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

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

That’s just deep, Man!

Well, relatively speaking.

Still, the snow is deep enough that the deer were struggling to get through. They were very happy to find the paths we’ve dug!

I spotted about 11 outside cats this morning. Potato Beetle came out of the sun room when I went out to make sure the deer coming into the yard weren’t going for the kibble. He happily went back in when I finished my morning rounds.

After feeding the critters, I started to do a bit of shoveling on the main paths. While clearing in front of the sun room, I accidentally caught the shovel on something, making a loud noise, startling the cats in the kibble house. There was an explosion of cats as they all ran off.

Except Ghost Baby, who took advantage of the situation, planted herself in a kibble tray and kept on eating!

That is so completely the opposite of how she has been in the past. Before, if you so much as looked directly at her, she’d ghost away. I think she’s finally learning that it’s safe to eat while we’re around.

One of the potential plans for the day was to take little Spewie out and start clearing the driveway. I’m not so sure if that’s happen, though. It’s going to be another chilly day, but it’s more an issue of wind. Things are supposed to be calmer tomorrow, but also warmer, which means the snow blower is more likely to struggle with the snow. *sigh* Still, it needs to get done.

I’ve heard from my brother that my nephew and his family are still making the drive out. The highways are open all along their route, so they’re going for it. I do wish they’d just cancelled. He is confident in making the drive, though. They should arrive late tonight. I figure, if they are willing to make the trip, the least we can do is clear our driveway so that I can drive my mother out to meet her newest great-grandbaby!

Whether the snow blowing happens today or tomorrow, when that’s not being worked on, we’ll be going through the seedlings. Some of them, like the Crespo squash and the second planting of Wonderberry, are outgrowing their starter pots. I picked up larger versions of the pots that can be just buried in the ground when it’s time to transplant, so we’ll be able to pot them up with little to no root disturbance. We might have some space issues, not just for the bigger pots, but their heights. Looking at the long and short range forecasts, though, we should be able to start putting more pots in the sun room. How well the one Wonderberry plant is doing is quite encouraging. It makes me wonder if the thermometer on the wall is reading on the cold side. It’s right against the wall, and one of the window’s it is above lost its inner pane before we ever moved here, so it might be reading temperatures that don’t reflect other parts of the room.

Oh, I totally forgot to take a picture! I’ll have to go back later. The Wonderberry in the sun room has actually started to bloom! With the sun room being so much cooler than inside the mini-greenhouse, I’d thought it would slow down in growth, but it seems to be quite enjoying the condition in the sun room, and thriving!

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, for a Wonderberry to be blooming already. We won’t be able to transplant it outside for at least another month! There are no pollinators for it. Which means I should probably prune the flower buds off, so its growth can focus on foliage.

Not until I’ve taken a picture of the pretty white flowers. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

The digging begins

Checking the weather this morning, my app told me we were still snowing. Which was a surprise to me, since I couldn’t see any snow falling out our window! 😀 Eventually, looking out a window with dark tree trunks in the background, I could finally see the tiniest of flakes.

There were 394 emails of images from the garage cam waiting for me this morning. It would have been more, except I made sure to clear the inbox before going to bed. From the looks of it, the heaviest snow stopped hours ago, but with the infrared flash, all it takes is a single snowflake to trigger the camera to take an image and send it to me.

Though I did see at least one with deer image, that happened while I was outside, digging.

There was a drift in front of the sun room door, but I was able to open it wide enough to get through. It’s a salvaged door, so I stopped opening it as soon as I could hear it cracking! LOL

The main thing was that I could get out and get to where the snow shovels were sitting. I’d even thought that I could put one in the sun room, yesterday, but completely forgot to actually do it!

The first job would be to dig my way to the kibble house. Unfortunately, the way the winds swirl around this corner of the house, a drift forms right under the kibble house roof and snow gets into the kibble house itself.

We were supposed to build a smaller version of this for the water bowls. We really need to get that done for next winter. With the three structures around each other, they should shelter each other and keep this from happening. At least, not as much as happens now.

While I was shoveling, some kitties patiently waited for their kibble!

There was a lot more snow inside the kibble house than I expected!

Once that was clear, I made sure to set out the food and water before continuing on, so they could have a chance to eat.

That drift between the kibble house and their shelter is right on top of a kibble tray. That was my next goal.

As soon as it was clear, I added more food for the kitties that are too shy to go into the kibble house. Then it was time to dig a path to the shrine and uncover the kibble tray there, for the even shier cats.

That took a lot of digging. This one needed an ice chipper, as the chunks of old snow underneath had frozen.

The main issue with all the digging, however, was the snow itself. It’s still relatively warm for such things, so the snow is fairly wet. Not only did that make for heavier snow, but it was sticky. I’d throw a shovel full, and half the snow would stick to the blade. I’d have to knock it off, then shovel it away again.

The kitties fed and watered, it was time to turn my attention to the next path.

I needed to dig my way across the south side of the house, then to the feeding station, before I could leave feed out for the birds and the deer.

The deer were not as patient as the kitties!

Look what I found!

I’d put our winter sowing experiment in the snow on the south side of a path, originally, but as the snow melted and became less stable, I moved them here, and they got completely buried.

I didn’t take the snow off the top. I figure it’ll melt into the containers a fair bit, through the open tops and the air circulation holes on the shoulders. I’m also not bothering to dig out the rest of the concrete stairs yet, since we’re not using that door.

This is how the south side path looked when it was done. I also dug out the well cap.

On the south side, I dug a path as far as the lane that was cleared for the septic truck to get into the yard. As amusing as it is to show how deep the snow it along the paths, this is a more accurate representation of how much snow we actually got.

I’d say, about 8-10 in/20-25cm, at most.

I didn’t dig the rest of the way to the compost heap. We can get through that with our boots, and it’s going to all melt away fairly soon, anyhow.

The path along the east side of the house was mostly blown completely clear, even as the snow drifted into the lilacs and cherry trees. Even the low sloped roofs on the east side of the house were blown clear of snow.

Clearing this path went MUCH faster! 😀

The snow drifted over where I usually put seed, under where a bird feeder should be hanging, but I didn’t bother clearing that. I dropped the seeds on the exposed grass, closer to the house.

I’m sure the birds and deer will be fine with that. 😉

The snow was coming down harder by the time I was done, though it’s slacked off again. The next path to dig is the path to the garage, and maybe to the burn barrel.

That’s something the girls will take care of, later.

Once that’s done, we’ll have an idea of whether or not we can get out of our driveway. I’m seriously considering trying to start that old gas powered snow blower again. If we could get that going, we could clear the driveway. If we can’t… well, we’ll see how things go over the next few days. If it’s not too deep, I might break out little Spewie. The temperatures over the next while are supposed to remain below freezing, light snow is supposed to continue through tomorrow, and we’re even supposed to get a bit more snow on Easter Sunday, so it’s not like anything is going to be melting away anytime soon.

It sucks that this happened over the Easter weekend, when we actually want to get out and get together with family. If it weren’t for that, I’d be just fine with getting all this extra moisture. Once it does finally melt away, it should be great for when it’s time to plant our garden!

The Re-Farmer

Incoming

Man, monitoring this storm has been just a wild world of confusion.

I have a weather widget on my phone that has animated weather in the background to match current conditions. When I looked at it, first thing this morning, it was snowing. Opening the app, there was a message saying heavy snowfall will continue for at least an hour and a half.

What was out my window?

Nothing. Not a flake in the sky.

The edge of the storm was supposed to reach us around 3am, with blizzard conditions by 10am. We had no snow at all last night.

Looking at the weather radar, we had that remarkable bubble over our area again. The storm’s edge was swirling around us, but not on us.

Yet.

So I quickly bundled up and headed outside to do my morning rounds – spotting two deer walking through the West yard when I got into the sun room.

The sun room seems to have stayed just above freezing overnight. The Wonderberry, which is by itself at one window, where it’s colder, seems to be doing just fine. I did move it away from the window a bit more. It’s not going to get much light today, anyhow, and the closer to the window it is, the colder it is.

By the time I got outside, the first flakes were starting to fall. The winds were already quite high, though, so it was no surprise that only a few cats came out for food. I did move a small dish of food just inside the entrance to their cat house, though. Potato Beetle was the only cat in there when I started putting the food out. As overcast as it is, the light sensor on the timer should be triggered to turn on the ceramic heat bulb, so it should be nice and warm in there.

In the time it took me to put feed out for the birds and deer, put the container back in the sun room, and come back around the corner on my way to the sign cam, there were at least 4 deer at the feeding station already. They got startled and ran off into the trees, so I’m not sure, exactly.

It didn’t take them long to come back!

Snow was starting to come down a bit harder by the time I very quickly did my morning rounds. Those winds, though! We’ll have to keep an eye out for falling branches and trees. As I sit here, writing this post, I can watch the snowfall increase and the visibility drop on the garage cam live feed. The driveway and paths that had been exposed ground are now white with snow.

The weather alerts have changed, of course. The south of us is getting the brunt of the storm. The system is splitting up and swirling in two directions; the snow is being pushed to the northwest, across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while the rain is being pushed to the east, across Ontario and Quebec. The rain part of the system looks like it’s going to be more severe than the snow part.

The alert is now saying that south of us is getting the brunt of the storm basically now, but not as much snow as expected. Our area is supposed to now get the brunt of the storm tonight and into tomorrow.

Except.

As I watch the weather radar, it looks like we’ll still be getting the brunt of the storm… now, bascially, and over the next couple of hours. Then it looks like it’s clearing up. The system should be clear of our area, continuing North and West, by about 3:30pm.

If I look at the hourly forecast, this afternoon will actually have wet flurries, but where I earlier saw predictions of 5-10cm/2-4in in one hour, over a couple of hours, I’m now seeing ~1cm or >1cm every hour through Thursday.

That’s with The Weather Network.

AccuWeather is telling me we are having “heavy snow” right now (it’s snowing, but I’d still call it flurries at the moment), while the hourly forecast is saying much the same as the other; about a centimeter – less than half an inch – per hour. The “looking ahead” note says “A snowstorm continuing into Friday morning with blizzard conditions today and storm total accumulations for 40-60cm.” This is supposed to be for our area, not the entire region the storm is crossing.

A lot of mixed messages.

So…

I look out the window, or watch the garage cam.

The snow is definitely getting heavier, though still nowhere near what I would call “heavy snow”. In past storms we’ve had this winter, when we have heavy snow, the garage cam gets whited out. We’re not there yet.

I’m watching the maple branches outside my window, and when those gusts hit, you can really tell!

But we are safe and warm inside, the outside cats are fed and should be cozy in their favorite hidey holes about the property by now.

Yesterday, we started pickling eggs for our Easter basket. Today, my goal is to bake the Easter bread.

For now, though, it’s a good time for another cup of strong, black tea!

The Re-Farmer

Morning Critters

Evening critters, too!

It’s getting to the point where I can start doing my evening rounds again, if in a limited way, since most of the places I check are still inaccessible. Last night I heard a noise when I came out and spotted a deer, in the outer yard, out by the collapsing log cabin, getting up from where it was lying down. After watching me for a bit, it ran off.

Later, I also heard the sounds of what I at first through was a cat fight. Nope. It was one of the ‘iccuses, busily getting pregnant.

Which is probably why Sad Face cat is back and hanging around.

*sigh*

I saw these two out my bedroom window this morning. While checking out the one deer that was just standing there, chewing, I realized I was seeing the ears of a second deer, lying down!

They clearly feel pretty safe over here.

Which is probably not a good thing, but… ah, well.

This morning, Sad Face was around, but would not come closer while I refilled the kibble trays. The boys in the above photo were getting along this morning. Nutmeg and The Distinguished Guest actually booped foreheads affectionately. He even let me pet him.

I suppose the Distinguished Guest isn’t a Guest anymore!

The ladies seem to prefer to wait until I’m away before they’ll go into the kibble house, and would rather all crowd around the tray on the ground, instead.

In the above photo, we know that Ghost Baby and Caramel (next to each other in the middle left, and Broccoli (on the right) are female. Bradiccus, with the white tail tip, in the front, is male. The ‘iccus next to him, and the one in the back left, I’m not too sure of, but one of them is female.

Altogether, I think I spotted 13 or 14 cats this morning.

After feeding the cats, including the kibble tray out by the shrine, I realized I had what was either a cut or a sliver, so I went in for a while to get my husband to take a closer look. It turned out to be a sliver. In the time it took to get it out and bandage it up (it was rather large!), then grab the last of the deer feed from the bin, I came out to find two deer at the shrine, with one of them eating the kibble! There were about 6 cats surrounding them, watching the deer stealing their food!

What cheek!

So I chased them off, then poured the seed at the feeding station (still feeling a little miffed that we can’t use the new bird feeder because the deer just pull it down). The ran off across the road as I walked that way to get to the path to the sign cam.

Sometimes, when checking the files, something dark will trigger the motion sensor, but is too close to know what it is. Usually, it’s a bird or a squirrel on the fence post it’s attached to.

This morning, I confirmed the most recent of such files was a squirrel.

It enjoyed a nice spruce cone on the post, triggering the camera with its tail! LOL

One my way back, I could see the deer watching me from the spruces across the road. As I continued on to the driveway cam, I could see them running over to the feeding station, looking so excited!

When my morning rounds were done, I made a quick trip to the post office/general store to pick up more deer feed. I had expected to be switching to the black oil seed by now, but decided to stick to deer feed for at least one more bag.

The frustrating thing is that, over the next couple of days, we’re supposed to get more snow. Not a lot, but it should be rain by now. At least, that’s how it feels. If I look at the historical weather data, though, we’re actually supposed to be warmer than the 30 year average, and getting snow is not that unusual. Just as it’s not unusual to get one last blizzard in April. We’re supposed to warm up for the next week, then drop down to just above, or just below, freezing, depending on which weather app I’m checking. I feel like I’m gnawing at the bit, because we need to be starting more seeds indoors, but it’s still too cold to move seedlings into the sun room to free up cat-proof space. Even just yesterday, the sun room only reached 10C/50F. Pleasant enough, but too cold for seedlings that have only known the warmth of their cat-proof set ups.

Though I was happy to finally see some new eggplant seedlings in the large aquarium greenhouse beginning to emerge this morning. Still no new peppers, though. At least we do still have some survivors of both n the mini-greenhouse, but I don’t want to chance killing them by moving them to the sun room too soon.

I love the cats. Really, I do. But having to keep them from destroying our plants and seedlings got real old, real fast!

The Re-Farmer

Not quite a day of rest

It looks like we have a new addition to our outside cats.

Sad Face has been hanging around. This morning, I saw him milling about with the other cats without any trouble. He was even in the kibble house, though he ran off when I came by. The photo above is the closest he was willing to get, while I was out and about, and I had to zoom in with my phone.

Rolando Moon followed me when I went to switch memory cards on the sign cam.

Of course, we had deer visiting, including this one.

Green grass is actually starting to show in places, though I haven’t noticed any along the sidewalk. She found something to chew on, though.

Then I spotted the piebald heading for the kibble house, and one of my daughters was kind enough to send it away!

The girls started a load of laundry before we sat down for lunch, and it’s a good thing we were lingering at the table afterward. As the washing machine was draining, we suddenly heard water gurgling in the kitchen sink – then splashing!

The drain for the washing machine was overflowing again.

Crud.

I’d hoped, after getting the septic tank emptied and that backed up pipes in the basement cleared, it would have solved that problem, too. I made sure to dash into the basement to check, and all was fine down there.

It doesn’t happen every time we do laundry. In fact, it only happened once before, and that was the day we discovered the septic was backing into the basement.

From what I could hear in the pipes, things were draining. It just seems that it wasn’t draining fast enough for a larger load. With our new machine, we don’t choose a load size. It’s a “smart” machine, and adjusts the water levels itself, based on how much is in the drum.

The last time it happened, and we pulled the machines out to clean up the mess, we used drain cleaner in the pipe. Clearly, that wasn’t enough.

When the new part of the house was built, my dad included a sink in the entryway. That was taken out, long ago, which is why there was plumbing in place for my brother and daughter to install the washing machine (all those years my parents used the basement when, as their mobility decreased, they could have used the entry). It joins the drain pipe from the kitchen, which then joins with the tub’s drain, then the toilet, and finally the main pipe to the septic.

My guess is that we’ve got decades of kitchen grease and detritus, as well as whatever was washed down the sink that used to be in the entry, every time someone cleaned up after being in the barn, garage, garden, etc. I don’t think anyone really paid attention to what went down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind.

I followed the pipe as best I could, but the section that is under the entryway is actually hidden behind a floor joist in the ceiling of the root cellar. The root cellar is under the entry and built around a corner of the old basement. The pipe runs along the top of the old concrete wall, until it bends and joins the drain from the tub. It’s pretty inaccessible.

When we tried to use a plumbing snake in that drain, it didn’t really accomplish anything.

So, how do we clear the pipe?

Slowly, it appears.

I headed into town (I never made it yesterday, so I had to go to refill our water bottles, anyhow) and made a stop at a hardware store. I’d found something there before that we’d tried but, when we ran out, we never remembered to get more. It’s an enzyme based product that is designed to maintain both the pipes and the septic tank. It’s meant to be used once a month. I found a version of it made by CLR, so I got both. I also got a funnel with a flexible hose on it, so we can pour it into the drain without having to pull the dryer out, then the washing machine, to reach the opening.

Then I got a new bottle of heavy duty drain cleaner, since we emptied the last one was had.

With the monthly treatment products, it can be poured into any drain, so we might start from the kitchen sink. It’s the one that’s furthest out from the septic, but still close to the washing machine drain.

We already use a bacterial product to help maintain the septic tank, but this is something that gets flushed down the toilet regularly, and does nothing for the pipes. As the products I picked up today are to maintain both the pipes and the tank, I think we’ll stop using the flush additive for now. It’s probably not a good idea to have TOO much bacteria or enzymes in the system.

While I was out, getting the stuff for the pipes, my daughter monitored the washing machine so that, if it started to overflow again, she could quickly shut the machine off, wait until it drained, then turn it back on again.

I hope this stuff works, because I don’t see any other way we can get those pipes clear. At least not without calling in a plumber.

At least this happened early enough in the day that the hardware store was still open. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning Visitors

I meant to post this earlier, but my friend is still in town and I was able to meet up with her at the last minute. We had a grand time!

It was getting dark by the time I was heading home, which meant being extremely cautious about deer! At one point, I passed at least 5 standing on the edge of the highway but, thankfully, they did not try to cross.

I put together some of the better videos from the gate cam, showing our morning visitors. I hope you like it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Got it done

The day started out on the rough side, though so far, that seems to have worked itself out. Issues started in the wee hours of the morning, when I was awakened by the sound of something hitting the floor in the dining room. I came out to discover the container we are using to hold all the seed packs and supplies had been knocked onto the floor, spilling seed packs everywhere. I had them sorted by which need to be direct sown, and which need to be started indoors. That’s going to need to be sorted again. :-/

Then I went into the sun room, and found the worse mess yet. Along with much of what was on the shelf under the bathroom window being knocked onto the floor, the wagon knocked over, and the new roll of netting we’ll be using as temporary deer fencing, all knocked to the floor, the bin with deer/bird feed in it was on the ground, and the lid to the bin with the kibble in it was knocked aside.

With the feed, at least we didn’t lose too much of it, since it was only about half full to begin with. I’d just refilled the kibble bin, which probably made it too heavy to knock over!

So that required some time to do a partial clean up. The heated water bowl was dry again, and I ended up unplugging it and setting it aside, along with the containers we were using as kibble trays. Things have warmed up enough that we will be closing the doors again, anyhow.

The outside cats were quite happy to see me when I finally came out with kibble. There was none left in any of the trays. The heated water bowl that isn’t working for some reason had a layer of ice across the top, but the cats had kept a hole in the ice to access the liquid water below. From today on, their water bowls should not be freezing up completely overnight, anymore.

I saw at least 11 cats this morning. I also startled our usual 3 deer visitors in the yard when I came out. 🙂

The snow in the driveway is completely churned up by all the deer coming through!

I even saw one in my brother’s field.

When I checked the trail cam files later on, I saw the expected deer traffic from last night, but there was also a whole bunch of them captured by the camera, roughly an hour before I came out!

After the morning routine was done, one of my daughters and I headed into the city for our Walmart trip. For the past while, we’ve been going to a smaller, slightly closer Walmart, but decided to go to the big on in the city that was used to go, before I got hassled for not being able to wear a mask during the first lockdown. It was the first day I’d tried to use a shield, but it wasn’t enough. The staff finally were willing to let me in, only for me to get hassled by a customer at the turnstile. I left and never came back.

We got the last of what we needed while we were there, and my daughter got her own shopping done for herself and her sister. I don’t think I’ll be going back again, though. Aside from the repeated creepy announcements about wearing masks, even though they are no longer required, I tried to go to their vision centre to see if I could get an eye exam. Though it was open, it had a barricade across the front. I stood and waited, completely ignored by the person at the counter inside, when a couple other people came up, wearing masks. One of them told me that no one was allowed to go into the vision centre without a mask – then they went through the barrier.

I realize I had only half a face to go by, but from the expression of her eyes and body language, she seemed absolutely gleeful about telling me a mask was required.

So even though there are no longer any restrictions forced on businesses by the province (federal restrictions are still in place, but health care is a provincial jurisdiction), people like me are still being denied basic care.

I’m still off social media for Lent, but I may have to make an exception and go to one of my local groups to find out who provides eye exams without medical discrimination and segregation.

Or I can wait until Lent is over. I think I’ll do that. As long as my glasses don’t fall apart, I should be okay for a few more weeks. My eye exam is covered by my husband’s health insurance, and more time before getting an exam means more time to set money aside to pay for new glasses, beyond the amount the insurance will cover.

Still, we got what we needed, and are stocked up for the month. The only thing we’ll need to do later is get our Easter basket supplies. We might even be able to get our baskets blessed this year. People are allowed to go to church again, without forced masking, injections, spacing and registration again. Hopefully, that means my mother’s church will be doing the basket blessing this year. For the past couple of years, we blessed them ourselves. It’s not quite the same!

On extra I did get at the Walmart, that I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere, is a suitable new hanging bird feeder.

It’s filled with deer feed, because that’s what we have right now. I think, after this bag is done, we’ll be switching back to the black oil seed. With the deer eating up all the seeds before the birds can get any, I have been looking to get a new one for a while. Most of what I found was either too small or too expensive. We had one like this before, and it worked out rather well, until the racoons discovered it and kept knocking it down, eventually breaking it. Hopefully, this one will last longer. I’d like to find a way to keep it from falling off the hook, while still letting me reach to get it on and off. Short people problems. I can just reach high enough to put the hanger cable over the hook – as long as the cable doesn’t slide downwards!

Anyhow. I’m happy to have finally found another one of these. The size is right, and so is the price. The chickadees were happy I found it, too, and were all over it as soon as I left after hanging it up!

So we managed to get a few things done today, and hopefully, we won’t need to go to the city again for another month!

The Re-Farmer