Thawing out; main garden area

This morning, I was finally able to skirt around the edges with shallower snow, to get to where the main garden area is finally thawing out.

You can really tell how the shadows pass, by how much or how little snow there is! The bed that’s half planted with garlic is now fully clear of snow, and each bed further west has more and more snow on it.

I checked the soil under the wood chips mulching the high raised bed, and the soil there seems completely thawed. I also lifted up the straw mulch over the garlic, and immediately found an earthworm! Still, it’ll be a while before we can plant anywhere here.

In the fall, I hope to have enough of the dead trees in the spruce grove cut down and cut to size that we can build more high raised beds to replace the low ones.

Behind where I’m standing to take this photo is where we had a squash hill for the Crespo squash, and where we planted the Mountain Morado corn. The squash hill is surrounded by snow, and half the old corn block is still under snow.

It’s quite different at the other end.

The squash tunnel is looking a bit wonky! We should get one more year of of the tunnel and trellises, and then we’ll move things closer to the house. In the background is where we will be planting the berry shrubs that will be shipped in time for transplanting in our growing zone. The space between the tunnel and the trellises will be planted again, as will the rows that had bush beans last year. We will also start planting more in the wide open space on the right, which extends to the main garden area, as well as part of the area where I am standing. A lot of squash and melons were be planted in these wide open spaces. We’ll be putting temporary deer fencing around as much of the old garden area as we can, this year, along with other measures to try and protect our garden beds from various smaller critters.

Next year, if things go as planned, where the pea trellises are, and the rows we’d previously planted beans in, will have fruit or nut trees planted. We might get one more year out of the squash tunnel before that gets taken out, too. If all goes well, by then we’ll have enough permanent high and low raised beds and be able to build permanent tunnels and trellises on them.

Hopefully, we will have a good growing year, and fewer hungry critters to fight off!

The Re-Farmer

The current state of things

This morning’s rounds were extended rounds – but about a mile and a half! 😀

The first order of business was to check the old basement. The south side of the basement is still slowly getting wetter. The sump pump is doing its job quite well. The north side hasn’t really changed much, and I’ve no doubt the big blower fan is doing a lot to keep that side more under control. The larger puddles of water got swept into the drain or the sump pump reservoir, and another of the chimney blocks was brought upstairs, before I headed outside.

I hadn’t slept much, so I was outside earlier than the cats are used to, so I didn’t see many of them! 😀

The first cat I saw was The Distinguished Guest (TDG), and he was limping. Favoring the same leg that Potato Beetle still does. Now that we know why Potato Beetle was limping, I have less concern. It’s probably a bite or claw injury. Considering how aggressive TDG has been to the other cats, I can’t say I feel much sympathy for him. I didn’t see Potato Beetle this morning, and whenever that happens, I worry that TDG has injured him and he’s suffering somewhere. 😦

I don’t know where Rosencrantz has set herself up again but, wherever it is, it’s very close by. She just seemed to magically appear at the kibble house of late! The only thing I can say for sure is that she’s not coming from the junk pile.

Speaking of junk piles, while Junk Pile (we have GOT to come up with a better for her!) was eating, I blindly took a couple of shots of her kittens through the window. This was the best one. I think I count 5 in there.

While switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I was happy to see the water on the driveway has actually receded. To get to the sign cam, I went outside the fence line and didn’t even try to go through the snow and water along the garden area. While I was at it, I “made” a bridge. 😉

This sheet of plywood I found in the garage was set up over the drainage ditch, turned the other direction, so I could drive over it with the riding mower. Which isn’t working and, according to the place I last took it to, not really worth paying someone to fix, anymore. Since we won’t be driving a riding mower through here anytime soon, I pulled up up the plywood and laid it the other way. That helped increase the flow of water, too. I don’t know who dug this drainage ditch, how long ago, or what they used to do it. All I know is that it’s very uneven and rough, even for just a push mower.

That done, I went for a walk to check out the state of the road heading south. For the first half mile, it was actually pretty good. There’s an area that has a series of small ponds on one side that has the potential to be an issue if we get the predicted rains – we’re still under a rainfall warning that extends to the north of us, with accompanying flood warnings – but this morning, it was still pretty good.

Then I got to where the municipal drainage ditch crosses the road.

The culvert is marked with that red plastic tube on the left, and is the only reason this section isn’t already washed out.

This drainage ditch crosses the quarter section we’re on, cutting through the rented out fields into our neighbour’s quarter, until it crosses the road here.

The drainage ditch then cuts across the corner of this quarter section to another road and another culvert.

I wasn’t going to go that far to check the state of the road, seeing how things are here!

The drainage ditch is completely full; the line of higher soil, created by dredging, marks one side of it. Right now, we’ve got one flooded field draining into another flooded field!

The first area that’s washed out is past the drainage ditch. You can somewhat see how much of the gravel has been washed off the road and into the ditch.

The second wash out has done a lot more damage to the road.

Half the road has been washed down right to the rock base!

I took this next wide angle shot while standing in the middle of the second wash out.

There is still SO much snow and ice.

Here, I’m standing in between the two washed out sections. The water is flowing with remarkable speed!

I took some video, too. Once I have time, I’ll test out my new movie making software and make a little video to upload.

So this road is not a viable alternate route for us. When I get a chance, I plan to walk the road to the north and see how things are, there. We may not be able to avoid the pothole riddled main road, though.

Enough snow has melted that I could check out a few other areas, once I got back home. The path to the outhouse and the back of the garage is still full of water, and the pit under the outhouse is flooded to the top.

The garlic beds are clear of snow, but the soil under the mulch is still frozen solid.

Our first high raised bed is also clear of snow – but the snow around it is still quite deep!

I noticed one of the cages protecting the raspberry bushes we got my daughter for her birthday last year was knocked aside, so I made my way through the snow to get to it. Some of it even held my weight, though when it did give out, I found myself knee deep in snow.

Once we have rows of high raised beds built here, I can see that it will greatly affect the snow in the area.

The arrow in the above photo is pointing to the raspberry bush, and shows where the cage is supposed to be. The cages got dug out of the scrap pile around the old garden shed and placed over the raspberry bushes, after we discovered the deer were nibbling on them.

I found a couple of large rocks under the trees to weigh the cage down. Hopefully, it will hold until we find a more permanent way to protect the raspberries.

Hopefully, the raspberries have survived. Shortly after we transplanted them last year, they got hit by that one unusually cold night in late May that killed off so much. Then there was the drought, the heat waves and the deer. Now we’ve got this winter that just doesn’t want to let go. These poor bushes have had a very rough start! At this point, there’s no way to see if they’ve survived the winter. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

The snow has receded enough that I was able to check out a few more areas before heading back inside. Another check on the basement, then the last chimney block was brought upstairs. Getting those up the old basement stairs has been a real pain. It’s one thing to carry a block down the hallway or across the yard. It’s quite another to safely get them up those stairs. I finally got it worked out, though. Basically, once a block was lifted to the highest step I could reach while standing at the bottom, I had to go up a couple of steps, to line myself up with the next step it would go on, carefully bend at the knees (my busted up knees!), grab the block and brace it against my belly (sometimes, my extra girth comes in quite handy!), straighten my knees to lift the block while using the hand rail to keep from falling backwards, and use my belly to place it on the next step.

Then the process is repeated, step by step, to the top. Thankfully, there is room for a block in front of the door, which has to be kept closed to keep the cats out. Then it’s, open the door, chase away cats, wrestle the block clear of the door with enough space to get past it, chase away the cats again, then close the door – hopefully remembering to turn the light off, first!

After that, it gets easy. The only difficult part is getting through the old kitchen door, without letting any cats through.

It’ll be a while before we can prep the area the blocks are going into, so we can take our time getting the blocks out the rest of the way. Getting them out of that basement was the main hurdle, and I’m very glad it’s finally done!

And that’s the state of things for now. As I write this, we’re at 5C/41F and we’re supposed to reach a high of 9C/48F, so things are melting. The rains are supposed to hit us this evening and continue through tomorrow, before changing to a mix of rain and snow, the day after, with highs of 4C/40F.

Then, three days later, they are now saying we’re supposed to get a high of 18C/64F. Long range forecast after that has highs ranging from 16C/61F to 19C/66F for the next week.

Hopefully, by then, the soil will have thawed enough to be able to absorb more of that moisture!

We shall see how things turn out.

The Re-Farmer

Melting

We’re at -1C/30F right now, with no wind chill. Which is weird, because while my app says -1, when I go to the Weather Network website, it says we’re actually at 2C/36F. Yesterday, they were forecasting a high of 0C/32F, which is what my phone app says we are. Whatever. It’s bright and sunny and warm, and there’s a whole lot of melting going on, so I suspect the website is the accurate one.

Nutmeg was quite enjoying the sun!

I headed out to tend the sun room so it wouldn’t overheat – the thermometer in there was just under 20C/68F. I’d already left the inner door to outside open, so air could get in through the partially open window in the outer door. I opened that window all the way. As I did, I could hear all sorts of cats meowing at me.

Their kibble trays were completely empty.

When I first came out, I was going to walk past to check something else, but Rosencrantz grabbed me by the ankle with both front paws and yanked, while meowing angrily!

I got the hint.

I left the door open behind me while getting the kibble. Rosencrantz went into the sun room and cautiously went for the kibble bowl that still had some food in it. Then Rolando Moon came in, and Rosencrantz attacked her!

Rolando Moon did not do well in that, and orange fur was flying. I broke them up, put food out, and they settled down, though Rosencrantz was still hissing at all the cats.

She is not a happy mama.

I checked the nest box I left out and moved it closer to where her kittens are. We’ll see what happens with that. For all the melt that’s happening, it’s not not enough to clear access to where she is.

I did do a bit of shoveling to clear the drift partially blocking driveway at the gate, as well as clearing the half of the gate that was blocked with snow. We can now close the gate again.

The deer will not be happy. 😉

Tomorrow, we are supposed to reach a high of 4C/39F. By Saturday, we’re supposed to reach 10C/50F, with some rain and snow, and yet… we are actually getting warnings of ANOTHER potential Colorado Low forming, that would hit us on the weekend.

Which would be insane.

By the time spring finally gets here and stays, it’ll almost be summer!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and more digging

The snow continued to fall all night, with more wind than snow, and we’re still supposed to get the odd flurries today. The winds have died down a bit. I haven’t been able to do my usual walk-around to see how many downed branches there are. It doesn’t look like we’ve lost any more trees in the spruce grove.

I saw about 8 outside cats while putting their kibble out, than at least a couple skulking around the yard, heading towards food while trying to avoid me. Thanks to the shoveling done yesterday, their paths and feeding areas were clear enough to put food out without having to redo them.

The water accumulated near the storage house has frozen over, which I’m actually happy to see. It covers the path the cats use to get under the storage house for shelter. Yesterday, I saw cats running over it, and the meltwater was all slush they were splashing through. Getting wet in these temperatures is not a good thing. Thankfully, the space under the storage house seems to stay completely dry, except maybe around some of the edges.

It’s almost noon and -8C/18F as I write this, which is colder than our overnight low. I did find a way to set up the ceramic heater bulb in the sun room, and it does seem to be enough to keep the temperatures in there above freezing. All the seedlings are looking fine.

Warm enough that Potato Beetle has no interest in leaving! 😀 Thankfully, he also had no interest in where I’ve got the heat bulb set up, on a small plant stand to keep it elevated off the floor, just in case water gets in. I had some concerns he might knock it over, but he’s completely ignoring it. With his favourite spot on the plant shelf now filled with a bin with kulli corn (it would be too cold for those to germinate, but hopefully, they’ll just remain dormant until it’s warm enough), he’s using the swing bench a lot more. 🙂

Gotta love that tongue blep!

I was just able to take a quick peek at his leg, and everything seems okay there. I am amused that after escaping the sun room and disappearing for a few days, he just waltzed back in again on his own, and now doesn’t want to leave! Silly boy. 🙂

I did a bit more shoveling this morning, clearing the sidewalks and patio, and a path to the burn barrel. I started a path to the garage, but stopped when I hit water. The path to the compost pile was mostly clear; just a couple of drifts needed to be broken through. The feeding station and the east side of the house was almost completely blown clear, so no digging was needed there. I ended up leaving extra feed out for the birds and the deer – who were already in the yard, waiting and watching while I cleared a path on the south side of the house, so I could bring the feed out.

We still have water seeping into our basement. I’d set the blower fan facing more towards the new part basement, and the seepage there was slow enough that most of that area was able to dry out. I adjusted the fan so it’s now aimed more towards the opposite corner, where the sump pump is. Any standing water gets swept into the floor drain. Meanwhile, our septic pump continues to be our acting sump pump, getting triggered often with all the water seeping through the drain from the weeping tile under the new part basement. With the old basement regularly getting wet, when we cleaned it out, we made sure elevate everything, or otherwise protect it from water. That has come in handy a few times, with the septic problems we’ve been having. It’s kind of nice to be dealing with clean water instead, for a change!

For those who are newer to this blog, getting the basements cleaned up was a HUGE job. If you’re interested, you can read about it at the following links. All links will open in new tabs.

Clean up: old basement. It begins!
Clean up: old basement. Day 2 progress
Clean up: old basement. Day 3 progress
Clean up: old basement. Mopping and scrubbing
Clean up: old basement progress, and finding things
Clean up: both basements, progress and things we find!
Clean up: old basement progress
Shelving it

Wow. I forgot how long it took to get that job done. And that’s just the old basement. We still had to do the new basement after that.

This place was such a disaster when we moved here. Mind you, it still is, but at least now it’s our disaster, and not 40 years+ of my parents’ disaster. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Passed by

It looks like the storm is finally passing by – at least in our area! Right now, we’re just dealing with high winds. Ontario and Quebec continue to be hit with snow and rain, though.

The winds are coming from the north, so I was able to shovel out the nearest cat paths wearing just my reading jacket (a sort of cross between a shrug and a cardigan), with the house sheltering me from the wind. The cats were very happy with a kibble top up. Funny how, with 4 trays in the kibble house, they still crowd together like that. I saw several cats inside the cat’s house, and The Distinguished Guest, who is looking like a wet rat right now, came out of the shelf shelter against the sun room window. I’m glad I put those pieces of rigid insulation back, and made the opening smaller. A much cozier spot for weather like this.

Potato Beetle, meanwhile, remains happily in the sun room, which is just under 10C/50F. I was able to take a peak at his leg, and it seems to be healing up quite nicely. I couldn’t tell if he was favouring it or not, though.

Nosencrantz seems to have an idea of how good she’s got it right now! 😀

As for the storm, we are still getting rainfall alerts, and there is a long list of regions with either overland flooding or high water levels. None near us. As crazy as the weather seems to be, I think we all tend to have short memories. I was looking at the 30 year average and records for today, and the record low of -7C/18F was set in 2021 – just a year ago – while the record high of 23C/73F was set in 2000. I think we like to remember the warm and pleasant times better than the cold and snow. The average high for today is 11C/52F, and the average low is 0C/32F. As I write this, we are at -3C/27F. Which made finding this article timely. (click on the headline to read the rest of the article)

Reality check: April is never really that ‘nice,’ Canada
Digital Writers
The Weather Network
Thursday, April 21st 2022, 5:41 am – Spring – the season the breaks the hearts of Canadians year after year, when in reality, it shouldn’t.

We do it every year, Canada. The calendar flips to spring and the country immediately awaits the chirping birds, budding blossoms, and early trips to the beach. When in fact, more often than not, Canada spends the entire spring actually waiting for it to be…spring.

“It’s the season that most often breaks our hearts,” says Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “We have that expectation of the spring and the beautiful picturesque weather, beautiful sunshine and temperatures into the 20s, but the reality is, it’s a season that can bring everything from snow to hail and cold, cold lake breezes.”

This month as a whole as been the perfect reminder of just that.

It certainly has!

Oh! The “rainfall alert” just went away. We’re still looking at isolated flurries and blowing snow for the next couple of days. Power outages are also a possibility.

One thing I’m really appreciating.

We still have internet.

Looking at the StarLink app, it showed we had dozens of outages, last night and through the morning, yet we’ve had no noticeable disruption in service. The longest outage was for about a minute. Most were mere seconds. With our previous satellite internet, we would have lost our internet repeatedly, and for long periods. What a difference!

The Re-Farmer

This is getting crazy!

Last night the forecasts had changed, saying that we wouldn’t get much accumulation of snow, as it would melt on contact.

Well, that didn’t last long.

I made sure to top up the trays in the kibble house, late last night, because I knew they’d be extra hungry. It was raining fairly heavily, and the kibble tray on the ground was full of water, as the one under the shrine would have been. I’m so glad we built that kibble house, so the cats could have a dry, sheltered place to eat!

The trays were completely empty by morning, of course. Not a lot of cats were about, and I noticed several coming out of the cat shelter.

By the time I was done putting warm water out for them, Potato Beetle had emerged from somewhere. He ate a little – then followed me into the sun room.

He’s still there.

😀

We will have more shoveling to do, I think.

This is how things look all over the place; that slushy layer of snow built up on all the standing water.

We’re still getting rainfall alerts, though.

Rain with isolated thunderstorms continues this morning. However, a strengthening northerly wind will bring falling temperatures today. The rain will turn to snow this morning and then taper off this afternoon or evening as the Colorado Low departs the area.

Wind gusts of 70 to 80 km/h will also weaken this evening. Only minor accumulations of up to 5 cm are expected as much of the snow will melt on contact with the ground.

This much precipitation over frozen or saturated ground may lead to localized flooding including basements, underpasses, and the like. For larger scale overland flooding risks, please consult the provincial flood forecast.

I don’t know that we got any thunderstorms in our area last night, but before I went to bed, I was reading about the different areas with flooding and power outages. Thousands of households were affected by outages, mostly in the south east corner of our province, but also a few not all that far away from us.

In our case, I am actually happier with the snow instead of the rain. The ceiling in the sun room has stopped dripping, and this is what our basement looked like this morning.

Which is not too bad at all. In fact, I’d say it was better than when I last checked it at about 1:30am. My daughters checked it some time after that, too. Because of how lumpy-bumpy and uneven the concrete floor is, we sweep the standing water into the drain. There are those two drains chipped into the concrete that are helping, and there is a steady stream of water flowing through them, but water still puddles.

The drain for the weeping tile goes through here and into the septic tank, and there is enough water draining that the septic pump is triggered quite often. Our septic system is basically our sump pump right now. On the one hand, that’s a lot of wear and tear on the pump that I’d rather not have. On the other, this is pumping the excess water well away from the house, and into a low area out by the barn, rather than by the house.

My daughter shocked the hot water tank with hydrogen peroxide last night, which means it got partially drained into the sump pump reservoir. I checked the level, and it’s looking just fine. On that side of the basement, the only place I’m seeing water seeping through the concrete is a tiny patch near the furnaces, where there is a new layer of concrete on top of old, and the edges are broken up.

Right now, we are hovering around the freezing mark, and the high of the day being forecast on my desktop app is now a bit colder. Tomorrow was supposed to have a high of -5C/23F. Now they’re saying tomorrow’s high will be -3C/27F – then in just 3 days, we’re supposed to reach a high of 11C/52F! It’s supposed to drop down again to 6C/41F the next day. The 14 day trend shows our highs slowly warming back up until reaching 11C/52F again by May 5, and then just staying there. Of course, the app on my tells me something different, so we’ll see which one is the most accurate.

Interestingly, while on Facebook yesterday, I got one of those reminders of things posted on that day, years ago. This time, it was a photo I posted 14 years ago. We were still living in an apartment building at the time, and my daughter was in the lounge, standing on a chair by the window, trying to see over the snow drifted against it.

Mind you, in that city, it was not unusual get snow any month of the year, or have green grass in the middle of winter. Mountains on one side, and open prairies on the other, makes for some pretty dramatic weather changes in very short time frames. We’re actually a bit more south now, compared to the city we lived in before moving here, but here we are surrounded by lakes. It makes for some pretty significant differences.

Well, it is what it is. For now, we’ll keep monitoring the basement, and think warm thoughts.

Excuse me while I have another mug of Rooiboos tea!

The Re-Farmer

addendum: just as I was finishing up this post, I paused to pop outside and give the cats a treat – and had to chase 2 deer away from the kibble house! Then I got a call from my brother, following up the email I sent last night, about how things are going here. Their sump pump is going off every 15 minutes or so, but they also have a sump pump they set up outside, to pump water to the other side of their dike. It broke down. He’s been trying to find one, but the entire city is sold out of sump pumps. They’ll be okay for now, and he does have a spare pump he can rig up to use instead. It does remind me that I had been looking at getting a spare sump pump to have, just in case. It’s not like we can pop over to a store if ours breaks down. I think a spare septic pump would be a good idea, too. That’s something I’d have to talk to my brother about, to make sure I get the right one for our system.

All in all, we’re doing all right. I know other areas are not so fortunate, so I am thankful.

Not so many this morning

All day yesterday, and throughout the night, my weather apps kept telling me it was snow.

This morning, they were telling me it was raining.

It was snowing when I went to do my morning rounds. 😀

Okay, “snowing” might be a bit of an overstatement. There were a few flakes floating around, and that was it.

There were very few cats out this morning! I spotted only six at first, though little by little, I did see more.

There were also four deer hanging out in the yard. Before I headed outside, I could see one of them digging in the unfinished low raised bed, trying to get at more frozen kitchen scraps in the trench.

I doubled the feed this morning. It’s still just a tiny amount, shared with the birds, but with winter refusing to leave, every little bit helps.

I find it interesting that we seem to have watched a new herd get created. At first, we had the doe and her youngling coming by. The piebald would come along, and if the other two were there, it would chase them away. Then the three of them just sort of made their piece and are now always together. More recently, a lone deer started coming by more often. The trio would chase it away if they crossed paths, but it kept coming back. Now, all four of them are staying together!

After I finished my rounds and was starting to head it, I spotted a cat near the shrine that looked like it might have been Potato Beetle. It was sitting on the snow with one leg up, but that’s something all the cats do when they’re sitting on the snow. I came over to see, and was happy to find that yes, Potato Beetle had come back! He was aiming for the kibble tray under the shrine but, much to my surprise, it was already empty! So grabbed a bit more kibble and topped it up. That was enough for Potato to come closer, and I was able to pick him up and check on his leg. It is looking very good.

Then I started walking towards the house and he started to freak out, so I put him down. He does NOT want to be put back into the sun room again! At least not right now. So I let him be and went inside.

But only for about a minute. Then I had to throw my boots back on and chase the deer away from the kibble tray under the shrine! The deer actually seem to prefer the cat kibble over the sunflower seeds and oats in the feed. I’m thinking the higher fat and protein content is something they are really craving right now.

I was being secretly watched. 😀

As I write this, our weather alerts have changed to a rainfall warning. It’s expected to be next to nothing in our area, but to the south of us, they’re saying possibly 30-40mm/1-1.5in before Sunday, when it’s supposed to turn to snow.

*sigh*

I think I’ll go through some of my seeds and dig out the ones with the longest days to maturity, and see if there are any good to start indoors now. Garden therapy!

The Re-Farmer

Ghost’s Baby!

We did get a little bit of snow last night. According to the past 24 hr data, we never dipped below 3C/37F. Which means the seedlings in the sun room handled the less severe temperature drop last night just fine, from the looks of it so far.

I had quite a surprise this morning, though.

While setting food and water out for the outside cats, I suddenly heard a very distinctive mewing sound. ALL the cats (only about 7 or 8 this morning) whipped their heads around to look! It took a moment, but I finally spotted Ghost Baby running across the snow by the storage house.

With a kitten in her mouth. A little, dark mewling baby.

Poor thing! It is way to cold and snowy to be having kittens this early.

Last year, I believe she had her kittens under the former workshop that is now stuffed with my parents’ belongings. How many she had – or how many survived – we have no way of knowing. I think one of the ‘iccuses is hers.

I figure she was trying to bring her kitten(s) closer to food, water and more secure shelter by the house. It’s unlikely she’d be bringing them to the cat’s house. The space inside it too big and open, and too many other cats use it. She was headed in the direction of the pump shack, where I know Rosencrantz has had kittens before – though last year she had her kittens in the junk pile near the chain link fence, which is why we now have a kibble tray under the shrine. I don’t think she was actually going for the pump shack, though, but just heading that way because my presence startled her.

We have a shelf by the sun room door with leftover pieces of rigid insulation covering the bottom two shelves, with openings, so that cats can use it as shelter. The “floors” have sheets of insulation, too. They’ve been pretty rough on the insulation across the front, and one side was almost completely broken up and off. It’s unlikely but, just in case, I found some more scraps of insulation and recovered one side, leaving smaller openings into the two bottom shelves. I think the spaces inside might still be too open for the comfort of a mama cat and kittens, and certainly there’s too much foot traffic, but if the adult cats use it, that leaves more hidey holes for mamas.

I did see Ghost Baby again, running into the kibble house to join the others for food. She came from a completely different direction. Another possible location for kittens is the junk pile at the edge of the spruce grove. I supposed I should stop calling it a junk pile, since we’ve cleared off most of the junk and it’s mostly a stack of salvaged boards. Butterscotch has had several litters tucked away under there since we’ve moved here. With Butterscotch now indoors, that leaves some prime real estate open. There’s also the space under the old garden shed, but there’s a lot of snow in the way, and there’s a groundhog den under it now.

With the cold and snow we’ve been having, the chances of any kittens born now surviving are not that good. I think Ghost Baby is a good mama, though, and has found a better place for her litter, however many there may be.

Meanwhile, as I was fussing with the shelf shelter, Potato Beetle got outside again! I let him be while I finished with the shelf, then snagged him back into the sun room. His appointment with the vet is this evening, so we don’t want to loose track of him! He is still favouring the leg, but moving around fairly well. I hope that means the injury is fairly minor. I think mostly we need to just keep him away from the other cats that are beating on him. He’s not the “top dog” anymore.

I think we’ll need to keep an eye outside today, and see what’s going on with Ghost Baby. If we can figure out where she’s put her kitten(s), we can move some food and water trays closer, so she doesn’t have to go all the way to the kibble house. Assuming we can get to where she is, through the snow. :-/

The weather forecasts have, of course, changed. The predicted temperatures are a bit lower, and we’re now supposed to be getting small amounts of both rain and snow over the next few days. Tonight, we were supposed to get sleet, but now it’s saying “ice pellets”. !!!

As long as the roads stay clear and relatively dry. Not only do we have the vet appointment this evening, but I’ve got to go to court tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the judge will see our vandal has no case against me and throw it out, but the way things went with our restraining order application that took a year to finally get settled, it may well just be a 10 minute session to book a new trial date. My brother is taking time off work to be there as my witness, though, so this is a major inconvenience for him. Our vandal is retired, and has all the time in the world for crap like this, so he doesn’t care. :-/

What a pain.

Well, it will be what it will be. Not much I can do about that now.

I’m going to go bake some bread now, and angst about newborn kittens in the cold.

The Re-Farmer

Seriously?

Check out this screencap from my phone’s weather app.

Yeah. They’re predicting another 5-10cm/2-4in of snow in a couple of days. If I tap to check the “snowfall probability”, though, is says 1-2 cm, which is less than an inch.

My desktop weather app says Wednesday will be 3C/37F, with 2-4cm of snow, which is less than 2 inches.

Meanwhile, I’ve read that there is a possibility of another Colorado Low developing later in the month.

Seriously????

I’m trying to stay positive here. Appreciating the moisture and all, but could it please start coming as rain now, instead of sow? I mean, we’re still supposed to have highs above freezing, so you’d think we’d be getting rain, but apparently not. :-/

Anyhow.

While I was heating up water for the outside cats, I spotted some activity out the kitchen window.

Cheeky buggers! 😀

Actually, they’re using the paths we’ve dug out, since all the other ones have been left snowed in.

I think I spotted 11 cats outside this morning. I’m not sure how many are at the kibble tray on the ground.

Things got weird with Ghost Baby, though. As I was pouring out the kibble, she actually ran right up to me, then backed off an hissed… then ran up, then hissed, then ran up, then hissed… Very odd. Especially having her run up close enough to rub against my leg! As I went around to put kibble on the tray on the ground, she came up and went for the tray, then hissed at me, then went for the tray again.

While I was putting seeds out in the feeding station, I could hear the yowling of cats. I came around to see what was going on, and pretty much all the cats had run off – except Ghost Baby. As I came closer, she went around the side of the kibble house, so I checked on her. I held my hand out to her and she actually touched my finger with her nose – which had a spot of blood on it! – and hissed again.

We were almost out of deer feed and low on kibble, so I decided to make a quick run into town. After popping inside for a bit, I came back out to discover 2 skunks in the kibble house – and Ghost Baby in the space between the kibble house and the cat house, screaming at them! The skunks saw me and tried to run away, but Ghost Baby was in the way, and even batted at them. The poor skunks where in a pickle!

No surprise when Ghost Baby got sprayed. The skunks got by here, but I could see she had a big, yellow splash right across her chest.

It doesn’t seem to be bothering her. She wanted that kibble!

The outside cats typically have their kittens around the end of April or beginning of May. It is very possible that Ghost Baby is due to have hers within a couple of weeks, which may explain her behaviour.

Rosencrantz, Broccoli and at least one other cat – possibly Junk Pile – are looking very, very round, too.

There are going to be way too many kittens this year – though there is always the question of how many will survive long enough for us to ever see them. Beep Beep and Butterscotch always stuck close to home, even when we didn’t manage to catch them to have their kittens in either the sun room or our basement. The other cats won’t have their kittens in the cat shelter – it’s far to busy in there and used by too many cats. We’ll just have to see how many there are, probably around June.

I think Butterscotch will be very happy to NOT be pregnant this year!

Meanwhile, Potato Beetle is still being kept in the sun room, though he did make his escape while my daughter tried to get the loaded wagon through the sun room door while I carried the feed sack. We left him be while things got brought inside, then the girls put things away while I refilled the bins of kibble and feed. By the time I got outside again, though, I couldn’t see Potato Beetle. It took me a while, but I finally spotted him, rolling luxuriously in the snow, then going around marking his territory on some trees. 😀 He finally came over for cuddles, and I was able to get him back in the sun room.

He still wants out.

Though he is still favouring his front left leg, he does seem to be better, and able to put more weight on it. Hopefully, it’s just a minor injury. We’ll find out when we get him to the vet on Wednesday evening (unless we get a call due to a cancellation).

Potato Beetle may be wanting out, but he’s also REALLY loving it when we visit him in the sun room. This cat loves his cuddles!

Now, if he could just learn how to use that litter box. This morning, I discovered he somehow managed to use a tall bucket to leave a “present” for me, without knocking it over. It’s going to be pretty unpleasant when it’s time to clean out the sun room, and we pull the swing bench out, because I’m pretty sure it’s behind there that he’s been making a mess. Until it’s warm and dry enough outside that we can empty the sun room and clean it out, however, we’re just going to have to put up with the smells.

*sigh*

At least it’s warm enough that we can open up the inner door to outside. The outer door lets in more sunlight, so it still stays pretty warm, but the window is open a few inches, so there’s at least a bit of air circulation.

Whether or not we’re getting another Colorado Low or now, we’re going to have to start using that sun room as a greenhouse for more seedlings, and today was the day for that.

Which will get a post of its own. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

More digging, an injured cat and Easter preparations

There weren’t a lot of cats out and about when I did my morning rounds, which was a bit of a surprise.

I only spotted seven at first! Then Potato Beetle showed up, wanting into the sun room, so I let him.

With a bit of concern. He seemed to be limping a bit.

With the new snow on the ground, I can’t get to some of the areas that I normally check as part of my rounds, so the necessities were finished quickly. I decided to take the time to dig out the burn barrel, since we’ll need to fire it up before things start melting away.

This area had been almost completely clear of snow before the storm. This is all new snow.

After digging out enough space to move around the barrel without getting too close while it’s lit, I also dug a path to the spare fire ring, and took the snow off the dry wood and kindling we have on the grate we use as a spark shield in the summer.

After a quick check of the roof, I dug out (almost literally) the roof snow shovel and used that to take as much snow off the sun room roof as I could. Hopefully, there won’t be too many leaks into the sun room when the rest of it melts.

While in the sun room, Potato Beetle came out of his warm spot on the bottom shelf, which is when I could see that yes, he was limping. A lot. He was avoiding putting weight on his front left leg at much as he could.

Damn.

I’ve called the vet and we now have an appointment for him for Wednesday at 7pm. They are now open 7 days a week, for extended hours. They are even open over Easter weekend, but are so booked, that was the earliest she could fit us in. She did put us on the cancellation list, just in case.

*sigh*

Hopefully, the funds set aside for my new glasses (which apparently won’t happen, since I’m not allowed to get an eye exam) will be enough cover it.

So that is set for Wednesday evening, then on Thursday, I have to go to court to deal with our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me that he filed, after I applied for the restraining order against him.

Hopefully, the judge will throw it out for the ridiculousness it is.

*sigh*

Well, until then, we will continue our Easter traditions. Today, we are assembling our basket. We’ve decided not to take it to the church for blessing, and will just bless it ourselves again. When my mother told me her church was doing it and what time, I talked about possibly bringing our basket in. She then launched into a long diatribe about how she hoped I wouldn’t bring that big, big basket I had the last time we were able to get our basket blessed. Apparently, in her mind, only small baskets are acceptable. No one has big baskets, so bringing a big basket is somehow uncivilized. Clearly, she forgets some of the big baskets people would bring to the church we used to go to when I was a kid. Ours could be considered small in comparison. Not to mention the ones with all the decorations hanging off the handles, and the bottles of win, etc. What she’s completely forgetting is why we do basket blessings in the first place. Instead, it’s become yet another thing to show off to other people, and judge other people for if they do it “wrong”. I don’t want her attitude to ruin one of our most symbolic and deeply meaningful traditions. When I called her last night and updated her on things (my nephew and his family were on the road at the time; they have since arrived safely!), she brought up getting her own basket ready, then asked if I’d be bringing ours. Phrased in such a way that she clearly thought I would not, and that the restrictions (there are none) were the reason.

Since I am driving my mother to my brother’s on Easter, the girls are staying home to celebrate it with my husband, with our traditional brunch, using foods from the basket.

I hope they remember to take pictures for me! 😀

The Re-Farmer