Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sweet as... Honey!

I meant to post these photos ages ago...

Our friend Shawn took this photos of Honey hanging out in the window box last spring.

Well hello, Honey!

She was basically crammed in a flower pot at the end, next to a long rectangular planter inside the box.

She is probably the most content cat I have ever had.

Can I get an amen, Honey?

Honey came to us with her sisters Daisy and Buttercup two years ago from the island of Syros in Greece, where my friend Joan runs a cat sanctuary. Even my friends who say they don't like cats DO love Honey. She is pretty irresistible! She was thrown in a dumpster with her sisters as a tiny kitten, and all she ever wanted was to be loved and cuddled. We do our best to oblige!
Hope you are having a great weekend. :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Thank you!!

I used to love going for walks in the snow with Tristan and his "sister" Sophie. They were both fans of winter...

Thank you for all your kind words about our sweet Tristan. They made me cry some more! But that's okay, Tristan was worth the tears. Here are a few more oldies but goodies for you...

When he was younger, Tristan loved toys. He especially loved to carry things around in his mouth, and retrieving tennis balls, and disembowelling stuffed animals to get at the squeaker inside!

He loved CERTAIN cats, but especially Redford (and the feeling was mutual!)

And he had the best smile ever!

He was skunked many times. Eventually I stopped putting a collar on him because so many were ruined with the stench of skunk! He was also porcupined once, which did seem to cure him of his interest in those creatures. He never lost his interest in skunks, but fortunately he became so slow-moving in his later years that the skunks were able to shuffle away from him rather than unleashing their odiferous spray!

Tristan had a great sense of humour and he loved rolling on to his back.

I hope he and Sophie are together again, getting muddy and chasing critters and following their noses to the next adventure. Time goes so fast, and it's hard to believe they are now both gone... this really is the hardest part of having pets: saying good-bye. All you can do is hope you gave them a good life, and spared them any suffering at the end. 

But it still sucks...

Thank you SO MUCH for all the beautiful comments left on my last post. They are so comforting to me.

And happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. I am thankful to have such a wonderful group of people reading my blog and sharing their feelings about it with me!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Good bye, sweet Tristan

Yesterday we said good-bye to our dear Tristan. This is the worst part of owning pets.

A couple of weeks ago, our friend and photographer Deborah Wilson came to take some photos of our boy. I am so glad I have these gorgeous shots of him.

Tristan had been steadily declining for the past month, and in the past few days, he was finding it impossible to get up, and very hard to stay standing once he was up. We knew this was coming and probably would have helped him along last week, but our vet was away on vacation, and we wanted him to come to the farm to euthanize Tristan, so we waited until he was back.

Dr. Dave came out yesterday, and our boy had a very peaceful passing on the front porch with his head on  my lap and Gordon holding his paw. he was surrounded by a trio of his kitty friends.

 He was a Lab-Vizsla mix and we used to call him our noble Vizslador.

We adopted Tristan along with his "sister" Sophie in 2007 when his owner died in tragic circumstances. We lost Sophie in 2014 to hemangiosarcoma.

She was diagnosed a year after Tristan was also diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. He had his spleen and a six-lb tumour removed, and we expected him to last maybe another three months.

Instead he kept going for over three years!

He suffered from arthritis for a long time, and finally it became too much for him to bear.

He was a one-of-a-kind sort of dog...

...we will miss him so much.

Yesterday his friend Luc brought him a honey cruller from Tim Hortons, something Luc often did for Tristan. You can see in this photo how tired Tristan was (even compared to the photos above, which were taken just a couple of weeks ago)...

Luc also built Tristan a beautiful coffin, and used his excavator to dig a hole in our woodlot for him. Then last night, Gordon and I went out with Luc and his partner (and our friend) Debbie to bury Tristan. Before we closed the lid, we all said good-bye to the old boy. I tucked the box of Sophie's ashes in next to him. Then we loaded him onto the back of the RTV and drove him out to his peaceful resting place in the woods.

We feel really lucky to have friends like Debbie and Luc. They both do so much for us, and their kindness towards Tristan in life and death is something I will never forget. Tristan especially loved Luc, who would often lure him along with a trail of M & Ms.

A little selfie yesterday while we waited for the vet.

He had the softest ears ever!

He could be such a goofball. And he loved certain cats, particularly Redford.

And he had the best smile!

Tristan, we will miss you so much. You were a connoisseur of crullers, a lover of Tim Hortons coffee cups, a chaser of squirrels (before arthritis slowed you down.) You were so joyful swimming in the river and the pond, chasing tennis balls, and just lying in the sun enjoying the warmth of everyday life. You had the best sense of humour... only you would eat a tear-drenched Kleenex as your last supper just before passing over, as Gordon and I cried in your fur. We will never have another dog quite like you. We love you Tristan, and hope that you are once again with Sophie, running through the fields and woods like you both used to, looking for squirrels and muskrats, sniffing the farm air, seeking out your next adventure, never knowing what might be just around the corner...

Tristan, our noble Vizslador. 2002 - 2016

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Photos and a solo ride

So usually I am just posting reams of my own photos on the blog, but today I am going to share some taken by my talented friend Deborah Wilson of Deborah Wilson Photography. If you use Facebook, please give her page a "like"! I think her work is something special...

Gordon and his blonde girlfriend

Hanging out with the pigs and goats.

My chestnut boyfriend

Gordon's Fjord horse Sandy is like a comfy couch!

Beautiful Sandy Pants!

Our dear friend Brian was here too, and he acted as Deborah's "gaffer." She took this beautiful photo of him. I love the saying on Brian's shirt. So true.

And Deborah took some great shots of our sweet old boy Tristan, who I am afraid is literally on his last legs. He is having increasing difficultly standing up and a decision will have to be made soon. He will be 14 in November and is true hero of a dog...

Check out more of Deborah's work on Facebook! She is a talented artist and a beautiful person. She's coming back again this fall to shoot on Goat Mountain. 

Meanwhile, last week I did my first solo horseback ride EVER...

I just rode in our sand ring, with my iPhone and helmet, and our friend Luc was in the vicinity. I told him to call 911 if he saw me lying motionless in the sand, LOL. But truly, I used to think I would NEVER have the confidence to ride alone. 2-1/2 years after starting lessons, I have now accomplished it!

It helps that I have a great, calm, steady-minded horse.

I love my Roo.

We have had a couple of eventful trail rides the week before last. On one ride, he jumped over a three-foot wide rocky stream. Note: I do not jump on horses! Well, I didn't jump. I guess I do now, because Roo jumped and I didn't fall off! Yes, Roo, who I have previously ridden through three feet of water, decided he didn't want to get his feet wet, so this big old Quarterhorse launched himself over the stream while my friends laughed at me. My instructor was there and everyone was impressed I didn't come off the saddle. But mostly they were laughing their asses off at me.

On another ride, Roo got quite sweaty, then went down on all fours to roll without any warning whatsoever. I have never gotten out of my saddle so fast! (I still have not fallen off my horse in 2-1/2 years of riding, unless you count the time Sandy spooked and sent me and Gordon flying out of the cart she was pulling.)  I managed to get him back on his feet before he could roll over and wreck my beautiful saddle. Once again, my friends were all laughing at me.

Then Roo decided of his own accord to canter through the woods to catch up with the other horses (which was really fun if slightly nerve-wracking.) My instructor was there, so I got a great lesson on getting my horse to listen and hold back when the horses in front take off. Roo is actually a great horse and very well-behaved but one of the things I love about him is the way he constantly challenges me. He is smart and occasionally lazy, and if he thinks he can get away with something, he'll take a stab at it, BUT if you let him know something is unacceptable, he takes that on board right away. He is 10 years old and has done just about everything a horse can do, and I am enjoying building a trusting relationship with him.

 So I had a steep learning curve last week but it was great for me, and on my latest trail ride this past Wednesday, I was able to apply everything I learned, and we went over that same creek by walking through it instead of jumping it.

And on that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Guess who?

Millicent now comes when I call her but she is pretty skittish and has found a few hidey-holes around the barn. Yesterday I just fed her in one of them. She is getting along fine with the other barn cats, although Keaton chased her upstairs yesterday. Mind you, he does that to all the cats!

Now for the "irked"... a man dropped by on the weekend to see if I would take in two more cats that someone had dumped on his property. His family is allergic and he wanted the cats to be somewhere warm before winter, and the OSPCA doesn't have room for them right now. 

Do I want 19 cats? Well, maybe if I had some full-time cat-servants here to help out. So I told him that I was sorry, but I couldn't take them because I already had 17. And he said, "What's two more?"

And he was a nice man, and I wish I could have helped because he was trying to do the right thing, but I do get a tired of this "You already have X number of , what's one more?"  I'm not really irked at the man, but I hear that all the time. Well, where does it stop? I never want to cross the line into becoming an animal hoarder! And these animals all cost money to keep and so far as I can recall, only one person (the lovely woman who asked us to take Millicent and offered to pay for her spay) has brought an animal here with any offer of compensation. And I'm okay with that, but at a certain point, you have to say "no" or bankrupt yourself, whether monetarily or emotionally/physically (by no longer having time to do anything but care for animals.) I'm at neither of those points and I don't ever want to be.

It also irks me that the person with the 17 cats is the one who hears "What's one more?" I think the person with one or two cats is the one who should be taking in an extra feline. Unless you have an allergy or simply can't afford to care for another animal (completely understandable!) how about taking in that stray yourself instead of adding it to my cat pile? Our OSPCA shelter has the highest cat intake in Ontario, which is appalling. Use your imagination about how many cats must be euthanized there every year, because people refuse to spay/neuter, refuse to commit to a pet they once thought adorable, or simply refuse to be humane. If everyone else pitched in a bit more, maybe fewer cats would die. Obviously some people simply can't take in more, and I completely understand that. Not all cats get along with other cats, not everyone can afford to care for multiple animals; there are many valid reasons for not adding another pet! But for the people who might be able to give a home to one more needy cat, or a barn cat who would do a fine job taking care of your rat problem,  I would just say to give it some though before asking the person with 17 cats to take in another. And if you do, please spay/neuter and vaccinate them, and provide them with food and veterinary care, and most of all, LOVE.

And then of course I spent most of Sunday feeling sad for the two cats I didn't save that day. I did encourage the man to keep in touch with the OSPCA and get them in there before winter, and I will ask around as well. But I know I could have 100 cats tomorrow if I never said "no."

And finally I got angry. I got angry at the morons who allowed a cat to breed, then dumped the offspring on someone who actually gives a damn, but couldn't keep them (this man says cats are dumped at his place every year. He also said these two cats are friendly, which means someone played with them and gave them attention before they were dumped.) I got angry at all the idiots who have dumped cats at our farm (Redford, Emerson, Naomi, Emily, Keaton.) I got angry at the people who were once kind to many of our cats, and let them know how it felt to be loved and cared for, then callously dumped or abandoned them (I'm not talking about the animals that came here from loving homes were the owner took the time to find them a new home when circumstances changed.)

 I've had to work hard  to win back the trust of  neglected animals like these. It is something to behold when you see a scared cat like Millicent (abandoned to the elements when her owner went into a nursing home) realize that maybe she has a home again, maybe she can trust a human being again. The first time she purred while I cuddled her brought tears to my eyes. Her whole demeanour is now beginning to change. I just keep telling her that yes, this really is her forever home and she doesn't have to worry anymore. I hope she believes me.

And I'm angry at the people who get pot-bellied pigs on a whim, then dump them at the shelter because they start acting like pigs. Dogs, ponies, goats... the list of unwanted animals is endless, and their suffering is so damn unnecessary. I wish I could help all of them, because it breaks my heart to know animals are suffering. But I know my limits and Gordon knows his.

And of course I still can't get those two cats off my mind... it irks me that I am the one feeling bad about those two.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Sorry for the long delay between posts. The last week and a half has been nuts. But I did fit in a whole lot of horseback riding!  And made my television debut, ha ha...

In June, Dave Brown and a crew from AMI This Week came to film a segment about the farm and our rescue animals. It was a ton of fun and here is the result:

Watch it and you'll get a mini tour of the farm and animals! Speaking of which...

Monty is doing well. He is 7 months old now and is going through his annoying teenager phase.

But he's still a good boy. Kevin keeps him in line!

Buttercup is keeping busy with vermin control. She is the best hunter in the barn!

And Millicent... quite possibly the sweetest cat of all.

She has met all the other barn cats now. Her response to all of them was to purr, head-butt them, and wash their fur. She is just adorable.

And that cute little tongue!

Meanwhile, Princess Mootie is very happy these days...

And Alex loves a good box!

Honey and Daisy, who are Buttercup's sisters, were sparring on the bed this morning!

It's not serious, though. :)

And here is Archie, all ready for bed...

This is not a cat...

It's my sweaty horse! I got in two very nice trail rides this week. Yesterday Roo decided that he didn't want to get his feet wet, so he jumped a stream. I managed to stay on, even though I don't do jumps and didn't see this coming.

On today's trail ride, he decided to lie down and roll without giving me any warning. I managed to get out of my saddle when he went down to the ground, and stop him from rolling over and wrecking my saddle! That was a first for me. Sandy did this to Gordon once but she at least gave him some warning by pawing at the ground. Anyway, Roo got right back up and I got right back on.

And last weekend, I took a spin on Gordon horse Sandy!

In between all this, I have been trying to finish extracting and bottling honey...

The OSPCA Friends for Life walk is tomorrow. If you would like to sponsor me, there is still time. Click here to go to my page.

Have a great weekend!