Still saturated, but going down

While we still have standing water and saturated soil all over, it had gotten better by morning, compared to before I went to bed last night. It was still raining a bit then, but once it stopped, things started to improve.

The outside cats are much more laid back these days, when I bring the kibble out. For the past few months, I’d have a crowd of cats outside the sunroom door, meowing plaintively. These days, when they here the kibble hitting the trays, they just saunter over. By the time I finished putting food out for them and the birds, there were 8 cats milling about, and I saw a couple of others show up some time later. Though we still see skunks in the kibble house, they, too, are not desperate for food anymore, and we’re needing to put food out just once a day now. We’re even seeing the deer far less; I’m catching them on the trail cams more often than actually seeing them myself.

Some areas are still filled with water, of course. I don’t remember ever seeing standing water like this, in this area, before. Not even when I was a kid.

The boards covering this path are 3 layers deep.

They are floating. The other path has sand and gravel on top of the boards that were laid their, and it’s quite mushy.

I was going to go and check the washed out road, but Rolando Moon started to follow me. Her coat isn’t much different from the colour of the road, so I decided to lead her back home. She even let me carry her for short distances, without trying to claw my face off. 😀

The water in the ditch to the left is an area that, as children, we generously referred to as “the three ponds.” Right now, they actually are full enough to be ponds!

While checking out different areas around the outer yard, I suddenly realized I was being watched!

Sad Face was watching me through the lilacs. 😀 The only thing that moved was his face, as he watched me walking around him. I did spot him at the kibble trays later on, while tending plants in the sun room. The Distinguished Guest wasn’t around, which is good, because he usually attacks Sad Face when they’re both around.

Today is supposed to be a nice, mainly sunny, warm day. That will help quite a bit with the water levels. Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit cooler, but also mostly sunny.

Then we’re supposed to get another 2-3cm (up to about 1 1/2 inches) of rain. *sigh* Yes, we’re still getting flooding related weather alerts.

Well, at least our water table should be mostly recovered. That should be a big help in the gardens over the summer, and for all the ponds and dugouts that provide water for cattle and wildlife.

The Re-Farmer

Water levels

I must say, we are really fortunate. The flooding issues have been around us, and not a threat to our home or safety. At most, it’s been an inconvenience. Not so, for many others!

The highway nearest us has flooded over in the south, part way to the town my mother lives in. Last I heard, it was still getting worse. No one I know can remember that highway flooding over. I think I maybe, kindof, sortof, remember the highway flooding over when I was a child, but I was so young, I don’t really trust the memory. If it did happen, we’re looking at 45+ years ago.

Not only is that section of highway flooded over, but the provincial road we usually use to cross from my mother’s town to the next highway has also flooded over. Which means, if I need to get to my mother, I would have to drive east to the next highway, drive south until I reach a crossroad to the south of where my mother lives, then travel north again on the highway we usually use. It would likely be an hour’s drive, instead of 20 minutes.

The highway near us runs to the north, ending at the town we pick up our beef packs at. The junction to that town has been closed down, as the highway is collapsing. This morning, I learned barricades have been put up at the junction of our own little hamlet. People traveling north will have to turn east to detour.

With so many road closures, I was going to phone my mother to tell her about them, but she called me first. It turns out our vandal had called her and went an a while rant about how she isn’t allowing him on the property, and all the other crazy stuff. As usual, she couldn’t get a work in edgewise. Then she found a picture on her walker outside her door, that he’d left this morning. A picture of him and my late brother doing work on the house we’re living in. I am sure of the message he intended to make by doing that, but it has completely escaped my mother. I wonder about what triggered him. We do have the conference call with his court case coming up soon, to decide when the first trial date will finally happen. I also saw him and his wife walking past on the road while I was working in the old kitchen garden yesterday evening, and seeing me might have triggered him, too.

Showing up at my mother’s door like that is creepy, but at least he didn’t try to come in.

Aside from that, things are okay with my mother. She’s in town and around people, with a grocery store just a couple of blocks away, and the town itself is not being flooded out.

This morning, I checked the washout to the south of us. I won’t bother posting photos I took of that, as not a lot has changed. Enough snow has cleared and water gone down that I could check out areas beyond the outer yard. Where I can, I will include past photos, for comparison.

That photo taken in August was the most water I saw there all of last year.

Sadly, we lot another large tree by this pond.

The trunk had been damaged by ants. Most of the spruces that I’ve seen fallen have ant damaged trunks. Weird, the way it split around that core.

Of course, I had to check out the gravel pit that the renter had dug out again last year.

As with the pond, the photo from last year is the most water we saw in there, when we finally got rain at the end of summer. Last year, when I took photos, I tried to take some from the same spot. I couldn’t do that today, because that spot was under water.

Here is another view of the old gravel pit. The only area that was dug out is where you can see the pile of gravel on the left. The rest was left untouched. Not only is the low area in the foreground full of water, but the marsh beyond the gravel pit is full, too.

There is a lot of clay under there, so I hope that means this will stay full throughout the year. This is a water source for the renter’s cattle, as well as for wildlife.

I also checked on where the “creek” that forms in the spring drains into the field, as well as where the water enters our quarter by the washed out road.

That is a LOT of gravel washed out from the road. It’s remarkably deep.

This water flows through the trees, and the terrain is very rough at the best of times. I didn’t even try to follow along it this time, though I’ve done so before.

Here is where it emerges from the trees.

I had to go back 2 years to find photos of the area, and still couldn’t find any from the same angle. In the old photo, there is some water from the spring melt, which didn’t happen in April of this year! That little “island” by the barrels could still be crossed to, but not this year!

Aside from some spring melt, this area is dry except for a few lower spot – and last year, everything was completely dry because of the drought.

At this fence line, the water flows into the field and eventually joins the municipal drainage ditch, which then crosses the neighbour’s field before crossing the road, near where it is currently flooded out.

It should be interesting to see how things go for the growing season. As I write this, we are at 14C/57F, which is already a bit higher than forecast. The next week is supposed to get downright “hot” at 20-21C/68-70F. Though more rain is expected about 5 days from now, the ground should be thawed out and dried up enough to handle it. Right now, though, we have both high water level and overland flooding alerts, for our region. Still, with the warmth we’re supposed to be getting over the next while, farmers should still be able to seed their crops, and gardeners to start direct seeding cold weather crops, and be able to do their transplanting soon.

Speaking of which, I was able to reach parts of the main garden area, too. That will be in my next post.

The Re-Farmer

Water levels, close to home

When I headed out this morning, there were a lot of areas to check during my morning rounds!

Things are actually pretty good.

The storage house pretty much has a moat right now. It doesn’t go quite all the way around, but pretty close!

That’s a lot of water for the cats to get through. It looks like it goes all the way to the opening they use here, to get under the storage house. The only other way for them to get in and out is through a broken window at the back, which also has an old bench under it, so there is at least that access to one of their primary shelters.

This is the area by the feeding station, where a lane had been made for the septic truck. There is a lot spot near where the pile of poplar wood is that always gets water when the snow melts, but this is the first time I’ve seen the water extend to far towards the gate in the chain link fence!

Before and after pictures of the area in front of the house that we would normally drive up to, when loading and unloading the van. Though the pictures were taken a week apart, there had been another snowfall, so there was actually more snow there, just a couple of days ago.

The water in front of the outhouse and behind the garage is the deepest, and most wide spread, I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if any critters are using those two old dog houses near the outhouse, but I think that might be where Potato Beetle came from, to get so wet and have straw stuck to him. I’m not sure where the burs would have come from, though.

As deep as it is here, the usual lake that forms at the driveway to the garage isn’t particularly large. It looks like the water is actually being absorbed, since it doesn’t look like it’s draining anywhere.

The driveway itself isn’t draining very well. We can still drive through, but I wouldn’t want to unless we absolutely had to, as we’d be just causing more damage.

I took the route outside the fence to get to the sign cam, pausing to check the state of things as best I could. You can see where the rows of corn had been planted, and further back, where there had been a pile of pulled up plants from the garden that were meant to be buried in new plots. The deer had dug them up and eaten most of them, which is why that spot is melted away a bit faster.

Much of the garden area has about a foot of snow still on it, with a few bare patches exposed here and there.

There was a new sign near the sign cam…

The road hasn’t been closed, but drivers are forewarned!

I decided to check the status of the road after this. I’ll share those photos in my next post. 🙂

When my daughters went out later on, they checked things in directions I did not go. They were able to get to the shed that has all my parents’ stuff stored in it, and check out the field our septic ejector drains into. There’s water there, of course, but all looks well.

At this rate, we might even be able to get to the barn again, soon! 😀

While talking about the state of things with the girls, one of my daughters commented on what a good thing it was, that we were able to do the big shopping trip to the city when we did! We may not have gotten everything, but we’re easily good for a couple of weeks, and even then, the only thing we’d be running out of is the dry cat kibble.

All in all, we’re doing pretty good. Even the water seeping into the basement isn’t too bad.

Hopefully, all is well with our neighbours, too.

The Re-Farmer

Washout video

After many interruptions and a bit of experimenting, I used my new software to make this video from this morning.

I didn’t add any sound to it, because I didn’t want to drown out the sounds from the video portions. In the first clip, the strange, almost squeaky noises are being made by the water trying to form a whirlpool at the culvert, under a layer of ice. At the end of the video, you can hear the deer crashing through the surface ice as they bound through the field! Considering how far away they were, that’s pretty impressive.

You can also see the tire tracks where someone had driven up to the wash out, then backed up and turned around.

This isn’t actually too bad of a washout. For now. While making this, one of the interruptions was a robo-call from our municipality. Part of it was just repeating the rainfall warning that all the weather apps have right now. It then went on to say that our council is keeping on top of things, and is aware of flooding issues, like what I was looking at this morning. They also specified that they have an emergency plan in place, and that pumps, generators and sandbags are available for those who need them (we shouldn’t need anything like that). It went on to suggest people make sure their sump pumps are working (ours is), and that items in basements are raised up off the floor (which is how we keep things in the old basement all the time), and to have things put together and ready, in case an evacuation becomes necessary. In other words, have a bug out bag!

Where we are, we won’t have much to be concerned about. If there is any flooding, there are other areas on our quarter section that water will drain to, rather than towards the house, which in turn drains into the municipal drainage ditch in the video above.

As I write this, it’s just reaching 6pm, and we are at 11C/52F, which is several degrees Celsius higher than the most recent forecast. Which means things have been not only melting outside, but in many places, the water has actually receded, with the ground warming up enough to absorb some of it. Granted, if we do get the rains that are predicted to start tonight and continue through tomorrow and the day after, with cooler temperatures, all that is going to fill up again, but there is noticeably less snow to melt away and add to the total amount of water.

Meanwhile, we continue to make trips into the old basement, check the sump pump and sweep the puddles into the flor drain or sump pump reservoir. Both the sump pump and the septic pump are going off fairly frequently, and doing their jobs. The main areas where we would expect water to be a problem in the inner and outer yard is around the garage – but not the garage itself – parts of the driveway, and other areas that are far enough away from the house that it won’t affect us. At least not directly.

We should be okay where we are. There are others in the area we are more concerned about!

The Re-Farmer

The current state of things

This morning’s rounds were extended rounds – but about a mile and a half! 😀

The first order of business was to check the old basement. The south side of the basement is still slowly getting wetter. The sump pump is doing its job quite well. The north side hasn’t really changed much, and I’ve no doubt the big blower fan is doing a lot to keep that side more under control. The larger puddles of water got swept into the drain or the sump pump reservoir, and another of the chimney blocks was brought upstairs, before I headed outside.

I hadn’t slept much, so I was outside earlier than the cats are used to, so I didn’t see many of them! 😀

The first cat I saw was The Distinguished Guest (TDG), and he was limping. Favoring the same leg that Potato Beetle still does. Now that we know why Potato Beetle was limping, I have less concern. It’s probably a bite or claw injury. Considering how aggressive TDG has been to the other cats, I can’t say I feel much sympathy for him. I didn’t see Potato Beetle this morning, and whenever that happens, I worry that TDG has injured him and he’s suffering somewhere. 😦

I don’t know where Rosencrantz has set herself up again but, wherever it is, it’s very close by. She just seemed to magically appear at the kibble house of late! The only thing I can say for sure is that she’s not coming from the junk pile.

Speaking of junk piles, while Junk Pile (we have GOT to come up with a better for her!) was eating, I blindly took a couple of shots of her kittens through the window. This was the best one. I think I count 5 in there.

While switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I was happy to see the water on the driveway has actually receded. To get to the sign cam, I went outside the fence line and didn’t even try to go through the snow and water along the garden area. While I was at it, I “made” a bridge. 😉

This sheet of plywood I found in the garage was set up over the drainage ditch, turned the other direction, so I could drive over it with the riding mower. Which isn’t working and, according to the place I last took it to, not really worth paying someone to fix, anymore. Since we won’t be driving a riding mower through here anytime soon, I pulled up up the plywood and laid it the other way. That helped increase the flow of water, too. I don’t know who dug this drainage ditch, how long ago, or what they used to do it. All I know is that it’s very uneven and rough, even for just a push mower.

That done, I went for a walk to check out the state of the road heading south. For the first half mile, it was actually pretty good. There’s an area that has a series of small ponds on one side that has the potential to be an issue if we get the predicted rains – we’re still under a rainfall warning that extends to the north of us, with accompanying flood warnings – but this morning, it was still pretty good.

Then I got to where the municipal drainage ditch crosses the road.

The culvert is marked with that red plastic tube on the left, and is the only reason this section isn’t already washed out.

This drainage ditch crosses the quarter section we’re on, cutting through the rented out fields into our neighbour’s quarter, until it crosses the road here.

The drainage ditch then cuts across the corner of this quarter section to another road and another culvert.

I wasn’t going to go that far to check the state of the road, seeing how things are here!

The drainage ditch is completely full; the line of higher soil, created by dredging, marks one side of it. Right now, we’ve got one flooded field draining into another flooded field!

The first area that’s washed out is past the drainage ditch. You can somewhat see how much of the gravel has been washed off the road and into the ditch.

The second wash out has done a lot more damage to the road.

Half the road has been washed down right to the rock base!

I took this next wide angle shot while standing in the middle of the second wash out.

There is still SO much snow and ice.

Here, I’m standing in between the two washed out sections. The water is flowing with remarkable speed!

I took some video, too. Once I have time, I’ll test out my new movie making software and make a little video to upload.

So this road is not a viable alternate route for us. When I get a chance, I plan to walk the road to the north and see how things are, there. We may not be able to avoid the pothole riddled main road, though.

Enough snow has melted that I could check out a few other areas, once I got back home. The path to the outhouse and the back of the garage is still full of water, and the pit under the outhouse is flooded to the top.

The garlic beds are clear of snow, but the soil under the mulch is still frozen solid.

Our first high raised bed is also clear of snow – but the snow around it is still quite deep!

I noticed one of the cages protecting the raspberry bushes we got my daughter for her birthday last year was knocked aside, so I made my way through the snow to get to it. Some of it even held my weight, though when it did give out, I found myself knee deep in snow.

Once we have rows of high raised beds built here, I can see that it will greatly affect the snow in the area.

The arrow in the above photo is pointing to the raspberry bush, and shows where the cage is supposed to be. The cages got dug out of the scrap pile around the old garden shed and placed over the raspberry bushes, after we discovered the deer were nibbling on them.

I found a couple of large rocks under the trees to weigh the cage down. Hopefully, it will hold until we find a more permanent way to protect the raspberries.

Hopefully, the raspberries have survived. Shortly after we transplanted them last year, they got hit by that one unusually cold night in late May that killed off so much. Then there was the drought, the heat waves and the deer. Now we’ve got this winter that just doesn’t want to let go. These poor bushes have had a very rough start! At this point, there’s no way to see if they’ve survived the winter. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.

The snow has receded enough that I was able to check out a few more areas before heading back inside. Another check on the basement, then the last chimney block was brought upstairs. Getting those up the old basement stairs has been a real pain. It’s one thing to carry a block down the hallway or across the yard. It’s quite another to safely get them up those stairs. I finally got it worked out, though. Basically, once a block was lifted to the highest step I could reach while standing at the bottom, I had to go up a couple of steps, to line myself up with the next step it would go on, carefully bend at the knees (my busted up knees!), grab the block and brace it against my belly (sometimes, my extra girth comes in quite handy!), straighten my knees to lift the block while using the hand rail to keep from falling backwards, and use my belly to place it on the next step.

Then the process is repeated, step by step, to the top. Thankfully, there is room for a block in front of the door, which has to be kept closed to keep the cats out. Then it’s, open the door, chase away cats, wrestle the block clear of the door with enough space to get past it, chase away the cats again, then close the door – hopefully remembering to turn the light off, first!

After that, it gets easy. The only difficult part is getting through the old kitchen door, without letting any cats through.

It’ll be a while before we can prep the area the blocks are going into, so we can take our time getting the blocks out the rest of the way. Getting them out of that basement was the main hurdle, and I’m very glad it’s finally done!

And that’s the state of things for now. As I write this, we’re at 5C/41F and we’re supposed to reach a high of 9C/48F, so things are melting. The rains are supposed to hit us this evening and continue through tomorrow, before changing to a mix of rain and snow, the day after, with highs of 4C/40F.

Then, three days later, they are now saying we’re supposed to get a high of 18C/64F. Long range forecast after that has highs ranging from 16C/61F to 19C/66F for the next week.

Hopefully, by then, the soil will have thawed enough to be able to absorb more of that moisture!

We shall see how things turn out.

The Re-Farmer

Change of plans

I made a trip to the general store and post office today, to pick up a big bag of bird seed. We’re switching from the deer feed to black oil seed now.

Yikes.

The gravel road was bad yesterday, but it was much worse today. The road itself was drier, but the last mile had water levels from the north that were higher. On the way back, I made a point of stopping near one of the municipal drainage ditches to take photos.

Further back, you can see where the water is creeping onto the road. This section wasn’t too bad for potholes. I was more concerned about the culvert.

You can tell where it is by the whirlpool. It was barely keeping the water flowing at an adequate rate. The field behind is completely underwater. That line of snow you see? That’s the drainage ditch.

On the other side, the ditch continues through a bison ranch. That’s why the fence is so fortified right into the ditch. A bison still manages to get out, every now and then.

That is some fast flowing water! The drainage ditch on this side is full, but is still containing most of the water.

It was at a culvert like this, near my brother’s place, where the highway was undermined and had to be closed completely.

Thankfully, we’re a bit higher and don’t have anything like this for the last mile to our turnoff. That last mile, however, is the worst stretch for potholes. It’s really hard to play “dodge the pothole”, when it’s all potholes.

Our own driveway is also getting wetter, and I could feel the van trying to sink as I drove through. I wouldn’t want to drive over it with the van loaded down with more weight, as it would be if I were able to get the rest of the month’s cat kibble. So I decided another trip to the city to do the rest of the monthly shopping can wait.

Of course, I came home to a message from my mother, She was wondering if I could take her shopping tomorrow.

The road is rough enough on our van. I’m not sure how her car can handle it. The last time I drove her car in conditions less severe than this, a tire blew out on the highway soon after. I am sure of exactly when the tired was damaged, too, when I hit a rock that was uncovered inside a pothole.

I haven’t checked the road to the south we would normally take as an alternate rough yet, but it was taking her car down that route that led to the tire blowout.

When I mentioned the main road’s condition, my mother suggested we wait. The grocery store is able to deliver her groceries for her, if she needs it, and that’s what she thinks she will do. She then started talking about years when the main road would get washed out completely – right about where the municipal drainage ditch is now! – we had to take the road to the north to get around it. Likely because the road was also washed out to the south. To the north, there are a lot of marshes, though, and that’s the direction water is building up from.

Gosh, I remember the roads around here washing out every spring through most of my childhood!

If we do get more rain – and our weather alert has now switched to a rainfall warning – I am not sure that the culvert in the photos above will be able to handle the increase in water. Unless it washes out in another spot, first! The temperature is suppose to increase quite a bit tomorrow, which means there will be more snow melt as well as any rain we might get. It’s going to be touch and go.

Until all this clears up, there’s no point in the municipality even trying to do anything about the potholes, and they’ll have much more to worry about if the roads start washing out!

We can wait a while on the shopping. We got a bit of rain this afternoon, and I can see on the security camera’s live feed that our driveway has even more water on it.

A reminder that we really need to get more gravel on that driveway!

I’ll just add that to the list of things we need to do, when we win the lottery. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Under water

While doing my evening rounds today, after we reached a high of at least 10C/50F (warmer than predicted), I noticed the “lake” behind the garage had noticeably grown.

This morning, it had just reached the metal sheet that was laid on a layer of gravel. Now, I could see it surrounding the outhouse.

From the back, you can just barely see that there is water under the metal grate that’s holding the folded wire mesh in place.

I’d checked inside, and the pit under the outhouse is full of water, right up to the floorboards.

I see no sign that the groundhog that had dug a den under the floorboards had dug its way out from under the outhouse. From what I’ve read, their mating season is in March. Perhaps its den had a “back door” somewhere.

There has been an outhouse in this spot for as long as I can remember, but it’s really not a good spot for on, because of how low it is.

I did note that the spot we intend to build an outdoor bathroom, where the compost pile currently is, has no standing water. It’s wet, to be sure, but not muddy. The path to the house also has no standing water, though there are low spots nearby that do have snowmelt collecting in them.

If we were building a pit style outhouse, I wouldn’t have it that close to the house, but since we’ll essentially be building a shed with a composting toilet in it, that can be taken out at any time, we won’t have the issues one would have with a pit.

We’ll still be making sure to have a layer of gravel and sand under the base that will raise it above grade.

But first, we’ll take out a whole bunch of dead spruce trees that will be felled into that direction. Once those are all cleared out, we can build in that spot.

Knowing where the snowmelt collects this time of year plays a big part in a lot of our decision making!

We are still getting weather alerts for next week. How much of it will hit us, it’s hard to say, but the predictions for how much snow the Southern areas of the province will get have been changing. When I first saw the alerts, they were saying up to 20cm/8in. Then they started saying as much as 30cm/12in. Now they’re saying some areas may get as much as 40cm/16in! Which blows away any record snowfalls for that weekend.

Of course, I get a different story, if I look at other apps. One of them predicts far more milder weather, while another predicts the storm will be passed a day earlier than others.

Pray that the storm, whenever it arrives, is much less severe than predicted. I’ve got a nephew that’s supposed to be driving in from another province, with his wife and children, including their new baby, the day the system is supposed to hit.

The Re-Farmer

It’s a good tired…

You know, for someone who is a hermit by nature, I’ve been out and about an awful lot lately!

Today I was out again, after an unexpected change in plans. With the roads clearing up and the days warming up, my mother was wanting to finally visit her sister in the nursing home, to see for herself how she is doing. Every time I suggested a day, though, she would defer on making a decision, and then say that she’d go any time I had the time to take her. She just wanted me to give her at least a day’s advance notice. So a few days ago, after looking at the forecast and seeing that Friday (today) was supposed to be warmer, I called to suggest Friday.

Oh, I was thinking Sunday, she tells me.

Hmm. Apparently, I was supposed to know this somehow? 😀

So we arranged for a trip on Sunday.

Then last night, while I was on my way home from visiting my friend in town, she called. It was pretty late when I got home, but I got through to her before she’d gone to bed.

She had been talking to someone in her building. They told her Friday was supposed to be a nice warm day, so she thought that might be a better day to visit her sister, instead of Sunday, and was I okay with that?

Oh, Mom.

I still had the day open, since that was the day I’d suggested to begin with, so of course, I was okay with the switch, but my goodness, that was funny.

We timed it so that she could visit in between when they would be doing lunch and supper. I used her car, of course, and left early enough to put some gas in the tank.

*sigh*

I filled the tank in our van last night. Gas was at 174.9/L It cost me almost $50 for a quarter tank. This morning, gas was up to 177.9/L My mother’s car was closer to 1/2 than 3/4 full, and she has a smaller tank than I do. It still cost almost almost $40 to fill her tank, and I didn’t even fill it all the way. The nozzle kept shutting itself off, so I kept restarting it until the pump got to what I knew would be close, and it turned out to be just a hair under full when I stopped.

Of course, with gas prices going up, the price of everything else is going to keep going up, too. 😦

We made the trip to where my aunt is, and since they still require masks and I can’t wear one (my mother shouldn’t be wearing any, either), I dropped her off with her walker and helper her in to the doors, where they had someone set up at a table. While my mom was being tended to before being allowed in, I found a place to park. We’d talked about where we were going to eat after the visit, and I’d suggested a fish and chips place instead of her usual fried chicken restaurant. She’s not doing meat on Fridays, so she agreed. I’m pretty sure the chicken place has fish and chips, too, but she would have just ordered fries if we’d gone there. It’s a tiny place and has only street parking, so after I parked my mom’s car, I quickly walked over to see how busy they were and what the parking situation was like, before heading back to the nursing home and waiting for my mom outside.

Her visit with my aunt was much shorter than expected, so I wasn’t waiting for long. We headed over to the restaurant so she could fill me in on how it went. Unfortunately my aunt, who’s 98, did not recognize my mother. She doesn’t talk anymore, and she fell asleep while my mother was there. At least my mother got to talk to the nursing staff about her sister, and left small gifts for her for later.

These visits are very hard on my mother. Still, she was glad to have finally seen her, and talk to the staff directly about how she’s doing. My mother can’t navigate their automated phone system, so I’ve been the one calling the nursing home to get updates for her which, thankfully, they are allowing. I’m not on the list of contacts for my aunt, but my mother is, and I’m someone they recognize as speaking on behalf of my mother, so they can give me information. Still, it’s not the same as my mother being able to actually see and try to talk to her sister, in person.

I told my mother that, now that the roads are clearing up and the temperatures are getting nice, she can visit her sister more often, and that I would be happy to drive her. She started saying, what’s the point? Her sister doesn’t even recognize her. I reminded her it’s been a long time since my aunt has seen her. If she visits more often, she might start recognizing my mother. Plus, at least she’s be able to see for herself how her sister was doing. My mother said she would think about it, but later on the the drive home, she brought it up again as if it was something she’s just thought of herself, and said it would be good to visit more often, now that the roads and weather are better… 😀

The place we ate at is very generous with their portions, and neither of us could finish even half of the fries, so we boxed those up. My mother didn’t want the fries, so she suggested I could give it to the cats. She’d covered hers with salt and vinegar, and I didn’t think that would work, but I took them anyway. My mother took advantage of having access to a car and we went to a couple of places before I took her home. While we were doing errands, I got a message from one of my daughters with a photo.

They’d got a fire going in the fire pit and were having a wiener roast for supper! We’ve used the fire pit so rarely since we’ve moved here, due to fire bans and drought conditions, so I was really happy that they did that.

By the time I was driving my mother home, I was so very tired. Being around people too much just sucks the energy out of me, and with all the other errands we’ve been running in just the past week, I was pretty wiped out. I think I was even more tired than my 90 yr old mother! 😀 So I didn’t stay long after putting her groceries away. It’s a good thing I left when I did, because it was starting to rain! It was mostly done by the time I got home, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be driving on those roads any later in the day.

My daughters were still doing their cookout when I got home! They had the hardest time keeping the fire going, even with having access to dry wood.

The rain starting certainly didn’t help, but it didn’t rain enough to have to end their cookout, and it stopped shortly after I got back. I joined them for a while. It felt so good to be sitting at a fire like that, even with the mud all around the fire pit.

Then, since I had all those fries, the girls brought out cast iron pan to reheat them on the fire grill. I’m told they were quite delicious done that way! 😀

I didn’t stay out for too long, though, and left them to their cookout. I did pause to check out one of the little “lakes” that are forming in our yard!

Getting to the compost pile is going to be a bit of a challange!

We’ve got snowmelt forming a “lakes” forming all over the yard and in the paths we’ve dug right now! All that water, in between all that still-deep snow, is quite the sight!

We’re still supposed to get a bit more rain, then temperatures are supposed to dip below freezing overnight. I was going to say, I’m glad I won’t have to go anywhere for a few days, but I just remembered that we will at least need to go into town again to refill our empty water jugs. I really should have done it today, but it’s not something I could do while running errands with my mother. After that, we should have a few days “off”. I hope! At least until the middle of next week, when we’ll be dropping Turmeric off for her appointment at the vet that the Cat Lady arranged. Then, that same evening, we are now scheduled to pick up the freezer pack of beef I ordered last night. I chose their large “rancher” variety pack. The only item in the pack I know for sure will be in it is ground beef. I’m quite content with “surprise” packs, because we sometimes end up with cuts we normally wouldn’t think to get, usually due to the price/pound. Because it’s in a bulk pack, the price is by the pound for the whole thing, not for individual cuts, so we end up with a better price – and higher end cuts!

It’ll definitely be worth the extra running around.

Still, it all leaves me feeling so very tired. At least it’s a good tired, though!

The Re-Farmer

We’ll have to plan for this

Spring is still trying to show us it has arrived, though in a couple of days, winter is expected to come back for a while.

Which might make it a bit easier to deal with this.

This is the food path we dug to the vehicle gate. The meltwater fills this path, and continues down the paths to the back of the garage, and the outhouse.

In previous winters, we’d been able to keep this vehicle gate, and part of the yard, clear of snow so that we could still drive right up to the house. We had quite a bit less snow than this year, yet we still had “lakes” forming in this gate, and in that low area in front of the outhouse. Without being able to clear all that snow, plus the larger amounts of snow we got this winter, we’re going to be dealing with a lot more meltwater in those low areas.

That “river” of melt water is in the path we dug that was wide enough for my husband’s walker, to get to the front of the garage.

Here’s the rest of that path, all the way to the small gate. You can see where puddles are starting to form in the tire tracks in the snow. In previous years, this entire area would get filled with water. Which meant we could not get to the garage, either from the front or the back, without having to go through a large puddle of water and/or mud.

With the amount of snow we got this year, we can reasonably expect those areas to have quite a bit more water. If that happens, we may have to start parking the van near the small gate, so we can reach it without having to walk through too much water or mud. Another area that tends to collect water is right in the middle of the driveway at the gate. Which means we have to stand in water to open and close the gate.

Another reason why I’d love to get a couple of loads of gravel onto the driveway!

I’m okay with the cold coming back for a bit. As long as we don’t warm up too quickly, the ground will have a better chance of warming up and absorbing the moisture. Looking at the 14 day forecast, it looks like that’s exactly what we’ll be getting.

And for that, I am grateful!

The Re-Farmer

Sign progress, and checking the water levels

One of the tasks I got a bit of progress on yesterday, was the sign I am making to replace the one with my late father’s name on it, that identified this farm.

Before adding the second coat of paint, I cut a scrap piece of 2×4 from the wood we found in one of the sheds and brought to the basement a while back, and made “legs”. They are short, but they are something I can work with when we are finally able to put the sign up. Mostly, I wanted them screwed in place before the second coat of white paint was added. That way, I could brush over the screws to make them less visible, while making sure not to fill in the holes for the screwdriver, so they can be taken out easily, if necessary.

They also did a better job of keeping the sign above the top of the freezer while I painted, than what I was using before. 😀

There is one problem with working in the old kitchen, though.

The wasps are somehow getting in from the hive in the crawl space.

So far, they are staying at the north window, trying to get outside; the south window faces into the sun room, and the west window is covered with foil, so there is actually more light from the north. Plus, the old kitchen is not heated in any way and is always a few degrees colder than the rest of the house, so the wasps were pretty groggy. Still, when I first came in to start working on the sign, I did have to move a wasp off that had landed on it, while the paint was still a bit wet. If it had been warmer and the wasp less groggy, it probably could have flown off on its own. As it is, when I gently brushed it loose, it just fell to the floor, where I could no longer see it.

They won’t last long, as wasps die off over the winter, but it does mean my husband has to be careful going into there, since he is allergic to stings.

With the second coat of white paint done yesterday, the next step on the sign for today will be to take it outside and use the reflective spray paint on it. I’ll have to read the label on the can again, to see if it should have more than one coat or not.

I can do this part outside, as we are not expected to have rain again for a while. With how much we got recently, this morning I decided to check out the old gravel pit that the renter got dug deeper, so see how it was. Along the way, I checked a pond, and there was no standing water at all, though the bottom has a lot of green growth at least.

The old gravel pit is wonderfully full of water! This is the most it has had all year. Thankfully, there is a lot of clay to keep it there, too.

The hill created when the pit was deepened has been noticeably affected by the rain, as well, and I could see where actual rivulets had formed, washing things away.

This is the bottom of one of the rivulets, where you can see a deer had made its way through the clay and silt. All around the bottom of the hill, there are now patches of clay and silt like this, but this is the only one that had tracks in it. 🙂

I’m really glad the renter was able to get this pit dug deeper. Even with all the rain we’ve been having, the water table has not recovered yet, so this is the only water around for wildlife. Of the dugouts in the area that I can see from the roads, only one, about two miles away, has any water in it, and it was also dug deeper this year, too.

Well, things have warmed up nicely – it’s currently 15C/59F right now! – and it’s time to get outside and get some manual labour done! 🙂

The Re-Farmer