That’s not good

Yesterday evening, while puttering in the kitchen, I heard a strange and sudden noise. A very out of place noise, coming from the living room.

So out of place, even the cats started to gather round, searching for the source.

In fact, it was the cats that lead me right to the source, partially hidden by a shelf.

For some reason, this outlet fried itself.

There were two power cords plugged into it. On one of them, nothing plugged into it was being used. On the other there was a salt lamp and a Orbi WiFi mesh device, both of which are always on, neither of which take a lot of power.

The breaker tripped, as it should, which has lead to some other problems.

We’re discovering what else was on that breaker.

On the panel, it’s labelled living room and bathroom. The living room has only 3 outlets. There’s the one that fried, of course. Another that powered the aquarium greenhouses, which are empty right now, is no longer working. The third, which powers the charger for a cordless phone handset, is still working.

The bathroom lights and fan no longer work. At least the bathroom already had a battery operated LED light switch to use, rather than blinding ourselves when going to the bathroom at night. With a second portable LED light next to the mirror, the room gets let up pretty well. Plus, there’s the window into the sun room. That gives us some light during the day, and we can open it more to make up for the lack of a fan.

I discovered an outlet in the new basement, which was being used to power a fan aimed at a damp spot in the corner, was no longer working. Nor is the light switch for the unfinished bar we’re now using as cat-proof storage. I was able to plug the fan in at another outlet, though it needed a much longer extension cord. That actually allowed me to put the fan in a more efficient spot, so no real complaints there.

Overall, things would be fine, except for one more outlet that stopped working. An upstairs outlet.

The one the girls’ computers is plugged into.

That room has only two outlets, a two prong and a three prong. So they can’t even plug into the other outlet.

Which means my older daughter can’t work.

She now has to find a way to email her clients and ask if they’re okay with a delay in their commissions, or if they want their money back.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our electrician in to fix it, but we can’t do that until my husband’s disability payment comes in – which, thankfully, is soon.

Not good – but it could have been a lot worse!

The Re-Farmer

Well, we’re hooped, 2 down, and surprising Cabbages update

Oh, man. What a day this turned out to be. Talk about topsy turvy!

It started out normal enough.

The deer were visiting the feeding station before seed was even put out. Tissue was enjoying watching them. We had several come by today, including the piebald.

Nutmeg was waiting his turn in the cat path as I put the kibble out.

So many cats! I count 13 in the photo.

While outside, I shoveled out the last two paths that were left to do. One was the path to the feeding station. The other was the cat path from the kibble and cat house, to the storage house.

We had cleared around the cat’s house, since we needed to open the roof up to get inside, and had tried to maintain most of it. We’ve pretty much given up on the back, though. There’s no room for the snow anymore.

The cats have taken advantage of our being able to keep the side of it clear, and have managed to still access the space under the cat house. Only the smaller cats can fit into there!

This is the opening they’ve managed to keep clear to get under the storage house. With the lilac bush there, we can only shovel their path so far, but they’ve packed down their own trail to the opening.

I’m not happy with The Distinguished Guest. She went after Creamsicle Baby today. Hard. I had to break them apart. Poor Creamsicle Baby was bleeding at the neck a bit, though from all the black fur on the snow after they battled, he defended himself pretty well.

Since we no longer have cats convalescing in the sun room, I went ahead and cleared the frame for the mini-greenhouse and brought it inside. The cover had a couple of tears in the back, so that had to be fixed.

While trying to figure out how to secure the mini-greenhouse, I got a message from the cat lady. She was in town and we worked out that she would leave her carriers in the donation bin at the shelter, and I would pick them up later.

She also let me know that she’d left Cabbages behind, snoring with their 5 other cats. !!

As soon as I could, after it was confirmed the carriers were dropped off, I headed out to start my mother’s car to go get them.

I turned the key, there was a loud POP, and it died.

I have no clue what happened.

I opened the hood, but there was nothing visible that was out of the ordinary.

We now have zero transporation.

Crud. We’re hooped!

The first thing I did was send a message to the garage about our van. It’s booked for a new alternator on the 28th, which is when my husband’s disability payment comes in (last business day of the month. However, he does get a smaller CPP Disability payment 3 business days before the end of the month, which falls on the 24th. Normally, that would have been our day to do a big shop but, obviously, that’s not going to happen anymore! It is enough to cover the cost of the repair, though. I haven’t heard back from him yet, and just left a phone message, too. Hopefully, I’ll connect with him soon. I did mention in my message to him, that we now have no way to pick up the van anymore! I’ll also have to get my mother’s car towed to him, but I’ll arrange that after we get things worked out about the van. We moved my mother’s car into where we normally park the van, so we’ll have to get it out of the garage, anyhow.


My mother’s car may have the block heater, battery warmer and trickle charger, but there’s still a lot under the hood that can freeze. My suspicion is that it has something to do with the starter.

I then messaged the cat lady.

Not only could we no longer pick up her carriers, but there’s no way we’d have the van back early enough to bring the cats in to the vet.

Also, just this morning, we had decided to make a change on which cats were going in. The cats have been after Nicco again, and my daughter asked if we could have her go, instead, for her own protection. So we decided on Nicco and Saffron, instead of Turmeric and Saffron.

The cat lady responded almost right away, asking if we could get them if she came over with the carriers.


Yup. She just took it upon herself to take in two more cats for a couple of days, then bring them in to the vet herself on the 23rd.

What an amazing woman!

After giving directions on how to find us, a daughter and I started working on patching the cover for the mini-greenhouse. We didn’t get very far, when I got a call to confirm our location. She was at the intersection, but there was a misunderstanding in my instructions, and she turned the wrong way. She was already here!

So one of my daughters snagged Nicco while I grabbed Saffron, and we brought them to the sun room for her.

Not only did she come with her two carriers, but she also brought us some canned cat food! It was left over from Cabbages, who is now turning her nose up at Tuna.


We had a chance to talk for a while, and she updated us with some surprising information.

When the vet first saw Cabbages, he thought she had ingested the poison from something like a flea and tick collar. We don’t use those. All her bloodwork had come back healthy, yet she struggled to stay alive. She’d even had a seizure after the cat lady had picked her up from us. The eventual conclusion was the toxoplasmosis somehow getting into her brain. The treatment was the same, either way, for her condition.

Well, they’ve done another blood test. This time, a toxicology test at a different, specialized lab – a $400 test!

The test confirmed this compound was in her blood. She was poisoned. The vet thinks she got into fertilizer.

We don’t have fertilizer in the house.

Somehow, the vet thinks she was getting miniscule amounts of fertilizer over a long period of time, it built up in her brain until she finally became so very ill. Our force feeding her and keeping her hydrated with the syringe kept her alive long enough for the cat lady to get her to the vet.

We are absolutely flummoxed. The only thing we’ve got is Miracle Gro, it’s kept in the sun room, and the cats can’t get at it. Cabbages has never been in the sun room, anyhow.

While she was updating us on the mystery that is Cabbages, we also talked about Nicco and Saffron. She expects Saffron to be adopted out quickly; female orange tabbies get snapped up quickly right now. Calicos, however, are very hard to adopt out for some reason.

We also found out that she doesn’t like calico’s herself, nor female cats. However, her 5 yr old daughter has informed her that if they adopt out Cabbages, she’s moving out. 😀

I know they already have someone lined up to adopt her, but it’s starting to sound like they might be keeping her themselves. Now that Cabbages is healthy, she won’t have anything to do with the cat lady or the other adults, but she and their daughter are inseparable. She gets along with their other cats – and even their blind dog! Cabbages had never seen a dog before, but not only do they get along, she even went for a ride on him! She had climbed onto him while he was lying down, and when he got up and walked away, she stayed!

Cabbages may already be in her forever home!

Meanwhile, Saffron and Nicco will be staying with the cat lady for the next couple of days, make their trip to the vet, then stay with her for 2 more weeks. At that point, they will be ready for adoption and will stay with a foster until new, permanent homes are found.

We also talked about the next vet appointments in March. It will be worked out as we get closer to the date, but the vet is saying they would prefer to have one male and one female. We have no males indoors that need to be fixed, but we do have outdoor males that we can catch. So next time we may be bringing in one indoor female and one outdoor male.

It’s a shame we can’t catch any of the outdoor females. The only ones we could were Butterscotch and Nosencrantz who are now indoor cats, and Rolando Moon, who is already spayed and not going anywhere.

Oh, wow. As I was writing this, I just got sent a couple of photos. Saffron and Nicco have arrived at the cat lady’s home, safe and sound, and are now sharing the cat cage Cabbages had been recovering in. Saffron was comfortably eating already. Nicco has her usual stressed out expression. 😀

Cabbages, meanwhile, is helping the cat lady’s daughter colour, after giving the cat lady her “equivalent to the middle finger” then went on her way. 😀 What an attitude!

I knew the cat lady had already spent $1200 of her own money on vet bills a while ago, while still having weekly vet visits. Now I found out they did that really expensive toxicology test. She has easily spent over $2000 on Cabbages! That’s just in vet bills. She’s also been feeding Cabbages a special, nutrient dense, high calorie diet as she recovers.

All the more reason we started the fund raiser to help cover the costs. At $1500, it won’t cover everything, but it’ll at least cover a substantial amount!

If you would like to contribute to our fundraiser to reimburse the cat lady for Cabbages’ vet bills, click on the button below, or click here. If you would like to read more about it, click here.

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Now we’ve got to figure out what Cabbages got into that caused this. We don’t have flea or tick collars. We don’t have fertilizer. I asked what else might have this compound, and she didn’t know.

Whatever it is, none of the other cats are showing signs of being sick, which makes it even more confusing. What was she getting into, that none of the other cats are getting into?

I’m at such a loss.

Meanwhile, we are now down two more indoor cats. Since we’ve brought in Nosencrantz and Butterscotch, that brings us back to 15.

The cat lady not only brought us the canned cat food Cabbages will no longer eat, but has promised to bring us more donated dry cat food, too.

What an amazing woman!

This takes a weight off our shoulders, as we can now focus on getting transportation again. I’ve let my mother know about the status of her car – reassuring her that all I was doing was keeping her informed, and not expecting her to do anything about it. She started telling me my brother will come out and fix it. No. I’m not expecting my brother to drive all the way out here to try and fix her car. Even if we did know what happened to it! But men always know more about cars than women, so I should at least talk to him.


Well, whatever we end up doing will depend on what the mechanic finds, after we get it towed out to him. Hopefully, it’ll be something we can afford to fix out of April’s budget. The van is already taking up every bit of wiggle room in March’s budget. :-/

Not having a vehicle is just not a good thing out here. Yes, we’re okay as far as basic necessities. It’s more about if there’s some sort of emergency, like if my husband suddenly has to go to the hospital.

Ah, well. It is what it is. We’ll deal with it.

It’s not like we have any choice in the matter!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that sucks

When we first saw the mystery critters that turned out to be woodchucks, running around in the distance, we saw them going under my late father’s car, or under a shed near the barn. When we first saw them this year, there was a pair of them that seemed to have made their home in the branches pile in the outer yard.

It wasn’t until we discovered a den in the middle of the old garden area that we had something that needed to be gotten rid of. Then there was the den under the concrete steps, right at the house. We’ve got four of them that seemed to have moved right into our yard. One really big one, a pair a smaller ones, and one really small one that we’ve seen coming in and out of the spruce grove.

We know at least one of them, possibly two, seems to have made its home under the old garden shed. There isn’t much we can do about them living there, but I didn’t like having to seal off the concrete stairs. That has been a safe place for yard cats to have their kittens, and now they no longer have access to it. The cats also used the space under the garden shed, too.

With seeing the little one running in and out of the spruce grove near the junk pile, I noticed that Butterscotch and her kittens have not been there as often. They still come to the food and water bowls, and they play around the house and under the bird bath, but we’ve seen Butterscotch and her kittens going through the lilac hedge a lot. Which means she’s been taking them to them empty farm yard across the road. We aren’t happy with that, as that is a busy road they cross to get there, and we see a lot of people speeding on that road.

This afternoon, I happened to look out our living room window and saw a couple of woodchucks, next to the kittens’ food bowl.

The littlest woodchuck was getting it on with the biggest one. Which was interesting, considering she is at least twice his size.


So I headed outside to inflict a bit of coitus interruptus. They were gone before I came around the house, but I decided to take a closer look at the junk pile. There’s an old pallet leaning against one side, that the kittens loved to climb and play on, that I moved aside.

Well, crud.

It looks like the littlest woodchuck has made his den under the junk pile. I made my way through the thistles on the other side, and could see a hole leading under the pile on that side, too.

Then the junk pile screamed at me.

I guess that explains why the kittens don’t seem to be around there as much anymore.

The woodchucks are now responsible for the yard cats losing three safe places they had for their kittens, including one that was being actively used.

I am not impressed. The yard cats, at least, earn their keep by keeping us rodent free.

Well. Except for the rodents that are bigger than they are, and eat our garden.

I am not impressed.

The Re-Farmer

Well, today has been an adventure (updated)

We’ve had a steady rain, all day today.  A perfect day to be indoors, with a hot cup of tea.

But nooo…  That would be too easy!

Late in the morning, as the girls were heading upstairs, they discovered water.

The bathroom floor had water all around the toilet, and with our uneven flooring, it also flowed into the hallway and around the doorway into my office.  Continue reading

Looking around and finding… things

While doing my evening walk around the yard, I decided to go into the storage house and look around a bit.

When my parents first got the house and had it moved into our yard, it was intended to be here only temporarily.  As the different sections of the farm were to go to each of the boys, they thought that the house would eventually be moved to one of these sections, placed over a basement instead of on cinder blocks, and one of my brothers would be living in it.

That never happened.

We did, however, use the place.  I spent many hours playing in here, holding sleepovers with my friends on the second floor.  The younger of my brothers held parties in it.

Somehow, in all that time, I never really noticed this.

An outlet mounted this high up is odd enough, but to mount one in between two windows like this?  How very strange.

These windows are in the kitchen of the old house.

I glanced in the cupboards and drawers.  In one cupboard, I found an old text book.

“Biology Investigations” seems an appropriate title, when looking down.

The dead critter is one thing (rat? squirrel?).  Then there’s that mystery pile of whatever, that looks like it might be a nest of some kind.

Getting this place cleaned up might need a haz mat team!

The Re-Farmer

Good Moooorning!

So my darling husband (picture me speaking with a rictus grin) cheerfully comes traipsing into the bedroom and wakes me up with a “so, are there supposed to be cows in the yard?”

What a way to be awakened!

No.  There are not supposed to be cows in the yard.

He had been hearing the cows mooing and thought to himself, that sounds awfully close.

Then looked out the window.

That’s not good!

By the time I put my glasses on, they were at the opposite end of the yard, by the fire pit.  When I got outside, there were no longer any cows in our yard, but there were several just outside the barbed wire gate at the fire pit.

I closed the gate.

I could see from the gate the the electric gate at the cow fence was in place, so before we closed the other gates, I went over by the barn, where the second electric gate is.

Sure enough, the wire was down, looking like something went right through it, dragging it into the tall grass on our side of the fence.

That left us with the task of closing up the vehicle gate, and the people gate.


Yeah.  The pole was still there.

Moving a 30 ft pole is awkward, to say the least.  It wasn’t just getting it clear of the opening, but clearing the swing arc of the gate.  So there was a whole lot of rolling and pivoting, but it wasn’t enough.  He really shouldn’t have, but my husband was able to pull it a few feet away from the yard (yeah, I helped, but really… I wasn’t doing much) and it got rolled clear.

This is the first time we’ve closed these gates since we’ve moved here.


They’re broken.

On the vehicle gate, one side isn’t too bad, but had to be lifted to close.  It shouldn’t need to be lifted.  The other was off the top hinge and we weren’t able to put it back at the time (I will need to go back with a tool kit), but we swung it closed.

They are supposed to be able to latch together.

They don’t.

But we could at least sit the parts on top of each other and let gravity to the rest.


Then there’s the people gate.  I had been wondering why there was a bungee cord on the chain link fence.

Now I know why.

The latch parts don’t latch anymore.  So the bungee is used to keep it from swinging open on its own.

After phoning the renter and leaving a message for him (with apologies for calling so early), I went around the yard, just in case we missed a cow in the bushes or something, then went to see what was going on.


There were 6 altogether; 2 cows and 4 steers.  The rest of the cattle were on the other side of the fence near the electric gate.

I decided not to try and get them out.  They can graze all they want and, at some point, they may well wander back towards the barn and join the rest of the herd.

Granted, the rest of the herd might end up on the wrong side of the fence, too.  But I’m not too worried about it.  They can keep our grass down.

Now.  I wonder if I can get another hour or two of sleep…

The Re-Farmer