Water levels

I must say, we are really fortunate. The flooding issues have been around us, and not a threat to our home or safety. At most, it’s been an inconvenience. Not so, for many others!

The highway nearest us has flooded over in the south, part way to the town my mother lives in. Last I heard, it was still getting worse. No one I know can remember that highway flooding over. I think I maybe, kindof, sortof, remember the highway flooding over when I was a child, but I was so young, I don’t really trust the memory. If it did happen, we’re looking at 45+ years ago.

Not only is that section of highway flooded over, but the provincial road we usually use to cross from my mother’s town to the next highway has also flooded over. Which means, if I need to get to my mother, I would have to drive east to the next highway, drive south until I reach a crossroad to the south of where my mother lives, then travel north again on the highway we usually use. It would likely be an hour’s drive, instead of 20 minutes.

The highway near us runs to the north, ending at the town we pick up our beef packs at. The junction to that town has been closed down, as the highway is collapsing. This morning, I learned barricades have been put up at the junction of our own little hamlet. People traveling north will have to turn east to detour.

With so many road closures, I was going to phone my mother to tell her about them, but she called me first. It turns out our vandal had called her and went an a while rant about how she isn’t allowing him on the property, and all the other crazy stuff. As usual, she couldn’t get a work in edgewise. Then she found a picture on her walker outside her door, that he’d left this morning. A picture of him and my late brother doing work on the house we’re living in. I am sure of the message he intended to make by doing that, but it has completely escaped my mother. I wonder about what triggered him. We do have the conference call with his court case coming up soon, to decide when the first trial date will finally happen. I also saw him and his wife walking past on the road while I was working in the old kitchen garden yesterday evening, and seeing me might have triggered him, too.

Showing up at my mother’s door like that is creepy, but at least he didn’t try to come in.

Aside from that, things are okay with my mother. She’s in town and around people, with a grocery store just a couple of blocks away, and the town itself is not being flooded out.

This morning, I checked the washout to the south of us. I won’t bother posting photos I took of that, as not a lot has changed. Enough snow has cleared and water gone down that I could check out areas beyond the outer yard. Where I can, I will include past photos, for comparison.

That photo taken in August was the most water I saw there all of last year.

Sadly, we lot another large tree by this pond.

The trunk had been damaged by ants. Most of the spruces that I’ve seen fallen have ant damaged trunks. Weird, the way it split around that core.

Of course, I had to check out the gravel pit that the renter had dug out again last year.

As with the pond, the photo from last year is the most water we saw in there, when we finally got rain at the end of summer. Last year, when I took photos, I tried to take some from the same spot. I couldn’t do that today, because that spot was under water.

Here is another view of the old gravel pit. The only area that was dug out is where you can see the pile of gravel on the left. The rest was left untouched. Not only is the low area in the foreground full of water, but the marsh beyond the gravel pit is full, too.

There is a lot of clay under there, so I hope that means this will stay full throughout the year. This is a water source for the renter’s cattle, as well as for wildlife.

I also checked on where the “creek” that forms in the spring drains into the field, as well as where the water enters our quarter by the washed out road.

That is a LOT of gravel washed out from the road. It’s remarkably deep.

This water flows through the trees, and the terrain is very rough at the best of times. I didn’t even try to follow along it this time, though I’ve done so before.

Here is where it emerges from the trees.

I had to go back 2 years to find photos of the area, and still couldn’t find any from the same angle. In the old photo, there is some water from the spring melt, which didn’t happen in April of this year! That little “island” by the barrels could still be crossed to, but not this year!

Aside from some spring melt, this area is dry except for a few lower spot – and last year, everything was completely dry because of the drought.

At this fence line, the water flows into the field and eventually joins the municipal drainage ditch, which then crosses the neighbour’s field before crossing the road, near where it is currently flooded out.

It should be interesting to see how things go for the growing season. As I write this, we are at 14C/57F, which is already a bit higher than forecast. The next week is supposed to get downright “hot” at 20-21C/68-70F. Though more rain is expected about 5 days from now, the ground should be thawed out and dried up enough to handle it. Right now, though, we have both high water level and overland flooding alerts, for our region. Still, with the warmth we’re supposed to be getting over the next while, farmers should still be able to seed their crops, and gardeners to start direct seeding cold weather crops, and be able to do their transplanting soon.

Speaking of which, I was able to reach parts of the main garden area, too. That will be in my next post.

The Re-Farmer

Road conditions – extended!

This morning, while switching out the trail cam memory cards, I found a new sign on the main road past our place.

That is not where I expected to see a road closed sign! This road has a lot of traffic, as it’s the main road to get to quite a few farms. I wasn’t surprised that there might be a problem, though. The municipal drainage ditch that washed out the road I’ve been checking crossed the main road about a half mile up from here. I just would have expected the road to be closed further to the east of this intersection.

I saw a large excavator going by our place yesterday, so I decided to walk to the washout and see what, if anything, was done there.

It turns out, nothing. I could see the tread marks continue past the washed out area.

This is the section that’s too deep for me to try and cross with my short rubber boots. The third area I saw yesterday that was starting to wash out has gotten bigger, but overall, things have not gotten much worse. During my walk up, it seemed that the water had receded in a few places in the fields, too.

I did get some video; this is raw from the camera, with no editing.

The winds from the north were quite high – enough to make me glad I wore my winter parka this morning, as I was walking back against the wind!

With the amount of snow that has melted away, and the water around the inner and outer yards somewhat receded, I went over to check on the septic field (which, as my brother pointed out when I called it that, isn’t actually a septic field, because we have an ejector. It’s the area where the grey water and, this spring, at least, runoff collects) and the sheds that I could get at. There was enough snow gone that I decided to check our back gate.

I’m glad I did!

It’s completely torn loose! The other end is held up by the chain and lock. You can see the U nails/staples in the gate post. The wire mesh of the gate was torn right off. Considering there is snow on top of the mesh, this happened quite some time ago, but we haven’t been able to get over this way to see it.

My guess: deer on the road got startled and plowed their way through the gate.

This secondary driveway accesses the main road. Since the gate was down anyway, I decided to walk up the road and see why it was closed.

I found out what the excavator was doing, yesterday!

It patched a section of road that had been washed out completely, at a culvert that drains into our quarter section. As you can see, the patch is already starting to wash out!

I didn’t try to walk any further (I’d already walked about 2 1/2 miles by then), but looking further down the road, I thought I could see another area that was washed out, maybe a quarter mile up the road. I’m thinking at, or near, the municipal drainage ditch.

Just look how far that new gravel has been washed down!

This culvert is not part of the municipal drainage ditch system. I believe it’s been here since before my parents acquired the farm. I remember playing in the culvert when I was a kid and, from what I can see of it, I think it’s still the same culvert, and hasn’t been upgraded or anything like that. No need to fix what ain’t broke!

Not far beyond the fence line is an area that I remember being just a really rough spot across the low area. There is water flowing here only during spring melt, or in excessively wet years. When the cows walked through it, their hooves would sink into the mud, squishing the soil into hills and holes. At some point while I was living in other provinces, a pair of narrow culverts were buried here, to create a sort of low driving lane. The washed out gravel is actually starting to go over this “lane”, and you can see just beyond it, where water is flowing through the small culverts. This seasonal “creek” continues on to the field the renter has been growing corn in the past two years, and eventually connects with the municipal drainage ditch. Which means that this water is contributing to the flooding that has washed out the other road.

On the way back, I freed up the gate from the remaining snow on it, and make it look like it’s fixed. 😀

It’s actually being held up by a single barb on the lower strand of barbed wire. We’ll have to come back with tools to fix it properly. For now, it’ll likely come down again with a stiff breeze! 😀 What I should probably do is find a post to wrap the wire mesh around, then affix it to the gate post in a way that’s more flexible. Maybe even add hinges. We’ll see.

On the list of things we want to do is extend the main driveway all the way to this secondary driveway with gravel. It came in handy the first time we found our gate’s lock glued shut, and we had to go out this way to get to town – and buy bolt cutters! Once we get past the collapsing log building in the inner yard, it gets very bumpy. At some point, someone had driven through when it was muddy, leaving deep ruts all over an area of it. We’ve tried to keep at least a lane mowed, so we can see where we can drive through without hitting rocks, or who knows what else that’s hidden in the grass and thatch.

When I have the chance, I want to make my way through the fence around the outer yard and check the gravel pit that the renter dug out last year. It should be very full of water, right now!

After checking out the road conditions, I also checked out newly accessible parts of the inner yard and found some things that got me very excited – but that will be for my next post! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Water levels, close to home

When I headed out this morning, there were a lot of areas to check during my morning rounds!

Things are actually pretty good.

The storage house pretty much has a moat right now. It doesn’t go quite all the way around, but pretty close!

That’s a lot of water for the cats to get through. It looks like it goes all the way to the opening they use here, to get under the storage house. The only other way for them to get in and out is through a broken window at the back, which also has an old bench under it, so there is at least that access to one of their primary shelters.

This is the area by the feeding station, where a lane had been made for the septic truck. There is a lot spot near where the pile of poplar wood is that always gets water when the snow melts, but this is the first time I’ve seen the water extend to far towards the gate in the chain link fence!

Before and after pictures of the area in front of the house that we would normally drive up to, when loading and unloading the van. Though the pictures were taken a week apart, there had been another snowfall, so there was actually more snow there, just a couple of days ago.

The water in front of the outhouse and behind the garage is the deepest, and most wide spread, I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if any critters are using those two old dog houses near the outhouse, but I think that might be where Potato Beetle came from, to get so wet and have straw stuck to him. I’m not sure where the burs would have come from, though.

As deep as it is here, the usual lake that forms at the driveway to the garage isn’t particularly large. It looks like the water is actually being absorbed, since it doesn’t look like it’s draining anywhere.

The driveway itself isn’t draining very well. We can still drive through, but I wouldn’t want to unless we absolutely had to, as we’d be just causing more damage.

I took the route outside the fence to get to the sign cam, pausing to check the state of things as best I could. You can see where the rows of corn had been planted, and further back, where there had been a pile of pulled up plants from the garden that were meant to be buried in new plots. The deer had dug them up and eaten most of them, which is why that spot is melted away a bit faster.

Much of the garden area has about a foot of snow still on it, with a few bare patches exposed here and there.

There was a new sign near the sign cam…

The road hasn’t been closed, but drivers are forewarned!

I decided to check the status of the road after this. I’ll share those photos in my next post. 🙂

When my daughters went out later on, they checked things in directions I did not go. They were able to get to the shed that has all my parents’ stuff stored in it, and check out the field our septic ejector drains into. There’s water there, of course, but all looks well.

At this rate, we might even be able to get to the barn again, soon! 😀

While talking about the state of things with the girls, one of my daughters commented on what a good thing it was, that we were able to do the big shopping trip to the city when we did! We may not have gotten everything, but we’re easily good for a couple of weeks, and even then, the only thing we’d be running out of is the dry cat kibble.

All in all, we’re doing pretty good. Even the water seeping into the basement isn’t too bad.

Hopefully, all is well with our neighbours, too.

The Re-Farmer

Washout video

After many interruptions and a bit of experimenting, I used my new software to make this video from this morning.

I didn’t add any sound to it, because I didn’t want to drown out the sounds from the video portions. In the first clip, the strange, almost squeaky noises are being made by the water trying to form a whirlpool at the culvert, under a layer of ice. At the end of the video, you can hear the deer crashing through the surface ice as they bound through the field! Considering how far away they were, that’s pretty impressive.

You can also see the tire tracks where someone had driven up to the wash out, then backed up and turned around.

This isn’t actually too bad of a washout. For now. While making this, one of the interruptions was a robo-call from our municipality. Part of it was just repeating the rainfall warning that all the weather apps have right now. It then went on to say that our council is keeping on top of things, and is aware of flooding issues, like what I was looking at this morning. They also specified that they have an emergency plan in place, and that pumps, generators and sandbags are available for those who need them (we shouldn’t need anything like that). It went on to suggest people make sure their sump pumps are working (ours is), and that items in basements are raised up off the floor (which is how we keep things in the old basement all the time), and to have things put together and ready, in case an evacuation becomes necessary. In other words, have a bug out bag!

Where we are, we won’t have much to be concerned about. If there is any flooding, there are other areas on our quarter section that water will drain to, rather than towards the house, which in turn drains into the municipal drainage ditch in the video above.

As I write this, it’s just reaching 6pm, and we are at 11C/52F, which is several degrees Celsius higher than the most recent forecast. Which means things have been not only melting outside, but in many places, the water has actually receded, with the ground warming up enough to absorb some of it. Granted, if we do get the rains that are predicted to start tonight and continue through tomorrow and the day after, with cooler temperatures, all that is going to fill up again, but there is noticeably less snow to melt away and add to the total amount of water.

Meanwhile, we continue to make trips into the old basement, check the sump pump and sweep the puddles into the flor drain or sump pump reservoir. Both the sump pump and the septic pump are going off fairly frequently, and doing their jobs. The main areas where we would expect water to be a problem in the inner and outer yard is around the garage – but not the garage itself – parts of the driveway, and other areas that are far enough away from the house that it won’t affect us. At least not directly.

We should be okay where we are. There are others in the area we are more concerned about!

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

Change of plans

I made a trip to the general store and post office today, to pick up a big bag of bird seed. We’re switching from the deer feed to black oil seed now.


The gravel road was bad yesterday, but it was much worse today. The road itself was drier, but the last mile had water levels from the north that were higher. On the way back, I made a point of stopping near one of the municipal drainage ditches to take photos.

Further back, you can see where the water is creeping onto the road. This section wasn’t too bad for potholes. I was more concerned about the culvert.

You can tell where it is by the whirlpool. It was barely keeping the water flowing at an adequate rate. The field behind is completely underwater. That line of snow you see? That’s the drainage ditch.

On the other side, the ditch continues through a bison ranch. That’s why the fence is so fortified right into the ditch. A bison still manages to get out, every now and then.

That is some fast flowing water! The drainage ditch on this side is full, but is still containing most of the water.

It was at a culvert like this, near my brother’s place, where the highway was undermined and had to be closed completely.

Thankfully, we’re a bit higher and don’t have anything like this for the last mile to our turnoff. That last mile, however, is the worst stretch for potholes. It’s really hard to play “dodge the pothole”, when it’s all potholes.

Our own driveway is also getting wetter, and I could feel the van trying to sink as I drove through. I wouldn’t want to drive over it with the van loaded down with more weight, as it would be if I were able to get the rest of the month’s cat kibble. So I decided another trip to the city to do the rest of the monthly shopping can wait.

Of course, I came home to a message from my mother, She was wondering if I could take her shopping tomorrow.

The road is rough enough on our van. I’m not sure how her car can handle it. The last time I drove her car in conditions less severe than this, a tire blew out on the highway soon after. I am sure of exactly when the tired was damaged, too, when I hit a rock that was uncovered inside a pothole.

I haven’t checked the road to the south we would normally take as an alternate rough yet, but it was taking her car down that route that led to the tire blowout.

When I mentioned the main road’s condition, my mother suggested we wait. The grocery store is able to deliver her groceries for her, if she needs it, and that’s what she thinks she will do. She then started talking about years when the main road would get washed out completely – right about where the municipal drainage ditch is now! – we had to take the road to the north to get around it. Likely because the road was also washed out to the south. To the north, there are a lot of marshes, though, and that’s the direction water is building up from.

Gosh, I remember the roads around here washing out every spring through most of my childhood!

If we do get more rain – and our weather alert has now switched to a rainfall warning – I am not sure that the culvert in the photos above will be able to handle the increase in water. Unless it washes out in another spot, first! The temperature is suppose to increase quite a bit tomorrow, which means there will be more snow melt as well as any rain we might get. It’s going to be touch and go.

Until all this clears up, there’s no point in the municipality even trying to do anything about the potholes, and they’ll have much more to worry about if the roads start washing out!

We can wait a while on the shopping. We got a bit of rain this afternoon, and I can see on the security camera’s live feed that our driveway has even more water on it.

A reminder that we really need to get more gravel on that driveway!

I’ll just add that to the list of things we need to do, when we win the lottery. :-/

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

Rainy morning

While we’ve had the odd bit of rain this spring, today is the first real rain we’ve had. It’s been coming down for a while now. Looking at the weather radar, it seems the main part of the system has already passed over us. As the Colorado Low pushes it northwards, the system spreads wider, with severe rain being pushed to the east, over Ontario and Quebec, and snow to the west, over Saskatchewan, with Manitoba in the middle, getting bits of both!

With our colder climate and short growing season, I can’t help but feel a bit of envy when I see people sharing photos and talking about what they’ve got growing in their gardens, what they’re planting, what flowers are blooming already, and seeing the complete lack of snow on the ground. Then we have times like this, where I see the most severe weather conditions are all to the south of us, and think… you know? I’ll put up with the cold and snow. 😀

Right now, we’re still getting snow forecasts for tomorrow, with most of it hitting the southern parts of the provinces. We’re also still supposed to reach highs above freezing tomorrow, but Monday is supposed to dip down. I am thinking that, now that Potato Beetle has escaped the sun room and won’t let me bring him back, I can get away with putting the ceramic heat bulb out overnight, for that little extra bit of warmth for the seedlings. As warm as the sunroom can get during the day, it doesn’t hold any of that heat, and is not much warmer than outside at night.

I saw very few cats outside this morning! Wise kitties, staying out of the mud and rain! There’s the 6 here, and then I spotted Broccoli later on.

I have a strong suspicion that she has a litter of kittens in that junk pile. While I did zoom in for the photo, she still would normally have run away if I got as close as I did. Mind you, she could also just be not wanting to move in the wet, unless absolutely necessary!

Speaking of wet…

This is what I had to slog through to get to the sign cam. The water extends under the snow in the background. We need to keep this in mind, when we plant our silver buffalo berry here. While this area is low and collects melt water in the spring, once summer hits, most of this area starts baking and is incredibly dry. Particularly where I’m standing to take the photo.

The remains of the dugout in the old hay yard is the fullest I’ve seen since we moved here. I find this encouraging. It shouldn’t take much to dredge this out again and make a nice pond.

We most definitely need a ditch, if we ever want to plant fruit trees along here!

I look forward to being able to take that fence out. Most of those posts are rotted out at ground level, and only being held up by the barbed wire and the few strong posts left.

It would be good to open up this drainage ditch as well, too. Maybe even put in a small culvert. I’ve found one among the scrap beyond the outer yard that might be long enough and looks useable.

The rain is supposed to continue until the wee hours of tomorrow morning, when it’s supposed to change to snow, so we’ll be getting quite a bit more water. There are warnings for overland flooding for some areas, but I think we’re safe from that, here. Still, even the driveway is mostly standing water right now, so I’m glad we don’t need to drive anywhere. The driveway is in bad enough shape as it is; I don’t need to be making deep ruts in it, too!

Today is definitely a good day to stay inside.

Right, Butterscotch?

She most definitely agrees.

I’ve been keeping the door to my office/craft/bedroom, so that the other cats won’t bother Butterscotch and Nosencrantz. Butterscotch is finally coming out of her little corner in the shelf and now spends most of her days on the blanket we have for the cats on one corner of my bed. I’ve even been finding her on the window sill, and sometimes she’ll play with Nosencrantz! Nosencrantz, meanwhile, has discovered the spaces on my storage shelf that are set up for the cats, and has found a new favourite spot to snooze.

Among the other cats, the only one was let in regularly is Cheddar. He doesn’t bother them at all, so they’re good with him. Sometimes, we’ll let David in, too, but he’s not as interested. Fenrir, Beep Beep and Tissue, on the other hand, are actively aggressive towards Butterscotch and Nosencrantz, and even Ginger and Layendecker will bother them. Which is unfortunately, because hate having to keep the door closed. Butterscotch and Nosencrantz still show no interest in leaving the room, but sometimes I’ll open the door and find a crowd of cats, sitting there… watching… waiting… ready for an opportunity to leap into the room… and not just because they want to nap on my bed!


What a pain. But we love them, anyway.


I went through the rest of the seeds to start indoors last night. Most of them actually say to plant 3-4 weeks before last frost. Which would be another 2 weeks or so from right now. I find using the “days to maturity” a bit more useful. I think I’ll be starting some melons today. I was surprised to not find any pixie melons, though. I thought we still had some. We don’t have any saved seed from them, either. I wish I’d remembered that, because I would have ordered more. Still, we have the Halona melon, both as leftover seeds and saved seeds, plus we saved seeds from other cantaloupe type melons from the grocery store that I want to try.

Looking at the days to maturity on our summer squash, we could actually direct seed all of them and still have enough of a growing season left. I still want to start some indoors, though, just in case, but those can wait another couple of weeks. After the melons, we’ll start some pumpkins, including the hull-less varieties, then the remaining gourds, winter squash and cucumber. The summer squash can be the last ones to start.

If all goes well, we’ll be able to do the earliest direct sowing of cool weather crops in about a month.

For now, however, I will appreciate the rain we are getting, as that will help the ground thaw out a bit faster, too. As long as we don’t get too much at once, we’ll be good.

The Re-Farmer

Receding, and signs of spring

The area is still on blizzard watch. Everything looks fine right now, and we’re only a couple of degrees below freezing. Looking at the weather radar, the system is crossing the Canada/US border, but it’ll be a while before anything reaches as far as we are now.

According to The Weather Network’s hourly forecast, we’re supposed to start getting snow around 3am, and the blizzard will reach us by 10am. What I’m seeing on the weather radar, however, doesn’t seem to match up with the alarming alerts we are still getting. My phone app’s “looking ahead” still claims we will reach an accumulation of 40-60cm/15-24in of snow in our region, but looking at the hourly forecasts on both apps, it just doesn’t at up. I added up just the hours that were under “blizzard” conditions, since the hours before and after that time slot showed under 1cm/0.4in. Using the highest amount forecast, I only got about 15cm/6in in total.

I don’t think a lot of people are looking at the hourly forecasts and adding it up, though. The alerts are telling people to expect an extreme blizzard and to stock up now. My mother called me today and told me that some of the folks in her building had gone to the grocery store, where they described standing in line outside for 20 minutes, just to get through the door – and there are no occupancy restrictions right now. Even when people were all panic buying in 2020, they didn’t have line ups like that out here. Meanwhile, in the city, my SIL told me they’d gone to Costco yesterday and described it as busier than the week before Christmas.

Well, you can’t go wrong by stocking up, as long as people aren’t panic buying. There’s a difference between prudence and ridiculousness!

When I headed outside this evening, while there was still enough light out, you would never know there’s supposed to be a storm coming. Though we only reached a high of -1C/30F today, it was still warm enough for things to keep clearing up outside.

The snow has finally receded enough that I was able to get to, and clean up, this pile of fallen dead branches that conveniently fell near piles of branches waiting for the chipper.

Before I’d gone out, I saw some deer on the garage cam’s live feed, so it was no surprise when I saw our usual three visitors, including the piebald, just past the chain link fence. I’ve no doubt the piebald was heading to the kibble house or shrine for some snacks! All the trays were empty, though, so after I startled away the three deer in the outer yard…

… and the one by the outhouse…

… then the other two at the feeding station by the house!

… I refilled the kibble trays. The cats were quite happy for it!

So was the skunk I had to persuade to leave the tray under the shrine, later on.

I took a closer look at this area in the old hay yard, near the driveway. This low spot is not as deep as it used to be, from what I remember as a kid. It was more like a small pond or dugout. I remember being able to skate on the ice. The darker areas showing where water is accumulating under the snow is larger than it was when I went by this morning, and probably the largest I’ve seen it since we moved out here.

This is where we would eventually like to have someone come in and dig it deeper for us, and have an actual pond again. Not too far away is where we plan to build our permanent fire pit area and outdoor kitchen, as well as comfortable – and sheltered! – seating areas.

I will be very happy when we can finally take out the old fencing.

That’s a few years into the future, though.

I saw deer making their way along the south side of the spruce grove again, so I headed that way to discourage them. The snow has cleared enough that I could finally check the damage to that poor little cedar we found while cleaning up the area. I could only see it from the driveway before, but it looked like the deer had eaten every bit of green on it. Which they had.

Much to my surprise, it’s still alive!

It’s sending out fresh shoots!

We’ll have to put something around it to protect it from the deer.

I even checked what was left of the mulberry tree we planted last spring, only to have that one cold night in May kill it off. I would still water the dead stem, just in case, throughout the summer, but the deer ate that, too. There’s only about 6 inches left of it sticking out of the ground. Oddly, I find myself thinking it might send out new shoots, too. It just doesn’t seem as brittle as I would expect, if it were truly dead. It’s highly unlikely, but… well, that cedar was well chewed up, and it’s surviving!!

What I really appreciated was seeing this.

This area had been almost completely under water, not long ago. Even just this morning, I was walking through a couple of inches of water. It has all been absorbed!

The lowest spot behind the garage has also receded significantly. It no longer reaches even half way up the path to the outhouse.

This is so encouraging. All that wonderful moisture being absorbed into the ground, instead of washing away. This will be much benefit to the water table.

Any snow we get from the oncoming storm would be just as helpful. While I certainly don’t want to see the sort of destructive blizzard that is being predicted, and God knows we’re all pretty tired of the snow, the area has been low in precipitation since before we moved out here, and it takes a lot for the water table to recover.

Well, we’ll see what happens when it happens!

The Re-Farmer

A lovely morning

For all the insane blizzard warnings we are getting right now, today had quite a lovely morning! The sun was shining, and we were a relatively warm 3C/37F while I did my rounds. In fact, even as I write this, as we slide into the evening hours, the temperature has remained the same.

The outside kitties were out in full force, though I only saw a dozen of them at a time.

I noticed Chadiccous had a black more on one cheek. He doesn’t stay still much as I pet him, but it looks like he’s got quite a scratch across it; the black turned out to be dried blood. He seems okay, though.

It may have been warm(ish) and sunny, but the winds were pretty high. You can just see a bit of it in the photo, but the snowmelt along the driveway actually had surprisingly high waves rippling across.

Yesterday, I’d finally taken a shovel out and freed up one side of the gate, so we can now close it again.

The slide bar that holds the two sides together shows how much one, or both, gate posts have shifted since the hinges were repaired from the damage our vandal did, and the newly painted gates re-hung. The bar used to slide as far as you can see where the paint has been rubbed off, and there was no gap. As it is, the gap is lessened because I had to push the bar down, so I could slide the pin through, below. That screw that’s being used as a pin keeps the bar from sliding back, as the wind shifts the gate back and forth.

For now, we can close the gate again, though I think I’ll make it a habit of opening the gate in the morning, then locking it up again in the evening. With our restraining order in place, our vandal seems to be behaving, and we do get unexpected deliveries during the day.

At the very least, with the blizzard we are supposed to be getting, I think I’ll make sure the gate is open before the snow hits, just in case. I don’t want to end up with the slider bar freezing in place and having to dismantle it to open the gate, again!

I’m still holding out hope that the storm will not be as severe as predicted, but just in case, we are prepared to hunker down for a while.

The Re-Farmer