Monthly Archives: May 2017

Living with Wildlife

May Long Weekend 2017.

Way over there, across the creek, in that lil green field that you can just see in the gap between the deciduous trees is where Blackie likes to hang out.

I awoke early Saturday morning. As I looked out upon the very still Creek I thought it would be a great morning for a paddle. Luke has been pulling some late nights so I thought I would let him sleep in a little before rousing him from his well earned slumber. Before going out for a paddle we would need to take Bear and Sam for a walk, tire them out a lil before we locked them up while we made our way to the Boathouse. They are not boat trained, or trained much at all, it seems, as yet; we can’t be taking them out on the canoe only to have them tip us into the Lake as they try to catch the bird flying overhead!
We made our way to the Hill, Sammy on leash as we are still trying to get his left fore paw healed up. We took Bear and Sam to the Vet on Thursday,(which meant 13 long hours in the truck): Sam would hopefully have all his stitches removed and update his vaccinations,   Bear would get his vaccinations updated and provide moral support to Sam. Well, Sam has managed to bolt away a couple of times, thereby ripping his outer layer of stitches; lucky for everyone involved he didn’t do too much damage to the interior stitches! Woot! Luke and I envisioned Sam having his pad opened up AGAIN, restitched and then having to keep him off it for ANOTHER 3 weeks!  On Friday both dogs were feeling a lil hellish from their vaccinations and slept the day away. Good enough. But it gave us all the more reason to get them out for a walk Saturday morning.
We made it to the Hill alright but both Bear and Sam went squirrely on the return trip. Same place they went nutso on Wednesday when I took them out on my own … when we came across the torn up log. Anyway, we cut our walk short; we WERE going to take the new trail over to the Boathouse trail, proceed along the lane down to the D, have a quick duck into Moose Hollow then back home down along the Marsh. We reigned the guys in, got them into the Earthship and just kept them quiet for a few hours to get them calmed down. So much for our paddle.
Sunday morning with both dogs bouncing off the walls, obviously their reaction to their vaccinations has worn off  so they are raring to go as they haven’t had a real walk since Wednesday! We set off to the Hill but we only made it to Clarice’s Bench before both Bear and Sam were off! I had Sam on the leash but there isn’t much I can do when all 35kg of him decides to GOOOOOO!  Seconds later I heard him call out; now I’m unsettled! Something had happened to Sam and I couldn’t see him or really tell where he had gone! I sent Luke after them. He’s the one with the gun!  Bear and Sam weren’t coming back and Luke wasn’t having much success catching up them so I started to run,  knee be damned! Thankfully, before too long Sammy made his way back to Luke, dragging his leash behind him but still no sign of Bear. Sammy was shaking through and through from the chase. I was able to control him well enough to head back towards the Earthship. When Sam and I got to Clarice’s Bench I noticed a bit of blood under Sam’s arm…I called out to Luke that Sam was hurt and I was bringing him home. Bah! I know why I’m NOT a nurse! Once inside I laid Sammy down, bowl of antiseptic water in hand, prepared to clean up the bit of blood and to my horror discovered he had ripped open a great big gash on his ribs and it wasn’t a shallow gash either. Bile rising in my throat, I did the best I could to settle my shaky Sammy, calm myself and clean his wound. Thank god Luke arrived minutes later! I gave the cleaning  job over to Luke; by now Sammy’s wound was leaking blood…thick, deep red blood. I almost passed out at the sight of it.
Long weekend. Miles and miles and miles and even more miles from the Vet that we were just at on Thursday! Luke had put a gauze pad over the wound and turned Sammy over to me to wrap in a bandage I had made from a ripped up sheet. Luke put in a call to the Vet and  they hummed and hawed about the best course of action. Luke and I could only really see the long gash; we didn’t really know the extent or  depth of the puncture wound Sammy had sustained. Once I got Sammy wrapped up I nervously started packing an overnight bag, determined to bring my boy to the Vet then and there…well, it would be hours before Sammy arrived at the Vet…with my frantic packing Luke told the Vet, “Yea, we’ll bring him in now…as in, like 4 hours from now, because my wife has already decided that is what is going to happen.” Once Luke was off Skype (because, honestly, satellite phone sucks!!!) he quickly made the decision that HE would make the drive into William’s Lake. Good thing, too!
Turns out the Vet’s office doesn’t staff at all on weekends, let alone Long Weekends; Luke was instantly dubbed Vet Assistant! I couldn’t have done it, I simply could not have done it! Luke had to hold Sammy down while he had x-rays taken then had to continue holding him down while he was given anesthetics. Here’s where I would have passed out! Luke had to hold Sammy throughout his procedure and watched as the Vet sliced our lil Sammy open to discover the extent of the damage he had done to himself! A branch had punctured him, twice as deep as the length of the gash. The Vet cleaned the wound, stitched the inside then the outside, inserted a drain which just hangs out of Sammy’s body. The Vet said that Luke could bring Sam back in 4-5 days time to get the drain removed or he could just do it himself…when Luke told me that I almost lost my lunch! So you see? I could never have been a nurse and it is a dang good thing that Luke took Sammy in to the Vet and not me!  Oh, and as the Vet worked on Sammy he suggested we get Sammy a kevlar Hunting Dog Vest so we can avoid future injuries like this one…he also said that they see this kind of wound on a weekly basis!

Sammy has really done it this time!

Okay, so Luke makes the long trip home. He said Sammy didn’t lay down once, and with that thing hanging out of his underbelly, I can’t say I blame him! Our first challenge was getting him out of the truck; we are so used to him leaping and bounding absolutely everywhere! We got Bear’s ramp; Sammy reluctantly hobbled down the ramp and very slowly made his way to the Greenhouse door. Once he was inside he just stood there, shaking uncontrollably. It was heartbreaking! Then came the task of getting him to settle for the night. Our fellas sleep with us; Sammy usually nestled among the pillows in between Luke and I while Bear takes fills up ALL the space at our feet or, if he is feeling left out, he will lay in between Luke and I, hogging all the blankets! Anyway, the bed is really tall and there is no way he was going to get up there on his own and due to the location of his wound there is no way we could lift him up onto the bed. We scratched our heads for a moment before clear thinking returned; get Bear’s ramp! Duh! Rearranged furniture so we could get the ramp set up onto the daybed; it still took a bit of coaxing but he finally got onto the bed and pretty much collapsed against me; within seconds he was fast asleep…maybe drug induced but finally his lil body could rest.

Finally, he sleeps….shhhh

We got up this morning, thankful for the long weekend so we could have a day to recoup after the $$$ Sunday Walk! When Sammy got his pad sewed up they gave him a collar to wear and dang it, he was just getting used to NOT having it on! While cleaning up the Crow’s Nest, in anticipation of Summer Guests, I came across Bear’s old collar from when he had his dew claws removed when he was a young lad; Bear’s old collar is smaller than the behemoth one they gave lil Sammy. I almost threw it out; glad I didn’t. I went up to  get  it for Sammy thinking he would be more comfortable with a smaller collar but still prevent him from getting at his wound(s!) I was at the top of the stairs, looking at the stuff in my hands, when I checked my footing before taking the first step down and there, a mere few metres away, was a young grizzly bear!

Right there, that lil green tree in the foreground? That’s where Young Grizz was. Poor Luke! At least I was up the stairs at the Crow’s Nest!

Yea, I backed up a lil before turning around and getting myself behind the glass of the Crow’s Nest and started stomping for Luke. The grizzly just kept ambling toward’s the Earthship. Now Luke, probably sighing to himself, “Why can’t she deal with a mouse”, climbed the interior stairs to the kitchen, opened the Cold Room door only to find himself face to face with the grizzly! Needless to say he was a lil shocked! Now, if you know Luke at all, you know he reads and reads and reads some more; lucky for us he had done his bear homework; he raised his arms, making himself look big and told the grizzly to go away, that we lived here and he better just move along. He kept his cool and just dealt with it. Then he closed the door and went back downstairs for his camera and his shotgun. In the meantime I had banged on the Crow’s Nest window a few times and Mr. Grizz decided that maybe he ought to move along. By the time Luke got back to the me the grizz had toddled off towards the Boathouse trail, so no photo. Sorry. And then, just to make sure that Mr. Grizz knew that we live here now, with our dogs, Luke fired a few shots into a nearby stump. Bear, our Bear, HATES the sound of the guns! Mr. Grizz didn’t seem to phased by it though, he just continued to toddle along at his own sweet pace.
So. Long story short…though I did go on a bit, didn’t I? I suppose this is the fella that tore open that log. Remember? I walked the dogs on my own but was super cautious that day making sure I had my rifle, walkie talkie and Sam on leash – and I was super firm with Sam that day…think it was Wednesday, right? When I know I have to be boss I CAN control Sam.
But Sunday, it was our Bear who got Sammy riled up; Bear doesn’t bolt off like Sammy does but when he does, he does it with purpose! Sammy rushed to Bear’s aid and in the process ripped himself open.
Luke reckons Mr. Grizz may have followed Sammy’s trail of blood back to the Earthship. And to think, Bear and I walked that trail by ourselves on Saturday.
I think Mr. Grizz smelled the Sourdough Pancakes and Eggs and thought he might just invite himself in for Breakfast.

The moral of the story is: We have chosen to live in their territory and we have to respect that. At the same time, we will protect ourselves, Bear and Sam; our aim is to only shoot photographs of our neighbours but if push comes to shove…
I hope and pray the day never comes that we have to make that decision.

All this Grizzly talk! Have I mentioned to you yet that we have a resident black bear just over the marsh? We’re hoping it’s a Momma Bear and that she has some cubs! Though, if that was the case, wouldn’t she have already had them? I’ve come across a few Mommas with cubs in my recent drives…maybe our Blackie is a male? Anyway, Blackie sticks to the other side of the marsh and we admire her/him through the binoculars.

Just some info to pass along:


And now it is May!

Where does the time go? Honestly?

So, since we last spoke I made a dash down to the Valley to spend Easter with my siblings, my children and grandchildren. I was also blessed with a lunch invitation at the Rossi’s! Marian Rossi was my inspiration, my mentor though she knew naught. I looked after her children when her oldest was in Grade 1 and then her kids looked after my kids! Then, you know, life happened and we lost touch. I never stopped thinking of her though. She went on to become a teacher;  I followed in her footsteps, enrolling in the NITEP (Native Indian Teacher Ed Program) that I might one day become a teacher, like her. Funny thing, when I had Anita, Marian made me a  Holly Hobby cross stitch which I still have though it now sits in a store-bought frame. I will carry Marian, and all that she stands for, in my heart for all the days of my life. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to see her parent her children with such love and devotion – it set the path for me to follow. Oh, the super bonus of that trip is that I got to bring my 5 year old grandson home with me! He spent two weeks with us. The ladder-stairs didn’t phase him in the least. He didn’t mind using the dunny for business or the bucket for after dark pees. He traipsed through the forests like an old hand and while he thought the trip to the Boathouse was a little bit long, he really enjoyed the tinny and the canoe. I should mention that when he arrived there was still ice on both the Creek and the Lake. By the time he left though, the ice had completely melted and he DID get to go out in both the tinny and the canoe; his fave part of the trip. No, no! Wait! His absolute fave part of the trip was sitting in the excavator with his Grandpa! His fave part of the Earthship? The Crow’s Nest. I promised him it would be free of boxes next time and that he could camp up there!

Benny in the excavator! Every lil boy’s dream?

The frozen lake and creek. So, the first Saturday that Benny was here we saw a Grizzly!! Right there! Just outside the East Kitchen window. Okay, maybe not just outside the window but there he was in all his glory…big, fat, fluffy, glorious, on the far side of the creek. The creek which we now know is knee deep. We admired him through the binoculars. Watched him as he ambled down along the creek towards the lake. Then Luke got bold and thought he would take his new camera and see if he could get a better shot than my lame one. Young Grizz had gotten almost to Casselman Creek where he was taunted out onto the ice by a murder of crows. (Honestly, I would like to murder that murder of crows! They have discovered that they can get a rise out of Bear and Sammy and often taunt them just as they were taunting Young Grizz!) Luke was amazed at how far out onto the ice the young fella was able to go! We know now, after having canoed the whole lake at long last, that the lake is pretty shallow where the grizzly was and even if he had fallen through he could have just waded back to shore. So any grandeur thoughts of the creek providing us with a buffer of safety from wildlife has now been shattered! And it also explains how four huge horses were easily able to make their way over the ice. And that huge pack of wolves that just sat there and had a stare down with Luke.  It amuses me to think that Luke and I were concerned that the ice would not hold two lowly humans and their dogs. Mother Nature and her creatures often know better than we humans. Let’s see if I can find my lame Grizzly shot…

Mr. Grizzly has woken from his Winter slumber

I could definitely bore you with a lot of grandson shots, a lot of yummy goodness shots but, well, if you want to see that stuff you can go check it out on Facebook. I’m told my reading public are not interested in my epic food journey. I will say that while Benny was here he was missing pre-K classes so I kept him busy with printing, colouring, cooking, baking, gardening, making big, huge fires, hiking and an abundance of story reading; The Aunts Came Marching has usurped Abiyoyo’s spot!

I brought Benny to William’s Lake where his Maman collected him and I made the lonely journey back to the Earthship. Oh, wait, it wasn’t that bad! I had the whole truck to myself so I cranked the tunes and drove, drove, drove like a mad woman! It was a GREAT drive! Well, until I got to Henry’s Crossing and then I could have easily given over the task of driving to ANYONE willing to drive that last 15 km! The snow and ice  have now well and truly melted and to be honest? I miss it; it made that last 15 km so much more driveable. To be sure, Spring is supposed to have sprung but, hey, it snowed here yesterday! But no more snow accumulations so that’s good, right? Our roads…and by our roads I am referring to the bit from Henry’s Crossing to here…are still suffering from the melt.

We have to take Sammy to the vet tomorrow. Oh, yea, Sammy. Sammy ripped a pad on his left front paw from one end to the other! The vet had to re cut it, stitch it on the inside and then the outside;  we were instructed to keep it clean and dry, keep him off it and no walks. Hah! I challenge any one of you to come and take care of Sammy whilst keeping him indoors and off that foot! We did the best we could. Trust me, he is sorely over being encumbered with a boot and  leash  when out of doors. You have to watch him like a hawk!
This morn, while Luke was walking me through unloading my rifle we forgot to chain him up to something; a crow flew over and he was off like a shot!!! Before we could whistle Dixie he was at Clarice’s Bench and down the hill to the creek! Arggggh! Oh, yea, right. I took my rifle with me this morn when I took the dogs out because I just felt something in the air? We were about 1.5 km into the walk and came upon a torn up log…loaded with yummy bugs! Now I’m pretty sure Mr. Grizz hasn’t returned but that doesn’t mean that another bear is not in the vicinity. At any rate, the dogs were spooked; I radioed Luke on the walkie talkie so he knew something was afoot. I have to tell you, our walkie talkies kind of suck so how Luke managed to interpret my message is beyond me.  I managed to get Sammy to the top of the hill behind the Earthship and there was Luke, at the bottom of the hill, shotgun in hand.
I digress, we have to take Sammy in to the vet tomorrow. Luke is busy with work and we really wanted to take the dogs for a decent walk this arvo so I was elected to go and check the road on my own. It’s been a bit stormy here so rather than take the saw, and all that that  entails, with us tomorrow we thought it best to check for downed trees. I am pleased to report that there are none down on our, what? Four km? There was one big new blowdown but it was considerate enough to fall parallel to the road! Poor fella just toppled over from the roots! I got to Tsuniah Lake Road and there were a lot of newly downed trees but thankfully someone else has already taken care of them. I did take note of a few trees that are a bit of a concern; we’ll have to keep an eye on them.
So yes, the snow and ice are gone but now we get to watch for fallen trees, holes of indeterminate depth, boulders lurking in the muck that are super anxious to take a bite out of the underbelly of the truck…it’s never ending. But you know, it brought to mind all the other dirt roads I have travelled over in my lifetime and was reminded that often the best things in life are found along those roads less travelled.  I smiled to myself and thanked the Universe for bringing us here.
Now, bear with me as I present you with a pictorial of our less travelled path. And please, don’t let it scare you from visiting us! If you have a lovely truck you won’t have any problems. Or nerves of steel. (Read John) We will happily meet you at Henry’s Crossing and take over the driving from there.
Okay, here we go…

How deep are the ruts? Are there any big boulders in there? Just how deep IS that water?
What’s holding this bad boy up? How long can it hang over the road like that before it comes down? Is it safe to cut it down?
There it is, up there; just hanging on by the old man’s beard…no, not really. It’s being propped up by a youngster.
Okay, a bunch of youngsters who have been given a haircut.
Then there’s this guy and let me tell you, there is ONE branch suspending him there above the road
Oh, this guy! He had two bros hanging just beyond the curve there; when I drove out on Thursday, all good but when I was coming back on Friday I was met with two trees across the road and no saw in the truck! Luckily I was able to drive, one set of tires in the “ditch” to get around them.
The fallen two that I maneuvered around were cut up and hauled off the road by another Keeper of the Road
So then you leave the “good” unmaintained road onto Casselman Creek road and are greeted with these deep mud ruts which are still quite soggy and then, you know, there’s that puddle at the other end…just to make it interesting.

And there you have it. I didn’t bother to take a photo of the disintegrating road as you cross over Murray Taylor Creek…Let me see if I can find the last one I took.

The Amazing Disappearing Murray Taylor Creek Road
So this side is just falling into the creek and the other side looks like a rather large foreboding deep hole! Probably at least as deep as Brittany Creek, right?
But then you remember, this is why you came here…
And seeing this each and every day makes it worthwhile…and the peace and tranquility
And last but not least, Bear and Samwise are in heaven.

Thanks for bearing with me through all those photos; sure breaks up the reading, hey? So yes, the road less travelled is often a complete pain in the arse to traverse but, hey, it builds character, right?

Cheers, Folks! Until next time!