While the girls took care of most of the morning routine outside, as they took their walk in the snow, they didn’t have the memory cards for the trail cams, so I took care of that later.

The winds were still high while I was about and about. Especially as I got near the end of the driveway. Guess what direction last night’s snowfall was being blown in?

Too funny!

At least with weather like what we had, we can be sure our vandal wouldn’t be out and about in it, so a covered camera won’t matter. The other cameras were sheltered and clear. Only this one is completely out in the open.

We’re supposed to get more snow and “snow showers” over the next couple of days. The south end of our province is supposed to get a heavier dump of heavy, wet snow. The temperatures are still supposed to reach highs above freezing, so it’s going to be messy!

I’m not complaining. As long as we’re not flooding, the moisture is much appreciated.

Today, I’m potting up tomatoes!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that explains it

The snow on the driveway is pretty hard packed, but there are a few softer areas where tracks show up. This morning, I was seeing some unusual deer tracks.

Then I checked the gate cam files.

I watched at least 7 deer, over three videos, coming in. Later, the camera caught three of them running out again, at full speed!

That certainly explains what I was seeing in the snow this morning!

I have another slight change in plans today. I was going to meet a woman in a parking lot for a great deal… 😉 The homesteader I buy most of our eggs from is going to be in the town closer to us with a load of eggs at a certain time and place, so I figured that would be a good time to get a couple more flats

Then I got a phone call from my mother. I had bought an extra dozen eggs for my mother as a surprise a while back, and she was wondering if I would be getting more eggs. She wanted to get another dozen for her Easter basket – eggs she wouldn’t need to colour!

So I contacted the egg lady, letting her know how many I was after. She’ll have enough, so I’ll be getting eggs for both ourselves and my mother. Though it’s a bit early for Easter!

The funny thing is, I’ll be going to the town closer to us, getting the eggs, then driving to my mother’s place, which is in a town between our place and the egg lady. So instead of saving some driving, I’m at least doubling it! 😄 I don’t mind, though. I’m glad my mother liked the eggs I got her! Last time, though, she ended up with all brown eggs. This time, I’ll make sure she gets a few in other colours.

With that in mind, I’ve slightly postponed starting seeds today. I was able to pick up more Jiffy pellets to refill a tray, which is now set up and hydrating. Tomorrow, the rest of our peppers – all early varieties – and some Spoon tomatoes will be started. Depending on how much room I have in the tray, I may even fit in some Purple Beauty bell pepper seeds from last year. That was all I have that need to be started indoors in the 8-10 week range. We’re currently at about 9 weeks before our last frost, so next week I hope to start the seeds that need 6-8 weeks.

I’m going to have to figure out how to raise the mini greenhouse frame higher, in a secure manner, because we’re eventually going to need the shelf space. Where the shelves and frame are sitting, they get excellent sun in the morning, but the bottom shelves of the mini greenhouse are in the shadow of the wall under the window. I know how I can get it higher. It’s that “secure manner” that’s a bit more of a challenge.

Looking at the newest seedlings in the large aquarium greenhouse, I could see roots making their way through the biodegradable pots the Crespo squash are in. They need to be potted up! Right now, there are three, big healthy seedlings in one pot, and a new one coming up in the other pot. I’ll see if I can thin by diving. I’d hoped to have larger biodegradable pots to pot up to, but I’m just not finding them. I suppose I could order online, but by the time they get here, it’ll be too late. So they will go into plastic transplant pots.

We did lose that one sickly drum gourd, but the others are doing well. The Zucca melon, however, is really thriving. Both still have pots that were reseeded, so we might get more of each.

The thyme is doing so well, I’m thinking of eventually potting up one of the bunches into a permanent pot for growing indoors, while the others get planted outdoors. We have a second variety of thyme to start, but not for a few more weeks. I’m curious to see the differences between the variety. As small as the current seedlings still are, they have SUCH a strong fragrance when the leaves are handled.

I am quite happy with the new, cat proof living room set up. It’s really making things much easier this year!

The Re-Farmer

Hulless seed pumpkins, and treating the deer?

Check out this handsome lady I found in the trail cam files this morning!

The critters much prefer the paths humans have cleared, including the trailed packed down by snow mobile-ers! This piebald seems to be the only deer that is visiting us regularly this winter, even though we’ve stopped putting food out this year, to raid our compost pile.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to crack open some of the hulless seed pumpkins. All the pumpkins and squash seem to have handled curing and storage pretty well. All the ones that were green or green striped have turned yellow and orange, with some of the hulless seed pumpkins turning more yellow with green, rather than green with yellow.

One type of hulless pumpkins (Styrian, I think. I’ve lost track!) have turned completely yellow and orange. So I decided to open up the two largest ones, first.

One of them was already being stored in the kitchen. It had a very hard shell and took some doing to break into!

There were fewer seeds than I expected, but that might be just the variety. The seeds looked nice and plump at least. I did try one, and the tasted was… meh. I’m sure they’d be much better, roasted and salted. After taking the seeds out, this was all there was.

So I went and got another one, which was larger.

That one did not have as hard a shell on it and was much easier to cut into. Which I actually took as a bad sign.

It had plenty of seeds in them, but they were all flat. Which suggested the pumpkin was still too immature when it was harvested. Considering the growing conditions of last year, that’s not surprising. I left them out as long as I could. I did go back and check the rest, and some are softer than others, but I’ve left them for now.

I know these pumpkins are supposed to be edible, not just the seeds, but in the end, I cut them into smaller chunks and set them on the compost pile for our visiting deer and the birds.

Later on, I was going through seed sites (because I can’t help myself!) and checked out the descriptions for things I’d already bought from other companies, including the hulless seed pumpkins. A couple of them noted that, while the flesh is edible, it’s not really table worthy. One of them even said that they are good for livestock!

Can we count a deer as livestock? 😄

As of this morning, I could see that the pieces were knocked about in the snow, but were still there. Something at least tried to eat them!

The Re-Farmer

Look who’s back!

I found this while checking the files on the gate cam. Such an elegant lady!

This is cropped out of a much larger still, so the date and time stamp is gone, but it was taken shortly after noon. So brazen! In the video clip, she was just bouncing up the driveway, like a thoroughbred.

I think this is the first time I could see that she has white patches just above her hooves, too.

While feeding the outside cats, someone else was back, though I couldn’t get a good photo of him. The Distinguished Guest was among the 25 cats I counted this morning. He is still looking in very rough shape, and the tip of one ear is flapping around. He still looks bedraggled and he’s moving slowly, but he’s not limping like he was the last time I saw him. I tried not to move too quickly and spook him, though he did still move away as I put the food out and refilled the water bowls. Mostly, he went from food tray to food tray, and even stayed under the water bowl shelter, eating, while I refilled the heated bowl. As I went around other paths, he started making his way up the path to the compost pile, then stopped part way, watching me. As I continued, I’d look over and he was a little bit closer… then a little bit closer… By the time I was done and tying off the sun room doors, he was almost back at the kibble house. What I was somewhat encouraged to see was Rolando Moon walking past him, and there was no altercation. It may be that he’s just too beat up to start a fight, but I’ll take what I can get.

I would feel much better if he were able to assimilate into the yard cats, and no longer be picking fights. Even better if Sad Face would stop fighting, too. I haven’t seen him in a few days, which is probably why TDG is back.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

The Re-Farmer


Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d spooked our visiting piebald deer in the yard. I had been unable to get a picture, but it turns out, we got a decent shot of her making her way towards our place, on one of the trail cams.

That old trail cam takes some pretty decent pictures.

I’d left some roasted squash in the compost pile for her yesterday, and today there was no sign of them at all. I hope that means she got a nice meal out of it!

The Re-Farmer

Still visiting!

We’ve had a very quiet day at home today, catching up around the house and being very domestic.

Because of the racoons damaging things and eating everything up, we have not been putting out deer feed or bird seed this winter. I do still see tracks in the snow when I do my rounds, but not very many. We have, however, been getting one regular visitor.

This piebald deer has been visiting us every winter that we’ve lived here, making this the sixth winter of her visiting us! This video is from a few days ago, but yesterday, we spotted her in the yard, making her way to the compost pile. I’ve also been seeing deer tracks around the cat shelters, which tells me she – or some other deer – has been going for the kibble and water, too.

This morning, as I headed out, I heard a familiar huffing noise and looked up in time to see the piebald, half was up the path to the compost pile, leaping away.

We happened to have some roasted squash in the fridge. It was meant for something else and had no seasonings on it, but I decided to put it on the compost pile for our visitor to eat!

It’s getting that time of year when it’s harder for the wild critters to find food, so I’ve got no problem setting out some extra food for them, if we have it.

The Re-Farmer

A bit more updating

I think the outside cats are very happy the roof is done!

I think I actually counted 28 this morning, including two of the bitties that were under the cat house!

We have been having almost rain, almost snow, lately. Many trees look like they’re covered with hoar frost, but it’s actually a layer of ice.

Something I had to deal with when switching out the memory card on the gate cam!

The entire front was covered with a layer of ice! The camera lens has a plastic protector in the front cover. I spent some time trying to melt it away with the heat of my fingers, then trying to scrape it off. Then I use my palms to try and melt the ice off the solar panel. There’s not much I can do for the divots in front of the infrared flash lights. At least not without some kind of tool that can get in, but from the looks of the file, enough light is getting through that the night vision still works. At least as much as possible, when the lens itself has a layer of ice over it!

I went around the house this morning, taking pictures from the ground (not getting very good angles in most places!) of the new shingles, and moving a few things back that got missed.

This is what’s left of the chimney! A lot of the bricks are broken, but that’s okay. We will likely use these to make paths, and broken pieces can be used mosaic style.

While they were working on the roof, I’d burned a pile of wood over burnable garbage, adding a few old and rotten pallets I’d cleaned out of the yard in the process. This morning, I found this on the banked ash pile.

I’d seen these by the house while they were working and was wondering if they were going to keep them or not. It was too funny to see they’d added them to my burn pile!

They didn’t stay there. There’s some salvageable wood in there! I moved them to the barn. The bottom one was a bit singed by hot spots in the ash pile, but that one also has more broken pieces, of it was better for that one to be singed than the one that is in better shape. 😊

I got a message from my brother saying that he wanted to come over again – not as early as yesterday, though, thankfully! I told him I was leaving to meet with the cat lady, and thought I’d miss him entirely, but he was here when I got back. So I stayed outside after the cats and other stuff was unloaded into the house. There isn’t much I can do to help him, but I still wanted to be available!

I also took advantage of the daylight and walked around looking for “flyaways”. They cleaned up as best they could in the dark, but there was bound to be stuff they missed. Especially the clear plastic strips that covered the adhesive under the shingles. Those are hard to see, even in daylight, and are so light, they were blown around all over. There were also pieces of white plastic, on white snow, that were very easy to miss. I expect we will be finding more bits and pieces when the snow melts in the spring!

My brother sent me a picture of Dishy – after he secured it to the roof! It was held by only one screw. We figure they lost the other two while working around it.

My brother also tarred around the new anchor bolts he’d put in for the antennae wires, and checked the septic stack vents. There are two of them, and they were pretty blocked with debris. Not from the roofing job, but just from years of exposure. These vents are there to ensure no vacuum forms in the pipes as water drains to the septic tank. Now that they’ve been cleared, we should notice water draining better, throughout the house. He had a chance to talk to one of my daughters about it and, now that they know, they will include checking the vents when they’re up on the roof to clean the eavestroughs. They’d cleared those before the snow fell, but my brother found the downspouts were all full again!

Oh, and I had to laugh when I came outside this morning. Do you see the roof of the kibble house, behind the satellite dish? With something in the snow?

It is a forgotten can of A&W Root Beer! One of the guys must have put it in the snow, where it wouldn’t slide away, and would stay chilled, then forgot it there. 😄

There is one thing that we found – or should I say, didn’t find – that my brother is not happy with.

The parts and pieces from our old satellite dish that was still up there. Also, the remaining supports from the one that is now stored in the basement, that we’d left in place rather than leave screw holes in the roof.

I think they got taken to the dump. Those were not supposed to be throw away.

My brother will see if he can find out what happened to it when the company contacts him with the bill.

Oh, and he remembered to tell me something our mother had said when he visited her yesterday. She was complaining that none of the roofers, or someone from the company (I still haven’t figured out who she thinks it should be) came to visit her. Then she started saying that if they did any extra patch jobs on top of replacing the shingles, she won’t pay for it.

As in, if they found and fixed any rotted areas.

So… while talking to me, when I said they’d found no rot (only later did I find out they’d found and fixed one small patch of it), she was upset because she didn’t believe they’d recognise rot when they saw it, and/or that they would have put new shingles on top of rotten wood, rather than fix it, and the roof is gong to collapse like she saw on the news, who knows how long ago.

But in talking to my brother, she’s saying that if they DID fix anything beyond what was included in the estimate, she won’t pay them… for repairing the damage she doesn’t think they’d competent enough to recognise, and/or too corrupt to fix, therefore the roof is going to collapse.

My brother and I both know that she will try to go back on her word to pay for this, so he didn’t say much, or she’d get mad at him and use that as an excuse to not do what she promised she would do.

We will both be very relieved when the bill if finally paid!

Meanwhile, as my brother was up on the roof today, and I was picking things up around the house, he noticed a dark SUV suddenly slowing riiiiiggghhhttt down as it drove past on the main road. Slow enough to almost be stopped on the road.

It kept going until we could no longer see it through the trees, then I saw it going down the road by our driveway, as if it had driven around the other way. Which, since there is a “missing” road at a one mile mark, meant driving around an extra section (which is 1 square mile) to come back from that direction.

We both recognized the vehicle as one our vandal owns.

We saw it again, driving very slowly the other direction.

With the roofers coming, but not knowing when, we’ve had the gate wide open for quite some time. I went over to close it, but I looked down the road first. From our driveway, we can see open road for about 3/4 of a mile, but there was no sign of the SUV. I should have been able to see it. For it to be gone, it had to have turned into a field, and there are only two driveways into fields out there – one of them being part of this property, that is rented out. The other is a barely-their driveway that, as far as I know, doesn’t even get used in the winter.

I closed up the gate, then started walking back when I heard an engine coming.

Sure enough, it was the same SUV. Wherever it had disappeared to, it had turned around and come back, again driving ever so slowly.

So I started walking up the driveway towards the gate. Basically, I wanted our vandal to know that we could see him stalking around the property. When he saw me, he started driving faster, turned towards his place and didn’t come back.

Since he stayed on the road and never stopped, I don’t think he could be considered in breach of the restraining order we have against him, but he sure was on the edge of it!

My guess is, he noticed the new roof and was wanting to get a better look at what was going on, since he still seems to think he has some sort of claim on this place.

Which reminds me.

It turns out he’d called my mother again, though I’m not sure about the timeline of it. He said he wanted to come and visit her. She told him, sure, and started laying out the conditions of behaviour if he did. He’d responded by saying that he was going to be there on his own terms!

My brother asked her, why are you even wanting him to come over at all? What do you think he’ll do? She told him he’d probably do the same thing he always does; make demands, rant and rave, without letting her get a word in edgewise. So my brother asked again, why do you want him to come over? She started making excuses but, my goodness… if she knows he will only continue to be verbally abusive and coercive towards her, how does she think letting him come over will help?

So we’ll have to keep an eye out on my mother, in hopes she doesn’t self sabotage again.

Meanwhile, it looks like we’re going to have to make sure to keep the gate closed and locked again. I was hoping to be able to leave it open for the winter. There isn’t much snow right now but, last year, when the snow got so deep it was hard to open and close the gate, we left it open – which our awesome neighbors took advantage of and cleared our driveway for us, before we even knew they were there! It’s just a lot more convenient to not have to be constantly locking and unlocking the gate, either for ourselves, or for when we are expecting things like prescription deliveries, etc.

I’d hoped, after things had been so quiet for so long, our vandal was finally letting go, but it looks like he’s still watching us.

Just one more reason we want to plant lots of berry bushes and trees, as privacy screens! Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the driveway.

I am really hoping we won’t have to apply to renew the restraining order when it expires, but I strongly suspect we might have to go through that all over again.

Ah, well. We will deal with what comes.

My brother managed to find all sorts of little things to do while he was here, going up and down the ladder many times, and in many different areas. While I was still gone, he even carried the step ladder up the ladder so that he could use it to get to the second level roof! I was very happy to be there so he could lower it down to me, rather than try and climb down the ladder while carrying the step ladder!

It was starting to get dark by the time he was done, and he still had errands to run. He just never seems to stop!

I love my brother, but as much as I appreciate all he does for us, I wish he would take a break sometimes! He’s burning the candle at both ends.

It’s all done, though! All that the roofers were responsible for, plus the extras my brother did.

This should make quite a difference! I’ll have to remember to ask the girls, over the next few weeks, if they notice a difference in temperature upstairs. It wouldn’t be much; it’s not like insulation was added, but those extra layers of plastic barriers under the newly laid shingles might be enough for a noticeable change for them.

The Re-Farmer

A day “off”?

Things were looking pretty good when I headed out to do my morning rounds.

I got a giggle when the tuxedo moved off the chimney liner and, instead of the one white kitten I thought was behind him, there were three! I had a head count of “only” seventeen this morning. I couldn’t tell if any cats had stayed in the cat house, with the heater bulb plugged in again, overnight or not.

It was clear we’d had some rain last night – and a fair bit of wind!

The joy of time stamps. The gate cam stand got blown over just before 6pm last night. My daughter and I were still outside, cleaning up after finishing the kibble house roof, at the time. The winds had certainly picked up by then!

As I write this, it’s 4C/39F out there, with a “reel feel” of -4C/25F. It started raining after I finished my rounds and was back inside. I might have a day “off” from working on the old kitchen garden today, though it is supposed to clear up this afternoon and warm up to 8C/46F. The more I can get done, the better, because tomorrow we’re either going to get more rain, or between 5-10cm/2-4in of snow, depending on which app I look at.

I’m happy to say that, while I did have pain issues last night – I had to get one of my daughters to open a can of wet cat food for me, because I couldn’t – I’m in a lot less pain today then I was expecting to be. I even got sleep last night.

Oh, that reminds me. I’d written before about some sleep issues I was having, unrelated to pain or even my usual “busy brain.” It was centered around a strange sort of pressure and almost a buzzing feeling in my head, as soon as I went to bed. A clue to the cause came when my husband and I traded phones, because my phone’s Bluetooth wouldn’t work with the new OBDII reader he got me. That turned out to be a known problem with my model of phone, but not with his, newer model.

My habit when going to bed was to put my phone on the charger, then set it up on a phone stand on my nightstand, or on a wireless charger in the wall shelf where a headboard would be, if my bed had one. I preferred not to use the wireless charger, as I kept having to take my phone out of its case for it to work properly. My phone serves as my clock and alarm, but I also do my nightly devotions on a Bible app at my bedside, and often set it to play relaxing music for several hours to help me sleep.

I’d already suspected my phone when the discomfort in my head was slightly worse if the phone was in the shelf near my pillow, rather than on the night stand. When it got so much worse after switching to a newer phone that sleep was increasingly difficult, I tried an experiment. I can’t just shut my phone off for the night since, as I mentioned, I use it as my alarm clock, etc. So I just set my phone up on the charger, further away from my bed. Just a few feet, really.

The strange pressure/buzzing in my head went away, and my sleep has improved.

Well. As much as possible with cats in my room. 😁

I have no idea what the phone is doing that is causing the problem. It only seems to be an issue when I’ve got it on a charger, not while using it normally, throughout the day.


The Re-Farmer

Technical oddity

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

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

This is what I found.

What a mess!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

T200 Trail Cam unboxing


I actually made this video shortly after we got the camera, using the still-new-to-me Movavi software. There was a new update when I opened the software, which I downloaded first. I made the video – disappointed to discover music files I had been using before had been completely replaced with new ones, but everything worked fine.

Until it was time to export the finished video to a format that could be uploaded, and I kept getting error messages.

After many failures, I sent a message to customer support that never got answered. I also saw in their beta community that others were having this problem, and the recommended solutions did nothing.

Today, I opened the software to find a new update. I downloaded and installed the update, and now it’s working just fine again!

Since this was made, the camera has been moved slightly, but that’s about it. So far, everything is working just fine.

Winter will still be the big test, though!

The Re-Farmer