to see what gardening supplies then had. I ended up getting a selection of plant supports. I got 4 tomato cages, though they will probably be used for the eggplants or peppers. Then I got 4 supports that are a narrow metal spike with a spiral at the top to wind a stem through. I’m not sure what we’ll use those with, yet. Then I got 4 each of plastic coated metal stakes in two sizes. These came with adjustable ties for the plants. The heavier duty ones look like they would do very well for vertical growing summer squash. That worked out okay last year, except we had a hard time getting the lengths of poplar we’d cleared from part of the spruce grove to stay upright. The narrower ones might do well for that, too. After testing the 4 different types of supports, we’ll know which ones to get more of – if any at all. I also picked up a couple of fabric “raised beds” to test out. We already have a couple of grow bags that I was planning to grow the sweet potato slips in, once they arrive. We’ve got 5 sweet potato slips, 10 Jerusalem Artichokes and 2 highbush cranberry that will be shipped when it’s time for planting in our zone, which is pretty soon. With so many transplants, so many things to direst so, and so few beds to plant in, I thought it was worth trying out. I also picked up some S hooks and ground staples. The ground staples will work better than the tent pegs we are currently using for the protective netting we’re putting over the beds. Altogether, this part of the shop was just under $50.

Once those were all put away in the van, I headed into the grocery store and finally had “breakfast”. One of the bonuses for making these trips is being able to have dim sum!

This store is where we find some favourite frozen dumplings, international condiments and less common types of cheese. They also have a section of locally produced slabs of smoked bacon. Sometimes, they only have small pieces of unsliced bacon, but this time, they had some of the big ones in stock. It’s also where we get things in non-Costco sized quantities. 😉 Prices for some things have gone up quite a bit, and this stop ended up being just under $200. Plus the dim sum (which also went up in price) and drink I bought, it was about $215 in total.

Then it was Costco time.

*sigh*

Gas was 6 cents per litre cheaper, so I filled the tank first. That still came out to a little over $50. Then there was inside the store.

Ugh. There was a fair bit of sticker shock for some of the food items. I got more canned chicken for our stock, and that had gone up in price again. Six cans now cost about $20. Last month, they’d gone up to about $15. Basics like butter, eggs, rice, even toilet paper, have all gone up in price. The only other meat I got was the all-beef wieners and buns for a planned cookout. It’s a good thing we stocked up on meats previously, and we still have plenty. All the meats and fish have gone up in price substantially. Oddly, dry cat food hasn’t gone up in price as much as people food. I would have liked to get more than the 4 bags I got, but our van doesn’t like heaving loads, and I already had 80 pounds of stove pellets in there. The canned cat food has gone up in price more than the dry has. The popcorn we get (in the excellent, heavy duty, food-safe plastic containers that we are keeping for dry-storing other foods) hasn’t gone up, nor has mayo, but mixed nuts (to keep in the van) has gone up more, as has the Basmati rice. Even their flats of water (for the cooler in the van) has gone up.

The frustrating thing is that I was looking to pick up non-food things for our stash, like more of those heavy duty tarps, and some non-scented, “flushable” wet wipes for washing up should we lose our water for some reason, as well as some work gloves that are stronger than the gardening gloves we have right now. I had to put them all back. The grand total for this trip was just under $550, which isn’t unusual for how much we spend at Costco, except that we got way less actual food this trip.

More incentive to keep increasing what we grow in the garden, and to get a coop and brooder set up, so we can finally have chickens.

Altogether, I spent over a thousand dollars, but our fridge is only half full. Granted, the pantry and freezer are still good for now, but the stash is not growing as well as I’d like.

Ah, well.

Next week, we have the rest of our monthly stocking up to do. I’m planning on going to the Wholesale Warehouse again, now that I’ve got a better idea of what we can get there.

It was a very hot day, and I’m glad I remembered to grab the ice packs from the big freezer this trip. We do have insulated bags, but even with saving those purchases for last, the van doesn’t have air conditioning, and those bags can only protect so much.

While I was gone, the girls were taking care of things on the home front, including frequently checking on the transplants to make sure they weren’t being baked, misting them as needed. They were still better off outside than in the sun room; it hit 30C/86F in there.

One of the things a daughter had tried to do while I was gone, was vacuum the living room. She’d done about half when the new vacuum cleaner basically lost all suction. We still don’t know all the quirks of this machine, so we left it until I got back.

We then spend probably 2 hours in total, fighting with that thing. What we eventually found was that the main hose was clogged, but it took figuring out how to dismantle the vacuum cleaner part way. The hose itself runs through a part of the vacuum cleaner that holds it in place, but doesn’t come off, so all the fighting we did with the hose included pulling it back and forth through the back of the machine. It ended up taking one of the metal plant supports I got at Dollar Tree to finally punch a hole through the clog, but we still couldn’t get it out. My daughter remembered a computer tool kit we have, which has a screw grabbing tool that was long enough and narrow enough to reach the clog, and the grabber could pull it out, little bits at a time.

The clog turned out to be mostly fibres of sisal rope from the cats’ scratch post. That stuff is nasty on the vacuum cleaner!

Plus cat hair, of course. Everything has cat hair.

One of the downsides of doing this is, we were in the living room, which has no air circulation. I was dripping with sweat, and by the time we were done, we were covered in dust, cat hair and little bits of sisal fibres.

Well, at least she was able to finish vacuuming the carpet. It was my turn to do the bathroom, which was done by LED flashlight, because the breaker was being kept off until the burnt outlet could be repaired. Not much air circulation in there, either, even with the window to the sun room open.

We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the day. I hate housework even more than I hate shopping. That’s why I’m usually the one doing the outside stuff, while the girls take care of the inside stuff. 😀

Still, I’m glad I got the Costco shopping done, at least, and I won’t have to do that again for another month!

The Re-Farmer

Just in time!

First, an update on our furry little patient.

Tuxedo Mask is doing just fine. His eye is looking good, and he’s been more active. The girls treat his eye in the evenings, then top up the kibble for the outside cats. He hasn’t been trying to dash outside, but he has tried to get into the old kitchen! He has also, I’m happy to say, started to use the litter box a bit. Hopefully, he’ll start using it all the time, so we’ll have less of a mess to clean up when things start to thaw!

Chadicous, meanwhile, has taken on the job of trying to kill me, by flinging himself tragically in front of my feet while I am walking! 😀

The other cats, meanwhile, mill about so much, I can’t get a head count! The most I got was 17, including Tuxedo Mask.

After I was finished my rounds, I was in a bit of a quandary. We haven’t done the rest of our big shopping yet, and while I would have preferred to go tomorrow, temperatures are supposed to drop dramatically. I really don’t like driving this time of year. I am just too paranoid about our older, fragile van with way too many miles on it. It’s actually done really well by us, but we’ve had too many unexpected vehicle problems too many times over the years, and it’s a whole lot different to have those problems in the city, compared to having them on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere.

I procrastinated enough that I got the phone call from the ranch we’re getting our quarter beef from. The final hanging weight turned out to be 125 pounds, and she wanted to go over what cuts I wanted. The lower weight meant we over paid by about $50, too.

Apparently, I made things really easy for her. She’d emailed me a list of available cuts, and I just said “I’m good with a little of everything; feel free to surprise me.” LOL So that’s what we’ll be getting; a little of everything! We’ll have ground beef, stewing meat, several types of steak, several types of roasts, and even soup bones. I’ve never made bone broth before, and I’d like to try it. I also went with having the cuts wrapped in paper, rather than the Styrofoam and plastic; paper wrapped last longer in the freezer. It was a little bit extra per pound, which worked out to $10 for the whole order, but I had that credit, so that didn’t matter. At the end of the call, she asked me if I wanted her to etransfer the credit back today, and I was all, nope! I’d rather get more meat! They are low in inventory this time of year, and will be for a few more weeks, but when I asked about sausages, I had several types to choose from. The family really liked their breakfast sausages, so she said that, for the $50 credit, that would about 5 packages of sausages. I said, you mean for $40, right? She had forgotten about the extra charge for the butcher paper wrapping! Once she remembered, she said that’s okay. We’ll squeeze in 5 packages for you! 😀

So she will pass on the list of cuts to the butcher and, at this point, they are expecting to get the cuts around the 20th or 21st. She’ll contact me again to arrange how we will get the meat.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been talking to our neighbour about getting a half pig. They take orders in the spring, so they know how many extra animals they need to rear for fall butchering. A half pig would get us about 70-80 pounds of butchered meat.

In the future, we would like to buy in larger quantities, but for that, we’ll either need a second freezer or do a lot of meat canning!

Or both. I’m good with both. 😀

Once the call about the meat order was done, I headed out to do the shopping. It’s mostly the larger, heavier stuff we couldn’t set enough of, like the big dry cat food bags. It doesn’t take long to fill a shopping cart with those!

When I first headed out, things were looking fine, though the closer I got to the smaller, nearer city I chose to go to, the less visibility there was. By the time I was driving home, we had blowing snow. The roads, for the most part, were still good, but there were a couple of places where it was starting to accumulate. I was quite glad I’d left when I did!

I got a message from my brother while I was driving home, and it turned out to be some video. He had gone out to visit my mother and go to church with her (he does that often enough that he’s considered a member of the church, but with the way the restrictions still are, I probably wouldn’t be allowed in the door anymore). He convinced her to practice driving the motorized chair they got for her, and it was pretty cool to see video of her zipping around the lobby in her building.

Hopefully, the roads were still good for his drive home! We’re now seeing news stories about blizzard like conditions expected to the south of us, and my brother’s place is in the region.

I left just in time!

The temperatures are supposed to be quite bitter tomorrow, then whip right back up to just below freezing a couple of days later! My mother had asked me to pick up some honey from my cousin, which I was able to do yesterday (while picking up some creamed honey for ourselves). She said I could bring it over the next time I came to help her with shopping. My brother did take her to the grocery store today, so we decided to wait until Thursday, when it’s supposed to be much warmer, and I’ll come over. By then, she might be running short of a few things again. I brought up that she might want to stock up more than usual, since prices are expected to go up, and shortages are expected. When I explained about shipping and transportation problems, she dismissed the concerns. We have enough in our province and will be fine, she said. She just can’t understand that what we have in our stores are brought in almost completely from the port in Vancouver, which has been devastated by recent flooding, and the US, which has its own transportation and supply issues. This is all far away, so it can’t affect us, right?

*sigh*

Well, if necessary, between my siblings and I, we will be able to give her stuff if the local stores run out. We did find, when shortages happened last year, that the cities were harder hit than smaller communities, so hopefully, it won’t be an issue.

Meanwhile, I am more than happy to hunker down for a few days, and not go anywhere!

For now, I will enjoy warming up with a big mug of Rooiboos, and an arm full of cat making it difficult to type, and have a nice, quiet evening!

The Re-Farmer

This, that and the other thing

Today was one of those days that went all over the place! So this is probably going to be a very disjointed post! 😀

One of the first things I wanted to get done this morning was to call the RCMP, as advised by my lawyer, about the gunshots from our vandal’s property. For non-emergency calls like this, it first goes to a receptionist who then, if it seems warranted, starts a file (or adds notes to an existing file), then passes it on to a constable, who calls back later.

The challenge was to bring up my concerns about hearing the shots, while also making it clear that there was no crime that took place. The interesting thing is that, as I described a bit of about why it was a concern in this particular case, the receptionist asked, “is this about…” and gave the name of our vandal.

I had not mentioned his name, nor did I mention my own. Yet, she knew who I was talking about!

She might have looked up my phone number in their system while we were talking, but she later had to ask me what my name was, so… that’s probably not it. She did remember talking to me about our situation previously, which would have been at least 8 months ago.

After we talked for a while, she put me on hold to talk to someone else, then came back to me with a new file number, telling me that an officer would call me back later. Since we were going to the city later, I gave my cell phone, just in case.

I shouldn’t do that. Whenever there is a cell phone number available, that’s the first number that gets called!

Once I was done on the phone, I went to quickly do my morning rounds, only to have my pocket start ringing. The officer was calling me back already! I do have my phone set to use WiFi, and at first he could hear me just fine, but then my signal started breaking up. We managed to arrange for him to call the land line, and I got back into the house just as the phone started ringing! Thankfully, I made sure my husband had the phone before I headed outside, so he got it before it went to machine.

In the end, the call was pretty much what I expected. There is no cause for them to go over. They did check and our vandal’s firearms license is up to date, and there are no restrictions in our area in regards to firing a weapon on your own property. He did tell me that, if something like this happens again, to go ahead and call 911, even if I didn’t feel it was an emergency. They would pass me on to dispatch and it would go from there. He also assured me that, even though there clearly was no crime (and I made sure to say, normally I would have no issues hearing gunshots out here), it was a good idea to call, given our particular situation. If nothing else, there is now a file on record.

Now that I think about it, though, while I’ve certainly heard gunshots a few times since moving out here, I have never heard gunshots from our vandal’s property before, or even that direction.

So that’s taken care of, as much as possible right now.

After quickly finishing my morning rounds, my daughter and I then headed out to the city, with a quick stop at the post office, first. Much to my surprise, I found a letter from the Court of Queen’s Bench. I opened it before we continued on, and it turned out to be about the court date for the civil suit our vandal filed against me, in retaliation for applying for a restraining order against him. We had an in-person court date in July but, according to the letter, due to Schrodinger’s Virus, all in-person small claims matters scheduled between May 6 and September 6 were being rescheduled and being done through teleconference calls.

Court of Queen’s Bench is federal, not provincial. The dates seem rather telling.

Anyhow, our teleconference date is set for September 10 now. Since my restraining order is a provincial matter, it is not affected by this. However, from what I’m hearing right now, our provincial government has no intention of relaxing their choke hold on us. I fully expect our court date in July to get cancelled. I really hope I’m wrong.

My daughter and I then continued on to the city, with a brief stop at a gas station along the way to grab some food. Now that we have changed where we get our gas, we’ve started going to a place that not only has hot food available, but even a few tables to sit and eat at, if desired. They’ve got some of the best fried chicken and potato wedges around! 😀 When we got there, I just parked and dashed in to get food. I walked in fine, but as I walked out, something went wrong and a metatarsal in one of my feet decided it didn’t like where it was and tried to escape.

That hurt. :-/

My daughter thought it was a great idea when I suggested that maybe we should keep my father’s walker in the van. Just in case. We do keep a collection of canes in the van, though, so at least I had that to fall back on.

Once in the city, we headed straight to the Costco, drove through the parking lot, saw the line up was even worse than yesterday, and kept on going. We went to the Superstore, instead. They had a line, too, but it was shorter and moving. My daughter reminded me to grab a cane, then when we were in line, she was able to get a shopping cart for me to lean on as we snaked our way through.

The down side of the change is that they don’t have flat carts. We did get most of what was on our list, but only half the amount of cat kibble we should have gotten, and a few other heavier or bulkier things got dropped. We’ll have to make another trip, later in the month. For the kibble, at least, we can go to the smaller city for some things, while other items can be gotten locally.

The price of beef has gotten insane. 😦

Even though we only went to the one place, we were both exhausted by the time we were done. My daughter dislikes shopping as much as I do! We find these trips more tiring than a day of hauling wheelbarrows full of soil. Plus, with the drive, I was having breathing issues again, and my daughter did the driving on the way home. I’m so glad she comes along, “one person per household” be damned. 😦

Still, it feels good to be stocked up again, even if some things will need to be topped up later.

Once we were at home, I had time to check the trail came files. Nothing triggered the tulip cam at all. I had plans to finally plant the beans today, and maybe start on the squash tunnel, but it was insanely windy. For all the rains we finally got, everything is all dried up again. In checking the garden beds, when I pushed my fingers into the soil, it’s dry all the way through. So this evening, wind or no, I went out to water.

I’m really happy with how great the garlic is doing!! Next year, we need to plant more. 😀

I set up the new hose we bought yesterday, and was able to reach everything that needed watering at the far end of the garden. Which was handy, because I hadn’t had a chance to refill the rain barrel we have out there, for the watering can. We want to get more of those. We’d rather use watering cans and warmer water, as the well water gets to incredibly cold.

Which reminds me. I looked up about the mulberry tree. There isn’t a lot of information out there, but I did find one site that proved useful. It turns out that mulberry trees tend to just drop their leaves when hit with frost, and grow back new ones. If our little mulberry had more time after being transplanted, it would have been better, but it may still actually survive. We shall see!

Meanwhile…

I found these tracks on one of the spinach beds. They were not there, this morning! The seedlings at the very end were nibbled on, too. There are no defined tracks in the soil, but I am inclined to think it was a deer. Partly due to the spacing of the tracks, and partly because we almost hit a deer this morning, while on the way to the post office! In this morning’s trail cam files at the gate, there was a deer making its way through the fence and hanging out in the driveway, too. We seem to have a lot of deer activity this year.

Tomorrow, we have to figure out how to set up the new chicken wire to protect our garden beds! Time to go scavenging in the barn and sheds for materials again.

I think that project just took priority over building squash arches!

The Re-Farmer

Monthly shop half done, and is it dead?

Last night, our temperatures dipped to -5C/23F. I’m not sure what to make of that, though. When I checked my app during the night, it said it was snowing, so I opened the garage cam app to see. Snowflakes are lit up by the infrared flash.

There was no snow.

I checked the weather radar, and from the big blue circle directly over us, we should have been having quite a bit of snow. Instead, I was seeing a bright full moon! Still, we did get the colder temperatures, so when I did my rounds before we headed for the city, I made sure to check all the garden beds. Everything was looking just fine! There was no signs of snow or even frost, by the time I went out, and all the seedlings looked untouched. All the leaves on the trees and flowers were just fine.

I forgot one thing.

The mulberry bush.

We should have covered it!

I took this photo after we got back from the city.

Damn.

We have a frost warning for the south of the province tonight, not for our area, and the low is supposed to reach 2C/36F. I don’t know that there’s much point in doing anything now, but we could put jugs of hot water beside it and cover it with a blanket for the night. It had been doing so well, too! I am hoping the roots had established enough that it will sent out new leaves, but we may well have lost our mulberry tree.

Anyone have experience with growing mulberries reading this? Is it dead?

*sigh*

Anyhow.

My younger daughter and I headed to the city to do our monthly shop. We did our first stop at Canadian Tire to pick up more stove pellets for the litter, and checked out the garden section. We ended up getting some trellis netting that will be good for the rest of our peas, instead of using twine. I also got a 4′ x 50′ roll of chicken wire that I hope to use to protect a few things. If it works out, we’ll get more. It was less expensive than the other options. We also picked up another 50′ of hose. We now have enough hose to reach the furthest areas of the garden. There likely won’t be much pressure left, but a gentle watering is all we want! I also looked in the plumbing section and found some PEX pipe that might work for the hoop supports I was thinking of, but after getting the chicken wire, which can hold itself up fairly well, we skipped it for now.

Things took longer than expected at Canadian Tire, as the pellets we wanted turned out to still be in the warehouse, so someone had to be called to bring a couple of bags over for us. From there, we went to an international grocery store. I don’t usually buy a lot of meat there, but they had some exceptionally good sales on, so I picked up some for the freezer. The only down side of this part of the trip was being hassled by a customer. This store respects medical mask exemptions. I wear my Mingle Mask more to avoid being hassled by customers. Today, I got an old guy stopping me and start lecturing me on how what I was wearing really wasn’t doing anything… I cut him off and told him flat out, “I have a medical exemption, and you can leave me alone.” He was all, “well, we can be nice.” As if lecturing a complete stranger over something that wasn’t his business was nice? I think I shocked my daughter, though.

The rest of that part of the trip went very well, though. I do not like shopping, but I really enjoy going to this store. While chatting with the cashier and commenting about some of the items we can only find there, I made a point of telling the cashier that they are the best! Staff usually just hear complaints, not the good stuff, so I do try to give positive feedback when I can.

The next – and last – stop was Costco. Usually, from where we enter the parking lot, I like to drive around the back of the building, to where I know fewer people park. A company vehicle of some kind was blocking half the lane, though, so I ended up going the other way. Much to my shock, I actually found a parking spot near the doors!

We also saw a line going down the side of the building. It doesn’t usually go down that side of the building, but it’s been a while, so we got in line and started waiting. Then someone else came by asking if this was the line in, or the line to the pharmacy?

It turned out to be the line for the pharmacy!!

When we heard that, about 6 of us stepped out of the line to look for the other one! 😀

At the sight of the real line, my daughter and I turned around and left! They changed things up, so that people were no longer lined up along the side of the building, but a back and forth line guided by temporary fencing. More efficient, I’m sure, and also making it easier to tell just how many people were waiting in line. I had forgotten. Our provincial government’s increased restrictions before the long weekend had not been relaxed, so more people had to stand in line than even before, and the line was moving slowly.

We decided to try a nearby Superstore that I’d heard was safe for people with medical exemptions, but they had a long line, too. We made a last ditch effort and drove across to a Walmart. I wasn’t sure if this one was safe for me to go to or not, but it had a long line that wasn’t moving.

Though we did remember to bring ice packs, we did have frozen items and fresh meat in the van, so we decided to head home. We will try again tomorrow. We talked about going to the little Walmart in the smaller city, but decided to try the Costco again. If it’s the only place we need to go to, we won’t have to worry about food thawing out or going bad in the heat of the parked van. If the line was too long, we could try the Superstore again or something.

Before we left the Costco, we filled the gas tank and I reset the mileage counter. I do that once a month. This past month, we drove less than 400km with the van. That’s about a third of our usual mileage for the past year. Counting the driving I did with my mother’s car, it still would have been less than 700km of driving, total.

I am quite okay with that. If I could get away with going out even less, I’d be happy!

Speaking of driving, I did end up getting my daughter to drive most of the way home. During the trip in, I was having breathing issues again. It wasn’t as bad as in the past, but it did prevent me from joining my daughter in singing along with sea shanties. 😉 I did all right for the rest of the drive, but as we were shopping, even with the Mingle Mask, it didn’t go away. The current restrictions state one person per household should do the shopping, but stuff like this is why I am glad to have her with me.

My doctor did refer me to a respiratory specialist, but I haven’t gotten a call yet. Frankly, I don’t expect to. People can barely get normal medical care right now, never mind getting in to see a specialist! So far, whatever is causing my breathing issues seems to be limited to when I’m driving, when I’m wearing the Mingle Mask for longer periods, and sometimes when I’m lying in bed, trying to sleep. A part of me suspects it has more to do with whatever is causing the mystery pain in my side that no one’s been able to find the cause of for the past 10+ years, after I had a large cyst removed. The last time I saw a respiratory specialist, it was to try and find the cause of my chronic cough. All he did was try to find ways to blame it on me being fat. When all my tests kept coming back normal, he just sent me back to my regular doctor. I would not be at all surprised to get the same treatment in this province, too. I irritate a lot of doctors by not having all the fat-people problems they “diagnose” me with, on sight. Kind of like the dieticians who get all flummoxed when I tell them what my diet and exercise habits are like, and they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that no, I don’t just lay around all day, shoving junk food down my gullet, but actually eat real food and, even with my busted up knees and feet, still manage to be more physically active than average. ( Granted, that’s a pretty low bar to compare with.) With some, I can tell that they think I’m lying. I don’t fit their preconceived notions and biases.

But I digress, yet again. I’m still thinking of that guy who decided he had some right to lecture me about my Mingle Mask. The fact that I was wearing something over my face, even if it was something he didn’t approve of, with my masked daughter beside me, should have been a hint that I knew what I was doing. Masks do unfortunate things to people.

Ah, some news! I got a call as I was finishing that last paragraph; my lawyer called to talk about my restraining order situation. As I suspected, he sees no advantage to contacting our vandal’s lawyer to discuss some sort of private agreement and bypassing the court. There would be no consequences if he broke the agreement, to begin with. The transcripts I’ve been making of the messages our vandal has been leaving on my mother’s answering machine are certainly something I can submit to the court, as they speak to his state of mind, and his obsession with me and the property. I remembered to bring up about the gunshots I heard this past Sunday; I haven’t had the opportunity to call the police about it. Our vandal legally owns his guns and he was shooting on his own property, but the lawyer agreed that, given our circumstances, it would be good call the police so that there is something on the files. Normally, I wouldn’t be the least bit bothered by someone shooting on their own property, but these are not normal circumstances.

So I will have to make sure to call the police tomorrow, before we head to the city again. It will be up to them to decide if they want to talk to our vandal again.

So much of our time and energy is being wasted, having to deal with all this! All because someone I was once so close to, covets this property and resents that we are living here.

*sigh*

Time to distract myself with more useful and productive things!

The Re-Farmer