A couple days break?

We had quite a lot of rain yesterday, with temperatures much cooler than forecast for the first day of summer. The cool was much appreciated! It was nice being able to open up more windows again.

The problem is how wet everything is. Even the new part basement now has water pooling in places. Unlike the old basement, we can’t sweep this into a drain or a sump pump cistern. All we can do is keep a fan on it, really.

We’re supposed to have a couple of days that are warmer and without rain. Hopefully, that will be enough to let the grass dry out enough that I can finish mowing the lawn tomorrow. No chance of being able to get it done today, even if I wasn’t going to be at my mother’s for her home care assessment appointment. After that, however, we’re looking at possible thunderstorms and more rain for several more days.

While doing my morning rounds, I saw a couple of the kittens under the cat’s house again. I’m glad to see them, after they got so frightened by the lawn mower. I caught a brief glimpse of the little calico’s face. Her one eye still seems gooby, but otherwise all right.

The garden plots seem to be holding out all right, though I noticed a lot of pole beans at the trellises seem to have lost their leaves. I can’t tell if it’s because they were eaten by something, or because they wilted and fell off from excess moisture. There are still lots of plants, though, so we should still be good.

I’m pretty sure one of the lilacs at the corner of the storage house has been totally drowned. The few leaves it managed to grow are gone. If it survives, I’ll be amazed. There are others that aren’t quite as bad, and I think they’ll make it.

The Kulli corn seems to finally be recovering from transplant shock, looking more green and actually growing. The bush beans growing with them are progressing nicely. The first planting of spinach and one type of lettuce are getting big enough we should be able to start harvesting leaves and thinning them out.

As much of a problem the excess rain is, after last year’s drought and having to water every day, twice a day, throughout the summer, I’m really happy with how things are growing right now.

Still, it’ll be nice to have a couple of days break from the rain!

The Re-Farmer

Furry things, pretty things and growing things

I tried to do another post last night, but simply could not load the WordPress editor, our internet was so crappy. My husband tells me it was working fine when he got up at 2am, which suggested that their system was overloaded, on top of the weather wreaking havoc on our signal. Satellite can only handle so much traffic at once.

It seems to be working well now so, to start, here are the photos I meant to post last night. 🙂

I just had to share this little cluster of family adorableness!

This is part of a strange thing that’s been happening lately. Nicco (the grey and white) is the cat all the other cats seem to bully all the time, poor thing. Including bullying by Beep Beep (at the top), her adopted mother, but Beep Beep is still very much a yard cat in attitude, so she bullies pretty much all the cats. 😉 Lately, however, Beep Beep has been hunting Nicco down for aggressive cuddles and grooming. In fact, as I write this, they are mashed together, asleep on my bed, with Beep Beep using Nicco as a pillow.

The sudden love and attention is wonderful to see, but then there’s Turmeric.

If Turmeric sees Beep Beep and Nicco snuggling, she will go over and squeeze herself in between them. Sometimes, it’s to join in the grooming and cuddling session, but usually, it’s to try and nurse on Beep Beep.

Who is letting her!

The kittens are a year old now, and Beep Beep was never shy about weaning them. For the spice girls, they found solace in “grandma”, who would let them nurse on her.

Very noisily.

Irritating, but when we introduced new yard kittens as part of our ‘population control program’, and she let the new babies try and nurse on her, how could we stop it? She played a big part in getting the new babies settled into the colony. 😉

Any that attempted to nurse on Beep Beep, however, would get smacked away. Eventually, they stopped trying, even on “grandma”.

Until now.

That Turmeric is trying to nurse again, after all this time, is maybe not that surprising, but Beep Beep allowing it certainly is! So is her sudden affection behaviour towards Nicco.

I wonder if it is some sort of reaction to her not having kittens this year, for probably the first time in her adult life? Normally, she’d be nursing a new litter right now.



We had furry visitors last night, of the smelly kind.

After taking some pictures, I used the hose to drive them off. The big one went running to and under the storage house, but the little one disappeared around the cat house. I went around and fired the hose off at it again, and it ran off towards the storage house… then turned around and ran back! I got some video of it, but was never able to upload it (maybe I’ll succeed today). I kept trying to spray towards it, but it was willing to get wet, to get food. I don’t normally try to spray them directly, if I can avoid it, and this little guy was clearly very, very hungry, and I just couldn’t do it. I left it alone and let it eat.

Some hours later, I heard cats fighting, so I went outside to check. I never found what cats were fighting, but I did find this.

Two skunks in the kibble house!

Neither of which was the little one. That one was over here.

I have a container with water next to the steps that the cats like to use, and I think Little Stinky was drinking from it.

So, we’re now up to three skunks.

I did use the hose to chase them away. The two big ones in the kibble house did not get along, and as they ran under the lilac bushes over where they get under the storage house, I could hear one of them grunting and growling at the other. The little one by the stairs didn’t want to leave and tried hiding under the lilacs, but I think that has as much to do with the grumpy skunk as the water.

Hopefully, we won’t be getting more stinky visitors!


We had more rain during the night, but by this morning, we were bright and sunny again, though still quite windy. Of course, while doing my rounds, I checked all the garden beds and kept an eye out for more fallen branches.

The tomatoes are doing fantastic. I don’t think we could have picked a better spot for them! They get the sunlight they need from their southern location, while still getting protection from the driving rain from the trees above. They got plenty of rain, and are showing lovely new growth, with no signs of damage at all.

These roses were a surprise to see this morning. This rose bush is in front of the sun room, at the stand-alone rail between the door and the laundry platform. My mother had planted it there to help shade the sun room, but it keeps blocking our paths. When we were hauling loads of soil to the old kitchen garden, I tied the bush back, so we could get through without fighting it all the time. It worked out so well, I left it like that. It’s a mass of greenery right now, and these flowers are tucked away under the bulk of the branches, having burst into bloom overnight. The other flower buds I see are still quite small. There are more roses of this time in the old kitchen garden, and they not blooming yet, either, so these hidden roses were a pleasant surprise.

I had another surprise I didn’t get any pictures of. While checking on the Montana Morado corn (some of the smaller stalks look a little beaten down by the rain, but all still look very good), I passed the little kiddie pool we’ve been using to mix soil. There was still a bit of soil on the bottom I wasn’t able to get out when I was transplanting the Crespo squash. Just a smattering, sitting at one side. I’d added water into the pool, just to keep it from blowing away, but of course there’s more water in it now.

This morning, I found a frog floating in it.

We’ve found drowned frogs in the bird bath before, because once they get into containers like this, they can’t get out again, and that was my initial thought. Dead frog. I grabbed a garden tool to fish it out, only to have it dive down and try to burrow into the bit of soil on the bottom. I knew the frog wouldn’t be able to get out of the pool on its own, so I tried leaning a stick across for it to climb. That seemed too light, so I tried a brick. That would have worked, but the poor little frog looked like it was having a hard time, so I managed to get it out. I don’t now now long it was stuck in there, but it was looking really tired as it tried to get away from my hands, eventually letting me lift it out. I think it was quite happy to be on solid ground again!

I left the brick in the pool, leaning against the side, just in case something else falls in. We’ll bail the pool out until it’s drained enough to tip over without breaking it, later.

I like frogs. We’ve been seeing them in the garden, quite a bit. 🙂

One of the last things I checked this morning was the potatoes, and found another garden friend.

A pretty little ladybug, on a potato leaf.

I’m happy that most of what we’ve been finding among our plants have been beneficial critters, like frogs and ladybugs, and not the problem critters! Even the skunks are good for eating grubs that would otherwise be causing damage, and so far, other than a tulip, they’ve been digging in the lawn, which does just fine when the divots are put back later.

Now that the weather is turning again, we’ll have lots of work to catch up on in the garden. Especially weeding, but we also have one last bed to build for the cucamelons and the late sprouting gourds, along the chain link fence. We also have pink celery sprouts, but they were started so late, and are so tiny, I don’t know that they’ll ever be transplanted outdoors. We might be able to grow them in containers, though. Then they can be moved into the sun room in the fall, to give them a longer growing season. We shall see! I definitely want to get more seeds for next year, though, and start them indoors much earlier.

Here we are, so early in our gardening season, and I’m already thinking of next year’s garden! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning rounds

We’ve got ourselves a lovely – and windy! – day today. It made doing the morning rounds quite pleasant.

The routine started, of course, with babies. 🙂

One of the down sides of not being able to do stairs very well is, even with my daughter at the top of the stairs to help keep the other cats away from the door, kittens manage to run across the length of the basement and up the stairs before I can get far enough down to close to door behind me.

Having a door that opens over the stairs doesn’t help, either.

Of course, while kittens are being wrangled, other cats try to take advantage of the confusion. David got into the basement, which we’re okay with, since he’s very good with the babies. I think Two Face got in, as well, but I’m honestly not sure if I remember that correctly. My daughter was dealing with the adult cats after we got the escaped babies back down.

Eventually, all the adult cats were herded upstairs, and the kittens got to have some wet cat food.

These guys have very hearty appetites!

After a while, we let Beep Beep down again, so she could have some, too. If she’s around when the wet cat food is first set out, she’ll push her own kittens away to get at it, no matter how much we spread it out!

Among the things I look out for when doing my rounds is fallen branches. Thankfully, between what we’ve been able to clean up ourselves, plus what the arborists were able to take down, there are far few of those than there was when we first moved here.

Usually, we’re just picking things up like the willow branch you can see in the photo. Willows are always dropping branches, but after having the power lines cleared, there are a lot less of those in the south yard. Recent winds did bring down one of the larger dead branches we can’t get at to clear. Even as I stood to take this picture, I could hear the winds knocking branches together, above my head.

Dead branches sound distinctively different from live ones.

Speaking of which…

The crab apple trees are not the only ones that are struggling. This plum tree seems to be mostly dead. There is one section that leans off to the right that is still alive, but it looks like the other two are completely dead. What few leaves there were, just weeks ago, have shriveled and died. It looks like another of the plums, behind it, is also dead or dying.

Other trees and bushes are doing just fine, though.

The pollinators were having a hard at my mother’s white roses, in the wind! I believe these are called Cherokee roses, and they have just exploded with flowers! Between these, the honeysuckle that is still if full bloom, and the double lilac that is nearing the end of its blooming period, this little garden is just a riot of flowers!

While the more common varieties of lilacs are finishing their blooming period, the dwarf lilac will soon be a mass of flowers!

I had cleaned up in this bush, taking out a maple that had been allowed to grow in the middle of it, cutting away dead wood and pruning things back. Now, even the new growth shooting up from below is showing masses of flower buds!

There is one more variety of lilac that blooms later, but I notice it is struggling, too. There is another maple that had seeded itself and was allowed to grow, near it. I think that maple is what’s killing the lilac. It’s keeping the lilac in shade for most of the day. I don’t think it gets any direct sunlight at all, really.

I’m going to have to choose: keep the healthy maple while the lilac slowly dies off, or take down the maple and hopefully save an unusual variety of lilac, that we have only one of.

The decision would be a lot easier, if I could only be sure that taking out the maple would save the lilac.

Meanwhile, while checking the sunflowers, I found we are down a couple more. I really wish I knew what is doing this. Then we could know how to stop it!

When I got back to the house at the end of my rounds, I had a lovely surprise.

Rolando Moon came back for a visit! I haven’t seen her in ages. The last time couple of times she came here, Creamsicle and Potato Beetle chased her up into a tree. My daughters could see her, but I never did spot her. The boys were away, though, so I got to say hello to Rolando. 🙂 She, Beep Beep and Butterscotch are the only yard cats remaining, that were here when my father was still alive. I have some photos from when we made the trip out to visit him, back in 2015. He did love the yard cats – and they loved him right back! Me, not so much. 😀 After we moved here, it took a while to socialize them, to varying degrees. Most just sort of disappeared. Especially the males. Rolanda Moon has always been an ornery cat, aggressive with the others, but she seemed very happy for the attention, today! It was very good to see her. 🙂

Today, being Sunday, is my day of rest. No unnecessary work. So the most I’m doing outside, really, is setting up the sprinkler to water the squash and potatoes. We’ve had some rain, off and on, but not very much, and these winds are really drying things out!

Time to go shift the sprinkler off the squash and give the potatoes a good drenching. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Oh, what a day. Already

Today started off very well, so I’ll start with that, too!

I’m happy to say that the new bed has made a huge difference. There must be something about no longer being so close to the floor, because I slept like a rock – for almost 11 hours!

Which meant I got a late start to doing my morning routine.

The kittens were in fine form this morning!

They found perfectly kitten sized places to hang out, about it all!

These little nooks exist only because the area under the entryway was walled off to make the root cellar. The ceiling there is slightly lower than the rest of the basement, so the top ledge there is actually level with the entryway floor, while below is the root cellar wall.

The upstairs cats wanted to play, too.

In the one photo, you can see David’s nose – and the glowing eye of another cat!

I’m going to have to delay doing the kitten stuff until there are others available to come down at the same time. Saffron and Turmeric got upstairs before I could close the door, while David, Cheddar and Two Face made it downstairs. While wrestling her kittens downstairs, Beep Beep went up and stayed there. I only saw three kittens, though, so I started looking around for Leyendecker and Big Rig. I realized Leyendecker had also snuck upstairs, when I saw tiny little black and white paws going past – right about where you can see David’s nose in the above photos. 😀 So I got him down, but I still couldn’t find Big Rig. I feared she may have gotten into the old part basement, but after some searching, my daughter found her curled up asleep, under the bed frame. The box my husband’s computer came in had a cardboard divided that fits under there perfectly, and they use it to sleep in. I’d pulled it out, but apparently not enough, and never saw her. I felt no weight, and didn’t think to pull it out all the way! It was a relief to find her. Once we managed to get the adult cats out, we were able to treat the babies with some wet cat food, then persuade Beep Beep to come down again.

Once outside, I was joined by Creamsicle and Butterscotch.

Lots of things are blooming now.

More wild roses are blooming now.

I also checked on, and counted, the sunflowers.

I counted 30 this morning, with some having just broken ground. We also lost more; in one spot where I was sure there was a seedling growing, I checked more closely, and found the remains of a stem. 😦

I was very happy to find this. Last year, I spotted two little bunches of red berries on this bush. Using the magic of the internet, it turns out to be a cranberry bush.

It was not planted there deliberately.

This is another of the things that are getting more light, after I cleared away trees from the fence line. Last year, that resulted in this bush having just a few berries. This year, it is covered with clusters like this! I am thrilled to see them!

These are tiny wild strawberries growing at the base of a dead tree in the maple grove. We need to be weeded with great care, as the other growth is so close, it’s hard to pull them up, without also pulling up the strawberries.

This will require a lot of time set aside (after being liberally covered in bug spray) for delicate weeding. At some point, I’d like to transplant them to a better location, but transplant wild strawberries is another delicate thing!

I don’t know what these flowers are, but I really like them! Near them are some lilies that are full of buds.

The hawthorn my mother planted as a “living fence” bloomed so fast, I missed it! Berries are starting to form now.

I’ve read that hawthorn berries are edible. We might try something with them, one of these days.

My mother’s white roses and double lilacs planted near the old kitchen and sun room as looking good. The lilacs are almost done their blooming time, but the roses are just covered with buds!

After making sure it was okay with my mother first, checking to make sure there was nothing she wanted saved, I completely covered and mulched the old kitchen garden, two years ago. You can see what it was like when we started here (back when I thought the ornamental apple trees were cherry trees, because that’s where the original cherry tree had been planted, years before). As I cleaned up, you can see in this post, just how much the above flower had spread all over. I got it to the point where I could lay down a layer of cardboard, and finally cover it all in mulch. The idea was to basically kill off what was already growing there (especially the invasive vines we were finding all over the place!), and eventually use the space to grow vegetables and herbs that we use most.

After I finished all that, my mother suddenly started talking about some blue flowers that were there that she wanted me to keep, because they reminded her of flower that grew in Poland, when she was a child. I reminded her that she’d given me the okay to get rid of everything! Still, some things have worked their way through the mulch, including her little blue flowers, so she was happy to see them and asked me to save some. Which I can do. 🙂

After I’d finished my rounds, I called my mother, then went to help her do a grocery shopping trip. That went quite well, and I was happy to be able to help her stock up on the bigger items she would normally have to pay to get delivered.

It was when I got home that things started to go wrong.

I had just driven through the gate and stopped the van so I could close it again, when I saw someone in my rear view mirror.

It was our vandal.

He’d seen me go by and came over.

He then proceeded to yell verbal abuse at me – all while recording me closing and locking the gate – from where he stood. I just ignored him while taking care of the gate, and he eventually just walked away, but he was yelling loud enough that the girls came out to see what was going on.

Based on past experience, from long before we moved out here, I knew I had to sit down and write down exactly what happened to record it. While I was in the middle of that, I got a call from my brother. It seems our vandal went straight from hurling verbal abuse at me, to calling my brother – who was at work – and verbally abusing him. There were things he said to both of us, though, that got us wondering about a triggering event. Once I had the chance, I called my mother.

Sure enough, it went back to her. He had left another abusive message on her answering machine, and she made the mistake of calling him back. She’d left a message, basically asking what he wanted from her, and they ended up speaking in person. He told her that he wanted to sell the farm and split up the money, part of which he believes he is entitled to. The farm, however, is supposed to stay in the family name, and that’s why she transferred the ownership to my brother. We had been trying to keep that quiet, but it’s public knowledge now. We have the same arrangement with my brother that we had with my mother. We are taking care of the place for him. So now we know, by his own words, that our vandal was pressuring my parents to change their wills for years, just so he could sell the farm to line his pockets.

This revelation explains why he started showing up recently on the trail cams, giving us the finger. He thinks something has been taken from him. I’m still a target, since we live here, and he believes the things that are here belong to him. Of course, he’s got his own place, so there is no reason anything of his should be here. He’s also the reason so many things disappeared over the years, and especially while the place was empty for 2 years.

Now that he knows about the transfer of ownership, it’s hard to say how he will continue his harassment. At least when it came to ownership of the farm, there was some predictability. Now that he knows the farm belongs to my brother, not my mother, he’s going to be coming up with something new. The only thing we can be sure of, is that he won’t stop. He’s become obsessed with this place, and my family living here.


Ah, well. It’s still better than what we left behind by moving here. We just have to worry about one crazy person, now. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Growing things – and that’s dedication!

While doing my evening rounds, I found all sorts of lovely growing things!

My mother’s yellow lilies ad opening up like crazy, with lots of buds. They are going to do very well this year!

The white roses my mother planted in the same area are doing much better than last year. These are the same type as by the house, but it’s not as good a location for them, so they tend not to be the explosion of flowers, like I can see outside my bedroom window right now.

I was really happy to see so many cherries forming! These are just the ones by the house – where last year, I found only 3 cherries, in total! The ones by the spruces are also showing lots of cherries starting to form.

Not long after I did my rounds and got these photos, it start to rain.

It continued to rain pretty much through the night, and was still raining when I drove my daughter to work.

Which is so awesome! All the flowers, fruit trees and berry bushes are going to love it!

I swung by the lake this morning. It was still raining and quite windy, so I was expecting things to be empty, but nope. Some people are just really, really dedicated to their fun!

I watched as this guy was kneeling on his board, struggling to paddle against the waves. He managed to stand for a little while, but was soon back on his knees, trying to paddle out further. He was still at it when I left!

Though the rain has certainly cooled things down, we’re still supposed to be hitting temperatures in the mid 20s C for a while, then into the high 20s C by next week. I’ll take the cool breezes while I can! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

The power of cat treats

Beep Beep and her Tuxedo were around the house yesterday evening, so I decided to get a bit more aggressive about this whole luring of kittens thing.

I brought out the cat nip and the cat treats.

They ignored the cat nip.

They went nuts over the cat treats!  Beep Beep was after them to the point that she would eat what I gave her, then find the one I gave to her kitten and eat that one, before he even figured out where it was.  She’d even push him away!

We have a house guest for the next while, and she and my daughter came out to help, and to play with the cats.  By the time they came back in, Rolando Moon, Teeny Tabby, Butterscotch and one of the calicos made a showing, too.


We did actually get to pet the tuxedo.  He’d jump a bit and look, but would quickly return to hunting treats.  He’d even try and take them out of my hand, sometimes, but he was slower about it and his mother would usually push her way in and take it first, no matter how we tried to distract her with others, so on the ground they went.

While in the area, I paused to take a look at my mother’s white roses.  They have the darkest rose hips!  So deep a read, they are almost black.


The Re-Farmer

Bumbles and Roses

Some bonus pictures for you today. 🙂

My mother’s white roses by the sun room have been in full bloom for a while, and the one in the flower garden has caught up.

The bumble bees are loving them!


I’m not sure what type of bumble bee this one is.  There are several types that are similar, and none of the pictures I was able to get show it well enough for me to say for sure.


This bee with the orange stripe is the Hunts Bumble Bee; also the Tricolored Bumble Bee.

Bumbles have always been my favorite bees.  I remember finding a bumble bee’s nest by accident, when I was a kid.  I was wandering around in the quarter section that my younger brother now lives on and noticed bees flying out of a hole in the ground.  It was awesome, to sit there and watch them.  Until then, I hadn’t known they had ground nests – I’d just never even thought of how they might nest before.


I wasn’t finding bees on the lilac bush at the time I took these, but WOW is that bush ever a prolific bloomer!  It’s just a mass of purple, and I can even smell it while I sit in my office!

I’ve tried to find out what variety of lilac this is.  I’ve found a variety that had similar flowers, but different leaves – and I’m pretty sure we do have that variety in another part of the yard!  With these, I can’t be sure, but I think they might be Dwarf Korean lilacs.

Whatever they are, they are gorgeous!

The Re-Farmer

Yard in Bloom

With all the yard work we’ve been doing over the past while, I’ve been really appreciating all the blooms.

The ornamental apple trees and plums are long since finished blooming, but now we have all sorts of flowers, scenting the air!


Right by the sun room door is this white rose.  There are others in the flower garden, but they are not as prolific as this one is!


After clearing away the vines that had climbed up the lilacs by the people gate, I could finally see that they were blooming!  I’m sure my mother told me, at some point, that these were white lilacs.  Not that I can remember one way or the other!  So it was a nice surprise. 🙂


This is the huge lilac bush with teeny, tiny leaves and flowers, that I’d cleared a maple tree out of, earlier.  I’ll need to go back to this garden and finish cleaning and clearing it.  It, too, is inundated with vines!  There are regular lilac bushes at the other end of this flower garden.

This is also technically the “front yard”, and the door in the middle of this side of the house is the front door.  Which isn’t used.  In fact, I still haven’t been able to open the screen door; it’s still stuck at the base, and I don’t want to force it and break something.

If all goes as planned, though, that is the door the ramp we hope to have added will be installed at.  Depending on the dimensions, it may be necessary to remove this garden.

The post in the foreground had a bird feeder on it.  I took it off after I turned away from pruning a branch and smacked right into it with my glasses, knocking them askew.

Thankfully, the base was designed to lift right off.  It needs to be cleaned up and repaired, anyhow. 🙂


In the big flower garden, off the old kitchen, is this honeysuckle bush, in full bloom!  When talking to my mother about clearing this garden, one of the things she requested as to save this bush.  It was being choked out by the invasive undergrowth!


I can see why she wants to keep it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer