She knows who, and she knows why.
The rest of you will have to wait for the story and more photos!
Grey skies and glassy waters make for good reflections at the marina.
I was trying to snap a row of seagulls on a rail without much success (a truck drove back and forth disturbing them repeatedly), but when I downloaded the photos, I had to laugh at what I'd captured. Look closely at the bird on the ground (you can click on any picture to enlarge it, then use your back browser to return to the blog) - I can't decide if this is a naughty boy seagull looking up the ladies' skirts, or if he is saying "Hey, up there! Don't poop on me!"
One of the cats at the empty house decided to let me know just how boring people with cameras have become.
The seagulls on the beach were busy scavenging as the tide went out. This one's eyes were bigger than his belly - or his throat - as he struggled repeatedly to swallow a small starfish. He didn't let me close enough for a good photo, but you can just see one starfish tentacle sticking out the beak.
Another shot of the boats, as we headed back home.
No gloomy Monday walk in January on the island is complete without looking for signs of spring - I forgot to photograph the pussywillows and snowdrops we saw on our walk, but just to torment my readers from central and eastern Canada and US, (and especially from Ontario where the temperatures are among the coldest in thirty years), here are a couple of photos taken in my yard when we returned from the walk:
And one last splash of colour with an interesting story behind it:
A couple of days ago, a reader contacted me via the link on the side of this blog, and shared with me a watercolour she had done in the summer of 1969 when she visited the island, sleeping in her little MG with her dog (!!!!!) as she travelled around painting. It is with her permission that I post the picture here. Thank you Cathy, for sharing your gift and adding such colour and beauty to a gloomy, grey Monday.
Watercolour, Saltspring Island from Mill Bay
(c) 2011 Catherine McNaughton
And then, last spring, I received an email from Martin’s new mama to say that ill health was forcing her dear friend and business partner to reconsider her participation in the care of the herd, and in the final shakedown, some of the animals would have to be rehomed. While I was not happy to hear this, I did understand – and I have a huge respect for animal caregivers who recognize their own physical and financial limitations. I see and hear of so many rescues/rescuers who lack the ability to recognize when they are overextended, and ultimately it is the animals who suffer.
As the person responsible for Martin’s initial rescue, many would say I should have taken him back and found him another home. The email came right at the time that my two shelties died just a week apart, and my mom had a medical crisis, and it was simply not possible for me to house him on my small village lot. And I was confident that Martin’s new mama shared the same values as I for selecting where he should go, and had a similar access to animal-loving networks. And so I stood back.
Sure enough, a person who does horse rescue offered to take on a small herd of alpacas, including Martin, and care for them while new homes were found. I was kept in the loop. The alpacas would only be placed in homes in pairs or more - no more lonely alpacas. I sponsored Martin to ensure his needs would be met, and just before Christmas received word that Martin and his best buddy Belvedere, a chocolate coloured senior alpaca, had been adopted by one of the horse rescue's foster homes.
So Martin is back on the mainland, this time in Northern BC, where he is being spoiled rotten by Serena and her family. Within days he was eating treats from her hand, coming up to the front fence to see what was going on, hanging out with the horses and ducks, and living the easy life.
He and Belvedere have a fenced pasture on which they can roam, a barn which they can go in and out of at will (their stall heated with infrared lamps in winter), and lots of attention. They each have their own feed bucket into which yummy grains are put each day – and then they both chow down from one bucket before both moving on to the second one. Silly alpacas!
Serena, his new mama, recently sent me these photos, and gave me permission to post them here.
I chose not to tell this story as it unfolded last summer because it was my dirty secret – I had failed to home Martin in a way that would ensure he would never lose a home again. But over the past few weeks, I decided that I will share his story, because I believe it is worth the telling. I still have no patience for people who adopt animals and then decide for frivolous reasons not to keep them, who view them as property, as commodities, an inconvenience, who think that having a baby is reason enough to dump a dog. But I also recognize that sometimes in life, sh*t happens, and life turns upside down and inside out, and the four legged family members have their lives turned upside down too. Ideally, a stable life where the whole family, human and animal, remain together is usually in each member's best interest, but sometimes it cannot be.
What is important, I think, is to ensure that the animal - whether dog or pig or alpaca or bird or pet rat - is provided with a secure environment, with good food, with fresh water, with companionship .... and with love. And that is something Martin has. He is a content, happy alpaca who has finally found his home. Thank you, Serena, for welcoming Martin and Belvedere.
For more stories on Martin's life with me and his transition to the alpaca herd on Vancouver island, check out some of these earlier posts:
Mischievous Martin, Pesky Pigs and Three Dawdling Dogs
Hey, Who Stole Martin?
The Grass is always Greener
An Alpaca gets the Zoomies
The Odd Couple
A Herd of His Own
Martin's Big Snip - Part One
Martin's Big Snip - Part Two
Martin's Big Snip - Part Three
And then there were none
Fun at the Farm
Back coverMy mother's oldest sister took her to the ballet, and mom kept the programme all these years. It is 17 pages long, with beautiful representations of dance, interesting descriptions, and several ads for Roaring Twenties fashions. We have been in touch with the Royal Opera House, who tell us highly decorated programmes such as this are very attractive and are often used in their exhibitions. This particular one is extremely rare, and my mother has agreed to donate it to the Royal Opera House for their collection. How cool is that?