garden / Life and Pets

Pug day at the Pet Hostel …

There are often some funny coincidences around here. Sometimes we will have five golden retrievers or retriever crosses to board, or mostly black dogs, or a high percentage of German Shepherds.

Though the pugs were all here only for grooming, it is unusual for me to see three pugs in a day here.

Abby Osadchuk

Smokey & Abby

Abby was here for her annual “shave down”. Her owners feel that shearing her coat off makes her more comfortable, and I’m all for that.

My friend brought her old pug, Jersey, and her newest, youngish pug Luna (short for Lunatic, according to her owner!) for toenail clipping. I clipped all the nails and “Dremmeled” them smooth. Both pugs are somewhat difficult for nails, but they don’t bite me. I would not want either girl to have heart failure for the occasion, yet they both have nails that grow very fast.



Had the great privilege of clipping and bathing this small “schnoodle” yesterday. Shadow is good for all aspects of grooming, for me, and yet his family says that he is very willful for them! I told them that it’s a conspiracy between the pets and I … I tell pets to misbehave at home so that I still have a job.


While I boarded their dogs last weekend, some friends of mine travelled with their mule, “Levon” (named after famed Levon Helm) to compete in dressage at a fair in southern B.C.. Levon won, I believe, all the prizes available, and perhaps highest points over all of the province for mule dressage.


Aren’t they a fine pair?

We have been trying to get the garden taken care of: still harvesting, and selling garlic and other vegetables. Suddenly, everything seems under control, or at least manageable. I have beaten the last of the apples into submission, and I continue to process potatoes and carrots for the freezer as some of those sell.

I was cleaning out freezers yesterday. I was not making a thorough job of this, but was filling bins with years-old vegetables, some commercial brand raw pet food that I didn’t want to feed here, and sundry other things. Then I cleared a bunch of jars of very old jam from the pantry, and took this haul over to friends who have butcher hogs.

To my dismay, they never give their pigs any meat, and told me that it is actually against the law. Lucky for me and my project, these folks have an enormous dog, and since I had kept the meat all separate, they took it off my hands.

Then it was hilarious to see the porkers dive in to freezer-burned cabbage and zucchini (I know, ugh, eh?), frozen treats like Freezies, apple peels, and about a gallon of jam! Some other things, like ancient granola (made from “ancient” grains, even), I saved for our chickens.

This is the progress of the garden getting “put to bed”. There is a lot of horse manure spread about, which Gary will till in with the rototiller. That was applied directly on top of the fall rye crop. There’s no need to tear out the pretty marigolds while there is still much to harvest.


The garden looks quite small in this photo, but it is really almost too big for us.

It is looking like Fall up the hill at the kennels and what we call the “upper gardens”, which include flower beds and container plantings. The perennial beds are almost too much for us also.

But here’s a look at the Virginia Creeper covering many of the dog runs. It is beautiful in its fall colours, and I wish it would stay that way longer. Too soon it  loses its leaves and no longer provides much shade, though as winter approaches, the runs are cool enough and still shaded by trees. Yes, that is our Lady inside a kennel… for a moment she was just a “prop”, and looks a little put-upon.





Rory, aka Lootie

So, speaking of butcher hogs, earlier this summer we bought a half of one. We have enjoyed the pork in all its forms. The young man who does the butchering trimmed the fat in very clean chunks and froze it in three bags of about a gallon each. Of course this is part of buying a half or a whole animal … you can have fat, bones, etc., if you want them.

So yesterday I rendered just one of the bags of pork fat … in my large crock pot! It’s a beautiful thing: the lard turned out cream coloured and very clean. I can hardly wait to make pie crust! I found myself thinking that it would be so much easier to buy the lard… but then that fat would be wasted (especially if I can’t feed it to butcher hogs). The chickens seemed to enjoy the “cracklings”, cannibalistic little guys that they are.

This week has been quiet at the Pet Hostel. Even holiday Monday, I just had one dog to groom, and a handful to babysit. This is good; I need the “rest”. I had been thinking I wanted a “retail therapy” day, away from home, in the nearest city.

But there’s nothing I need that I can’t buy locally, not at the moment anyway. To drive almost three hours just to poke around Value Village and Costco didn’t make much sense after all. Maybe some other week when I can plan to dine out, perhaps see a movie, see friends, and not be rushed.

This tiny mite is “Lily”. I tell her owner, “I love her so much, she could stay with me forever!”, and her owner reacts, “Well ya CAN’T have her!”.

Lily Price

I remember that this is how I came to be owned by Callie, except that her mistress one day told me that I could and should have her.


Well, I’ve worn myself out and I’ve probably worn YOU out, too.

Love, Ann



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