Passed by

It looks like the storm is finally passing by – at least in our area! Right now, we’re just dealing with high winds. Ontario and Quebec continue to be hit with snow and rain, though.

The winds are coming from the north, so I was able to shovel out the nearest cat paths wearing just my reading jacket (a sort of cross between a shrug and a cardigan), with the house sheltering me from the wind. The cats were very happy with a kibble top up. Funny how, with 4 trays in the kibble house, they still crowd together like that. I saw several cats inside the cat’s house, and The Distinguished Guest, who is looking like a wet rat right now, came out of the shelf shelter against the sun room window. I’m glad I put those pieces of rigid insulation back, and made the opening smaller. A much cozier spot for weather like this.

Potato Beetle, meanwhile, remains happily in the sun room, which is just under 10C/50F. I was able to take a peak at his leg, and it seems to be healing up quite nicely. I couldn’t tell if he was favouring it or not, though.

Nosencrantz seems to have an idea of how good she’s got it right now! 😀

As for the storm, we are still getting rainfall alerts, and there is a long list of regions with either overland flooding or high water levels. None near us. As crazy as the weather seems to be, I think we all tend to have short memories. I was looking at the 30 year average and records for today, and the record low of -7C/18F was set in 2021 – just a year ago – while the record high of 23C/73F was set in 2000. I think we like to remember the warm and pleasant times better than the cold and snow. The average high for today is 11C/52F, and the average low is 0C/32F. As I write this, we are at -3C/27F. Which made finding this article timely. (click on the headline to read the rest of the article)

Reality check: April is never really that ‘nice,’ Canada
Digital Writers
The Weather Network
Thursday, April 21st 2022, 5:41 am – Spring – the season the breaks the hearts of Canadians year after year, when in reality, it shouldn’t.

We do it every year, Canada. The calendar flips to spring and the country immediately awaits the chirping birds, budding blossoms, and early trips to the beach. When in fact, more often than not, Canada spends the entire spring actually waiting for it to be…spring.

“It’s the season that most often breaks our hearts,” says Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “We have that expectation of the spring and the beautiful picturesque weather, beautiful sunshine and temperatures into the 20s, but the reality is, it’s a season that can bring everything from snow to hail and cold, cold lake breezes.”

This month as a whole as been the perfect reminder of just that.

It certainly has!

Oh! The “rainfall alert” just went away. We’re still looking at isolated flurries and blowing snow for the next couple of days. Power outages are also a possibility.

One thing I’m really appreciating.

We still have internet.

Looking at the StarLink app, it showed we had dozens of outages, last night and through the morning, yet we’ve had no noticeable disruption in service. The longest outage was for about a minute. Most were mere seconds. With our previous satellite internet, we would have lost our internet repeatedly, and for long periods. What a difference!

The Re-Farmer

Rainy morning

While we’ve had the odd bit of rain this spring, today is the first real rain we’ve had. It’s been coming down for a while now. Looking at the weather radar, it seems the main part of the system has already passed over us. As the Colorado Low pushes it northwards, the system spreads wider, with severe rain being pushed to the east, over Ontario and Quebec, and snow to the west, over Saskatchewan, with Manitoba in the middle, getting bits of both!

With our colder climate and short growing season, I can’t help but feel a bit of envy when I see people sharing photos and talking about what they’ve got growing in their gardens, what they’re planting, what flowers are blooming already, and seeing the complete lack of snow on the ground. Then we have times like this, where I see the most severe weather conditions are all to the south of us, and think… you know? I’ll put up with the cold and snow. 😀

Right now, we’re still getting snow forecasts for tomorrow, with most of it hitting the southern parts of the provinces. We’re also still supposed to reach highs above freezing tomorrow, but Monday is supposed to dip down. I am thinking that, now that Potato Beetle has escaped the sun room and won’t let me bring him back, I can get away with putting the ceramic heat bulb out overnight, for that little extra bit of warmth for the seedlings. As warm as the sunroom can get during the day, it doesn’t hold any of that heat, and is not much warmer than outside at night.

I saw very few cats outside this morning! Wise kitties, staying out of the mud and rain! There’s the 6 here, and then I spotted Broccoli later on.

I have a strong suspicion that she has a litter of kittens in that junk pile. While I did zoom in for the photo, she still would normally have run away if I got as close as I did. Mind you, she could also just be not wanting to move in the wet, unless absolutely necessary!

Speaking of wet…

This is what I had to slog through to get to the sign cam. The water extends under the snow in the background. We need to keep this in mind, when we plant our silver buffalo berry here. While this area is low and collects melt water in the spring, once summer hits, most of this area starts baking and is incredibly dry. Particularly where I’m standing to take the photo.

The remains of the dugout in the old hay yard is the fullest I’ve seen since we moved here. I find this encouraging. It shouldn’t take much to dredge this out again and make a nice pond.

We most definitely need a ditch, if we ever want to plant fruit trees along here!

I look forward to being able to take that fence out. Most of those posts are rotted out at ground level, and only being held up by the barbed wire and the few strong posts left.

It would be good to open up this drainage ditch as well, too. Maybe even put in a small culvert. I’ve found one among the scrap beyond the outer yard that might be long enough and looks useable.

The rain is supposed to continue until the wee hours of tomorrow morning, when it’s supposed to change to snow, so we’ll be getting quite a bit more water. There are warnings for overland flooding for some areas, but I think we’re safe from that, here. Still, even the driveway is mostly standing water right now, so I’m glad we don’t need to drive anywhere. The driveway is in bad enough shape as it is; I don’t need to be making deep ruts in it, too!

Today is definitely a good day to stay inside.

Right, Butterscotch?

She most definitely agrees.

I’ve been keeping the door to my office/craft/bedroom, so that the other cats won’t bother Butterscotch and Nosencrantz. Butterscotch is finally coming out of her little corner in the shelf and now spends most of her days on the blanket we have for the cats on one corner of my bed. I’ve even been finding her on the window sill, and sometimes she’ll play with Nosencrantz! Nosencrantz, meanwhile, has discovered the spaces on my storage shelf that are set up for the cats, and has found a new favourite spot to snooze.

Among the other cats, the only one was let in regularly is Cheddar. He doesn’t bother them at all, so they’re good with him. Sometimes, we’ll let David in, too, but he’s not as interested. Fenrir, Beep Beep and Tissue, on the other hand, are actively aggressive towards Butterscotch and Nosencrantz, and even Ginger and Layendecker will bother them. Which is unfortunately, because hate having to keep the door closed. Butterscotch and Nosencrantz still show no interest in leaving the room, but sometimes I’ll open the door and find a crowd of cats, sitting there… watching… waiting… ready for an opportunity to leap into the room… and not just because they want to nap on my bed!

😀

What a pain. But we love them, anyway.

Meanwhile…

I went through the rest of the seeds to start indoors last night. Most of them actually say to plant 3-4 weeks before last frost. Which would be another 2 weeks or so from right now. I find using the “days to maturity” a bit more useful. I think I’ll be starting some melons today. I was surprised to not find any pixie melons, though. I thought we still had some. We don’t have any saved seed from them, either. I wish I’d remembered that, because I would have ordered more. Still, we have the Halona melon, both as leftover seeds and saved seeds, plus we saved seeds from other cantaloupe type melons from the grocery store that I want to try.

Looking at the days to maturity on our summer squash, we could actually direct seed all of them and still have enough of a growing season left. I still want to start some indoors, though, just in case, but those can wait another couple of weeks. After the melons, we’ll start some pumpkins, including the hull-less varieties, then the remaining gourds, winter squash and cucumber. The summer squash can be the last ones to start.

If all goes well, we’ll be able to do the earliest direct sowing of cool weather crops in about a month.

For now, however, I will appreciate the rain we are getting, as that will help the ground thaw out a bit faster, too. As long as we don’t get too much at once, we’ll be good.

The Re-Farmer

Ghost’s Baby!

We did get a little bit of snow last night. According to the past 24 hr data, we never dipped below 3C/37F. Which means the seedlings in the sun room handled the less severe temperature drop last night just fine, from the looks of it so far.

I had quite a surprise this morning, though.

While setting food and water out for the outside cats, I suddenly heard a very distinctive mewing sound. ALL the cats (only about 7 or 8 this morning) whipped their heads around to look! It took a moment, but I finally spotted Ghost Baby running across the snow by the storage house.

With a kitten in her mouth. A little, dark mewling baby.

Poor thing! It is way to cold and snowy to be having kittens this early.

Last year, I believe she had her kittens under the former workshop that is now stuffed with my parents’ belongings. How many she had – or how many survived – we have no way of knowing. I think one of the ‘iccuses is hers.

I figure she was trying to bring her kitten(s) closer to food, water and more secure shelter by the house. It’s unlikely she’d be bringing them to the cat’s house. The space inside it too big and open, and too many other cats use it. She was headed in the direction of the pump shack, where I know Rosencrantz has had kittens before – though last year she had her kittens in the junk pile near the chain link fence, which is why we now have a kibble tray under the shrine. I don’t think she was actually going for the pump shack, though, but just heading that way because my presence startled her.

We have a shelf by the sun room door with leftover pieces of rigid insulation covering the bottom two shelves, with openings, so that cats can use it as shelter. The “floors” have sheets of insulation, too. They’ve been pretty rough on the insulation across the front, and one side was almost completely broken up and off. It’s unlikely but, just in case, I found some more scraps of insulation and recovered one side, leaving smaller openings into the two bottom shelves. I think the spaces inside might still be too open for the comfort of a mama cat and kittens, and certainly there’s too much foot traffic, but if the adult cats use it, that leaves more hidey holes for mamas.

I did see Ghost Baby again, running into the kibble house to join the others for food. She came from a completely different direction. Another possible location for kittens is the junk pile at the edge of the spruce grove. I supposed I should stop calling it a junk pile, since we’ve cleared off most of the junk and it’s mostly a stack of salvaged boards. Butterscotch has had several litters tucked away under there since we’ve moved here. With Butterscotch now indoors, that leaves some prime real estate open. There’s also the space under the old garden shed, but there’s a lot of snow in the way, and there’s a groundhog den under it now.

With the cold and snow we’ve been having, the chances of any kittens born now surviving are not that good. I think Ghost Baby is a good mama, though, and has found a better place for her litter, however many there may be.

Meanwhile, as I was fussing with the shelf shelter, Potato Beetle got outside again! I let him be while I finished with the shelf, then snagged him back into the sun room. His appointment with the vet is this evening, so we don’t want to loose track of him! He is still favouring the leg, but moving around fairly well. I hope that means the injury is fairly minor. I think mostly we need to just keep him away from the other cats that are beating on him. He’s not the “top dog” anymore.

I think we’ll need to keep an eye outside today, and see what’s going on with Ghost Baby. If we can figure out where she’s put her kitten(s), we can move some food and water trays closer, so she doesn’t have to go all the way to the kibble house. Assuming we can get to where she is, through the snow. :-/

The weather forecasts have, of course, changed. The predicted temperatures are a bit lower, and we’re now supposed to be getting small amounts of both rain and snow over the next few days. Tonight, we were supposed to get sleet, but now it’s saying “ice pellets”. !!!

As long as the roads stay clear and relatively dry. Not only do we have the vet appointment this evening, but I’ve got to go to court tomorrow morning. Hopefully, the judge will see our vandal has no case against me and throw it out, but the way things went with our restraining order application that took a year to finally get settled, it may well just be a 10 minute session to book a new trial date. My brother is taking time off work to be there as my witness, though, so this is a major inconvenience for him. Our vandal is retired, and has all the time in the world for crap like this, so he doesn’t care. :-/

What a pain.

Well, it will be what it will be. Not much I can do about that now.

I’m going to go bake some bread now, and angst about newborn kittens in the cold.

The Re-Farmer

Seriously?

Check out this screencap from my phone’s weather app.

Yeah. They’re predicting another 5-10cm/2-4in of snow in a couple of days. If I tap to check the “snowfall probability”, though, is says 1-2 cm, which is less than an inch.

My desktop weather app says Wednesday will be 3C/37F, with 2-4cm of snow, which is less than 2 inches.

Meanwhile, I’ve read that there is a possibility of another Colorado Low developing later in the month.

Seriously????

I’m trying to stay positive here. Appreciating the moisture and all, but could it please start coming as rain now, instead of sow? I mean, we’re still supposed to have highs above freezing, so you’d think we’d be getting rain, but apparently not. :-/

Anyhow.

While I was heating up water for the outside cats, I spotted some activity out the kitchen window.

Cheeky buggers! 😀

Actually, they’re using the paths we’ve dug out, since all the other ones have been left snowed in.

I think I spotted 11 cats outside this morning. I’m not sure how many are at the kibble tray on the ground.

Things got weird with Ghost Baby, though. As I was pouring out the kibble, she actually ran right up to me, then backed off an hissed… then ran up, then hissed, then ran up, then hissed… Very odd. Especially having her run up close enough to rub against my leg! As I went around to put kibble on the tray on the ground, she came up and went for the tray, then hissed at me, then went for the tray again.

While I was putting seeds out in the feeding station, I could hear the yowling of cats. I came around to see what was going on, and pretty much all the cats had run off – except Ghost Baby. As I came closer, she went around the side of the kibble house, so I checked on her. I held my hand out to her and she actually touched my finger with her nose – which had a spot of blood on it! – and hissed again.

We were almost out of deer feed and low on kibble, so I decided to make a quick run into town. After popping inside for a bit, I came back out to discover 2 skunks in the kibble house – and Ghost Baby in the space between the kibble house and the cat house, screaming at them! The skunks saw me and tried to run away, but Ghost Baby was in the way, and even batted at them. The poor skunks where in a pickle!

No surprise when Ghost Baby got sprayed. The skunks got by here, but I could see she had a big, yellow splash right across her chest.

It doesn’t seem to be bothering her. She wanted that kibble!

The outside cats typically have their kittens around the end of April or beginning of May. It is very possible that Ghost Baby is due to have hers within a couple of weeks, which may explain her behaviour.

Rosencrantz, Broccoli and at least one other cat – possibly Junk Pile – are looking very, very round, too.

There are going to be way too many kittens this year – though there is always the question of how many will survive long enough for us to ever see them. Beep Beep and Butterscotch always stuck close to home, even when we didn’t manage to catch them to have their kittens in either the sun room or our basement. The other cats won’t have their kittens in the cat shelter – it’s far to busy in there and used by too many cats. We’ll just have to see how many there are, probably around June.

I think Butterscotch will be very happy to NOT be pregnant this year!

Meanwhile, Potato Beetle is still being kept in the sun room, though he did make his escape while my daughter tried to get the loaded wagon through the sun room door while I carried the feed sack. We left him be while things got brought inside, then the girls put things away while I refilled the bins of kibble and feed. By the time I got outside again, though, I couldn’t see Potato Beetle. It took me a while, but I finally spotted him, rolling luxuriously in the snow, then going around marking his territory on some trees. 😀 He finally came over for cuddles, and I was able to get him back in the sun room.

He still wants out.

Though he is still favouring his front left leg, he does seem to be better, and able to put more weight on it. Hopefully, it’s just a minor injury. We’ll find out when we get him to the vet on Wednesday evening (unless we get a call due to a cancellation).

Potato Beetle may be wanting out, but he’s also REALLY loving it when we visit him in the sun room. This cat loves his cuddles!

Now, if he could just learn how to use that litter box. This morning, I discovered he somehow managed to use a tall bucket to leave a “present” for me, without knocking it over. It’s going to be pretty unpleasant when it’s time to clean out the sun room, and we pull the swing bench out, because I’m pretty sure it’s behind there that he’s been making a mess. Until it’s warm and dry enough outside that we can empty the sun room and clean it out, however, we’re just going to have to put up with the smells.

*sigh*

At least it’s warm enough that we can open up the inner door to outside. The outer door lets in more sunlight, so it still stays pretty warm, but the window is open a few inches, so there’s at least a bit of air circulation.

Whether or not we’re getting another Colorado Low or now, we’re going to have to start using that sun room as a greenhouse for more seedlings, and today was the day for that.

Which will get a post of its own. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

A good day!

We are having another lovely, warm day today. Not as warm as yesterday ended up being, but still enough that things are melting.

Things are starting to look really messy and gross as the snow melts away to expose layers of dirt, but it’s so uplifting to finally feel “spring” happening, no one cares. Least of all the cats!

I checked the tracking on our Purolator package last night, and was happy to see that the replacement bands for our vacuum cleaner finally came in. I headed into town this afternoon to pick them up, which is when I saw the one unfortunate thing of the day. The first sign of trouble was when I saw two sets of headlights, side by side, coming towards me on the road – with a third vehicle on the side of the road in between. I started slowing down, of course, but so did the truck that was passing a car – which also pulled over to the side of the road!

When I saw the driver of the first vehicle on the side of the road get out and start walking around her car, I considered stopping to see if she was okay, but the truck stopped beside her to talk to her, so I kept going. Then I saw someone get out of the other vehicle that had just pulled over, which is when I spotted something on the road, across the lane.

It turned out to be a deer. The woman in the first car must have just hit it. The woman in the second car pulled it off the road.

This time of the year, we always see a LOT of deer crossing the roads. It makes driving unexpectedly dangerous.

Since I was in town to pick up our package anyhow, I made a quick stop at the grocery store. Bizarrely, the staff are still all wearing masks, as where most of the customers. Even outside, walking around by themselves. The psychological addiction can be very strong.

I was very happy to see one familiar face, though. A friend of mine that I used to work with, the last time we lived in this area, many years ago. She was just as pleased to see a face as I was. We chatted a bit about it, as well as the vaccine mandates that have also been lifted. Like us, she and her husband would be far more at risk from the vaccine than getting Covid, so the whole thing was very frustrating for them.

They have a farm to the north of us, so of course we started talking weather! Such a relief to see things melting. The amount of snow we got this year is not enough to make up for the last couple of years. Much will depend on spring. When she hears people complaining about how much snow we got this winter, her thought has been like mine: this is what our normal winter’s snow is! We needed more, to make up for last summer’s drought, and the conditions of year before. The response she usually gets to that has been comments on spring rains taking care of that, but she says we haven’t and spring rains around here for 7 years. Yes, we did get some last spring, before the heat waves hit, but nothing close to the average amounts. So these drought or near drought conditions have been around for quite a while now.

Of course, they garden as well, plus they have an assortment of animals. The cost of feed has been going up, and seed is running out. They’ve noticed lots of people diving into gardening as well, contributing to the supply shortages and increased prices (at least until the seed companies can catch up). As we were chatting, her husband joined us and commented on the cost of oats for human consumption. Seed oats cost over $17 a bushel right now. It used to cost about $3 a bushel!

Time to stock up on oatmeal while it’s still affordable!

Before I left the store, I picked up a lotto ticket. I figure if they can win the jackpot, so can I! 😀

Once at home, I opened up the vacuum cleaner and changed out the broken belt, and immediately started to vacuum my disgusting, disgusting floor. The carpet in my office/bedroom is a strange, felted sort of surface, and it probably 50 years old. It used to be in our living room, but when we got the current shag carpet put in, this one got slapped down on the floor of what used to be my parents’ bedroom, like a rug, with molding along the bottoms of the walls holding it in place. It’s severely stretched and lumpy-bumpy in places, and attracts dust, dirt and cat hair like nothing else I’ve ever seen! I was so thrilled to finally…

… break the new band on the vacuum cleaner.

It turned out I hadn’t quite lined the cover up right over the beater bar when I put it back.

I’m glad I got extra bands! If I break it again, there’s still a couple more.

It feels so good to finally have a red carpet again, instead of grey with cat hair. 😀

You know you’re getting old, when being able to vacuum a carpet is exciting.

Unfortunately, with the noise of the vacuum, all the cats ran off, including Butterscotch and Nosencrantz. Nosencrantz has started to explore the house more on her own, and has even visited the girls upstairs, but Butterscotch still hadn’t even shown an interest. Nosencrantz has made her way back and is settled down on my bed with several other cats, but not Butterscotch. Right now, I have no idea where she is!

Well, I guess that’s one way to get her to check out the rest of the house! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Warming up

Here’s a switch. Instead of being colder than predicted, today we were warmer! Only a degree warmer than forecast, but that was enough to make quite a difference outside!

Inside, I had Turmeric making it difficult for me to make my bed.

She won.

Rolando Moon claimed the favourite sun room bed for herself. Since we’ve been leaving the doors propped slightly open, so the cats can get to the inside heated water bowl, I’ve noticed she’s in there quite a lot! She may not have the temperament to be an inside cat, but she does claim some of the luxuries when they are available. 😉

The outside cats were very active this morning. Since I shoveled most of the snow off the cat room, we now regularly see several of them up there at the same time, when we first pop outside.

I counted about 14 of them this morning. While setting out the kibble, The Distinguished Guest came by, so I took advantage of the opportunity and copped a quick feel. Alas, I did find a tiny pair of nibs under that long fur.

Well, I guess we’ll have “long haired black cat” added to the genetic diversity of our yard cats!

I stayed out to get the burn barrel going again – it really did not want to stay lit!

With today’s warmth, it was getting a bit more dangerous, moving around. Formerly hard packed snow would collapse under my feet, or I’d find a layer of ice – the hard way – and came close to losing my footing.

Which meant that we had issues when we headed out to pick up the pizza’s my daughter ordered. The van just sank into the softened snow. We didn’t get stuck, at least!

The highways were nice and clear, though the visibility was down.

Where we live is a transition area between prairie and Boreal forest. We don’t have far to go before we leave the trees behind, and see this.

This is with the camera on my phone cleaning up the shot! It looked like there was fog, though it was actually snow. The white expanse and reflective light was actually a distraction in my peripheral vision. I kept thinking my daughter’s window was getting frosted over, but it was just … whiteness. She took some pictures to try and capture that for me. You can just see some trees dotting the horizon. These are most likely shelter belts around distant farmhouses.

Once in town, it was warmer, of course. That urban heat island effect had all sorts of things melting, and some of the streets were starting to flood. I was more concerned about dodging the fresh potholes. ’tis the season! We’re supposed to reach temperatures just above freezing, every day for more than a week. The streets and highways are going to get torn apart during the overnight freezes!

After we got home, I found this little bundle on my bed.

Nozencrantz was all curled up like a shrimp, snoozing right in the middle of my bed – with several other cats nearby! She may not be settled in enough to join the cuddle piles, but she’s at least allowing other cats near her more often. Even cats she normally hisses at. Progress!

Over the next few days, we’re going to have to keep a close eye on some things. Though I shoveled as much as I could from the sun room roof, I expect we’ll have water leaking in there. My daughters are having to deal with a leak that comes through one of their windows, even though they’ve cleared the snow off the low slope roof. We’ll have to watch in the old basement in particular, and if the sump pump goes off, make sure it is able to pump through that section of hose outside that was previously blocked. If water starts showing up on the concrete, we’ll have to make sure the big blower fan and the dehumidifier are up and running, to try and keep things dry. We’ll need to keep an eye on the new part basement, too, now that we know the weeping tile is likely full of silt and roots. 😦 This will the the first winter since we’ve moved here, where any of this will be an issue.

We had to deal with some of this, during our first spring here in particular, but this winter, we’ve got a lot more snow. Without being able to clear snow from the yard so we could drive up to the door, we can also expect a lot more water in front of the outhouse. I remember having difficulty getting to the door at the back of the garage, because of a large pool of water that had formed. I recall seeing through the hole under the outhouse, that the pit was flooded out. That hole has been blocked off, now, but this year, a groundhog made a den under there. I hope it has a back door, because after clearing away the gravel it filled the pit with, the back of the outhouse is now blocked with wire mesh. It’s set up to keep things from digging in from the outside, though. I think a groundhog would be able to dig its way out from the inside. Assuming it comes out of hibernation before its den floods out. 😦

After about a week, the temperatures are supposed to drop to just below freezing again, through into April. If things go well, we will continue to have this slow, gentle melt, giving the ground time to thaw out and absorb the water, increasing our water table, rather than surface flooding and draining away to towards the lake. We need every drop of moisture to make up for last summer’s drought and heat waves. The local farms could certainly use a good year, after the last two disastrous ones. Me, I’ll be happy to not have to water all those far flung garden beds every day, twice a day! Though we will be shifting the garden beds in the north east corner close to the house, we’ll still need to be able to water the berry bushes that will be planted where we had the sweet corn and sunflower beds, last year.

So much work to do, once the snow it gone. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to it!

The Re-Farmer

Light snow, huh?

Ah, ya gotta love the weather forecasts.

Today’s forecast for our area was 1C/34F with less than 1cm/0.4in of snow.

The plan was to head into the city with one of my daughters for their own separate grocery shopping trip. We weren’t planning to leave until noon, so I had plenty of time to do the morning rounds and check the trail cam files.

The outside cats were almost completely out of water in their heated water bowl again – and that thing holds a lot of water!

Also, they have a definite preference for Costco’s Kirkland brand of kibble. 😀

The deer have really dug up our compost heap! Not sure what they’re after under there, that they haven’t already eaten.

Nosencrantz and Butterscotch are absolutely luxuriating in their convalescence. We could bring Nosencrantz indoors right now, but Butterscotch has another few days, at least, before we can let her outside.

She hasn’t shown any interest in going outside since the surgery! What a complete reversal!

Beep Beep and Fenrir, meanwhile, spent the night isolated with me and seem to be doing very well, so they are no longer being kept apart from the other cats.

Beep Beep, unlike Butterscotch, did no go through a “catonality” change, and is still a bully towards the other cats. 😀 Nothing bad enough to be a concern, but she does keep herself right up there on the pecking order!

By the time I was done my rounds and heading in, it had started to snow. After a while, it got heavy enough that we were reconsidering our trip to the city.

I’ve gotten to be a wuss in my old age. If I can avoid driving in inclement conditions, I usually will. Back in the day, I had no issues driving through blizzards severe enough that highways were closed, while we were on them. Not anymore!

Meanwhile, as I watched the visibility drop on the security camera’s live feed, the weather app was telling me, “rain will continue for 104 minutes.”

Rain??

Not where we were!

We did decide to head out, and the conditions were much better than I feared. About half way to the town my mother lives in, where we stopped for gas, it switched from snow and snow covered highway, to rain and mostly clear.

The rain continued all the way to the city, and we didn’t hit snow again until we passed back though my mother’s town, though by then the snow had moved further south and was a lot heavier than when we were heading out.

The wet road conditions made for some very messy driving; especially when crossing paths with oncoming semi’s. Thankfully, it’s been warm enough that the windshield washer fluid in my mother’s car was thawed! It had frozen before I had a chance to put winter fluid in. I had still topped it up with winter fluid, so that would have helped, too.

Once home and unloading the car, I paused to top up the windshield fluid again (rated to -35C/-31F!), which is when my husband popped out to ask me to unlock the gate again. We’d just received a call that a delivery was on its way, but the driver couldn’t find our physical address. Neither the name nor the numerical designation for our road comes up on GPS. So I took care of the gate, then topped up the washer fluid before putting my mom’s car in the garage (it barely fits in the addition it’s parked in) when the delivery van pulled in. The driver was very cheerful and we chatted a bit about our issue with road names. Then he had to back his way out of the driveway, because with my mother’s car out, he didn’t have room to turn around in the snow.

Which was fine, right up until he had to stop at the end of the driveway to make sure the road was clear.

With how warm it was today, the rear tires sank right into the plow ridge and he got stuck!

Of course, we had snow shovels handy, but I ended up having to dig out the steel garden shovel again. The plastic snow shovel just couldn’t do the job there! Thankfully, he got out very quickly, though he joked about how common this actually is, with rural deliveries!

The delivery was the 14’x200′ (4.3mx30.5m) netting we ordered, to use as temporary critter fencing around our garden areas this year. We will be ordering a second one, probably next month, since we have so much area to cover. Plus, we’ll be cutting pieces to size to create covers for individual beds, too.

I’m quite happy to have our first roll in. Even if, for some reason, we can’t order a second one right away, it’s enough for us to put a perimeter around most areas we will be planting in. The only real concern is that, being just plastic netting, if the raccoons decide they want in, they can tear right through it.

I look forward to when we can build permanent protection for our garden beds!

I’m glad we did make the trip today, instead of putting it off again. Tomorrow, I’ll be dropping the van off to get the brakes tested, and to see what needs to be done next. With the rain today, it’s going to make roads slippery, but our area got snow (no matter what the weather apps said!), so the road to town should not be too bad. The day after tomorrow, we’re supposed to get even warmer, and get 10-15cm/4-6in of snow – or 5-10cm/2-4in, depending on which app I look at! Either way, it’s not a day I’d want to be driving to the city again. The less such trips, the happier I will be!

I’m quite content in my hermitage.

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz were doing very well, this morning. They both seem to be enjoying their recovery period in the sun room! Nosencrantz wants more attention than Butterscotch, but not enough that I can get a good look to see how the ear mite status is. Butterscotch is still so much calmer now. She’ll come over for pets and I was even able to pick her up this morning, but she will not let me check the surgical site. I’m not about to risk injuring it by forcing her; so as long as there aren’t any concerning warning signs, I figure she’s doing fine. Amazingly, she still has shown no interest in trying to escape the sun room, which is so totally different from the past. Granted, when we were trying to keep her in the sun room for lengths of time before, it was because she was about to have kittens. Once she had them, she was more than content to let Beep Beep parent both litters while she tore her way through the screen on the old door.

If this behavioural change keeps up, Butterscotch may actually be willing to become an indoor cat!

We shall see. After all those years outdoors, it would be nice for her final years to be in comfort and safety.

By the time I’m done taking care of the sun room kitties, there’s usually a crowd outside the door, waiting for their kibble! Chadiccus, however, was much more polite about it and wanting attention before food. 🙂

The water in the heated bowl was almost completely gone again, and it had been very full. It does make me wonder what other critters are coming around at night, to drink. The snow around the kibble house and water bowls is too hard packed for tracks. One of these days, it would be nice to have a spare camera set up on the area, just to see what’s going on! 🙂

I’ve not been seeing quite as many cats, all at once, of late. I haven’t seen Potato Beetle in a while. Since he came back, he had been more aggressive about being the Alpha male – though he was tackling the females as much as the males. That seemed to end after I found him with that injury above one eye. It was pretty minor and healing up nicely, the last I saw, but it seems that battle lost him his status. I think I might have seen him this morning, but he slunk away before I could get a good look and be sure.

While putting the food and water out, I heard a loud yowling from the outer yard. I’ve heard it before, but when I when to check, I couldn’t see where it was coming from. This time, I saw Creamsicle Baby out by the pump shack. I’m still not sure it was him, as he’s developed a very squeaky little meow. I went to check closer and decided the pump shack door needed to be shoveled out.

This is where the cats usually get in and out of the pump shack. When the driveway was cleared, a pile of snow was made near the pump shack. While it does not block the door, there’s a ridge of snow in front that’s pretty high. With the winds we’ve been having, more snow has drifted in front of the door. The cats are still squeezing their way through, as you can see in the photo above, but I wanted to make it easier for them. It took breaking up a lot of snow with the ice chipper before I could dig a path, but I got it clear.

The door opens inward, so I didn’t have to worry about digging it out too much. Once I got it clear enough, I went in and cleared away some snow that had blown through the hole.

I had a bit of a surprise when I opened the door, though. One of the lights was on! I forgot to shut it off, the last time I was in there. It’s a CFL bulb, not very bright, and not near a window facing the house, so we never saw that it was on. 😀 Ah, well. No harm done.

When repairing the south facing window of the pump shack a couple of summers ago, I deliberately left an opening that used to have the chimney from a wood burning stove running through it. The stove is long gone, but with a pile of tires on the outside, and various junk on the inside, it’s a way for the cats to get in and out. The shack itself is just a frame with cladding on the outside, and I noticed a new hole in the wall, where some cladding has broken. It’s not visible from the outside, as there are sheets of aluminum against the bottom of the wall on that side.

On our list of things to work on is to fix up the pump shack. The concrete floor is badly cracked up, and the old cladding – which would be quite a bit older than I am – is looking water damaged and has gaps. It would be awesome to turn this building into a little workshop and, of course, we want to get the old well repaired. There is a lot of stuff in there I just don’t know what to do with, including bags of ancient clothing and rolled up awnings stuffed into the rafters, broken furniture, an old fridge that I remember my parents using for cream cans, and even an old, tiny, two burner electric stove sitting in the corner where the wood burning cookstove used to be. That old cookstove was what we used to heat water for baths, before my dad had the well dug next to the house and got running water and an indoor bathroom. If we can fix the well and fix up the pump shack, we could turn it into a summer kitchen for canning.

That would be very handy.

After clearing a cat path to the door, I put feed out for the deer and birds – interrupting two deer that were at the feeding station! I had to interrupt them again, to go switch out the memory cards on the trail cam by the sign.

That location is a real pain to get to in the winter!!! At least I don’t have to switch the cards as often, there. Between the snow and the plow ridges, I’m not at all concerned that our vandal will fight his way over to the sign and try to steal it, like the old one, or damage it.

Not even the deer will go through the area in front of the sign! A nicely plowed road is so much easier. 😀

Coming back to the house, I found these two babies, bellies full and watching the world go by in warmth and comfort!

These cats may be semi-feral, but they do get pampered as much as we can! 😀

Rolando Moon had claimed the prime real estate! She’s such a meany to the other cats, they don’t even try to fight her for this favourite spot.

Gosh, that expression! 😀

While still a bit chilly today, we’re supposed to warm up quite a bit tomorrow – perfect for taking Beep Beep and Fenrir in to the vet. My Weather Network app on my desktop has suddenly gone haywire, so I used the app that came with my computer.

Of course, all the apps are showing something different, since they all seem to be connected to different weather stations, even though they’re all supposed to be for our specific area. This is the only one that is showing us going above freezing, in the long range forecast. Above freezing in the middle of February? Yeah, I’ll take that, thanks. It’ll make things messy, but I’d rather have a nice, slow melt of all this snow, then for things to warm up all at once, later on. With the amount of snow we have this winter, as much as it’s needed, if it melts before the municipalities get a chance to clear the ditches, we’ll get flooding. Where we are doesn’t get too bad anymore. When I was a kid, there were a couple of sections of road that would get washed out every spring. Since then, a network of municipal drainage ditches have been dug through farmers’ fields that have been doing a good job of preventing that, as has taking trees out along the sides of the roads in strategic locations. There are still a couple of spots that are at risk of being washed out, if there is enough snowmelt all at once, but we are able to use alternative routes to avoid them.

If we have a wet enough spring, we might even be able to do a controlled burn in some sections of the outer yard this year. Wouldn’t that be nice!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Seeing those warmer temperatures in the forecast has me looking way too far ahead right now! 😀

The Re-Farmer

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Back to our regular programming – Cats!

We had another storm sweep through the area, but that climate bubble sitting over us resulted in our having a bit of snow and wind, but nothing that could possibly be called a storm.

The outside cats are quite good with that!

Especially since it’s also warming up a bit.

I even got to pet the Distinguished Guest this morning.

Their heated water bowl was almost completely empty this morning. That actually made it easier to clean. I could scrub the bottom with snow, then just scoop out the dirty snow.

The metal water bowls were, of course, filled with ice. These are all old stainless steel frying pans with their handles broken off. I’ve found they make the best water bowls, as they can handle a lot of abuse. Like being kicked and stomped until the break loose from the ice and snow.

I wasn’t able to get a photo, but after getting one of them loose, there was something strange and mirror-like under it.

The pan had split!

This pan had one of those multi-layer bases for even heat distribution. Between getting filled with warm water, then frozen to the ground, then kicked loose, repeatedly, the base layer finally just popped right off! I look forward to getting a better look at it, once the ground thaws. I’m not going to bother trying to dig it out, now. 😀

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz are doing very well in the sun room. After moving the sheets of rigid insulation I had to reduce drafts from the window, Butterscotch now likes to sit there, under the ceramic heater bulb. Nosnecrantz, meanwhile, prefers sitting on the fixture! We’ve got the full spectrum light bulb hanging from the top of the mini-greenhouse frame we’re using to hold all this, with the board the ceramic heater bulb supported by the top shelf. I had some concerns about leaving the light on constantly, since I thought the cats might actually want full darkness at time, but Nosencrantz loves it. Though there are several soft beds in boxes she can choose from, she’s preferring to sleep on a board, under the light! I’m guessing the board itself is a bit warm, just from rising heat from the ceramic bulb.

Speaking of warm, check this out.

Not only are we still expected to reach 1C/34F in a couple of days, but now we’re supposed to reach 3C/37F a couple of days later!

With more snow.

Whatever. I’m loving this milder February we’re having this year!

The Re-Farmer

A new path, and more convoy talk

The wind changed direction this afternoon, so I took advantage of it and headed outside to shovel the path to the compost ring that was completely filled in. Knowing we would be getting a delivery from the pharmacy this evening, I made sure to unlock the gate, first. The driver always calls when he’s close so we can unlock the gate, but I knew I would still be outside when he did.

Once I got the path to the compost ring clear, I continued on and cleared the path to the back door of the garage. It want much faster, since it doesn’t get blown in as much.

I had just reached the back door of the garage when I saw a car pulling up near the chain link fence.

To go to meet him, I had to take the path to the compost ring, across to the house, then down the sidewalk to the person gate he’d pulled up to.

I’ve been meaning to make a path from the back of the garage to the vehicle gate for a while. I wish I’d done it earlier! LOL

By the time I was done, it was getting dark. I had to adjust the lighting in this photo, just to see the new path! It now joined up with the path dug along the garden bed between the two gates, where there is a path to the driveway.

Normally, the inner yard would be cleared of snow enough for us to drive up to the house, with room towards the outhouse for turning, and we wouldn’t have needed all these little paths. Last year, we were able to keep it clear just with our little Spewie, but there is too much snow for the little thing, this year. We probably could have done it if the big snow blower was working. When I was a kid, my dad would use the old Farm Hand tractor to push snow into a pile about where the kibble house is now. It would reach most of the way between the house and the maples that our now outside the chain link fence, but used to be part of the inner yard back then. I remember one year, my siblings and I carved the pile of snow into three sets of stairs, with tunnels in between, leading to a two step platform at the top. The centre staircase had a wide, curved bottom step. We wanted to carve a throne at the top, but the snow pile wasn’t tall enough. 😀 Gosh, that was fun!

This year, we’ve got snow more like what I remember as a kid.

Anyhow, without the heavier equipment, paths will have to do!

It was as I was near the garage door, and having to fling the snow ever higher, that I finally noticed just how deep it was.

I couldn’t quite stretch my arm out far enough to get a good angle, but the snow here is about hip height on me. Maybe a bit higher.

No, not all of where I was shoveling was that deep, though I wasn’t exactly shovelling right down to the ground in most of the paths, either.

After I cleared the new path, I kept on going, clearing the path in front of the garden bed, then scraping the sidewalk and clearing it wide enough for my husband’s walker. Which is really handy, when we have to use the wagon to haul stuff from the van to the house, like the sack of deer feed and other stuff I picked up today. Then I went ahead and cleared the cat paths, too, while there was still light out.

Clearing those paths is getting harder in places. The piles of snow from all the shoveling are getting high enough that the new snow I’m shovelling slides back down if I don’t throw it far enough – or falls into another path if I throw it too far! LOL

The cats were very happy with the cleared paths. 🙂

As I write this, I can see more snow blowing around in the live feed from the security camera. I’m glad I got it done when I did! It’s still rather warm out – only -8C/18F as I write this. We’re supposed to have a high of -18C/-0.4F tomorrow, then it’s supposed to warm up a little bit again, and stay there for the next week. Much nicer than the couple of days of deep freeze we got, when our mini-convoy headed out, and the big one passed through our province.

That’s one of the amazing things about the convoy for freedom. This is happening in Canada, in flippin’ January. A friend of mine in the city had gone out to cheer the convoy as it passed by. She estimated there were about 150 people, just around where she was. It was about -32C/-26F where she was, at the time. In places, the convoy is so long, it took 4 hours to go by, with people outside, cheering them on, the whole way!

As the main convoy makes its way from the Western provinces towards Ottawa, more mini-convoys from the Eastern provinces are starting to make their way out as well. They don’t have as far to go, so they started later, timed so everyone gets there on the 29th. I heard there were so many trucks from Newfoundland, they got a ferry out just to take the trucks across. I’ve also heard that one of the border crossings into Ontario had so many truckers from the US coming in to join the convoy, the line stretched back 70 miles!

Our mainstream media has been avoiding reporting on it as much as possible, but they can’t avoid it any more. Of course, they are misreporting it, completely. One of the things they’re doing is wildly underreporting how many trucks there are. It’s just a few trucks, according to them. Not very many. There is also the usual, predictable slanderous reporting. They’re portraying the truckers as “anti-vaxxers” (most of them are vaccinated, and if they’re coming in from the US, they’re allowed to cross only if fully vaccinated), of course. Today, they’ve been ramping up the disparaging portrayal. The truckers are white supremacists, right wing, extremists, racists, and homophobes. You know. All the tired old insults that get thrown out so much, the terms have lost all meaning. Then there is that truly Canadian insult that comes from the leftist media that gets trotted out every election, and is being trotted out now. The truckers are inspired by *gasp* “American style politics.” Apparently, being compared to Americans is supposed to be an insult. This time, one news station even suggested that the convoy is somehow inspired by the January 6/2021 protests in the US that the media continues to lie about. They are really pushing the idea that the truckers and their supporters are violent crazies. Oh, and another claim that is supposed to be an insult: the truckers are “anti-government”. Because if you don’t 100% agree with what the current government is doing, that can only mean you are “anti-government”.

It’s all BS of course. Unfortunately, too many people believe it, and it’s endangering lives. A number of trucks were found to have their pins pulled. In one incident, a trucker who was not part of the convoy, and did not agree with it, apparently deliberately rammed his own truck into a truck that was part of the convoy. It’s been portrayed by the media as an “accident”. With the way the media is whipping up hatred and division – while accusing the truckers in the convoy of spreading hatred and division – they may very well get people killed.

And our Prime Dictator? Apparently, he’s on vacation in Costa Rica right now, though I don’t know if that’s true.

Thankfully, we have independent media who reporting on the convoy with better accuracy and truthfulness. Best of all are all the people who are documenting it themselves and posting about it. Like this guy.

Language warning!

It’s absolutely amazing! Our Prime Dictator has actually managed to accomplish something useful, in spite of himself. He has united the country. Against him! I have never seen so many wildly diverse groups, completely united in their support for the convoy and the push to end all the mandates.

The guy who made the above video is just one of many supporters, and he can only cover so much. We are also seeing many First Nations groups stepping forward in support. FN peoples are notorious about not getting involved in anything that could be considered even remotely political, with good reason. I’d mentioned before that a group of Hutterites had planned to set up kitchens to feed the truckers. The police wouldn’t let them, apparently because the parking lot was too full, so they drove 2 1/2 hours to the next major city, ahead of the convoy, and set up there, determined to feed them all. The GoFundMe has, as of this writing, reached over $5.7 million. I can’t even estimate how many hundreds of people are even joining the convoy in their own vehicles, so it’s not just a convoy of long haul truckers, but of all sorts of vehicles, too. Then there are the people getting together to prepare meals in take-out containers to hand out to the truckers, people arranging for things like porta-potties along routes where public washrooms are few and far between, and on it goes.

Meanwhile, there is stuff like Facebook deleting groups supporting the convoy, all of Toronto’s traffic cams along the 401 not working, people posting their own videos on social media are finding there is no share button for some reason, and I’ve lost track of the number of people I know who have found themselves suddenly restricted from posting on social media, and not knowing why. For all that, there is still tonnes of stuff out there, for all to see, showing what’s actually happening, and how huge this whole thing is.

Our Prime Dictator has already tried to call in the military and RCMP to stop the convoy, and they refused. So far, publicly, he’s been vocal about framing the truckers as angry (duh!) and potentially dangerous people, chastising them and their supporters for being angry, saying we don’t want to be that way as Canadians. Pure gaslighting, of course. The only truckers he’s talked to is an organization that is heavily connected to the Liberal party, condemns the convoy, but does not actually represent the truckers at all.

It’s a remarkable thing to see happening, and I honestly don’t know how it’s going to turn out. What I do know is that it is going to affect all our lives, here in Canada.

The Re-Farmer

Update: I just had to include this video, too.