Sunday, 25 August 2019

How I Spent my Saturday

Tomato season is upon us! Three and a half bushels put up yesterday (61 litres stewed, and 11 1/2 pints of salsa). This year I got experimental hybrid seeds from the University of Florida and grew paste (Roma), beefsteak, and cherry tomatoes. They grew remarkably well, produced fruit by the bucket, and they all taste absolutely wonderful. Sweet, juicy, firm, and practically flawless. Apparently these particular varieties are meant to be especially high in nutrition as well. Best ones I've ever grown, and a fantastic yield.

Next week are peaches and crabapples, to be shortly followed bv pears, Spy apples, and concord grapes.

Friday, 16 August 2019


My little Shih-Tzu Maple is over fourteen years old now. He is mostly blind and almost entirely deaf. He's lost most of his teeth. He has arthritis in his back and walks a bit drunkenly. His lovely autumn-leaf colouring is going gray. He no longer jumps onto the couch or goes for long walks or takes any interest in toys. And over the past while he has had a series of small strokes, which lay him flat for a bit but don't appear to have any lasting effects. The vet has agreed that this fall it would be a mercy to put him down, before the cold increases his pain.

I know all this. I remind myself of this. And yet, there are still times when he's peppy and laughs with his mouth open and his tongue hanging out. He wags his tail when he realizes I'm near. He tries to scamper, though he can only go a couple of feet. There are times he finds a sunny spot on the grass and just rolls and squirms on his back, then collapses into a relaxed heap, reveling in the heat. I see him stand with his stubby nose pointed into the wind, feeling the breeze and picking up scents. He'll stand like that for an hour. He's happy. In spite of limitations, in spite of difficulty eating, in spite of bashing his face into fence posts and walls, he's content.

Dogs are so Zen. They don't waste time fretting that reality is not what they want it to be. They don't rail against fate or complain when things change. He's rolling with whatever comes his way and, against all odds, seems to find joy in his life. How can I put him down while he's still able to feel joy?

Then again, he has been a faithful, good dog and companion to my kids for many years. He's sweet-tempered and peaceful. How can I prolong his pain? Surely he doesn't deserve that. If his nature is to feel joy right up until the last breath, it's not as if I can wait until the joy stops before ending his life.

It's such a conundrum, trying to play God. I can see his physical limitations but I can also see his heart. I wish he could tell me what to do.

Of course, he is telling me what to do. Be at peace with what comes. Adapt. Love. Stretch out in the sun. Be joyful.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Fergus Scottish Festival

I'm home again, and attended the Fergus Scottish Festival today. Beautiful weather, great music, good food, and a lovely country drive to get there. There are times I miss piping with the band, and other times I feel content to let it go. Such as when I contemplate trying to deal with 8 yards of wool in a port-o-potty. But even if I'm no longer part of the band, they still make me feel welcome when I hang out with them. A great bunch of people.

My grand-daughter competed in highland dance for the first time today and I was very proud of her. She has amazing poise and stage presence for a seven-year-old, and I'm impressed she can even remember the intricate steps of the sword dance at her age.

I also attended a Gaelic language introductory workshop taught by Gillebride MacMillan and enjoyed it (attended last year too, but I picked up a lot more this time around). All in all, a fun day.