Morning traffic

Our piebald visitor was back this morning.

She still has a tail full of burrs, after all this time! At least she doesn’t have them hanging off her chin anymore.

The deer quite appreciate the trails left behind by the snowmobilers.

On another note, we’ve spent that last few days working on the cat barrier so we can turn the living room into a plant room. There have been all sorts of problems! For starters, the opening between the divider shelves is wider at the top than the bottom. Which should have been okay. We built the frame smaller, and used self adhesive foam to fill in the gaps and hold the frame in place.

Well, between the crooked shelves and the wonky lumber, we still had problems, with the frame too tight at the top, and a huge gap on one side at the bottom.

Yes. I did correctly say that the space at the top was wider than the bottom, so it should have been the other way around.

Then the door was made to fit inside the frame and should have had a quarter inch space on all sides.

Once hanging the door on the frame, it became even harder to put the frame back in the space. When we finally got it in and opened the door, it would drop so much, it dragged on the floor…

…which also isn’t straight…

… and then we couldn’t get the door to close again. We ended up shaving about a quarter inch off one end of the door – the draw knife made quick work of that! It still wasn’t enough, though. Today, the girls are going to have to take the door partially apart, make it narrower, and hang it again. Which is going to be a bit job, because I was very, very through about attaching the wire mesh to the frame! The stronger staples we got seem to be doing the job, except I ended up having to hammer them all in more securely, after using the staple gun.

Later today, I’ll make the barrier for the shelf that’s open on both sides. After I’ve headed out to pick up a BBQ meat pack and run a few errands. Like stop at the post office to pick up the cat-proof screen for the window screens they’ve made holes in! I really hope this stuff is actually as good as it’s supposed to be.

The Re-Farmer

Not the only one!

Checking the trail cam files this morning, I discovered our piebald deer isn’t the only one that got attacked by burrs!

These had gone by just before I got to the camera, and I never saw them!

That one deer not only has a tail full of burrs, but more stuck on its face.

I also saw our piebald caught on the gate cam, but only going in, so I couldn’t see if her tail was still full of burrs.

In other things, I’m still hoping to get a call of approval about financing the vehicle, so when the phone started ringing this morning, I was quick to answer.

I should have known better, considering how early in the morning the first call came in.

It was one those recorded “I’m Dave from Amazon…” scam messages. It’s bad enough that they call so early in the frikkin’ morning, but we got the same call again! It was the exact same recording, but call display showed it was from a different number.


Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that we now have two more drum gourds germinating, both in the same pot. They’re not quite free of the soil, yet, so I haven’t tried to take picture, yet. The first two are looking nice and strong. We also had a new little pepper sprouting in the pot with the first one that sprouted. There’s still one cell with no sprouts at all, and still no sign of the zucca melon. They can take quite a long time to germinate, but with how cold the house is, even on the heat mate and under the lights, I think it’s still a bit chillier than they prefer. We shall see.

I’m not going to spend the rest of the day with the phone chained to my hip… 😂

The Re-Farmer

Thief! And what a loooong day

This morning, while standing and talking to my husband, I suddenly saw a deer walking past his window! So I quietly went into the sun room, and was able to get some photos of our thieving piebald deer!

Also, that’s Sad Face on top of the cat house, having breakfast. 😁

As for the deer, she was actually able to get her head under the water bowl shelter, to reach one of the three kibble trays under there.

Yup. She was eating cat kibble!

I have been seeing hoof prints in the snow around this group of shelters, but this is the first time we’ve seen the deer in there, this winter.

I got a few more shots, including some when she was slightly spooked and had moved away, so I could see that her tail is still matted with… something. The phone camera just can’t pick up enough detail, but I’m going to go with it being lots and lots of burrs.

Today, I was due to visit with my mother, run some errands for her, then pick up a couple more flats of farm fresh eggs from our homesteading friend we were able to get so much cardboard from last year. I got to my mother’s town a bit too early for the first errand I was going to do for her at the pharmacy. It’s a holiday weekend here in Canada (in most provinces, Monday is Family Day, but also Islander Day, Heritage Day and Louis Riel Day), so some places weren’t open at all, and the pharmacy didn’t open until noon. So I did a couple of my own errands first, got the pharmacy run done, then picked up Chinese food for lunch. By the time I was at my mother’s place, she wasn’t home from church yet. I have a key to her place, though, so I was able sneak a couple of 2 pound bags of ground beef from our quarte beef order into her freezer, get the kettle going, set up lunch and heard her at the door just in time to pour the tea! She was pleasantly surprised. Which was nice because, some days, surprises make her very angry. The Chinese food place is really generous in their quantities, so by the time we were done eating, there was enough left over for her to have at least two more meals!

While we were talking, she let me know that the smoke/heat detector on her ceiling had finally been fixed. It had been beeping for a month or more, and she didn’t want to call anyone about it, because they have to call the city. She feels she should just tell people in the building about it, and it’ll magically get taken care of. She has the number to call for maintenance issues, and then there is a process they have to follow to get someone out to take care of it but, for some reason, that makes her very angry. Still, she must have finally called, because someone came out and replaced the detector completely.

Then, she told me, he “fixed” the other thing that was beeping.

That would be the CO monitor my brother set up for her, years ago.


She’s never mentioned to us that it was beeping, too!

The guy took the batteries out (they would have been the original batteries) and told her she didn’t need it, because the detector in her ceiling does the same thing.

Well, maybe the new one that got installed does, I don’t know, but he should not have handled something that didn’t belong to the building (though I can understand why he did), and he should not have told her she didn’t need it.

I tried to explain to her what it was, because now she was thinking that what’s in her ceiling isn’t a smoke/heat detector, but she doesn’t understand what a CO monitor is, either. Or maybe she thought the CO monitor was a smoke detector. I didn’t quite get the straight of it. I tried to explain to her what CO poisoning is, and that if she ever hears that thing go off, she needed to get out right away. I also said that, even if this new detector was a CO monitor, it’s good to have a back up. If one goes off, but the other doesn’t, then maybe it’s a dead battery, but if they both go off, it’s really important for her to get out of her apartment right away. Well, that got her angry, and she started going on about how no one had these for so many years and it was never a problem. I told her that people died from CO poisoning, and that’s why these monitors are now being made.

She didn’t believe me.

She also had a clock that needed a new battery, but she had only one AA battery, so I changed the battery on her clock and offered to buy her more batteries when I went to the grocery store for her. She told me not to. She didn’t need them, and she didn’t want new batteries for the CO monitor, because the guy told her she didn’t need it. She was even angry that my brother had bought it in the first place, and told me she’d paid him X amount for it – which means she now thinks that my brother somehow cheated her by buying this and expecting her to pay for it (which I know full well is not how things would have happened).

I’m sure the guy meant well when he “helped” her, but this is an example of why there’s usually a restriction on contractors/maintenance staff when it comes to doing anything beyond what they are there to do.

After it became clear she was going to completely reject anything I told her, I said I would talk to my brother and maybe she’ll believe him if she won’t believe me. Then I went to the grocery store and, before going inside, sent him a message about it. He ended up phoning me while I was still in the grocery store, so I called him back once I was back in the car (also: my phone rings so rarely, when I heard it, I thought it was someone else’s phone near me! 😄) and explained it some more. He was equally frustrated, and said he would call Mom. I started heading back then decided to turn around and buy the batteries for her, anyhow.

By the time I got to her place, she had started to watch TV and didn’t say a thing about the call from my brother, until I pulled out the batteries and started putting them in. She was clearly unhappy that I had told him about it. Unfortunately, once the batteries were in, the monitor gave a loud, piercing noise, which was just to show that it was now working. My mother got angry again, saying that she didn’t need it and I shouldn’t put batteries in. The noise stopped, though, so I just put it back down on her shelf and left it.

The rest of the visit was more peaceful, and she was actually on much better behaviour than usual. I was just waiting to hear from my friend about the eggs, which was going to be a while. I even suggested my mother go ahead and take a nap, as I know she usually does in the afternoons, but we ended up talking some more. My friend was in the city for longer than she expected. By the time I got a message that they were on their way home, I think my mother was so tired, she was ready to kick me out! 😄 I had ordered extra eggs as a surprise for her, and had been telling my mother about the different coloured eggs, so before I left, I said I might swing by on the way home to show her the colourful eggs. When I did swing by with the eggs, I brought in the dozen I got for her and said they were for her. She started to tell me no, she didn’t need them, she has lots, but I said that these are farm fresh eggs and I’m sure she’ll love them.

So she took them without any other fight, which tells me that she was very happy with the surprise, even if she wouldn’t say so! 😄

Before I left, she told me she had something she wanted to ask me about, and headed for her bedroom. I took advantage of the moment and quickly grabbed the CO monitor and put it back on the wall where it belonged. I was afraid she might throw it away if I didn’t, and if she didn’t see me put it up, chances are she’d forget about it completely, whereas if she saw me put it up, she was more likely to take it off and throw it away.

Here’s hoping my reasoning is correct!

She then began opening up a suitcase she’d taken down from the top of her closet. There was stuff in it that she said she’d put there to protect it from when her apartment was being sprayed for bed bugs (her building is now officially declared bed bug free). She pulled a few things out, then showed me some fabric with what looked like pre-printed cushion designs, and asked me if she’d given me fabric like it (I think she meant fabric for the backs of the cushions?). I told her no – but it did give me the opportunity to ask me about a strange bundle of lacy ovals of fabric she did give me. She vaguely told me it was given to her from my nephew’s wedding. I think she was telling me they were place mats, though they don’t look like any place mats I’ve ever seen! I also couldn’t get the straight of why she gave them to me. Ah, well.

Once I told her she had not given me any other fabric, she seemed strangely satisfied, then declared that now she knows…

It was stolen by the beg bug exterminator.

She’s also convinced he stole a jar of coins.

This is something she’s done before. She was once so convinced someone had gone into her apartment while she was in the lobby and stole some cash, she was talking to everyone in the building about it – loud enough for the person she suspected to hear – and even taped a note to her door about how it was a sin to steal XXX amount of money.

Then she found the cash hidden in a different spot. After weeks of not-so-subtly accusing this person of stealing it.

She is now convinced that the exterminator went into a suitcase at the top of her closet, carefully moved some stuff off the top, stole some fabric, and put everything else back again.

Plus a jar of change, but on another occasion.

The sad thing is that this accusation merely reflects something she would do; go into other people’s stuff. It’s like when she’s been here, goes to the washroom, and we can hear her rifling through the cupboards. We can’t let her go into any rooms unsupervised, because she’ll start digging into closets and dresser drawers. In the past, she’s actually hidden things and thrown away things of ours, because she didn’t approve of them. Of course, she feels perfectly entitled to do this, because we’re family, but it also means she assumes everyone does the same thing.


After that, she got me to put the suitcase back in her closet, because she can get it down on her own, but can’t get it back up!

There was other weird stuff to deal with during the visit, too. Needless to say, by the time I finally was heading home, I was feeling incredibly drained.

And this was a good visit!

She’s got her medical appointment in a week. I’m going to be driving her in, driving her home, then staying with her for the required 24 hours to monitor her after the scope procedure.

Today had been the longest time I’ve spent with my mother in years. It’s going to be a real challenge to be spending the night with her! Especially since Lent is starting in a few days. I’ve decided to give up sugar – including simple carbs – for Lent this year. I’m going to have to make sure to bring my own food, and be prepared for many lectures about it.


Ah, well. It’ll be what it will be. I’ve been through worse.

The Re-Farmer

What happened to that tail?!

After yesterday’s gorgeous temperatures, doing my rounds this morning was feeling downright brutal. As I write this, we’re still at -22C/-8C, with a wind chill of -31C/-24F. I was more than happy to be back inside and checking the trail cam files.

Where I found this.

What on earth?

I tried zooming in on the full size image, but it’s just too grainy to tell. Normally, I’d say burrs, but find it strange that burrs would be all caught up just on her tail like that. I’d expect them to be more spread out. I suppose another possibility is her fecal matter somehow getting stuck, but that doesn’t seem right, either. They lift their tails well clear for that to be a possibility. Plus, some of the pieces look the wrong shape and size for that.

Very odd.

Whatever it is, I hope she’s able to get it off!

The Re-Farmer

Hulless seed pumpkins, and treating the deer?

Check out this handsome lady I found in the trail cam files this morning!

The critters much prefer the paths humans have cleared, including the trailed packed down by snow mobile-ers! This piebald seems to be the only deer that is visiting us regularly this winter, even though we’ve stopped putting food out this year, to raid our compost pile.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to crack open some of the hulless seed pumpkins. All the pumpkins and squash seem to have handled curing and storage pretty well. All the ones that were green or green striped have turned yellow and orange, with some of the hulless seed pumpkins turning more yellow with green, rather than green with yellow.

One type of hulless pumpkins (Styrian, I think. I’ve lost track!) have turned completely yellow and orange. So I decided to open up the two largest ones, first.

One of them was already being stored in the kitchen. It had a very hard shell and took some doing to break into!

There were fewer seeds than I expected, but that might be just the variety. The seeds looked nice and plump at least. I did try one, and the tasted was… meh. I’m sure they’d be much better, roasted and salted. After taking the seeds out, this was all there was.

So I went and got another one, which was larger.

That one did not have as hard a shell on it and was much easier to cut into. Which I actually took as a bad sign.

It had plenty of seeds in them, but they were all flat. Which suggested the pumpkin was still too immature when it was harvested. Considering the growing conditions of last year, that’s not surprising. I left them out as long as I could. I did go back and check the rest, and some are softer than others, but I’ve left them for now.

I know these pumpkins are supposed to be edible, not just the seeds, but in the end, I cut them into smaller chunks and set them on the compost pile for our visiting deer and the birds.

Later on, I was going through seed sites (because I can’t help myself!) and checked out the descriptions for things I’d already bought from other companies, including the hulless seed pumpkins. A couple of them noted that, while the flesh is edible, it’s not really table worthy. One of them even said that they are good for livestock!

Can we count a deer as livestock? 😄

As of this morning, I could see that the pieces were knocked about in the snow, but were still there. Something at least tried to eat them!

The Re-Farmer

Look who’s back!

I found this while checking the files on the gate cam. Such an elegant lady!

This is cropped out of a much larger still, so the date and time stamp is gone, but it was taken shortly after noon. So brazen! In the video clip, she was just bouncing up the driveway, like a thoroughbred.

I think this is the first time I could see that she has white patches just above her hooves, too.

While feeding the outside cats, someone else was back, though I couldn’t get a good photo of him. The Distinguished Guest was among the 25 cats I counted this morning. He is still looking in very rough shape, and the tip of one ear is flapping around. He still looks bedraggled and he’s moving slowly, but he’s not limping like he was the last time I saw him. I tried not to move too quickly and spook him, though he did still move away as I put the food out and refilled the water bowls. Mostly, he went from food tray to food tray, and even stayed under the water bowl shelter, eating, while I refilled the heated bowl. As I went around other paths, he started making his way up the path to the compost pile, then stopped part way, watching me. As I continued, I’d look over and he was a little bit closer… then a little bit closer… By the time I was done and tying off the sun room doors, he was almost back at the kibble house. What I was somewhat encouraged to see was Rolando Moon walking past him, and there was no altercation. It may be that he’s just too beat up to start a fight, but I’ll take what I can get.

I would feel much better if he were able to assimilate into the yard cats, and no longer be picking fights. Even better if Sad Face would stop fighting, too. I haven’t seen him in a few days, which is probably why TDG is back.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

The Re-Farmer


Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d spooked our visiting piebald deer in the yard. I had been unable to get a picture, but it turns out, we got a decent shot of her making her way towards our place, on one of the trail cams.

That old trail cam takes some pretty decent pictures.

I’d left some roasted squash in the compost pile for her yesterday, and today there was no sign of them at all. I hope that means she got a nice meal out of it!

The Re-Farmer

Still visiting!

We’ve had a very quiet day at home today, catching up around the house and being very domestic.

Because of the racoons damaging things and eating everything up, we have not been putting out deer feed or bird seed this winter. I do still see tracks in the snow when I do my rounds, but not very many. We have, however, been getting one regular visitor.

This piebald deer has been visiting us every winter that we’ve lived here, making this the sixth winter of her visiting us! This video is from a few days ago, but yesterday, we spotted her in the yard, making her way to the compost pile. I’ve also been seeing deer tracks around the cat shelters, which tells me she – or some other deer – has been going for the kibble and water, too.

This morning, as I headed out, I heard a familiar huffing noise and looked up in time to see the piebald, half was up the path to the compost pile, leaping away.

We happened to have some roasted squash in the fridge. It was meant for something else and had no seasonings on it, but I decided to put it on the compost pile for our visitor to eat!

It’s getting that time of year when it’s harder for the wild critters to find food, so I’ve got no problem setting out some extra food for them, if we have it.

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters

I spotted this, outside our kitchen window this morning, while getting ready to do my morning rounds.

They were after that little strip of expose ground, for something to nibble on.

With winter dragging on, they are doing a lot more digging to reach any food at all. In the foreground is the pile of grass clippings for mulch they’d uncovered. Beyond that is the unfinished low raised bed. It had a trench in the middle with kitchen waste to be buried as we finished it. The deer dug it up and have eaten most of it. Thankfully, they have no interest in the two garlic beds beyond it.

I spotted only nine outside cats at first. I have not seen Tuxedo Mask, Chaddiccus, or Agnoos for a while. The older males seem to be gone, too – no more females in heat to keep them around, I guess.

Ghost Baby did eventually show up, though, making eleven (plus Potato Beetle in the sun room, who is looking quite well after his visit with the vet).

Before finishing my rounds, I had to chase a deer away from the shrine, where it was eating kibble, even though I’d already dropped seeds down at the feeding station. Then I had to chase a skunk out of the kibble house. Once it was gone, all the outside cats converged on the kibble house again.

I was just petting Potato Beetle before going into the house when I had to go back out and shoo the deer away again!

This afternoon, we’re looking at a high of 5C/41F, with no rain or snow before tomorrow morning. We’ve got seeds to start today, but first, I’m heading out to see if I can find some big bags of cat food somewhere! I did get some seeds scarified and soaking first, so they will be ready for planting by the time I get back.

Of course, I’m adding extra to what we’re starting. 😀 I’ll explain what and why, when I post about it later today.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: moving into the sun room

You know how it gets, when you start one thing, then end up doing more, or go to check on something only to find yourself doing a bunch of other things, just because you’re there, anyway?

Yeah. That was most of my day. 😀

One of those things happened while preparing to write my previous post, and I noticed some deer on the security camera, running up the driveway. I went to check on where they were going and, sure enough, one headed for the kibble house.

The sun was blinding me while trying to take the photo, so it wasn’t until I went out to chase off the deer from eating the kibble, that I finally saw the skunk!

The skunk quickly ran off and, within moments, the cats were back in the kibble house, eating.

Then Potato Beetle politely asked for cuddles, so I stayed in the sun room holding him, which is why I was there to see the deer try and return, several times!

This deer was going for the kibble house because it had been chased away from the feeding station by the three deer I’d seen running up the driveway!

Then, since I was in the sun room anyhow, I started working on the shelf we’ll be moving seedlings onto. With Potato Beetle still being kept in there, I moved the warming lamp to the bottom shelf, which we will leave clear for him, then emptied and set up a higher shelf. That shelf doesn’t get as much light, so the little bins with the tulip tree and paw paw seeds in them got moved up (still no idea if those will ever germinate).

Once that was ready, it was time to go through the big aquarium greenhouse and the mini-greenhouse to collect the largest seedlings and transfer them to the sun room, using some of the bins I picked up.

The two Wonderberries turned out to be too tall for the shelf!! so they got put into buckets and joined the first one on the shelf. They are in biodegradable pots, and I didn’t feel like fussing with aluminum foil, like we did for the first one.

I also had to prune flower buds off the little Wonderberry plants!

It’s not in the photo, but while clearing the extra shelf, I brought down the pot that my daughter buried the cucamelon tubers in. I set it up in the window with the Wonderberry and watered it. Who knows. We might have some cucamelons this year, after all!

Here, the Canteen gourds, two of the Crespo squash, and three of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up next to the trays with the onion seedlings.

A bin with all Cup of Moldova tomatoes got set up on the next shelf down. If they look all bent over, that’s because they were starting to get crowded in their shelves in the mini-greenhouse! A piece of rigid insulation that had been laying on the shelf next to where the bin was placed, got set up to create a wall.

Just in case Potato Beetle manages to get onto the other half of the shelf and decides to do a Susan on the seedlings, and try to eat them.

Hopefully, Potato Beetle won’t be in the sun room for much longer, and we’ll be able to use that bottom shelf, too.

This afternoon, however, he was quite content to watch the activity from the comfort of my husband’s walker!

Once everything was set up, the bins and trays got watered, the reflector was put back in position, and I turned on the shop light that’s hanging on the inside of the shelf, where things are in shadow. It was 20C/68F in there, so I left the warming lamp off. It’ll get turned on again when things start cooling down.

Hopefully, the seedlings will do well in the sun room. I’m still concerned about those overnight temperatures. There’s only so much that little light we’re using for its warmth (as is Potato Beetle!) can do, and there’s no safe way to set up the ceramic heat bulb without some sort of metal frame, since the frame of the mini-greenhouse we used before is being actively used as… you know… a greenhouse.

The mini-greenhouse now has two completely empty shelves and, after re-arranging things, there’s even room in one of the trays for more pots. There will be room for the next seeds we will be starting this week, though I think the Kulli corn, which will be in bins, will be going straight into the sun room. We’ll see how whether the bins can fit in the big aquarium greenhouse or not. There is also still the small aquarium greenhouse. Seedlings don’t thrive in it, but it should still be suitable to keep pots until their seeds germinate and, hopefully, we’ll be able to move any seedlings out to a better spot soon after.

It feels like we’re juggling pots and seedlings! Which I guess we are.

The Re-Farmer