What a goof!

Ah, timing!

The three of them looked so adorable together. I made some noises to get them to look at me for a picture and caught a tongue blep!

She’s such a goofy kitty.

The Re-Farmer

Silly boy

Cheddar is the one cat that Butterscotch and Nosencrantz will tolerate. He knows he can go in and out of my office/bedroom pretty much any time he wants, if he sits by the door. I let him in while walking by. When I came into the room later, I found him like this.

He seemed very perplexed as he walked around my bed, with the neck pillow on his shoulders!

Best guess: he tried to burrow under my covers and burrowed into the neck pillow, instead. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties

We had a good crowd, this morning!

I got to pet Nosencrantz this morning, but had to move away before Toesencrantz would come to eat.

I am NOT happy with Potato Beetle. He attacked Rosencrantz this morning. Again. Drove her off. She did get a chance to come by and eat with her babies, later, but he is really nasty towards her!

We had nine kittens in the kibble house again (the two orange cats are the adults). I was looking at the photos with my daughter and talking about the five grey tabbies. There’s Bradicous, Chadicous, Sadicous and Tadicous. What would number five be called? Why not Gaticous? (a play on the movie title, Gattaca)

Gaticous, it is! 😀

Ghost Baby made an appearance, too, dashing by in the background. 🙂

You know what else made an appearance?

Toe pints. Itty, bitty kittie toe prints!

Dirty little toe prints!

At least the paint was dry before it got walked on. 😀

Odd that the camera in my phone turned the mint green paint into white!

The Re-Farmer

Critter(s) of the Day: lunch

This was certainly an odd sight!

Nostrildamus and Nicky the Nose.

Eating deer feed.

Since then, I’ve seen other cats munching away at the deer feed. It’s not a feed I usually get, which is a mix of oats and sunflower seeds. This one has a variety of crushed grains, corn and sunflower seeds. I think they’re eating one of the crushed grains?

Cat pile!

I dumped my laundry on the bed for folding, and it immediately got catted! 😀

Our mama cat and Leyendecker had formed a Nicco sandwich on my clean sheets. Turmeric had been asleep in my arms when I had to get up, so I was going to gently put her on the bed. Instead, she jumped right on top of the Nicco sandwich.

Then promptly squirmed into the pile. Which mama cat took advantage of and began grooming them enthusiastically. Turmeric and Leyendecker, meanwhile, started hunting for nip. !!! Their own mom won’t let them anymore, but “grandma” doesn’t seem to care. LOL

The Re-Farmer

Crab apple pruning

The down side of using what clear weather we’ve had to keep on top of the mowing is, lots of other things aren’t getting done.

Today, we tackled one of those jobs (though I could easily have spent a couple of hours mowing).

We worked on pruning the dead wood out of the crab apple trees. This first one was losing the most.

Honestly, I think this one is probably a lost cause. It has a fungal disease, and much of it is already dead, but if we can save it, that would be great.

This next one is already completely dead.

Last year, the stems that were growing out of the base were still alive, so we left it. Not a sign of any life at all, this year.

Unless you count the ant hill that appeared at the base, or the fungus growing on it, we discovered last fall.

This last one is not too bad.

The main trunk of this tree – which my brother tells me was grafted on by my late father – has died, but the suckers that grew out of the base produced very well last year. They were decently larger, for a crab apple, and while it took quite a while for them to ripen compared to the other trees, once they did, they were the tastiest of them all.

Mind you, last year was not a good year for apples.

I had help, while doing this, and not just from my daughters…

What a silly boy! 😀

Here is how the trees look now.

There is not a lot left on that first one. On the stump we cut short, you can see little dots – those are ants! The last one is looking pretty good.

The pile of branches next to the first tree is what we cut away from these three areas.

After that, we decided to cut away the dead wood from the other trees.

I’d actually done a major pruning of dead wood on all the trees, our first summer here, and kept it up a bit last year, so I wasn’t expecting to remove all that much. Which is why I didn’t thing to take a before picture.

I was really amazed by how much dead wood we got out of these, and how much more open the trees looked! They were hard enough to clear on their own, with how much apple branches twist around each other, but with the trees planted so close together, they were also entangled in neighbouring branches! The biggest tree, in the middle of the photo, had a really surprising number of dead branches. This also makes it more dangerous to take them down. They catch on everything on the way down, and time and again, we’d bring down a branch that turned out to be much bigger than we’d expected it to be. They’d get caught on the other branches, and were quite difficult to remove.

Here is the final pile of branches.

All of this needs to be burned, due to the fungal infection. No salvage to be had, here. What a shame. While we did get a few dying branches with leaves still on them, this was almost all dead stuff. We did not actively try to prune any of the live branches.

Since we also have to burn out infected stumps, we’re leaving these branches here. When the conditions are right, I’ll be bringing a metal ring we’ve got to place over each stump and start a small fire. We need to burn out the stumps, but they are also under live branches, so we have to take care to keep the fire small enough not to affect those. While these will need to be done on separate days, weather willing, this pile will be used partly to feed the small fires, but also broken down and we’re just going to burn it in the garden. We’ll be able to have a slightly bigger fire, but not by much. Thanks to the rain we’ve been having, there would be no complete burn ban right now. So no controlled burning of fields, but yes to fire pits and burn barrels.

It was good to get this done! With how much more open the trees are, this should help increase yield quite a bit – though I think all the lovely rain we’ve had so far will play a much bigger part!

As an aside, we got some unexpected entertainment while working. At one point, we heard a tractor go by on the road. It was our vandal. Some time later, he made his return trip. I could just see him through the lilac hedge and something seemed… odd. It took a while to see him clearly, but the entire time he drove past us, he had one arm out, giving us the finger! 😀

So juvenile!

Which reminds me. Before we started on the trees, my daughter and I planted new sunflower seeds in the spaces that either didn’t sprout, or the sprouts got … eaten? Of the seeds we originally planted, we’ve got about a 50% loss, in total, between the two varieties. I found another variety in the grocery store that is supposed to be a large head, eating/bird seed type. It’s so late in the season, it’s hard to know if they’ll reach full growth, but even if they don’t, I’m hoping they’ll fill the gaps to be part of the wind break/privacy screen we also planted them for.

While we were putting things away, I spotted a pleasant surprise.

We put this up to encourage local pollinators last year, and not a single tube got used, so I was very happy to see some of them have been filled. It’s only in this one area, but hopefully, that means we’ll see more of them, over time.

I’m really glad to have gotten this job done. Now we just have to get rid of those branches, before things get overgrown again! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Silly Kitties, and relentless winds

Things are warming up again. We’re actually above freezing right now.

Unfortunately, that means that any hibernating flies that have survived the cold are starting to come out and sluggishly make their way to windows.

Guess how I know that?

Go on! Guess!

Yeah. The cats have found them.

I first discovered this when I was awakened by cats trashing the top of my desk and work table, trying to get to the north window.

This is the one window that didn’t get replaced before we moved in. The new window has a nice ledge on it, due to the thickness of the log wall. This window still has sheets of plastic covering the inside to keep the weather out, resulting in almost no ledge at all.

The cats still go for it.

They don’t succeed.

I didn’t actually see a fly when the crashing and bashing first started. I just tossed the cats out, closed the door and tried to get back to sleep.

I didn’t succeed.

Finally, I got up and left the room for a bit, leaving the door open.

In the couple of minutes I was gone, Cheddar had managed to get to the window, catch the fly, and bring it to my bed. I came in to find him sitting there, looking confused by the little black dot walking around on my covers. It was funny, so I went to grab my phone to take a picture.

Which is when Dave jumped up and joined him.

He ate the fly.

They then spent the next several minutes, looking for it.

Silly kitties!

The temperature might be going up, but the winds have really picked up, too. It’s coming from the south, south-east, a direction from which we have very little shelter, it turns out. Lots of stuff being blown around.

In doing my rounds, I noticed this in one of the trees.

No, that’s not a soft filter on the image. I checked my phone after uploading the pictures and saw it. A feather from my down filled coat was stuck in my phone case, partly covering the lens! 😀

You can see the broken top of this tree, hanging town. This top broke many years ago, but usually it’s pretty hard to see among the branches it’s hung up on. It has noticeably made its way down further. There are still lots of strong branches under it, so it might take years before it finally falls to the ground. Or it could come down today. Who knows? Either way, I’ll be keeping an eye on it. If it falls, there’s a good chance it’ll land on the fence, so if there’s a point when we can pull it down and away from the fence ourselves, that would be a good thing.

While walking around, I had Beep Beep in my arms, but was also hearing the distinctive high pitched meowing of Two Face, over the wind. But where was she? I couldn’t see her anywhere.

Oh. There she is!

Silly kitty! 😀

One of the things I was able to clean up since coming here was what turned out to be a post pounder my late brother had built. After clearing away the garbage piled on, around and even under it, I wrapped it in a tarp to protect it from the elements.

The elements, however, are relentless.

This is the worst, but not the only, tear in the tarp.

With the wind coming from the direction it was, the whole thing gets blown out like a sail.

What I’d really like to do is drag this thing indoors (which wouldn’t be easy, with 2 flat tires and a bent up trailer hitch). The only place large enough is the barn, and it’s still full of so much junk, we’d have to clear some of that out, first.

Which we might be able to do, at least a bit, this summer, as we salvage items for things like building climbing trellises for the squash we’re looking to plant this summer, or things we can use for the cordwood outdoor bathroom we’re planning to build. We might at least be able to empty one of the old cattle stalls, which it would fit in. That would be after we clean up and put a platform on the trailer frame we found and put wheels on.

Once done my rounds, I checked the trail cam files, as is my usual routine. I’m happy to say that moving the new trail cam to a different tree worked out. Our vandal was out for a walk on the road (with his wife, so he was behaving), and both cameras picked them up quite clearly. Plus, there is no longer a fence post in the middle of the frame. The low hanging tree branches don’t seem to be triggering the motion sensor much, which had been a concern.

I’m thinking of getting another camera like the new one, to replace the old one. It’s has much better quality images, plus the new cameras have a wide angle lens, which would be very useful facing the driveway gate. The old camera would do very well attached to the house, facing the feeding station. Wide angle would be of no benefit, there, making the old camera perfect for there.

Well, I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to work!

And maybe try that recipe for Foccacia bread my daughter found. 🙂

The Re-Farmer