Sunday, December 20, 2015


It's nearly here, that joyous, tiring, tension-fraught, hopeful, WONDERFUL time of year . . .  CHRISTMAS!  Part of the special magic to me, is that most people are celebrating a special holiday within the boundaries of this time frame, so all people can unite in celebration, even if they are celebrating different things.
Here at Sheltie Hollow, preparations are well under way.  I have the ice candle made and waiting in the freezer for Solstice night when it will go out in the garden to be lit and shine through the longest darkest night.

With the weather this year, it's a toss up as to whether it will burn out or melt first, but out it will go anyway, to mark the shortest day/longest night of the year.  This is the day that Winter officially arrives, and I hope he hears our welcome and wanders our way soon.
In the kitchen,  the animals are helping me bake cookies and make the Tourtiere for Christmas Eve, except the one I make is my Irish Grandmother's recipe, more of a meat pastie than a French Canadian Tourtiere.  It's all about Tradition.
I really am the world's worst pastry maker, but every year I feel compelled to actually make the pastry, not just open a box.  It's about not letting my Grandmother and my Aunt down.  So every year I say a little prayer before I begin, asking for their help in this monumentally difficult task.  Every year they look down on me and help me get the pastry rolled out and in the pie plate without too much trouble.  But this year, I have a feeling they were sitting together on a cloud, sipping angelic Sherry and laughing together, because this time, a series of mini disasters overcame my pastry, culminating in the top layer suddenly going limp in my hands just before it collapsed in a ball on top of the filling!   As they say, try, try again, and finally a new circle of pastry landed where it should, smooth and white and ready for the oven.  I was left happy, but  a nervous wreck.
The animals are a great help with the baking, keeping me company as they sniff the good scents coming from the oven and offering to taste just about everything.  But it wouldn't be half as much fun, baking without them there.

So now the cookies casseroles and the tourtiere are in the freezer, the tree is up (miraculously Still up despite a kitten in the house) and the coloured lights shine through the darkness.  All that is left is for me to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and PEACE TO ALL ON EARTH.

Til next time,
Heather Anderson

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


It's three am  in the Emergency Vet Hospital, and the people around us are sitting with strained faces and  the dogs and cats sitting on their laps or close beside them are all too quiet.  As awful as it is when we are ill, it is somehow worse when it's one of our beloved pets because they can't tell us exactly what's wrong, or where the pain is, or how badly they actually feel.  It is SUCH a helpless feeling.
We have been in this position too many times and we will be again.  Where we often tend to adopt a wait and see attitude when it's us feeling poorly, when we notice something is amiss with the dogs or cats, we rush to see the vet, never mind what time of the night or day.  Sometimes we leave the hospital feeling wonderful because it has been a false alarm, but its always better to have had the "something" checked out, and sometimes we leave worried to the core of our being.
Thank goodness for the wonderful vets and techs we have now, and thank goodness for the new detection methods and medications that allow our dogs and cats to come home to recover their normally good health.  Yes of course it costs - sometimes a LOT, but if we have taken on the responsibility for an animal, we also have to honour the responsibility to care for it, and for many people, ourselves included, it's an act of love more than a responsibility.

Although it can be tricky giving the required meds, it's good to see them recovering at home, where the other pets take turns sitting with the invalid.

And when a recovery is complete, the joy for everyone is immeasurable! Energy and joy return to the house and everyone is wearing a smile.

The little dog in the photos spent many hours at the emergency vet.  He had a knack for becoming ill around 3 am, and recovered from way too many illnesses.  His indomitable spirit carried him through until he was 13 years old, when the struggle became too much.  But we remember his joy in every day and strive to make sure that all our other dogs and cats share in that joy by giving them the best care possible.  That's what we signed up for, to give them the best possible love and care in sickness and in health. 
Til next time,
Cheers,   Heather .