Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 highs and holidays lows

Winter is reserved for dreamtime in several aboriginal cultures around the world.  A time of reflection, rebuilding, contemplation, planning, cleansing.  As 2014 looms on the horizon for the western world, I, too, am meditating on this past calendar year.

Along with my boyfriend, cousin and friends I hadn't met yet, I journey to the Great Continent after my usual months of Canadian employment.  Stunning diving; sunrises over sand dunes; terrifying car hires or, more specifically passing; seeing amazing creatures rumoured to be and actually in decline from poaching and habitat encroachment; coming face to face with the aftermath and rebuilding efforts of South Africa's apartheid; hilarious hostel mates all awaited.

A proposal to move in with my sweetie came while we were in Johannesburg.  I immediately dismissed it.  I reconsidered after my girlfriend that I usually rent from announced she was selling her house.  Mostly in cohabitation bliss, I was keen to add animals to the mix.  Every other week I was dog sitting, feeding cats or checking on fish but I wanted some critters actually in the house.

Enter: On Our Way Home Animal Rescue.  Within two days of expressing interest in fostering, we had two fraidy cats in the basement hiding in the walls, drawers and under the sofa.  They went to a barn where I hope they're chasing mice and snuggling together.  Two kittens (adopted quickly) and another adult female cat (that we'll likely keep) followed.

It has been my favourite volunteer gig.  There's always the 'isn't it hard to give them away when they're adopted?' question from others outside the Rescue.  Naw, I'm pumped that they're desexed and rehomed to loving and worthy owners.  It's also heartbreaking as hell when parvo rips through a foster's home and puppies die.  Despite the setbacks, it has been very rewarding to be a part of this great organization and watch its influence grow.

A few slow starts and underemployment marked this past summer and I finally had the time to take the Level 3 first aid course.  A rewarding and challenging two-week course that currently has me examining options on the way to paramedic.  Sitting on a construction project from Dawson Creek to Chetwynd reading my weight in novels every two week shift has been the reward.  And a fist full of cashola.

Dan and I recently returned from a great holiday that covered off Victoria and Calgary.  I am consistently blown away by the love within and generosity of his family.  I genuinely attempted to make it to Red Deer but Alberta in the winter still has tricks up her sleeve and our bus was turned around when the highway was closed due to REALLY scary conditions.

Bummed I wouldn't get to spend more time with my mother but also pleased I didn't have to watch my brother treat my mother SO poorly, I see it was a mixed blessing.  How much of Kevin's awfulness is brain injury and how much is him truly being an acewipe I do not know.

More cousin visits and playing pictionary into the night instead.

I have two favourite aunties.  One of them kindly and immediately opened her doors in Calgary when Dan and I were not able to make it to Red Deer.  Her father has been doing poorly for years and he finally passed in to the next world to join his wife.  I didn't know him well but truly I felt the joy and release of his ailing, tired and shell of a physical body.

So, thanks 2013 for new places and faces.

2014, Here's to health, fitness, travel, family, friends, job insecurity and animal rescue!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday begins!

"To freedom," Lou and I clinked wine in short tumbler glasses in our shared Dawson Creek apartment. Today is our last day of work til January 4, 2014.  That's in, like, a whole different year!

Good work news: nobody has cut their leg open, severed their hand off, had a concussion or otherwise given me any business.  A few slow speed maneuvers ditching trucks and equipment has been the extent of my worries.  Bad work news: I'm way too excited to see this company in my review mirror in January.

My coworkers are flying, driving back to where they're from tomorrow morning- with a few sneaking out early this arvo - and I can't wait to see my sweetie tomorrow night.

It has been four years since I was in Canada for Christmas and I'm feeling medium about the whole thing.  This snow and cold continues to be dreadfully inconvenient, the shortening days are playing with my happy hormones and I miss the cat.  And Dan.

My immediate family never large on presents with our relationships floundering in the vicinity of functional, or recently, civil, it's the investment of time I'm most looking forward to spending with family - mine and otherwise.  Generously given from tomorrow til Jan 4th off, Dan and I are visiting Victoria, Calgary and Red Deer to cover off our respective families.  Can't wait!

Monday, December 9, 2013

I haven't seen this month in a while

Normally countries and countries and countries removed from Canada at this point in the calendar, my body is rebelling at the temperatures, shortening photoperiod and difficulty of cultivating even window box herbs.  I repeatedly resemble a sleeping bag whenever I venture beyond centrally heated buildings or warmed vehicles.

Last week, as temperatures dipped in the mid thirties on the minus side accompanied by teeth-shattering north winds, I repeatedly questioned "What the F am I still doing here?"  Mercifully I was spared from working in it as I was on my scheduled week off and snuggled under most of the blankets in the house wearing at minimum four sweaters with a cat furnace somewhere in the mix.

Maybe Dan has a firmer hold on my heart than I have outwardly acknowledged.  Perhaps it's that the foster kitties continue to be SO freakin cute!  Or I am pumped to be meaningfully involved in the community as a volunteer, book club joiner, yoga doer, lady who lunches, member of the Chetwynd Outdoors Society and small business advocate.  All of the above in combination, sure.  I may be dreaming of warmer climes to come, but for now, I'm enjoying tea parties and hot meals with friends while gaining some first aid experience.

Well, kinda.  Nobody has needed my services yet.  It's still very puzzling to me that the job I am hired to do/requirement I am to fill I have yet to actually do.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Currently relocated to Dawson Creek for newly found work as a First Aid Attendant on a BC Hydro construction project, I was over the moon when Dan and the current kitties visited last night.  True, I have only been here a week, but a week away from where I'd rather be none the less.

Work days have been slow and the crew has not given me any business (good) I gave myself a goal of finishing one novel every two days.  A few town days and training sessions and I'm still on track.  Yan Martel's Beatrice and Virgil - spooky, twisted ending; Rajaa Alsanwa's Girls of Riyadh that points out the common threads of women everywhere; and Paul Theroux's latest and rumoured last travel memoir The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari - a brilliant first hand account of western Africa travel - are on their way back to Chetwynd's library.

When the temperature plunged to -29 with a windchill of -36 I earlier this week, I undoubtedly confronted Theroux's driving question: What am I doing here?

Taking advantage of a bigger center's Arts Scene, I was pleased to drop in on a great acoustic session by Winnipeg's Chris Carmichael.  Dawson Creek's Art Gallery hosts concerts throughout the year and Carmichael visited on Tuesday. Among the sparse audience numbering fewer than a dozen, his original rock, alt/country, blues, surf blues and cover songs were a welcome break from hanging out in my fancy, furnished apartment yearning for my friends and family elsewhere.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wilma, new foster kitten

Wilma joins us from a busy foster home in Fort St. John where there were three dogs and another cat.  In our comparatively quiet home, her and Millie are now mostly friends.  Mostly.

When not duking it out in the Kitty Battledome, they`re parkouring off the furniture and wrestling on top of our sleeping bodies.

They`re both total cuties and we`re still on the fence as to whether we`ll keep Millie or not.  Luckily we`ve been able to postpone that decision as no one has shown any interest in adopting her.

At the prompting of a well-connected woman, who is quickly becoming a favourite friend in Chetwynd, I attended a volunteer orientation at one of the primary schools at lunch.

Car free and usually care free, I debated the  merits of walking or cycling in a developing northern snow storm.

Both would get me out of the house. Pro.  I could get there faster cycling and read a novel longer.  Pro.  I was going to a school and they would have a bike rack.  HUGE Pro.  A book club mate and the inviter to the event had recently dislocated her shoulder from a cycling fall - on dry pavement - hmmm, possible con.

I cycled there.  It was chilly.  I felt hardcore.  The wind blew snow into my exposed face both ways.  Con, con, con.

There was delicious carrot soup waiting when I arrived at the school and two fun kitties when I returned home. Pro.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Least liked ice breaker

Billed as Life's Most Dangerous Question, I dislike it when I am working and even more so when I am not - and the latter is often.

"So, what do you do?"

I inwardly grimace and roll my eyes when meeting new people and sulk that this is their idea of small talk.  It's not an inquiry to my hobbies, volunteer interests, books I read, mountains/hills I scale, how I have mastered bread making or counties I would like to visit.  No, it is an imploration in to how the workforce values me and a subtle inquiry of income, status and rank.

Are we that bored or programmed that we can find no other common ground discussing things we like and are passionate about rather than the jobs we loathe?

I don't care if you're a stay-at-home Mom, science teacher, physician, farmer, bus driver, painter, cake decorator or struggling student.  What I am interested in is what you care about, where your dreams and passions lie, if we have similar hobbies.  If I wanted to network, I would have gone to a conference, professionals meet and greet or cruised around on Linkedin not attended a social gathering.

I was a member of my current book club for a half year before anyone asked me "what I did" or (and this one I liked) "what I did for the community."  The former forced me to admit after being laid off I had taken on a role that was inappropriate for my location and education while the latter allowed me to expand on the great work the local rescue, On Our Way Home Animal Rescue, has done in re-homing and rehabilitating surrendered, abandoned animals in the B.C. Peace while strengthening its presence from Mackenzie to Fort Nelson.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Leveled up, first town snow and Millie has a twin

An overnight wet snow thwarted my cycling into my Occupational First Aid Level 3 practical exam.  I had been cycling in each morning the three-ish kilometers (uphill) from home and was annoyed I wouldn't be able to do it for the final day.  

Cycling clears my head, the gentle incline into town revs up my heart rate and the twelve minute ride allows me to ponder and prepare for my day ahead.  I courageously cycle on the right hand shoulder of the highway for a couple hundred meters where a recent construction project by the town has destroyed a once-perfectly-usable pedestrian path (in its place is an awkward switchback with deep gravel that even those walking in get bogged down).  

For the past two weeks, I have been at the (allegedly haunted) Northern Lights College completing OFA Level 3.  It's a course I have been encouraging employers to put me through - when I had employers - and decided to do it myself when I had the time.  

Struggling to find work in the environmental field, successfully completing this course will hopefully give me a few more options in town and outside when I move on from the Peace.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Millie and Mabel photos

There's rumours brewing Mabel (Surerus) is being adopted on Thanksgiving weekend.  I snapped a few photos before we send her on her way to her furever home.

When we received Mabel (our name), she was barely off a bottle and in to wet and dry foods.  Now she's easily doubled in size and Millie has accepted her as a playmate and snuggle buddy.  I think Millie will miss her kitty girlfriend more than Dan and I will.

Dan and Mabel shortly after we agreed to foster her
Millie found Dan's headband
Mabel after morning kitty cuddle time

Monday, September 30, 2013

How to beet it?

Squash are the rabbits/mice/cats of the garden in that they produce like mad!  Most recipients of please-just-take-it squash are grateful for the gift and usually have uses in mind for it - chocolate zucchini loaves, muffins, cookies, spaghetti squash pizza crust or simply covered in fresh pasta sauces, acorn or butternut soups.

If not for my mother giving me my weight in green and yellow zucchini on a recent visit, I would have been relegated to buying it from local farmer's markets (good) or the oddly stocked local stores (bad).  

Zucchini is a vegetable that most people know what to do with it when your coworker/neighbor/family member downloads their overharvest.  

My squash plants this year grew great big leaves, curly cue climbers and had delightful flowers but no vegetables came from them.  I accidentally weeded leeks and garlic.  Carrots did well, spinach bolted and the brassica bug annihilated my late season kale.  Beets also flourished.  

Still in the ground, I don't know what to do with them.  There's only so much glory bowl in which I can grate fresh beets.  Borscht, maybe I'll give that a go.  Someone said roast them.  Another to make beet burgers.  If this autumnal rain stops, I'll slog out to the soil one last time for the last of this year's fresh northern veg.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wow weekend!

This past weekend has been one of those rare ones where I see the majority of my friends in Chetwynd, rest up and recharge for the week ahead and have a clean(er) house.

Another girlfriend has left town for a promising work opportunity and she called together her town friends and coworkers from the last two years for one last bash on Friday.  Pub-filling laughter bounced off the wooded walls before we spilled into the Indian summer night and wished each other well with intentions of staying in touch.

Happy and (mildy) hungover the next morning, Dan and I set out on bicycles to meet friends for breakfast at the pub we had left mere hours before.  In small-town style, we saw nearly all our friends that morning.  At the post office, thrift store, library, in their yard, ahh.

Mild house and yard work filled the time until we popped out to friends house outside town for dinner.  A stellar meal was in the making - roast moose and garden spuds, carrots, onion.

We resigned ourselves to a sleepover, made arrangements for a friend to come to the house and feed our foster kitties when another friend dropped in after (unsuccessfully) hunting the same animal we had just eaten.  Conversation flowed, laughter filled the vaulted ceilings and we bummed a ride back into town for the night.

A delightfully leisurely day followed with light walks, board games, BBQs and kitty cuddle time.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ride the trail for Elizabeth

Ride the Trail for Elizabeth: Cyclists Ride Together to Create a Safer Trans-Canada Trail

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, August 2013– Cyclists, supporters, family and friends will ride in solidarity to show support for Ride the Trail for Elizabeth, a cross country campaign to raise awareness and promote the completion of a Trans-Canada Trail that will be accessible and safe for cyclists.

Elizabeth Ann Slovis got on her first bike at the age of 50 and immediately fell in love. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Elizabeth, alongside her husband Edmund A. Aunger, would spend their summers cycling the Trail. Though the Trans-Canada Trail was not always smooth or safe, Edmund recalls Elizabeth’s passion for the Trail she loved, “she wanted to devote her retirement to getting the Trail properly developed and completed - ensuring accessibility and safety for all cyclists”. On July 14th, 2012 while Edmund and Elizabeth were biking along the Trail in Prince Edward Island, Elizabeth was struck and killed by a drunk driver. She was 63.

Survived by her husband and her three sons, Edmund S. Aunger, Richard Aunger and Gregory Aunger,Elizabeth’s dream of a safer Trans-Canada Trail lives on. Edmund Aunger has carried on his beloved wife’s vision and started the Ride the Trail for Elizabeth campaign. A campaign that will see Edmund cycle across the country in five stages each summer, beginning the first leg of his journey on July 1st, 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia and finishing in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on July 2017.

Edmund will be arriving in Edmonton on Sunday August 25, 2013 marking the completion of his first leg. We invite you to join Edmund on the steps of the Alberta Legislature on Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm as we rally in support for a safer Trans-Canada Trail. More importantly, we invite you to celebrate the completion of Edmund’s first leg, the power of a united cycling community and the realization of Elizabeth’s dream. We hope to see you there. Ride on.

Please join Ed on his ride. He will be leaving Devon around 9am, cycling on Highway 19, and then into Edmonton, Trans Canada Trail from Terwilliger to Hawrelak Park. He will be leaving the Hawrelak Park pedestrian bridge about 2pm and continuing to the Alberta Legislature for a 3pm rally, followed by a ride to the Trans-Canada Trail head in Louise McKinney Park.

For more info: http://www.ridethetrail.ca

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's beginning to end

As a Swedish girlfriend (working in Norway) is lamenting summer's end and equally anticipating fall's transition, I too am noticing:

The dawn and dusk chill that comes too soon to the north.  
Days are noticeably shorter and August is not yet out.  
Leaves are turning.  
My vegetable garden is getting harvest-ready.  

It's difficult for me to process that summer is winding down when I feel I've had so little of it.  Cheated out of a "normal bush season" by a lay off and subsequent scramble for employment I have not spent nearly as much time in the woods as I usually do.  

While I have caught some of the seasonal boreal changes on day hikes and dog walks, truly I have missed the full season experience of looking for my favourite boreal gems and tracking their progress from leaf out to flowering to seed/berries! to die back.  

Fall is approaching and so is a time for contemplation, dream time and mentally, physically and emotionally regrouping.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Industrial spray season, vol II

Six years ago my forestry summer job dried up before it even started.  This year it happened mid season.

Both times, a minor scramble followed to get myself back on someone's, anyone's payroll.  I had to expand my search outside of the community I live(d) in and the forest industry that typically employs me and settle for employment outside the province.

Like last time, I've signed on with Ace Vegetation.  As before, it's just for now, to tide me over, help them finish off their spray season.  I haven't decided if supervising suits me better than spraying but it's certainly more flexible.

It's definitely not a long-term fit for me, but it'll do for now.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Job insecurities

I am used to having my boots full at this mid-point in the summer field season.  Work was slow at the beginning of the season with the entire company anticipating it picking up after BC's provincial election in May.  Rather, the workload stayed constant and then declined.

I've been filling my time walking dogs, playing with our new foster cat, baking bread, planning a winter trip and applying for temporary work like a boss.

Unable to find something suitable in town or even in province, I am headed back to Alberta tomorrow for an expedited training session then up to the Alberta and BC Peace to finish out my field season in the lucrative herbicide industry.

My mother maintains I'll enjoy it.  While I disagree, I know it'll fill the thirsty bank account.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Millie Vanillie

Millie Vanillie is our newest foster cat from On Our Way Home Animal Rescue.  She's a black and white short hair kitten (three to five months?) and has been with us for just a half week.  She's a total cutie pot pie that likes window sills, snuggles, hunt-the-feet-in-the-bed game.  Millie is off for her spay surgery on the 25th and she'll be available for adoption a week later.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dry July

As my brother is on a waiting list and daily checking in with an alcohol rehabilitation centre in Alberta, I too, am off the booze - for the month.  Inspired my a Kiwi friend's musings, a few too many big nights alarmingly close together and my bro's brain injury as a result of alcohol, I'm hoping to use the next 29 days to reflect on alcohol's role in my life and consciously make active and healthier (booze-free) choices.

Dry July is a fundraiser for the month of, you guessed it, July in Australia and New Zealand where Dry Julyers (DJers) go booze-free for the month to raise funds for adult cancer patients.

With work uncharacteristically slow (seriously, it's mind boggling difficult to find stable, seasonal employment), I'm not logging the kilometers and elevation gains I have in past summers.  Suddenly I'm worried about the grams of carbohydrates and the liquid, empty (delicious) calories in a cool, crisp brew.

The price of recreation is this town is absurd so I've been keenly attending all the budget options I can find.  Toonie Wednesday swims, free Pickleball at the Rec Centre, free Canada Day Zumba (Jaana says I have to put an (r) here), dog walks, mini hikes up Baldy.  Great as these all are, I half miss the views, uphill slogs and exercise that employment usually affords me.

Glasses up for Dry July!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy solstice, puppy sitting and work pics

Behind us is the year's climax: summer solstice.  A girlfriend recently sold her house and keenly hosted a joint Solstice and Hurray-I-Sold-My-House party.  The grill fired up, friends popping by during the evening, morning, the shots flowing as she doesn't want to move more booze than necessary, new faces mingled amongst new and dear friends, ahhh, another successful small town bash.  The best part: she is moving in with Dan and I mid July.  

Our two fosters kitties have an interested woman and if that's successful then On Our Way Home has more cutie pot pie kittens in need of temporary homes.  So, I hope there's enough for one for me, one for Dan and one for the new roomie.  

How it's nearly July is still a great mystery to me.  Work's been a slow-medium pace with several early days this week which suits me fine.  Some forestry work doing streams, veg stuff and soil pits and some enviro in the mix including leachate, water and air (yes, air) sampling for a proposed coal mine south west of Chetwynd.  

Friends who recently build a house out of town are off in Ontario for another week and willingly entrusted Dan and I with their home and new puppy.  It's been very refreshing sitting on the deck looking out at the hills and aspen trees while an adorable puppy plays and falls over underfoot.  

Dan with our most recent dog sitting charge, Renfrew.  She's a three-month-old lab shepard cross and is a mega cutie pot pie.
A recent crossing to plant a reclaimed lease site between Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge
Yup, hip waders are now a part of my work wardrobe 
Fly in day

The Pine River west of Chetwynd

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sweetwater 905: festival season opener!

Sweetwater 905 Arts Festival outside Rolla, B.C. tripled in attendance from its previous year despite this past weekend's rain!  A stellar line up of musicians and artists from around the Peace, province and continent ensured that this ninth year will not be the festival's last.

The captive, appreciate audience at Sweetwater could be an audience at any northern music festival: inclusive, quick to dance and not shy about showing off their varied footwear and outfits.

Many of us, musicians and audience alike, neglected to change our tops, nevermind undies for the duration of the three-day festival.  Impossibly over-made-up gals jived alongside the Mattsons, venue hosts and owners of the property, while plaid-clad dudes in cowboy boots freshly wreaking of the cow paddy camping field mingled with the requisite hippies these events attract dressed in their baffling numbers of coloured layers.

Fire show performers deserved their own spot instead of inappropriately entertaining during an energetic performance from Ben Caplan.

Other standout sets were delivered from Samantha Scott, High Society and Dave Soroka and his "band."  Can't wait to hear you all again!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chetwynd is a long way to come for cake

Spring, with a smattering of summer has finally arrived in the Peace!  Apple trees, dandelions and lilacs are flowering in town while prairie crocuses have already gone to seed in the bush as false saloman's seal and strawberries are getting their fragrant white flowers out.

BBQ season is in full swing with at least one invite rolling in per week from various friends around town.  Yesterday afternoon Caity and I sat on the deck under a sunny sky, drink in hand and caught up on the week we hadn't spent together.

Janice, the once-mother cat, will not be carrying on her reproducing ways as she was spayed on Friday.  That means our cutie kitty pot pies will be available for adoption this Friday to a loving furever home.  Will I miss them?  Absolutely.  Will I be pumped to see them come into their full kitty selves as indoor/outdoor cats together?  Even more so!

Our first couchsurfer, Yoko, from Japan was a hoot!  We popped around to the local pub, Murray's, for an early lunch  yesterday and as our sever's special table of her shift, she bought us a piece of chocolate cake for his long-distance visit.  His valiant attempts at English, a delightful tea ceremony with procedures resembling Communion preparations and keen attitude for anything Canadian, Alaskan or First Nations made for a delightful weekend.  

Work is hum bumming along.  I'm waiting for the first hatch of mozzies to start their annual assault but have otherwise been occupied ID-ing juvenile plants, classifying streams, planting lease sites (Seriously! I thought I'd hung those bags up!) cranking out nest surveys and logging some brain-numbing hours in the office reading manuals.  

It's weird being "The Local" on the crews.  It's true this is my fifth summer in Chetrock, but I by no means consider myself part of the permanent residential population here.  A plus of "local" status: I don't have to live in the company house.  

Back on the Alberta front, my extended family is taking turns visiting my brother in the Foothills Hospital after he rolled his truck two weeks ago.  From the updates, he has good and bad days where confusion runs rampant as his brain is attempting to slot info, data, sensory while also healing itself.  I'm beyond immediately worrying about him and much more concerned about how my mother is coping and processing it all.  

A trooper through and through, her state of mind and health are compromised and she openly confesses she is sleeping poorly and I fear that the responsibility of caring for him post-hospital (admittedly a long way off) is more than she can carry alone.  

Blessed beyond belief with a caring Calgary Crew composed of friends and family and a rocking group at her work, Mom says she is getting the support and breaks she needs while gardening and her kitties keep her distracted when she's not in Calgary.  

Kevin's given us substance abuse scares in the past and wonder of wonders he only injured himself with this most recent one.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Buy, sell, swap your ride

Events like Edmonton's annual bike swap make me homesick for a bigger centre with such sustainable happenings.  If you're looking for new wheels in either Calgary or Edmonton, be sure to check out their sales on May 4th 2013, at the Calgary Parking Authority’s City Centre Parkade from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm in Calgary and May 11 in Edmonton at the Glengarry Arena, 13340 85 Street.  Again the sale runs from 2:30 pm until 4:00 pm. Bike intake for both runs from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm for both cities with a $2 admission fee.  Happy cycling!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kitten update

After a hopeful false start than one more kitten was moving and being tended to, Mama Janice has moved one of her kittens away from two now-confirmed dead kittens in the drawer.  Dan and I are planning a kitty cremation this evening in the backyard to send them to Kitty Heaven where ample yarn balls and laser pointers have already greeted them. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

They's multiplying!

"Eeeep, eeepp," greeted me this morning as I went downstairs to check on the kittens and open the door to their basement lair.  Thoroughly confused, I went farther into the downstairs sitting room to a sad sight.  Two kittens, unmoving and cold on the floor.  Looking further, I found Kitty Hendrix had a kitten attached to her.

Alyssa at the Rescue Society thought she was taking in two four/five-month-old kittens and had no idea one was pregnant.  More wet food, plenty of available water, she advised as she assured me that Mama would look after her new kitten and I had zero role to play.   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Foster kitty photos

The Lions are progressing!  Leda, pictured on the left, comes out to play laser and take treats.  (S)he continues to be vocal day and night and was even exploring upstairs this morning!  Kitty Hendrix, on the right, responds to catnip, does mild exploring downstairs and otherwise continues to be a skilled hider and champion scaredy cat.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Animal fostering, maiden voyage

Unable to commit to long-term pet ownership, I signed Dan and I up for the next best thing: fostering.  Between being "dumped" or surrendered or crowded shelters, fostering is meant to be a transition for the animals into their eventual "forever home."

The lag between expressing interest to Chetwynd's local rescue group, On Our Way Home Animal Rescue, and receiving two kitten was merely nine days!  

Chetwynd-based and serving British Columbia's Peace region, they're committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing abandoned and abused animals to the homes they deserve.  Anti-euthanization, this dedicated group has several cats and dogs in foster care available for adoption.  

Our own two black with white long-haired cats (collectively named the Licorice Lions with individual names still to present themselves) will be ready to go a week after their spay and neuter surgeries on the 17 April.  

Only two nights in, they're still adapting to their indoor lifestyle (it's thought that they were outdoor feral cats previously) and are skilled hiders.  Preferred spaces so far: dresser drawers, a tiny space between the stairs and the wall and behind the sofa.  

We're taking baby steps with them.  The door to their basement lair is now open during the day time while one of us is home, their food is creeping slowly up the stairs to encourage interaction, we visit and chat to them adjacent to their hiding places nearly hourly when home and are initiating contact.  

I will post photos of these cute kitties in the basement when they pop out long enough to snap a non-blurry photo.  

To view available animals for adoption, to donate, inquire about fostering or other volunteer opportunities, visit their website or facebook group page.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Liard Easter

Liard Hotsprings, often merely a stopover travelers on the Alaska Highway, is a destination of its own that beckons many into its soothing, and allegedly healing, waters.  Year round accessible and thoughtfully distanced from the highway, its natural-scaped pools with lightly graveled riverbed and exotic hardwood benches are a rustic and raw companion to their southern Radium and Banff commercial cousins.

A wooden boardwalk, linking the hotsprings and parking lot, meandering through a warm water swamp and boreal forest does more than protect the sensitive habitat from wandering footprints. It provides an uncluttered journey to disconnect from the drive you're enduring, refocus on nature's wealth while contemplating the special environment you're in.

A repeat visitor - overnight and passing through - this Easter was my first visit during winter.  Dan and I were joined by his aunt and uncle from Whitehorse for a weekend of relaxing, looking out at stunning northern Rockies scenery and even outdoor! barbecuing.

A handful of the sites in the campground near the hotsprings were occupied by hardy campers both in trailers and tenting!  Usually a keen camper, I firmly draw the line at winter camping.  Mercifully there was a simple lodge (and lodge is a generous term) across the highway to bunk down for the night.  Heading south to Muncho Lake the next night, we checked into the homey Northern Rockies Lodge.  An Easter brekkie the next morning and we bid 'til soon' to Bob and Dawna as another northern roadtrip came to its close.

Highway chockers with buffs!
These solid creatures are bigger than the Civic!
Inviting hotspring
Muncho Lake from the north
Ahh, northern Rockies

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A smattering of Africa photos

Dan shows off the amazing Victoria Falls
Vic Falls actually

Sunset over the Zambezi
His female counterparts in Tembe

Ele group at Tembe watering hole
Rhino and ocean, yes please!
Kissing/fighting hippos outside St. Lucia
Another spectacular sunset in Namibia
Spooky Deadvlei

 How did I end up with two travel companions in capes?

View from Table Mountain
View of Cape Town from Cable Car carpark
 Carcharodon carcharias from the surface 

Underwater - water temp, btw, 13 degrees...
Vino tasting outside Cape Town
Stellar venue for an evening concert with Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse
Heading back to Cape Town via Chapman's Peak
Robyn was delighted when my trousers split and they were donated to the bin