Wednesday, May 21, 2008


At the grand age of fifty-seven, I had no idea I would be trying to find and hire a sitter.

But instead of looking for someone to look after my child, I am looking for one who will stay with the dogs while we're away for

It's become a roaring business...this pet sitting. Pet walk
ers, pet sitters, pet runners...the list goes on and on, with merchants taking hold of the idea that pets can substitute for children and running with it, by opening huge centres for doggies daycare, pet foods and accoutrements.

And I am grateful for it...the people who do this work are angels, in my eyes, and quite possibly, in my dogs' eyes, as w

There are kennels and then there are kennels. The boxed in dog, the one who is not allowed to socialize, the one who is not exercised...this dog is
not a happy dog, no matter what kennel owners say to the owner who might call to see how their pet is faring.

And the dog carries memories...certain actions will trigger the dog's recollection of a time when he was left behind at a less than perfect kennel. Certainly not a spa, as I once thought of them.

I know, because this is what happened to Lucky.

He was thin as a rail, when he
returned to us, after a month in an unknown, to us, kennel. Always a sensitive dog, his sensitivity had now become outright fear. He now trembled at the slightest thing. We had worked with him, over the years, calming him and teaching him that the World was not such a scary place. We succeeded, for the most part, notwithstanding Thunder and fireworks.

But, at the kennel, he tried to chew his way out. He chewed through a sheet of plywood. Lucky ha
s never chewed anything, not even a juicy bone, for long. I feel he must have been beyond desperation.

It is amazing what lack of attention and exercise will do to a once perfectly mannered dog.

He is returning to us, our Lucky. The fearful look is leaving hi
s eyes. Although he is not completely relaxed or peaceful for long these days, he is getting better...he is slowly forgetting. And opening his big heart to us once more.

So. I hired a pet sitter, and a very organized, loving lady she is. I could not bear the thought of Lucky, even with Nate along this time, being encased in a small enclosure, reminding him of a time which seemingly had no end...

Our sitter will sleep here, will exercise and feed...doing all the things a responsible dog owner does for their pets. She met both dogs yesterday; the instant they met her, they were in love. She gives massages, she knows all the spots a dog might have that needs a scratch, s
he knows about belly rubs.

Nate let me know, later, that I had done a good thing...and
praise from old Natey is rare indeed.

Both dogs, you see, know we are planning a trip. They can tell. Especially after receiving a bath. And we talk about it between ourselves, talking about Graydon and Bree, the route to the Coast, the time in Vancouver. We bring out the suitcases. They read my mind...they see the pictures of the stores I plan to shop in, in their own minds.

And nowhere, in the visualizations they are receiving from me, are two dogs, a red and a black, included.

As the sitter and I took them out, both dogs behaved impeccably
. Both marched down to the lower bench, side by side, did their business, sniffed a bit...but the instant I called, they marched back up to me, again side by side. As if they were putting on a show.

I've certainly never seen them do that.

I had told the sitter they were terrors, chasing any and all movement in the bush. About not coming to me, when they were called. A host of complaints, but those dogs were on to me. They behaved as if they were children who, mischievous at home, stay at a friend's place and become models for childhood.

I imagine she will have no difficulty with these two, since, just by her presence, just by the energy she was giving them, they behaved like they were trained to the hilt.

It's one of the few times I have seen a dog whisperer at wo
rk. And it is a wondrous thing.

After she left, Nate put his big head on my knee, and with eloquent eyes, told me this was the right thing to do, this time.

And I agreed. With gratefulness in my heart to the Powers-That-Be, those guides and guardians who look out for me and mine, and from whom I had asked for aid, I will look forward to the freedom this sitter gives us.

Isn't it amazing. When I remember to ask for help, the solution is found. And I've found I don't have to do much more than remember to
ask, to pray for an answer...and then leave it in Spirit's hands, not worrying or thinking about it further.

Having total faith the problem will be solved. That's the ticket.

So, leaving the dogs in the best hands possible, I will enjoy all those visualizations I've had of greeting my family and shopping in choice stores.

All thanks to a sitter...and Spirit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Gift of Violets

There are moments when I doubted this move to the Cariboo. And there will probably be more.

But on Mother's Day, on a walk around the property, I found these tiny, bluish-purple Violets. And they are blooming all over, under Trees and Bushes, in the open Grass, never minding the hooves, paws and feet tro
mping on their gentle, raised faces. They show me what resilience is.

re are many signs of other wild flowers just on the verge of popping into bloom. At the moment, we have rain...after two days of very lovely warm weather. And there is even warmer weather forecast...perfect conditions for growing.

As it looked as if Spring was finally beginning, I took the opportunity to plant a few tubs on the deck last week, just before Mother's Day, crossing my fingers they would be protected enough against Frost. The Dogs, contentedly gnawing on bones, had grown drowsy and had retreated to their beds for a nap.

I continued, letting my hands feel the soil, taking the baby plants and tucking them into the earth tightly. I gave each a blessing, feeling the Reiki energy flow from my hands. I felt the special warmth in return, from each Plantlet.

Intent on let
ting creativity and harmony flow, I became unaware of anything outside my sphere of work. So when I looked up, straight into the eyes of Mule Deer who happened to be browsing next to the deck, as unaware of me as I was of him, it took me aback.

We stared at each other, startled yet not. His jaw stopped its sid
eways motion, becoming still. It seemed we greeted each other, as we gazed and gazed. And then he continued browsing, slowly moving away...and I went back to my work.

Once again, I focused my attention completely on planting. I glanced up to reach for scissors...and saw Owl, his huge wings spread, his legs extended, silently and with deadly speed, grasp a small bird in his great claws. The small bird, a youngster, had been as intent as I, as he foraged for what was to be his last meal. Owl tried to rise...and out of nowhere Mama Bird arrived and attacked Owl, to no noticeable avail.

But it gave Owl the lesson of awareness as well, since he was taken completely by surprise. It is good, at times, to repeat lessons, even for Owl.

Mama was no match for Owl, however, as he flew off with his prey. And Mama Bird lost a child, no matter how hard she fought...

There are no prisoners, I thought to myself, as I went back to planting, a little chastened by what I had seen.

The dogs came out, perhaps to see what the desperate noise Mama had made was about. But all became quiet and drowsy once again, with Wind gently swishing his way through the Fir Trees...and both dogs once again retreated to their beds.

I found my way off the deck, to the lower bench to retrieve a rake I had left leaning against another Tree. Just as I was about to grasp the rake, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Black movement.

It was Black Bear. I had noticed signs for awhile; scat cau
ght on the bottom of shoes is as sticky as fresh toffee and many stumps had been torn apart, in his search for insects. And the dogs would exhibit nervous behaviour, when he was about, pressing closely to me.

It was only the second sighting, however...on the first, I barely caught a glimpse of his rear end. Seeing a full frontal view confirmed my suspicion...he was a big Bear.

And I was off the deck, where I usually watch wildlife. It tak
es no special courage and gives great safety, to watch from the high deck.

Thoughts ran through my mind...would I make the steps to the deck easily? I continued to watch Bear. I would have to climb...and I was clumsy, at the best of times, at climbing the side of the drop-off to the lower bench.

Bear's vision is poor; he relies on his keen sense of smell. He waved his enormous head back and forth, and stood on his hind legs. I prayed the dogs would remain asleep. And that I was right in my assumption he was a male...if he was a female and had babies about she wanted to defend...

When he stood up, I decided I had stayed off the deck lo
ng enough. Clumsy or not, I managed the climb, glancing over my shoulder. He had dropped to all fours; still, he waved his massive head about, grunting as he did.

All I wanted was the safety of the deck, behind the latched gate, before the dogs woke up. As Bear started his unique bawl, I felt sure it was only minutes before both dogs would tear out of the house...

But I made it. I closed the gate, just as the dogs started a thunderous barking. Bear decided it was not worth his time to investigate further, and turned, making his way down the knoll.

I calmed the dogs, who were wide awake, sure of their safety on the deck, and were giving Bear what for with ferocious growls and barks.

What kind of energies were about which were sending these animals here, altogether, on this day? And then, I remembered Coyote's odd behaviour the day before.

Coyote had visited for a long time, sitting on the same knoll and watching us on the deck. He wouldn't leave even as the dogs set to barking and growling, even when we shouted at him. It seemed to me he was not going to leav
e, until he received the answers he was looking for.

He was silver and huge, with bright, blue eyes that bored into mine, almost hypnotizing in their intensity. Previously, I thought Coyote had yellow eyes, but not this one.

Imperiously, as an Emperor might, Coyote left only when he was ready. Perhaps he felt he had made his point.

I was a little rattled, with all the animal visitations. Was I passing whatever test was being given? Were the animals, either at peace or on the hunt, letting me know who lived here? Never before had all these animals shown up on the same day.

Or was it something else entirely?

Could Katrina be sending me gifts, for Mother's Day, of animal friends, sending me her love via Owl, Bear, Deer and Coyote? My question, which made my eyes well up, was answered by the loving wave of energy which suddenly engulfed my very being.

And it was answered further still, a little later, by a s
mall brown bird, who flew into the house, quite unconcerned about dogs. I have written about Small Brown Bird before; I associate her with visitations from Katrina.

She's not shy, this Bird. And the dogs ignore her, strange behaviour in itself. She flew around the big, open area, settling herself here and there. I went into the old kitchen area, a very small room off the open living space. She followed me in, onto the cabinets, where she sat, watching me grab a soft towel.

She followed me out, and sat on the dining table. She hopped onto the back of a chair; I saw my chance to settle the towel over her, hoping thereby to take her out of the house.

She sat quietly, and I fumbled the towel, as I tried to drop it over her as gently as I could. The towel dropped to the floor.

She flew under the table; I couldn't reach her there, and she had a great view of the room. She flew next to Lucky; I held my breath. Lucky lifted his head, they communed, and she flew to the window.

Small Brown Bird waited there, as I opened the window. She hopped to the sill and sat there, ruffling her feathers a bit, making sure every tuft was in place before she faced her world...

Tears flowing strongly at this point, I watched through wavering sight as she flew to the Tree next to the deck and chirped loudly, before she flew off...

I knew the visitations were over, for this Mother's Day, at least.

A gift of Violets and strong, positive, loving energy...what more could a mother ask?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mother's Day and Ticks

I met a fellow the other day at the new post office...a sort of gathering place for all of the folks in the 150. New faces are becoming the norm these days, as more and more people from the South and elsewhere take advantage of lower property prices here.

Since mine was a "new face", so to speak, and he was obviously an old timer who knew everybody but not me...he wandered over to where I was attempting to add a copy of the Newspaper to my already piled pieces of mail in my arms. I ended up dropping the mail and he ended up by helping me retrieve the scattered pieces.

He thereby read my name on the letters, with absolutely no shame. But he was convivial and introduced himself, telling me he had arthritis, too. He got it from his mother, he told me. She'd been bedridden with a twisted body at the end of her life, and she had told him then he would get it.

And so he did.

However, he told me, he never forgot her on Mother's Day. If he forgot that day, he said, she might pile something even worse on him. So he always took flowers to her grave.

This seemed like an in depth kind of conversation with a virtual stranger, but people are like that here. I have heard many histories of people and their families, from individuals I will possibly never connect to again.

I tried to explain to him that although genetics play a large part in the arthritic, his mother didn't "give" it to him, as she might a flu virus.

He said I didn't know his mother.

We wandered to the car, talking of this and that...the weather, mostly, and his hay crop. After he had satisfied his curiosity as to what kind of vehicle I might be driving, he got into his truck and drove off, happy to have some news to share with his wife about a new arrival in the 150.

And, of course, I pondered on the conversation, as I drove home.

It is Tick season, here in the Cariboo. They were not really prevalent, in my experience, on the Coast...I never saw a Tick until I went to the prairies.

Rather suddenly, I find I have an aversion to walking through the bush. This is not normal for me, I have no fear of clutching vegetation and rotting logs. But, I discover, I do have a fear for what is awaiting my energy signature on those plants that brush against my body. I do have a rather unreasonable fear of Ticks.

I've researched them. I've talked with people who have had experience with Ticks, and I tell myself they are still here to tell the tale. I read that Ticks fall off the host, after they've satiated themselves. Admittedly, some species can leave behind diseases, like Lyme Disease and paralysis and some that can kill, but this is not common here, in this area, according to the information I've read.

The man's story jogged my memory. I was very young when my mother pointed out the bushes and grasses on our homeplace which, in her opinion, were loaded with Ticks. I was not to go in amongst Grasses and Ferns and Bushes because then I would come home with Ticks. She was not going to remove the Tick, she told me with a shudder, she just couldn't.

I didn't explore our territory, that year. If my mother wasn't going to take a Tick out of my body, who was? These Ticks must be horrendous, real monsters. In my imaginative little brain, I conjured up an image of a bloated ball of blood attached to my shrinking body...

And my mother's fear and belief became my own.

This made me wonder. All those fears or beliefs I had when I was a young many of those did I pass along to my children?

Quite possibly, all of them. I know my daughter sees through the Forested Jungle of Tangled Beliefs with which she and her sister grew up, finding her own wisdom...and passing a better way on to my grandchildren. I know it everytime we talk.

This is the way it is between mothers and their children.

Just by a chance meeting, I discovered where my horror with the lowly Tick had originated. The illogical part of the fear has lessened, quite considerably, although I won't go searching one out. But I have stopped the hypersensitive itching which occurred, every time I walked outside.

And I still think they're creepy little creatures.

My mother, who passed on last summer, probably had a hand in orchestrating the whole chance meeting...and to her, I send a very special Mother's Day Greeting.

And to all Mothers, have a very joyous Day!

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Once upon a time, I considered myself a fairly knowledgeable gardener/landscape designer.

Having grown up on the mild BC coast, I know Rain Forests and the kinds of plants that grow there. I know the humussy earth, the moist climate, the sometimes wet and soggy, boglike conditions plants are exposed to, on the Coast.

After forty years of gardening in the jumbled jungle of a Coast forest, where, if one is not vigilant, entire beds can be taken over, in the blink of an eye, with Tree seedlings and lush, green weeds, I find myself on a property that offers dry Forest land, moist Forest land and Grasslands, with extremely varied weather patterns.

Our property slopes down from a Plateau. There are valleys and benches and draws, giving me a whole different perspective to the Zonal charts regarding plant hardiness. There are sheltered areas and open areas and fully shaded areas. During this year, I will watch to see where Snow drifts cover, where plant life is protected from Frost and where Wind hits the hardest.

The moist Forest land is hardly close to Coastal Forest land, either, with regards to the degree of moisture. But it does have an abundance of Moss and Ferns, for which I am very grateful, having a deep, abiding love for the lovely Spring green slashes of colour scattered here and there.

And the dryer Forest land? It has wild wood strawberries, patches and patches of them. I have no idea how they can grow so prolifically, since the soil feels like dust to me. This soil sticks to shoes like glue if it gets wet. Fir needles cushion most of the area...also sticking like glue to shoes when wet. Lichen is prolific, both in the dryer areas as well as the wet.

The Grasslands show signs of Lupin, Columbine, Raspberries and Saskatoon berries, and whole mounds of Kinnickinnic and of course, lots of different Grasses. This whole area is in Sun for most of the day and this soil seems very dry, as well. In a few weeks, all the Wildflowers will show their faces and the Berries will ripen, giving me a better indication of what else is growing here.

Wind also announces the weather with great gusto, making last year's dead Grasses and Shrubs bend their spent seed heads as if in prayer and whipping Trees about. The sticklike Aspen and Birch look as if they could snap at any moment, during one of those announcements. That kind of Wind could certainly harm any plant I might consider placing against the house.

Nature does a great job of gardening here, in the back yard. Much better than me.

Our house, on the other hand, has had no landscaping done around it. It sits as if it was suddenly placed here by a giant hand from above, onto a small, flat area. There is no curb appeal. There is no formal driveway or walkway to the front door. The house has huge windows and a deck out the back; in front, the windows are smaller, making it look stingy, with no character.

And there is the little lime green and white garden shed I want to incorporate into the scheme of things.

Landscaping and hardscaping will change all that. Since I find the climate, the soil, and the relative arid conditions here slightly daunting, I will find a landscaper, someone who knows the area, to give me advice.

There is much to take into consideration, besides the soil and climate. I want to build a driveway which can be cleared of Snow easily in Winter, without the plough running into Boulders or Logs. I want to build a fence; one which will give the dogs a sense of boundaries. As well, I will have to decide where I want this fence to go, since it is impractical to fence in the whole of the property.

Walkways...shall I choose gravel or slate or concrete? What will work best in Snow and Ice? Raised beds...would these be useful against the house, or will plants in these beds warm up too soon in Spring, leaving themselves open to Frost attacks?

So many decisions...I believe it is time to call in reinforcements. I can get slightly overwhelmed (to say the least) when my intuition has gone elsewhere. When I can't rely on strong gut feelings, when I feel myself swimming in deep, dark waters...I need advice.

It's not often I'm stumped, when it comes to gardening. I feel, here, as if I am beginning again, learning a new way. My gardener's gut tells me to find someone who knows...

I'm very grateful my intuition didn't desert me totally.