Van news, and this is $265

Oy. What a day this has turned out to be!

I’m glad to be home and done with it, though. Looking at the life security camera feed, I’m seeing a lot of whiteouts from blowing snow!

So… First the sort of bad, sort of good news.

I dropped the van off early and talked to the mechanic in detail about what was going on, including that the warning light had turned on again when I drove in, then went for lunch. Normally, I would have walked around town to run as many errands as I could, on the way to where I usually go for lunch, but the winds were too brutal today. Instead, I basically crossed the parking lot to a hotel across the way, and went to another Chinese restaurant. Just that short walk was more than enough to convince me to stick close!

The van was done by the time I got back. He’d done the oil change it was booked for. As for the rest…


When he hooked up his reader, about 40 codes came up. He cleared them, but two wouldn’t stay cleared. There is a bearing in each of two tires that is starting to go. This was a known problem, and not extremely urgent, but they do need to be replaced. The problem is, replacing them will cost at least $1000 – more than the van is worth. Getting the rest fixed as well would bring the cost to over $4000.

So… I paid for the oil change.

The bearings will last a bit longer, so we can use the van, but it’s on its last legs. I’d already talked to him about replacing it, and to be on the lookout for a truck or van for us for January or February, but it looks like we can’t wait.

He has used vehicles for sale that I walked past, and I noticed a 2008 SUV, among several others. My husband’s walker should be able to fit in the back of an SUV all right, plus it would be something he could climb up into, like a van or truck, rather than down into, like most cars, which is incredibly painful for him. We hadn’t considered an SUV because we wouldn’t be able to do things like haul the gas powered snow blower to be serviced in it, but we don’t have the luxury of choice right now.

I asked him about it, but the 2008 was already sold. Of the others he had, and discussing our needs, he suggested a 2013 Ford Explorer. It was actually a lower price than the other, older ones, but it has 260,000 km on it, which brought the price down – and he lowered it even more, for us, if we’re interested. And yes, he will take the van as a trade in, though it’ll only get us about $300 towards it. This particular vehicle is all wheel drive, and has a number of amenities that would be quite useful. It also happened to be owned by a family member of his – just one owner – and he’s been the one that serviced it the entire time she had it. He told me about some of the work he’d done on it.

In the end, I got information about it from him, along with a form to apply for financing. We’ve already talked it over as a family and have decided to go for it. We just can’t be without a reliable vehicle, and with my mother’s car – which doubles as our back up vehicle – sometimes not starting on us, that means we have two unreliable vehicles right now! What choice to we really have? I’d much rather have another van, but beggars can’t be choosers. Plus, the price is really good for a 2013 vehicle!

So we’ll have to start that process. It’ll be a moot point, if we don’t qualify for financing, anyhow.

Once I had the van back, I contacted the lady about the eggs, then went to the grocery store. I also updated the family and asked my husband to send our regrets to his brother; we’d been invited to do Christmas Day at their place, but we will be driving as little as possible until the van is replaced.

We traditionally do our main celebratory meal on Christmas Eve, as part of Polish tradition, and already have a turkey thawing out. I got more for the meal, plus a few things to make sure we won’t be running out of things until after New Year’s.

This is what $264 and change looks like. Though I got a lot of things on sale, it’s still about $50-$60 or more higher than if I’d been able to get to the city to buy it. Especially when including the cat kibble.

My husband requested some Caesar Salad mixes, plus I got a couple of kit salads for our Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners. Potatoes in 10kg bags were on a very good sale – less than $5 a bag – so I got one of Russets, one of red. There’s sweet potatoes, broccoli, rye bread and wraps, Mandarin oranges, Caesar Salad dressing, cheddar cheese, mozza cheese, some chicken “fries” as an appetizer for Christmas, and a cake for dessert. There’s bacon to drape over the turkey when we roast it (we plan to spatchcock the turkey), and some pork chops that were a good price. Oh, and a big bag of potato and cheddar pierogi. Last of all, an energy drink for the ride home!

I think I remembered everything.

That done, it was off to pick up the eggs!

Two flats of farm fresh eggs, for $25.

That done, I stopped for some gas on the way home – I considered getting a car wash, to get rid of any ice and snow built up under the van, but it was closed due to the cold temperatures. Their convenience store had a lot of stuff for Christmas, including a big box of Stroopwafels, which is a rare treat for us, so I had to get that!

And yes. I bought lotto tickets, too!

One last stop on the way home was the general store and post office. I got some drinks and alcoholic eggnog for Christmas and picked up the mail. I knew there was one package waiting for me, but there turned out to be three. I was very excited when I opened them, with one of them being an incredible surprise, but those will get their own posts!

After that, I finally headed home. One of my daughters got the wagon to the garage for me, since we can’t pull into the yard to unload right now, so that got loaded up. By then, it was late enough to give the outside cats a feeding and top up the sun room water bowl.

Shortly after I got home, I started getting messages from the cat lady. The vet that does the spay clinics just set a date for another one, and did we have any females to do? She also wanted to take the bitties.

Long story short, I now have one white and grey kitten that’s female in the baby jail. My daughter was able to catch the grey and white bitty tabby, but not the bitty tuxedo. We don’t know if the bitties are male or female.

Oh, dear.

The bitty is so small, it has already managed to get out of baby jail, but the white and grey just squeezed out, too!

Marlee does not like the kittens, and has been snarling any time she sees them!

Ah, well. I will let them explore until it’s time to do the evening wet cat food feeding. Hopefully, I can get them into the baby jail to eat in peace. After that, I suppose I’ll have to watch my feet during the night!

The date for the spay clinic is Jan 2 and, after I explained about our van issues, the cat lady said she will come out, likely Dec. 31, to pick them up. We should be able to catch the bitty tuxedo by then, and maybe another outside female, but we’ll also get Tissue done – the last inside cat to get fixed. This will give us time to socialize any we can bring inside, too. The bitties will stay with the Cat Lady and she will adopt them out, but the others will come back to us. The vet does ferals, so if we can catch any of the unsocialized females, they can be added to the list, too!

The bitty tabby is hiding somewhere, but the white and grey is busily playing with the cat tree behind me. 😄

So… it’s been a much busier day than expected, that’s for sure!!!

The Re-Farmer


On opening the garage door to head into town today, I found an amusing sight. We often find kitty paw prints on the door and windshield, but this time I saw…

… what looked like a failed attempt to climb the back of our (very dirty!) van!

After uploading the photos and getting a closer look, however, I realized something.

Those are not the claw marks of a sliding kitty.

Which is when I realized something. After cleaning up the mess made by critters tearing apart the garbage bags, I put the collected garbage into the back of the van, so they couldn’t get into them again.

These are the claw marks of something trying to break into the van and get at the garbage bags!

The usual suspect would be skunks, but they’re not good climbers, and this is over 3 feet off the ground. Racoons, perhaps?

Thankfully, the dump is open tomorrow morning.

The Re-Farmer

Bringing it home

This afternoon, my daughter and I headed into town, first to pick up the riding mower, then to pick up fixings for a wiener roast.

Since the mower was too far gone to fix everything, it cost less than $45 for the work that was done to put the drive chain back on and tighten things as much as he could.

As I paid for it, I asked for help to load it into the van, then went out to set up the ramps. The woman who processed the payment came out, while a guy from the shop started up the mower and drove it over.

The woman that was helping me expressed surprise that it would fit in the van at all. After the guy drove the mower over and lined it up with the ramps, he came over as I showed them the drop on the inside. The guy asked if I was sure it would fit, and when I said yes, he thanked me for warning about the drop…

Then got back on the mower and started driving up the ramp!

Thankfully, the back wheels got a bit hung up on the bottom edges of the ramp, because he was basically ignoring my hand waving and couldn’t hear me saying not to drive it up until he was right next to me. Once I told him he couldn’t drive it up (how did he expect to fit under the roof???), he complained a bit. Then he and the woman started pushing from the back, while I steered and pushed from the side.

They had a hard time of it. The girls and I have loaded it into the van a few times, and that was before we had the nice new ramps by brother bought for me, and I don’t remember having that much of an issue.

Of course, once it got to the top, the front wheels dropped and the mower could no longer go forward. I told them that this was where I had to go inside, and climbed in through the side door.

In the end, I ended up picking up the front and and hauling it the rest of the way in, because they didn’t seem to have issues with the back end.

The guy did compliment me on the ramps as I was putting them in with the mower, though, so I told him where my brother got them from. 🙂

The mower and the ramps fit just fine in there!

As I write this, it’s still sitting in the van. I’m about to go help get set up for the wiener roast, and I’ll snag the girls to help unload it while we’re out.

I am so looking forward to it! We’re just going hot dogs, but it’s been more than a year since we’ve used the fire pit. It’s going to be awesome!

The Re-Farmer

To Market We Go

Today, we packed up the van in preparation for a market tomorrow.


It’ll be the first market I’ve done in about 2 years, but I still have my inventory.  There’s even a few new pieces in there.

Two bins of inventory, a bin of display and set up items, a bin of hangers, plus three heads to display some hats, 2 small tables (my usual big table is being used in my office as a crafting table cat bed), grid wall, tent, and containers for things like pens, markers, tags, Square reader, and even a box of miniature paintings done by my older daughter.  Plus, her tent that I am borrowing, and a couple of chairs.  The market will be running for 6 hours, so I will also want to decide on which projects to bring with me to work on in between customers.

I hope it goes well.  It feels rather appropriate that my first market in this province is also the first market for this neighboring hamlet.

The Re-Farmer