I started, then I couldn’t stop!

With today already being so much warmer, my morning rounds ended with extra outside activities, like doing a burn, and then some shovelling.

I was going to do the vehicle turn around space and leave the paths to the girls, but since I was going through the paths while doing my rounds, I just grabbed a shovel and started clearing a path to the garage, while on my way to the gate camera.

Then I cleared a path to the burn barrel and the electricity meter.

Then I started to clear the path around the house before going to the sign trail cam way out in the corner across the old garden area, and ended up clearing a path to the sign cam.

Then I finished making a path around the house, and since I was on that side anyhow, I went ahead and did the the fire pit area.

I was going to leave the turn around space for the girls, but it was a balmy -7C/19F, with no wind, and lovely sunshine.

Yeah. I cleared that, too.

What can I say? I like shovelling.

The kittens were very excited when I was done. Well… these ones, anyhow.

From left to right, we have Princess, Judgement, Plushy trying to climb my legs, and Gooby.

Who isn’t gooby anymore. That lysine really worked! There’s a few kittens with eyes that look a bit leaky, but that could just as easily be from the cold winds. I didn’t notice any leaky eyes today.

I did notice a little, bitty ball of fluff, though.

The bitty baby was out and about, running around, stalking its bigger cousins, and generally having a blast in the snow. When I came close, he ran off and I was only able to pet him while we was under a step to the storage house, where I could just barely reach. He most definitely did not want me around, though.

He’s doing great, which makes me happy. We’ll still keep an eye on him (along with the others, of course) but with the warmer temperatures we’re supposed to be getting, he should be just fine out there.

Oh, my goodness! I just went looking at the AccuWeather website for our area. The app that came with my desktop is now saying that we will hit 3C/37F on Friday, instead of Saturday, but AccuWeather is saying we should reach a high of 5C/41F on Friday! That’ll feel downright tropical!

We’ll see how things work out, but if the long range forecasts I’m looking at are in any way accurate, we’re going to have that mild winter I’m hoping for. Here’s hoping!

The Re-Farmer

Got some things done

Today turned out to be a lovely day, indeed! Even now, as I write this at past 7pm, it’s still 8C/46F. Which is good, because I unexpectedly spent a couple of hours outside!

I’ll get to that in a bit…

First, a winky smile for you to enjoy!

Rolando Moon joined me as I was doing my morning rounds.

So did Creamsicle.

And Potato Beetle.

And Rosencrantz!

Even some kittens followed along, in the distance! It was quite a crowd! 😀

I think they were all enjoying the milder temperatures.

I headed out to town early, as I wanted to go through a car wash with the van before taking it in to the garage. I figured it would be nice for him to work under the van without months of gravel road dust. 😉

Today, however, is the first day a province wide mask mandate came into effect. Even though there hasn’t been a single person testing positive for the Wu Flu around, the city has seen a spike in PCR positives, and with the usual increases of people getting sick as we go into flu season – all in the city – our provincial government has put everyone under mandate. The usual exemptions still apply of course. One of the local hardware stores has a drive through car wash, so I went in to buy one. The cash desk is near the doors, so I didn’t even have to go far into the store, and I kept my distance. I was told by the cashier that they couldn’t serve me without a mask. I told them I understood about the mandate, and that I was medically exempt. She told me the whole province was under mandate. I said I knew that, but that there are several exemptions in the mandate, including medical, and I can’t wear a mask. I was told they couldn’t serve me without a mask. She did try to be polite about it, and a manager was called. I think she was ready to process the sale, too, after she asked how I intended to pay, and I said by debit. While we waited, she was apologetic, and I did mention that I understood retailers and employees were not being told about the exemptions.

The manager came and just said, we can’t serve you without a mask. I said again, I am medically exempt, pointing out that a refusal was a violation of the Human Rights Act, and I could file a complaint. He said I could do that, but they won’t serve me without a mask.

So I left.

I stayed in my vehicle for a while, trying to find an email address I could use to send a note about what happened (there wasn’t one; once I got home, I used the email address to a manager I’d written to in the past, having sent compliments for excellent customer service) when a staff member came to my vehicle. She told me they remembered that they had a portable debit machine. If I still wanted the car wash, they could bring it out to me. I told her I would be satisfied with that, and she asked me to drive close to the doors, after finding out which level of car wash I wanted. I drove over, and it was the manager who came out with the debit machine. After I tapped to pay for it, he went back in and another staff member came out with an invoice printed out with the code, and my receipt. The first person and the manager acted a bit like I was a leper, but the guy who brought me my receipt didn’t, and I really appreciated that.

With two vehicles in front of me, I had just enough time to get the car wash before my appointment at the garage!

All that for a $16 purchase. :-/

When I did get a chance to send an email to the store manager, I did say I appreciated the efforts, and that I understood the mandates put retailers in a really horrible position, while not giving them the information they need. I also mentioned that I am “fortunate”, in that my medical exemption is for something physical. If it were related to trauma, being confronted like this could have triggered someone pretty badly. I know people who are terrified to go out anywhere right now, not because they are afraid of the virus, but out of fear of something like this happening to them. The same anxiety issues that cause panic attacks if they wear a mask is causing panic attacks over the possibility of being abused for not wearing a mask. 😦

The garage, on the other hand, was completely different. There weren’t even any signs anywhere, and the owner doesn’t wear a mask, himself. Physical distancing is easy, and he is very thorough about hygiene. As we were chatting, I mentioned what had just happened, and told him again how much I appreciate him!

I noticed, as I parked my van, that he had the most adorable little picnic table outside, just big enough for two. Being such a lovely day, that’s where I went after I left my keys with him. (It’s not like there are any coffee shops or the like, where I could just sit and wait! They are all take out, only.) I saw a few others going in and out, some with masks and some without, while I waited. It is clearly – and deservedly – a very popular garage.

Since I don’t have rims on my winter tires, it took a while for him to do the switch. I’m going to have to get a spare set of rims. This job would be done a lot faster, if I did! Mind you, tires without rims are a lot lighter and easier to manhandle out of the back of the van, to where they get stored in our garage! 😀

When he was done and I went in to pay, we started chatting again. He remembered a little bit about where we lived and had some questions.

After I double check with the renter to make sure cows aren’t on the other quarter section, I will be giving him permission to go deer hunting over there. 🙂

With the days being so short, once I was home, I grabbed a quick supper, then headed outside to putter about the yard while there was still light out.

I just had to go to the outer yard to get pictures of the sunset! It was stunning!

I always get a giggle out of seeing the cat paths! We have them all over, but this one is probably the most well worn! 😀

One of the things I wanted to get done was to cover the roof of the kibble house with a tarp. The rest will be fine until we can paint it next spring or summer, but the roof has screw holes from the boards we took off of it, and I don’t want moisture to get into them. I don’t have proper cordage right now, so I ended up using the cotton yarn I used to make a trellis for the cucamelons. I wanted to make sure it was secured as flat as possible, so nothing will catch and blow in the wind. The yarn isn’t particularly strong, so I was using a lot of it.

Unfortunately, by the time I was finishing up, it ended up a big tangled mass that the cats were just loving! I had to stop and untangle it, so I could finish the job.

About and hour or two later, the girls came out to check on me. 😀

By then, it was fully dark, and I was working by porch light. A pair of skunks had come out and pulled one of the kibble containers to the ground, so I chased them off, but they came back to each the kibble that spilled into the grass. I was too entangled to chase them off again, so one of my daughters did it for me. 🙂

Then she noticed where a cat had chewed through the yarn. LOL

My other daughter took over untangling the yarn while I went back to tying down the tarp on the kibble house. The cats had left me just enough to do it!

Well, at least a little bit got done outside before I got side tracked! My daughters’ tulips got a good layer of leaves to mulch them, though we will probably add more before we’re done. 🙂 The other bulbs should be fine; only the tulips need the extra effort.

If we have time, I hope to clean the ashes out of the fire pit, in case we want to use it over the winter. There isn’t a lot, but with the blocks to hold up the cooking grill, there isn’t as much room for ashes as there used to be.

I’m looking forward to getting back outside tomorrow! 🙂 I definitely plan to enjoy the mild weather, while I can!

The Re-Farmer

Can you tell?

Yesterday morning, when I went outside to feed the critters and do my rounds, it had already been snowing for quite some time. I had to brush several inches of snow off the platform bird feeder, but the deer feed just got put on the ground in the usual places.

Of course, it got completely buried.

By this morning, when I went to put more feed out, I found this.

Can you tell the deer were here? 😀

That is all deer tracks, except for my foot path closer to the house, and you can see where they dug into the snow to reach the feed (where you can see I’ve placed more feed).

There were a lot of fresh tracks under the overhanging branches of the spruces, as well as by the apple trees, and paths from where they jump the fences to get into our yard.

It looks like we got a lot more visitors than our usual group of 3, plus the loan buck! Either that, or they just came back more often.

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: west fence line and maple grove

Today turned out to be too cold and damp to do the mowing between the trees I cleared last year, that I hoped to do today. I thought I might be able to at least use my reciprocating saw to cut some of the smaller stumps of trees I took down last year to ground level, so I could mow over them. In the end, I decided it was just too damp to drag out the extension cords and use electric tools.

Instead, I worked on an area I left partly unfinished last year; a double row of elms leading to the garden gate at the west fence line.

Here is how it looked before I started.

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Prepping the old dog houses

Yesterday, after picking the crab apples, I had time to start working on the old dog houses, as part of our winterization plans for them. We were getting severe thunderstorm alerts and, looking at the weather radar, it looked like these ones were not going to miss us, so we rushed to get a bunch of things done outside. The girls put the sheets of metal roofing back on the old garden shed that had blown off from the last storm, but there was no way to nail them in place, so they strapped them down, instead. Then they helped me move aside the dog houses, so I could work on the space under them.

The main issue was that the ground is not level, resulting in one of the dog houses tending to rock back and forth.

This was part of why that was happening.

Nothing like a big ol’ tree root to mess things up!

To try and level it, I first used a garden fork to dig things up and loosen the soil. After that, I used a garden rake to try and level the area as much as I could.

Which the kittens absolutely loved.

I then put the sheets of Styrofoam insulation back, but lay them out differently this time, after noting some issues from how we had it before.

I happened to have a sheet of dollar store tarp in the garage, so I used it to basically hold the 4 sheets of insulation together – and I hope it will serve to protect it a bit from the cats, who like to use the foam to sharpen their claws! LOL

Then I snagged a daughter to help me move the dog houses back again.

The kittens love it!

I have a couple more sheets of insulation that I plan to slide under the dog houses, so the kittens aren’t going to be able to play under there for much longer. 😀 Later, when we get a straw bale to cover our septic tank, I plan to add start around the dog houses. We are also looking at ways to use the sheets of black tarp that I cleared from the old wood pile to further shelter and winterize these for the cats.

Not long after this was done, we did get hit with a pretty wild thunderstorm. We promptly lost our internet, and even the power flickered off and on several times, though we never lost it completely. I later saw photos taken in town, where there was some flooding in the streets.

Looking at the long range forecasts, we might get storms throughout tomorrow and into early the next morning, before things clear up. We’ve had enough rain that I might actually have to mow the lawn one more time before putting the mower away for the winter!

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: old wood pile area, a bit of progress

I didn’t get as much done cleaning up in the old wood pile as I’d hoped, but a little is better than none!

This is most of the area I focused on today. I got more old pallets out, and a bit more rotten wood. For the most part, it’s too rotten to even pick up, but I’m hoping to at least get out the pieces with nails. I also cleared out some saplings that were in the wood pile my sister and her husband had made in the big garden, the summer before we moved out.

Most of the pile in the foreground is what I’d move there last year. I had intended to find uses for it, but I have access to better types of wood than I knew of back then, so I will be adding it to the chipping pile. I’ve got cherry wood set aside, and I have more than enough to work on, so any more cherry I take down is going to the chipping pile, too. There is still some apple wood I’d set aside by the old dog house. I’ll see what condition it’s in as I move it, before I make any decisions about it.

The pile of debris is growing, and I’m at a loss as to what to do with it. With the possibility of nails being in there, I can’t compost it, but there is so much soil in there, I just don’t think it’ll burn well.

I think, after I clean up more around the outhouse, I’ll spread it in the back. There is an access to the pit under the outhouse there, so it can be emptied as needed, so it should be kept open and clear. It’s not an area that will get traffic, to the risks of people finding nails is lower, and we certainly won’t be gardening or anything back there.

That’s one possibility, anyhow.

I did find a few things while moving pallets out.

A bent piece of sheet metal, two electrical insulators, and a perfectly intact tea cup – not even a chip on it! – buried under the pallet fence.

Weird!

In between working on this, we got some progress on the garden area we mulched, and had some company, but I will write about that in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer