Turmeric update, and winter is back!

My goodness, what a day today has turned out to be!

As I dropped Turmeric off at the vet, it was just barely starting to snow. There was no snow at all as I drove home. I did, however, see 11 deer in the field by our hamlet’s fire hall, and more during the drive in!

The weather forecasts have been all over the place. Previously, this week was supposed to be about 8-10C warmer than right now, but those forecasts slowly dropped. Then we were told to expect 6-10cm (roughly 2-4 inches) of snow, then less than 1cm of snow and rain. This morning, when I checked before heading out, it was again saying 6-10cm. After dropping Turmeric off, it was saying 6-12cm.

Looking at the weather radar, I could see a huge system swirling counter clockwise over Eastern Canada and the US – many states look like they are getting walloped with rain, while snow was hitting South Eastern Canada. As usual, we looked like we’d be getting just the edge of the system.

By the time I was heading back to pick up Turmeric, the snow was falling much more heavily, though there was still some rain in it, too. Visibility was quite reduced.

I left a bit early so that I could stop to order some anniversary pizza. There’s a brand my husband and I haven’t had since we were in high school, so we couldn’t remember if we even liked it anymore. After placing the order, I went to pick up Turmeric, who was doing just fine.

Getting her was faster than the pizzas, so I waited with her in the van.

Would you look at those cracked out eyes!!! I put my phone right up against the door, then used voice to take the picture. The command I usually use is “smile”. She had been looking out the holes in the sides, but when I said “smile”, this is the look she gave me! 😀

I talked to the vet about getting more of the painkiller, just in case, but the dose is so low, and for only 3 days, she suggested I wait. If we were doing more cats soon, it would have been worth it to get a bigger bottle of the stuff, but the next cat we get done, it is likely the Cat Lady will be picking her up, and keeping her for the recovery period, instead. The stuff might expire before we use much of it, so the vet suggested waiting and just using what we have left. If we run out, we can get more.

Once we got the pizzas, it was a careful drive home. The roads weren’t that bad, but this would be a bad time for a deer to suddenly appear out of the blowing snow.

I had about 45 minutes before I headed out again, to pick up the freezer pack of beef. Time enough for supper!

The pizza was very good. I would definitely order from there again.

Due to the road conditions, I left early.

I just had to open the window to get a picture while at the stop sign. As usual, the camera cleans the shot up automatically, so visibility in real life was poorer than it seems in the photo.

The good thing is that the days are longer, so it was still light out. When we picked up our quarter beef, back in December, it was pitch black out at this time.

We met up at the parking lot of a grocery store, so I took advantage of that and went in to pick up some cake and ice cream for our anniversary, too.

Oh! I see our usual 3 deer, including the piebald, walking up our driveway on the security camera. Thankfully, they are the only deer I was seeing this evening.

Before driving home, I checked the weather conditions, and it was still saying to expect 6-12cm of snow – but for the first time, the word “storm” was used.

We shall see what we actually end up with.

I messaged the family to let them know I was on the way, and asking someone to meet me when I backed the van closer to the house, to avoid the big lake of water between the house and the garage. I got some confusing responses about a delivery. No, not the delivery of meat I just picked up. A delivery for my husband, at home!

It was very confusing.

After I’d left, they got a phone call from a delivery driver, letting my husband know he was in our little hamlet. My husband told him I was already out to pick up the delivery in the town to the North of us.

The driver was very confused.

So was my husband.

It turned out to be the pharmacy driver, with prescription refills for my husband.

We didn’t order any refills.

It seems, now that the bubble packs are made in the city, they simply fill his prescription refills automatically, then send them out to the pharmacy in town. Since we always get them delivered, and today is delivery day, they got sent out. We haven’t even been charged for them yet, or I would at least have gotten the transaction notification from my bank app.

Once that was straightened out, my younger daughter went out to meet the driver and pick up the package. Due to the nature of some of the drugs my husband takes, there was a paper for him to sign, so my daughter was going to take it in for him to do that, then bring it back out again.

She described to me what happened, herself. Since she was just popping outside briefly, she was wearing her house sandals. As she turned away from the driver, bag of pills in one hand, the paper to sign in the other, her foot went onto slush on ice, The next thing she knew, her foot slipped, spinning her into a pirouette, before she fell, slamming into the mud with one knee and the hand holding the paper, as she kept the bag of pills high in the air, so it wouldn’t hit the mud.

The driver, of course, was quite alarmed, but thankfully, she was okay. The mud was soft to land on. 😉

My husband signed a very wet and muddy paper, though.

Poor thing!

Needless to say, it was her sister who came out to help me bring the box of meat, and the bag of cake and ice cream, in.

Meanwhile, we continue to have a mix of rain and snow. Looking at the weather radar, the system that looked like it was going to just brush past us, is now right on top of us. We, however, are warm and safe inside, and well stocked. No need to go anywhere for quite a while, if we don’t want to.

The long range forecast has us at just a few degrees above freezing with more snow and/or rain, off and on, for the next two weeks before things turn spring-like again.

Tomorrow, we’re planning to start the next batch of seeds. I think that’s the perfect activity to be engaged in, with the weather we are having right now! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Tired

Oh, cool!

Just as I started writing this, I caught some movement on the security camera live feed. There is currently a deer slowly making it’s way down our driveway.

Contributing to this…

While heading to the driveway cam while doing my morning rounds, I found the driveway filled with deer tracks in the fresh snow.

Right up until the gate.

Just before the gate, the tracks started to disappear, and by the time I reached the gate itself, they were completely gone, covered with windswept snow. What a difference that spruce grove makes!

The outside cats were happy to see me. Their trays were completely empty. Even in the sun room. The heated water bowl was completely dry, and the food containers scattered.

I don’t know how much is the cats and how much might be from the skunk I now see fairly regularly on the security camera, but every morning, the sun room is in disarray. I am inclined to think it’s the cats, because I don’t think the skunks can get up onto the counter shelf, under the bathroom window. We keep all sorts of things on there; too many things, but they’re handy there. One of the things I had on there was an unopened 3 pack of suet for the feeder. Not only did they manage to open up the outside packaging, but the shrink wrap on all three blocks has been torn off, and the suet looks clawed up and chewed on.

So we’re going to have to reorganize that shelf, and find some way to seal up the suet blocks, while still keeping them handy.

They also got into the two new bags of kibble that were sitting on the swing bench. Thankfully, the kibble bin was mostly empty, so I was able to fit both 11kg/24lb bags into the bin.

There was one mystery this morning, though.

With the leaks in the ceiling, I had placed a scrap piece of rigid insulation on top of the feed bin lids. The plastic cracks in the bitter cold, so there are holes in the lids, and I didn’t want to chance water getting into the food. When I go into the bins, I set the sheet aside, but make sure to put it back when I’m done.

It’s gone.

I have no idea where it could be. Since the doors are propped partially open in such a way that they cannot be opened wider – the cats have to squeeze and snake their way around the door frame to get in – and they were still in position, there is no way it got dragged outside. I can see it being pulled out if a cat was digging to get at the bins, but it should have just fallen to the floor in front of the shelf. Even if it landed on another cat or something and got knocked further, there really isn’t a lot of places it could be. But it’s gone! It should be interesting to see where we find it, when we do the clean up later today.

If we find it. 😉

I’m not really looking forward to the job. Partly because I’m still quite tired from yesterday. These trips to the city are really draining, even when they go well. Just being around so many people sucks the energy right out of me.

So yes, there’s that. Another part of it, however, is definitely the weather. Winter is just dragging on and on. We were supposed to be only a degree or so colder than yesterday, when it was actually warm enough to rain (the trail cams both had a layer of ice covering parts of them!). Even as I write this, the forecast it still saying we will be reaching a high of -1C/30F, but it’s noon as I write this, and we’re still at -5C/23F, with a wind chill of -13C/9F. The average high for today, over the past 30 years, is 5C/41F. Though I suppose I should be glad we’re nowhere near the 30 year record cold for today, which is -18C/-0.4F That was set in 2018, which was our first spring here. The record high for today was 15C/59F, set in 2010. In 2001, there was a record snowfall of 77.5mm, or about 3 inches. So we don’t have much to complain about, really but, gosh, it really starts to drag on a body. Especially when it’s so overcast, too. It’s all I can do to stay awake right now.

Another change in the 5 day forecast has happened. Friday (the day after tomorrow) was expected to reach 5C/41F, but now it’s saying we should be reaching 7C/45F.

Considering how often we’ve ended up colder than predicted, I won’t be holding my breath on that.

I’m now seriously considering finding a way to set up a heater in the sun room to use overnight, so we can move our seedlings in there. The overnight temperatures are still too low for seedlings, but we need to start the next batch soon, and there is going to be a lot more that need starting this time. We need the space.

Meanwhile, I’m just feeling so…

Tired.

The Re-Farmer

Winter’s last gasp?

Counting today, we’re expected to have three cold days before the spring-like temperatures return.

Not that it’s particularly cold – until you step out into the wind!

The outside cats barely made an appearance this morning. They were far more interested in staying out of that wind!

The wind was mostly coming from the north, which meant stepping around the house to put seed out, was like walking into a wall.

A cold wall.

The path to the sign cam was pretty much blown in.

I paused this morning to check out the deer damage to the Chokecherry and Saskatoon bushes we uncovered while clearing out the invasive spirea at the edge of the spruce grove. Cleaning things up meant they got more sunlight and actually produced fruit during their first uncrowded summer, but now the deer can get at them. All the lower twigs are nibbled away, and there are many broken branches. And by “lower twigs”, I mean basically anything under about 7 feet. The deer can reach pretty high when they stand on their hind legs!

I wonder if these deer were among those causing damage?

I didn’t see any deer when I came out this morning. They’d already left. 😀

The winds are still high and it’s quite unpleasant out there.

Rolando Moon the Wise has staked out her spot in the sun room, where it’s much warmer and cozier! Not to mention, she has her own private food and water bowls. 😀

As for today, we’ve got a big project to work on. While doing the laundry last night, I came to the entry and found water all over the floor.

It wasn’t from the washing machine. At least not directly. It’s from the drain. I’ve long had concerns about it. When the water starts to drain, you can hear it flowing, but the tone changes until the sound stops. Basically, the water is draining out of the washing machine faster than the water is flowing through the pipes, and what I’ve been hearing is the water backing up until it reaches the end of the drain hose from the washing machine, and then you can no longer heard the water flowing. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, to see if it’s at risk of overflowing, but until now it’s been fine.

I did a larger “heavy duty” load last night, and it may have been just too much water this time.

So what I want to do is see if we can clear the drain a bit. Which means we have to move the washing machine.

The washer and dryer just fit between the built-in closet and the wall the taps are in. There are two steps from the entryway into the dining room, and the bottom step is several inches in front of the washing machine. Which is handy for short little me to stand on and reach the bottom of the washing machine, but it also means we can’t simply pull the washing machine straight out. In order to move the washing machine, we have to move out the dryer.

Since we have to move the machines out, anyhow, we’re going to clean up the mess we know is back there. The cats have been knocking things down off the shelves and, from the smell of it, they’ve been peeing back there, too. It’s just so difficult to get back there, we haven’t done it, yet. I would love to find some way to keep the cats from going back there, but no practical solution has come up yet.

I am not looking forward to this particular job. I’d almost rather be working outside, in the wind!

The Re-Farmer

Good morning, kitties!

I just had to laugh when I came into the sun room this morning, and found Potato Beetle, curled up in the window.

My attempt to take a photo disturbed him.

Gosh, he looks like such a grizzled old man!

He’s only three.

Since we’ve been keeping the sun room doors propped slightly open to allow access to the working heated water bowl, he seems to be spending most of his time in there – if he can claim their favourite bed before one of the other cats gets into it!

In total, I spotted 15 cats this morning. Even Ghost Baby flashed momentarily into view before disappearing again.

I had a bit of a surprise this morning. After finishing with food and water for the cats, I popped into the sun room to get seeds for the feeding station. When I stepped outside again, I was startled by a loud HUFFFFFF!!

The piebald deer had just wanted into the people gate in the chain link fence. I think we startled each other, and she was warning me off! 😀

This is the first time I’ve actually heard a deer make a noise.

It was funny to watch her as she ran down the shovelled paths to towards the back of the garage, then across to the compost pile, huffing away at me every now and then, before running into the spruce grove. There, she and another deer that was already there, stopped to watch while I put the feed out.

I later saw three of them at the feeding station, watching me as I moved around in the outer yard.

I got the burn barrel going again and, as usual, had company.

I don’t know why, but Agnoos just LOVES it when we are at the burn barrel. He rolls around in the snow, usually at our feet, asking for attention. Of all the outside cats, Agnoos seems to be the one that wants human attention the most, but never so much as while we’re tending the burn barrel!

I wasn’t able to stay out too long, though, as it started to snow. We were already at -5C/23F this morning, and are holding there for most of the day, but we are now under a “blowing snow advisory”.

Unfortunately, for all the shoveling on the roof my daughters did, the warmer weather has resulted in leaking at one of the windows upstairs. *sigh* We need a new roof so badly! We have the leak upstairs, and right now the ceiling in the sun room has icicles hanging from it. 😦

We’re supposed to cool down to between -10C/14F and -15C/5F over the next few days, so that should stop the leaking for a while, at least.

The Re-Farmer

Can I turtle, yet?

Oh, man, I did NOT want to go out today!

Yes, we were a lot warmer than yesterday. Technically, it was -10C/14F when I went out to feed the critters.

Stepping outside was like being smacked in the face with ice. We have GOT to do something about that gap in the wind break from the south! I think the wind chill was at around -23C/-10F at the time, but it sure felt a lot colder.

Then it started snowing, and for a while, I considered rescheduling the shopping trip with my mother. However, we were supposed to warm up even more by this afternoon, and it’s supposed to be our last day warmer than -10C/14F for the rest of the year.

By the time I headed out, it wasn’t snowing anymore, but there was so much blowing snow, the highway disappeared for most of the distance. My mother’s car is such a light little thing, I was fighting the wind the whole way. At least the highway was otherwise dry and clear. The gravel roads and the streets in my mother’s town were icy, with drifts forming.

I made a point of putting some gas in her tank and grabbing some of her favourite chicken and wedges, and got there early. She had just come back from church and hadn’t started lunch yet, thinking I might just do that again. 😀 So that worked out perfectly.

My mother was not actually feeling very well and had seriously considered skipping church this morning. It is right across the street from her place, though, so she did attend. By the time we were finished lunch, though, she decided to just give me her list and some cash, and I did her shopping for her. My mom is doing very well for 90, but she is definitely having a harder time of things. Especially in the winter! I’m extra glad I didn’t reschedule.

When I got home, I had quite the crowd, ignoring me as much as they could. 😀 One of my daughters had just topped up the kibble trays. There are 13 cats in that picture, and I’m sure I saw at least 2 more at the window in their house. I must say, the outside cats are doing really well right now. There was a while when a lot of them were coughing and sneezing and had runny eyes, though none that had eyes that went blood red like Tuxedo Mask’s. Now, they are all hale and hearty. I think only Creamsicle Baby has a leaky eye still, and it’s been like that since he reappeared a couple of months ago. Some of the inside cats are still struggling with stuffy noses and sneezing, but they are getting better. Including Keith, which is a huge relief. I’ve been setting up the heated pad that we used while Ginger was isolated in the sun room, before and after his amputation. I think he remembered it, because he’s been using it fairly regularly. The others take their turns on it, and it’s not unusual for me to glance over and find three cats, with only their chests on the heating pad, enjoying the warmth. 🙂

As much as I’d like to turtle, disappear into my shell and not go out again until next year, we’re going to have a few trips to make over the next few days. I even remembered to plug in the van and my mother’s car, just in case things turn colder than predicted.

We’ll have the quarter beef to pick up tomorrow, then I expect to go into the city the next day. I plan to do some gift shopping, so I intend to head out on my own, which means likely another trip before Christmas for the girls to do any last shopping they need to do. Hopefully, we will then, finally, not have to do any more long trips until after New Year’s.

I look forward to turtling.

The Re-Farmer

Feelin’ the chill!

Though our high of the day is expected to be a relatively mild -17C/-2F, when I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was -22C/-8F.

The cats actually didn’t seem to mind it too much!

I counted only 15 this morning, though. I also got to pet the Distinguished Guest a bit.

Thankfully, there wasn’t much of a wind child, but even so, changing the batteries on one of the trail cams this morning was not fun! I had fingerless gloves, at least, but my goodness, the tips of my fingers were feeling the chill by the time I was done!

Tomorrow (Sunday)_, we’re supposed to warm up to -7C/19F, then it’ll drop right back down again. Monday is supposed to be -18C/0F, but the wind chill is supposed to reach -27C/-17F.

I’ve got word from where we ordered our quarter beef, that they will be getting cuts from the butcher that morning, so we are now scheduled to pick ours up at 5pm. We will be doing a bi city shopping trip next week. This is intended to be our January shopping trip, so we don’t have to try and do it at New Year’s. Thankfully, CPP Disability always comes in early in December, so we can do that. When it was arranged to pick up the meat at 5pm, I considered heading into the city in the morning, but it’ll be much colder that early in the day, so I think I’ll put that off until Tuesday. It’s much closer to Christmas than I would like. I dislike shopping at the best of times, but around Christmas and New Year’s is the worst. However, it needs to be done. Our van does not like the cold, so if I can save the trip for when it’s a few degrees warmer, I’ll wait. Yes, we do have my mother’s car as a back up, but it’s not big enough for our city shopping trips. Especially with all the bags of cat food! 😀

I look forward to a time when we are so well stocked, we can skip the city shopping trips more most, if not all, of the winter!

The Re-Farmer

Follow the path!

The path of least resistance…

I just had to giggle at the fresh cat path, long the ridges left behind when the driveway was cleared. So many paw prints. Probably made during the rush to the kibble house, when my husband came out with food, this morning! We had blowing snow all night, so these are definitely recent tracks.

The cats aren’t the only critters who appreciate the driveway being cleared, and the paths we’ve made! Along the driveway, I could see deer tracks showing where they jumped fences, then used the driveway before jumping the gate.

The cats are handling the snow very well. They all have their dense winter fur. That’s a relief. Fenrir became an inside cat because she doesn’t have the undercoat, and would not have survived her first winter, if we hadn’t brought her in. I don’t know where she came from, but our local stock are well adapted to the cold!

They are definitely eating more, now. Though I husband had fed them not long before I headed out, I still ended up topping up some of the kibble trays. Which is good. They need those calories!

Agnoos was more interested in trying to trip me up! 😀

I’m not completely sure which of the ‘icouses this one is. Thadicous, most likely.

He was having a blast, rolling around in the snow!

We ended up having a storm blow through last night. I was keeping an eye on the garage cam live feed, and it was frequently blinded by snow. Over the hours, I saw the snow ridges on the sides of the driveway slowly disappear, so I had some trepidation as I came out this morning. Thankfully, it was just due to blowing snow that drifted against them, making everything look level in the infrared light. We won’t even need to shovel! I also kept an ear out on road conditions, and lots of people were reporting them as being very dangerous, due to ice and blowing snow. The temperature reached a low of only -4C/25F, and we’re still at that temperature as I write this. My weather apps had the wind chill last night at -15C/5F, but I have no doubt it felt a lot colder at times.

This morning, I dug out a waterproof cord protector and plugged in the cats’ house, even though temperatures are still relatively mild. It was more about still having access through the snow. The timer the heat bulb is plugged into is set to operate from dawn to dusk. As long as there is enough light coming in through the window, it won’t turn on. Which means we won’t have visual confirmation that it’s working until it’s dark, and we can see the red on indicator light through the window. The girls did check it when they cleaned the cats’ house out, so it should be fine.

While doing my rounds, I could hear the sound of heavy equipment, so the roads are being worked on. Mostly, they need to be sanded, but that won’t get done until any drifting gets cleared, first. The main road that goes past us gets cleared quickly, but side roads like the one past our driveway might not get done until tomorrow, depending on how quickly they can do the main roads. Thankfully, things are supposed to stay calm and relatively mild for the next couple of weeks. I don’t mind the snow, though. Any snow we get will go a long way to helping restore the level of our water table, after this past summer’s drought. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted a mild wet winter for our region, and I do hope they are right! We really need the break from the bitter cold of the past two winters, in particular. It may make getting around harder, but snow is a good thing.

The Re-Farmer

The Best

Our renters are the best.

Okay, they’re actually my brother’s renters, but you know what I mean.

I messaged them asking if I could hire someone to clear our driveway some time this weekend.

Someone came over, tonight!

Isn’t that a thing of beauty?

There was so much snow, he actually had to push some of it almost past the pump shack.

Would you just look at that? Wide enough for two vehicles! And room enough to back out of the garage and turn. I tried to get some more photos, but they didn’t work out. It’ll have to wait until daylight. I don’t think the road has been plowed yet, either.

Tractors are wonderful things. Especially tractors with front end loaders!

Afterwards, I sent another message to ask how much was owed, but she didn’t know. Her husband had gone to bed without saying anything about it.

What makes this even more awesome is that they lost power during the blizzard, and didn’t get it back again until shortly before I first messaged about the driveway. They went 36 hours without power! Yes, they have generators, thankfully. I can’t imagine running an operation as big as theirs on generators for very long!

They are so awesome!!! With just one pass, he did more than I was able to do in hours! I’m just thrilled.

Oh, I remembered to bring that lock from the gate in to take a closer look. I couldn’t see what I saw before, so I got the key and tried it.

It went in just fine.

Either I goofed completely and the lock was just frozen or something, or whatever was in it fell out while I was carrying it.

The Re-Farmer

A good day to be baking!

It was a lovely morning, as I did my rounds, with nothing at all to suggest we were going to be hit by a storm, later today!

As is now usual, I had a whole crowd of kitties waiting outside the door for breakfast. 😀

I counted 19, but it’s possible I missed one of the ‘icouses. They were milling about so much! I did get to pet a few furry butts, including several of the kittens that normally would have run off already, plus our newcomer.

Creamsicle Baby was battling it out with Agnoos for special attention. 😀

Butterscotch followed me while I was doing my rounds. She really likes that I now go to the corner of the property to check if the new sign has been vandalized yet, and switch out the memory card on the camera. She has taken advantage of the set up and uses the various posts to climb up and jump onto me, making it very hard to switch out the memory card!

While going through the yard, I spotted a few summer yard tools we missed putting things away, and brought a couple of our snow shovels closer to the sun room door. They are normally kept by the main entry, but we are avoiding using that door until we can get the door and frame replace; something we’d hoped to get done before this winter, but the budget for it just didn’t happen. I wasn’t even able to get the estimate done; I was going to call the same company that did the windows here, before we moved in, but I can’t find them! I do hope they haven’t gone out of business, like so many others have done in the past year and a half. 😦

When I was ready to come inside, I found this handsome fella waiting for me.

He even let me pet him and scritch his ears!

I think this one is Chadicous, but I’m not sure.

I love that pink little nose!

The general store the post office is in closes at noon on Wednesdays, so I headed out shortly after they opened. I wanted to get the battery we needed for the cat’s house smoke detector that I forgot to pick up yesterday. While there, I picked up another bag of flour, just in case.

I had a few general things planned for baking today. One of them was muffins, but I hadn’t settled on any recipes. After doing some searching, I found a couple of savory recipes I wanted to try.

The whole day of baking was about timing! The first thing I did was cook a package of bacon in the oven, until dry and crumbly, for one of the muffin recipes. Once that was cool and crumbled, I started a double batch of bread. I didn’t use our dough baby, because I forgot to set it to soak overnight. Instead, I used our basic bread recipe, which gets modified with whatever we have on hand. This time, it included oatmeal and chia seeds, with molasses for the sweetener.

While that was sitting for its first rise, I had time to make a double batch of apple bacon muffins.

Half of them were for the freezer, and half to have on hand. This recipe as a surprising amount of cinnamon in it, which accounts for the darker colour.

There is an entire package of bacon and two Granny Smiths in that double batch! The recipe sounded amazing, but it didn’t live up to expectations. Don’t get me wrong; they were quite tasty. However, I really expected to at least taste all that bacon! The predominant flavour was the apple. I’d definitely make them again, even if they didn’t life up to their hype. 😉

When the muffins where done and cooling, the girls quickly took over the kitchen to make lunch for everyone. That gave me a chance to take a break – and see that the snow had finally arrived!

It has just changed from rain to snow when I took this photo. They’re hard to see, but there is at least one chickadee going for the sunflowers as they disappeared under the snow!

By the time we finished lunch, the bread was ready to be shaped into loaves and left for a second rising, which gave me time to make another double batch of muffins.

This time, they were cheddar cheese muffins. They were supposed to be smoked cheddar, but what we had on hand was sharp cheddar. The recipe included cornmeal and cayenne pepper. For a double batch, it would have been 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne, but there was no way I could use that much. I enjoy the flavour of spice, but have no tolerance for the heat. Still, I did add some. These turned out very nice. Better than the apple bacon, I’d say. Another keeper. Especially for the next time we get smoked cheddar. 🙂

Once these were done, the bread loaves were ready to go into the oven. While they were baking, I started another double batch of bread. This one had oatmeal in it, too, (more specifically, rolled oats, softened in boiling water for a few minutes) and some hemp hearts I had left.

Also, I’m glad I got that extra bag of flour. We had just started a new bag, and I’ve already gone through half of it!

These are the oatmeal, molasses and chia seed loaves. I’m rather pleased with how they turned out! I’m a terrible one for using too much flour, and taking them out of the oven too soon, but I’ve gotten better. 😉

Then, while the second batch of bread was rising, I made a batch of double chocolate cookies. Double as in, it has two kinds of chocolate (cocoa and chocolate chips), not a double recipe. A single recipe was enough to fill four baking trays. For so many, I had to get a daughter to tend the oven, as they baked very quickly, while I had to start shaping the bread for their second rising. This time, I made them into large buns instead of loaves. The timing turned out perfect. By the time the last cookies were coming out of the oven, the buns had risen enough to go into the oven.

I didn’t bother taking photos of the second batch of bread, nor the cookies. The cookie batter was the kind you drop onto an ungreased pan by spoonfuls, then they spread flat while in the oven. I ended up having to increase the cooking time, and they also turned out to be very fragile. Which is okay. Broken cookies taste just as good as not broken one! They just don’t look pretty. 😉 As for the buns, even with the oatmeal and hemp hearts, they just look like white bread. 😀 Those were the ones we started on tonight. While two of the loaves of the first batch went to the freezer, along with half the muffins, I decided not to bother freezing any of the buns. Those are going to disappear very quickly!

In the middle of all this baking, I got a call from my mother. She was wanting to know if we had snow, too. By this time, it was coming down pretty heavily. She sounded so excited, and started going on about what a good thing it was we got her shopping done when we did. I agreed, mentioning that unfortunately, we didn’t get all the things we wanted to get done finished. She was completely oblivious. Instead, she started saying that, as long as the septic was covered, it was fine. She had seen the insulated tarp we had ready to cover it, the day she came out here, so she started giving me instructions on making sure it was weighted down so it wouldn’t blow away. I told her it was pegged to the ground. Apparently, she didn’t know that tarps have grommets on them, than can be used to fasten them down. She kept on going, telling me about how important it was to cover the septic tank. I ended up asking her, how long have we been living here? She thought three years. I said four, and we’ve been covering the septic every year we’ve been here. I know my mother thinks I’m stupid, but you’d think she would have noticed that the winterizing has been getting done, every year.

What I find strange, though, it that she was also talking about covering the well. In fact, she was talking about the septic tank and the well interchangeably, and then saying that if the well freezes, we’d have no water, and how terrible that would be. This was something she brought up last year. She insisted that the well cap had been covered with straw, every year, just like the septic tank. Which has never been done. Not only was it never covered with straw, but I know that even the accumulated snow was removed, likely with the Bobcat our vandal stole, as evidenced by the chips in the concrete, and one of the handles on the cover being broken right off, while the remaining one has been bent flat. Hidden by snow, it’s been hit and run over. Plus, the well cap is at least 12 feet down. It’s never been a problem in the almost 50 years since it’s been dug. She also had nothing to do with any of this sort of maintenance, so I don’t know where she is coming from on this.

It was a short phone call. I mentioned I was in the middle of baking, and she happily let me go. She just wanted to talk to me about the snow. It felt so weird. She’d been so nasty to me when she was here two days ago, and she has no awareness at all about it. I’d talked to my brother last night. My mother had just called him. I had filled my siblings in on how things went when she came out here, so he was in the loop. When my mother started talking about coming to see the sign, she was going on and on about how great it looked, how great everything looked here at the farm, and what a great visit it was. To which he said, no it wasn’t! He spent time time trying to encourage her to be kind and build people up instead of always tearing them down, to which she replied, “I’m not going to lie.” Apparently, the opposite of being cruel is to lie? She had said something about not saying that everything looked beautiful. Which isn’t what anyone is expecting and has nothing to do with simply treating people nicely. I’m grateful my brother stuck up for me, but we are both left rather perplexed by her inability to understand what it means to treat people kindly.

We may not have caught up completely, yesterday, but we did get the essentials necessary for winter, at least. This is our first real snowfall of the year, and while we will continue to be relatively mild, this is a snowfall that will stay. It is still coming down, and now the forecast says the snow will continue to fall through to Saturday, too. Our temperatures remain above freezing, so sleet is a major concern on the highways right now. We’re expected to get 10-15 cm of snow today (4-6 inches), with another 10-15 cm tomorrow, though the weather alerts say that our area might actually get more, due to the lake effect. It’s past 9pm as I write this, and we haven’t reached anywhere near the predicted levels, so who knows what will actually happen.

The forecasts do still say that today’s storm will become tomorrow’s blizzard. I was just looking at our weather history, and the record high for today was 13C/55F, in 2016, while our record low was -20C/4F, in 1991 – but our average high is 0C/32F and average low is -7C/19F, so the temperatures we’re having right now are not at all unusual. It just feels like it! Funny how that works.

Either way, it turned out to be the perfect day to stay inside and do a whole bunch of baking!

The Re-Farmer

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It’s getting chilly again!

When I headed out this morning, we were at -21C/-5.8F with a windchill of -33C/-27.4F

We’ll be getting colder over the next week, before we start going back to normal temperatures again.

It’s going to be a good time to stay indoors, drink lots of tea, and catch up on my crochet… 😀

Who am I kidding? The girls and I will probably be putting our heads together to figure out a gardening map. We’re dedicating a lot of planning for what will be temporary locations for almost everything, but we’re using our garden plots this year to help prepare the soil for when we plant fruit and nut trees in some of these areas.

Also, it’s a lot of fun. 😀

The Re-Farmer