Let’s play “count the kitties!”

How many can you see in this photo?

(I’ll show where they all are, below.)

Once again, the kibble was all gone from the food trays, and I don’t think we can blame that piebald deer this time.

We did get some rain and a light snow last night, so we could see tracks all over the place.

These are kitty paw prints.

With their pretty little toe beans, well defined in the snow.

These are NOT kitty paw prints.

Check out those claws!!! Aside from the claws the paw prints are about the same size as most of the kitty prints.

These are from a skunk, and I found some tracks around the kibble house, too. I know for sure it was a skunk, because I saw it running around our driveway last night, on the garage cam’s live feed.

Skunks don’t go into total hibernation. It’s more of a “lethargic sleep” than full hibernation, and they do come out now and again, throughout the winter. February and March are their mating season, so not only would they be out in full, we’d have pregnant females by now, looking for food.

Speaking of food…

Did you find all twelve hungry kitties in the kibble house?

Tuxedo Mask is almost completely hidden by Creamsicle Jr, in the far right corner of the kibble house. I love that you can juuuust see the tips of his ears above Creamsicle’s back.

Then there’s one of the ‘iccuses peaking from behind the kibble house, at the tray on the ground.

Along with these twelve, there were three more in the sun room. Not quite all of the yard cats, but close!

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters

Time enough for a post, before I head off to my mother’s. I’ve decided to leave early enough to hit the post office before it closes, then grab something for lunch with my mother. I’m seriously debating whether or not to bring some of the pierogi we made last night for her. On the one hand, it would mean less cooking for her. On the other, they are not like how she fills her pierogi, and that’s always a bad thing. Plus, with my luck, she’ll get the one pierog with a cat hair in it or something, and I’ll get lectures on what a horrible human being I am for having cats. Or she might actually appreciate it. Ha! Who am I kidding?

I don’t know whether to look forward to visiting her, or to dread it. Hopefully, she’ll be having one of her good days.

This morning, as I was getting ready to head outside for my morning rounds, some movement out my window caught my eye.

I knew the deer were going through our West yard, as the snow is crisscrossed with their tracks, but this was the first time I happened to be there to see them in daylight.

They are so fluffy!!!! I just want to smoosh my hands into their fur. ❤

After the last couple of bitter days, we’ve screamed up to -4C/25F, which feels downright tropical! We’re already warmer than forecast. In a few days, we’re even supposed to hit 3C/37F! Which would be the perfect day to install our Starlink system on the roof.

If we get it by then.

FedEx never showed up yesterday.

Maybe when I go to the post office this morning, I’ll find they left it there? Here’s hoping.

The cats are certainly enjoying the warmer temperatures. 🙂

When I came out this morning, the heated water bowl was bone dry! It wasn’t knocked over. Just empty. It makes me think that a larger animal is drinking the water. It could be my brother’s dog (I saw him on the security camera again this morning), but there’s even a possibility that the deer have discovered it.

Or it couple be something else.

While heading to the corner cam to switch out the memory card – and back again to change out the frozen batteries – I noticed some indistinct tracks along the path. At first I thought it was from a cat, but after a while, I could tell it was something else. Eventually, I got to a place where the tracks were very clear.

Looks like a raccoon had come for a visit!

Well, time to get some stuff done before I head out. Hopefully, at some point today, we’ll get our Starlink system! While it’ll be great to have the better speeds, that’s not the main reason I’m so eager for it. Our current satellites give us some pretty decent download and upload speeds. It’s mostly the connectivity. The new system should mean a more reliable signal. Plus, we’ll have unlimited data and not have to worry about that anymore, either.

I really hope this works out!

The Re-Farmer

This morning

First of all, I’m happy to say the new heated water bowl is working out just fine!

The power cord is slightly shorter than the old one. It specifically stated on one of the labels to not use extension cords with it, and there are no other outdoor power outlets we can use here, so we had to get creative. The bowl is not on a makeshift platform to support it. That made it too high for the cats to reach the water from outside the cats’ house, but a couple of buckets and bricks now serve as surfaces that cats can use to sit on – while also providing stability to keep the bowl from getting knocked over as the cats go in and out of their house.

The cats where checking it out and using it almost immediately! 🙂

Including this roly poly Potato, who followed me when I started my rounds. 😀

There were quite a lot of deer tracks around, but this was new this morning.

The dug up the pile of dried up bush beans that had been cleared out and set aside, to eat. These were waiting to be buried in the beds in the spring, but there might not be any left by then!

Today was pretty warm, so I took advantage of it to do a small burn. While tending the burn barrel, looking at the nearby deer tracks in the snow, I found myself trying to figure out another set of tracks.

It looks like a pair of animals leaped their way through the snow! Fairly recently, too. They are very fresh, and were made after the deer had gone by. I have no idea what would have done this. The holes left in the snow are not that big, but the space between them is pretty huge! Looking at the holes nearest where I was, I couldn’t see any prints inside them, as the snow had collapsed inward as the creatures leapt about.

Any hunters or trackers out there who might know what made these?

After the burn was done, I also took advantage of the relative warmth and broke out the ice chipper.

Then I finally got to shovel the main paths wide enough that my husband can get through with his walker.

Then, because I’m a suck, I shoveled the path along the garden bed that cats had been using. 😀 It’s not wide enough for a walk, but if my husband ever needed to, he can at least cane it through here.

After I came inside, the girls went out and cleared paths to the compost pile, outhouse and the back door of the garage.

Eventually, we’ll clear enough of the yard that we can drive in to unload the van, but that will be a job for our little electric snow blower. 🙂

All that done, I then worked on the cheese I’ve been making, which was really interesting. That will be in my next post! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Follow the path!

The path of least resistance…

I just had to giggle at the fresh cat path, long the ridges left behind when the driveway was cleared. So many paw prints. Probably made during the rush to the kibble house, when my husband came out with food, this morning! We had blowing snow all night, so these are definitely recent tracks.

The cats aren’t the only critters who appreciate the driveway being cleared, and the paths we’ve made! Along the driveway, I could see deer tracks showing where they jumped fences, then used the driveway before jumping the gate.

The cats are handling the snow very well. They all have their dense winter fur. That’s a relief. Fenrir became an inside cat because she doesn’t have the undercoat, and would not have survived her first winter, if we hadn’t brought her in. I don’t know where she came from, but our local stock are well adapted to the cold!

They are definitely eating more, now. Though I husband had fed them not long before I headed out, I still ended up topping up some of the kibble trays. Which is good. They need those calories!

Agnoos was more interested in trying to trip me up! 😀

I’m not completely sure which of the ‘icouses this one is. Thadicous, most likely.

He was having a blast, rolling around in the snow!

We ended up having a storm blow through last night. I was keeping an eye on the garage cam live feed, and it was frequently blinded by snow. Over the hours, I saw the snow ridges on the sides of the driveway slowly disappear, so I had some trepidation as I came out this morning. Thankfully, it was just due to blowing snow that drifted against them, making everything look level in the infrared light. We won’t even need to shovel! I also kept an ear out on road conditions, and lots of people were reporting them as being very dangerous, due to ice and blowing snow. The temperature reached a low of only -4C/25F, and we’re still at that temperature as I write this. My weather apps had the wind chill last night at -15C/5F, but I have no doubt it felt a lot colder at times.

This morning, I dug out a waterproof cord protector and plugged in the cats’ house, even though temperatures are still relatively mild. It was more about still having access through the snow. The timer the heat bulb is plugged into is set to operate from dawn to dusk. As long as there is enough light coming in through the window, it won’t turn on. Which means we won’t have visual confirmation that it’s working until it’s dark, and we can see the red on indicator light through the window. The girls did check it when they cleaned the cats’ house out, so it should be fine.

While doing my rounds, I could hear the sound of heavy equipment, so the roads are being worked on. Mostly, they need to be sanded, but that won’t get done until any drifting gets cleared, first. The main road that goes past us gets cleared quickly, but side roads like the one past our driveway might not get done until tomorrow, depending on how quickly they can do the main roads. Thankfully, things are supposed to stay calm and relatively mild for the next couple of weeks. I don’t mind the snow, though. Any snow we get will go a long way to helping restore the level of our water table, after this past summer’s drought. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted a mild wet winter for our region, and I do hope they are right! We really need the break from the bitter cold of the past two winters, in particular. It may make getting around harder, but snow is a good thing.

The Re-Farmer

Easter Ginger

Happy Easter!

Ginger was very active and playful this morning.

Usually, I leave the doors to the sun room open while I feed the critters, and the outside cats are free to go in and out for a while. They seem perplexed that they can’t do that right now. Ginger, meanwhile, wanted to play with the cat on the other side of the door! I could hear scratching from the outside, so they were trying to play, too.

Ginger had to settle for me playing with him, instead. 🙂

One more day, then he gets his stitches out and, unless the vet says otherwise, he’ll be joining the inside cats. 🙂

That discolored patch turned out to not be a smear, nor a stripe of darker orange fur. It’s starting to peel away! It may actually be some damaged skin that’s coming off as his fur grows in. Weird.

The little irritated bits between some sutures no longer look irritated.

I think he will be very happy to have those stitches out!

Oh! I just have to share this photo of something I spotted while feeding the critters.

In a small patch of open soil, I found a hoof print.

That’s a deer print. The concrete block is part of the sidewalk in front of the main entry steps.

We had deer come right up to the door last night!

The Re-Farmer

The kibble house is working – and creeper is creeping again

It started to snow last night, and continued all night. Where we live, it was still a light now – other areas got much more – but it was enough to be a test for the kibble house!

The inside is completely free of snow. 🙂

Unfortunately, three of the containers were on the ground – you can see the patch of grass on the left, where one of them ended up. It is most likely the skunks doing this.

I might add a narrow board across the front to try and prevent that. As long as the floor boards can slide under it, that should work fine.

The heated water bowl was still plugged in. 😀 There was almost no water left, though, so we had some thirsty, as well as hungry, kitties!

While doing my rounds and heading to the trail cams, I noticed this.

Though a light layer of snow covered the paw prints enough that I couldn’t make out what they looked like, I can be pretty sure that this trail was left by a skunk. They are low enough to the ground that their belly fur would leave that wider trail in the snow. 😀

Once I was done my rounds outside, I settled in to check the trail cam files.

I have since called the RCMP.

Our vandal was back.

Between the still shots from one camera, and the video from the other, I have about half an hour documented. While the appliance repair guy was here, the gate was left open. Our vandal showed up in the driveway, going from side to side for a while, before moving the two sides of the gate. The video picked him up stepping in to grab one side of the gates that was open to the inside, pulling it all the way to the outside, then reefing on it. Because of where the hinges are set in the post, when opened all the way to the outside, the gate can hit the post. After repairing the damage our vandal did last time, and repainting the gates, I added pieces of pool noodle to cushion the gate. This way, even if the wind blows the gates all the way open to the outside, the foam slows the swing down, and they bounce gently, rather than slamming, metal against metal. It also reduces stress on the new hinges. So when he reefed on the gate, the foam protected it, but with his pushing it so hard, there is only so much the foam can do to reduce the stress on the hinges. (At this point, there does not appear to be any damage.)

The files then show him going back and forth a few more times, before we can see the appliance guy leaving and me locking the gate up. There is, however, a 14 minute gap, where there is nothing to show where he was or what he was doing; all I can say is, he wasn’t in front of the cameras to trigger the motion sensors.

I remember as I walked to the gate, seeing how the two sides of the gate were positioned and thinking it was the wind again. It was odd with the one side, because I’d deliberately left it open as far as it could swing, which means it was in the fence and on the old tire I’ve got as a bumper. That side is the one that the wind blows around the most, but not so much when it’s open all the way. Now I know it wasn’t the wind at all!

So I called the RCMP as soon as I was able, and started a new file. The person I spoke to went over my options with me, and gave me the name of the constable that would be calling me back about it. I then looked up and called the nearest court where I can start the process to get a restraining order (there are several types available, one of which includes damage to property), leaving a message. This is also where I would be going to start the process for a psychiatric assessment.

While I was writing this, the constable called me back. We talked about our options again, and after going over the past files, he didn’t feel that pressing charges of mischief again would be the most productive. If I did do that, they would arrest him, file charges against them, then let him go and the whole process that happened last time would happen again. That the charges were stayed after he’d finished whatever program he went through, the constable felt that this was highly likely to happen again. Obviously, it didn’t work last time. However, as long as there were charges against him, I would effectively have a restraining order, and would not have to apply for one. I could still apply for a psychiatric assessment through the courts, but if I did, a judge would throw out the charges, since basically he would be viewed as not responsible for his actions, and I would no longer have any protections.

One main difference between the restrictions he’d be placed under if I press charges, as opposed to getting a restraining order, is that with charges, he’d still be keeping his guns. With a restraining order, there is enough documented justification for his guns to be seized, and he would be required to stop drinking alcohol, which is another big part of the problem. I could apply for a psychiatric assessment, and it would not affect the restraining order the way it could with pressing charges.

So for now, I will wait until I talk to the court clerk before making a decision, but it looks like the most effective route to take is to apply for both the restraining order and a psychiatric assessment. And I’m far more interested in our vandal getting help for his mental health issues than I am in getting him arrested.


While we have seen him on the cameras doing things like walking to the gate and giving the finger to the cameras, or slowing down as he drives by to peer down the driveway, etc., this is the first time we’ve seen him come to the gate while it was open like this. Which means we now cannot open the gate and leave it unattended to let people like the appliance repair guy drive in and out. We now know that, if our vandal happens by and sees the gate open, he will do things.

This is so tiresome.

At times like this, I wish we lived even more remotely than we already do!

The Re-Farmer


The snow was gone in a lot of places before the storm hit a couple of days ago. I could even see green grass through last year’s thatch. So it was no surprise that we’ve seen virtually no deer. Even in the trail cam facing where they cross the road to our place went from streams of dozens of deer to … nothing. In just a couple of days.

With snow falling pretty much continually for the past two days, all the yards and gardens were covered with a pristine white blanket.

Yesterday evening, we saw three skittish deer making their way to the feeding station. They didn’t really get much to eat, as something spooked them and they ran off. They were the first deer to visit us since before the snow fell.

This is what I found this morning.

Tracks, everywhere!

The area around the feeding station was torn up as they dug through the snow to get at the seeds below (which a couple of cats took advantage of. 😀 ). From the heavy trails through the garden and trees on the west side, more came and went from that direction than from along the spruce grove to the east. The east yard was full of tracks as they headed towards the barn as well. Tracks went through the spruce grove as well, and my rounds had be going past where a couple of them jumped the south fence to cross the driveway to the old hay yard.

It should be interesting when I check the trail cam files. That will wait until I come back from town after dropping my daughter off at work.

For now, I have to grab a shovel and clear the plow ridge. The snow was soft enough, we didn’t bother clearing the driveway, but the wall of snow at the road is something else entirely!

The Re-Farmer

Found the spot

It’s been a busy couple of days, and any time I’ve gone to town during daylight, I’ve been trying to spot where I went through the ditch. I only had a vague idea of where it was, since I was a little too distracted to notice landmarks or anything. 😉

It was the only area with tire tracks through the ditch, so when I did spot some, I knew it had to be ours.

I found more things to be thankful for and surprised about.

One was the location. It was farther away than I thought it was. I was able to drive quite far before that tire went completely flat!

The other was the ditch itself. I was heading towards a marshier area, and the ditch on that side of the road became wider and shallower, instead of being the deep V earlier in my drive, or farther down the road, past the marshy area. Another reason I was able to get out of the ditch at all!

Also, what I had thought was fence posts in my headlights, wasn’t.

They were trees.

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Winter “fun”

You know, I’m really looking forward to being able to just pop outside at a whim. Although temperatures have become relatively mild lately (we’re at -7C right now, with a wind chill of -12C), when you have to spend several minutes just to bundle up in layers and heave on the snow boots, going in tends to involve more planning for efficiency. ;-D

Yesterday was not particularly efficient.

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