Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cats and Ladies and Cat Ladies

I have so many ideas for 'blog entries that I want to write but I never have the time and when I do there are always more pressing things to express. I'd like to write more about: food, plants, tarot, astrology, tattoos, dreams, love, friends, nature, birds and so much more...

Right now about all I can think about is the huge list of things to do while I am in Vancouver and my cat's well-being and future.

I've had Fatty since she was the smallest kitten. I remember the day she was born, August 8th, 1996. She was one of a litter of four kittens born to a one-eyed Calico barn cat named Snap on my friend Lynn's farm in Madoc, Ontario. She was the only kitten who survived mauling by the puppy on the farm. She fell from a shed loft and managed to make it to the barn, evading the puppy, other dogs and other grown cats. I took her home early because her mum wasn't interested anymore and she still suckles on fuzzy blankets because of it.

I was eleven-years-old at the time and my parents were in the process of separating. Over the next year Fatty, or Miss Kitty as we called her then, lived in Madoc, Ontario, Contre Coeur, Quebec, Cochrane and Calgary, Alberta with my mum. We were re-united in Calgary at some point and she lived with me or my mum there until I moved to Vancouver in 2006. During that time she had been hit by a car and survived a pelvis fracture as well as fallen 30ft from a tree. Three lives down.

When she first moved to Vancouver she became infested with fleas, she'd never had them before because Calgary is so high and dry. I realised that she was very allergic. So I moved to an apartment with my boyfriend at the time, Jonny. She recovered and became almost a different cat entirely. She had always been skittish and would hide under beds at the least thing but during the time we lived with Jonny she became more loving and started to hang out with us more. Her sociable personality started to come out and she started to love meeting new people, sitting on laps and licking hands.

Over the past six months I've been traveling and she has lived with my lovely friends Renée and Dustin. They liked having a cat so much they got their own kitten, Jovi, and I took Fatima to Sapo Bravo to see how she liked living in the wild again.

Things were going very well until this Saturday when a tabby tomcat stray got into our house and they had a fight. Fatty fell from the loft and is now covered in scratches and missing chunks of fur. Luckily, this coincided with our time off and a trip into Vancouver. She has a vet appointment tomorrow and is just sleeping off the stress for the time being.

I feel so helpless and terribly unable to help my cat, my little life partner. She has been a constant source of love in my life and has been with me through the hardest times ever. It makes me feel so horrible that I can't just be with her. Amazingly, my community is rising up around me to support us. My friends are fostering her until I can find a more long term situation and when I come back to the city in October I swear I will never leave her until her beautiful, little life runs out. At 14, she's already outlived a lot of cats and she is loved by many, if not all that have met her.

It is so amazing how much these wonderful little animals can affect our lives and enrich our experience of love. I am constantly thankful for knowing her love and loving her. She has taught me the practical lesson of responsibility and I know that I am a better person for it.

Here's to Fatima and all of those wonderful, furry little beasts who make our lives better everyday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life without power; Powerful life

One day off a week never seems like enough time to do all the things I want to do. I guess I just push myself to be productive and after traveling for so long it is wonderful to have a space to call my own and I just want to take advantage of that.

But I have realised after five weeks into this apprenticeship, that this is enough. It is enough to be completely immersed in farming. To give myself over to this is such a challenge because I forever want to be writing, drawing and painting but I simply don't have the time here. I don't even have the time to keep up with my 365 photo project.

We work until 6pm and before we know it it's 9:30 and the light is fading and there is only so much you can do by candlelight. Besides, I am in bed by 10:30 every night or the next morning isn't so great.

There is something to be said for this lifestyle though. We are oriented in a north-south river valley, the Fraser Canyon. I never see the sun rise or set, only the sun up over the mountain and the sun down over the other mountain. I see the rain clouds come up the valley and send sentinels of mist ahead, breaking news of a shower coming. I hear the wind and see its movements before I feel it on my skin. I notice every day the growth of the plants and the fruits on the many trees. I hear the birds and we look everywhere to see if we can find who is singing that song and when we do, we rush to the birdbook and seek her name.

I am trying so hard to take it all in and let my memory wrap around it, embrace it, integrate it into my being. I want to be a part of this and for this place to be a part of me. My fingers are callousing, slowly and now when my hands are clean they still look dirty. I'm taking pride in that and taking pride in my sore back and tight muscles.

It has been a difficult transition but not for the reasons that you might think. Living without power and modern amenities is not the challenge, even living in isolation from the people and things I know and love has not been so hard. It is the peace, the stillness and serenity that opens me to the depths of my being and allows all the passions and pains to rush back up. I am flooded with remembrance and emotions. The deluge stirring in me so powerfully that I cannot see my reflection in it. I know not who I am in this white water.

My challenge is to build a berm, with quiet strength and meditation through the hardest work I've ever done, a containing wall to pool my effusiveness and see my reflection again. By the end of this season, I think that my harvest will be great! A new peace mind to go with all of these new skills. I can't just hope, I can strive and push and work and everything will come.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day In, Day Out

Wow! We've been at the farm for a month now and it has flown by. Our schedule is something like this:
7am - Wake up, coffee, CBC radio, breakfast.
8am - Work!
11am - One of us prepares lunch
12pm - Eat lunch!
1pm - Back to work or one of us does the dishes
6pm - Quittin' time! Coffee again and a joint ;)
7pm - Make dinner and eat

We try to be in bed before 11pm and it is damn easy to fall asleep after a day that full and six days a week, no less. We only end up with 3 hours of free time in a day!

Despite the back breaking schedule, we've been pretty productive. I've read two books since we've been here and assembled a quilt. Jay made birdfeeder, a chair, many axe handles and we've got our garden growing too.

We have a wood stove and it keeps us warm on chilly nights, we've got a big deck with a beautiful view and soon we will have all the peaches we can eat! What else do you need?