Stormy weather, and more bebbies!

When I headed out to the hardware store, I very carefully, very quietly, skirted around this little scene of motherly bliss!

Yeah, I was zooming in. The mother normally would have run off, but the little calico was asleep while attached to a nip, and she didn’t want to move.

Interesting thing to note: this is NOT Bradiccus.

I’ve seen Bradiccus nursing this little calico and two others.

I have no idea which cat is the actual mother, now. It seems they are sharing parenting duties.

Then, while heading to the garage, I was actually able to get quite close to these two!

The little black and white one kept staring at me, while the other climbed up next to it, but neither ran away. They are at that clumsy movement stage, and running away isn’t something they can do very well just yet. 😀

Oh, those blue, blue eyes!

Oh, that big a$$ mosquito on the one kitten!

After picking up the parts needed to fix the kitchen sink and heading home, I just had to pull over to get this picture.

Using the wide angle setting actually picked up more detail than I could see from inside the car. Mostly, I was seeing those very smooth layers of clouds in the distance.

Not long after I got home, the storm reached us. I’m glad I remembered to shut down my computer! We had power fluctuations long enough to reset some clocks. My husband was asleep at the time, which means that every time the power went out, so did his CPAP, which meant he suddenly couldn’t breathe anymore.

Thankfully, it didn’t happen too often, and the power never went out completely for more than a few seconds. Internet connectivity was interrupted more, though. I didn’t turn my computer back on until just before uploading pictures for this post, but I did try to watch some TV with Roku. Original Star Trek series. 😀 At one point, we were loosing signal for longer than we were getting it. We weren’t losing our internet completely, though. According to the StarLink app, we lost connection twice – once for 1 minute, 3 seconds, and one for 41 seconds, and neither of those were at times while I was trying to watch the show. I had my phone with me, and could still access the internet, so whatever the interruption was for the streaming service, it was not at our end.

Right now, however, it’s looking bright and sunny again. Time to head out and check if there was any storm damage.

And see if the kitties are out again… 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Got some things done

Today turned out to be a lovely day, indeed! Even now, as I write this at past 7pm, it’s still 8C/46F. Which is good, because I unexpectedly spent a couple of hours outside!

I’ll get to that in a bit…

First, a winky smile for you to enjoy!

Rolando Moon joined me as I was doing my morning rounds.

So did Creamsicle.

And Potato Beetle.

And Rosencrantz!

Even some kittens followed along, in the distance! It was quite a crowd! 😀

I think they were all enjoying the milder temperatures.

I headed out to town early, as I wanted to go through a car wash with the van before taking it in to the garage. I figured it would be nice for him to work under the van without months of gravel road dust. 😉

Today, however, is the first day a province wide mask mandate came into effect. Even though there hasn’t been a single person testing positive for the Wu Flu around, the city has seen a spike in PCR positives, and with the usual increases of people getting sick as we go into flu season – all in the city – our provincial government has put everyone under mandate. The usual exemptions still apply of course. One of the local hardware stores has a drive through car wash, so I went in to buy one. The cash desk is near the doors, so I didn’t even have to go far into the store, and I kept my distance. I was told by the cashier that they couldn’t serve me without a mask. I told them I understood about the mandate, and that I was medically exempt. She told me the whole province was under mandate. I said I knew that, but that there are several exemptions in the mandate, including medical, and I can’t wear a mask. I was told they couldn’t serve me without a mask. She did try to be polite about it, and a manager was called. I think she was ready to process the sale, too, after she asked how I intended to pay, and I said by debit. While we waited, she was apologetic, and I did mention that I understood retailers and employees were not being told about the exemptions.

The manager came and just said, we can’t serve you without a mask. I said again, I am medically exempt, pointing out that a refusal was a violation of the Human Rights Act, and I could file a complaint. He said I could do that, but they won’t serve me without a mask.

So I left.

I stayed in my vehicle for a while, trying to find an email address I could use to send a note about what happened (there wasn’t one; once I got home, I used the email address to a manager I’d written to in the past, having sent compliments for excellent customer service) when a staff member came to my vehicle. She told me they remembered that they had a portable debit machine. If I still wanted the car wash, they could bring it out to me. I told her I would be satisfied with that, and she asked me to drive close to the doors, after finding out which level of car wash I wanted. I drove over, and it was the manager who came out with the debit machine. After I tapped to pay for it, he went back in and another staff member came out with an invoice printed out with the code, and my receipt. The first person and the manager acted a bit like I was a leper, but the guy who brought me my receipt didn’t, and I really appreciated that.

With two vehicles in front of me, I had just enough time to get the car wash before my appointment at the garage!

All that for a $16 purchase. :-/

When I did get a chance to send an email to the store manager, I did say I appreciated the efforts, and that I understood the mandates put retailers in a really horrible position, while not giving them the information they need. I also mentioned that I am “fortunate”, in that my medical exemption is for something physical. If it were related to trauma, being confronted like this could have triggered someone pretty badly. I know people who are terrified to go out anywhere right now, not because they are afraid of the virus, but out of fear of something like this happening to them. The same anxiety issues that cause panic attacks if they wear a mask is causing panic attacks over the possibility of being abused for not wearing a mask. 😦

The garage, on the other hand, was completely different. There weren’t even any signs anywhere, and the owner doesn’t wear a mask, himself. Physical distancing is easy, and he is very thorough about hygiene. As we were chatting, I mentioned what had just happened, and told him again how much I appreciate him!

I noticed, as I parked my van, that he had the most adorable little picnic table outside, just big enough for two. Being such a lovely day, that’s where I went after I left my keys with him. (It’s not like there are any coffee shops or the like, where I could just sit and wait! They are all take out, only.) I saw a few others going in and out, some with masks and some without, while I waited. It is clearly – and deservedly – a very popular garage.

Since I don’t have rims on my winter tires, it took a while for him to do the switch. I’m going to have to get a spare set of rims. This job would be done a lot faster, if I did! Mind you, tires without rims are a lot lighter and easier to manhandle out of the back of the van, to where they get stored in our garage! 😀

When he was done and I went in to pay, we started chatting again. He remembered a little bit about where we lived and had some questions.

After I double check with the renter to make sure cows aren’t on the other quarter section, I will be giving him permission to go deer hunting over there. 🙂

With the days being so short, once I was home, I grabbed a quick supper, then headed outside to putter about the yard while there was still light out.

I just had to go to the outer yard to get pictures of the sunset! It was stunning!

I always get a giggle out of seeing the cat paths! We have them all over, but this one is probably the most well worn! 😀

One of the things I wanted to get done was to cover the roof of the kibble house with a tarp. The rest will be fine until we can paint it next spring or summer, but the roof has screw holes from the boards we took off of it, and I don’t want moisture to get into them. I don’t have proper cordage right now, so I ended up using the cotton yarn I used to make a trellis for the cucamelons. I wanted to make sure it was secured as flat as possible, so nothing will catch and blow in the wind. The yarn isn’t particularly strong, so I was using a lot of it.

Unfortunately, by the time I was finishing up, it ended up a big tangled mass that the cats were just loving! I had to stop and untangle it, so I could finish the job.

About and hour or two later, the girls came out to check on me. 😀

By then, it was fully dark, and I was working by porch light. A pair of skunks had come out and pulled one of the kibble containers to the ground, so I chased them off, but they came back to each the kibble that spilled into the grass. I was too entangled to chase them off again, so one of my daughters did it for me. 🙂

Then she noticed where a cat had chewed through the yarn. LOL

My other daughter took over untangling the yarn while I went back to tying down the tarp on the kibble house. The cats had left me just enough to do it!

Well, at least a little bit got done outside before I got side tracked! My daughters’ tulips got a good layer of leaves to mulch them, though we will probably add more before we’re done. 🙂 The other bulbs should be fine; only the tulips need the extra effort.

If we have time, I hope to clean the ashes out of the fire pit, in case we want to use it over the winter. There isn’t a lot, but with the blocks to hold up the cooking grill, there isn’t as much room for ashes as there used to be.

I’m looking forward to getting back outside tomorrow! 🙂 I definitely plan to enjoy the mild weather, while I can!

The Re-Farmer

Starry sky

I headed out last night to brush spider webs away from the garage security camera. The infrared flash was reflecting off a single strand of web, but it was enough to completely mess with what could be seen!

That and seeing a spider go by on it is a bit alarming. 😀

Which is why I happened to be out to notice the incredible number of stars that were visible.

Time to break out the Gorilla pod and see what I could capture with the camera on my phone!

Now, I will admit off the top that I have only the vaguest understanding of the manual settings on cameras. I’ve had them explained to me often enough. The problem is that when I try to adjust things, what I get is often the opposite of what I’m supposed to get.

Very frustrating.

So what I ended up doing with my phone’s camera is just adjusting settings and trying them out until I find something that works.

Then I don’t touch them again.

To get these pictures, I set up the Gorilla pod’s legs to hold the camera almost parallel to the ground, and a couple of inches above. I can then step back and use voice commands to take the actual photo.

The first pictures that worked were taken in the inner yard.

Aside from resizing the images to 50%, these photos are straight out of the camera.

The above is the first picture I took that worked.

Can you see the shooting star? Quite a few pictures had them. Most of which I missed seeing while the photo was being taken.

Though I made sure to set up in the shadows of trees, the yard light does actually affect the outcome, as you can really see in this next one.

The camera may have been in shadow, but the tops of these trees were partially lit up by the yard light, so they look SO much brighter!

I’m so happy with how the Milky Way shows!

For the next couple of photos, I’d moved into the outer yard to the mowed area in front of the storage building. This put the pump shack between me and the yard light.

No adjustments made to the settings, and the images are much, much darker, just from the yard light being blocked by a building.

So many more stars are visible with the long exposure, that it’s actually harder to make out constellations. In the above photo, you can just make out the handle of the Big Dipper, near the bottom.

In some of these photos, there were blades of grass visible in the frame. This one just has some seed heads waving around on one side.

Such an incredible view!

I am so happy I was able to get these photos.

I love technology.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties and night time views

Gotta check out the little ones!

That tiny little nose peeking out from under an orange kitten is just hilarious. Beep Beep’s kittens have clearly had no problem absorbing Butterscotch’s baby into their creche! 😀

With the more pleasant conditions out, I will be starting to do my evening rounds again. Last night was quite beautiful.

There was also a cacophony of noise! Frogs croaking, birds hooting, honking, cooing, chirping and squawking, and the occasional cat meowing. Some nights we have coyotes yipping, but not last night. I did, however, start hearing the strangest screeching noise, coming from the direction of the old garden. When it didn’t stop, I went to see what small animal was being attacked.

It turned out to be skunks.

They make some of the oddest noises, but it was the first time I’d heard them actually scream like this! There were two of them, and one of them was just standing there, screeching and screaming away until it saw me and took off. 😀

Well, it’s coming up on time to head to the city for our big shop. We have our usual list of different stores to go to for different things, and I’ve heard that some have started to limit how many people per household can come in to only one person. Which is such an arbitrary restriction. But then, so much of the shut down has been pretty arbitrary. I was told about the increased restrictions in some places by the woman who was in the waiting room at the hospital with me. She said she had tried to go shopping with her husband, but one of the stores wouldn’t let both of them in. She, however, has a medical condition that affects her balance and, while she walked with a cane, she could fall at any time with no warning. Having her husband with her was a matter of medical safety. They ended up going some place else. That was a couple of weeks ago, though, and just the one store, so we’ll see how it is with the ones we need to go to.

I’ll just be happy if I can get everything on our list, and not have to go from store to store to store to find toilet paper. That, at least, has started to consistently show up on the shelves locally.

We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

Exposed

We had a full moon last night and I went out to experiment with some long exposure shots using my phone’s camera.

I have a mini Gorilla Pod that I bought before the move, but haven’t had a chance to use other than testing it when I first bought it. I was able to use it to attach my phone to our driveway gate for a few shots, then at one of the wagon wheels on the fence beside the gate for a few more.

First, my favourite of the bunch.

This was taken from the wagon wheel beside the gate, using the manual setting on the camera. To be honest, I can barely see the numbers on the screen, so I was really winging it when adjusting the settings. For this one, it was taken using f/1.5, 4 second exposure, ISO-50.

This one was taken just a few minutes earlier, from the gate.

It’s a terrible picture, but it demonstrates just how much colour and brightness a long exposure can capture, even in the dead of night!

f/1.5, 30 second exposure, ISO-3200.

While I was taking shots at the gate, I flipped the camera and took a shot of the sky. So this next photo was taken in the exact same location as the bright photo above; just pointing the camera lens straight up.

I was really surprised by how blue the sky turned out! Other pictures I tried later, with longer exposures, from further down the driveway had a black sky. Possibly because this area was much brighter from the full moon?

f/1.5, 10 second exposure, ISO-1600

I’m rather liking this little Gorilla Pod I have! One of these days, I’ll even be able to use it for the purpose I bought it – once I reclaim my crafting table. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Starry Night

I went outside late last night, and ended up staying out longer to enjoy the incredible view!

Even with the yard light on (we can’t turn it off since the power company replaced the original), the stars were bright enough that I could see the Milky Way!

Then I went out again later, with my daughters, to ogle the sky.

My husband gave me his new phone not long ago, to replace mine with the cracked corner, and I had yet to try night shots with it. I put it on manual and basically guessed at the settings I was changing – I could barely see the numbers, never mind read them. After fiddling with the settings, I would lay the phone down on the ground, then use voice commands to take a picture.

Then I’d fuss with the settings a bit more, set it on the ground and try again. Eventually, I figured out how to do a long exposure shot – and recognize the sounds the phone made, so I wouldn’t accidentally pick it up again, before the exposure was complete. 😀

This is one of the results.

The only thing I’ve done to this image is resize it.

I’m really amazed at the shots I was able to get with just a cell phone!!!

The Re-Farmer