Oh, what a beautiful day!

My goodness, how awesome it is out there today!

At the time I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was only -18C (about 0F), with no wind chill to speak of. As I write this, less than an hour later, we’re already warmed up to -15C/5F, again with basically no wind chill. We’re supposed to get a high of -10C/14F today. It’s going to seem tropical, after the past week!

I still wasn’t quite able to do my usual rounds. The wind has blown over many of the paths dug out in the snow. I decided it was a good day to test out the new heated gloves and do some digging, starting with the plow ridge across the driveway. My mother’s car had a hard time getting through it, yesterday!

Some of the cattens kept me company.

They love that tire that’s used to keep the doors from blowing open. It gets nice and warm! With how much warmer it is, I’m seeing them running around and playing, all over the place!

Along with the plow ridge, I also cleared the path to the compost heap. The wind had completely filled in parts of it, and the snow was brick-like on top, so that took a while. I didn’t even try to dig the path to the sign cam – too long! – but I had my nice new boots, and plowed my way through the wind packed snow. That was almost as tiring as shoveling! It’ll be easier to dig out later, though. The boots are awesome.

As for the gloves…

They are nice and warm, even without turning on the heat. They didn’t seem to get any more pliable by the time I was done, unfortunately. The long cuffs are great – except that they’re not wide enough to go over the cuffs of my parka, nor narrow enough to go under. So I ended up with both cuffs all bunched up. The stiffness of the gloves makes it hard to put on the second glove, but there was an extra problem. These XL gloves fit my wide hands just fine – but I have short fingers. So any time I tried to do something like adjust the other glove, it was hard to get a good grip with floppy finger tips! Plus, the touch screen sensitive parts on the thumb and pointer finger are slightly ridged and harder, so that gets pushed around more, too. I didn’t even try to test the touch screen sensitivity. I have to take a glove off to get my phone out of my pocket, anyhow, so there was no need – plus, just handling my phone with the gloves would be unnecessarily difficult. The last thing I wanted to do was drop my phone in the snow. I did get a lot of use out of the wrist straps while switching out the memory cards, pausing to get my phone out, or to dig out a tissue to blow my know while digging. I like being able to just drop the gloves and have them hanging!

It’s been quite a while since I switched out the trail cam memory cards. Today is the first time I saw the batteries on the solar cam at anything other than 100%! When I first opened it up and checked, it said the batteries were at 75%, but after I switched the memory card out it went up to 80%. Which tells me that it’s more about the cold. Much to my surprise, the older sign cam’s battery meter was still full bars. I suppose that makes sense, though. The gate cam is mounted on a stand in the open. It would have had the full blast of yesterday’s winds coming from the southeast. The sign cam is not only under a tree, but the sign it’s monitoring, as well as the trees across the road, would have stopped all wind from that direction, so it was quite protected.

It should be interesting to see the files over those freezing cold days! The camera that got stolen would do weird things when it got really cold, like turn everything pink. The new camera has had some cold spells before, but not quite like what we’ve had for the past week, so I’ve yet to get a good look at how it handles severe winter conditions.

Considering how many days of files I’ve got to go through, I think I’ll make some tea, first! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Cold, but beautiful, and a vet trip booked

The temperatures dropped quite a lot overnight, and it was still -22C/-8C when I headed out this morning. It was, however, a bright and sunny morning, with no wind, making it quite pleasant out!

And quite beautiful!

Tomorrow, we’re expected to have one last “warm” day, with a high of -10C/14F. A brief respite on the day my husband and I are going for our doctor appointments – if we don’t get rescheduled again! – before we start getting hit with a cold streak. Depending on where I look, we’ll have about a week with highs colder than -20C/-4F before things start warming up again. Which is still warmer than it has been, the past couple of winters, so I’m not complaining! The cats and cattens are certainly using the sun room more often again. I counted 24 this morning. 😊

It is an inside cat that we are concerned about right now. Our grandma cat, who moved out here with us, is behaving strangely. At first, we thought she had something stuck in the back of her throat. She would make glakking noises and paw at her face. Then she stopped doing it, so I figured whatever was bugging her had worked itself loose and she was fine.

Except, it turns out she’s still be doing it. I just haven’t been around her to hear it.

Last night, my husband called me over because she was sounding really bad while in his room, but had just run off. I found her and tried to take a look – and found blood on one of her front paws! With the help of a daughter, I was able to wash her paw – she did NOT want to be held for this! – but there was no injury on her paw. We tried looking into her mouth, but she didn’t like that, either. Still, from what we could see, there was no injury or blood there, either.

So this morning, I called the vet, hoping to get her booked for Saturday. My husband’s smaller CPP Disability comes in on Friday, so I’ll be in the city for a much needed Costco trip. They were fully booked on Saturday, but we were able to get a Sunday appointment – for 8:30am. Thank goodness this vet is relatively close! After I described what was going on, they did offer us an appointment for tonight, but we just don’t have the extra funds for a vet trip until disability comes in. To be honest, now that we’re going to start making “car payments” so we can get a replacement vehicle before next winter, we really can’t afford any vet trips, but we’ll manage. I’m hoping it’s something relatively minor – something stuck in her throat that can be pulled out and she’ll be fine. Worst case scenario… well. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Since bringing in Butterscotch and Beep Beep from outside, we’ve got three grandmas in the house. Unfortunately, that means we can probably expect more health problems to crop up.

We’ll just deal with things as they come, and do the best we can.

The Re-Farmer

A Cold Christmas Eve!

Today is Christmas Eve. In our family, we celebrate our non-traditional Christmas Wigilia feast today, after the first star shines. I have a terrible habit of starting the turkey too early, though, so I’m keeping myself busy writing this, before I go spatchcock the turkey. We had gotten to enjoy brining the turkey in the past, leaving it to sit in the brine using our largest stock pot and leaving it in the old kitchen overnight.

It’s just too darn cold in there, and since I’ve discovered spatchocking is much easier than I thought it would be, we are quite enjoying doing it that way!

But first, the cute things update!

Walnut has settled right in. I now have three cats to fight over for my office chair!

Things were a lot calmer last night, and I actually got some sleep. It wasn’t until about 5am that the noises started. The bitty tabby (we need to come up with a name for that one!) was wandering around, squeaking. I was eventually able to gently catch it and hold it close. It does NOT want human attention, but even though it clearly wanted down, it did start purring as a cuddled it and pet it.

I got a message from the Cat Lady last night. She had gotten home from a long drive, delivering Plushy and Princess to their forever home. They settled right in! I can’t post the picture she sent me, but they were both curled up on the crossed legs of their new human, lounging and stretched out, like it was nothing new or strange at all.

Heading out this morning was definitely something I had to work myself up to.

This is the temperature after I was done; -26C/-15F with a wind chill of -42C/-44F I don’t even try to switch the memory card on the sign cam right now. The batteries would be frozen, anyhow. I did do the gate cam, though. We definitely need to get more of this solar powered type. The batteries on that still read 100%. It’s being powered entirely by solar – though it does need clearing of frost or snow, frequently! If this were one of they kinds where the solar panel charges rechargeable batteries (which many trail cams specifically say not to use) instead, it’d be dead right now.

I’ve been making a point of putting out most of the kibble in the sun room instead of outside these days, with various impromptu containers scattered around, so as many cats can eat at the same time as possible in there. I’ve also been topping up their food in there more often, and adding hot water to the frozen water bowl, to melt the ice and they can drink without having to go outside.

When I went outside, I found there was still kibble on the roof of the cat house – no surprise they don’t want to eat there right now! – but there was also a surprising amount in the kibble house trays. The trays under the water bowl shelter, however, were empty. They seem to prefer eating under there, which I am surprised by. There’s little to cut the wind under there, but it is a less open space, I suppose. I find myself wondering if we should modify the kibble house to make a “second floor” across the middle. That would enclose the kibble trays more and give them more of a sense of security, and we could maybe even add more kibble trays to the top, so more cats can fit in there and not be fighting over space around the food.

Something to think about, for the summer.

Meanwhile…

While the large water bowl had its usual crown of frost around the edges, the small one was completely frozen across the top.

The bowl is still working; there was plenty of liquid water underneath, but the cats couldn’t get at it!

So I took this bowl and set it up in the sun room, where I could plug it in. There’s no outlet in the sun room, so we have extension cords going through the window from the old kitchen. Usually, I use the two outdoor power cords, one of which powers the cat house, and the other powers the ceramic heat bulb in the sun room, but there’s also a household extension cord that was here when we moved in. It was run up and around the door frame, and I’ve been using it to charge my baby chainsaw (battery powered pruner). That puts the water bowl well away from food bowls, but that’s okay. Plus, I still topped up the broken heated water bowl, which just had ice in it.

I did see flashes of the little soot sprite. I’m afraid my last attempt to catch the tuxedo bitty has made him even more nervous to come out when I’m in the room. Normally, I’d try to lure it with treats or wet cat food, but with so many other cats around, that can’t really work. I’d be fighting off too many other cats!

Well, it’s supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We’re supposed to have a high of -17C/1F. After that, things are expected to keep warming up, though not as much as earlier forecasts were predicting before. It’ll still be almost balmy, compared to today. The yard cats will likely be running around outside a lot more, so I hope that will give more opportunity to catch the bitty tuxedo – and maybe Broccoli! Yes, they’re old enough to wean, but it would be so great to reunite them with their mama!

Well, it’s time to start getting things set up for tonight. It’s going to be a very quiet Christmas, with just the four of us, and I’m quite happy with that.

I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may 2023 be a year of peace and joy for you all!

The Re-Farmer

It could be worse!

The temperatures are pretty brutal out there right now, but we are very fortunate where we are. We aren’t getting any weather warnings, for starters. Western Canada is being absolutely blasted with extreme cold right now. Eastern Canada has their own weather warnings, though not as cold. Here, in the middle, we’re in a gap of almost mild temperatures.

Speaking of which…

Can you believe this?

I took this screen cap of the weather app that came with my computer, just a little while ago. We’re at -22C/-8F, with a wind chill of -30C/-22F I was definitely feeling that wind chill while doing my rounds, and actually skipped switching out the memory card on the sign came. Because my parents planted tall trees close to the house, rather than along the fence line, there is far less protection from the wind once I start crossing the old garden area. The lilac hedge and few trees that are there do help, but not that much.

I made sure to start the van and let it run for a while, while doing the rest of my rounds, though.

What’s unbelievable, though, is the forecast for around New Year’s. According to this app, not only are we going to warm up, but actually reach highs of 1C/34F!

I actually don’t believe it. My phone’s AccuWeather app says we’re going to reach -7C/19F around New Year’s. I think that will be more likely!

Still, that’s really incredible and, according to the AccuWeather website, which has extremely long range forecasts, what we’re getting now is almost the coldest we’ll get for the rest of the winter. There’s a few days they’re predicting will hit -22C/8F again, but not cold snaps that last days, like we’re in right now.

When I was looking at the Farmer’s Almanac forecast for this winter, they were predicting some areas getting brutal cold, while others having a mild winter. From their map, we were in a sort of in between area that could go either way. It’s starting to look like the Farmer’s Almanac was pretty spot on, and that we lucked out by getting the milder temperatures this year.

After the last couple of winters, I consider that a huge blessing!

It’s still pretty fekkin’ cold, though.

The large heated water bowl gets a thick ring of frost around the top edge, but the smaller one actually gets a sheet of ice that hangs like a shelf above the warmer water!

I’ve completely stopped trying to knock the ice out of the metal bowls and refilling them. The cats are mostly using the sun room for shelter now, so I’m putting more food out in there, and topping up the broken heated water bowl. It freezes over night, but from the level the ice is at when I pour in the warm water, they are getting plenty to drink before they have to go outside.

Both bitties have moved into the sun room, for the most part. I sometimes see the tuxedo outside. There’s no litter box in there (it’s in the cat house), and they seem to be going outside to do their business. At least, so far, I’m not seeing any messes in the sun room.

After breakfast, they all go back to their favourite spots!

I just had to get a picture of these two.

Pointy Baby (in front) and his older cousin are such a matched set! The older one is so fluffy! They both seem to have that mix if white and black fur on their sides that make them look like they’re going grey!

Pointy Baby is extremely friendly and can’t get enough attention, but we’ve had no success in socializing his cousin.

In other things, today we bring the van to the garage. I am really, really hoping it’s just some minor thing that he can fix right away. If it’s major… well, we’ll have to make some decisions.

If all goes well, after the van is done, I’ll finally pick up those eggs I was supposed to pick up earlier, then do at bit of grocery shopping to last us until after New Year’s. There is no way I’m going into the city for the big shop I was hoping to do, this close to Christmas, and I figure it won’t be much better after Christmas, either.

I am so nervous about what the van’s diagnosis will be!

The Re-Farmer

So far, so good

First, the cute good news!

Marlee has discovered a new, favourite space to loaf in.

As I was going to bed last night, she was wandering around and I started to pet her. Bending over hurts after a while, so I lifted her onto the bed to sit with her. She does NOT like to be picked up, and likes being carried even less, but once she was on the bed and I started petting her, she turned into a purr monster. Rolling around, grabbing my hand, insisting I pet her face, doing cozy toes against my hand, and generally ensuring I was not going to bed any time soon! At one point, I think she saw a cat moving out of the corner of her eye and started to hiss and purr at the same time!

She is such a sweet cat!

In other things…

While doing my rounds this morning, I tried starting my mother’s car.

It didn’t start smoothly, but it did start. It may have been plugged in, but it was still -25C/-13F at the time, so it’s going to complain. I left it to run for a bit, and it was fine.

At this point, I find myself thinking that her car not starting when it was time to leave was God’s way of telling me I should use the van. It was only while driving the van that I realized the car would never have made it through the snow in the driveway at the time.

Of course, I started my rounds with feeding the outside kitties. The kittens spend most of their time on the swing bench now. The thermometer in there was reading -12C/10F. It’s right against an exterior wall, so it likely reading colder than the ambient temperature.

Some of the kitties run off when I come in with the food, while others crowd in front of the door, giving me no room to step down, and try to get into the old kitchen! It would be a lot easier if I could keep the kibble bin in the sun room, but that would just attract racoons.

While I was bending over to set out kibble, I looked up to find one last kitten on the swing bench, looking right into my face.

It was the grey and white bitty tabby! This is the first time I’ve seen it in the sun room, though I did figure it had found its way in by now. I dropped some kibble in front of it and it ran off, but I did see it eating with other cats on the floor, soon after.

The bitty tuxedo was outside, and went after the kibble I put in one of the openings to under the cat house. When it was still there after I topped up the water, I reached over to pet it. It hissed at me and ran the rest of the way under, but at least I got to touch it!

When I was finishing my rounds and going inside, I spotted the bitty tuxedo on the swing bench.

I just love that teeny, tiny white mustache!

Later, my husband got this photo from the bathroom window.

The bitty tabby is at the front. It looks like it’s nursing on its mama – along with one of the grey and whites! Broccoli seems just find with nursing whatever kitten wants to!

They crowd so close together on the swing bench, it’s hard to count them. While looking through the bathroom window, before my husband got the above picture, I counted at least 11 cats on the bend, three more above the heat bulb, and three more on the floor, eating. I couldn’t tell if there were any in the cat bed under the bench.

That cat lady is working to make space for the bitties. She’d like to take them within the next couple of weeks. I don’t know if that will work. They are still too skittish. I’m glad they’re going into the sun room, though, and taking advantage of the huge pile of body heat on the swing bench!

Today is going to be a quiet day of staying indoors and warm as much as possible! Tomorrow, I take the van in to the garage. I’ll be getting an oil change, as well has getting it checked to find out what’s going on with the brakes warning we’re getting. It could be as simple as the brake fluid is low (or too cold). Hopefully, it’s not something major. If it is, we’ll have to decide whether it’s worth fixing, or if we’re trading up sooner rather than later!

We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

Could I please win the lotto now?

Okay, I suppose I should buy a ticket, first.

What a day this turned out to be – and it’s still the afternoon, as I write this!

Here’s a bitty, so start things out on a positive note!

I eventually saw both bitties, then I saw the tuxedo eating in the sun room. As I finished my rounds, I spotted him in the cuddle pile on the swing bench!

At least the morning started off well.

My mother had called yesterday, and we arranged for me to come over to help her run errands. With that in mind, while doing my rounds, I started her car and let it run for a while. Everything seemed fine, so I shut it off and plugged it back in before going inside.

The woman I’ve been getting our cardboard for the garden from has been selling eggs. I decided to get 2 flats of eggs from her, instead of Costco, and we made arrangements for me to get them while on my way to the city, tomorrow. She’ll be away, though, so her mother has the eggs, in the town nearest to us – but not the town I normally go through on the way to the city. I got her contact information, and was going to just make a side trip to get them on the way out, but since I was going to be running around today, and picking up cash for the eggs in the process, I figured why not make the side trip to get the eggs today, on my way home, instead of tomorrow, on the way to the city?

So that was arranged before I headed out to my mother’s. I was planning on going to the bank then pick up lunch, first, so I headed out very early. I even remembered to grab the empty water jugs to refill.

It’s a good thing I headed out as early as I did!

First, my mother’s car wouldn’t start.

I turned the ignition, and there was nothing. No sound. The fan and the radio turned on, but that was it.

After trying several times without success, I plugged it back in, then headed inside to switch keys. I asked my husband to call my mom and let her know I’d be coming with the van and why, then headed to the garage again.

The van started fine, and I backed out. My daughter had cleared in front of the garage, but had not been able to get back out again since then. I ended up backing into the ridge of snow, so I went back and forth a bit to be in the clear, before pausing to send a message to my brother about my mother’s car, since he likes to keep on top of that. I had to get the van out of the garage to send the message, because there’s no wifi signal in the garage.

I had just finished that and started to move the van, when an alarm sounded and a warning light turned on. The onboard computer displayed the message “check brake system”.

WTH???

I decided to try plugging in the OBDII reader to see if it could tell me something useful.

It wouldn’t connect.

The app just kept scanning for a device to connect with, and never found anything.

After following the instructions to connect, several times over, I gave up. To use the scanner, the vehicle ignition is supposed to be in the “on” position, but without the engine running. I was going to drive it back into the garage and cancel with my mother, but when I started it, there was no more warning.

Did I dare go to my mother’s?

I decided to give it a go.

And promptly got stuck.

The snow on the driveway was deeper than I thought.

Thankfully, I was able to easily back into the cleared area again, reposition the van, and go for it.

I barely made it to the road, but I did get through.

My mother’s car would not have made it, so… silver lining!

I drove until I reached the highway, when I could finally pull over to message my family, asking if the driveway could be done while I was gone. Then I continued to my mother’s town.

It wasn’t until I was pulling into the parking space at the bank that the warning light turned on again. I went to get some cash, started the engine, and it was still there. I drove to the Chinese take out place and parked, but when I started it again to go to my mother’s, the warning was gone.

In the middle of all this, I was contacted by the egg lady’s mother, with an address to pick up the eggs, and had to cancel that, though I offered to pay for delivery, if that were possible.

My mother and I had lunch and visited for a while. I updated the family, and my brother, about the situation, and my husband was able to book the van into the garage to get checked – and for an oil change – the day after tomorrow. I was just starting to message the egg lady’s mother, when she responded to my question about delivery, saying she didn’t drive. Thankfully, I was able to tell her I’d be in town on Thursday with the van, and should be able to get the eggs, then.

Needless to say, I was rather on edge while doing errands with my mother! The warning light did turn on again, in between errands, but then it turned off.

We did groceries last, and I stayed long enough to put away the refrigerator stuff before my mother kicked me out to go home. Usually, I stop to get gas (and buy a lotto ticket!) before going home, but I didn’t even do that. It was straight home – and the warning light stayed off the for the entire drive.

My younger daughter, meanwhile, had spent most of that time doing a marvelous job with little Spewie. It was a real struggle, but she’d managed to clear a lane just wide enough to drive through. I had to stop to let her know I’d arrived, and move the extension cord, because she couldn’t hear me over the snow blower. Still startled the heck out of her!

Did I mention she’d cleared a path just wide enough to drive through? 😄 Getting in and out of the van was a bit of a challenge!

With how hard of a time the little snow blower was having, clearing such densely packed snow, once I was parked and we could see she didn’t need to clear much more by the garage, she went and cleared a path to the gate cam, and enough space to be able to close the gates. I’ll have to open them again tomorrow, for the pharmacy delivery driver, but at least it’s an option, now!

As for us, we are going nowhere tomorrow.

We’re supposed to stay pretty cold over the next four days or so, before things start becoming relatively mild. We’re getting extreme cold warnings, but that’s a relative thing. Some friends in the city we were living in before moving here have been posting screenshots of their weather apps. They’re getting -33C/-27F with wind chills of -45C/-49F today. We’re not supposed to get anywhere near that cold. I’ll be just find with highs of -22C/-8F we’re expected to get a few times in the next week. Even right now, we’re at -21C/-6F, with a wind chill of -30C/-22F, and nowhere near as cold as they are!

Still, this cold is doing a number on both our van and my mother’s car. We’ll be taking the van in, but there is nothing we can do about her car until probably February.

Unless it just starts working again. I’ll try starting it again tomorrow morning, while doing my rounds.

Both vehicles really need to be replaced, but the priority is on replacing our van right now. It’s the most needed vehicle.

Something to talk about while at the garage. Our mechanic now sells used cars, too, and I’ve already talked to him about what we need. Our van is so far gone, if we use it as a trade in, he’d just be sending it to the scrap yard for a few hundred bucks. He suggested we try selling it privately. Someone who can do the work themselves could do well by it, even as just a parts vehicle. But we can’t sell it without having something to replace it, immediately.

*sigh*

So, yeah… a lotto win would sure come in handy right now! I just gotta remember to buy a ticket! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Some things are still fluffy!

Yesterday, one of my daughters worked on shoveling paths in the yard, to the burn barrel and the electricity meter, while the other broke out little Spewie and started on the driveway.

The problem is that, with the winds we’ve been having, what had earlier been light and fluffy snow is now hard packed. Since the wind was also coming from the north, it was blowing the snow off the garage roof and forming a drift, right in front of the garage doors.

That little snow blower worked mightily!

My daughter focused on clearing the turning radius in front of the garage. She worked for a couple of hours, came in to warm up, then headed back out again, taking advantage of the fact that Spewie has a headlight.

This is what she was working on.

This is not drifted snow.

You can see my boot prints to the gate cam. All of that needs to be cleared.

For perspective…

I added the little red lines to show where the top of the snow it. It’s about 3/4s up to my knees.

Also, I need new boots. These are supposed to be good to -40C/-40F. They are not! Plus, they’re starting crack in places. Having finally run out of Toe Warmers, it means my days of clearing snow are ended until I either replace the boots or get more Toe Warmers. Just the time it takes to do my morning rounds leaves me with freezing toes – and that’s with extra liners in my boots!

Ah, well. We’ll see what I can find when I’m in the city in a few days.

The snow may no longer be fluffy, but some things still are!

Here is a fluffy Brussel.

What a gorgeous cat! I so want to snuggle her, but she won’t let me come close. 😥 (I’m just assuming it’s female, because it’s a calico.)

We have SO many long haired yard cats now!

I think I counted 27 cats this morning. Or it might have been 24. Every time I counted, I got a different number! I did see both remaining bitties in the cat house this time, so that’s good. Unfortunately, we’re now out of the big cans of cat food the cat lady donated for the outside cats, so they’re not getting their treats anymore.

One of cats that got counted was this beat up boy.

What a face!

Shop Towel actually came around to eat while I was still putting out the food and water, and after they were all done eating, he stayed sheltered under the water house. If it were summer, I’d discourage him from hanging around, but not in the winter!

The water shelter is a lot higher than the kibble house and cat house. I’m trying to think of what I could put around the bottom to help keep out the wind and snow. Carpet cut into strips, like what is in front of the cat house entry, would probably work. There are rolls of scrap carpet in the barn. I have no idea how old they are, but some might still be useable.

Over the next couple of days, our focus is going to be slowly clearing away the driveway. I want to dig out the gas powered snow blower and try starting it again. We were never able to bring it in to get checked – dragging it in and out of the back of the van is a real pain. It had started when I tested it, two winters ago, then suddenly wouldn’t when I actually needed to use it. Who knows? It might suddenly start working again. It’s not like anything has changed. It would make things SO much easier if we could get that big beast going!

On the plus side, we’re not expected to get any significant amounts of snow for the next while, so at least the job shouldn’t get any bigger.

The Re-Farmer

Good company

If you’re going to have someone invade your space while you’re in the bathroom, you can’t do better than David.

He loves that sink.

He fills that sink!

What a chill, laid back, precious boy!

Then there’s these guys.

By the time I’m done my morning rounds, the outside cats have finished eating and are settling into their favourite spots to hang out. The littles just love sitting on top of the board the heat bulb’s fixture is attached to! They don’t hang out under the bulb, which you’d think would be warmer. They like to be above it!

While doing my rounds, I did a bit of shoveling, but the snow is deep enough, we’re going to have to clear the driveway. Not because it’s too deep to get out, but because I don’t want it to accumulate too much the next time it snows.

We’re supposed to get more snow today – 97% chance of precipitation – and a high of -11C/12F this afternoon. The next two days are supposed to have highs of -16C/3F, which still isn’t too bad. It’s the wind that’s going to make it miserable. After that, we’re supposed to start going below -20C/-4F, or close to it, probably for the rest of the year – depending one which app I look at. Another tells me we’ll be around -10C/14F during the week around Christmas, which is about half what my desktop app tells me. Well within the 30 year average, either way, so not a major concern. It’s January and February that are typically the harshest. The AccuWeather website has long range forecasts all the way to March 16 and, according to them, January and February are going to be downright tropical, compared to the last few years! If they’re right, we’ll be warmer than -10C/14F for most of those two months!

I’m not counting on that. 😄

It’d be nice, though.

I was happy to see the road seems to be well plowed. I say “seems to be”, only because everything is so glaringly white, it’s blinding. We’ll have no problems getting out anywhere, if we need to.

With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays coming up, it changes when my husband’s disability payments come in. CPP Disability, which typically comes in just a couple business days before his private insurance payment, will be coming in on the 21st. Which means (weather willing) that’s when I’ll be making a trip to the city for what will not only be our last Christmas dinner shop, for the fresh things we won’t buy in advance (we don’t really buy gifts anymore), but it will be our first large shop for January.

I’m not looking forward to shopping so close to Christmas, but it does mean we will probably not need to do any sort of major trip again until next year.

We can go back to turtling into our shells again!

The Re-Farmer

Peeking – and we’re just flabbergasted!

I had a little one peeking, while I was adding lysine to the kibble for the outside cats.

The ledge on the outside of that window is not only quite narrow, but at an angle, so that snow and rain would flow away, back when this was an outside window. Only the smallest of the kittens can sit on there without falling off!

I just got some updates from the cat lady. She’s still got some of our littles as they are being treated before going to their forever homes (except Muffin, who is staying with them). She had taken them to the vet today for an exam, and they got treated for ear mites. They were supposed to be checked for ear mites while they were being spayed, but that didn’t happen! The mites were very deep in the ears and difficult to find.

Princess, however, had a surprise for everyone.

The vet pulled out a small piece of metal. About the size of a pellet. The ear drum needed to be sewn together. Apparently, she’s been deaf in that ear, all this time. She can probably hear now – or at least will, then it’s healed up and no longer packed.

She exhibited no signs of pain and had no balance problems. The only reason they looked in her ear at all was because she was there for an exam. With Princess, the vet’s reaction was “where are the ear drums?” !!! The vet thinks it’s been there for months. Princess is the youngest of the kittens the cat lady took in. I’m guessing she was born in June, but we don’t know for sure. Which means she may have had that in her ear for most of her life!

We’re just flabbergasted. For a piece of metal to get into her ear is weird enough, but for it to get so deep into her ear that it damaged her ear drum? The vet wondered if she’d fallen on something metal and a small piece broke off. With yard cats, who knows? There is just so much stuff they can get into, all over the place.

The people that are adopting her have been informed. They will monitor her and take her to their own vet for follow ups.

It does mean we’ll likely have to treat the inside cats for ear mites, too. There isn’t anything we can do about the outside cats. Mineral oil in each ear for 10 days will kill them.

We’ll need to get more mineral oil. 😄

So that is our weird and rather shocking news of the day!

In other things, we were able to get at least some shoveling done, before the snow started to fall again. From the beeping sounds I’m hearing outside, the plows are out, which is good. From what I’ve been hearing from friends online that live in the area, the highways are pretty dangerous right now.

I’m so glad we don’t need to go anywhere!

The Re-Farmer

It’s a bit blustery out there!

This time of year is always so disorienting. I’m sitting here, thinking how late it must be, and that I should probably be getting ready for bed, only to look at the clock and find it’s only 6pm. We’ve been fully dark for a while, now!

And windy.

We’re not actually getting a lot of snowfall right now, but every now and then, the garage cam gets completely blinded with blowing snow!

It was several hours later than predicted, but we did eventually hit the expected high of -6C/21F, though not for long – and with that wind, it certainly didn’t feel that way. What’s interesting is seeing how the forecast has changed for next week, and we’re now being told to expect two days with highs of 0C/32F.

Looking at the 30 year records, our average temperature for today is 0C/32F for the high, and -8C/18F for the low. Our 30 year record high was set in 2009 and 10C/50F, while the record low was -16C/3F. We also had a record snowfall of 85.3mm (about 3 1/2 inches) set in 2010. So we really don’t have much to complain about.

Still, it’s a good day to stay inside and catch up on my crochet with a hot cup of tea!

That is, if the cats will let me. I opened my door and let them in. I have 5 cats sleeping on my bed, Nosencrantz is hiding in her shelf, Butterscotch is sleeping on a different shelf, up near the ceiling, and as I try to type this, Fenrir keeps rubbing her lies on my fingers and bashing my hands with her forehead! Fenrir is one of the biggest reasons we have been keeping that door closed, as she usually is the first to try and go after Nosencrantz, but she sure seems to miss stretching out on my chest while I’m on my computer, and making it difficult to type!

The Re-Farmer