Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘water has a mind of its own’ edition

  • First off, my apologies for being MIA for the past 10 days or so. I have not been feeling my ‘daisy-fresh best’ and as a result the blog suffered. I have been struggling a lot with the usual health issues. It is like I constantly have fog in my head that I have to fight through. The other main reason for the break is that I have re-discovered crocheting. I am madly trying to make stuff for Christmas presents this year!
  • I am going to try to complete NaBloPoMo like I have in previous years.
  • We have had some serious plumbing woes. We are on a septic system. Apparently septic fields die after a certain amount of time. The tank holds all the waste in an anaerobic environment where it breaks down to a certain degree. Water is supposed to flow through the tank to the septic field. What ends up happening is that bits of ‘material’[1] flows through and eventually stop the septic from being able to absorb any more water. The options are to replace the field or connect to the city sewer. While connecting to the sewer is expensive, replacing the septic field is completely out of reach. The plumbing contractors we have, Mr. Swirl, have been absolutely fantastic. I have never seen a company be so incredibly responsive and professional. They committed to keeping our septic tank pumped out while this work has been going on. They have had to come pretty much every other day to meet this commitment. Hopefully in another couple of days we won’t have to worry about the septic tank anymore! The other great advantage will be no more smell!
No more deck!
The new holding tank going in.
You can see the old, concrete tank
Another view of the old tank
  • In other related news, Sienna, the pit bull, got under the house and managed to impale herself on a nail. She then, so it appears, rotated her self and managed to separate her skin from her fatty layer a further 3 inches below the 2-inch gash we found on Friday night. She now has a 5-inch gash on her chest with a drain tube coming out. It seems that if there is anything to hurt herself on she will find it!


[1] Euphemistically referred to as ‘sludge’ by the plumbers.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘ahhh, I’m home’ edition

  • We left Kamloops around noon today. I love the drive from the desert down to the coast where things are greener. I watched the temperature slowly decrease to finally 23 degrees when we got home. The transition makes me very happy and it is why I call this place home.
  • It was so nice to see the other dogs when we got home. Kiefer came running up to me and his tail was swishing back and forth. Zoe was thrilled as well to see us too! Sawyer apparently did a somersault when he saw Sienna.[1] Later they were crazy playing later and Sawyer got the zoomies.[2] Watching the dogs play is better than TV.
  • I am so looking forward to my bed tonight! After almost a week of sleeping in a twin bed it will be nice to be able to spread out. I have also missed my heating pad that stays on all night. I sleep with it on low and it really helps my pain levels. Plus it will be nice to sleep in our cool air-conditioned room!


[1] I didn’t witness it.

[2] His zoomies are hysterical. He tucks his little bum in and off he goes, darting from place. Sometimes he wipes out as he goes around the corner and loses his footing.

A picture post…

In celebration of my purchase of Aperture 3 – I give you photos I have altered. Deb is the photographer.

Zoe is really not that serious!


Pit bull in deep thought!


Sawyer enjoying the sun.


Piper looking quite serious.


Sadly Molly is not really photogenic but she is cute in real life!


Kiefer laying in the doorway to the kitchen. Road Block!


Bella looking intense!





Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘it’s not the Rapture but something worse’ edition

  • Over the last several days, I am sure the people living in America’s ‘tornado alley’ thought the Rapture had come and they were left behind. The sheer extent of the damage, including the whipping out of Joplin, MO is incomprehensible. Then there is the flooding in Manitoba and Quebec closer to home. No doubt our horrid winter is extending into a very cold spring.
  • Today it was announced Auditor-General of Canada, Shelia Fraser, is retiring. She is one Ottawa bureaucrat who has earned her salary. She has faithfully reported one spending scandal after another to the Canadian public. She also had a rare quality of being fair and respected by all politicians, no matter the political stripe. She has always reported the bottom-line in a fair and accurate way. I worry that a majority Conservative government will try to bring in someone who is less tenacious.
  • At some point in the history of our property, it appears that someone decided to bury garbage. We have broken glass and metal coming up through the ground probably due to all the rain we have had. Sienna just about sliced off a pad from her front leg. Who would bury garbage? She needed 4 stitches but may lose the pad anyway. It is the one higher up on the leg.
  • So far at The Swamp we have avoided any weather-related disasters. If it would just stop raining we might lose the quicksand in the back 40. Seriously, if you go back there you would likely sink. At least Deb and Angelina got both the front and back mowed while it was dry as we brace for more monsoons. I really hope it dries up before my mother comes because the septic is a bit smelly.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘crazy weather’ edition

  • I was out today and could not believe the bizarre weather. As I was leaving it was sunny. I got closer to Fort Langley and I was treated to sleet along with heavy winds. As I was heading home, it started to sleet again. The sleet quickly turned to hail over the Golden Ears Bridge, which made it quite slippery. At one point it was sleeting and it was sunny. I was used to this kind of thing from Calgary. I remember it being sunny on one side of the street and pouring on the other.
She is a cheeky little brat!
  • Staying on the weather theme – some of the dogs really hate to go out and get their feet wet. Zoe is the worst. I think it is a Shihtzu thing. I remember the Chunk who would just stop rather than get her feet wet. Zoe goes a specific route to stay on the ‘high ground’ so that she does not get wet. It is really quite funny to watch.
Zoe flaked out
Zoe doing what she does best!
The Chunk in all flaked out
  • Do you notice the similarities between Zoe and Chunky? They are quite similar.
  • One of my co-workers gave me an area rug that she wasn’t using anymore. As soon as it went down the dogs were all over it. They love having rugs and mats to lie on.  The ‘terrorist’[1] dogs immediately started to play and within an hour had the whole thing covered in stuffing from toys all over the place!
  • We have had so much rain over the last week or so that the North Allouette River was getting quite high. I was a little worried that it was going to go over its banks if there was much more rain. Our property does not usually flood when the river goes over – it just makes it difficult for us to get out to the highway.
  • In other news, this was the first time in 2 years that the septic system did not need to be pumped at Christmas. I think this is likely because of the drainage system is moving the water out to the back of the property instead of it backing up into the septic tank. We will see if we get through the whole winter without having to have it pumped. Now, if we can just figure out a way to not have it smell as bad as it does in the winter.

[1] I have nicknamed Sawyer and Sienna the ‘terrorists’ because the are terriers and they destroy everything!

Extreme begging and other dog stories

So, with 9 dogs in our household we have become experts at the beg. They all have it down to a science. The sound of cutlery on china gets everyone’s attention and they all gather around. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming for the claustrophobics among us. Other times I half expect to hear the theme music to Jaws start to play. We have become accustomed to taking more food than we want simply so we can share with the dogs. Now, everyone here has a different way of doling out the treats. Sometimes it is done by age, or rank in the pack but usually it is by favourites. Yes, we are not perfect, we have favourites. Some dogs, like Mabel, do not have to gather around her treats are brought to her while she lays in her bed covered up by fleece.

mabel in fleece

Now, on to extreme begging. Mabel also has this down to a science. When she wants food, she stands in the kitchen, barks, opens her mouth, barks, opens her mouth until someone puts something in it. It is very effective:
Mabel gearing up to bark for chicken

Having had success, here is Mabel eating her chicken:

Mabel eating chicken

Different dogs employ different strategies. Piper relies on her big brown eyes to get what she wants. She uses all of her pug wiles all the time to get her share:

Please Mama...
I am so very sad...sigh...
Clio has a little bit of a challenge because she is blind. She can smell the food she just has a hard time finding it sometimes.

Not to be outdone, Sienna has to get in there too:

Now on to some random pictures of the crew. This is Madison laying with Clio and Mollie. Madison is one of the most photogenic dogs we have:

This is MacKenzie at the dikes:

Kiefer at the dikes:

Here is Piper in the classic ‘pug slouch:’

Not to be left out – here is where I found Bella this morning:

Crawling out from under…

Well, it has been a while. As many of you know I have been quite ill with a colitis attack from hell that landed me in the hospital for 12 days. Well, it would appear that was only the beginning. I have spent the last two months weaning myself off the various drugs they started me on in the hospital to try and get this under control. I have been making good progress. I am down from an all time high of 290 mg of slow acting morphine twice a day to 30 mg twice a day and the prednisone is down from 80 mg to 20. It has been very slow going. I am now at the point where I am able to get out and get some exercise and try to rebuild some strength after basically spending 2 months sleeping. The good news is that all colitis symptoms seem to be gone. I am sure this is a result of the imuran (which is an immuno-suppressant). It is thought that colitis is an auto-immune disease whereby the immune system attacks some part of the body (in this case the colon) and toning it down leads to a reduction in symptoms. The large doses of prednisone also do this but I was still having symptoms at 40mg so I am thinking it is the imuran. Let’s hope. I intend to write a whole lot more about this ordeal – most likely in an open letter to the doctor who set this course of action in motion but that is it for now.

Other updates. We have new neighbours who are more worried about us reporting on their barking dogs (and trust me they bark alot) than we are about them. They are also over the limit so we actually feel some security for a change. All the dogs are doing fairly well. Mabel has a cancerous tumour on her leg so we have to keep it covered and give her pain killers. She is now palliative. She has done really well especially given the fact that she was coming here to die a year ago as she was peeing blood and they thought she had bladder cancer. Madison is still struggling with her leg. She has a torn cruciate ligament and you can’t do surgery on a 14 year old dog for a torn cruciate so she is on meds and anti-inflammatory and a pain killer. Kirby is great. The punk (AKA Piper) lost her toilet training for a brief bit of time but that seems to be over now. Molly is great still doing her stretches. Clio still does not know she is a dog but that is ok. Keifer is a big pain in the ass. Mackenzie has been making Deb crazy getting her up in the middle of the night to pee and not coming in. Sienna has singlehandedly convinced 4 home care nurses that pitbulls are the best dogs in the whole world. She is a great breed ambassador. I sure hope I have not forgotten anyone!

This last several months have been rough for us. I have been sick since November. We also found out that Deb has MS. She may also have rheumatoid arthritis. It never fails to amaze me that no matter what confronts us we deal with it and come out stronger the other side. After almost 10 years together we have discovered cuddling. We cuddled before but not like now. It is a daily thing and we go to bed early just so we can cuddle and talk. It seems we fall more deeply in love with each other everyday. I feel very blessed.