I have always liked berries, strawberries, blackberries, marionberries, raspberries and this year I am really into blueberries. About a week ago I went to the local farm store and bought two bushes. My nephew had gotten some Legacy bushes so I followed his lead as there were a lot of different varieties to choose from.
I’m not sure why I have all of sudden acquired such a craving for these berries but in reading about the them, I’m thinking maybe my body is telling me they are good for me.
I had always thought they grew in bogs but a number of neighbors have them here. In fact, the neighbor next door invited me over to pick some. His bushes were loaded with delicious fruit.
Blueberries don’t seem to require a lot of maintenance. Before they were cultivated, they grew wild and are native to North America. Native Americans were the first to recognize their versatility and health benefits. If you google ‘blueberries’ there is a lot of information about the health benefits of including them in your diet.
There are a lot of blueberry recipes. I love them over Greek yogurt and do about half/half. Half Blueberries of course. I also love them in summer salads. Hopefully I’ll get some pictures of my bushes with fruit next year. I’m looking forward to it.
It has been a busy month for me to date, leading up to my art group’s 25th Annual Art Exhibition. I was delighted when the committee asked if they could use one of my paintings (“Sunflowers”) on the advertisement poster, placed in local newsletters, on many sites and pages on the internet, and in local shops and libraries.
For me this year, the hardest part was in deciding which paintings to put on show. I hadn’t painted much these past 18 months and several I had done, I had scrapped – they were not good enough for me, which did not leave me a lot of choice. There were seven I considered, finally whittling it down to five. Two were on stretched canvas so didn’t need to be framed, the remaining three did. My usual supplier did not have a lot in stock but eventually I found three which were perfect.
The exhibition had to be cancelled last year and with Covid restrictions still in place it was a tough call as to whether this one would. One thing was definite: we would not be able to put on refreshments for our visitors, a great shame as this draws people in, makes them stay longer in the relaxed atmosphere, creates conversations and makes friendships. We worried we would not get many visitors. It also meant money raised from teas/coffee/cakes etc would not be made. We charge a minimal entrance fee, run a raffle of professional artists’ work who have demonstrated or taught at our group, exhibitors are charged a small fee for each artwork shown; and take a small percentage of sales. Once fees for the room hire for the weekend are removed, what remains goes to our chosen local charity, this year our hospital’s Long Covid-19 Research Project, a subject close to my heart as one of my nieces, a nurse, caught the virus last year whilst nursing and is still suffering long-term effects.
We were amazed by the number of people who came through the doors over the weekend: 164, mainly on Saturday. Sunday rained and of course the Euro Cup football final was on so this kept visitors away. Also pleasing was the number of paintings were sold, almost £1,000’s worth. Unfortunately, unlike other years, none of mine sold this time although everyone expected the sunflowers and the jaguar to sell, but I am far from not downhearted. It was lovely seeing fellow members’ work selling, especially some who despite having been painting for many years had never sold anything before. Along with the raffle raising nearly £300 it meant once deductions were made the charity will receive a cheque from the club for about £800. We call that a success!
Here’s a few snaps taken by me of my paintings and a bit more of the exhibition.
Jillian here. Warning: this is long, so move on if you don’t have time. I won’t be offended. 🙂
A few weeks ago, Hobbes was lethargic and not eating on a Saturday evening. All day Sunday, he just laid in my bed and slept. He never surfaced to eat or anything. Of course, Mr. “I Need Treats All Day” had me worried but I chalked it up to his being tired from helping Mr. C in the yard on Saturday.
Monday, we all went to work, but when we got home, Hobbes wasn’t able to make a sound other than sounding like he was choking. He was also was making the cat vomit movements they do with their neck before puking, but nothing was coming out. He was clearly in distress.
#2 son and I thought he might have a stick or something in his throat and, rather than waiting until the next day to see his regular vet, we decided to go to the 24 hour emergency vet. I’d never been there before but know it cost $110.00 just to walk in the door. But this was Hobbes so I was ready for that.
The rules were you had to call from your car and then they tell you when to come in. Masks are required and only one human with the animal. We were the only ones to follow those rules as shall be seen….
When I got inside with him, they whisked him off. Before I could get checked in, this woman ran in with her daughter—no masks—and started screeching about her dog being kicked in the head by a horse. He looked alert so I was hopeful for him. They took her back to a room with her dog and her daughter. My son was sitting in the car because, rules….
While I was being checked in after the drama of the dog. A man and woman (no masks) came in holding a poodle in a towel and kept saying, “excuse me…our dog…”
I finally got in a room and the waiting began. The lady with the dog that got kicked in head was in room next to me. I could hear her sobbing and crying with her daughter and then a man who joined them. Meanwhile, my son still sat in the hot car—running the engine so he could use the air conditioner.
Finally, after an hour—which I get due to triage— the vet came in to talk to me. She talked 900 miles a second and I could barely keep up. She asked if I knew Hobbes has a heart murmur. Nope. Never heard that before. And that became her focus. Not that I thought he was choking or something.
She left and then they brought in a plan of treatment. It was an estimate of $1,500.00-$2,500.00. I just about had a heart attack myself. She had a long list of things she wanted to do and they required $1,900.00 down right then. The tech acted a bit peeved that I needed to call my husband. Then, the kicker? I had to sign and choose between 3 methods of resuscitation. 1. None, 2. Minimally invasive (for $500.00) or 3. Invasive ($1,000.00). At that point, I wanted to vomit or cry or both. To me, they prey on people who are worried about their pet. It was vile and manipulative—both the outrageous bill and the choosing resuscitation method. But, being worried about Hobbes, I left him there and chose the $500.00 resuscitation option—it was explained they need that in case they couldn’t get me if he was in distress.
As I was at the desk paying the “deposit” a vet tech came running in from the side door screaming she needed someone to help her resuscitate the huge dog she was carrying. She was yelling “STAT” and calling out a room number.
I almost went into melt down. This place was too much for me. And I was leaving poor Hobbes there. He’s not a big fan of noise or drama. So, worried about him and his health and traumatized myself, I left.
You can only call to check on your pet between 5 and 6 am or 4 to 5 pm. I set my alarm and called at 5:10 am to be told she wanted to observe him for the day and wanted to get the local animal cardiologist in to look at his tests. She said that $500.00 the cardiologist charges was within the “budget” they gave me the night before. I almost snorted at that. HER budget maybe. Not mine. I declined. She told me to call back at 4 pm to see if he was ready to go home.
So, I did. Had to call 3 times before I could get an answer. Finally got there to get him at 4:50 p.m. Called from car as I was still following the rules. The girl said, “Give me a few minutes.” I waited 5 minutes and then went in. She turned in her chair and in a voice like I was five years old, she barked, “I TOLD you to wait in your car.”
Stunned, I said, “No. You told me to give you a few minutes.”
She pointed to three people in lobby—none with masks—and said, “I have to wait on them first.”
“I just want to get my cat and go.”
“You’re getting a partial refund so go back to your car until I call you.” Again in that voice reserved for small, misbehaving children. And why were others allowed to sit in the lobby with no masks, but I had one on and had to go back to my car?
It took 20 minutes for her to call. There was more dog drama while I was getting my refund- the yelling and carrying on in that place was heartrending and stressful. The emergency vet prescribed heart pills and said he’d have to be on them the rest of his life. I left there with Hobbes at 5:55 pm. And I will never, ever, ever darken their doors again.
Three days later, he was still lethargic and not eating or using the litter box. His regular vet, at his follow up appointment, said he had no heart murmur and never had. She looked at the X-rays they took at the emergency vet and said he had fluid on the lungs and was probably nauseous. She gave him a shot for the nausea and some Lasix pills to get rid of the fluid. No need for the super expensive heart pills.
By the time we got home from the real vet, Hobbes was perky and hungry as a bear. He ate a lot and wanted to go outside. It took a few more days for him to be completely back to normal and his meow was the last to recover (he had been sounding like a frog, not a cat).
What did I learn from this? That, sadly, the 24 hour emergency room staff do not care about how they treat people, don’t care about following their own rules, will gouge people who are concerned about their animals and over test and over charge. And do not truly have the best interest of anyone but themselves at heart. While I didn’t like paying the amount of money they charged me, I am lucky I had the resources to do so. What about the people who don’t? How many animals does this place put down due to the financial constraints of some of the pet parents? How many people go way into debt for unnecessary tests to save their animal? I don’t want to know. All I know is, I won’t be returning there. Ever.
First of all, Happy Fourth of July to all the USA folks who just got done celebrating it. And Happy (belated) Canada Day to our northern neighbors.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a fairly temperate climate. We get snow in winter…sometimes. We get rain. And we have well-rounded seasons. What we don’t normally get is over 100 degrees in the summer. Last weekend, we hit 110 in places. That’s unheard of around here, and with so many people not having air conditioning, it was brutal.
Hubby and I were lucky. We have air conditioning. Put it in a few years ago when we hit 100 degrees five times in one summer (another very rare occurrence.) So we were able to weather the heat fairly well, though we got a little worried about how hard that A/C unit was working! I sat on deck and did some work in the mornings before the heat got bad, then it was inside for the rest of the day.
This is me, the one time I stepped outside late afternoon. It was 105 degrees and I didn’t stay out there for long. I’d never do well in a torrid climate. Yikes!
On a slightly different subject, I was recently at my grandson’s house visiting. Their backyard is torn up, so we sat in the front yard for an outside visit. It made me realized that I never see people sitting out front anymore. Houses uses to have big porches and people would sit there and visit, greeting folks that walk by. Does that happen anymore? Most of our outdoor entertaining and visiting is done in our back yard. That seems to be the way things are these days. It’s kind of sad, to be so sequestered. I like my neighbors. I just don’t see any of them very often because we’re all in back yards. Lol.
Well, I wish you all a wonderful July, full of sunshine and just enough rain to keep things green. And full of laughter, love, and enough work to make your time off precious.