Being Brave and Rescuing Heroes

Braving Fernie's Wild Trails
Lately I have been talking to many people that are visiting the Fernie area. It is my job to inform them of wildlife in the area and to practice preventative routines to keep wildlife out of the campsite in which they are staying. As soon as there is mention of bears in the valley I can tell they will not venture far from their vehicles. Feeling comfortable out on a wilderness trail can be a challenge for many people, especially if you are from another country. I try to reassure visitors, telling them that fear is normal and primal, and heightens awareness. The trick is to familiarize yourself with backcountry etiquette. Check for recent bear sightings in the area. Make plenty of noise to let wildlife know you are in the vicinity so they can avoid contact with you. Get children to create a signature shout out to use when hiking, running or biking and encourage them to use it loudly and often. Educate yourself on how to behave in different types of wildlife encounters. Carry bear spray and bear bangers and know how to use them. You can find information on sightings in the Elk Valley at and lots of information on wildlife safety at

Our small town has much to offer, and its trails and backcountry can create memories that will last a lifetime. It seems that life slows down out there on the trails. That feeling of fear mellows after each venture, becoming increasingly blended with respect.

Up-cycling Miniature Roses Into Your Garden
Miniature roses are available year round in the grocery store and can be planted into your flowerbed any time during the growing season. They often suffer the dry winter air in our homes during that season, but we cannot resist their beauty during the depths of winter. I have managed to baby some miniature roses in the sunniest window in our house into the spring. These plants had no leaves or flowers left but the woody plants and the root balls were still alive. I plant these into my flowerbed as soon as all danger of frost has passed in May and they thrive in a sunny part of the garden all summer, year after year. They are extremely hardy despite their size, hardier than most tea roses. They are repeat and perfuse bloomers and a perfect rose for our planting zone, tolerating very cold winters providing there is good snow cover like many perennials. In early spring it is good to prune back about 1/3 of the plant and the dead branches before growth starts to encourage new growth. Roses are heavy feeders; I usually work compost in around the plant in the spring and apply a liquid fish fertilizer later during the summer. Keep watered during hot, dry spells and avoid getting water on the leaves during moist humid weather to discourage fungal disease. Next time you buy a miniature rose and it starts to look bleak and unattractive, give it a new life in a sunny spot in your garden. They add beauty to sunny borders or amongst other sun loving plants.

Pup-sicles - A fun recipe kids can make for their dogs
½ a yam peeled and steamed until tender, chopped into small pieces
1 small beet peeled and steamed until tender, chopped into small pieces
roughly ½ a cup of steamed peas
cooked chicken
unsalted chicken broth
small rawhide sticks

In a popsicle mould, loosely fill ¾ of the way full with the cooked vegetables and a few little pieces of chicken. Place the rawhide stick in the center of each mould, it should be held up by the veggies. Pour the unsalted broth into the veggie-filled moulds and tap gently to bring the broth all the way down into the mould. Place into freezer. Leftover ingredients can be filled into ice cube trays or mini cupcake tins without the rawhide. These smaller versions are often easier for smaller dogs to enjoy.