Making the best of things, and shed order update

Hmm… I went to start this post and found a post I made yesterday was still in draft. I had used my phone to write it, since my keyboard was dying, but apparently I didn’t hit publish. That is now fixed.

At the moment, I am using my old ergonomic keyboard with the worn out keys. I’d traded with my husband quite a while ago, since he pretty much just uses the number pad and arrow keys. He can use a standard keyboard without hurting his hands, so he is now using the keyboard that came with his system. By the time we switched things up, I had not only lost the y u i o and enter keys, but also the 0 and delete keys! So that keyboard is in the recycling, to be added to the electronics garbage area at the dump. As for the keyboard I’m using now, I will just have to be really confident in my touch typing, because most of the letter keys are worn out. I know there are stickers you can get to put on the keys, but other than online, I haven’t seen them anywhere. At least not locally. And I try to avoid ordering online.

More on that later…

Yesterday morning, I’d been able to mow the south yards before things got too hot. The grass was so wet, it really should have waited for a drier day, but that was not going to happen, from what the forecasts said.

I’m glad I got as much of it done as I had, as we got some heavy enough rains last night, that we now have open water in the yard again. The areas I was able to mow tend to have the most water accumulating in them, compared to the west and north lawns. The main garden area, however, also collects a lot of water, too.

The dwarf Korean lilac sure loved the rain, though! It exploded into bloom overnight. Yesterday, it was almost all buds, with a scattering of open flowers. Look at it now! This type of lilac is extremely fragrant; more so than any of the other types. The regular lilacs are finished blooming now, and the double lilac is almost done. The white lilacs are nearing the end of their blooming period. Now we have the dwarf Korean lilac in full bloom, with one more lilac I can’t remember the name of, still budding. I like that there are so many different types of lilacs here, that bloom at different times. The ornamental poppies are also starting to bloom, and while the white roses are at their peak, I noticed the pink rose is starting to bloom this morning, too.

From the weather radar, we should be getting more rain today. The heavy rain is passing to the north of us, but it looks like we’ll be catching the edge of the system a bit.

I actually did not get a chance to do my morning rounds today. The girls made sure the cats were fed while I spent time on the phone, then had to make a quick run to a branch of my bank.

To get a replacement debit card.

There’s a reason I don’t like to order online. This is one of them.

A while back, I’d written about ordering a shed from a clearance site for garden sheds. The steeply discounted prices were due to them being abandoned orders – along the lines of things like airport auctions of unclaimed items. I was taking a chance with the order. I’d seen both positive and negative comments about the site; some places rated the site as a scam, while others rated is as legitimate.

A day or so after the order was placed (using my debit-Visa, because we have no credit cards) and I got my confirmation email, I sent an email with some questions. There was no response, so after a couple of days, I wrote again. Still no response. There was also no shipping confirmation email or tracking number, for something that was supposed to take 3-7 days to arrive (or 6-10 days under Covid restrictions, which still apply to shipping in Canada). So on Friday – 4 days ago – I emailed to cancel my order and requested a refund.

I really wasn’t expecting to get my money back, by that point. So it was quite a surprise when, late last night, my phone’s bank app sent me a notification for a credit in the amount of the shed order. Due to the hours, the line item wasn’t in my transactions yet, but the balance reflected the change. This is typical of how my bank works, and I knew the line item would appear during banking hours. Sure enough, in the morning, it was there.

However, I also got another notification. This time, for a debit from my account, in the same amount.

Yes, I got the refund – and then the amount was taken from my account again.

So I got on the phone with my bank, which pretty much always involves spending time on hold. When I finally got through, I explained the situation to the woman who took my call, and asked about having the charges reversed and to report fraud. Since we did have communication with them, however – even though they didn’t answer my emails, they did refund the amount – she suggested I email them again to ask why the amount was removed again, then go back to the site to have my data removed.

Okay. I was willing to try that.

I sent the email, then went back to the original order confirmation email to click on the link that would take me directly to my order page.

I got an error message. The usual “check your spelling” message and, if correct, run a diagnostic, message.

I tried the “go to store” link.

Same error message.

I tried going to the home page by using the link in my browser’s history.

Same error message.

The website was gone.

So I called the bank back to explain what happened.

This time, the fraud investigation was started. We went through the initial process, then he put me on hold to finish the process at his end.

While I was on hold, another notification came in; a calendar reminder that a telephone medical appointment for my husband with the cardiac clinic was due in 5 minutes. !!!

Thankfully, we finished up before then.

My debit-Visa card was cancelled, so there is no chance of more money being taken from our account. The fraud investigation has been started. We should get our money returned within 10 business days, but it would a conditional return as the investigation continues. If they find it was a legitimate transaction, the bank could take the money back again within 60 days.

The initial withdrawal would have been considered a “legitimate transaction”, since I did place the order. Basically, if it turned out they were illegitimate, it was on me for being duped. However, because they refunded the money – then took it out again – that changes things. The first debit from my account may have been an authorized transaction, but the second debit from my account was not.

As for my cancelled debit card, as soon as I was done on the phone, I then headed to the nearest town with a branch of my bank to get a new debit-Visa card.

Which I now have to set up again for online banking, on both my phone and my desktop, again. Which is not as urgent.

If this place had simply refunded my money and left it at that, it would have been the end of it. The only thing is that I would have been wondering if cancelling was the right thing to do, because if they were legitimate, we would have eventually gotten a nice big shed that would have been very useful. However, for them to take the money out again, they now have the fraud investigation happening. Hopefully, that will mean no one else will be taken advantage of.

So we took a chance and, from the looks of it, almost got burned. We’ll see how the investigation plays out. That means it might be a few weeks before we find out, and I should get an affidavit in the mail about it soon.

There is one other possible, though highly unlikely, outcome. The website said that a cancellation/refund could not be made if the order had already been shipped. It could be the money was refunded at about the same time as the order got shipped, so the money was taken again. If that turns out to be true, we obviously won’t get our money back, because there would be no fraud, and the shed will get delivered. Since I have not received any other emails from them since the order confirmation, and I can no longer access the website, I highly doubt that will happen.

The weird thing was when I was updating my husband about it, and he tried to go to the site on his own computer.

The site is still there.

My husband can browse the site all he wants, but if I try to see it using my desktop or my phone, I still get the “site can’t be reached” error message – and the “try running a diagnostic” link just gives me a pop up saying a diagnostic can’t be done. I would say there’s something in my cookies that is keeping me from accessing the site on my desktop, but until today, I’d never tried to visit the site while on my phone.

Very odd. I should see about removing the cookies and trying again. But not right now.

Aside from all that, we’ve had other changes. I should have been at my mother’s for the home care assessment right now, but then it looked like her apartment was going to be sprayed for bed bugs. So while my mother made arrangements with my sister to stay at her place, I tried to track down the home care department to change the appointment. Yesterday, the guy phoned my mom to rebook for tomorrow, because it turned out he couldn’t make it today, anyhow. As for the spraying, that turned out to be a mix up. My mother’s apartment is still on the list – my brother made sure of that, and also made sure they knew my mother might try to claim she didn’t need it, because she’s squishing them herself *shudder* – but we don’t have a date. All we know is that, some time before they show up, she’ll get a piece of paper shoved under her door with instructions. Apparently, the people who spoke to my brother on the phone have no way of knowing when that will be done. The whole thing is a disorganized and inefficient mess. Which is SOP for anything run by the government. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the provincial level or the federal level. With my husband being in the military, then years of working government contracts as a civilian, we’ve been seeing this sort of ineptitude for decades.

I did call my mother this morning, though. While I was driving my sister tried to contact me because my mother wasn’t answering the phone. She was trying to figure out if she was picking my mother up today or not. She did get through to my husband – who was still waiting for his phone appointment with the cardiac clinic (which never came) – and he was able to update her. Apparently, my mother never told her she didn’t need to come out anymore. As for my mother, she was resting before there was a meeting in her building this afternoon, by the housing department. They used to have these regularly, until the pandemic restrictions stopped everything. The irony of that is, those “health” restrictions would have a lot do with why so many of the provincially run buildings now have bed bug problems all over the province. They weren’t caught and treated right away, and now they’re a major issue that just kept on spreading.


So that’s my morning’s adventures.

What fun!


The Re-Farmer

Flooding of a different sort

What a wet and terrible end to the day! And it’s not over yet.

No, I’m not talking about the storm related flooding outside. Nor am I talking about the water collecting in our old basement.

No, this is a completely different sort of flooding.

I tried to do laundry.

We’ve been having issues with our laundry. A while back, we discovered that when the washer tried to drain, the water would slowly back up the drain pipe and start spilling on the floor.

Cleaning that mess when it first happened was when we discovered that the septic had backed up into the old basement, and we figured it was related.

Photo by Hilary Halliwell on

It wasn’t.

Somewhere in the pipes, there’s a bottleneck block. Wherever the block is, it’s past the T where the drain pipe from the laundry joins the main pipe from the kitchen. The plumber’s snake won’t make the bend, so we haven’t been able to clear it.

We’ve used super strong (septic safe) drain cleaner. We’ve been doing regular pipe-cleaning bacterial treatments (that are also designed to help break down the contents of the septic tank). So far, nothing has worked. In fact, it was getting worse. We’ve had to hover around the washing machine, waiting for the drain stage, listen for the water coming up the pipe, pause the machine, wait for the pipe to drain, then start it up again. Repeatedly.

The length of time it takes for the pipe to fill has been getting shorter.

Today, it got impossible. Almost as soon as the water started to drain, the pipe would fill and water would literally start shooting out the opening. Of course, it takes a moment for the water to stop flowing after the pause button is hit, so there was basically no time for there to not be water coming up the pipe.

I tried using a smaller plumber’s snake that we have – one that has a bottle brush type of end that is great for pulling cat hair out of the bathroom sink. I think I even managed to get it to bend at the T. Pulling it up, though, there was no sign of anything stuck to the bristles that would show it had brushed up against something blocking the pipe.

There was no way I was going to be able to drain the washing machine this way, and it couldn’t possibly be good on the electronics to be constantly hitting the pause button over and over. I started thinking, if I could drain it into a bucket or something, but that would take a pretty large bucket, and quite a few pauses to empty it. If only I could just drain it straight out of the house.

*lightbulb moment*

I remembered we have that spare hose for the sump pump. The washing machine is in the entry, not far from the main doors we aren’t using because of the hinge problems. If the hose were long enough, I could open the inner door and run the hose out the storm door window, which has no screen.

So I went to the sun room and got the hose. It was more than long enough. I was in the process of checking to make sure the drain hose on the washing machine would fit, when it happened.

The washing machine, which was still on pause, turned itself on, and started to drain.

I was holding the drain hose.

Water started splashing all over me, the washing machine, the dryer and the floor, with remarkable pressure.

I hit the pause button.


I hit the power button.


I kept trying to turn the machine off, but it just would not respond. Then I noticed the display showed something about the door. So I tried to lift it.

With the machine running, it should have been locked.

It opened.

Meanwhile, I was trying to hold the hose, with water spraying, away from the machines and the outlets behind them, to spray onto the floor instead, but there’s not a lot of length to work with. The machine needed to be unplugged, but I was soaking wet.

By then, I was already calling for help, and the family came running. I quickly said that someone needed to unplug the washing machine while staying dry to do it. My older daughter launched herself over the steps (there are only 2, but they were also wet) and onto the machine to reach the plug and got it done.

By this time, half the water of a very full drum was flooding the entryway and pouring down the basement steps.

Another time when I’m glad we have unfinished basements.

I asked for a broom and my younger daughter got it for me while her sister got down from the washing machine – with considerable more care than how she got on it! I started sweeping the water down the stairs, while we also tried to move various things off the sopping floor, untangle the sump pump hose, and so on. After a while, my daughter took over with the broom, and I went into the basement to see what the status was, there. The basement floor is not the least bit level, and the water was starting to run under the root cellar door and pool behind it. Nothing else in the root cellar was affected, though.

Back upstairs I went, and got our mop and bucket. My daughter started mopping up the entryway to get as much as she could, then headed into the basement to clean up as much as she could there, too. The water had continued to flow past the root cellar door and was starting to puddle about half way to the other end.

That washing machine has a huge drum. The machine adjusts the fill size automatically, based on how much is in the tub (I’m assuming by weight), and it had been full to the top. The first time I tried to stop the water, I’d accidently hit the power button instead of the pause button. That meant I had to start the load over. I think the weight of water in the drum messed things up, and it filled for a much larger load.

My daughter also adjusted the pedestal fan I had moved to help dry out the far corner of the basement that was getting damp, then set it to oscillate to try and get air circulating to both ends of the basement as much as possible.

I went back to the entryway and started drying off the washer and dryer, which also got unplugged. After a while, I got the sump pump hose again. The washing machine’s hose fit into the end, but wouldn’t stay. I ended up duct taping them together. I was then going to tape the hose to the side of the drier to hold it in place, but the duct tape wouldn’t stick to the drier. Wiping it down apparently didn’t get it dry enough. So I left it for now.

Since we were dealing with water, anyhow, I went into the old basement to sweep the standing water into the drain. As I was thinking about what happened, wondering out the machine turning itself on and not turning itself off, and why the door didn’t lock, it finally occurred to me.

Once I realised I could open the door to the washing machine, I could have aimed the drain hose into the drum. In the middle of everything going on, it just never occurred to me.


Extending the hose out the door, however, will work. Once everything is dry again, we’ll plug the dryer in. Then, after making sure the hose is set up to drain through the door, we’ll plug the washing machine in and see what happens.

Hmm… this would actually be a good time to test out the new syphon pump and drain the tub that way. The washing machine can’t be set to go straight to another part of the cycle; you can only start a full wash cycle, or pause part way through one. If we plug it in and it doesn’t, say, turn itself on again, the only way to get the machine to drain the tub would be to start a new load.

What a pain.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have to see what numbers in the budget I can juggle, so we can get a plumber in.

Not that that will happen anytime soon, with all the flooding happening right now. I had expected the main road to wash out in a particular spot, but I’ve since seen photos people shared showing that it has washed out right at the highway – and the (no longer used) church and bell tower at that intersection is completely surrounded by water.

Even if I called a plumber now, I wouldn’t expect them to have a chance to get out here for days, if not weeks. I imagine all the plumbers are insanely busy right now!

How bizarre that, with all the flooding going on around us, the flooding we’re having to deal with is from our own washing machine.

It’s past midnight now. I’m going to go to the old basement and do one more sweep before bed. I’ll leave dealing with the washing machine for day time.

What a way to end the day.

The Re-Farmer

Not quite a day of rest

It looks like we have a new addition to our outside cats.

Sad Face has been hanging around. This morning, I saw him milling about with the other cats without any trouble. He was even in the kibble house, though he ran off when I came by. The photo above is the closest he was willing to get, while I was out and about, and I had to zoom in with my phone.

Rolando Moon followed me when I went to switch memory cards on the sign cam.

Of course, we had deer visiting, including this one.

Green grass is actually starting to show in places, though I haven’t noticed any along the sidewalk. She found something to chew on, though.

Then I spotted the piebald heading for the kibble house, and one of my daughters was kind enough to send it away!

The girls started a load of laundry before we sat down for lunch, and it’s a good thing we were lingering at the table afterward. As the washing machine was draining, we suddenly heard water gurgling in the kitchen sink – then splashing!

The drain for the washing machine was overflowing again.


I’d hoped, after getting the septic tank emptied and that backed up pipes in the basement cleared, it would have solved that problem, too. I made sure to dash into the basement to check, and all was fine down there.

It doesn’t happen every time we do laundry. In fact, it only happened once before, and that was the day we discovered the septic was backing into the basement.

From what I could hear in the pipes, things were draining. It just seems that it wasn’t draining fast enough for a larger load. With our new machine, we don’t choose a load size. It’s a “smart” machine, and adjusts the water levels itself, based on how much is in the drum.

The last time it happened, and we pulled the machines out to clean up the mess, we used drain cleaner in the pipe. Clearly, that wasn’t enough.

When the new part of the house was built, my dad included a sink in the entryway. That was taken out, long ago, which is why there was plumbing in place for my brother and daughter to install the washing machine (all those years my parents used the basement when, as their mobility decreased, they could have used the entry). It joins the drain pipe from the kitchen, which then joins with the tub’s drain, then the toilet, and finally the main pipe to the septic.

My guess is that we’ve got decades of kitchen grease and detritus, as well as whatever was washed down the sink that used to be in the entry, every time someone cleaned up after being in the barn, garage, garden, etc. I don’t think anyone really paid attention to what went down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind.

I followed the pipe as best I could, but the section that is under the entryway is actually hidden behind a floor joist in the ceiling of the root cellar. The root cellar is under the entry and built around a corner of the old basement. The pipe runs along the top of the old concrete wall, until it bends and joins the drain from the tub. It’s pretty inaccessible.

When we tried to use a plumbing snake in that drain, it didn’t really accomplish anything.

So, how do we clear the pipe?

Slowly, it appears.

I headed into town (I never made it yesterday, so I had to go to refill our water bottles, anyhow) and made a stop at a hardware store. I’d found something there before that we’d tried but, when we ran out, we never remembered to get more. It’s an enzyme based product that is designed to maintain both the pipes and the septic tank. It’s meant to be used once a month. I found a version of it made by CLR, so I got both. I also got a funnel with a flexible hose on it, so we can pour it into the drain without having to pull the dryer out, then the washing machine, to reach the opening.

Then I got a new bottle of heavy duty drain cleaner, since we emptied the last one was had.

With the monthly treatment products, it can be poured into any drain, so we might start from the kitchen sink. It’s the one that’s furthest out from the septic, but still close to the washing machine drain.

We already use a bacterial product to help maintain the septic tank, but this is something that gets flushed down the toilet regularly, and does nothing for the pipes. As the products I picked up today are to maintain both the pipes and the tank, I think we’ll stop using the flush additive for now. It’s probably not a good idea to have TOO much bacteria or enzymes in the system.

While I was out, getting the stuff for the pipes, my daughter monitored the washing machine so that, if it started to overflow again, she could quickly shut the machine off, wait until it drained, then turn it back on again.

I hope this stuff works, because I don’t see any other way we can get those pipes clear. At least not without calling in a plumber.

At least this happened early enough in the day that the hardware store was still open. 😀

The Re-Farmer

The luffa is still trying! Plus, a bit of an update.

Our temperatures have been lurching around quite a bit, lately! Last night, we dipped to 3C/37F, but our high of the day is supposed to reach 23C/73F!

I’m watching our garden beds closely and had a surprise. Not only is our Ozark Nest Egg gourd trying to produce more gourds, so are the luffa!

This is our first – and until now, only – luffa that was developing. It’s withering away, likely due to lack of pollination.

Right near it I found these.

Three new luffa starting to develop!

There are even some male flowers blooming, too. With so few pollinators around right now, I am thinking of pollinating them by hand, to give them a chance to actually mature, but it’s almost October. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but then, this year it looking like we will have a long, warm fall. I’d like to see how far along they get.

Though last night was chilly, we had no frost warnings, and when I headed out early this morning, to make sure the gate was open for the septic guy, I don’t think I saw any frost damage. I even was able to harvest a couple more zucchini this morning.

The overnight dip did make going to the outhouse during the night rather unpleasant! As I write this, we are still waiting on the septic guy to come by. All he could tell me when I called last night was that he thought he could make it in the morning.

Until the tank is emptied, there is no point in trying to unclog the pipe from the basement to the tank. So for now, we’re not only stuck using the outhouse, but doing things like using a bowl to wash up in, so the water can be dumped outside later, rather than going down the drain.

I’m really hoping we can get this is just a straightforward clearing of that pipe. Otherwise, we’ll be having to call a plumber, and that means dipping into funds set aside for other things. The good thing is, we have those funds if we need them, at least. :-/ As much of a pain as it can sometimes be, we’ve actually been able to set aside a bit of cash into a contingency fund. While we were living in the city, that was impossible to do. So I am thankful for that, at least!

The Re-Farmer

Are you kidding me??

It’s past 1 am as I write this, but I just had to.

I went down into the old basement to treat the hot water tank with hydrogen peroxide before going to bed. This is what I found.

It’s leaking!

(That ring of minerals on the concrete is not new; it’s been there since the last time we had issues.)

We don’t go into the old basement often (and with the cats, we’ve put all the most breakable stuff into the old basement and blocked off the opening between the two basements, so there was no chance of kittens falling into the sump pump reservoir or otherwise hurting themselves). The last time anyone went down there, that I can remember, was my daughter, the last time the tank was treated. I called her over to see, and confirmed it wasn’t leaking the last time she was down there.

In trying to see where it was leaking it appeared to be coming from the bottom access panel, too. So we opened it up.

Yup. It’s been reaching that high!!

We’ve left the panel off. Tomorrow, I will call the number on the tank to talk about getting a replacement under warranty.


For those who are new to the blog, when we first moved here, this place still had the tank that was installed when my dad got the well dug near the house and installed running water. He got the tank second hand. When cleaning up the basements, I found the old warranty certificate and bill of sale for it, dated 1963, if I remember correctly.

It died shortly after we moved in.

Long story short, we went without hot water until we could afford to get a plumber to replace the tank for us.

That worked out well for a while, until the water started to get hotter and hotter, all on its own. We called the plumber and he changed the thermostat, but that’s when we discovered that it had started leaking at the bottom. When he opened the bottom panel, he found the insulation saturated with water.

Not long after that, we lost hot water completely.

We then had issues with discovering the local hardware store it was purchased at, not doing warranty replacements. I tried working with the company directly before finally finding a branch someplace else that had would honor the warranty. We then had to get the plumber back to install it for us, and it’s been working fine ever since. The only issue is one we’ve had since replacing the original tank; the hot water would start to get a sulfur smell. Every month or so, we would drain the tank a bit, then use the vacuum created to suction hydrogen peroxide through a hot water tap in what used to be the laundry sink. It needs to sit for at least 4 hours, so we would do it before bed, so the water could be used in the morning.

It’s been about 1 1/2 years since that tank was replaced under warranty. And not it’s happening again.

What the heck is going on? How does a second hand tank last for nearly 40 years, but new tanks aren’t even making it 2 years?

But at least we still have hot water. I guess it’s a good thing it started visibly leaking this time, before we started having problems. We don’t have the water getting super hot, like the tank started having issues last time. It’s “just” leaking.

This is ridiculous!

The Re-Farmer

Are you kidding me?

There is a reason I’m paranoid about vehicles, but really???

When I was driving to town, then my mother’s, then home again, the van was doing just fine. I drove into the yard to unload, then left the van there until it was time to pick up my daughter from work. The giant puddles of water are smaller than they were, but it’s still really muddy.

In fact, I could feel the van sinking in the mud as I drove through the yard gate on the way out. There are going to be some serious ruts to try and fix when things are finally dried out.

The van seemed to have trouble in the mud, and I still felt a sort of … sluggishness… as I drove to the gate. As I went through, I found myself thinking, did I hear a noise? What was that? Hmm… not hearing anything anymore.

I left early so I could play a bit of Pokemon Go and top up the gas tank. With gas prices so low, I’ve been keeping full every chance I can.

Playing Pokemon Go means driving to different spots where I can park safely for a bit, spin some stops and catch some Pokemon. For the most part, the van seemed to be fine, but every now and then, I’d hear… something. Or the van would feel… odd. Particularly when I made a left turn into the gas station, but it didn’t seem to be there when I made a right turn to leave.

By this time, my paranoia meter was in high gear!!

It wasn’t until I was driving into the pharmacy that it really kicked in. I was making a left turn at an intersection, with an immediate left turn to get into the parking lot, so basically I was making a giant U-turn. As I was turning, there was a most definite and unequivocal knocking, and a matching vibration. Once parked, I walked around the van, trying to see what might be making the noise, but could see nothing.

When my daughter joined me and we started to leave the parking lot, the knocking noise was there, and I was starting to feel a shudder. By this time, I was able to pin it down to the front driver’s side tire area.

As we drove the next few blocks, without any turns, we could still hear the knocking, though not as much as while turning. Instead of making our usual turn to go home, I drove straight to the garage. It was closed, of course, but where else was I to go?

My daughter and I got out and tried to see what might be making the noise. No luck. So I phoned the mechanic, knowing that the business number was his cell phone. Thankfully, he answered, even though he was at home. I told him what was going on (and he remembered our vehicle). Unfortunately, he was going to be closed until Tuesday, since it’s Easter weekend. That’s the earliest he could order parts. Would I be able to leave the van? Could someone come and pick us up in my mom’s car? Yes, he remembered her car, too!

I haven’t driven my mom’s car since I drove it home from the garage, last time. The differential is still making a noise, and while he recommended driving it for about 100-150km. He’d done a flush and the noise should have stopped, but perhaps the fresh lubricant needed to work its way into the nooks and crannies. I didn’t want to drive if when I had someplace specific to go, so it just didn’t happen. In fact, with my daughter’s reduction in shifts and reduced need to run errands, and not even using it to drive my mother around lately, I was seriously considering suspending the insurance. The only reason it hasn’t been done is because I wasn’t sure how the insurance office is doing things right now, and if I could do it over the phone.

Now, I’m glad I never got around to it.

While figuring out whether it was worth my trying to drive it home, he suggested I drive it around the block and see how the van behaved, then call him back.

I made it to the grocery store parking lot, across the street.

The knocking noise kicked in as soon as I took a turn, and the van started to shudder. I pulled into a parking spot and called him back, telling him it was now even worse. We spoke for a bit, and he told me that once I worked out how to get home, call him to let him know where I was hiding the key.

I called my husband to drive my mother’s car and come get us. He can barely get in and out of the vehicle and it’s incredibly painful for him, but we didn’t have much choice.

Then I drove the van back to the garage. By this point, the knocking was even louder, and I could feel the entire van shuddering. It was definitely coming from around that front driver’s side tire.

So now that van sits at the garage, waiting for Tuesday. My hope is that it’s just some mud that got into something it shouldn’t have, and that it’ll be an easy fix.

Thankfully, we don’t have to drive anywhere for another week, though my daughter’s work is going to be doing some changes with schedules. If she does end up getting new shifts, I can only hope it won’t be until after the van is fixed!

Then, maybe I’ll leave my Mom’s car there again, so he can check that noise from the differential again. :-/


I really don’t need this!!

The Re-Farmer

Fail, times three!

I’ve posted about our first time tries at making several fermented products.

There was the mead, small batches of plain sauerkraut and a probiotic sauerkraut/fermented vegetables version. Plus, there was the crabapple cider vinegar I posted progress on recently. (all of these links will open in new tabs)

The jars of sauerkraut and cider are in locations that I can easily check on them. With the lack of fermentation in the mead, I’ve found myself eyeballing the jars harder.

I was feeling suspicious.

So this evening, I took down a jar of plain sauerkraut and took the filter off. It seemed okay, but I went to check the other two, anyhow.

Oh, dear.

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