A bit of a change for the next while

One of the things I’ve tried to do is include at least photo with all my blog posts. I just find it more appealing. Of course, in general, this is a very photo heavy blog, since it’s also being used to document what we’re doing here on the property. We’re coming up on our 5th anniversary here, so that’s been a lot of photos!

Most of the images are taken with my cell phone, with others taken on the DSLR we have set up in the living room, though we don’t use is much anymore. With having to take down the bird feeders because of the racoons, there isn’t a lot to take photos of there anymore.

Not long ago, my husband traded his newer phone for mine, because of Bluetooth issues my phone had with the new OBDII reader he got for me. It takes better pictures, too, which is nice. It’s dimensions are also slightly larger. I carry my phone in my pocket while working outside, and quickly discovered a problem. The larger size meant it would get activated as I moved around, and I would suddenly be hearing voices from my pocket, as an app would start playing video. I could have set the lock screen, but when I’m in the middle of something and want to take a photo, I don’t usually have the time or ability to fight with a lock screen. So I got the thinnest wallet case I could find, which covered the touch screen, and that problem was solved.

After a while, though, I noticed something odd. Around where my thumb or fingers, depending on how I was holding the phone, rested while I was using it because to sort of bow towards the back of the phone. It seems that the pressure of my thumb or fingers was causing the case to be pushed away from the phone. This misaligned where the case covered the power and volume buttons, requiring more effort to use them. It may sound like a minor inconvenience, but with my osteoarthritis in my hands being so bad right now, it was actually quite painful.

Today, I decided to take the case off and see if there was some way to correct the problem.

Which is when I realized something.

It wasn’t the case that was bowing.

The back of my phone was coming loose.

Now, I didn’t remember this being there when my husband and I traded phones, but I thought I’d double check. As soon as my husband saw it, however, he just about had a fit.

It seems this happens when the battery expands, which is isn’t supposed to do. The phone could potentially explode or catch fire. !!!

Now, I happen to still think it’s actually been pulled away because of how and where I have to hold my phone with my wonky hands. The phone itself seems to be fine in all other respects.

Just in case, though, we went ahead and ordered a new phone on one of those $0 down, monthly payments for 2 years, plans. We are already in the habit of rounding up our bill payments, so there’s always a credit, but lately I’ve upped that so that enough credit was built up that, if necessary, we could skip a month’s payment or two. We’re not at that point, with any of our utility bills yet, but even with the new phone upgrade, the cell phone bill will still be under the budgeted amount.

Until it comes in, though, I won’t be using the phone I have now, nor will I take back my old phone from my husband. There’s no way I will drag around my daughter’s DSLR in case I want to take spontaneous photos, either. Aside from the bulk, I don’t want to take a chance of damaging it.

Which means that, until the new phone comes in, I won’t be taking any photos. Aside from the post I have scheduled for tomorrow morning, I won’t have any new photos to include with my posts.

Considering my WordPress media storage is at over 90% filled, I suppose that’s a good thing.

It feels weird to write a post without a photo, though. Those are often my “anchor” for what I’m writing about. Writing a post without a photo feels… naked, somehow! 😄

Ah, well. It shouldn’t take too long for the new phone to arrive. I’ll be getting a Samsung Galaxy S21. We’d had Samsung phones before and I was happy with them, but this one apparently has really excellent photo and video quality.

Not the best way to end up needing a new phone, though, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer

Technical oddity

After making my last post, I had to lie down. I hate doing that so late in the afternoon, as I know it will mess up my night, but I just didn’t feel well. I do feel a bit better now for it, so I guess it was a good thing.

Before getting my daughter to do the driving for our dump run and trip into town, I was able to go through the trail cam files. One of the cameras did not behave normally when I switched out the card. Basically, it didn’t “wake up” when I took the card out, nor could I turn it on. Usually, when that happens (the camera is getting older, so it has a few quirks), I can just open the battery case enough for the batteries to lose contact, then close it up again. After that, it usually “wakes up” on its own, or using the power button works. Neither happened, so I just switched the cards and made sure to check that one first.

This is what I found.

What a mess!

Judging from the large files, you’d think it was recording video as normal, but I don’t have it set to video. It’s set to stills only.

Of course, I couldn’t actually view any of the files. My computer just couldn’t open them. So I tried to format the card, but that didn’t work, either. The start button wasn’t even active. After several failed attempts, I tried renaming the card to what is usually reads (SDHC), and that worked.

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve had a camera do this. I can’t even remember if it was this camera, or the older one – which, amazingly – is mostly working again.

I really hope the new camera with the build in direct solar power works well in the winter. There are a few minor things about it I find irritating – like the fact that it shuts itself off while in set up mode, when the card is removed, but doesn’t turn itself back on when the card is replaced – but it’s working well so far, and the batteries are still at 100%.

As for the camera that did this, if things are at all like when it happened before, I should be able to get it going again by changing the batteries. Sometimes, the camera gets triggered and, instead of just taking a photo or video, it says active until the batteries are completely drained. Usually when that happened, there’s nothing on the card at all. I don’t know why sometimes it does this, instead.

I’d better head out and do that now, while it’s still light out.

The Re-Farmer

Morning bebbies, and catching up

My original plan of the day was to continue mowing the lawn after doing my morning rounds. Unfortunately, I realized that I would need to get new SD cards for the new trail cam, which did not come with its own. Since I switch cards every morning, each camera needs two card, and the old SD cards we’ve been using for the past few years are starting to wear out.

Which meant a trip into town, after feeding the kitties.

So. Many. Kitties!

There are 10 kittens and three adults in this photo – with many kitties that hadn’t come out yet!

Except these ones, that emerged rather quickly, since they have their own kibble bowl.

Gotta love the one that likes to sit completely in the bowl!

The fifth kitten came out of the lilacs after I got this picture, then ran off before I could include it in a shot. It is pretty distinctive, with more black spots on is body than it’s mostly white siblings.

The only place in town that I could think of that would have memory cards was the pharmacy, so I picked up my prescription refill while I was at it. My doctor switched me from pills once a day two injections once a week, which he wants to try for a year.

Thank God for my husband’s insurance! The price went up, and it cost almost $70. Which means that, without insurance, it would cost almost $700. My dosages are still building up to what the doctor wants to be on. At full dose, I am probably looking at about 2 boxes every 3 months, if I remember correctly. As it is, one box now costs more than my husband’s bubble packs for 4 weeks, and he’s got something like 10 different medications spread over 3 times a day in there.



The pharmacy turned out to not have any memory cards in their little electronics sections. The cashier suggested I try a store across the street. They didn’t have any in their electronics section, but when I asked, it turned out they have them behind the counter.

I was about to buy two of them when I realized they were micro SD, not SD cards. I tested a micro SD on the camera, and it doesn’t work.

After telling her what I needed, she wracked her brain then suggested I try a cell phone place a few streets over. So I did, and they did have one type in stock – with far more memory than I needed, and so expensive, I couldn’t get the two I needed with the budget I had.

The guy wracked his brain, then suggested a small computer repair shop. I’d completely forgotten it existed, because is shares retail space with another shop. So I went there.

They did carry memory cards – but were completely out of stock and would not get more for at least a week.


The next option was to go to the small, slightly nearer city. They have a Walmart. I figured I should at least be able to find one there! I made a quick stop at the gas station, then home to leave my meds, then off I went again.

The trip took quite a bit longer than expected, though. This time of year, the provincial and municipal road maintenance crews are out in full force. They’re cutting the overgrown grass and saplings along the shoulders, scraping the shoulders free of weeds, clearing ditched and culverts for the winter, and even painting fresh lines on the highways. This particular highway was being resurfaced – finally! – leaving only half a lane open for traffic. We were all driving half on the road, half on the shoulder, for miles, while traffic in the other direction was having to wait. The road crews wouldn’t even let people make turns along the way, because the asphalt was so fresh.

Once I got to the Walmart, though, I realized it shared a parking lot with a Staples, so I went there.

I found two 32G cards (I would have been happy with 16G, or even 8G, but there were none in stock) at a price low enough, it actually made up for the cost of gas to drive out!

My daughter had given me her card and a shopping list, so I hit the Walmart, too. Then, it was home by a different route!

Once home, I formatted the cards, then finished my morning rounds, which included switching out the memory cards. Though we had a good rainfall yesterday, we’re heating up over the next while, and won’t get rain again for some time (if we get it in our area at all), so I gave the all the garden beds a good watering.

I’m just amazed by how quickly this pumpkin is turning colour! Obviously, it’s not going to reach anywhere near its potential, but we made no effort to do that. I prefer to have a pumpkin that doesn’t need a forklift to carry. 😉

I’ve been eyeballing our long range forecast and, so far, it looks like the mild temperatures will continue well into September. Our average first frost date of Sept. 10 is expected to have a high of 19C/66F, and a low of 10C/50F. The middle of the month is looking to have lows of 5C/41F. Forecasts that far ahead are far from reliable, of course, but it is hopeful. Every mild day is that more more time for all the stuff that’s behind in the garden to catch up!

It’ll also be good for the litters of kittens that were born later in the season, too!

The Re-Farmer

Old and New

Today, we went into town to pick up my early birthday take out dinner (Chinese food!). I took advantage of it to stop at the Purolator drop off location to see if my new keyboard made it in. We were supposed to get a call from Purolator once it was delivered, and we hadn’t gotten one, but I figured I’d check.

It was there! Yay!

I am now typing this on my brand new, ergonomic keyboard, which is an updated version of my old one.

My old one is in the eco-waste pile, so I’ve been using the older one my husband was using, which had been mine before then. It works, but many of the keys are worn off, which is why my husband was willing to trade with me. He doesn’t do as much typing as I do.

As they are both Microsoft ergonomic keyboards, how the keys sit is almost exactly the same. Which means I am not having issues with finding keys, nor is their pain in my hands trying to type, as there was with the other keyboards I tried.

There are, however, some differences.

The overall dimensions are slightly different. My husband wasn’t interesting in taking the keyboard back, so I put it into the box for the new one, as an emergency back up. It was a tight fit, and the lid doesn’t close completely, so the new one is ever so slightly smaller than the old one.

The keys, however…

What the heck?

The first thing to figure out is the new key next to the left hand shift key. The space is the same, but now there are 2 keys in it, and the new key is on the inside. There are three symbols on the new key, but all I can get out of it are \ and | which are not shown on the key itself. As for the shift key, I’m going to have to get used to stretching my pinky out slightly further to hit shift instead of the new key.

The other things is, it’s in French for some keys, pictographs on others. The Home key is now a diagonal arrow, for example, while the Esc key is now Echap (I still haven’t figure out how to do the E with an accent). Entre is Entree. Print Screen i snow Arret Defit, which apparently is now an editable screen grab of some sort. I haven’t tried it yet. There are two Suppr. keys. The one above the arrow keys used to be the Delete key, and the one higher up now has Impr. and Suppr. keys, where there used to be Print and Lock.

The number keys above the letter keys now have an extra symbol on them, as do some other keys. Which would be handy, if I could figure out how to use that third symbol. Something other than the shift key must access it, but what? Also, the ~ and ` key next to the 1 now has different symbols on it – the symbols that the new key by the left hand shift now has.

There is a new key between the Ctrl and Windows keys which shows the same pop up as when I right click in my typing field. To the right of the spaced bar, the Alt key is now Alt Gr – and as far as I can tell, it does nothing. Next to that is a short cut to MS Office. Which I happen to have at the moment, but I just have a shortcut to Word on my taskbar. Then there is an emoji key.

Yes. I can now do emojis on my keyboard.


Ok, look. I can illustrate my birthday dinner. 😀 Oh, wait… 😃

Can you see them as emojis, or do they just look like weird symbols to you?

Oh, I just realized there is a third Suppr key. It’s the Delete key on the number pad. Which makes more sense than having one where the Lock key was.

I went to check the order on Amazon and, after several checks, I found where you could choose a French or English keyboard. English was the default. Yet we got a French keyboard. Not in function, but in labeling.

Today happens to be Amazon Prime day, though, and the keyboard is about half price.

My husband is ordering another one – making double sure that the English one gets ordered. French is his first language, so he can have the new French keyboard once the English one comes in. It really doesn’t make much of a difference, functionally, but it will be less of a distraction for me.

Aaannnd… It’s done. It should get here in roughly a week, and should come by mail this time, not Purolator.

Aside from that, I tried to find a keyboard map that I hoped would show me how to access those third symbols on so many keys. I’ve found descriptions of the new features on the keyboard, then it says to download an app to customize hot keys. I don’t want to download anything extra. I just want to know how to use the default functions.

I’m actually quite happy with it, and even as I type this post, I am getting used to things like reaching that left shift key, and not hitting the new key, instead.

The main thing is, I can type, and it doesn’t hurt, like with every other keyboard I’ve tried.

The Re-Farmer

All packed up… almost

One of the things we got in the mail today was the packaging to send back parts of our old satellite internet system that need to be returned. It came with return postage, instructions and even a strip of packing tape to close the box up again!

Now, I finally know the names of the different parts. 😀

With my brother trying to mount the new dish to the old supports, one of the satellite dishes was already dismantled and in the basement. The other, however, still needed to remove the radio from the dish on the roof. I had been thinking it could be done after the weather improved, but it’s supposed to get worse over the next couple of days, not better. So my darling daughters dug the ladder out, and one of them climbed up to remove it. She ended up having to cut the coax cable, because it was stuck, but we were able to get that off, later.

With one of the radios already being indoors, we could pack it up with the modem, power supply and power cord, and it’s ready to go.

For the other one, we’ll have to wait for the rest of the snow to melt off, and for it to dry, first.

I’d already brushed off as much as I could before I took the above photo!

Which means we’ll be ready to return them tomorrow morning, or the day after, if I don’t get out before the store closes at noon. Since it’s postage paid, I could theoretically leave it in the mail box outside the building, but I don’t think the boxes will fit! 😀

You know, for all the issues we had with our internet, we actually got good customer service with them. They simply don’t have the equipment necessary to meet our needs, in our location. Having to have two satellites just to get enough data for our household was bad enough – mostly on our budget. As I write this, I can see the live feed from our garage security cam, and every now and then, it’s a whiteout from blowing snow. In weather like this, we would have had no end of connectivity issues, if not losing our connection entirely. With the new Starlink system, there have been no issues at all. With no data limit and the monthly bill less than half what we were paying, our old provider just can’t match it. At least not for our geographical area. I know in more urban areas, they can be much more competitive. In that respect, I would still recommend them. Just not for anyone living in the boonies, like we do!

The Re-Farmer