Friday, June 29, 2018

My Staycation, by Maggie

Hi. Maggie here. My mama told you about her trip to the mainland, or at least the Hearts on Noses part, so I'm gonna tell you what I did while she was gone. (She didn't take me, because there were too many things I couldn't go to, and Mama doesn't leave me alone in strange places or in cars).

I gots to have a stay-cation. You know what that is, right? It's like a vacation, except you don't need suitcases or nothing, because you sleep in your own home. During the day, you sometimes go out and do things you don't often get to do.

My paws aren't good at fixing my food or getting out my medicines, and I'm sure not gonna try to give Allie the Cat her medicines, so our friend Nancy came to stay with us. My Mama used to volunteer with her at RASTA sanctuary, and sometimes she comes here to visit us or we go for a walk together. She looked after us a few weeks ago for a night when my Mama had to make a quick trip to the mainland then too. But just for one night. This time it was for FIVE nights. That's a lotta nights. And it hasta be seven times as long for a dog as for a hooman.

But I had a good time, and I was a really, really, really good dog. Really. I hadda be, because Nancy sent a report and photos to my mom Every Night. And no one wants their staycation cut short by a bad report! Nancy even let me use her photos for this blog. That's cause mama took my our her camera with her, so I couldn't take any photos myself.

My Mama left Thursday morning, and later Nancy took me and her dog Haven (yes, Haven came to stay with us too. Haven's a great big bouvier . She's bouncy and big - did I mentions she's big? - but even Allie likes her) - anyway, Nancy took me and her dog Haven for a walk on the sea walk. Haven and I checked all the good sniffin' spots to see who else had been there today.

We also spent some time in the garden. Mostly, I napped. But I saw Nancy reading the thick wad of instructions my mama had left for her, so I went over to make sure Mama remembered to tell her I get treats at least eleventeen times a day. Mama hadn't remembered. :(

Whatd'ya mean, she didn't say I get treats eleventeen times a day?
She musta just forgotten!

On Friday, we went to Grace Rd Park. I had to ride in Nancy's car for that one. I had my harness and seat belt, and my purple blankie that I travel with, and I even shared the back seat with That Big Bouvier, Haven.

It's a good thing this car is bigger than Mama's -
I don't think a sheltie and a bouvier would fit on her back seat! 

I've been to Grace Rd Park before wiv Mama and Auntie Pat, but Nancy took us up a different trail to some fields. That was fun! We walked and rested and walked and sniffed and had a great time.

On Saturday, we went to Westholme. In the car again. Nancy lives near Eves Park when she's not petsitting, so we got to go for a walk there - through the forest and up to the bluffs. First I got to meet her roommate's dog, Ybur. He's nice. So he came with us on our walk. Then we all chilled at Nancy's for awhile. I was even respectful to her cats, Ecco and Clarence Bob. Clarence Bob 😼😁😁😁 - isn't that a great name for a cat?

My Mama likes this photo Nancy took of me! 

Me, Haven, and Ybur, hanging out at Nancy's.  

Hey, Nancy, y'need to get some DUCKS for this pool!

On Sunday, we went to a secret cove in Maple Bay. Okay, it's not a secret to the person who owns it, who happens to be a friend of Nancy's. So we were allowed to go there. Didn't see no ducks though. But it was pretty and very peaceful.

Later that day, there was a thunderstorm. I ran around the house sounding the alarm, but no one seemed too panicky so eventually I settled down.

On Monday, Nancy had to go to work so my Auntie Pat came over to take me for a walk in case I hadn't done my business (I usually do it on my morning walk) (Oops, Mama says that might be Too Much Information, aka TMI). Anyway, she did. She came over and took me out. She didn't take any photos (or at least, I don't think she did) but she helped me send a facebook message to my mama later. Here's what I messaged Mama:

Hi Mama, My auntie Pat came over this morning and I was really happy to see her I gave her my happy Sheltie bark and wagged my tail. She opened the door and I didn't bolt out or anything. Then she said we were going for a walk and she tried to put my harness on.......she sure was stoopid trying to do that so I had to show her how it worked by lifting my leg up for her We went down to the sea walk and because we weren't with those Poms five different people told me how bootiful I was.We didn't see any ducks even tho the tide was way way out. I had 2 pees but no poop and then auntie Pat said it was time to turn around because it started getting too hot and she was worried about me. She said she wished she had put me on my flexi so I could have more room to walk but you scared her by saying I might bolt. When we got back to the house she sat with me some more [outside, in the garden] in case I had to poop but I just sat there so she could pat me some more. Auntie Pat said you would be home soon. I miss you Mama. Love Maggie

Well, I don't know what Auntie Pat's definition of 'soon' is, but it was at least another twenty-four hours before Mama came home. On Tuesday, Nancy took Haven and me to the beach here in Crofton and the tide was waaaaaay out, so we walked and walked along the shoreline, past the rocks and muck, until we reached SAND! I showed Nancy what I do when my paws hit sand - I leaped and barked and ran and barked and showed my happy happy face. Nancy says Mama and I need to move somewhere that has lots of sandy beach. My Mama thinks so too. So do I.

Me and Haven on the beach at Crofton

And that was my staycation. Oh, and you'll notice this was all about me. Allie was fine too. Nancy even sent Mama a photo of Allie being fine. But most of the photos were of MeMeMeMeMe.

Allie, because Mama sez the post shouldn't be All About Me. 

Mama says sometimes I'll get to go with her when she goes away (road trip!) and sometimes we'll just have Nancy come take care of us. That's fine with me - I got to go lots of interesting places. Thanks, Nancy and Haven!

Love, Maggie. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

(All photos courtesy of and copyright to Nancy R, and used with permission).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Visiting Old Friends

I have just returned from a trip to the mainland to attend my nephew's Celebration of Life and to visit old friends. One of those friendship visits was to Hearts on Noses, the pig sanctuary for whom I once fostered Scotch, Soda, and their ten babies.  Those babies will be ELEVEN next month, which means Scotch and Soda are likely around 15, as they were full grown when they arrived at my little acreage.

Here's a few of my favourite photos from my visit to the sanctuary:

First to greet me was Chilco, one of two dogs at the sanctuary.
In this photo, he was staring intensely at a bug crawling across
the spot of dirt where he wanted to lie down!
I'm not sure what Janice was saying, but I love how the pig (Cotton? Pete?)
is so attentive and engaged. Don't you wish all your conversation partners were this interested in what you have to say?

What would a photoshoot be without the twelve I fostered from 2007-2009?
That's Janice watching over the fence, volunteer Jana filling the water dishes, and Lacey grazing in the background.

Scotch, you've grown a bushy beard! 

Looking after pigs is thirsty work! 

Roscoe, in one of his calmer moments.
Anyone remember the time Roscoe knocked me over in the poop corner while I was trying to build his pen? You can read about it here: The handywoman, the pig, and the hot summer's day

I think he has mellowed a bit since then - well, sometimes.  I love this series of photos of volunteer Magda sharing a cuddle, some lovings and some greens with him:

There was a new family of volunteers the day I visited.  The son, Ryan, took some time to get to know Roscoe.
Ryan meets Roscoe
(photo posted with parental permission)

Rose, beautiful Rose - one of the first Hearts on Noses piggies I met, back around 2006 I think - when she was little enough to be a house pig and opened the fridge door, pulled open the crisper, and took off running with a bag of food!

Rose still gets excited about food -
I was distributing peanuts. 

Scotch the pigapotamus!

Of course, there are always a few critters who find their own way to the sanctuary,
and know a good thing when they see it!

Lots of healthy green grass for the pigs to munch on!

Whisper, Rob Roy and Fizzy
They always followed me around when I fostered them,
and were the first of the twelve to run up to me when I visited the other day.
One has flopped over for a belly rub! 

Maggie stayed home with a petsitter while I was on the mainland.  I think she wants to tell you about that herself - tomorrow, perhaps!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This is for Marie!

Today I had a lovely visit from my friend Marie. If you read the comments on my blog, you'll know she is one of a small handful of people who actually leaves a comment fairly regularly. And if you've followed my blog for a long time, you may remember her dog Sparkle, who I wrote about back in 2013. Okay, your memory probably isn't much better than mine, so in case you want to check it out, here's the post called "A Little Sparkle on the Island" (just click on that title).

But I digress. Marie came to visit today - her brother lives just a couple of blocks away, and when I bumped into him the other evening and he mentioned she was in town, I jumped at the chance to see her. Sparkle didn't come this time - Sparkle is happily herding horses and chasing chickens on her favourite dog-sitter's farm back home. But Marie and I had a lovely visit, and Maggie decided she was an okay person (I think the treats had something to do with that - bribery, sheer bribery! πŸ˜„).  In the course of our conversation, Marie mentioned how much she missed my blog when I go for long stretches of time without a word or a photo. 

Marie is one of about three followers of this blog who have not yet been dragged into Facebook.  And therefore she, and the other two followers, don't get to see the photos I post there. So I promised her I would post something either tonight or tomorrow night. 

All you facebook people can move along now - you've seen these photos already.  This is for Marie.

About three weeks ago, on May 25th, my friend Pat and I took Maggie and the Poms to the beach at Parksville,  Given how much they loved our recent trip to Saratoga Beach, we figured that was a good outing for a beach addicted sheltie, a water-addicted pom, and a pom who hates to hike. It also happened to be Maggie's Gotcha Day (one year since the day I adopted Maggie home from the shelter), and when I asked Maggie what she wanted to do for her 1st Gotcha Day, she said 'BEACH'.

Or maybe she said 'TREAT'.   Or 'SLEEP'.  Who knows?  I'm not fluent in dog. But I'm guessing it was one of her three favourite things.

We had a wonderful day, but I never really processed the photos for the blog, because while I was thinking about it that evening, I received a message from Pat with sad news - her third and oldest pom, Chrissy, had passed away.  Chrissy was sixteen and was Pat's husband's constant companion.  I seldom saw him without Chrissy in the crook of his arm.

She was also my very favourite pom ever, as Pat well knows. She was feisty and funny, a girl with attitude and a Phyllis Diller hairdo.  I just couldn't post about a fun day at the beach after hearing that sad news.

Bye, Chrissy.  Have fun at the Rainbow Bridge!

And that news was followed three days later by the news of my nephew's sudden Maggie's Gotcha Day blog got sidelined by more somber things in my life.

Last week, we took the dogs back to Parksville Beach for another fabulous day, and this time I did get around to editing the photos.  They aren't as spectacular as the Saratoga ones, but they capture the joy two poms and a sheltie have on a sandy beach with oodles of sand and very few people.

Maggie goes from sedate to exuberant the minute her feet touch the sand! 

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!
(or:  barkbarkbarkbarkbark)

Pat and the Poms - she really did have two with her - one is out of the frame!
(I chose this image because I liked the reflection).
An assortment of sea treasures: going clockwise from top left - fine fish skeleton left by the eagles; jellyfish; sand dollar; seastar; sand collar (egg ring of Lewis's Moon Snail); red coloured crab moving sideways with sea grasses under water - probably a red rock crab; sole in sand; clam shell. Centre photo is a kelp crab.
I took this photo because I liked the couple's
 brightly coloured jackets against the blue sea and sky.

At the far end of the long expanse of sand, the shore becomes rockier.  There, many eagles were scouting for food among the rocks and shallows.  I counted six, but when I downloaded the photos to the computer, I realized there were at least a dozen, including several babies I'd not noticed through the lens.


Eagle and two young, who are learning to hunt and fly

Young eagle - possibly his/her first hunting lesson, judging by the fuzzy head
Trio of eagles

By the time we ate our lunch, the tide was so far out we could hardly see the ocean. It was one of the lowest tides of the year, a combination of a new moon, and the moon being in its northernmost orbit and at its closest position to the earth. There will be two similar low, low tides this summer - one on July 13 and one on August 11.

And there you have it - the missing entries (or some of them) that Facebook friends got to see and you missed out on.  I'll try to do better.  Really. 

And I'm already working on my annual July 1 Canada Day blog post. 

Have a safe trip back home, Marie.  And give Sparkle a gentle hug from me.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Remembering Peter

Today would have been his birthday.  Fifty-four years ago, I became an auntie for the first time when my nephew Peter was born.  And last month, on May 28th, Peter suddenly passed away.

I saw quite a bit of Peter when he was a little boy, and took great delight in the antics of he and his brother - playing with them, learning to skate with them, reading them stories.

Playing with my nephews many years ago

I seldom saw him during his teen and young adult years, due partly to geographic distance, but my sister filled me in on his activities and whereabouts, and every now and then we touched base at family events.

A teenage Peter with his dog

Peter and I dancing at a family event, 2005

In recent years, however, and especially since the death of my sister in 2011, we both made far greater effort to keep in touch and to strengthen the ties that bind our dwindling family.  It was Peter and his family who took me boating in the Salish Sea near my home summer before last, who shared meals with me on their boat and a day exploring my home turf last summer.

Peter on his boat, visiting his favourite (okay, his only) aunt on Vancouver Island.

I last saw Peter just over a month ago at another family event, where we had a lovely conversation about his daughter's accomplishments, and his and his wife's hopes and plans for the future.  He was a content and dedicated family man, married to his amazing wife for almost 24 years, and a most exceptional dad to a fifteen year old daughter, my great niece Kaia.

Peter was Kaia's primary caregiver, a 'stay-at-home dad' for lack of a better term.  He was the one whose job it was to supervise her, to chauffeur her, to listen to her, to mentor her, to plan and cook her meals (and what a great cook he was!), to do her laundry, to be her guide and to support and celebrate her passions.

Peter dancing with his daughter, 2005

Kaia is accomplished in the performing arts, and spends many hours a day in dance and vocal training at the Caulfield School Of Dance, while doing most of her academic schooling online.  This weekend is the School's year end performances "Connected" at the Terry Fox Theatre in Port Coquitlam BC.  And the final performance, this evening, is being dedicated by the dance school to Peter,  with a special performance by past and current members in his honor, and a solo by Kaia dedicated to the dad she will miss so very much.

And so, yesterday morning when I captured this photo of a heron taking flight,  I could think of no more fitting image for this tribute to Peter, for the heron seemed to be dancing, feet pointed downward, wingtips fluttering gracefully, like his beautiful daughter and her dance company as they send him soaring to the heavens tonight. As you look at it once again, please think of  the fifteen year old young woman giving what may well be the most difficult performance of her life, and the dad for whom she grieves.

We'll miss you, Peter.