Ecotherapy: Spring gardening with my puppy

It’s the first day back to school after spring break, and I just finished an hour of yard cleanup in the backyard. The birds are chirping, and I can see Laughlin and Tully are sunning themselves on the back deck. (Maggie, meanwhile, has chosen a quiet place in the sunny living room.)

We’ve been working away at the yard for almost a month now… Boy! It takes a lot of work to keep our little backyard homestead running.

Gardening with my puppies

Gardening with kids and dogs is a messy business. First of all, we don’t look outside for four months of the year. Except to pooper scoop of course. But besides that, we just let everything run amok over the winter months. Then in the spring, there is a lot to do. There are toys, garbage, and overgrown vines everywhere.

The kids add a bit to the mess as well, as they are finally getting outside and playing our d the neighbourhood. Below is a “nest” they made in the front yard magnolia tree last night. They’ve also set up the hammock, despite the apple branches still all over the ground.

Kids and spring gardening

On top of the usual maintenance, we didn’t really do a lot last fall. We were so in the midst of starting our clinic that we didn’t even eat all the tomatoes on the vine. Sacrilege! We just didn’t have the time. So there were tomato vines to take down, perennials to cut back, and all the usual autumn maintenance as well, on top of the spring work this year.

There is something deeply satisfying about all this work, however. Last year in the spring when I was dealing with bad health and stress at work, I took to starting my day with a half hour in the garden. It was my own little ecotherapy program. I found that every day I did this, my heart was later and my productivity was higher. There are many studies that show our connection with nature feeds the soul, and focuses the mind. It’s good for me to start the day with some exercise and fresh air, and the dogs love being outside with me together. They are calmer and more content through the day as well.

Spring flowers coming up

Gardening with the puppy has its challenges! This morning I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. I usually let the chickens run around the backyard when I am doing some gardening, so they can get some extra greens. Tully is still learning about chickens, and how, specifically, to leave them alone. His sight hound instinct comes out, and I can see his body strengthening, lengthening, and aiming right for the hens who at peacefully nibbling. Then he bounds with joy towards their fluffy bodies. I had to throw myself on him a couple times, as he was galloping towards the poor birds, who were by this point madly clucking and running away.

It’s a work in progress. Just like a spring garden.

I remind myself that Maggie, especially, was horrible about the chickens when they first arrived, and now neither of the two older dogs pay them any mind. I will just have to be patient with him, and soon, too, he will be chicken proof. And as I train him to leave the chickens alone, I will also get more peaceful time in the garden.

They’re so happy! Video by Sugar and Spice

Along with writing emails to their family members, the girls have used their spring break to start hobbies in videography. Check out one of their video creations… Starring our cocker spaniel Maggie, our Cairn Terrier Laughlin, our Irish wolfhound Tully, and our rescue cats Vega and Haatim!

image

We’ll be in Vegas with Bruno, Sam and Ed

Jason and I decided that this year was going to be about us. So like 20-something’s in tank tops, we are flying to Las Vegas the May long weekend for the biggest music festival in the world.

Last year, we poured all our energy into getting the clinic off the ground. Anything we had leftover, time or money wise, was spent on trying not to neglect our children. Our holiday savings were spent on going to Ethiopia with the girls, and our rare moments of free time were at family camp or family outings.

You can only ignore your spouse / business partner so long, so this year, we are trying to focus back on each other. We’ve been going on a few dates, and Jason’s been bringing me flowers (once, even without a reminder from the kids!)

I wanted to try to see Ed Sheeran this year… So love love his music… But I couldn’t get tickets to his Canadian concerts. Then I had this wild and crazy idea. Why shouldn’t we go to a huge festival, and see Ed Sheeran, as well as many of our other favourite contemporary artists? Much to my astonishment, Jason agreed. So in May, we are flying to Vegas for the two day long marathon festival of Rock in Rio!

Vegas is probably my least favourite city in North America. Seriously, I can’t stand the flashing lights, smoking and infernal clatter of slot machines. BUT… We are staying at a non-smoking, no gambling hotel. The concert is outside for two days. And it is just so dang cheap to get there.

We are poor as church mice at the moment, but we used Jason’s birthday money for the majority of the concert tickets, and points from our business Visa card to book the flights and hotel. Woo hoo! The only costs will be food, booze and souvenirs for the girls. And the beer hat with straws that criss cross his head for Jason.

Kidding.

Check out the lineup!

Ed Sheeran, of course. His song below is so romantic… I am already planning on molesting my husband in public while we sway in the sweaty crowd together. Yes, you can look forward tot that, honey.

But the big kicker for me, the most fabulous of all! Is BRUNO MARS, baby!! Yeah!! I can’t wait to see him and his band.

Jason’s favourite of the lineup is Sam Smith…

But there are also Jesse J, who is AMAZING,

John Legend, that amazing crooner,

And even Taylor Swift (I could scoff, but the truth is I’ll be bopping along…)

It’ll be a blast.

My daughters would be insanely jealous, except apparently going to their Auntie and Uncle’s house for the weekend is on par with a monstrous concert. You have a bit to live up to, Ena and M!

Now all I have to do is find a house sitter for my Tully baby and the rest of the crew. Anyone want to babysit a 80lb puppy??

30% Off Africa Sleeps Braid Balm

The original Africa Sleeps braid balm… and still, our best selling product! Made with local beeswax, organic, fairtrade shea butter and organic sweet almond and apricot kernel oils, it has just the right grip for braiding your child’s hair. Plus, it nourishes the hair and scalp while the style is in! Sometimes, the simple solutions are the best.

spring braids ad

In March and April, get 30% off braid balms with the SPRINGBRAIDS coupon. Happy shopping! And thanks for supporting our family business.

Isn’t that a darling picture of Sugar and Spice? They were only 3.5…