My new “toy”

My awesome, wonderful, lovely husband bought me a new toy that arrived in today’s mail!

Isn’t it beautiful?

I know, shortly after we moved here, I saw a draw knife in one of the sheds. I remember using it when I was a kid, stripping bark off of spruce logs. It was old and rusty when I found it, but I’m pretty sure it was still solid.

Now, I can find no trace of it. It’s just gone. I’m still positive I saw it, though. I just can’t remember where!

So my husband bought me a new one!

It’s really solid and wonderfully sharp. My husband made a quick and dirty leather sheath for the blade. Just a strip of heavy leather wrapped around it with snaps to hold it in place. He says he’ll make me a prettier one, later.

I can’t wait to test it out!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and a new toy!

I haven’t been able to get photos of the outside cats lately. I have been going out earlier, to avoid the heat (ha! Yeah; I know. “Heat” is relative), and few are around. Today, I allowed myself to sleep in a bit, so there was a whole crowd waiting for me at the door.

I spotted 10 in total this morning, including Potato Beetle who had his private breakfast in the sun room, and Sad Face, sneaking in to the tray under the shrine, being very careful around Rosencrantz.

It’s entirely possible all the cats in the above photo are female, which means they might all have kittens somewhere. For sure, there’s 5 that are female, now that we realize that Bradiccus is a dude.

I didn’t do all my rounds this morning, wanting to go into town to run some errands. I even switched out the trail cam memory cards on the way out, since the sign cam can be reached from the road side of the fence.

The grader went through again yesterday. The road looked pretty ugly, but was much better to drive on, including the bad patch near our place. The road is still really soft there, but at least it doesn’t have massive ruts and mud anymore.

I was just coming up on the highway when I noticed a bunch of cars parked on the road, near someone’s driveway. I figured there was a garage sale happening, and my mother had given me cash to pay for gas, so I decided to stop.

I’m glad I did.

One of the first things I spotted was a hybrid mountain bike. I asked about it, and the guy told me a gear skipped and the brakes weren’t very good. Both things my husband knows how to fix. He was asking $10 for it, so I bought it. There are several bikes in the garage, but they aren’t in good shape, and not as high end as the bike I just got, and we don’t have the time to dig them out and see what work needs to be done on them, so getting this one for $10 for now is fine. It’s a tall bike; something that might be good for my 6′ tall husband, but that’s not a problem.

After paying for the bike, I wandered around to look at other stuff before going back to the bike to load it up. I was walking around a display on the ground when I suddenly noticed just what it was I was walking around.

A miter saw.

!!!

So I moved the bike over to the saw and went back to ask about it. There wasn’t much to tell, really. It works. He said I could plug it in and test it if I wanted, but I took his word for it. It’s an older saw, and pretty basic. He was asking $30 for it.

I bought it.

There used to be a miter saw here, in the shed that used to be my late brother’s workshop, but is now a storage warehouse. I’ve seen pictures of it, and it was higher end than this one, but since that one grew legs and walked away, I don’t care. An older miter saw is better than none at all!

Between this and the table saw we dragged out of a shed, it will make things much easier when we can start building our chicken coop, or any other projects we are talking about.

Now we just have to learn how to use it. 😀 We’ve never had one before.

Little by little, we’re replacing some of the tools that disappeared while this place was empty. I’m very glad I decided to stop. I don’t normally do garage sales – they were all over the place! – but not only did I find a couple of good deals, but I finally got to meet our neighbour. It was funny when I asked if he could bring the miter saw to the van while I loaded the bike while he got my change. He recognised it from our driving by so regularly. 😀 He joked about how having the garage sale was the only time he got to meet his neighbours! I know what he means, that’s for sure. 🙂

So I’m all excited for when we are able to start working on some larger projects.

Which won’t be until after we’re done getting the garden in!

Now to figure out where to keep it. There’s no more room in the sun room. Maybe we can find a space in the garage.

That’s a good problem to have!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that was unexpected, and an upgraded tool

I just made a quick trip into town to pick up a few things. Of course, I ended up getting more than planned! There were some good sales on stuff that will be for the Easter basket, and others to add to our pantry and freezer. A two for one whole chicken sale is not something to pass up! 😉

We also had a package to pick up at the post office – where I made sure to warn the the postal worker that there would be a rather heavy package expected on Friday. Not that I think she’ll have a problem with it. She’s a farm girl, too! Still, lifting something that turns out to be unexpectedly heavy can lead to injuries, so I wanted to make sure she was aware.

Today’s package was an upgraded OBDII reader.

The one we have is basic and does the job, but this one should provide us with more information. It also has a proprietary app, and 24 hour customer service. I’ve downloaded the app and will have to test it out, the next time I’m in the van. With this new reader, we can keep the old one in my mother’s car.

While folding up and putting away the wagon in the sun room, I noticed something that I’m sure wasn’t there, this morning.

A puddle of glue under the reflector we made yesterday!

I used watered down all-purpose glue on the sheet of insulation to adhere the aluminum foil, applying a very thin coat with a paintbrush. I knew the glue wasn’t going to stick very well to the insulation, but I figured it would at least dry and adhere enough to hold the foil in place.

I did not expect it to leak like this, instead! That’s quite a lot of glue, too, for the amount that was used in the first place.

Ah, well. It’s still sticky and holding the foil in place, plus the foil is held by tape on the back. It’ll stay, and that’s all the matters, really.

The Re-Farmer

Long day, good day and a new toy! Still glad it’s over. :-)

Today was our day to do our monthly shop in the city. It went well, but my goodness, it’s draining! 😀

Of course, my day started with my morning rounds and a visit with the outside kitties. 🙂

Which included an explosion of sorts!

I was right by the heated water bowl, near the entrance into the cat’s house, when an explosion of fur and fury erupted through the strips of carpet covering the entrance. It was Nicky the Nose, making a mad dash for it!

That is a big, hefty cat!

Once my rounds were done, I settled in to check the trail cam files. I saw an RCMP pick up truck going slowly past our driveway, then again in the other direction. So it looks like they at least tried to serve our vandal about the restraining order court date, and checked our place out as well. Whether or not he was home to be served, I don’t know and probably will not be notified about.

We had snow last night, so when I checked the gate this morning, I was following all sorts of tracks – cats (of course), the prints of a large canine (likely my brother’s dog visiting again. 😀 ) and very, very fresh deer tracks!

There were not, however, any tire tracks in our driveway, on the outside of the gate.

As my daughter and I headed out to the city, a couple of hours later, there were tire tracks. I could see that someone had driven into our driveway. It could be just someone using our driveway to turn around, which is not that unusual, but it should be interesting to see what shows up when I check the memory cards tomorrow.

I also checked the security camera on our garage. It is set to take an image and email it to me, whenever the motion sensor is triggered. I was very interesting to see what would show up, now that it’s in a new position.

Did I mention it snowed last night?

I had almost 200 emails, and all but a few had pictures of snowflakes! 😀

I did a bit of adjusting of the camera’s position before we headed out, and from what files were waiting for me when we got home, I think I found the sweet spot for the motion sensor.

Our trip to the city went well, but also had its interesting moments.

On our way, we stopped at the next town to get gas. This municipality is under a mask mandate. They know me pretty well by now, so when I walked in without a mask, the lady behind the counter was comfortable enough to ask me why so many people coming from up north aren’t wearing masks. I said we aren’t under a mask mandate. Of course, she pointed out that when we come to places that do, we are are supposed to be wearing them. How can I be not wearing one? So I explained to her about the medical exemption, and she was all “but what does that mean?” I explained it, and how PIPA means they can’t ask someone why someone is medically exempt (though I did mention my own chronic cough, because I really don’t care who knows about it). A customer who had started to come in at the same time as me, but turned around to get his mask, heard part of the conversation and started asking, too. We talked a bit about the different kinds of exemptions, and how a medical exemption includes invisible disabilities, like PTSD or Autism. It turns out that the employees were simply told, everyone has to wear masks, but no one told them that the mandate included exemptions. Nothing! So I gave her one of my extra exemption cards, which states exactly where in the mandate medical exemptions are, mentions PIPA’s role, and includes related phone numbers. She was really happy to have it, and I think she was really ticked off that no one explained any of this to them.

Once in the city, we go to a drive through for breakfast, then Walmart, an international foods grocery store, Costco… then, hopefully, nowhere else! 😀

While at the Walmart, my daughter bought me a new toy.

I now have an angle grinder!! Oh, I am so excited. 🙂

My daughter knows what her Mama likes! ❤

Meanwhile…

At the international foods store, just as we were finishing up at the self checkout, I had someone come to me, reminding me to wear a mask next time. I thanked her and told her I was medically exempt, and she moved on to the next self checkout. Which is why I could hear when a security guard came to her and started telling her not to bother going to people who come in without masks because “suddenly, everyone is medically exempt.”

Oh, dear.

She did not need to be given a hard time for doing her job, and that comment was just too much! For me, it’s not a big deal, but if someone that is medically exempt for something like anxiety or trauma had heard that, it would have been extremely difficult for them.

So when we were done, my daughter went ahead with our stuff while I asked to speak to a manager.

I made sure to say I had no problems with being told about the mandate, that the staff member who approached me was doing her job; I told her I’m medically exempt, and that was it. He was nodding along as I spoke. Then I told him about the security guard going to her, and what I heard him saying to her. As soon as I repeated “suddenly, everyone’s medically exempt”, even with his mask on, I could see his face cringing! We spoke for a while, and he was very glad I’d told him about it, thanking me for doing so. I really stressed I understood what is required of them to meet the conditions of the mandate, and the staff member who approached me didn’t need to be hassled for doing her job, but also, there are a lot of reasons people can’t wear masks, so that comment by the security guard was not right. He said he would talk to the security guard about it, and agreed with me that it came down to training. He also added, it’s not their job to be the mandate police! 😀 It was a very pleasant and positive conversation.

Costco went smoothly, except for a couple of things. One being a customer. We had our flat cart pretty heavily loaded, making it hard to steer, when there was a bit of a bottle neck around a woman who stopped her cart to look at some produce. Behind her was an older woman with a walker. I pulled back a bit, smiled and indicated that she could go around first. No, she told me. She didn’t want to go near me, because I wasn’t wearing a mask. :-/ So I just went ahead and pushed my flat cart forward – which meant I had to walk past her, anyhow! She ended up moving around the other side. As I passed, I told her I was at more risk from her than the other way around, but I don’t know that she heard me. Ah, well.

We were nearly done when I had a staff member approach me, asking about a mask. I told her I was medically exempt and she asked if I had a card or a letter from a doctor. I said it wasn’t a requirement, but she said they had a policy that people without masks had to have a card from a doctor. Now, I know doctors have been told not to write exemption letters, but she kept saying “card”. So I dug out one of my exemption cards and asked if that was what she meant. She said yes, and told me to keep it handy; there was a health inspector in the building, and she didn’t want me to get fined!

I never saw the health inspector but, as we were leaving, I made a point of telling the woman checking our receipt as we left, how much I appreciated them not giving me grief about the mandate, and how awesome they were at this location. I know people who have tried going to other locations and have gotten a lot of hassle, and this place never has. I wanted to make sure to say thank you and make a positive comment about it.

As smoothly as things went overall, these trips are really draining at the best of times. We were both pretty exhausted by the time we got home!

As we unloaded, I took the cat kibble for the outside cats to the sun room and refilled the bin. On cutting open a bag, I had Creamsicle actually sticking his head in and starting to eat! It was like he was starving! LOL After emptying the one bag into the bin, both he and Potato Beetle climbed right in to eat. I scooped some to top up the containers in the kibble house, but they didn’t leave the bin, even as I emptied another big into it. 😀 I finally had to drag them out and over to the kibble house, just so I could close the bin and put it away.

Junk Pile was hanging out, too, and she has been willing to come closer to us, even if we still can’t touch her.

Which is why I could see, she’s starting to look very round. !!!

I really hope I’m wrong, but she might be pregnant again! This is a very bad time of year for it. 😦 We’ll know soon enough, I guess.

Anyhow.

We are now well stocked for the month, and I am so glad to be done with it.

The Re-Farmer

Clean up progress

I had originally been thinking of working in a different area today, to remove more dead and damaged trees in the West yard. That pile of apple branches, however, was bothering me.

So I started breaking that down, instead. Here are the before and after pictures.

This is as far as I got, before it started to rain.

I’ve been breaking it down to firepit sized pieces, to make it easier later on. I have to admit, as I cut some of the larger pieces, I find myself thinking that … some of them look pretty good … maybe I could salvage some of them… It seems like such a waste to burn this beautiful apple wood! I wouldn’t even want to use it for a cookout, since I don’t know how the fungal disease would affect the smoke. But gosh, apple is a beautiful wood!

I made very good use of the new long handled pruners I got not long ago. It was going through nice thick branches like nothing! I used to have to use a saw for a lot of these. I noticed, however, there was a rattling noise that seemed to increase. And was that anvil supposed to rotate with the cutting blade like that?

Nope.

At some point, we lost a bolt. There is no nut at the other side. It looks like a proprietary shape, too. Or at least not something I have seen when perusing the section at the hardware store.

It has a lifetime warranty, though, so I looked up the website and sent an email with the above photo and another of the bar code (because, of course I don’t have the receipt anymore… LOL) as proof of purchase. We’ll see how that goes. I might just zip tie it in place for now.

Hmmm… It looks like the rain has already passed. I might be able to finish breaking down the pile today, after all. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

A couple more steps closer!

Since we had to go into town today to pick up prescriptions, we added in as many errands as we could think of, so we wouldn’t have to come back any time soon.

Which would have been a moot point, since one of my husband’s prescriptions can’t be filled until tomorrow (one of the highly regulated drugs he’s on). I will be taking my mother to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, though, in a different town. Thankfully, my husband has enough that it can wait for my daughter to pick up when she’s at work on Saturday.

I knew the seeds we ordered were waiting for us at the post office, so we swung by a hardware store, where I hoped to pick up a soil mix specifically for vegetables. I couldn’t find any, so I picked up a couple of trays and extra Jiffy pellets. When I asked about the soil, I expected to hear the inventory wasn’t in yet. Nope. They’re sold out!

My daughter was a sweetheart and picked this up for me.

A mini greenhouse kit! I’ve wanted one of these for years. ❤

Cheddar decided he would help me put it together.

In looking at the seeds that have come in, and deciding which ones we’ll want to start indoors, and which we’ll seed outside, I finally went and looked up when our last frost date is. Since the seeds say to start them X number of weeks before all danger of frost is past, I figured I should probably confirm when that is! For most people here, it’s traditional to get their gardens in on the May long weekend.

It turns out that, for our area, the frost date is June 2nd. !! In the city, an hour’s drive south of us, it’s May 28th.

Which means the earliest we would need to start seeds indoors is May 5th! I was expecting to be starting them in mid-April, at the latest.

Hhhmmm. I think we’ll still start some of them in mid-April anyhow. Particularly the cucamelon, which needs at lot more warmth and longer growing season compared to anything else we’ve picked up.

I had something else come in the mail that needed to be assembled. Unlike the mini-greenhouse, this did not come with assembly instructions.

Along with our seeds order (minus the gourd seeds, which were back ordered but should be in very soon), we got the bottle cutter I’d ordered. I chose this one specifically because it can cut square as well as round bottles. While it came with instructions for use, I had to use a photo on the other side of the sheet to figure out how the back plate was supposed to be put on.

While I plan to test it out and make some practice cuts, I don’t think I’ll start making the bottle bricks yet. The plan for our first cordwood practice building is to build on a base of 8x8x16 concrete blocks.

Which has been strangely hard to find in the flat ended type I want. Most that I’m finding are 8x6x16, or 8x8x16’s with shaped ends. I hope to find what we are looking for at the salvage place I found (which, I found out, my brother has been to a few times), but inventory there is based on whatever the demolition crews happen to bring in. If I can’t get enough in the size I’m after, we might have to change the thickness of the walls. So I while I might make a bottle brick or two for practice, until we know what dimensions we’re working with, we will just continue to collect bottles and get them cleaned out and ready. If I can find some polishing paper and polishing paste, I could try cutting some bottles to make vases or something in the mean time.

So now that we have almost all our seeds, the seed starting supplies, the mini-greenhouse, the lawn mower blade sharpener and the bottle cutter, we’ve got the tools and materials to get quite a few things accomplished in the next while!

I look forward to getting things done! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our new toy

First off, many thanks to Elfidd for mentioning using a snow rake in the comments of my last post. How did I not know about such a tool? After doing some searches and discovering not only what it was, but how affordable it was, I left early to pick up my daughter, so I could stop at the hardware store.

I got their last one. A telescoping version.

I’m extra glad I left so early, though. Road conditions had deteriorated quite a bit since this morning. All the areas that had blowing snow this morning, now had blowing snow over ice and snow – which was trying to melt and freeze at the same time! I was just driving through our little hamlet when I got a warning of what was to come – a car in the ditch! There was no one inside; between a farm house nearby, and our little town in the other direction, this person would be okay. Getting that car out of there is not going to be easy, though. 😦

Driving past it, I could see the car’s tracks. My guess is, as soon as the car hit the ice, it got blown off the road. The wind made driving on the ice more dangerous than the ice itself. (I’ve been eyeballing the trees around the house with trepidation all day!)

We will be leaving early, tomorrow morning.

Anyhow.

The snow rake needed to be assembled, and tools were needed, so I set up in the living room and started working on it.

In seconds after I got my wrench, my tool kit was occupied.

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What a silly girl!

I did, however, need to get to the tray of tools under her, so I got her off, moved the foam, took out the tray, moved the other piece of foam, got my pliers and…

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That girl is faaaast!

The assembly was much easier than reading the pictographic instructions. Yeesh! But I got it done!

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There’s my other helper! Silly boy! 😀

This will be very useful over the next couple of days. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

New toys!

One of the … fun… things about this old house has been the screaming bathroom fan.

Every time we turned it on, it would slowly start, making a whining, grinding, screaming noise, until it got up to speed.  Then the noise would stop and it would be the nice, rather quiet fan it was supposed to be.  Quieter than the newer fans we had in all three bathrooms of our old place (oh, for a second bathroom! LOL), in fact.

Well, it finally just up and died.

It was installed in the 70’s, so it’s had a good, long life! 😀

So my darling husband ordered a new fan.

Not just any, ordinary fan, of course.

20180802.new.bathroom.fan

This baby also has a heat light built in.  Which should be quite nice in the winter!

Now, we’ve never installed anything like this, so I’m hoping my older brother will be able to give us a hand.  He’s worked with the wiring in this house for many years, and is familiar with this house more than any other living person.  I would much rather take advantage of his knowledge while we’re still so new here.

Along with the fan, a couple of other toys came in.  Including this, for me.

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It’s for when I’m out clearing the bush.

I can’t think of what I’d use it for with the work I’m doing right now, but…

Gosh, that’s pretty.

There was also hunting knives.

Six of them.

I’m not sure why there are six of them.  I’ll have to ask my husband when I get a chance.

(I just caught him on the way by; they’re not specifically hunting knives.  They’re intended to be used as throwing knives. LOL  Much larger ones than the ones I’m used to!!)

On the thought of finding things out, I sent photos of the new gate we built yesterday to my brother.  I also told him about the fence line I ended up pulling out along the tree line.

He tells me that the old fence line was likely more than 40 years old!

I have no memory of a fence line there, though I remember other things from that area.  I guess my thoughts that this fence was added after the trees were planted was backwards.  The current fence would be the one added more recently, to protect the trees from cattle, and the original fence is the one that was allowed to collapse and get buried in the thatch.

He also guesses that the old gate we replaced was about 20 years old.  So I’m probably right in that the posts and barbed wire pile I found off to the side were from the older gate.

There is going to be a lot of stuff like this we’ll be finding, fixing or replacing, over the next few years!

Though I would really, really prefer to be spending our pennies on getting a second bathroom installed. 😀

The Re-Farmer