Tag Archives: Lucky the cat

The Law of Attraction

Lavender wreathsMore and more lately, I think about how lucky we are to be here, Jimmy Oliver and I, doing what we’re doing.

How did this B & B thing happen, anyway? And did we consciously decide to have just the two suites, so never more than two sets of guests, or did that just happen?

Either way, it is right for us. And if you believe in the law of attraction, that like attracts like, then all I can say is that we have been remarkably blessed lately with amazing guests.

Lucky the catIn its finest moments, a B & B really delivers to its owners. Yes, it is a way to (hopefully) make a living. It also encourages you to really focus on and develop parts of your home and garden that you might otherwise not do. But more than anything else, a B & B can deliver the most delightful mornings, filled with rich discussion or hilarious repartee around the breakfast table.

And here is the advantage of keeping it small. A small group hangs together. In a small group, there is space for everyone to contribute. And in a small group, you tend to go deep, rather than wide with those discussions. The truth is that, on many mornings, we find ourselves in the company of the most astonishing individuals. So whether it is Pauline, living large, and entirely on her own terms, or Riz, who was the first hometown radio host to interview Nirvana and the first to play ‘Teen Spirit’ to Seattle audiences, the experiences are rich and the conversation flows.

Wreath forms
The Wreath forms and spray were ready

Like farm wives before modern conveniences helped to ease the work load, B & B owners never run out of jobs to do and chores to complete. Some need to be done immediately, and others call to you when you’re about to sit down.

This is our third summer above the bay, and for the first two, I contemplated the enormous lavender bushes we’d inherited and thought about what I might like to do with the crop. The first year, we did a late harvest of the flower stalks and had a huge aromatic basket filled to brimming on the patio next to us. Eventually, all of the flower heads began to drop off. We collected them and kept them for awhile, but I thought to myself, ‘A wreath would be nice. I want to make a wreath.’

The next summer, I thought I was ready. I had wreath forms.

Wreath forms
Snipping and binding, I thought about them All

I even bought a spray fixative for dry flowers. All I needed to do was to wait until all of that lavender was bright purpley blue. Almost there, I thought, until a visiting friend, observing the crop, dashed my hopes. ‘Too late,’ she said. ‘You’re supposed to harvest it before it opens completely.’ I sighed heavily. ‘What’s another year?’ I thought rather bitterly.

So this year, I was ready. Which brings me back to all of those intensely interesting visitors. Because, with all of that work to do, how could I possibly find the time, or even justify sitting there and putting this rather large wreath together?

Well aside from the fact that I wanted to, I found that I was compelled to do it. And whereas, that farm wife of old might find herself knitting socks or canning tomatoes, I went through the steps of creating my wreath, and at the same time, I thought deeply about all of the people who, though we’d only known each other briefly, had had the power to mark me deeply with the essence of who they were. And so, I sat and I worked and I thought about them, and about just how lucky we really are to be living here, and doing this.

Wreath forms
Slowly, I gathered the stalks into bunches and bound them tightly
Lavender wreaths
Using Floral Wire, I bound each small bouquet to the wreath

Strictly for the Birds

Heron
Can you see him there, lurking?

Here at Seasons Above the Bay, we’ve always been for the birds. Without really acknowledging it, it seems to have been one of our themes from the beginning. For one thing, we’ve been surrounded by birdsong from the day we stepped into our garden, just 2 years ago.

Heron in stained glass
The Heron I already had

Oh, how it struck me then! Memory took me back to childhood, and there I was, standing in a long ago garden. That whole first summer, I spent watching. And listening. I was mesmerized by the feeling that I’d been taken backwards in time.

The next summer, we became acutely aware of a different sound. A primordial sound, if you’ve never heard it. It was the sound of herons, nesting safely in a preserve about 100 meters away from our property. We never saw the nestlings, but the parents of those little critters were run ragged, from morning til night. At first, we were rather startled by the sight of what appeared to be swooping teradactyls, relentlessly fetching for their clacking offspring. We’ve learned that this goes on for months. Those baby herons have a good thing going, and they take every advantage of it.

What we didn’t expect was a surprise visit. I mean, we’re good with drop ins. Visitors seem to reach us at all hours. But when one of them casually asked, ‘Why do you have a heron in your front yard?’, I admit it: I was startled. Looking outside, I saw one of my neighbors signalling me wildly. ‘You’ve got a heron in your front yard,’ she pronounced as I peeked my head out the door.

Heron
Everybody’s a critic

The strange thing was that we realized we’d been misleading these herons all along. Didn’t we have a lovely effigy, in stained glass, just where that heron could spot it? Didn’t we have heron art, clearly visible from the front room window? All of this flashed through my mind as I went in search of the heron.

And there he was, lurking in the bushes, attempting invisibility. Poor fellow, he was clearly out of his depth, not to mention his nest. From his scuttling about, I could see that he was uninjured. What were we to do?

HeronI tracked him for a bit, and noted the critical expression on his face, as he observed the decor, visible from the bedroom window, as he peered into our most exclusive suite. ‘Like you could do better,’ I muttered, self-consciously, as I watched him move away.

From there, Harry (as I suddenly realized I had named him) was off. He was going to do a full trek of the property, and inevitably, that meant he would encounter cats. Two cats. The chase was on.

Returning to the house momentarily, I knew the meeting of species had occurred when the most god-awful caterwauling rent the air. Alfredo, our orange, pint sized mighty mouser had crossed Harry’s path and was delighted with what he saw. Harry, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to begin kicking furry butt, and he set about it. There was something just and right about the result: one cat down.

It was then that we clearly knew we needed help. A call to our next door neighbors, more than checked out in the ways of both herons and injured or displaced wildlife, was made. I kept tracking Harry, and Harry kept trekking the property.

Meanwhile, keeping one eye on Harry, I couldn’t help but notice the madcap scene of our neighbors, creeping along the fenceline while brandishing flowing sheets in outstretched arms. Looking, as they did, more like errant trick or treaters than bird rescuers, I shook my head at the possibilities. I’d seen Harry’s work…. Poor Harry. Could this end well?

Cat in garden
And then, he was gone

Meanwhile, Lucky, our second cat, having witnessed his brother’s inglorious and atypical trouncing, watched in dumbstruck terror as suddenly, Harry began approaching him from what he’d assumed was a well placed hiding spot. Not so much. Do you have any idea how well herons can see? I felt like a powerless mother, desperately egging on a hopelessly plump 5 year old in a Sports Day footrace, already lost. ‘For god’s sake, Lucky, RUN!!’ I shrieked from the sidelines. Lucky, meanwhile, eyes the size of saucers and a look of abject terror freezing his features, could do nothing to save himself. I noted, proudly, that at the very last second, he actually covered his eyes…….

Heron
Harry, the Curious Heron

It was, I admit, a collective breath that was caught, as Lucky lived to see another day. Choosing to pass him by, Harry was off once more. Now to the rose garden, over to the hedge, he weaved and dodged to his heart’s delight. There wasn’t a square inch of the property he didn’t cover, in his bid for freedom. By this time, five grown adults were scrambling to bring this caper to a good end. With sheets outstretched, many an attempt was made to safely cover little Harry’s head, for though he appeared fully grown, it was then we really understood the tenderness of his age. Poor Harry. Though he managed to resist our efforts, try as he might, his gallumphing leaps, and frenetic flapping were all in vain. No flight was achieved. And in the end, behind a hedging cedar, it all ceased as it had begun. Darkness had brought peace to Harry.

Did you know that all birds will stop struggling if their heads are concealed? The darkness seems to end the panic and they relax and allow themselves to be rescued. Harry went gently, into that good night.

After a series of phone calls, arrangements were made to transport Harry to nearby Crofton. Good neighbor, Kerrie, did the driving. From there, Harry received his first boat ride over to Salt Spring Island, where a peaceful rescue and recovery process could begin. Not a bad end for a curious heron.

Lucky Continues to Live Up to His Name

Cat and friendOne thing we’ve discovered, since moving to Vancouver Island, and in particular, the Cowichan Valley,  is that nearly every family or business has a beloved pet or two, revered like children, and well known to the broader community.  I don’t walk into my physiotherapist’s office without being hugged, patted, and generally assailed by Molly, her darling dog.

Everyone has stories about their critters and nearly every friend and page on Facebook keeps us up to date on these.

Here, at Seasons Above the Bay, our guests have been quite well entertained by the antics of Lucky, the wonder cat.  Lucky was born nearly 11 years ago, and from his earliest days, he’s been a model of patience and lovability. He is a clown, with our guests, particularly during the good weather, when everyone is dining outside, on the patio.

CatHe loves nothing more than to lie flat on his back, his 4 paws reaching for the sky while he stares at you, upside down and backwards.  Like most dogs, he is a total sucker for a belly rub.  I  say ‘dogs’, because we have long realized that Lucky is our ‘dog-cat’, while his brother, Alfredo, is pure feline.

Lucky has an inborn instinct to look after others, and has always been particularly good with little kids.  He is to this day.  And so, it came as a pretty big shock this week to discover that Lucky has developed very serious diabetes.

Out of the blue, we realized that he was losing a great deal of weight.  We told ourselves that it was because we had switched up his cat food to a ‘senior cat’ type, which he obviously was not loving.  But then, his water dish began to be frequently empty.  And though his spirits still seemed good, we realized that we needed to get some answers.

We were pretty shocked and horrified;  Lucky requires 2 injections of insulin a day, and, of course, a completely different diet.

Cat

We’ve had a few days to get over the shock, and begin to figure this thing out.  Jim and I work as a team, trying to keep both kitties separated, while we feed Lucky his new food, obviously abhorrent to him, while simultaneously jabbing him with a needle.  Meanwhile, Alfredo is desperate to sort out what the heck is wrong with everybody, and when and what it is safe for him to eat.  But we’re getting there.  We’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, it’s hard not to be super reflective about just how much Lucky means to us; how really important he is in our lives.  Lucky’s peaceful, generous nature has provided us with so much comfort and assurance over such a long period of time.  We each expect a personal visit and serious schmooze with him, at least twice a day.

There will be head butting, smooching of foreheads and hugs.  He’s great at all of those things.

We can’t help but think, now, that time is precious for all of us.  Love is nothing to be taken for granted.  It’s a gift, whenever and from wherever it comes.  So for us, this week, the gift has been just to be reminded of that.

And, hopefully, lots more years of antics and love among the ‘furry set’.

A Bride Sends her Memories of ‘Seasons Above the Bay’

So many thanks go out to Ariel and Brian Stott, who spent their time with us last summer, as they prepared for and enjoyed their wedding, in the Cowichan Valley.

We were so happy to provide them with a sanctuary in which to work on their flower arrangements (I was delighted to complete bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids) and the remaining details for their big day.

More importantly, when they returned to champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries, and all the comforts of our ‘Memories of Paris’ suite, they knew they had made the best choice for themselves.  Breakfast on the patio each morning of their stay was replete with the antics of Lucky, our tuxedo kitty, who makes his appearance in Ariel’s photos, draining our patio fountain!

The morning after their wedding, and following breakfast, Ariel made her way around the garden, and made an exquisite job of committing to memory our flowers of summer.  We look forward to their next visit, and thank them for making us a part of such an important time.

It was our pleasure playing a part in such an important day.  We have come to realize that it is a segment of business that suits us very well, and which we would really like to develop.  Our property lends itself to weddings of an intimate size (30 people and fewer), and our gardens provide a wealth of floral backdrop.

In addition, the preparation of flower arrangements, bouquets, and even wedding cakes to fit the occasion are part of the services we would like to provide.  Moreover, we have the perfect set up to provide ideal pre-wedding preparation space, for dressing and make up application.  Our suites are really tailor made for honeymooning or for use by parents and others related to the wedding, as the most lovely and comfortable accommodation.

We would truly love to have the opportunity to help you create and host your ideal day to remember.