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

Under water

While doing my evening rounds today, after we reached a high of at least 10C/50F (warmer than predicted), I noticed the “lake” behind the garage had noticeably grown.

This morning, it had just reached the metal sheet that was laid on a layer of gravel. Now, I could see it surrounding the outhouse.

From the back, you can just barely see that there is water under the metal grate that’s holding the folded wire mesh in place.

I’d checked inside, and the pit under the outhouse is full of water, right up to the floorboards.

I see no sign that the groundhog that had dug a den under the floorboards had dug its way out from under the outhouse. From what I’ve read, their mating season is in March. Perhaps its den had a “back door” somewhere.

There has been an outhouse in this spot for as long as I can remember, but it’s really not a good spot for on, because of how low it is.

I did note that the spot we intend to build an outdoor bathroom, where the compost pile currently is, has no standing water. It’s wet, to be sure, but not muddy. The path to the house also has no standing water, though there are low spots nearby that do have snowmelt collecting in them.

If we were building a pit style outhouse, I wouldn’t have it that close to the house, but since we’ll essentially be building a shed with a composting toilet in it, that can be taken out at any time, we won’t have the issues one would have with a pit.

We’ll still be making sure to have a layer of gravel and sand under the base that will raise it above grade.

But first, we’ll take out a whole bunch of dead spruce trees that will be felled into that direction. Once those are all cleared out, we can build in that spot.

Knowing where the snowmelt collects this time of year plays a big part in a lot of our decision making!

We are still getting weather alerts for next week. How much of it will hit us, it’s hard to say, but the predictions for how much snow the Southern areas of the province will get have been changing. When I first saw the alerts, they were saying up to 20cm/8in. Then they started saying as much as 30cm/12in. Now they’re saying some areas may get as much as 40cm/16in! Which blows away any record snowfalls for that weekend.

Of course, I get a different story, if I look at other apps. One of them predicts far more milder weather, while another predicts the storm will be passed a day earlier than others.

Pray that the storm, whenever it arrives, is much less severe than predicted. I’ve got a nephew that’s supposed to be driving in from another province, with his wife and children, including their new baby, the day the system is supposed to hit.

The Re-Farmer

Future projects

While doing my morning rounds, I found myself contemplating this area.

This is a lower area along one side of our driveway. As you can see in the distance, the melted snow collects along some of the fence posts.

Which would be why almost all of them are rotted out and falling pretty much being held up only by the barbed wire.

When we first started mowing in this area, I found in insanely rough along the fence line, as if it had been tilled, then left. I think someone may have had the idea of making a drainage ditch.

At the far end, there is a dug out area that veers around that fence line, then runs under the fence on the property line, and to the ditch.

Not that it can drain very far right now, considering the ditch is full of piles of snow from when our driveway was cleared.

I don’t know what it was like when it was first dug out, but it’s very rough and pretty shallow. But then, so is the ditch itself. I’m thinking someone just ran a tiller along the fence line, and that’s it.

I was thinking that this side of the driveway would be a good place to eventually plant some low growing fruit trees or berry bushes. The area gets full sun and is fairly sheltered. The water that collects when the snow melts, however, would be a problem. We might want to finish the job someone else started, and dig out a drainage ditch, before planting anything along here.

The melting snow and receding water has allowed me to get into more areas, including the back of the storage house. There is a window that the cats (and skunks) use to get in and out from that side. It had only one out of three panes of glass left, and a board with a hole in it, replacing one pane. I set up a small piece of plywood over the window so that the cats could still get in and out, but it would also reduce how much weather got in. It often gets knocked out of place, but I hadn’t been able to get to the area to put it back until this morning.

Which is when I saw the last pane of glass was missing.

Remarkably, it had fallen inwards, but didn’t break! (The shard of glass under it is probably from the missing window pane.)

For now, I’m leaving it where it is, but we’ll collect the glass later and see if we can put it back into the frame.

Also, the appears the space under the storage house has been used as a massive litter box.

For now, I just put the old piece of plywood back to shelter the openings a bit.

I think, when we finally get around to fixing up this window a bit, I might attach strips of carpet to the top of one of the openings without glass, like what my brother put over the door of the dog house he made, that is now our cat house. He put in a double layer of carpet cut into strips that’s easy enough for dogs ore cats to get through, and think enough to keep the weather out.

While going through the area behind the storage house, I found quite a few fallen branches. I dislodged the largest one that was hung up on some trees. It was really dry, so I brought it over to the fire pit area. There are other hung up on branches, or on the ground, but that’s a clean up job for after the snow is going.

Which might still be a while!

The Re-Farmer

The morning after

So we did get a bit of snow sticking around after last night’s storm. Not as much as was predicted, and not at all like what people got to the south of us. Certainly nothing to complain about, considering some places in the US got tornados. !!

The outside cats were quite excited for the kibble! From the hoof tracks in the mud and slush, it looks like the deer ate up all their kibble again. 😦

My daughter had set up the rain barrel, and it’s already about 3/4 full! I put the diverter back on, just in case. I look forward to when we have a barrel set up with an overflow, and not have to be concerned about that.

You can tell where the trees are. The slush froze into spatters from all the extra ice and snow falling from the branches.

Lots of kitty paw prints and deer tracks, too.

The “lake” formed near the garage is still as big as ever.

The new snow hides it a bit in the shallower spots, but it extends across the driveway and gets deeper again, along the snow ridge.

The path from the driveway to the back of the garage is almost completely filled with snow melt, but it gets quite a bit deeper here. The water isn’t quite reaching the outhouse, though. It now stops where we now have that metal sheet, on top of gravel, where the hole under the outhouse had been filled. Between that and the paths we dug, I think it’s actually helped keep the water collecting further from the outhouse.

If we ever wanted to dig a pond in the inner yard, this would be the natural place to do it. 😀

The door to the back of the garage is several inches above grade, plus it has gravel built up to it, with an old paver right at the door itself, so while the water collects here in front of the door, it stays away from the garage itself. There is some moisture getting in, though. In the side my mother’s car is parked, I can see areas that are wet. There’s a lot of snow on the side of the garage that’s slowly melting, and it’s seeping under the wall. The main issue with that is, there are repurposed wooden shelves on the inside, against that wall, and it doesn’t look like anyone thought to put the lower counter shelves on something, to protect them from moisture. As far as I can tell, it’s sitting directly on the dirt floor.

At some point, we’ll be able to start cleaning and organizing the garage. I’d like to move those shelves out, so we can actually open my mother’s car door wider, without having to park it so close to the other wall.

But that’s a big job, and far from a priority right now!

Though there was about an inch of frozen slush everywhere when I first came out, it’s already melting fast.

When I started my rounds, the sidewalk and patio blocks were covered with snow, but after about half an hour, the blocks were almost completely clear. Only the end of the sidewalk, which had deeper coverage and is partly shaded by trees, was not yet clear.

In fact, even with the new snow, things have melted enough that – with the additional help of all those deer making a path – I could finally get to the front of the shed that lost its roof, not long ago.

You can’t tell in the photo, but it looks like the antique plow in the back corner on the right, is okay. The roof seems to have fallen over it, but not on it.

That board in the foreground, with the nails sticking through, is actually hanging from the side of the opening. It used to be one of the supports, keeping the cross beam from sagging. The other one is still in place.

It’s going to be quite a job to clean this up. It should be interesting to see how much lumber we’ll be able to salvage out of this.

It will be a while before we can access it, though, and for there to be enough dried ground to put anything we pull out of here. Since I plan to salvage the materials to build a chicken coop, so we can have chickens next spring, this clean up is nearer the top of the priority list.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a good tired…

You know, for someone who is a hermit by nature, I’ve been out and about an awful lot lately!

Today I was out again, after an unexpected change in plans. With the roads clearing up and the days warming up, my mother was wanting to finally visit her sister in the nursing home, to see for herself how she is doing. Every time I suggested a day, though, she would defer on making a decision, and then say that she’d go any time I had the time to take her. She just wanted me to give her at least a day’s advance notice. So a few days ago, after looking at the forecast and seeing that Friday (today) was supposed to be warmer, I called to suggest Friday.

Oh, I was thinking Sunday, she tells me.

Hmm. Apparently, I was supposed to know this somehow? 😀

So we arranged for a trip on Sunday.

Then last night, while I was on my way home from visiting my friend in town, she called. It was pretty late when I got home, but I got through to her before she’d gone to bed.

She had been talking to someone in her building. They told her Friday was supposed to be a nice warm day, so she thought that might be a better day to visit her sister, instead of Sunday, and was I okay with that?

Oh, Mom.

I still had the day open, since that was the day I’d suggested to begin with, so of course, I was okay with the switch, but my goodness, that was funny.

We timed it so that she could visit in between when they would be doing lunch and supper. I used her car, of course, and left early enough to put some gas in the tank.


I filled the tank in our van last night. Gas was at 174.9/L It cost me almost $50 for a quarter tank. This morning, gas was up to 177.9/L My mother’s car was closer to 1/2 than 3/4 full, and she has a smaller tank than I do. It still cost almost almost $40 to fill her tank, and I didn’t even fill it all the way. The nozzle kept shutting itself off, so I kept restarting it until the pump got to what I knew would be close, and it turned out to be just a hair under full when I stopped.

Of course, with gas prices going up, the price of everything else is going to keep going up, too. 😦

We made the trip to where my aunt is, and since they still require masks and I can’t wear one (my mother shouldn’t be wearing any, either), I dropped her off with her walker and helper her in to the doors, where they had someone set up at a table. While my mom was being tended to before being allowed in, I found a place to park. We’d talked about where we were going to eat after the visit, and I’d suggested a fish and chips place instead of her usual fried chicken restaurant. She’s not doing meat on Fridays, so she agreed. I’m pretty sure the chicken place has fish and chips, too, but she would have just ordered fries if we’d gone there. It’s a tiny place and has only street parking, so after I parked my mom’s car, I quickly walked over to see how busy they were and what the parking situation was like, before heading back to the nursing home and waiting for my mom outside.

Her visit with my aunt was much shorter than expected, so I wasn’t waiting for long. We headed over to the restaurant so she could fill me in on how it went. Unfortunately my aunt, who’s 98, did not recognize my mother. She doesn’t talk anymore, and she fell asleep while my mother was there. At least my mother got to talk to the nursing staff about her sister, and left small gifts for her for later.

These visits are very hard on my mother. Still, she was glad to have finally seen her, and talk to the staff directly about how she’s doing. My mother can’t navigate their automated phone system, so I’ve been the one calling the nursing home to get updates for her which, thankfully, they are allowing. I’m not on the list of contacts for my aunt, but my mother is, and I’m someone they recognize as speaking on behalf of my mother, so they can give me information. Still, it’s not the same as my mother being able to actually see and try to talk to her sister, in person.

I told my mother that, now that the roads are clearing up and the temperatures are getting nice, she can visit her sister more often, and that I would be happy to drive her. She started saying, what’s the point? Her sister doesn’t even recognize her. I reminded her it’s been a long time since my aunt has seen her. If she visits more often, she might start recognizing my mother. Plus, at least she’s be able to see for herself how her sister was doing. My mother said she would think about it, but later on the the drive home, she brought it up again as if it was something she’s just thought of herself, and said it would be good to visit more often, now that the roads and weather are better… 😀

The place we ate at is very generous with their portions, and neither of us could finish even half of the fries, so we boxed those up. My mother didn’t want the fries, so she suggested I could give it to the cats. She’d covered hers with salt and vinegar, and I didn’t think that would work, but I took them anyway. My mother took advantage of having access to a car and we went to a couple of places before I took her home. While we were doing errands, I got a message from one of my daughters with a photo.

They’d got a fire going in the fire pit and were having a wiener roast for supper! We’ve used the fire pit so rarely since we’ve moved here, due to fire bans and drought conditions, so I was really happy that they did that.

By the time I was driving my mother home, I was so very tired. Being around people too much just sucks the energy out of me, and with all the other errands we’ve been running in just the past week, I was pretty wiped out. I think I was even more tired than my 90 yr old mother! 😀 So I didn’t stay long after putting her groceries away. It’s a good thing I left when I did, because it was starting to rain! It was mostly done by the time I got home, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be driving on those roads any later in the day.

My daughters were still doing their cookout when I got home! They had the hardest time keeping the fire going, even with having access to dry wood.

The rain starting certainly didn’t help, but it didn’t rain enough to have to end their cookout, and it stopped shortly after I got back. I joined them for a while. It felt so good to be sitting at a fire like that, even with the mud all around the fire pit.

Then, since I had all those fries, the girls brought out cast iron pan to reheat them on the fire grill. I’m told they were quite delicious done that way! 😀

I didn’t stay out for too long, though, and left them to their cookout. I did pause to check out one of the little “lakes” that are forming in our yard!

Getting to the compost pile is going to be a bit of a challange!

We’ve got snowmelt forming a “lakes” forming all over the yard and in the paths we’ve dug right now! All that water, in between all that still-deep snow, is quite the sight!

We’re still supposed to get a bit more rain, then temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing overnight. I was going to say, I’m glad I won’t have to go anywhere for a few days, but I just remembered that we will at least need to go into town again to refill our empty water jugs. I really should have done it today, but it’s not something I could do while running errands with my mother. After that, we should have a few days “off”. I hope! At least until the middle of next week, when we’ll be dropping Turmeric off for her appointment at the vet that the Cat Lady arranged. Then, that same evening, we are now scheduled to pick up the freezer pack of beef I ordered last night. I chose their large “rancher” variety pack. The only item in the pack I know for sure will be in it is ground beef. I’m quite content with “surprise” packs, because we sometimes end up with cuts we normally wouldn’t think to get, usually due to the price/pound. Because it’s in a bulk pack, the price is by the pound for the whole thing, not for individual cuts, so we end up with a better price – and higher end cuts!

It’ll definitely be worth the extra running around.

Still, it all leaves me feeling so very tired. At least it’s a good tired, though!

The Re-Farmer

Still not in the clear

As I write this, it’s coming up on 2pm, and the septic guy has not made it out yet.

I’m happy to say that we did not get any additional flooding in the basement during the night. So far, we can get away with flushing the toilet now and then, and washing our hands, but showers, laundry and doing the dishes are all out. If we do use water, that drain opening in the basement floor does fill a bit, but it’s not overflowing and slowly drains back into the tank again. The septic pump continues to run as usual.

We had a cold night, and the winds were bitterly cold this morning.

It was cold enough to freeze the mud from when the front end loader went through the softer areas. Solid enough that, when I had to drive over it later on, the van didn’t break through the ice at all.

My husband, sweetheart that his is, offered to cover the costs of getting prepared food. His tax return came in yesterday, thankfully. So this morning, I headed into town to pick up a bucket of chicken or something like that, only to find the chicken place wasn’t open yet. In fact, none of the restaurants with take out were open yet. So I went to the grocery store and picked up a bunch of prepared and quick heat foods for the day. The problem right now not being able to do the dishes. We do still have pots and pans to cook with, but nowhere to put dirty dishes anymore.

Note for future: not only do we need an outdoor bathroom in a different location – one that doesn’t collect a lake of meltwater in front of it – but when we build our outdoor kitchen, we need to make sure to have the supplies needed to wash up, then collect and dispose of the dirty water. We do have a few things we can use, if we really get desperate, but they would be quite awkward to work with. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!

After I got back, my daughters took over putting things away and preparing the food while I headed back to the septic tank. I wanted to get the insulated tarp loose, so when the septic guy arrived, he would just need to pull it back and go.

That, of course, turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated.

We were really, really thorough about making sure that tarp couldn’t get blown away.

I ended up having to dig out the far corner as well, which still had a drift of hard packed snow on top.

I forgot we’d used old fence posts across the fold, to weigh it down.

I finally got it so that the tarp can be pulled back to access the cover. Then I returned it and weighed it down with one of the fence posts, until we need to lift it, since we do still need to keep this area insulated!

It would have been much better if it could have been lifted from the other end, away from the house, but it was easier get the tarp out from under the things weighing it down along the house, and breaking up the snow on it, than trying to chip through that layer of ice.

There is a downspout at the corner of the sun room that we put the rain barrel under. The barrel blocks access into the garden quite a bit, so I’ve been thinking of turning the down spout towards the garden, so that the rain barrel can be put around the corner, instead of on the sidewalk in front of the sun room. If we put a high enough platform under it, we’ll also have room for a tap to fill watering cans from the bottom, too. The diverter we use when the barrel is full currently drains near a rose bush in front of the steps to the laundry platform at the clothes line. If we redirect the down spout, it will instead drain into the old kitchen garden. What I want to do is attach a collapsible overflow pipe to the rain barrel, instead, so we don’t have to worry about using the diverter at all. The whole set up will still be in the way of traffic zones, but not as much as it is now.

Now I’m thinking we need to do the same thing with the downspout on the opposite corner, by the septic tank. The ground slopes downwards to the west, but the downspout runs to the north. If we turn it, yes, it’ll be in the way, since it’ll be running across the path we’ve made along the side of the house, but I’m sure we can work around that. Another rain barrel certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. In fact, we could use three more, just for around the house. We will have to make sure they all have overflow drains. I’d like to have a couple more rain barrels at the garage, too, since we have garden beds that way already, and there will be trees and shrubs planted beyond the garage, too. So we’re looking at at least 5 rain barrels, though if we could get a couple of those big water tanks instead, that would be even better.

One of these days, I need to snag my brother and his trailer, and make a trip to the salvage yard in the city. Along with rain barrels, we want to pick up bricks, blocks and pavers, too.

But that’s something to do in the summer, perhaps. Right now, I just want to be able to take a shower and not flood our basement.

The Re-Farmer

We’ll have to plan for this

Spring is still trying to show us it has arrived, though in a couple of days, winter is expected to come back for a while.

Which might make it a bit easier to deal with this.

This is the food path we dug to the vehicle gate. The meltwater fills this path, and continues down the paths to the back of the garage, and the outhouse.

In previous winters, we’d been able to keep this vehicle gate, and part of the yard, clear of snow so that we could still drive right up to the house. We had quite a bit less snow than this year, yet we still had “lakes” forming in this gate, and in that low area in front of the outhouse. Without being able to clear all that snow, plus the larger amounts of snow we got this winter, we’re going to be dealing with a lot more meltwater in those low areas.

That “river” of melt water is in the path we dug that was wide enough for my husband’s walker, to get to the front of the garage.

Here’s the rest of that path, all the way to the small gate. You can see where puddles are starting to form in the tire tracks in the snow. In previous years, this entire area would get filled with water. Which meant we could not get to the garage, either from the front or the back, without having to go through a large puddle of water and/or mud.

With the amount of snow we got this year, we can reasonably expect those areas to have quite a bit more water. If that happens, we may have to start parking the van near the small gate, so we can reach it without having to walk through too much water or mud. Another area that tends to collect water is right in the middle of the driveway at the gate. Which means we have to stand in water to open and close the gate.

Another reason why I’d love to get a couple of loads of gravel onto the driveway!

I’m okay with the cold coming back for a bit. As long as we don’t warm up too quickly, the ground will have a better chance of warming up and absorbing the moisture. Looking at the 14 day forecast, it looks like that’s exactly what we’ll be getting.

And for that, I am grateful!

The Re-Farmer

Beautifully warm – and a new path

Wow, what a gorgeous day, today!

The forecast was for a high of 0C/32F today. As I write this, just past 5pm, we are at 4C/39F!

It was a perfect day to work outside.

This morning, after feeding the critters, I tried to keep the burn barrel going while hauling away more snow from near the house. It was so warm, I had to take off my parka, and I was still overheating in my sweatshirt!

I actually meant to post these photos yesterday, when the melt was just starting to kick in. Today, that trickle was pouring. There is nothing slowing it down, either, so while the end of the diverter is still buried, the water has obviously cleared itself an opening, somewhere inside the pile of snow.

The ceiling in the sun room is dripping like crazy. The drips are right over a shelf, and I had some boxes stored on top. My efforts to cover those and divert the water away were clearly not working anymore, and the boxes were getting soaked in places. They only have packing material in them, so I ended up putting those into an old feed bag, and the boxes went into the burn barrel. The top shelf got covered with an old feed bag, then I made use of the under-bed storage box that we used to start seeds in last year. Between the container and the lid, I was able to get under most of the drips, and for those that still missed, I had buckets on the floor.

You can see how much water has already accumulated, after about… 6 hours? Maybe 7.

We need a new roof so badly. *sigh* I shudder to think about how much water damage is in that ceiling!

On the plus side, by the end of today, most, if not all, of the snow should be gone from the roof, and the leaking should soon stop.

After a run to the post office this afternoon (more on that in another post), I went back out to do more digging. This time, to the trail cams. With all the cold and snow, I was no longer switching out the memory cards every morning. Today, I decided it was time to see how they fare.

The driveway cam was easy enough to deal with. I just had to re-dig a short path to it’s stand, and I could change the batteries and the memory card.

The sign cam, on the other hand, was a whole different ball game!

I took this photo when I was a little more than half way to the corner. In previous years, this area was crisscrossed with deer paths and the tracks of other wildlife. Between the deep snow over the garden area, and the piles of snow left by the plows along the road, the animals stayed away from this area completely. The roads, driveways and cleared paths in people’s yards were much more accommodating!

Even under the trees, sheltered by branches, I had to shovel a path right to the corner.

This picture was taken just clear of the trees at the corner, where the snow was nowhere near as deep.

Here, I was actually standing on the hard packed snow of the deer path to the fence.

There was just no way I could have gotten to the corner, without digging this path. I don’t have snow shoes!

There’s something we might need to invest in at some point!

It will be about where this path is now, or a bit to the left (west) of it that we will be planting silver buffalo berry bushes, this spring. 🙂 We still want to keep an avenue between the berry bushes and the trees at the fence line open for access.

At the time I was digging out this path, it was 3C/37F. I had on a light coat and a t-shirt this time, so at least I wasn’t overheating, by my goodness, it’s amazing how hot 3C feels, after the temperatures we were having not that long ago! With the snow melting, it was very wet and heavy, too. Even if we could get a snow blower this far out, we couldn’t use it; it would just clog up.

Thankfully, I really enjoy shoveling. 😀 What an excellent workout!

With these paths cleared, I’ll be able to add switching memory cards back into my morning routine. I finished uploading the files from the trail cams while I was writing this. The gate cam, which is set to take short video files only, recorded 160 files before the batteries died. The sign cam, which is set to take 3 stills, then a short video, recorded only 58 files before the batteries died. With the high piles of snow along the side of the road, and no wildlife going through the deep snow between the sign and the road, there wasn’t a lot that could trigger the motion sensor on that one!

It’s going to take me a while to go through all those files!

I think I’ll save that job for later. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Water, water, everywhere, and in recovery

Doing my rounds this morning is, for the most part, getting easier as the snow melts. There are just a couple of shaded areas where sheets of ice and formerly hard-packed snow suddenly giving way under my feet, have made walking somewhat more dangerous!

It also means that, while the water between the house and the garage has gone from “lake” to ” large muddy puddles”, there is a lot more water in other areas, too.

I noticed this while going past the outhouse this morning.

The outhouse door has a piece of plywood in front of it, with a rotted out hole. I’d had a metal… something I don’t know the name of, but it’s used as steps on large vehicles… over the hole, but while it’s there, the outhouse door can’t be opened. It had been set aside during our septic troubles (not that we used the outhouse; it’s too disgusting in there!) and not put back yet. This allowed me to see that the hole under the door is getting bigger – and the pit is full of water! I checked the access area at the back, and could see the water there, too. That pit is completely filled.

The outhouse is sitting on what is probably beams of pressure treated wood, which look like they have sunk into the ground. It really should have been on concrete or something, and raised slightly above ground level. I doubt any of the outhouses that have ever been here were done that way. Which would explain why they have been replaced so many times over the years. I know of at least 3, not counting the one that was there that we used before we got running water in the house.

Another reason why we want to build a new outhouse, without a pit and on a proper base! Composting toilets have their own issues, but I’ll take those over dealing with a pit, thankyouverymuch. 😀

I also had something I could really appreciate while doing this morning’s rounds.

I was able to do them without needing a cane.

Yesterday evening, after all the walking around with the wheelbarrow I’d done earlier, was a difficult one. I definitely over did it. My hip gave out again, and it didn’t recover as it had earlier. Thankfully, we keep canes around the house, including one of my dad’s canes that we’ve left hanging on an arm bar between the old and new parts of the house. I had to get my daughter to bring it to me, because I couldn’t walk from my desk chair to get it. Even my left hip was becoming more of a problem. Both hips have mild osteoarthritis, but my left hip hurts pretty constantly, due to bone spurs. Typically, it’s a level of pain I can ignore, but that was getting hard to do, yesterday evening. When my right hip was X-rayed, it showed mild OA, but also fragments basically floating around, and I think that’s what’s causing my problems. I think fragments are getting into the joint, causing pain until they get worked out of the joint again.

I will have to get myself to a doctor again to check it out.

I got very little sleep last night, due to the pain and discomfort, even though I’d taken pain killers. It’s better now, in that I can walk without a cane and put weight on my right leg again, but even with painkillers, it’s still hurting quite a lot. I also needed to use my husband’s bath chair while I showered.

So today is going to be a day of recovery for me. Aside from heading out to the pharmacy this afternoon, to pick up prescriptions, I’m going to have to focus on giving my body a break to heal up. I figure this is a good time to catch up on some more crochet projects. 🙂 I’ll have to remember to get the mail today, too. My order from Vesey’s is ready for pick up. The girls and I will go over what we want to start indoors. Almost everything we got can actually be sown outdoors after danger of frost is past, which would be about mid-May, but getting a head start on some of them would also be good.

I’m really looking forward to being able to garden this year!

As long as my body holds out. 😦

The Re-Farmer