Not so many this morning

All day yesterday, and throughout the night, my weather apps kept telling me it was snow.

This morning, they were telling me it was raining.

It was snowing when I went to do my morning rounds. 😀

Okay, “snowing” might be a bit of an overstatement. There were a few flakes floating around, and that was it.

There were very few cats out this morning! I spotted only six at first, though little by little, I did see more.

There were also four deer hanging out in the yard. Before I headed outside, I could see one of them digging in the unfinished low raised bed, trying to get at more frozen kitchen scraps in the trench.

I doubled the feed this morning. It’s still just a tiny amount, shared with the birds, but with winter refusing to leave, every little bit helps.

I find it interesting that we seem to have watched a new herd get created. At first, we had the doe and her youngling coming by. The piebald would come along, and if the other two were there, it would chase them away. Then the three of them just sort of made their piece and are now always together. More recently, a lone deer started coming by more often. The trio would chase it away if they crossed paths, but it kept coming back. Now, all four of them are staying together!

After I finished my rounds and was starting to head it, I spotted a cat near the shrine that looked like it might have been Potato Beetle. It was sitting on the snow with one leg up, but that’s something all the cats do when they’re sitting on the snow. I came over to see, and was happy to find that yes, Potato Beetle had come back! He was aiming for the kibble tray under the shrine but, much to my surprise, it was already empty! So grabbed a bit more kibble and topped it up. That was enough for Potato to come closer, and I was able to pick him up and check on his leg. It is looking very good.

Then I started walking towards the house and he started to freak out, so I put him down. He does NOT want to be put back into the sun room again! At least not right now. So I let him be and went inside.

But only for about a minute. Then I had to throw my boots back on and chase the deer away from the kibble tray under the shrine! The deer actually seem to prefer the cat kibble over the sunflower seeds and oats in the feed. I’m thinking the higher fat and protein content is something they are really craving right now.

I was being secretly watched. 😀

As I write this, our weather alerts have changed to a rainfall warning. It’s expected to be next to nothing in our area, but to the south of us, they’re saying possibly 30-40mm/1-1.5in before Sunday, when it’s supposed to turn to snow.

*sigh*

I think I’ll go through some of my seeds and dig out the ones with the longest days to maturity, and see if there are any good to start indoors now. Garden therapy!

The Re-Farmer

God Bless good neighbours!

There is most definitely a plus to not closing our gate anymore, to avoid having it freeze shut again.

Our angel with a front end loader showed up yesterday! What a beautiful sight!

With the temperatures, no one went out while he was still here, but I did make sure to send a note to the renter to pass on our thanks. Like many others, they were pretty snowed in, too. Having that front end loader sure makes a difference, though! Their kids were home; school was cancelled, and the buses haven’t been running for days anyhow, due to icy road conditions. Plus a shortage of drivers. I don’t know if that’s because the drivers are snowed in at their homes, too, or if they just don’t have as many employed right now. Could well be both!

The driver even made the area in front of our person gate wider. I think he could see, by the tracks in the snow from the tow truck, that the area in front is used, and where space is needed for turning around.

The cats are loving it! After the front end loader was done, I could see on the security camera, cats running around and playing all over the plowed areas! They were having a blast!

This morning, after feeding the critters, I started a bit of shoveling, including clearing part of the snow ridge in front of the people gate, where we unload the van. I couldn’t stay out for too long. I hadn’t put toe warmers on this morning, and my boots that are supposed to be rated to -40C/-40F… aren’t. 😀 The girls and I will head out later in the day to clear the paths. I’m just so grateful that the big job is done. Yes, we couldn’t have gotten out with my mother’s car, but this makes life so much easier!

The kitties were looking pretty miserable when they came out for kibble! As you can see by the nose in the window, they were eager to get back into shelter, once they had their fill of kibble and warm water! I do wish I’d been able to catch the death glare I was getting from Caramel, who is drinking water in the above photo. I think she is going to be a very happy camper, once we manage to catch her and she gets placed into a forever home – indoors!

This is what the temperature was like shortly after I got back inside – and still is now, as I am writing this! The -28C/-18F is bang on, but I’m happy to say we weren’t getting that -36C/-33F wind chill. The wind may be coming from the south, which we normally have issues with, it’s only 9 kmh/5 1/2 mph, and what trees and outbuildings we have on the south side are enough to reduce that. Still, it wasn’t a good morning to be out there for very long, that’s for sure!

The 14 day forecast is looking pretty good, though more snow is on the way. On Sunday – tomorrow – we’re expecting less than 5cm/2in, but on Tuesday, they’re predicting another 5-10cm/2-4in, then another 2-4cm/1-2in starting late Thursday and into Friday. I know so many people who are even more snowed in than we have been. Many have the equipment to dig their way out, but they’re running out of room for all the piled up snow! It takes my old brother, who lives closer to the city, 4 hours to clear his driveway with his snow blower. My sister’s husband uses their tractor and it takes him 2 hours, though for where they are, it’s generally a longer wait for their roads to be plowed, so it only gets them so far.

I’m liking the sight of warmer temperatures in the forecast, but the warmer weather also tends to bring more moisture – and more snow!

As much as we needed that precipitation, we have enough, now. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Warming… up?

Well, we are on track to warm up quite a bit, by this afternoon. Depending on which weather app I use, we’re either supposed to reach -7C/19F, or -5C/23F.

The problem is the wind. There is a “Blowing Snow Advisory” out right now. As I write this, we are at -14C/7F with a wind chill of -25C/-13F

Or -13C/9F with a wind chill of -28C/-18F, if I go by my phone’s app.

The wind is from the south-southwest, which means it was a bit brutal when I did my morning rounds. Not as bad as yesterday, thankfully.

The wind swirls around the cat area so much, I actually had to empty all the kibble trays of snow. You can see some of the snow that drifted in front of the kibble house. It completely covered even the heated water bowl, forming a layer of ice and snow across the top, about an inch above the liquid water!

Our winter sowing experiment is getting buried!

I checked the driveway – especially the end of the driveway – and we can still get out. I even started the van and let it run for a while, just to make sure it would start. We need to go into town this afternoon – a trip we’ve already put off too many times.

I’m keeping an eye on a local highway status group, and this morning there were a lot of people saying to stay home if you can, because of the drifting, and there are even sections of highways that are closed, but it all seems to be happening closer to the city, and they were posted hours ago. Others that are farther north, and closer to us, have said the highways are completely clear. However, none have said anything about the road we need to take.

It should be fine, but it would be nice to know in advance, one way or the other! I’m just glad we can get out. Not everyone has been able to dig out of the storm, yet.

The Re-Farmer

Having a rough time!

I was able to head out and get both vehicles running for a while. It’s a good thing I trust my brother so much, or I would never have left the engines running for any length of time, from the noises I was hearing. The van stalled right away, but did eventually start.

Since I was leaving them to run – with the garage doors wide open – for some time, I took the opportunity to finally switch the memory cards on the trail cams. I had to take the new camera inside and switch the batteries to warm ones to get it working again. The batteries from when I last did this were fine, once they reached room temperature, so I’ll be switching the same two sets of batteries back and forth, as needed.

When I first came outside, my brother’s dog was here. He really wanted to play with the cats! Nostrildamus would have nothing to do with him. When I was heading out to the trail cams, he was in the driveway, trying to get Junk Pile to play with him.

Junk Pile hissed and scratched at him, and he was the one to back away, but he didn’t go far. She stood her ground, but I think it was more because she was so cold and didn’t want to move!

I haven’t been able to get a good look at her for some time, so I was dismayed to see that one of her eyes is leaking and stuck mostly shut. There is enough fluid that it was leaking down the side of her nose. She has the same plaintive meow as her boy, Nostrildamus!

After I shut down the vehicles (both sounded much better by then; the van was still making more noise that usual, but the engine was warmed up, while my mother’s car sounded almost normal, but the engine warmed up only half as much in the same time frame) and closed up the garage doors, I tried to see if Junk Pile would let me come close.

She did not, but in getting away from me, I managed to steer her towards the garage, when she squeezed under the door. There, she would no longer be sitting in the snow, or bothered by a big dog!

We have to build new doors for the side of the garage my mother’s car is in. When we do, I’m hoping to put windows near the bottom, to provide sun spots and passive solar heat for the cats. 🙂

When checking the files from the trail cams, I found that the new camera had stopped recording after about a day and a half, but the old camera kept recording the whole time. The next time I have a chance, I will switch the cameras, and have the new one on the post in full sunlight. I think that might be enough to keep it going. The old camera used to be where the new one is now, before our very first camera finally died, so I already know it has no issues in the shaded location.

All sorts of things are having a rough time in this cold, both mechanical and biological!

The Re-Farmer

Really?

We weren’t supposed to be getting even COLDER!

This is what we were at, when I would normally be heading outside to feed the critters. -40C/F At least the “real feel” was a bit warmer, though when I did go outside, there was enough of a wind to prove that wrong!

As I write this, several hours later, my phone’s app has us at -33C (-27F) with no wind chill. The app on my desktop has us at -36C (-33F) with a wind chill of -44C (-47F). Thankfully, what wind we do have is from the North, and our door faces South. As long as we’re sheltered by the south, it’s not too bad, but once I went around to the feeding station, what a different story! Even a slight breeze is brutal at these temperatures.

That cats were out and about, though! Mostly to sit in the sun, curled up like Nosy over here.

Last night, I was prepping a turkey for the crock pot (I’ve never done that before; I hope it turned out!) and made sure to keep some bits as a treat for the outside cats. It was probably about 10:30-11pm when I popped out to scatter it among the food bowls in the kibble house. I could see through the window of the cat house, the red light on the timer showing that the ceramic heat bulb was on. I also saw some white fur moving around, so there was at least one cat actually using it last night. When I came out this morning, I saw Junk Pile in there, and I think Nutmeg was in there, too. Ginger and Nosy were out by the house, and even Butterscotch popped up from somewhere while I was tending to the food and water. I saw Creamsicle Jr, too – he ran off just before I could catch him in the above photo. I was later able to see that his eye is looking almost normal again.

They’re active, they’re eating and drinking, and it’s too cold to fight, so they’re good.

We’ve been seeing a pair of deer showing up at the feeding station during the day, so I’m hoping we’ve got some good pictures. I think it’s a mom and her baby, though they are very close to the same size. Their fur is so dense right now! I know we have deer coming by during the night, but it’s nice to actually see them.

Meanwhile…

We got the call from our doctor this morning. After going over my husband’s file and the pain clinic recommendations, etc., he’s changing things up slowly over the next few months. So he’s got a change in one medication for this month, it’ll be changed again for the next two months, and then another medication the pain clinic talked about will be added. There will be no change to the opioids right now. All of this has already been faxed to the pharmacy, though he suggested we call them later, just to make sure they got it. They would be ready to pick up today, if we could get there.

As it is, I’m going to see if I can get my mother’s car going and try to make a trip to the post office/general store this afternoon. We’re almost out of cat food. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Bitter cold, and sad news

The cold snap that has been working its way across the prairies has hit us.

It was -31C/-23F, with a wind chill of -39C/-38F this morning. At the time I write this, we have warmed up to -29C/-20F with a wind chill of -31C/-23F. The weather alert on my app is still saying wind chills may reach between -40C/F to -50C/-58F. !!!

Hard to believe that, tomorrow, we’re supposed to warm up to -9C/15F!

Heading out to feed the critters meant layering up. Two pairs of socks in my new, rated to -40C, winter boots. Two pairs of pants. A t-shirt under my sweatshirt. A hoodie – hood up – under my down filled park – also hood up! and double layered insulated gloves.

I was rather impressed when I saw this under the door.

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The Aftermath

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and after the blizzard that hit us, we have so much to be thankful for! Parts of the province are described as looking like they were hit by a tornado, and I just learned that my sister was without power for 2 days. Thankfully, they have a wood stove and fireplace for cooking and heat, as well as a generator.

When I drove my daughter to work on the Thursday, things were still looking good. By the time we reached town, it was starting to snow, but it was on the way home that I drove into the beginnings of the storm, locally.

When it was safe to do so, I pulled over to get a picture.

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Winter came back, and updates

We have had some very long days, recently.

On the plus side, we missed driving from the city in the middle of a storm! The roads were clear while driving from the city, but in the time it took me to set my husband back up in his hospital room and start driving home, it hit. The storm came in from the south, so it basically followed us as we were driving. On my way home, visibility was down to 100-200 yards.

That kiboshed my plans to come back in the afternoon.

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Roof status

Oh, while a wild and windy day today!

I don’t know if we got any of the predicted snow flurries last night, but there certainly was plenty of blowing snow on the highway this morning!

I did my rounds after driving my daughter to work, and found a few things.

The floor in the sun room was wet. Not just a spot or two, but a large area of damp.

I have a 5 gallon bucket I use to carry the deer/bird feed, and an ice cream bucket I use to scoop the feed into it. I store one inside the other, next to the bin I use to hold the feed. When I picked up the ice cream bucket, I found some water in it, and the bottom was all damp. Looking into the 5 gallon bucket, I found a couple of inches of water. These are all on a plastic couch. Looking up, I could not see where the water was coming from. The lid on the bin was dry and dusty, and the couch seat itself was dry, so that narrowed down where the drip had to be coming from, but I could see nothing.

My daughters informed me that the drip at the corner of one window upstairs is back. This drip was discovered last winter and, from the damage to the wall beneath it, has been dripping for some time. Those windows were installed the summer before we moved out here. They are well installed and sealed, which confirms that the source is from somewhere else – if it had been from the old windows, the drip would have stopped after the new were installed. We already figured that, but it’s good to have a confirmation.

By the time I got back from dropping my younger daughter off at work, my older daughter had already climbed out onto the roof of the living room – in this wind! – and cleared snow on the upper roof (which cannot be safely climbed not) as much as she could, as well as clearing the eaves-trough. There is an ice dam that forms on the roof edge. There is a visible discoloration in the snow in an area that might be where the melt is getting through the shingles, but it’s not possible to see exactly where it’s coming in right now. Once things are clear enough, the girls plan to look around to find the source of the leak and seal it.

During my rounds, I checked out a couple other areas we need to keep an eye on.

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The second story roof on this side is much steeper than the other, but it’s also North and West facing, so it doesn’t melt away as quickly as the South and East facing sections. Here, you can see where the branches are brushing the roof. This is one of the trees that the arborist will take down for us in the spring.

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This is where the log part of the house and the Old Kitchen roofs meet. Every year, this ice dam forms. So far, there is no sign of any leaking because of it.

I made sure to look at the roof over the sun room, and above it, and those are mostly clear of snow. No ice dams, but also no way to see if any shingles have lifted or anything like that. Last year, we had water dripping in through the bathroom ceiling, and never found where it was coming from.

It was while I was in the bathroom that I saw a drip through the window, in the sun room. I was able to see a water drop on the ceiling, this time. From where it is, it would be why the floor is wet. There was still nothing visible on the area above where the feed bucket sits.

This has been another confirmation for me. I had been wondering about sections of peeling paint on the ceiling of the sun room. It is, indeed, water damage. Once again, this shows that there have been leaks since long before we moved here. In fact, I half remember seeing the peeling paint in the sun room when we were last here and stayed with my late father, in 2015. Since the upstairs was closed off completely, in the winter, to conserve heat, no one would have seen the drip up there at all. My father would not have been able to see the dripping in the sun room, either, and there was no one else around who would have caught either. That would have been just as true while my mother was still living here, from what I have been able to tell.

Well, all we can do is patch it up for now. My mom has been talking about a new roof for the house, and selling off some of the scrap metal around the farm to help fund it. The place is definitely due for one!

We have one more colder day, then in 2 days it’s supposed to go – and stay – above freezing.

Which means, for the next week or so, we’ll be keeping a close eye out for drips and shingle damage.

The Re-Farmer