Saturday, December 31, 2016

Poem published

So, I have been studying poetry for over two years now, mostly with Matthew Lippman who has been such a great teacher. I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger, but then it became too painful for me to continue, so I took a hiatus of a few decades. My poetry is pretty personal and I never used to share it with anyone. And I still find it quite the emotional work-out to write poetry, but I try to write one every week. Now I have started submitting them for publication and am pleased to have gotten one published online. 
It's  here in the Winter Solstice edition of Mused published by the Bella Online Literary Review.

I haven't posted any of my poems on my blog because many places consider them previously published if they are on your blog. But here is the one from Mused ...

A Watched Pot

Natalie Rowe

From countless kettles, I’ve streamed
the oxygenated water, watched
the orange pekoe eruption
of copper-brown clouds
bursting from white gauze.

But I often lack the patience
to await a rolling boil, wandering away
until the click of the auto shut-off
summons me back to the kitchen.

After the alarm, I set a timer:
exactly seven minutes steeping 
so as to make neither bitter brew
lukewarmed with a surfeit of milk,
nor pallid mugful strengthened
by the cheat of a squeezed bag.

My husband will make me a cuppa cuppa
as he calls it; sometimes as a balm
sometimes as an apology, sometimes
because he simply does not know
what to say or do beyond offering
the British cure-all: a steaming cup
of tannins and theanine.

And I´ll sip it from a chipped mug
older than our marriage but
just as familiar and imperfect, and
think about the way you can
wander away from each other
until something whistles you back.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cuteness heals!

Oh boy... what a week it has been. On Christmas Eve, we took in this little dude for a very short-term foster:

His name is Felix, he is about 10 weeks old, and on December 24th, he flew from the Turks & Caicos to Montreal via Miami, his final destination being Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue, from where we adopted Chloe and Dodger.

EOPR put out a call for someone to look after him until Boxing Day. My friend Jackie kindly offered to pick him up at the airport and drive him to our place so that we could temporarily foster him.

As you can see, Felix had no problems settling in.

He is already 98% potty-trained! That sweater had a big Santa face on the back. SO cute!

He's good with cats! Actually I think he was in shock.

Felix was supposed to leave on Boxing Day, but we had bad freezing rain, so the ladies from EOPR came out to get him the day after. And now he is up for adoption!

You can apply through their website. EOPR is located in Ottawa. I don't think he's going to have any trouble finding a home. Felix was easy for me to resist, because he is so adoptable. But as you will see towards the end of this post, another puppy is trying to suck us into her vortex of adorability!

Meanwhile, Christmas day was a write-off. Gordon woke up with a fever of almost 103F and was sick as the proverbial dog. We were supposed to have his mother over until Boxing Day, but none of us wanted her exposed to the flu, so she got to spend Christmas Day by herself. She was very good about that, but I felt bad. If I had had the time, I would have gone to visit her, but I had zero chore help on Christmas Day (Gordon was supposed to be my chore help!) so I spent five hours doing chores and the rest of the time looking after my poor sick husband. Fortunately I don't seem to have caught his bug.

I did find some time to spend cuddling Monty on Christmas...


But mostly I was having pity-party for one on December 25!

Monty is a real leaner and cuddler. He really is the most awesome dog, even if he does tend to smell like goat these days. He's 10 months old now and enormous. He is super smart (too smart!!), sweet and he has quite the sense of humour. I enjoyed my time with him on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, here's the January centrefold!

Dodger has no shame whatsoever. 

And, er, um, er, when EOPR picked up Felix, they left this gal behind....

Her name is Gigi and she is a 5-month old Jampup like Dodger and Chloe (from Jamaica.) She is lovely but quite shy, so we agreed to foster her for a few weeks and help her come out of her shell. Except...

...she is turning out to be irresistible, and she fits in a little too well. Yesterday she spent several hours sleeping with her head on Gordon's shoulder. 

And as you can see, I can't have three dogs in the house because it leaves no room on the bed for me! Last night I had nowhere to put my legs and ended up sleeping diagonally between Dodger and Emily the cat. Because I am now totally soft in the head! I never used to let dogs sleep on the bed. I have completely lost it.

We don't have white bedding, by the way. That's a cheapo bedspread I put over our pretty new duvet cover that I will apparently never see because our bed is always covered in smelly animals! ;)

And here is Gigi's ad from EOPR:

But I'm not convinced we are going to be able to give her up. 
Houston, we have a problem...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Jampups in snow

I am so glad we adopted both of these dogs! Even though we were just looking for one pup, Chloe and Dodger bonded in foster care and simply belong together!

Here they are in their fantastic Chilly Dogs coats. Chloe's is a little big but she's still growing so I don't mind. The coats are made in Canada and the quality is fabulous, plus they make extra-long sizes that are good for dogs like our who are very whippet-esque!

Dodger and Chloe love playing in the snow

There was probably horse manure on the other end of the hay sticking out of Chloe's mouth. They are already true farm dogs.

They could do this all day long. It's really hard to tire them out!

All the gnashing of teeth and eating of skulls is just good fun!

They are the best of buddies! 

And Chloe... as good as she gets!

We couldn't love these two more! Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue does an amazing dog rescuing, socializing, caring for, then adopting out puppies from Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, and sometimes other places. We are helping them out this Christmas weekend by fostering a little guy from T & C for about 36 hours...

He is arriving in Montreal tomorrow (Christmas eve!) My friend is bringing him to our place, then he is staying with us until Boxing Day when one of the ladies from EOPR is coming to pick him up. He will be ready for adoption in about a week. He is 10 weeks old and his name is Felix. :) 

NO. I am NOT keeping him! And it's going to be an interesting Christmas...

Hope you have a happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate! Thank you again so much for reading and commenting.  It warms my heart. xoxox

Friday, December 16, 2016

My new office, ha ha ha!

Got up today to discover some cat had peed and pooped all over my office chair! We don't have too many of these incidents, which is pretty amazing considering the number of cats we have. But Gordon locked a bunch of cats in my office this morning to feed them, then didn't let them out in a timely fashion. Ahem.

So today, this was my office...

My old office chair is out in the snow. Too much pee even to try salvaging it, but it was getting old anyway. Maybe the cats just wanted me to have a nice new chair! Thank God for Odormute, which took care of the pee on my floor protector mat.

And yesterday I picked up this bed thinking the dogs might like it... the dogs ever had a chance. Today Pip, Honey and Annuk took possession.

Then Daisy came along...

Pip and Honey were unperturbed.

Annuk wasn't much bothered by the prospect of Daisy either!

Daisy. You wouldn't!

Oh yes, you would.

Plopped herself right on top of her sister Honey!

Hoeny didn't mind at all. Nor did Pip or Annuk! When we got up this morning, this was the temperature:

-35C/-22F. Which I expect in January, but not on December 16, when it's not even officially winter yet!! So no wonder the cats were all cuddled up in a warm heap. 

But this guy...

...doesn't seem to mind winter one bit! His coat is incredibly thick now. Monty is 10 months old and doing really well.

Hope you are all staying warm out there. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 08, 2016


What are Archie, Pip and Daisy staring at?

Why it's MILLICENT the barn house cat! Her abscess healed up very nicely.

Doesn't she look like she has made herself right at home on top of the dog crates? She is still spending most of her time in Gordon's upstairs office, with occasional visits from the tolerant Naomi. This is the slowest new-cat introduction EVER.

Pip had a snooze next to Millicent. Yes, cats sleep on top of the puppy crates. It's especially hilarious when the dogs are inside and start barking and jumping up and down. The cats don't care one bit!

Pip tried to give Millicent a little bath... was not well-received.

Somebody has a lot of attitude. She really would make the most fantastic cat for a little old lady living on her own. I really wish my mother-in-law would have a cat, but alas, she won't. So I do my best to love up Millicent as much as I can.

Needless to say, she is 14,000 times happier in the house than in the barn. Meanwhile, I despair over my own cat-lady status and the fact that I may now never have a house with a nice couch and unscratched hardwood floors... (I'm looking at you, cats and puppies!) And instead of getting our fugly bathrooms renovated, we keep spending money on goat houses and crap like that! :) But no one should EVER complain to me about their vet bills, LOL.

It's worth it. I think.

And Millicent is thrilled with life.

PS: I am feeling much better from my horse boo-boo! My ultrasound went fine and I plan to get back on my horse this weekend if possible! Thanks for all the good thoughts. :)

Monday, December 05, 2016

It finally happened...

I finally fell off my horse! My first fall ever since I started riding.

It took 2-1/2 years but I managed it at last, in somewhat spectacular fashion. Don't worry, I'm okay! I have to go for an ultrasound on my kidneys tomorrow but I will be fine.

Gordon, my friend Pam and I were out riding in the field yesterday having a great old time. We decided to canter for a bit, so Gordon led the way. No sooner did I get Roo into gear then wham! Something happened... I went up in the air and slammed back down in the saddle hard. I would have stayed on, but then Roo took a hard turn left (I honestly have no idea if I jerked his rein or not!) and off I flew. I just remember throwing the reins from me and making sure my other foot was out of the stirrup before I hit the muddy ground in as much of a ball as I could curl up into.

I can't say it didn't hurt, because it did. I thought I would be okay until I suddenly felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest, at which point Gordon called an ambulance. Somehow the farmer who rents our land showed up with his pick-up truck and brought the paramedic out to the field! Still not sure where he came from, but it was timely. We have the best neighbours. They ended up sticking me in a neck brace and taking me off to hospital. Not the best end to my ride with Roo, but the paramedics were super kind.

After a bunch of tests and xrays and stuff it was determined that I hadn't broken anything, thank goodness. They finally set me free three hours later, sore but alive. :) They took a urine sample and while I thought I was then free to go from the ER, apparently I wasn't, because I got a call today saying I need to come back and get an ultrasound. I think probably I bruised a kidney as that's exactly the part of my anatomy that took the worst of the impact.  Probably some blood in the urine. Anyway, my neck and lower back are sore but they will get better.

So mainly I am pissed off at having to fast for 8 hours before my ultrasound at 10:45 am tomorrow. I am not a pleasant person when I can't eat. Also I am not good at lying around resting, but I tried to do that today. Everyone is being super kind to me.

Mostly I really want to get back on my horse. I was wearing my helmet but I'm pretty certain I kept my head from hitting the ground. Nonetheless I will be buying a new helmet, just in case.

My friend Pam, who was riding behind me on her  lovely horse Ella (who is currently boarding here!) saw the whole thing. Apparently Roo kicked out at Ella as she came up behind me, either a sideways kick or a backwards one. That's what sent me up in the air to begin with. Still don't know why he turned left but maybe I yanked the rein as I came back down and that threw him off balance. But it all happened so fast, I'm not entirely sure what went on. I don't know what I could have done to prevent it.

To Roo's credit, as soon as I fell off, he stopped to check on me. Pam said he didn't want to leave me and she had to drag him back across the field to the barn. So maybe he likes me a little bit. :) He really is a good boy, and falls are part of riding horses. They aren't machines; they are animals and things happen. You do what you can to minimize your risks. So I will have a soak in an Epsom salts bath tonight, then go get my ultrasound tomorrow. 

And Kudos to the Canadian healthcare system. Ambulance was at the farm in 10 minutes and I was seen by a doctor soon after I arrived at the hospital. Had xrays and tests and was home within three hours. Then they followed up about the ultrasound last night (I missed the phone call!) And I don't have to pay for any of it unless they decide the ambulance ride was unncessary, in which case I believe you need to cough up $45. We have a really great little hospital under 15 minutes from us!

It's okay buddy, I still love you!

PS: I just noticed that this is my 2000th blog post! I guess I've had a lot to say since 2005.

Friday, December 02, 2016


It has been nuts around here lately, truly...

But this guy... going to be in the Christmas parade in Alexandria on Sunday evening! And I am going to ride Roo. Finney has been doing so well in his training that our riding instructor Rose is dressing him up and putting him in the parade. I can't wait! I have to buy some battery-operated Christmas lights to decorate my own horse this weekend.

Meanwhile, in Catville...

...the tea mug reflects Emily's attitude towards life perfectly!

Mootie, Archie and Honey are none too sure about the dogs!

"Why? Why did you have to get TWO puppies?"

But the cats are adjusting. That black blob behind Gordon's hand stroking Dodger is Naomi!

Gordon is good at multi-tasking. Rubbing my foot, reading a book, and cuddling with Chloe.

And you would never guess we have 17 cats...

Not to mention some really muddy horses!

My friend Pam was holding onto Sandy so I could get photos of her filthiness. Sandy really really really enjoys rolling in mud.

Sigh. We have some grooming to do!

I've also been making soap!

Here's a bunch of lavender stuff that turned out quite well.

And back in the barn...

Keaton is king of all he surveys!

But in the house...

Daisy and Honey have commandeered my office chair.

Ah, sisters! Daisy was giving Honey a nice bath.


Then it was time for a nap!

And look what Dodger the pup has been up to...

...he likes to hoard cat bowls! And for the record, that used to be a cat bed.

Have a great weekend!