meet Sage   18 comments

Posted at 8:23 am in loss,sabrina,sage

As you might have guessed after reading my last post, Sabrina and I arrived home over a week ago. We’re busy every day as there’s a lot happening in our lives, not the least of which is the arrival of Sage, who is now part of what I guess you could refer to as our “family unit”. She’s a blue merle Rough Collie who came to us from Caralan and Bob Dams of Kars, Ont (Forestree Collies). The manner in which she arrived was a little unscheduled, but the search for a young collie has been more or less underway for quite some time. However, it was put on hold after Don became ill in 2007 as we knew I probably couldn’t deal with starting a young dog while also caring for him during the following months. Although Sabrina seems to be in good condition now, her deterioration during Don’s illness was a strong reminder that she won’t be with me forever and that this might be a good time to find an apprentice who can absorb some of her wisdom. That’s pretty much how Sabrina learned — by acquiring the wisdom passed along by my previous collie, Maggie. We’ve always had two collies at any given time, so I’m just attempting to return to the usual way that we did things around here in the past.

She’s only been here about a week, but Sage is fitting in well. She’s just a little over 3 months old and seems bright and quick to learn. We go for about 4 or 5 walks on the trails in our fields and woods each day. She has already learned which paths to take and likes to show off by racing ahead and hiding in the dry grass, waiting for Sabrina and I to catch up so that she can spring out and scare us (or so she believes). I’ve put up a short video clip in case anyone wants to see part of a walk from my point of view. Not that much happens, but what seems interesting to me is how Sabrina walks ahead, then stops to make sure that everyone is coming along.

In other news, it is with some sadness that I report on what is probably the demise of my trusty Windstar van. Last Sunday, while returning from the city after spending an evening with my mom and brothers, I heard a loud BANG and instantly felt the van lurching out of control. Although I had very little steering, I was able to swing the van onto the roadside. When the tow truck driver winched the van up onto the bed of his ramp truck, we could see that the steering parts – tie rod, etc.. had come apart and the right front drive axle had actually fallen out of the transmission. The right front wheel was turned out to the side at a crazy angle (see below – click on all images for larger views). A mechanic friend dropped by to look at the damage this week and we pretty much came to the conclusion that the van is probably not worth repairing. So, for now I’m driving a rental car and looking around for a replacement van — something appropriate as a home to a gypsy traveling with her two dogs — a van that is up to the challenge of being both a “camper” and a “construction workhorse” as we move into the next phase of our lives.

Although I probably haven’t written much about this on the blog, I’ll be putting my farm for sale very soon. In fact, I’ve spent the past week packing up all of the belongings I’d like to take with me as I move on. The rest, I’ll be disposing of, mainly using The Great Matter Transporter (putting things at the roadside with a big FREE sign set up beside — it works almost instantly to move objects out of my universe and into someone else’s). After I get all of the work done that needs to be taken care of, and I leave the farm in someone else’s hands to sell, my plan is to head east to Nova Scotia for awhile. At the moment, my intention is to look around for a place where we could spend spring through fall. In winter, we would return to southeast Arizona, to the region that I now like to think of as our “other home”. No doubt, there will be plenty of wandering in between points A and B as I’m restless and find it next to impossible to stay in one place for any length of time. Most days, I’d rather be off wandering around in the forests, deserts or along rivers or the ocean. However, I’m hopeful that I can find a place that will make me want to settle down for a time – or at least to plant a vegetable garden and do some hiking or canoeing around each summer. Also, to get back to my writing, photography and art — all of which I’ve largely abandoned over the past few months. But more about all of this a little later on. For now, I’m just busy packing and spending as much time as possible working with Sage so that she’ll be ready to go on the road with us when it comes time to depart for points as yet unknown.

Written by bev on April 19th, 2009

18 Responses to 'meet Sage'

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  1. What a great expression on Sage’s face. My last four dogs have been adults when they came along, so it’s been a long time since I raised a young one. I would kind of like to do that again, because I think it would be neat to see the development of the adult from the pup.

    I’m sure you know how lucky you are that the van broke now instead of sometime earlier. I’m not sure what type of van would be good for your use. Way, way back I had a VW van that I spent some time camping in. It was great for that, but of course it was so underpowered it couldn’t get out of its own way. I have read some good things about the Mercedes diesel Sprinter.


    19 Apr 09 at 10:21 am

  2. You certainly are going through many transitions at this time. Sage is a very positive one. Like Mark said, it is so good your van did not break down like this on your trip. Now is supposed to be a good time to buy a vehicle.


    19 Apr 09 at 2:47 pm

  3. What a wonderful little pup you’ve added to your family. She’s a beauty, bev. When I was growing up in New Jersey, our neighbor raised collies. I remember how much I always loved her blue merles, but I haven’t thought about that in many years, until you just mentioned. It’s grand to see Sabrina teaching Sage. Such a completely good thing, in all ways.

    That was quite a scary thing to have happen on the road, bev. As the others have mentioned, a good thing it happened when there weren’t so many miles between you and where you were headed. I’m interested in seeing what you get next.

    Good luck with it all. And a hearty welcome to that sweet Sage.

    robin andrea

    19 Apr 09 at 7:23 pm

  4. Sage is wonderful Bev! She looks a bit mischievous and beautiful. Lucky Sage.


    19 Apr 09 at 8:46 pm

  5. Awwwww . .

    She is SO sweet. almost as sweet as Sabrina ;0)

    I’m going to the video right away, but first let me say:

    Lordy, Bev! I don’t know what power is looking over you that your car made that entire trip before it quit . . . but, that is simply amazing.


    19 Apr 09 at 9:01 pm

  6. The time for puppies must be upon us … we too will be collecting a puppy come May 7th, and a fellow blogger from the Cariboo already has her new pup.

    I’m glad you were on home turf when your van finely packed it in … glad that you came to a safe stop. I’m not big on vans but am really big on Subarus … too bad they don’t make a van.

    Hopefully you will find THE place, a place that can be a refuge for you … that all the winding up details will fall into place on “the farm”.


    19 Apr 09 at 11:31 pm

  7. Mark – It’s been fun and interesting having a puppy around the house again. Sage is very attentive and never more than a few feet from me (fairly typical collie behaviour). Puppies change so quickly week by week that I’ve already noticed a difference in her size, behaviour, the things she notices, and so on. In the past, I’ve had both young and adult dogs come to me, and it is kind of nice to have one come to you when it is very small as they seem to bond with you a little differently. That said, Maggie (the dog I mentioned and linked to a photo of up above) was probably the “closest” dog that I’ve ever had — the one that grew to be “my dog” and lived to be with me more than any other. She came to me when she was a little over two years old after being through a couple of homes. Things about her lead me to suspect that she had a somewhat crappy life before we met, and she that regarded me as her rescuer.
    And yes, I sure do know I was lucky to break down only a couple of miles from my place. Even more lucky not to have had everything come apart on the downside of a mountain pass, or one one of the steep drops or curves along Lake Superior. Under those circumstances, I doubt I could have kept the van under enough control to avoid a disaster. I’m not sure what kind of truck I’ll end up getting. We have almost always bought used vehicles, so that’s what I’ll probably do. I’m just taking my time to try to figure out what will work best for our needs.

    Ruth – I think that Sage will be a positive addition to our family. Just having her around seems to have put a spring into Sabrina’s step. I’ve just started looking around for a replacement truck and prices seem fairly good.

    robin – That’s cool about the memory of merle collies in New Jersey. Many people have never seen one before and just know of sables and tricolors. I was thinking that the merle colour might be better for when I’m down in Arizona. On warm days, the black part of Sabrina’s coat gets very hot if she’s out in direct sunlight.

    Devon – Sage is quite a character. I’m hoping she’ll make a great addition to our family!

    Cathy – Ha! Yes, I don’t know how it is that this van picks “good places” to break down. As you might remember, on the way to Bisbee, it made it all the way there, and then the torque converter in the transmission blew right in the laneway as I got to the top of the hill at the house that I rented. Last week, I figure it would have broken down right at or very close to my house except that I made a last minute detour to visit the ATM in a nearby town, which took me a couple of miles out of my way — about the distance that I was when the front end broke apart! (-:
    And, yes, isn’t Sage sweet — but she’s got some pretty stiff competition from Sabrina, who – as you know – has a terrific personality. The nice thing is, Sabrina will make a great mentor.

    Eileen – I’ve been considering all kinds of possibilities for a replacement vehicle and have looked a bit at Subarus. Good to hear a recommendation. Still not sure what I’ll go with as yet. It’s so difficult to sell the farm, but I’m hoping things will go more or less smoothly and that I can find a suitable place for us when I get to Nova Scotia. Lots of changes in such a short time.


    20 Apr 09 at 7:08 am

  8. What a great looking dog Sage is. Such sweetness and intelligence. And how wonderful for Sabrina to have a puppy to impart dog wisdom to.

    My goodness–the van break down! Whew. We’ve had a couple of occasions where a vehicle breakdown has occurred when it was manageable, and immediately our minds raced–a moment before and it could have been catastrophic. Thank goodness you are all ok.

    Selling the farm–that is certainly a huge decision. I do love your description of the Great Matter Transporter!

    Continued Traveling Mercies to you.


    20 Apr 09 at 8:39 am

  9. Gorgeous puppy, and I so hope that you will find your sanctuary in the Maritimes. It will feel strange to drive down toward the St. Lawrence River to photograph herons and know that you are no longer living in that part of the world.


    20 Apr 09 at 9:06 am

  10. Sage is adorable! What a little cutie. I’m sorry to hear about your van and the poor timing of its demise.

    Carolyn H.

    Carolyn H

    20 Apr 09 at 10:31 am

  11. What a beautiful puppy. I hope that she brings you a lot of joy.


    22 Apr 09 at 9:16 am

  12. KGMom — Yes, selling the farm is going to be a very big change in our lives. Having been here thirty-plus years, in some ways it seems impossible, but I think we’ll do okay.

    Cate – Although not from the Maritimes, every time I return, it has felt like I’m coming home. On some level, it may be more a home to me than anywhere else on earth.

    Carolyn – Yes, Sage is adorable and full of mischief too! (-:

    Doug – She sure is a beauty and has already livened up our lives quite a bit!


    22 Apr 09 at 11:04 am

  13. There is no question that having a new puppy in the house extends the life of the existing dog. It always seems to bring them a special joy to be a mentor to to a new life.

    And new life is something that is sometimes hard to take the next step to accept. I had hoped to have a litter in May, thinking that would return me to some sort of normalcy but despite all the effort that went into the breeding, ultrasound yesterday showed no puppies 🙁

    The Maritimes are somewhere where I always feel content also and I’ve returned many times since my first visit in 77. My son’s family lives near Halifax, so I now have an excuse to return.

    So is her name for “Wisdom” Sage or “Herb” Sage?


    26 Apr 09 at 11:33 am

  14. Hi Shelley,
    So sorry to hear that there won’t be a new litter of puppies in May. that must be a great disappointment. As you have mentioned, it seems that certain events or cycles help us to feel like things are more “normal”. I was thinking of how abnormal my life feels this year. Normally, Don and I would probably be going out doing frog pond monitoring in the evenings, and hiking and probably would have had our canoe out on a creek somewhere by now. Instead, here I am working like made to get the farm ready to sell. The normal cycles of my life are so disrupted that they are barely recognizable. On my way home to Ontario, I had to keep reminding myself that this is spring and not autumn as it doesn’t feel at all that way to me.
    Sage is named for her resemblance to the colour of the wild sage plants (artemesia) that you find on the high desert in places like central Oregon. I love that silvery colour which is very much like this little Sage.


    26 Apr 09 at 3:14 pm

  15. Sage is beautiful. I’m glad she’s landed in such a good home!

    Leslie M-B

    2 May 09 at 10:37 pm

  16. Leslie – I think Sage likes it here. Sabrina is a good mentor and Sage is finding plenty to do as she’s at that non-stop age!


    5 May 09 at 6:32 am

  17. Nice Pup Bev, I’m sure she will bring you plenty of pleasure and give Sabrina a much needed boost.
    I am sorry about your Van, however I am glad that the problem happened here and not when you were coming home………….that would have been horrible.
    A free spirit is never at Rest, but as you know from the last few years, to see the wonders of Nature and see what beauty you’ve been able to write about, take pictures of and enjoy. Many only see these in books and on televison, at least you have the “Free Spirit” to Enjoy what life has to offer, grasp it and take control of your life. Enjoy the Pup, I’m sure she is enjoying you and Sabrina.


    5 May 09 at 10:33 pm

  18. Ed – Thanks for stopping by my blog to see Sage. You’re so right about the van waiting until it got home before breaking down. What a complicated problem it would have been if it broke down somewhere enroute. And yes, I have seen a lot of wonderful things during my travels, and hope to travel more over the next few years once I get a few things taken care of. For me, spending time traveling through the wilder places brings a kind of peace that I have not found elsewhere.


    6 May 09 at 6:39 am

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