Well, the heat is really kicking in. Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, I checked the temperature, and we were at 20C/68F

That was somewhere around 3 – 3:30am

As I write this, it’s past1:30pm, and we’re already at 31C/88F. We are now above the 30 year record high for today, set back in 2015. I’ll still take that over the record low of -3C/27F! We’re getting heat warnings all over the place. Winds are high and we’re looking at possible thunderstorms this evening.

Pain levels were high for me this morning, so the girls took care of feeding the outside cats and setting the transplants out on the picnic table, under the old market tent and sheltered from most of the wind. Then my younger daughter did a fantastic job of cleaning up the branches from when I harvested trees for the permanent trellises we will be building. I just asked for the branches I tossed over the fence to the driveway side to be picked up, but she cleared away the big branch pile in the trees, too! Even sorted out longer pieces that we can potentially use, others suitable for the fire pit, and the rest went into the big branch pile we still have just outside the gate by the fire pit.

She was still working on it, when I finally made my way outside.

I started watering things, before it got too hot, and was able to mostly empty the rain barrel. If we do get some rain this evening, it won’t be enough to need to add the diverter to prevent it from overflowing.

While watering in the old kitchen garden, look what I found!

Our very first potato has broken ground!

This is one of the Irish Cobbler potatoes, which were the first ones planted.

I am very happy!

While watering further afield, I found the Crespo squash was very wimpy and made sure they got a super deep watering. These plants grow very big and, if they survive long enough, are supposed to produce very larger pumpkins, so they are going to need a lot of water. The nearby leaking rain barrel that I filled with a hose still had some water in it, so I was able to use that, while refilling it with the hose, at the same time, to water the raspberries, cranberries and sea buckthorn, too. I filled the barrel to almost half way, and hope to be able to see where the leak is. It may be more than one spot.

Things are looking quite lovely out there! The crab apple trees near the house are in full bloom, and the ones along the north side of spruce grove are almost there. The common lilacs and the double lilacs have sprays of buds that are starting to open. Of course, we have a sea of dandelions blooming and starting to go to seed, but the mowing will have to wait.

There are a few outside jobs that I want to work on, but will have to work around the weather conditions. Thankfully, the days are getting long enough that, if I time it right, I can get some good productive hours in the early morning and the evening. I’m not good with mornings, though! So far, at least, the house is not over heating, but we’re going to have to set up the screen “door” at the top of the old basement stairs, so we can leave the real door open to help cool the house down.

Here’s hoping all this heat and, if the long term forecast for June is at all accurate, rain will mean a healthy garden and a good harvest!

The Re-Farmer

Snow or no snow?

My daughters were sweethearts and took care of the outside cats for me again this morning. Which was nice, because I was trapped in my bed by about half a dozen of them at the time!

When I headed out to switch the trail cam memory cards, only Rolando Moon was willing to follow me around!

She would not let me remove the burr she has stuck in her tail, though.

The driveway cam really takes a beating in this location! I need to find something to weigh down the base of the stand.

The camera was fine. Only the solar panel was touching the water. It and the camera are waterproof.

We had some heavy snowfall at times, but we’re also staying mostly above freezing temperatures. Even overnight, we’re just a degree or two below freezing. We’re getting snowfall warnings of up to 20cm/8in by the end of tomorrow, but from the looks of the weather radar, our strange little climate bubble is very much there. The snow is moving through our region but, directly above our area, the clouds part and go around! The southern part of our province is getting hit harder, and a neighbouring province has gotten 30cm/12 in places already. We’re doing just fine where we are. With how warm it is, the paved roads are staying clear. Not that I have any desire to go anywhere! 😄

We have about 3 or 4 more days of temperatures hovering above freezing, and then we start warming up again. About a week from now, the overnight temperatures are supposed to stay consistently above freezing, too. We’ll see how it actually works out!

Meanwhile, I’ve got some herbs to get started in the Jiffy pellets I started hydrating yesterday. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Change in plans

With all the snowfall warnings we got, my mother called me up last night to talk about helping her with errands today. In the end, we decided I would check conditions on the morning, and we’d go from there.

Well, I’m not going to my mother’s today.

Not even the deer wanted to take my path to the sign cam. 😄

We didn’t get a lot of snow. I was keeping an eye on the highway conditions group I’m in, on Facebook, and people were talking about the icy road conditions. Which makes sense, considering how warm it was while the snow was falling. Nothing but ice on the road, under that snow! Still, the people posting had driven the highways several hours before I would need to, so it wouldn’t necessarily apply anymore.

There was some drifting at the end of the driveway, but the gravel road looked okay. No plowing needed. I shoveled out the sidewalks and a path to the garage, but that was about it. I was going to combine trips and head to town to our regular pharmacy first for a prescription refill, so I called them up just minutes after they opened, thinking to leave soon after.

The pharmacist that answered the phone happens to live half way between us and town. When I said that I was hoping to pick up today, but would require delivery if I didn’t make it, she told me the roads were still very icy. If I were using our van, with its good winter tires, I probably would have gone for it. However, we’re not using the van right now, nor would I use it to run errands with my mother. While my mother’s car has good all-weather tires, they’re still not winter tires, and can’t handle the ice as well.

So I decided to reschedule with my mother to tomorrow. We’re supposed to get more snow later in the week – hopefully not too much, because we’ve just accepted an Easter dinner invitation in the city on Saturday that a daughter and I will be going to! – but not early tomorrow.

I called my mother to reschedule, and she was all “but it’s so nice and sunny outside!” as if that somehow meant there shouldn’t be ice on the roads. If she can’t see it, it’s not real! 😄 Then I headed outside again to shovel the drifts out of the end of the driveway. It didn’t take long. The snow was still light and the drifts weren’t very hard packed. Yet. Which is why I wanted to get them cleared now. I didn’t want them to be there if we do get more snow later on.

Then, since I was out anyway, I cleared the snow in front of the garage so the side doors can be opened easily. Then I widened the path to to the garage. Then the paths to the electricity meter and the burn ring. Finally, I cleared the paths around the cat shelters and to the shrine, where we still keep a food bowl for the shiest of the cats. The snow was blown around enough that the food bowls inside the kibble house had snow in them, and even the trays under the water bowl shelter were full of snow! The cats were definitely happy to have access to food in the sun room. There were 16 of them, just in the sun room, when I put food out this morning. I counted 23 altogether.

Then I came in to a lovely breakfast my daughter prepared. What a sweetheart!

So today is going to be a quieter day than planned. I’m good with that. By rescheduling with my mother to tomorrow, and getting our prescription refills delivered the day after (I am so thankful for that service!!), it’ll mean much less driving around, too.

Meanwhile, the storm warnings are still happening. A Colorado Low is coming in, and the south end of our province is now expected to get another 15-25cm (6-10 inches) of snow, starting tomorrow afternoon and over the next couple of days. How much of that will reach us, or even as far as the city, is hard to say. After that, our highs are supposed to go above freezing, then keep getting warmer. It’s a good thing the municipalities have been clearing the ditches and culverts. That will go a long way to prevent flooding. Not that we’d have anything close to the flooding we had last spring!

I am really looking forward to the snow being gone, and things being dry enough to start working outside!

The Re-Farmer

One last blast, and choosing something difficult

We’re still under an extreme cold weather advisory right now. Today is supposed to be the coldest day of our current cold snap, and then things are supposed to start warming up again.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a few times this winter, though… 😕

I took this screen cap a little while ago, with us at -27C/-17F and a wind chill of -35C/-31F, and it’s already warmed up a degree since. What I find interesting is that the hourly forecast says we’re supposed to be -31C/-24F right now. Now, that’s the kind if “wrong forecast” I prefer. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick something up while I was in town yesterday, so I likely will have to go out today.

Of course, if we get a call saying we can pick up our new Caravan because the financing is approved, that would be bonus!

We shall see!

Today is also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. For the past few years, I have chosen to “fast” by giving up social media. Which has gotten to be too easy. So I decided to give up something that I’ve been considering for a while, but is going to be hard, and it’s actually going to be a dietary fast this time.

I’m going to be giving up sugar and starchy foods.

Traditionally, meat is given up but, again, that’s too easy. To be honest, giving up sugar isn’t that hard, either; we don’t eat a lot of sweets, so it’s basically no more sugar in my tea, and no more home-made hot chocolate. But starches? Bread, potatoes, pasta… that’s going to be more of a challenge. I’ve been slowly already cutting back on them, and what struck me is how much these get used as “filler”. These are things that bulk up a meal, extend meat, or hold other foods. I have an egg salad sandwich instead of plain egg salad, because the bread allows me to eat the egg salad with my hands. I mix bread crumbs into ground beef to make a meat loaf mostly because it bulks things up, stretching the amount of meat used. Things like that. It’s also such a habit to include starches. It’s just been ingrained that a “proper” meal has a protein, vegetable and starch, and what meal is complete without bread of some kind? I think the habit part is going to be the most difficult to catch myself on.

So that is going to be my Lenten fast this year. No sugars or starches for 40 days.

Well… I haven’t had breakfast yet. Time to go make myself a food.

The Re-Farmer


Y’know, if the weather forecasts are going to be wrong and constantly changing, it’d be really nice if things would go in the other direction.

Instead, we’re getting this for tonight.

Wind chills of -40 to -45C (-40 to 49F) to overnight???

Granted, this is a province wide warning that applies only to the south, and we’re central. Looking at the local forecasts, I’m seeing predictions of a continual drop until it reaches -29C/-20F by 8am tomorrow morning, with wind chills of -39C/-38F.

It’s not much better than the weather warning, but I’ll take what I can get!

I’m glad my daughter reminded me to plug the van in. I just wish we were able to get that ceramic terrarium heat bulb set up in the sun room, but the fixture we were using with the old bulb isn’t working anymore. We don’t have any other fixture we can safely set up in there.

The high of the day is supposed to be -26C/-15F starting around 2pm. From then on, even the overnight lows are expected to be a bit warmer than that. By Sunday, we’re supposed to reach -4C/25F, and Monday, when I’m supposed to be driving my mother to her medical appointment, it’s supposed to be -7C/19F.

Assuming the forecasts don’t change again.

The Re-Farmer

Not what I’d hoped

I was hoping that I’d be able to post some good news about the replacement vehicle situation today, but there isn’t any news at all, yet.

Yesterday, we got a call from the financing company with questions for my husband (since our only income is his disability payments, the application is in his name). We were told we would have an answer today.

I waited as long as I felt I could for the call, but finally headed out to do a shop. How big of a shop depended on the road conditions. A system is blowing in and we’re supposed to have snow. Not a lot, but it’s supposed to continue for several days.

Then we started to get the freezing rain warnings.

So I headed out. If the roads didn’t look good, I’d go to the nearest town and do a small shop, but if they looked good, I intended to go to the smaller, nearer city and do a medium shop. A trip to the big city was not going to happen, and won’t until after the new year.

When I got to the highway, it looked good, so I headed towards the town my mother lives in, where I typically get some gas first, then continue on to either city I’m shooting for. As I got closer, though, I drove right into the freezing rain. My windshield was freezing over faster than the heat vent could clear it. I had to switch between trying to see through an ever shrinking clear spot in the ice and using the washer fluid to clear the ice, which would immediately frost over the entire windshield for a brief moment before melting clear.

Not fun.

So I did a small shop at my mother’s town. I got a couple of their largest bags of cat kibble – the last two on the shelf, of the cheaper brand – as well as a few things for ourselves. The kibble was the most needed item. The two bags should last us until after New Year’s, when we will hopefully be able to do a monthly stock up shop in the city – with a replacement vehicle! The price difference on the kibble alone is more than enough to cover the cost of gas for the trip, even at our current high prices.

That done, I headed straight home again. By then, the system had reached our place, and was more ice pellets than rain. Thankfully, I was no longer driving straight into it, so my windshield stayed clear.

So now we continue to wait on the call that will let us know if we can get that replacement vehicle.


Things continue to go well with socializing the bitties. Butterscotch and Bobby nap together regularly now, though her patience is limited. Most importantly, Sprite – who is very difficult to photograph! – has gotten better at letting us pet him, and last night, I woke to find him sleeping across my ankle! Mostly, though, he prefers my younger daughter. He is still more nervous around me, but I was able to pet him and handle him more than usual this morning – almost enough to be able to confirm he is male. I’m about 95% sure, but I could only go by feel, since it’s really hard to visually confirm on a mostly black cat, when I’ve got just a split second to do it. These are tiny kitties with tiny bits, so there isn’t much to feel, either! He and Bobby have been extremely playful this morning, which is making Marlee very stressed, unfortunately. Ah, well. It’s only for a few more days!

Still no luck with catching their mama. She will avoid the sun room entirely when I do their food and water. Crud.

Anyhow. Hopefully, I will have good news about the financing to post about soon!

The Re-Farmer

Well… at least it’s pretty

Check out these sundogs I saw this morning.

So pretty!

Of course, sundogs only happen when it’s really cold. We may not be as severely cold as the rest of Western Canada is right now, but…

I took this shortly before heading outside. -23C/-9F is one thing. A wind chill of -38C/-36F is something else! And to think that where were used to live is seeing -38C/-36F or colder, before wind chill!

Needless to say, I did the short rounds this morning!

This thermometer is mounted in a very sheltered corner that is south facing. It is shaded by part of the house through the morning, though.

This thermometer is almost flat against a cold wall, in the sun room. If anything, it’s reading a bit low. Especially with that frosted window beside it. The other window is a double pane window. The frosted one lost one of the panes before we moved here.

No question as to why the outside cats have pretty much moved into the sun room! Especially with the ceramic heat bulb, a cozy soft swing bench, and a cat bed under it. Plus, there are floor mats and sheets of insulation scattered about to keep their little toe beans protected from the concrete floor. Add in food and water, and they’re all set. Except for the lack of a litter box, they have little reason to go outside. I checked as best I could through the reflections on the windows, and I could see no cats at all in the cat house this morning.

Today we’re supposed to reach a high of -19C/-2F, then tomorrow, dip back to -20C/-4F. After that, it’s supposed to start warming up, eventually reaching a high of -5C/23F. The weather app on my desktop that had been forecasting 1C/34F for New Year’s? It’s now saying we’ll see a quick drop to -10C/14F

That’s still really pleasant for the time of year, so I don’t have a problem with that!

The Re-Farmer

A break in the rain

When I headed out to do my rounds this morning, we were having a steady, heavy rainfall. I got completely soaked!

The rain did nothing to slow the mosquitoes down, of course. *sigh*

The rain kept falling for hours. It has stopped for now, so I made a quick check on how things are outside, and to see if an expected parcel got dropped off at the gate (it had not). The driveway is half under water again. The low area along the fence line on the north side of the driveway is a pond again, as is the spot in front of the outhouse, behind the garage. The grass hides most of it, but that whole east yard is under water.

People have been posting photos and video online, and I just had to call to check on my mother. The town she is in has been flooding. I have not been able to confirm, but I’ve heard they got about 5 inches – inches, not cm – of rain in 3 hours. That’s almost 14cm. In the news, I’ve heard that parts of the province are expected to get 15cm of rain, but that’s over the day, not in just a few hours! My mother told me that the lane behind her building is a river right now, and the front of her building is under water. Water had been leaking into their common room, too, but people had already been brought in to fix it. The photos I’m seeing posted online are amazing. Even with all the flooding we had this spring, this town did not get that sort of flooding!

We didn’t get anywhere near as much rain as where my mother is, though we got enough that there are areas of water in the paths around the low raised beds. Not so much that the ground level beds are under water, at least. Our squash, melon and potato beds are just very wet, but not in puddles, though there is some standing water in between the sweet corn. I just had to get a picture of the tomato bed in the main garden area. There are so many tomatoes on all the plants! The other tomato beds are also handling things well, and I’m starting to see Yellow Pear tomatoes starting to form. No Chocolate cherry, yet.

I very briefly spotted some kittens on the board pile. They seem to be quite okay with their kibble being softened by the rain. I didn’t try to do more than top up their kibble, as the clouds of mosquitoes along the edge of the spruce grove, where the board pile is, are pretty insane.

We are still under thunderstorm watch, though more for the southern areas than here, with possible hail and torrential rainfall. For us, we’ve still got high winds, but so far, just enough to flatten the hay I haven’t scythed yet, but not enough to take down branches or trees. At least not around the house and inner yard.

Checking the 30 yr record for our area, we are still pretty average. Nowhere near breaking any records for temperature or rainfall. I suspect my mother’s town may have broken some rainfall records today, though!

While we aren’t about to go anywhere soon, because of the condition of our own driveway, the spring flood damage on the roads around us have been almost completely repaired, so at least we will be able to get out, if we really need to. We’re doing quite all right, here, and for that, I am grateful.

The Re-Farmer

Weather warnings and why is that there?

Today has not been as hot as yesterday, which is greatly appreciated. We are, however…

… still under a severe weather watch.

Looking at the weather radar, it looks like the storm systems will pass to the north and south of us. Mostly to the south. Right over where my brother lives. 😦 As much as we are having issues with the wet, it’s merely an inconvenience, compared to how much the southern areas of our province have been walloped. If the radar is anything to go by (ha!), we might not even get rain tonight.

One can hope!

With the ground so saturated, I’ve been trying to regularly go into the old basement to sweep the water into the floor drain, or into the sump pump reservoir. Today, I decided I may as well take advantage of the situation and do some clean up. We now keep a broken hose (it’s missing the male coupling) down there on the regular, since it comes in so handy when clearing the pipe to the septic tank. I decided to use it to wash away any accumulated dust (muddy dust) and dirt in some areas. In particular, I wanted to try and get the space under the stairs. There is a shelf built under there, with less than a foot of clearance to the floor. I knew there was an old pump of some kind on the floor under there. Whenever I tried to sweep the water into the trough in the floor that leads to the sump pump, the water would be black.

While poking around under there, thinking I would push the old pump – possibly an old well pump, or a septic ejector pump – out from the other side, I discovered there was something stuck under the bottom step.

Also, I knocked over a class jar. Which turned out to be an old canning jar. The kind with the glass lids. It had its metal ring on it, but no glass lid. It was under there for so long, the metal ring is practically fused to the glass.

Then I found a couple more jars and bits of garbage. I got the old pump out, which turned out to be heavy enough I think at least parts of it are made of cast iron. I set it up so it wouldn’t be in water anymore, then found some sort of cast iron plate – a square with evenly spaced holes in it – that was under it.

The very old, very rusted paint can I found was unexpected. It was pretty full, too. Whether it’s paint or stain or something else that comes in that sort of can, I couldn’t tell.

After clearing the space and using the hose to wash things out a bit, it was time to figure out what was stuck under the bottom step.

It was a log.

It looks like a piece of birch. Firewood for the old furnace? My brother had bought a load of birch for my dad, as it burns slower and hotter than the wood he was using. It meant my dad didn’t have to load the furnace so often. Especially at night. That, however, was many years ago. My brother then got the electric furnace and set that up so that my father wouldn’t have to do those horrible stairs to load the furnace anymore at all, if he didn’t want to. It was set up so that, if the wood burning furnace died down, the electric would take over. Now, the wood burning furnace is unused and tied closed with wire, for insurance purposes. There hasn’t been firewood in that basement for years before we moved here.

In theory, it could have somehow ended up under there by accident, but considering the other stuff under there, plus where it is in relation to where the wood was kept, that is highly unlikely. I find myself wondering if perhaps it was shoved under there deliberately, to support the bottom step. If so, that means the step was breaking.

I left the log. Just in case!

I did get substantial areas of the basement hosed down, though, and they are looking much better. The other areas can’t be done, as things would need to be moved out of them, and that’s just not worth fighting with right now.

The water in the new part basement, however, is becoming a problem. I’m going to have to leave that job mostly for the girls, though. The end that has the most water accumulating on the floor also happened to be where most of the litter boxes are set up, and it’s becoming quite the mess. Things are starting to mold, too. Not good. Cleaning out that area is going to have to be done over several days, I think.

Hhhmmm. I’m watching the sky as I write this, and it’s getting dark out there. I used the hose outside to give all the bins we used to carry transplants in and out a wash, so I can lend them to my mother as she puts things away in preparation for her apartment to be treated for bed bugs. They’re spread out in the grass, drying. I think moving them into the sun room might be a good idea.

Just in case!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: protected… at least a bit

Today is supposed to get quite hot. At 6am, it was already 20C/68F, according to my phone’s app. (As I write this, it now says it’s 24C/75F out there, and it’s only just past 8:30am.) So the girls and I headed out to see what we could do to about covering the beds in the main garden area.

Not much left of that straw bale! 😀

The old sheets went on the shorter beds with hoops. We didn’t try to cover the ends, so there would still be air circulation. As for the longer beds, we went with the mosquito netting. It won’t really provide shade, but it’s more a protection from hard rain or hail.

The predictions for thunderstorms are all over the place. Yesterday, they were saying we might have thunderstorms and hail today. Now I’ve got one app telling me to watch for thunderstorms tomorrow evening, while another says to expect thunderstorms on Friday – almost a week from now! A third app on my desktop has simply stopped connecting for some reason, but if I go to the website, it’s saying to watch for severe thunderstorms overnight, with tornado warnings for the south end of our province. !!! Also, the expected high of 31C/88F is now up to 35C/05F/.

While we were outside, however, it didn’t feel that hot. The thermometer on the bean tunnel read about 15C/59F while my app was still saying 20C/68F. The breeze certainly helped, but it is very humid, so we were sweating off our bug spray in no time! Still, the raised beds got a watering before we put the covers on, to help keep them cooler. The ground is still so wet, any ground level beds don’t need water. Especially anything mulched with straw.

Well, we’ll see what we actually get!

The Re-Farmer