An animal sanctuary in Alberta – almost Wordless Wednesday 

To see and feel love is the only real purpose and value in any situation – a course in miracles

Robin’s Refuge

Meet your Meat

What’s better than a beautiful, nature filled trip to Alberta? Not much, as you can see from this post and this one. Hiking, rock climbing, hanging out in Calgary’s Prince’s Island and visiting Drumheller, the dinosaur capital of the world were all on the agenda.

Then a very interesting thing happened while driving back to Cowtown.

We passed a bunch of really cute cows.

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Now, I don’t know about you but I am pretty well completely removed from where (and who) my food comes from. If I eat a steak, it is either shrink wrapped in plastic at the supermarket or served to me on a white plate in a restaurant. I hardly ever think about the animal I’m eating or the misery of factory farms, the slaughterhouse or even the environmental consequences of my food. I’ve always eaten as little meat as possible but it’s been years and years since I’ve seen or really thought about cows.

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This family of cows had a bunch of cute and playful calves among them, so I thought I’d get out of the car to snap a few photos. When I first walked toward them they looked startled and ran away but eventually let me get pretty close. Close enough to see two young cows playfully butting heads and another one happily skipping along a pond. Then I looked into one of the adults big brown eyes and she looked back at me curiously. And, all of a sudden, this thought popped into my mind: “They’re not food.” and wouldn’t leave. I looked again at the calves playing with each other. “They have no idea what’s in store for them.” I thought and promptly burst into tears.  Eventually I got a hold of myself, said goodbye to my new friends, the cows, and walked back to the car. Then I burst into tears again.

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Strange things happen when you meet your meat. I haven’t had even a smidgon of beef or dairy since that experience and, you know what? Other than the odd craving that lasts a milli-second, I don’t miss it at all. And when I get that slight craving, I think of the youngsters playing together and skipping beside the pond and, guess what? The craving goes right away.

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Since I’ve been home, I’ve embraced chickpeas with a passion and I’ve been incorporating them into my diet almost every day. They’re full of protein, fiber and yumminess and I’ve been making hummus, bean soup and salads with them.

Here’s a simple salad that gives you a taste of what I’m eating now. With a bit of brown bread on the side and some fruit for dessert, I feel like I’m dining like a queen.

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Tropical Dinner Salad

  • Big bunch of mixed greens
  • Sliced mango
  • Shredded cilantro or Italian parsley
  • Diced red onions
  • Cubed tangerine or orange
  • Chickpeas

Dressing – all ingredients to taste

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard

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Yummy. Healthy. Cruelty Free.

Hiking the Hoodoos

I visited the province of Alberta for the first time about a year and a half ago. Before that, I have to admit, I had very little knowledge about the place. I knew that Banff was beautiful, that Calgary was the largest city (with an annual out-of-control party called The Stampede) and that it was our oil province. That was the full extent of my knowledge. Since that initial visit I’ve been back about a half a dozen times and each time I get to see a bit more of Alberta’s natural beauty and fall a bit more in love with it.

Banff, Kananaskis, Lake Louise, Jasper, to name a few places, are all  stunning. But this time I visited a spot that was quite different and breathtakingly beautiful in an unusual way.

The Alberta I’d seen so far consisted of pristine glacier lakes, incredible forests and wildlife and rugged mountains, not the unique rock formations of the Hoodoos (aka. earth pyramids) just outside of Drumheller.

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The Hoodoos caught me by surprise and made me feel like I had been instantly transported to some mystical place far, far away. “Is this still Canada?” I thought as I looked at the strange beauty of the rock formations surrounding me.

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The Hoodoos give you a great hiking workout but, even more importantly, they are still and silent and offer you a special place to rest for awhile. So, after exploring, accept their invitation to sit quietly and take in the awe inspiring beauty of nature.

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Hiking the Hoodoos

Where the Wild Things Are

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

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The mountains are calling and I must go.

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We are reminded that everything is flowing – going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance.

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All quotes by John Muir

All photos taken on a road trip between Banff & Jasper, Alberta