Problem found

What a lovely day we are having today!

As I write this, we are at -5C/23F, and are expected to get a bit warmer. After the deep freeze we just had, this is feeling downright tropical!

I meant to post this picture yesterday, but I just didn’t have the brain space to do a blog post, so I’m sharing it today!

Their matched, angry looking expressions make me giggle. 😀

There were lots of kitties out while I was doing their food and water this morning.

The Potato Beetle brought luggage.

This was attached to his tail! A whole lot of stuff, stuck to a couple of burrs, stuck to his tail. The blue is from the tarp covering the kibble house. It looks like there’s some jute cord in there, too, and I have no idea where that would be from. I haven’t used any outside, yet. You don’t get a real sense of perspective on the size in the photo. It was like he had a small birds nest stuck to him!

Nostrildamus was quite eager for attention this morning.

He was trying to climb onto me while I was taking is picture. I am so happy with this shot!

Butterscotch was out and about, too, and followed me around. She let me carry her back to the house, and I took advantage of the cat house roof. I put her down on it, then kept petting her, and was finally able to get a really good look at her wounded leg. The gash is completely closed and barely visible. If there were not a suture in the middle of it, I probably would not have been able to spot it, as she moved around.

The whole area is still nekkid. The fur is not really growing back at all, yet. Which means she’s cold, all on the inside of her thigh. Which is better than a gaping wound, of course, but I can tell she’s uncomfortable when she sits in the snow.

Meanwhile…

I took the van in to the garage yesterday. When I got there, I went over again with him about what the van was doing (he sees so many vehicles, I’m not going to assume he remembers everything I told him before! LOL), and he asked a few questions.

When I had come to the front door I saw, for the first time, a sign about masking. Most other places have them plastered all over, but he had just the one on the door. So I paused to put on my Mingle Mask before going in. There was no one else inside and, while he had his back to me when I came into the office, I could see he wasn’t wearing a mask, so I asked “can I take this thing off?” He said yes as he turned around, then saw the Mingle Mask. He had this “wtf is that?” look on his face, so I told him, I can’t wear a mask, but I can breathe with this.

As we were talking and I gave him the keys, I mentioned I was going to go to the grocery store across the street, but might have to come back. There’s no place else to go to wait. He told me to take my time at the grocery store, because he’s not allowed to have people wait in his office anymore. Which is ridiculous, considering how much space he’s got in there.

I did take my time with the groceries, but still ended up sitting outside and waiting. Thankfully, the grocery store has a picnic table in a sheltered corner, where the staff takes their smoke breaks. While I was there, a woman came by for a smoke and we chatted for a bit. After a while, I walked into the parking lot to check, and saw that my van was outside the garage door. I asked if it might be okay to bring the cart over there to unload it, but she saw I had two of the big water jug refills and said it would be really hard to get the cart through the snow. Instead, she helped me bring it into the vestibule, moving a divider for me, so I got get it nearer the exit doors. There was a staff member in charge of cleaning the carts, and she ended up keeping an eye on my groceries for me, while I went back to the garage. She even offered to help me load the water jugs when I came back with the van! They were so sweet. 🙂

As for the van…

The mechanic was outside when I came over – it turned out he had just tried phoning me, but I never heard my cell phone ring! As I came up, the first thing he asked me was, where do I buy my fuel?

We always but our fuel at either Costco (usually once a month, though we haven’t been to Costco for quite a while) or at a co-op. As members, we get a check at the end of the fiscal year, with the amount based on how much gas or groceries we buy, though I haven’t tried to shop at the local co-op grocery store since the restrictions went nuts.

As soon as I told him it was at the co-op, he just shook his head.

My EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation) valve needs to be replaced.

I had no idea what that was, so he explained it to me. It’s no wonder I didn’t know what it was. It’s been so long since I’ve tinkered with engines, they didn’t even have these, yet. I was aware of the EGR valve’s function in newer vehicles, but not as part with a name to it.

Gosh, I suddenly feel old.

He told me the co-op gas stations have the worst quality fuel available. This is something I’ve heard others saying, too, but I didn’t seem to be having any problems, so…

Yeah.

It turns out he sees this a lot, and every time he does, it’s people who buy their gas at the co-ops. The crappy fuel leaves behind a lot of carbon, and these valves end up completely clogged. He said they can sometimes be cleaned, but usually need replacing. I figure, by the time he sees the vehicles, they’re long past the stage where the valve can be just cleaned out!

This is in line with my brother’s thoughts when I described what the van was doing, though he hadn’t specifically mentioned the EGR valve. It might even be why our van sometimes doesn’t want to start at all – something it did with the mechanic one time, as he tried to drive the van into the garage when I had the winter tires put on. That was a problem we’ve had every now and then, since we got the van. Whoever owned it before us did not maintain it well, and we spent an awful lot of money getting it fixed up after we bought it. Considering we got it at a price low enough, I could use my debit card to pay for it, I suppose we can’t really complain!

So while it’s only been a little over 3 years that we’ve been buying this gas, if there were already a build up in the valve before, it would have gotten a lot worse, a lot faster.

As I think about it, I realize that if we weren’t in the habit of doing a monthly shop, with the van being so heavily loaded, we probably would not have noticed it was becoming a problem, and likely would have kept going for months, if not years, before catching it.

The part is being ordered, and I am bringing the van back on Thursday morning. It’s going to cost $425, plus taxes.

*sigh*

I won’t be getting my new chainsaw this month! 😀

While we were in his office, booking the next appointment, he saw someone coming in and quickly put a mask on, so I quickly put my Mingle Mask on, too, so as not to get him in trouble. We were both muttering under our breath about not being able to breath without a mask, never mind with one. I think he he’s medically exempt, too, but is being forced to wear one when customers are around. This town has an awful lot of Covid Karens that would eagerly phone the snitch lines, or the police, on anyone they deem non-complaint. At least he’s alone in the shop, most of the time, and can take it off to breathe.

(Which reminds me; my doctor is going to refer me to a respiratory specialist. The puffer he got me to try has made no difference, and this is now something for the specialists. Hopefully, I will get someone better than the last respiratory specialist I saw, when we lived in the city. His conclusion had been, I’m fat, so that must be why I’m coughing, and he would react with open surprise when test after test came back showing me normal and healthy. :-/ Then he just gave up and sent me back to my regular doctor.)

Meanwhile, the van should be okay to drive, though I will be avoiding heavy loads until after the valve is replaced. He assured me that, while it might keep stalling on me, I would be able to restart it and keep on going. Once it’s replaced, that sluggishness I was noticing should go away, as well. It seems quite a few little things I was noticing, including the fuel economy dropping and the idle starting to sound rougher, were probably all warning signs of this problem.

Now I’m wondering about my mother’s car. She always bought fuel at the co-op, too, and I’ve noticed it has terrible mileage.

After booking the appointment and loading up the groceries, I filled the gas tank on the way home.

At a different gas station!

Dang it. One of our favourite places to stop on the way to the city was the co-op gas station in my mother’s town. There are such wonderful people working there, plus they’ve got an excellent convenience store. But getting a few bucks a year back isn’t anywhere near enough to make up for having to pay over $400 to fix the damage it causes. :-/

We’ll probably still stop there, just to go into the store for snacks, home baked by one of the gas jockeys. ❤

So that’s where we are at, with the van situation. It’s going to be an expensive fix, but knowing what’s wrong is actually a huge relief.

I must admit, though; I’m getting really, really tired of vehicle problems. It’s a lot more stressful, when living in such relative isolation, because we depend on having a vehicle so very much. That’s one of the more major downsides of living out here. 😦

The Re-Farmer

It’s still cold out there, and… on a more serious note

One of the first things I do in the morning, before heading outside to do my rounds, is check the weather.

This morning, at a time when I would normally be starting to head outside, it was -36C/-32.8F

Yeeeaaaaahhhhh…. No.

I waited a couple of hours before heading out, but it was still -28C/-18.4F At least there was no windchill, and the “real feel” was -25C/-13F

The wait meant I had a whole lot more cats to greet me when I came out! There were none at all, inside the cat shelter. They were all out and about.

They have quite a lot of food out, but still prefer the fresh kibble. Which they quickly abandoned, once they saw there was fresh, warm water!

One of them was eager enough to take a short cut through the snow! LOL

Once again, I skipped switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, but I did head out to the garage to double check that the vehicles were plugged in, and grab some sheets of insulation. We had used these to line the windows in the sun room last winter, when we were keeping the doors propped open so the cats could shelter in it. With the outer door fixed, and that cats having a lovely warm shelter of their own, we didn’t insulate the sun room this winter. That leaves the pieces available to use inside the fish tanks to help keep the seed trays warm.

windchill

It wasn’t a lot of extra time to do that, but even so, I could feel the cold in my lungs. Thank God I’m already a shallow breather, due to my chronic cough. In temperatures like these breathing deeply can injure the lungs.

Image source – available on t-shirts and mugs! (not an affiliate link)

There may have been no wind chill this morning, but as I glance at my weather app, I see we’ve almost reached our high of the day, at -24C/-18F – but the wind chill is now -30C/-20F!

Thankfully, tomorrow we should be back to more normal temperatures, and be warmer than -20C. Which is good, because tomorrow afternoon, I am heading out to help my mother with her errands, and have to do a bit of grocery shopping for ourselves, too.

It should be even warmer on Friday, when I take the van in to the garage to get checked over. I really hope he finds why it has begun to stall and have troubles when fully loaded. We were already splitting our monthly shop into a couple of trips, and if the van has problems with just a half load already, and have to make more frequent, even smaller shops, we lose all the benefits of bulk shopping. Plus, our province has kept up a lot of restrictions, loosening some but increasing others, with no change in the mask mandates. There are still a lot of places that refuse to accept medical exemptions, and going out to shop feels like going out to battle, every time. Being surrounded by faceless people is also starting to freak me out more and more. I’m even playing Pokemon Go less. The game has things you can do right from home, without having to go places, and among the thing you can do is exchange gifts with people that are on your friends list. You get to see each person’s avatar in the process, and people are putting masks on their avatars. It’s bad enough that the option is even available, but it’s like a punch to the gut, every time I see a masked avatar. Every avatar represents the person playing, and that person just turned themselves into an NPC.

It’s one thing to know, intellectually, the sort of psychological damage this sort of dehumanization causes. It’s quite another to feel it. And rather surprising, considering how little we go out anyhow. I don’t even want to imagine how wigged out I would be, if I had to be surrounded by it every day. I completely understand my friend who has self isolated for months, because being surrounded by masks triggers her PTSD!

At least I know what the cause of the discomfort is. Most people would have no idea. And why would they? All they would know is that their stress and anxiety is increasing, and there are so many things contributing to that right now. Unfortunately, that cognitive dissonance would cause all sorts of anger, even rage, towards anyone without a mask, and they wouldn’t understand why.

A bit of a rant, there, I suppose, but that lack of awareness directly affects people like myself, who can’t wear a mask. Even in places that recognize medical exemptions, it’s the other customers that become more aggressive and abusive. I have been fortunate so far. I may have been kicked out of stores that refuse to honour medical exemptions (which is illegal, but then, so are the mask mandates), but I haven’t been harassed by other customers, yet. It has, however, affected familial relationships and friendships in a negative way.

I have never enjoyed shopping to begin with. Now, it’s like walking around with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head, never knowing if it’ll drop.

The Re-Farmer

There are those who prefer the cold!

What a difference between yesterday and today!

I took advantage of yesterday’s warmth with a trip into town. At one point, on the way back, I was driving through precipitation that couldn’t make up it’s mind if it was snow or rain! LOL We actually hit 3C/37.4F, which was a couple of degrees warmer than forecast.

Then the temperatures plummeted overnight. While the actual temperatures remained above -20C/-4F, the wind chills brought things down colder than -30C/-22F Apparently, there was even a storm last night, though it seemed to be well to the south of where we are. We got hit with high winds, mostly.

As I write this, we are at -17C/1.4F with a wind chill of -28C/-18.4F

While I was doing the cat stuff outside, most of them just stayed in the cat shelter and watched me though the windows. They still had lots of food in the kibble house, but I also toss some inside the entry of the cat house, where I have another food bowl. I don’t put much in there, since I don’t want to encourage other critters going in there. That food bowl was empty.

Some of the cats did come out for some warm water; the heated water bowl does the job, but when it’s cold like this, I like to give them water that is actually warm, and they really seem to appreciate it.

Then they all just disappeared! Not into the cat house, but running off around it, with some running under the storage house.

I discovered why when I turned around as saw we had a visitor!

My younger brother’s dog had come for a visit!

He just thrives in these temperatures! The colder it is, the more he loves it.

They have yard cats too, of course, so when he comes here, he expects to be able to come right up to ours and play! Butterscotch and Rolando Moon (and Beep Beep, if she were still outside) are more familiar with him, as he used to visit my late father all the time, but the other cats where born after we moved here, and the sudden appearance of a fluffy giant is rather frightening for them! Meanwhile, he just wants to play. 😀

As I was finishing my rounds, I managed to get him to follow me down the driveway and start heading home, but as I came back, he was suddenly bounding beside me, leaping and jumping in the snow, trying to get me to play with him!

Unfortunately, the winds made staying outside any longer than I had to, out of the question.

My goodness. I just glanced at my weather icon on my computer and noticed we’ve already started to drop in temperature. Looking out my window, it’s a clear and sunny day and looks like it should be quite pleasant out there, but we’re now -18C/-0.4F, with the wind chill down to -31C/-23.8F We’ve already hit the high of the day, and it is expected to keep slowly dropping from now on until tomorrow. We’ll have one more mild day tomorrow, then temperatures are supposed to plummet for a few days before getting mild again. With concerns over the vehicles, we plan any outings around the forecasts, which means quick run to check the mail and pick up more bird seed and deer feed will be done tomorrow.

Unlike our furry visitor, we do NOT thrive in this cold, and neither do the vehicles! 😀

The Re-Farmer

It’s a fluffy day today!

The temperatures have gone up quite a bit today, and the outside cats are quite appreciating it!

I was very happy to see Rosencrantz this morning! I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks.

Butterscotch also made an appearance this morning. I didn’t see her yesterday.

Her babies were just loving the new snow, running around a chasing each other in it. 🙂

Butterscotch, however, would not come anywhere near me this morning, so I wasn’t able to check her wound at all. She seemed to be moving around fine, though, so that’s a good sign.

Nostildamus made up for her lack of interest, wanting all sorts of pets and attention!

He has such soft fur.

Today was a day when everything looked soft and fluffy. Even the trees.

The warmer temperatures brought with them the softest, fluffiest of snow. We got about 2 inches of it by this morning; two inches of mostly air!

The Potato Beetle is not amused. The kittens might be enjoying the snow of their first winter, but the adult cats seem much more ticked off about the whole thing! 😀

We’re supposed to drop to more normal, chilly temperatures after today, so I think I will take advantage of the day and make a trip into town to pick up a few things we are starting to running low on.

Just glancing at my weather icon on my toolbar as I write this, and see that we have reached 0C! (32F) The wind chill is at -6C/21F, which is still quite balmy! A wonderful day to get outside. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and apparently we had a storm

I just had to pause for a picture when I saw these guys, watching me when I came outside this morning.

These guys know well enough to stay out of the wind, even if they can see fresh food and water is about to be dispensed! 😀

Except this little Spice Boy, who has a thing for drinking out of the water jug. He prefers this over drinking from a bowl! 😀

Also, those bulk sized Orville Redenbacher popcorn containers are the handiest things. The plastic is really strong, and they are a very useful size. We’ve got some with the bottoms cut off and the lids in place, that I use to scoop and carry critter feed. I used to use a metal pitcher for their water, but this holds a lot more water, and the handle design is easier to carry with one hand and not slosh while opening and closing doors. Used to put them in recycling, but now I keep them because they’re so useful!

As I was finishing up my rounds, Butterscotch made an appearance, and even let me carry her!

Well, sort of carry her. 😀

She still moves around too much for me to get a good look at her wound, but from what I can glimpse, it’s still looking good. Understandably, she seems uncomfortable sitting in the snow, as much from the lack of fur around it as for the wound itself!

We’ve got another relatively mild day today, though winds are certainly making it chillier. We were supposed to get snow this afternoon, but a storm passed through to the south of us, last night. We got light snow and winds, in our area. Now, it’s just winds. I’m good with that. We need to make a trip to the pharmacy this afternoon, which is when the weather was originally predicted to hit us. We’ll just have to watch out for ice, high winds and deer, and not the edges of a snow storm, too! 😀

I am soooo appreciating our mild winter. The last 3 since we moved here got so brutally cold. We’ll be getting colder next week, according to the long range forecasts, but it’s more of a normal cold than what we had in previous years.

I have no doubt the wild critters are appreciating it, too! Much better chances of survival. With Butterscotch having a little of kittens so late in the season, it is a relief for them and their safety, too.

Life is good.

The Re-Farmer

It’s a fairyland out there!

Yesterday’s fog kept getting denser and denser before finally being blown away last night. The live feed on the security camera looked like a blizzard, but it was just fog!

Now, everything outside looks like something out of a magical fairy tale!

The spruces are the tallest trees around, and their tops always get the fuzziest! 😀

However, even lower down bushes, like this Korean lilac in the foreground, were completely covered!

My mother’s “living fence” of hawthorn is just magical. Particularly when you know that none of those tracks in there were made by human feet!

The length of our driveway was lined with sparkling white trees!

At the end of the driveway, you could really see the wind effect! All the frost crystals in these areas were distinctly directional. 😀

People who had to be out driving in this last night described dangerously slippery roads and almost zero visibility. I am glad we didn’t have to go anywhere last night!

I do need to go into town this afternoon, though. I have a new prescription to pick up.

I had my phone appointment with my doctor yesterday. Of course, there wasn’t much he could do over the phone. I described what happened that day I found myself gasping for breath while driving, but it hasn’t happened since. I’m back to my “baseline”, so he wants to take more of a wait and watch approach. If it happens again, I need to call him. We spent some time talking about just what my “baseline” is, and my chronic cough. He may be my doctor for over a year now, but with the restrictions, we haven’t been able to actually see him much, so I’m still very much a “new” patient for him. He wants me to try using an inhaler to see if that will help. It’s meant to be used once a day. He wants to follow up with me after 2 weeks of using it. He later faxed the prescription in to our pharmacy, and I got a call from them after they got it to arrange getting it filled and picked up for this afternoon. If that doesn’t help, I will be going for lung function tests.

I’ve had an inhaler tried on me before, when I first started trying to find out why I had developed this cough. It made my cough worse, so I stopped. Then we moved out of province, so this was over 17 years ago. After the move, I had a whole series of lung function tests done. They all came back normal, but again, that was a long time ago. Probably about 13 years or more. So we shall see how this goes.

My daughter had her phone appointment right after mine, but she will need to physically go in to the clinic for the things she is wanting to get checked out. We have an appointment for her on Monday afternoon, and she will likely need at least two other appointments at the clinic, for other things.

Thankfully, the weather will continue to be mild. In past winters, we stopped my husband’s appointments completely, because of the weather and road conditions. That is not as much of a concern this year, so my daughter can make all the appointments she needs. For my husband, though, if he can get away with just phone appointments, he will. The drive itself is just too painful for him.

Ah, well. It is what it is!

The Re-Farmer

Clearing snow before it snows, and I think they’ve figured it out!

We had ourselves a very pleasant surprise today! Company!

Sort of…

I got an email from my older brother, asking if he could swing by this afternoon. Considering that it’s a 1 1/2 hour drive for him, this was a welcome surprise!

I got his message after doing my morning rounds, which included changing the batteries on the new camera with ones that weren’t frozen. The camera still couldn’t show a display on the screen inside, though; more than the batteries was frozen! So I had no way of knowing if it was even working or not. At least I was able to confirm how much easier it is to change the batteries on this thing. I did not have to take it down to do it!

Then, after things warmed up a bit more, we brought out Spewie, our little electric snow blower, and gave it a workout!

With a daughter helping by controlling the 200 ft of extension cord, so it wouldn’t keep getting hung up on the snow and unplugging itself, it was done much more quickly! We got the area needed to drive the van to the house, with turning space, widened the path to the compost heap, and even managed a path around the house, in case we need to reach the septic tank. I didn’t try to make a path to the fire pit or the barn this time, though.

Of course, it’s now snowing. We’re expected to only get a centimeter or so, so it should be fine. Even if it’s more, it’ll be easier to clear, later! It does seem funny to rush to clear away snow, before more snow arrives, though. 😀

The great thing is, when my brother got to our place, he was able to drive right up to the house, like he normally prefers to do. 🙂

He didn’t come into the house, due to the restrictions still in place, but we were able to exchange our Christmas gifts. 🙂 We gave him and his wife the olive server and cutlery I’d carved, using maple I’d cut away from the pump shack so I could reach and fix the window.

I will have to get a picture later, of what they gave us: a fire pit cooking grill! One that is mounted on a post, and can be swung off and on the fire! We are so excited! It can be used above the set up we have now, or replace it completely. I can’t wait to try it out! The ground it too frozen to install it now, though, so it’ll have to wait until spring. *sigh* 😉

While he was here, my brother took a look at my mother’s car. I had not hooked the trickle charger back up, because 1) the battery does not have + or – symbols on it, though I was pretty sure which was which, and 2) I could not figure out how the clamps would go on, while being flat enough for the cover to be put back in place.

While he was there, he ended up completely moving how the cords for the trickle charger, battery warmer, block heater and extension cord were set up. I had set it up as it was before, across the front, with zip ties holding things in place so nothing would drop onto the belts below (which had happened already, and I had to buy a new extension cord). This was not how he’d had it before, but how a mechanic had set it up, after some work was done. He’d had it set up tucked under the frame by the battery. He was able to get it to all fit into there again, and there are no moving parts they could fall onto in there!

While he was setting it up, and even double checking with a volt meter to ensure it was working, he searched and searched the battery for something to show with side was positive, which was negative. He did find the letters POS hidden under one of the clamps. I’ll have to take his word for it, because while I could see that something was under there, there was no way I could tell that it was letters!

So that is now done, and the trickle charger is finally hooked up. I try to use my mother’s car as much as possible, but over the winter, who knows how long that will be. We hardly use our own vehicle, this time of year!

Speaking of which…

After my brother left, I headed out to the post office – one of my husband’s Christmas gifts finally arrived! LOL – then into town to pick up a few last things before New Year’s. Normally, we would have done our monthly shop by now, but between the holidays and the weather, the end of December just doesn’t work out for that! With all the restrictions happening right now, we haven’t been able to stock up as well as usual, so we’re running out of things more than usual, too. Nothing essential, really, but I still prefer to stock up at least a little bit, just in case we can’t get into the city as planned. Last month, I didn’t even go to the city at all, but went to the Walmart of a smaller city, instead. It’s not as well stocked as the bigger stores in the bigger city, but at least I knew I wouldn’t be harassed for wearing a shield instead of a mask. As far as I know, 2 of the 3 stores we normally go to for our monthly stock up are safe for people with medical exemptions, and I’ve heard the one Costco location we usually go to is actually offering both masks and shields to people, and when people have gone in mask-less, they’ve only been warned if the mask nazi’s … er… inspectors where in the store. The inspectors are threatening stores with fines, even though the mandates expressly stipulate medical exemptions. But then, one store made the news for kicking a woman out for not wearing a mask, and she didn’t have hands to put one on. The exemptions clearly state that people who cannot put on or take off a mask themselves are exempt. It all seems so very arbitrary, which makes it difficult for people who can’t wear masks to know, from one day to the next, if they will be left alone, harassed, kicked out, fined or arrested.

I’m just thankful that we are isolated enough that it doesn’t affect us as much on a daily basis. Just in our own extended family, we’ve got people dealing with everything from trying to figure out how to get to work with the day-cares closed, to job losses, home losses, and dealing with severe depression as a result. I’ve always been grateful that my husband has such excellent private health insurance when he went on long term disability and, for all the challenges, happy that we left the city to live on and take care of the farm. Now, I am even more grateful for it. I honestly don’t know how we would have managed, if we were still living in the city we were in before. Our daughters could have stayed behind, too, but they chose to move out to help take care of the property, and their father, instead. They gave up a lot to do it, but it’s now turning out to have been worth it, for reasons we never imagined.

What a crazy world we live in, right now!

But I digress!

On a more fun note, after I got back from town, I was able to bring the van into the yard to unload it.

We were being watched.

Creamsicle Jr. was not alone at first. By the time I got my phone out to take a picture, Nostrildamus had come out to say hello. He had been sitting behind Creamsicle Jr.

Directly under the terrarium heater bulb.

In front of the light sensor on the timer.

I think they’ve figured it out.

If a cat is siting under the bulb, it is blocking the light sensor, which turns on the heat. While it’s unlikely that they made any sort of connection to the timer, it would be easy for them to figure out that if they sit in just the right spot during the day, that thing above their head starts getting warm again.

One thing about the yard cats; they do have to be smart, if they’re going to survive! 😀

I’m happy that the littlest ones are handling the cold as well as they are. Being born so late in the year, they were the ones most at risk from the cold. Not only are they doing all right, they’re downright playful in the snow! 🙂 They’re even regularly following me out to the gate when I check it, and switch out the memory cards. They still won’t come close to me, but they will follow me! 😀 (I’m happy to say that, while showing the new trail cam to my brother, I found it had thawed out enough to start working again! I didn’t even have to reset the date and time. 🙂 )

For now, judging by how often I’ve seen the red bar across the top of my browser, warning me that auto save didn’t work because I’m offline, I’d say the weather system has hit us quite thoroughly, and it’s taking our internet out in the process. That, and my weather app will not reload! The temperatures are still relatively mild, but I can see the snow falling on the security camera’s live feed. It seems to be enough to mess with our satellite. That secondary dish may have started working again after we pruned more branches, but it still doesn’t have a good signal at the best of times. It doesn’t take much to make it worse!

At some point, I’ll be able to post this… 😉

The Re-Farmer

Signs in the snow

While they don’t come around when we’re around to see them, there are plenty of signs that the deer are coming to the feeding station.

The snow was absolutely trampled this morning! You can see it all the way back to the corner of the spruce grove, before the tracks start splitting up into smaller trails.

Here, you can see their trail coming from inside the spruce grove. More tracks go through the gate and towards the barn.

We may not be able to leave much feed out – and the birds eat a lot of what we do leave out – but at least they know they can come here for a winter snack!

The suet we have right now seems to be a bust, though. When I bought it, the Walmart I found them in was out of stock except for packs with 3 different “flavours”. All mixes of seeds, nuts and fruit. Usually, the only ones I can find locally are basic seed mixes, or special mixes for specific birds. The brand is the same, though.

The individual packs were not labelled, so I don’t know which is which. The first one I put up was, as far as I could tell, completely ignored. Usually, the chickadees and nuthatches are all over it! After several weeks of it looking completely un-pecked at, I decided to put a different one in. I put the first one in the snow in the bird bath (which I am not trying to keep with water this winter; it is just too damaged for that, and I’m amazed it actually lasted another summer!).

Since then, I’ve seen Blue Jays on the bird bath, pecking away at that piece of suit, but none on the hanging feeder!

I’m thinking the larger birds don’t like the little feeder basket as something to land on, and the little birds don’t like these mixes, so they’re not bothering. Not with delicious black oil seeds for them to eat, instead! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

You bet, I’m procrastinating!!!

I might wait just a bit longer. I’m sure the critters won’t mind staying sheltered a bit longer, either.

The temperatures plummeted last night! It’s now almost 10am as I write this, and it’s still -27C/-16.6F with a wind chill of -35C/-31F out there.

The app on my phone says we’ve already “warmed up” to -25C/-13F with a wind chill of -28C/-18.4F

It’s supposed to continue warming up but we won’t be getting warmer than -20C/-4F for a few more hours. So I’m going to have to get out there and get some warmer food and water for the outside cats soon. There will still be both food and water out there right now. I just want to make sure they have some that is a bit more pleasant to ingest!

The plan for today was supposed to be clearing enough snow in the yard to drive the van to the house tomorrow, so we can load it up and make a trip to the dump. We haven’t been able to make that trip in way too long, but with temperatures like this, it might have to wait again. 😦 We could postpone clearing the snow in the yard until tomorrow, but the dump is open for only a few hours in the morning on Tuesdays, and it will probably be closed by the time we’re done. It’s supposed to reach an absolutely tropical -7C/19.4F tomorrow, bringing a couple of centimeters of snow along with it.

Yeah. I think we’ll do the clearing tomorrow afternoon and make the dump run when it’s open again on Thursday evening. They are open for a full 8 hours on Saturdays, but that’s New Year’s Day, so they’ll be closed this weekend.

Definitely one of the downsides of living in the boonies. Maybe this explains why we’re finding so much garbage as we clean up around the farm!

The Re-Farmer

Cat perch

I can tell how much milder the temperatures have gotten these past few days, but how many of the outside cats I see when I do my rounds in the morning! I saw 9 of them this morning, including Rolando Moon, who has been away for a week or two, but showed up yesterday.

I had 5 cats following me when I went to check on the gate. When I came back to the house, I had this surly face to greet me.

We had brought several pieces of the maple that I’d cut away from the roof of the old chicken coop to the house, for future wood working projects. They’re odd shapes and keep falling over.

The cats really like them, and Rolando Moon seems to really appreciate having a relatively warm perch to sit on, out of the snow!

She is such an ornery old cat. I love her! 😀

The Re-Farmer