Some evening activities

After the onions were harvested, and my daughter no longer needed help with her build, I headed over to the platform bed frame the girls have been slowly getting painted. The top, where the litter boxes will be sitting, got several coats of paint. They’ve been working on the under side. It’s the legs that need the extra coats of paint, now that we know the newer basement floor can get water seeping in, despite the weeping tile.

There was just one last coat of paint to add to the leg ends, plus around the edges. The platform is upside down on the picnic table, so I went to put a couple of bricks under it, to elevate it enough to paint the edges, and not the picnic table.

As I came around the back, I found this.

Well, so much for my trying not to get red paint on the blue picnic table when I was painting the bench I made!

The platform now has its final coat of paint, though. We’ll be able to bring it back into the house and into the basement any time after tonight.

Meanwhile, my daughter got some good progress on the water bowl shelter today.

As you can see, it’s already kitten approved!

She worked on this without any detailed plan; just a general idea of the build, adapted to what materials were available. I found the scrap piece of half inch plywood in the barn, so that became the size of the shelter.

The smaller cross pieces at the bottom, inside the uprights, will be the supports for the floor. Another cross piece will be added for extra support. We might have some scraps in the barn that will work. With the floor lower that the top of the cross piece in the front, there will be a lip to prevent the bowls from being casually knocked out. When we built the kibble house, one of the first problems we discovered was that the skunks would pull the kibble trays right off, scattering kibble all over the ground and making an awful lot of noise. Putting a board across the front solved that problem. My daughter made sure that would not be an issue this time!

Once a floor is figured out, it will need walls on three sides. We have more of the wider boards across the front and back. They are pretty rotten on the ends, but they are also longer than needed. Most likely, the shelter will be flipped onto its roof, then boards added across the back with the rotten ends sticking out. Once they are secured, we can simply saw the ends off along the vertical support, then do the same thing on the sides. It doesn’t need to be perfectly seals. It just need to keep the snow out.

This should fit rather well beside the kibble house. The cats’ house, the kibble house and this water shelter, will together form a sort of U shape. The heated water bowl is plugged into an outlet inside the cats’ house, which has its own extension cord that is more than long enough to reach. So even if the regular water bowls freeze, they will still have at least one bowl of liquid water available.

We painted the kibble house a bright yellow, but we no longer have any of that paint left. I’ll have to pick up some more, probably next month. The kibble house could use a touch up, too. Plus, if we dig up the shingles we found in some sheds, we could do both roofs, too.

Yeah. We’re sucks when it comes to the cats.

Speaking of shingles and roofs…

This is a section of roof on the house that caught my attention today.

You can see a loose shingle has started to slide down. This is a very steep roof, but at least it’s low enough that it can be patched from a ladder. This section of roof forms the angled walls of the second floor. Both sides used to be like this, but my dad had one side raised into a low slope roof to make more room in the second floor. Unfortunately, that low slope is why there is now water leaking in through one of the second floor windows.

That brick chimney is for the wood furnace we can no longer use. When the new roof is done, that chimney will be removed completely. It needed to be redone since my parents bought the place. That’s what the chimney blocks I’m now using as planters and retaining walls were for! It just never got done, and now it never will.

This is the only section of roof that is north facing. Ice and snow remains here the longest, and you can really tell. All of the shingles are lifting. It’s worse now than it was even in the spring! This is over the attic above the old kitchen – an attic no one goes into, as the entrance is difficult to get at, so the girls have simply blocked it off with furniture.

The chimney here is to the old wood cookstove in the old kitchen. The stove can no longer be used. Not only is it unsafe, being so close to the wall with no heat shield (how did we never burn the house down when I was a kid???), but the fire box is badly damaged, and the door to the oven is broken off. Some day, however, we may be able to replace it with another cookstove, with a proper heat shield and protective flooring. If nothing else, it would be good to have something like that as an emergency back up if we lose electricity. We certainly have the option to cook outside, but if we lose power in the winter, not only would we want to be cooking indoors, such a set up would also be a heat source.

Not that we could do that any time soon. Right now, the only reason my brother was able to get property insurance was by providing photographic proof that all wood burning stoves – including the ones in the storage shed, installed back when it was a work shop – and the wood burning furnace were disabled. Without that, the cost of insurance would have been much, much higher, for things that can’t even be used. We’ll probably have our outdoor kitchen built long before we’re in a position to remove the old wood cookstove and replace it with something else.

The main thing for now it, getting a new roof.

I really hope my mother isn’t just yanking my brother’s chain again, and will actually follow through. I’m just praying that she’ll make good on her promise, and it can be done before winter. Not only because of how bad the roof is getting, but because it will probably save us money on our heating bills, too. Our equal payment plan has been reset to just over $330 per month. It used to be just under $300, but just this past month, our usage has been up 20% from last year. For January and February – our coldest months of the year – our actual usage in 2021 would have cost us almost $450 in January, and almost $600 in February. In 2022, our actual usage would have cost us almost $600 in January, and almost $450 in February – and March, too! Meanwhile, the upstairs gets freezing cold, even with their heaters. Then, in the summer, it gets so hot, their computers start to have problems. A few roof would help reduce those extremes and reduce the energy we use.

I’m afraid to hope my mother will follow through, though. I know once she sees how expensive it is now, she’s going to start backing off. I just hope my brother can persuade her how urgently it’s needed.

Well. We’ll see. The guy that came by today will send me his estimate tomorrow, and then we’ll see.

The Re-Farmer

Finding more storm damage

With our temperatures hovering around freezing, we’re getting things melting in some areas, and freezing in others.

Which leaves us with this, in front of the sun room. 😀

We have one of those extended pole shovels designed to remove snow from a roof while standing at ground level, and I used it to try and clear the heaviest snow where the two roof sections come together. Like an idiot, I didn’t take the ice pillar out, first. It fell against the window. Thankfully, the window didn’t break! These are dual pane windows, and the pane on the inside is already cracked, so if the outer pane got broken, we’d be in a pickle!

The other downspouts seem to be clear, but this is the only south facing one, so it gets the most temperature fluctuations, and it feels like it’s solid ice, all the way to the eaves! Trickles do make their way through, but that’s about it.

While doing my rounds, I tried to see if we’d lost any more trees in the spruce grove. I didn’t see any newly fallen trees, but it looks like one of them – a live one, not one of the dead ones – lost about 15 feet off the top. It’s in an area that’s hard to get to even in the summer. With this much snow on the ground, it’s completely inaccessible right now.

Not so much the other piece of tree I discovered on the ground.

I was able to make my way over to the broken canopy tent. From a distance, I could see movement under it, showing that that cats are still able to use it for shelter, so it’s going to stay for the winter. This piece of tree looks like it landed on the corner of the tent and broke it even more. I can’t check on the BBQ under it. At this end, it has a shelf with a handle. There are S hooks on the handle for BBQ tools, and you can see one of them on the ground. Hopefully, it just got knocked about, and not damaged.

This is where it fell from. If I remember correctly, this was not a dead part of the tree, either. This is a group of three very large maples, and they do have a lot of dead sections that we would have to hire someone to safely remove.

Eventually, we will clear a path to the nearby fire pit and might be able to, at most, cut up and clear it away the broken piece or, at least, just move it aside so we can access the area.

There are still quite a few areas we can’t get at, with some we won’t even try to until the snow is gone, but in those that I can actually see, the broken branches we found before, plus what I saw today, are the extent of the storm damage. With all the dead branches we’ve been cleaning up these past four years, there are very few smaller branches on the ground that we’ll clean up when the snow it gone, but that seems to be leaving the really big things to fall!

The Re-Farmer

First snow of the year is a doozy!

When I tried to make my last post using my phone, I hoped to get enough of a data signal to publish a text post.

I never did.

After about an hour of trying, our internet started to come back sporadically, and it finally posted.

Our internet continues to go in and out, but I did manage to upload photos and am daring to make a proper blog post!!

While this year’s kittens have seen some snow a little while ago, this is the first time in their lives that snow has actually accumulated on the ground for any length of time. I’m sure it’s been a bit of a shock to them! It was sunny to see one using my foot prints to get around.

The kibble house was nice and dry, though I had to knock snow out of the tray on the side, and the one under the shrine. Then I had to dig out the water bowls, knock out the slush inside, and refresh them with warm water.

Then I shoveled some snow to make paths from the sun room, around the kibble house, to the shrine, to the bird and deer feeding station (we have yet to see signs of deer coming around to the house) and the sidewalk to the small gate. Later, we will need to shovel a path to the power pole so we can read the meter, and the burn barrel. But not yet. The snow is incredibly wet and heavy, and still coming down.

Then I went to check on the gate and switch out the trail cam memory card.

Not going to get too many files off of this one!!

It’s not going to be easy to clear the driveway. The snow is so wet, and there is water under it. We’re doing to have to do something, though, because I need to be able to get out of our driveway very early on Monday, for my court date in the city. And it’s supposed to continue snowing trough Friday and Saturday!

This sheltered area is going to be such a nice place for a little sanctuary, once we clear out the dead trees and set up some seating.

Butterscotch caught up with me as I was using my walking stick to knock snow off of low hanging branches so they wouldn’t break.

I did find some broken branches, too.

There wasn’t too many of them, but the few there were, were rather large!

This one is more “piece of tree” than branch! I could clean up the others, but this one will likely wait until spring.

This is on the north side of the house, reminding me once again of just how glad I am we were able to get those trees cut away from the roof and power lines!!!

The snow is so wet and sticky, it even stuck to the wire mesh on the squash tunnel!

This was a disappointing find. I’d left the gazebo tent out to cover the picnic table and BBQ, set as low as it could go, but it couldn’t handle this wet, wet, heavy snow and just collapsed. The canopy even tore, too.

I used a garden hoe to clear as much of the snow off as I could, but we will likely leave it here. It is still serving as a cover for the BBQ (the cover it came with was torn to shreds by the wind, already), the picnic table, and any critters to take shelter under them.

Before heading in, I took the snow off the roof of the cat’s house, since we will need to lift it to replace the smoke detector in the near future. Then, since I was shoveling around it for access, anyhow, I went ahead and shoveled the cat path to the storage house, too.

Right now, we continue to have wet snow falling. It’s only 0C/32F with a wind chill of -7C/20F. It’s not snowing especially heavily, but it is constant. Looking at the live feed on the security camera, I can’t see the road past our gate. My brother’s field across the road is just a while blur. A lot more branches than usual are in view, hanging down from the weight of the snow. By Sunday, the snow is expected to stop and we will have our coldest day, at -5C/23F, but amazingly, we’re not predicted to reach 1C/34F by Tuesday!

For today, we will be staying indoors, except for topping out the kibble and water for the outside cats later on. While I had my baking day yesterday, my younger daughter wants to do her own baking today, too. A day of quiet domesticity is going to be much enjoyed!

The Re-Farmer

Taking stock

Of course, I just have to start with my morning smiles!

I am so glad we were able to build the kibble house for the outside cats. It’s working out really well! We have about 5 days of warm weather coming up next week. The perfect time to add a sheet of rigid insulation under the floor boards, then add another board across the front, to keep the containers from being knocked out. Hopefully, the winds will have died down more by then. We don’t have anywhere near the high winds we had yesterday, but it’s still too windy to be trying to work with things that become sails! 😀

Speaking of winds, my morning rounds were a bit more extensive, as I checked to see what damage there might be. I found the back doors of the barn were actually starting to pull open. They are double doors, with one side “latched” at the lintel, while the other split door is held in place by the first one. If it weren’t for the bar holding the one side in place as much as it did, no doubt that both sides would have been flung open. As it is, they were pulled open far enough that the split door was barely held in place.

Even one of the garage doors were my mother’s car is parked were being blown open. We finally had to roll and old tire, still on its rim, in front of it to keep it from blowing open. Those doors are supposed to be held in place with spring latches at the time, but the piece one of them latches into has broken, and both sides of the door are sagging. Another thing on the list of things to fix!

The tarp I put over my late brother’s post pounder is being torn to shreds. I’ve tried tying it down more, but the recent winds have undone all of that, and more. I was at least able to cover the motor with a plastic bag until I can find another tarp large enough to cover the whole thing.

Oddly, I found a piece of aluminum blown onto a stack of wood by the old garden shed. It’s the same material the eaves-troughs on the house are made of, though it’s not a trough; more like an edge piece. I have no idea where it blew in from! Still, when the girls are on the roof to clean out the eaves-troughs on the second level, it’ll be a good time to check the roof for damage in places we can’t see from the ground.

We also lost another tree in the spruce grove. Not a spruce, this time.

One tree broke off about 8 or 9 feet up, and another next to it lost its top. Not too bad for losses, all things considered.

Cleaning up in the spruce grove was my goal for the past 2 summers, and it just didn’t happen. We really need to get in there and clean out all the dead wood. It’s quite the fire hazard, and the area is almost impassable. In checking out the latest breakages, I was pleased to see there’s quite a lot of red bark dogwood, as well as wild roses, in the area – two things that I want to encourage the growth of, as we clean out other things. In time, the plan is to transplant more spruces into the spruce grove. So many have died, it’s almost not a spruce grove any more! A lot of what we’ll be taking out of the grove are small poplars. These are pretty flexible and springy when they’re small, so we are planning to find ways to use them to make things like arbors, trellises, and other things, where I plan to use bent wood. The larger ones that will be cut down will be used as support posts. Among the things we want to make is an arbor with a gate to put on one side of the driveway gate. This is for when people come by, to make deliveries or whatever, while the gate is locked, so they don’t have to climb over the gate to get in, potentially damaging the hinges. I also want to make combination benches and climbing trellises to set up in different areas around the yard. It’ll be good to be able to actually use the small trees we’ll have to clear out to make useful and pretty things, rather than just adding them to the chipper piles.

I also made a run into town today. I was intending to do it yesterday, but just did not want to drive in those winds. Especially since I wanted to swing by the cemetery with some artificial flowers my mother gave me to put at the graves of our family. While there, I took the time to pick up and replace some of the stuff from other graves that got blown around, but some of them, I just couldn’t tell where the things had come from, so I just set them aside.

Among the things I had to get in town was more bird feed and suet, and I’ve also picked up deer feed. From the droppings I’m finding, they are coming around more often. We will start leaving out small amounts for them to get used to finding it here again, but at this time of year, it’s more like dessert. There is plenty of wild food available for them.

I just checked our long range forecast. When I last looked, tomorrow was supposed to be one more cooler day, then it would warm up over the next few. Now it’s saying the next two days will reach highs of 11C, then highs of 9C for the next couple of days after that! So we’ve got 4 days to do as much as possible outdoors before it starts dipping below freezing again. It’s looking to be a pretty mild November, but I still really want to get more mulch on the tulips the girls planted, in particular. The eaves-troughs are the only essential thing left that needs to be done; the rest is stuff that we’d like to get done, but if we don’t, it’s not a big deal. We shall see what we manage. Tomorrow, it’ll be on the girls for the most part, since the van has been re-booked for the garage for then.

I will be very happy to get that oil change done, and those winter tires on, before winter really hits!

The Re-Farmer

Cat crowd and sad sunflowers

We had another frost last night, and today is going to be distinctly chillier. We’ve already had a smattering of rain, which is supposed to continue off and on.

Then, on the weekend, we’re supposed to go above 20C again!

The outside cats seem to be taking it in stride. In this weather, they will be growing in their denser winter coats.

How is this for a lovely family picture!

Starting from the top left, we have Rosencrantz’s baby. Next to her is the mystery kitten; I am unsure which mom she belongs to! Next is Rozencrantz herself – who as even been letting me pet her! Until the food is out, of course. 😀

Next in line is Tabby, then Little Braveheart (her head is hidden behind her mom), and finally, Junk Pile cat.

Junk Pile cat was the one kitten of Rosencrantz’s that we were unable to catch. Keith and David, with their leaky, glued shut eyes, were caught and treated and are now both indoors.

This means that Rosencrantz’s babies are siblings to Junk Pile, while Junk Pile’s kittens are the grandkittens of Rosencrantz. Which means Rosencrantz’s kittens are also the aunts/uncles of Junk Pile’s kittens! 😀

I did see Butterscotch around when I first came outside and started getting the cat kibble. I have put the container for her and her kittens at the side of the house, near the steps I have been seeing them play around most often, lately. She went past me as I was filling it. Later, as headed towards the old garden area, I could see her kittens, playing among the squash beds.

Which confirms that Butterscotch has moved her kittens again.

Across the road, to the neighbouring property! No one lives there, but there is still the house, barn, garage, and various sheds and equipment used by the current owner.


She has done this before, and when her kittens grew bigger, they did stay at our place on their own, but I don’t like that she and her kittens are crossing the road like that. That one is a main road, and gets a lot more traffic than the one our driveway leads to.

I really wish Butterscotch wouldn’t do that. 😦

The frost we’ve been having seem to have finally done in the sunflowers.

The leaves are drooping on all of them, and even the unopened seed heads are drooping. I don’t expect many of them will ever open, even as we warm up again.

With the ones that are already open, I’m sure they can better withstand the frost. The problem is, it’s too chilly for the pollinators. No pollinators, and the seeds will never develop. I’m hoping they will be out again as things warm up.

Not all of them are tucking down for the winter. The wasps on the tree outside the kitchen window – the tree we need to cut back in hopes of establishing an internet connection for the second satellite – is still buzzing. As chilly as it was this morning, I could see a few flying around, too.

It’s hard to know how much longer it’ll be, before we can safely cut that branch down. Meanwhile, we’ve already got our 90% data usage warning, with 2 weeks before the account flips. We’re still rationing our internet usage, but we’d have to basically stop using the internet almost completely, to avoid going over the limit. Our service won’t be interrupted, but we will be charged double per gig once we do.

I really hope taking that branch down works. The tech already checked everything and replaced everything he could, and it still got zero signal. If it’s not the branch blocking the signal, there’s really nothing else left to fix. Yet, if it was just the branch, we would have had at least an intermittent signal, rather than no signal at all.

Ah, well. We’ll find out, one way or the other, once those branches come down.

The Re-Farmer

Frosted carnage, and we’re back to 1 1/2

After seeing how great the sunflowers did, after last night’s first frost, it was time to see how the squash beds looked after a day of relative warmth.

You can see how all the leaves that got hit with frost have shriveled and darkened.

There is some hope, though…

For many (not all) of the larger plants, the leaves underneath are looking just fine, as are the little squashes. Even the pumpkins look like they’ll make it.

On the one hand, I’m encouraged. On the other, it shows that if we’d been able to cover them, they probably would have fared much, much better.

Ah, well.

In other things…

Our trip to the cardiac clinic in the city turned out to be a waste of time, but that did result in us coming home earlier.

Yesterday, my younger daughter and I had gone into town. Since she needed to go to the grocery store and I didn’t, I popped across the road to the garage to see about my mom’s car.

It’s done!

In fact, he had stayed late on Friday to do it. However, the car had been sitting there for so long, the battery was dead! He had it on a charger and said it would be ready for pick up this morning. Since we were heading to the city this morning, I told him I could come in tomorrow morning.

With today’s changes in timing, we were able to zip into town before he closed for the day. We were going to pick up something else half an hour before he closed, so we went to the garage first. I paid the bill and got the keys, and we would come back later. It’s a good thing we did it that way, because by the time we were done, the garage was closed!

So we are now, once again, a 1 1/2 vehicle family (since I own half of my mother’s car! 😀 ).

This is a relief, as we now have a back up vehicle if something ever happens to the van.

The guy at the garage did warn me, though, that the car might make some noises for the first while. Not only did the battery die from sitting so long, but the discs on the brakes are all rusted up again! He advised we drive it as much as we can, which I was already planning to do.

I don’t think I’m ready to drive it to the city quite yet, though. I want to take if for a few spins locally, first. Even if it’s just to the post office and back.

So glad to finally have that done!

The Re-Farmer


My husband has an appointment at the heart clinic in the city today, so I was out a bit earlier to do my rounds this morning.

As I write this, it’s still only 1C (33F), with a “real feel” that has warmed up to -2C (28F) since I last checked. Our high today is supposed to reach 15C (59F), which is warmer than the last few days. We’re then supposed to go above 20C (68F) for a couple of days, before dropping back to the mid-teens, which is more typical for this time of year.

We don’t have what we need to be able to cover plants as large as our squash right now, so this morning was more about surveying the damage.

I will check them again, after we get back from the city. Some look like they’re completely killed off, but others might still make it through the rest of the season.

I’m pretty sure the pumpkins are a total loss, though.

This is the largest of them, and you can see where the frost was on the pumpkin itself.

This pumpkin hill is the one that’s the furthest South – which means that it gets more shade from the trees than the others. It isn’t much, but as you can see by the plant, it doesn’t take much, either. This plant still had visible frost on it.

The other two hills were pretty much clear of frost. The developing pumpkins don’t show signs of direct frost on them – but from the state of the plants, I think they’re likely complete losses, too. We shall see.

Remember this little birdhouse gourd, bravely blooming just yesterday?

This is how it looked this morning.


Well, this year was our year to figure things out, and we’ve learned a lot.

We will have to work on finding different ways to cover and protect our plants from late and early frosts. Especially since we do want to keep growing squash, which are more easily damaged by the cold. The beets, carrots and parsley are just fine. Even the cucamelons showed less frost damage than the squash, which surprised me.

Altogether, though, we did far better with our gardening this year than I expected. It really has been a successful year, for the circumstances!

You’d think, having grown up here and helped my mother with the gardening for my entire childhood, I would already know what is needed, but everything is really quite different than the garden of my childhood. Especially with my parents planting or allowing so many trees to encroach into the garden.

While we will continue to have garden plots in this area, my mind is already starting to look at the outer yard, towards the barn, for possible raised beds, polytunnels or greenhouses for vegetable gardening.

But that is still years into the future!

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Wind damage and salvaged apples

Yesterday’s high winds knocked quite a few branches down.

This one would have landed on the tent, if it had still been there.

We haven’t figured out what to do with the tent yet (other than keep the canvas parts). You can see two of the metal pieces that broke. On the table is the hub they had been attached to. It has no damage to it. :-/

We didn’t lose any trees this time, but we did lose part of one.

This is the apple tree at the very end of the row. In the spring, we had cut away the dead part in the middle, but the saplings that sprouted out the base looked healthy. They don’t have a lot of apples on them, but the ones they do have are larger than any of the other trees, so these young trees were already drooping from the weight.

This one simply broke away from the trunk of the original tree.

When I came back this morning, I was intending to pick the apples off, then cut away the broken tree.

Once I got a better look at it, however, I realized it was still quite attached to the roots. It just wasn’t attached to the dead tree trunk. Even after a chilly night, there wasn’t even any wilting at all.

In fact, it might actually be salvageable.

So instead of cutting it away, I took advantage of the remains of the dead tree, and tied it upright again.

If I can keep it supported upright long, as the tree grows, it should be able to old its own without the support of the trunk. It might take a few years, but that’s okay.

If it survives at all. If it doesn’t, I’ll cut it away then.

Check out the size of this apple!

It would have gotten larger, too, as it ripened. They probably could have used 2 or 3 more weeks.

These are all the apples from that one branch, including a few that had fallen to the ground.

I will be including them with my juicing, today. I’ll start off with just the sweet ones I used to make the crab apple cider vinegar; I’m hoping to get enough to do two gallons of hard apple cider. As the jugs will need room for the sugar, it’ll get less than 2 gallons of juice needed, but still pretty close. Once I get that, I don’t mind mixing different types of apples. Any remaining juice will be for drinking. 🙂

The juicer is out of storage, and now I need to get off the computer, get everything prepped and start juicing! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

A wild morning – but I have my new “toy”!

Wouldn’t you know it, since I was planning on heading out early, I ended up not being able to sleep at all last night.

Which is why I was awake when the edges of the predicted storms passed us by. At about 5am, the winds picked up like crazy, there was some rain and quite a light show, but that was it. We did lose internet a few times, too.

In the end, I managed about an hour of sleep before I quickly did my morning rounds. No time for kitty pictures. Sorry!

The first thing I saw when I stepped outside was this…

One of the dead branches from an elm finally came down.

Aside from the usual small, mostly willow, branches scattered about the yard, there was only one other larger branch that came down.

This is such a huge improvement from our first summer out here!

My mothers flowers seemed to really like the rain. The patch of lilies is starting to open up now. 🙂

Such a cheerful colour!

After I rushed through the morning routine, I headed out to a small city, somewhat closer than the city we usually go to, for our monthly shopping. After doing some searching online of the several hardware stores we could go to, including the local ones, I ended up settling on Canadian Tire. Thanks to Father’s Day sales and the incredible generosity of a friend (you know who you are! You’re the best!!), I was able to afford a higher end machine that we otherwise would have.

I made a point of getting a photo of my screen, so I could show an employee exactly what I was after, if needed. It was needed! There was no display model I was after, so the employee went to their storage area to bring it out for me on a flat cart.

When I bought our electric snow blower, I got their last one in stock, and just wheeled it out of the store. Somehow, I expected to do that same today, but nope! It was in a rather large box. 😀

While checking out, the cashier said she would call someone to help me load it into the van. She ended up paging someone several times. The box wasn’t really that heavy, so I was considering just letting her know I’d do it myself, when a guy showed up. As he was loading it into the van, he asked if I had oil.

I did, but I asked if there was a specific kind of oil I should have.

It turns out, I don’t have it. So I was really glad I ended up with this guy helping out. He also just happened to be a mechanic, and was soon telling me about which oils I could use, and which was the one he used and recommended himself. All my other machines, including the van, use 5W30, which he said would be a bit thin. For this machine, he recommended 30. Which I didn’t even realize was a thing. I ended up going back into the store after him and he found some for me. Once again, I was glad, because 1) it was at the opposite end of the store from the lawnmower sections and 2) I’m short. He was able to reach it more me. 😀

Once at home, it was assembly time!

Here are all the parts and pieces. 😀

All done, and filled with oil and fuel!

Among the things I discovered as I went through the owners manual before starting it, was that it has no prime pump, which is awesome. When I was ready to test it out, I discovered it is also raised and lowered by a lever at one wheel, instead of a lever at each wheel. So much easier!

The mower started with the first pull, and I barely even had to strain! With the heat (it’s currently 30C/89F, feeling like 36C/96F) right now, I did just a quick couple of passes.

It runs like a dream!!! I am so happy!

Then I put it away, because while it’s already 30C right now, we haven’t reached the high of the day, yet!

We have more thunderstorms predicted tonight, but I’m hoping to have a cooler break this evening, where I can put the new mower through it’s paces.

I am so looking forward to using this thing!!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, cold damage and more thinking ahead

Let’s play “can you spot all the kittens?”

I had to dig one of them out from behind Beep Beep’s head. 😀

Butterscotch’s kittens are much harder to get pictures of.

I finally just stuck my phone in and used voice activation to take some photos, hoping it was angled right.

I got one shot that managed to include all the babies. 😀

We want to move the kittens and mamas out of their nests so we can put down fresh, clean cat beds, but don’t want to disturb them so soon after birth.

In other areas…

I took a closer look at one of our surviving blue spruces, of a group of three that had been planted way two close together, some years ago.

Most of the remaining branches have cold damage like this at the tips. It should be okay, but might take a while to recover from having its newest growth killed off.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of one area we will need to address, when the time comes for us to plant the fruit and nut trees we are planning to do in the future. Here is another area we’ll have to figure out.

Among the trees I hope we will be able to plant are Korean pine. This is a tree that needs to have a “shade shelter” for the first couple of years, and this location naturally provides that for most of the day. However, as you can see, this is also where water pools in the spring. That shade also means the snow takes a lot longer to melt away, and the ground stays frozen longer.

What we eventually want to do is get this package of hardy nut trees. It will be some time before we can afford that. In the shorter term, I hope to slowly acquire a good variety of fruit trees and bushes from this site, that can survive in our growing zone. They even have a variety of apricot that can grow in a zone 3!

This is one of the reasons I want to expand the inner yard to include the outer yard. I see no point in replacing the old and broken fences around the inner yard. If we just get rid of those (the chain link fence is still sturdy, and can at least be used as a trellis), we’ll have easier access to areas we can plant food trees and bushes.

We just have to make sure the fence around the outer yard doesn’t have any gaps or weak spots the renter’s cows can break through, if his electric fence gives out again. 🙂

We still need to finish clearing and cleaning the inner yard, but if all goes well, I hope to get started on the outer yard this summer, too. Especially if we want to start salvaging some things we’re finding to use for gardening and so one. I can foresee a time when we’ll even have greenhouses in the outer yard area. But first, we need to do a lot of clean up out there – including cleaning up a collapsing log building, and figuring out how to salvage the log building that we used to use as a chicken coop, when I was a kid. That one still looks solid.

Little by little, we’re making progress! 🙂

The Re-Farmer