Las Madrigueras de Conejos

Until yesterday, I had never heard of Marcel and Betty Lamothe, nor did I know a thing about E. Rendle Bowness. But after writing a snippet in which Marcel and Betty were mentioned, I stumbled upon some material that introduced me to Dr. Bowness (who graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1932). Before entering veterinary school, though, he was employed by Dr. J. R. Cunningham, who operated Canada’s only veterinary practice devoted exclusively to foxes. Later, Dr. Bowness was one of the founders of the Canada Mink Breeders Association. Later still, after his retirement, the Association published a book Dr. Bowness wrote, entitled History of the Early Mink People in Canada.

Yesterday’s early morning accident that led me to the Lamothes also led me to Bodmin, Saskatchewan and my imaginary outpost one hundred kilometers to the west. And later, the intersections of accidental and intentional knowledge gave birth to a passing interest in the people of the area. It was that interest that led me to Dr. Bowness and fox ranches and mink people. Most of what I’ve read about these topics describes a history that may now be only a memory and not a foundation. But I do not know that to be the case. I know only that there is far more to know about Bodmin and the mink people and raising foxes.  It goes without saying that I had never before heard of Dr. J.R. Cunningham, nor of the existence of a fox-focused veterinary practice. I wonder, now, whether the proliferation of mink might have prompted someone to specialize in mink animal husbandry and veterinary practice? I do not know.

Who would have thought, just two days ago, I might develop a passing interest in Canadian mink and fox ranches? The idea of raising animals for their pelts is anathema to me, but intriguing, nonetheless.

While wandering through the rabbit warrens that introduced me to Bodmin and the Lamothes and Dr. Cunningham and mink people, I took a turn and came upon a First Nation name that, when I first read it, seemed very familiar. Noel Starblanket became one of the youngest reserve chiefs in Canada and was elected twice as president of the National Indian Brotherhood, later called the Assembly of First Nations. Starblanket was a name I had encountered before, but I could not recall the circumstances. I searched my blog and, sure enough, there it was. Buffy Sainte-Marie’s son is named Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild; his middle name was another relative’s surname. Starblanket, besides being a surname, is a Cree Indian band and a Cree Reserve in Saskatchewan. When I wrote the piece about Buff Sainte-Marie, I wrote about strange coincidences and spiritual connections. Here it is again. Perhaps I simply stumbled upon Bodmin and that made me stumble upon Starblanket. I am attracted to that name for some reason. It described to me what I was thinking before I wrote about Buffy.


While I was getting enmeshed in Starblanket and Bodmin and mink people and fox ranches, the tasks that should have commanded my attention went undone. I could have begun the day today by jumping on them. But I did not. This is the weekend, after all. I deserve my rest. I try to wipe the sarcastic smile from my face.

An article on the BBC website, How to Escape Your Motivational Trough When You’re Flagging, might be just what I need to overcome my motivation-deficit. But I don’t know, because I haven’t read it yet. But I did make note of it and will get around to taking a look before long. Maybe.

Something else came to my attention this morning when I opened an email from a friend, whose message called my attention to a book entitled Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting : the Astonishing Power of Feelings. Despite my inherently skeptical nature, I started skimming the book online and I’ve decided I will spend more time reading it; whether that’s before or after the tasks I’ve been ignoring have been completed remains to be seen.


This morning’s temperature was 21 degrees when I awoke, according to Alexa. When I said aloud (to myself, I thought), “That’s chilly,” she responded with a lengthy explanation about the location, size, and demographics of Chile, the country. And, after she finished, I said, “Gracias,” she responded with a couple of sentences in Spanish. Some mornings, with no apparent trigger, she speaks Spanish and plays lively Spanish-language music until I say “Alexa, be quiet!” I wonder whether Sebastian Piñera has had my house bugged and is playing mind games with me. Why he would do that I do not know. Perhaps it’s because I prefer Michelle Bachelet’s philosophies.

I scampered down another frigid rabid warren in the Chilean countryside. Cold weather. And the weather gurus expect the temperatures to get significantly colder. Today’s high is predicted to be 36 degrees; that will be that last time the thermometer registers above freezing until Thursday, when 34 is the expected high. Nighttime lows will be 10° or colder, with an expected low of 1° on Monday night. The high on Monday will reach only 16°, they say.


Last night’s salmon was okay, except for being seriously undercooked. I broiled it, placing it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper as the recipe instructed. The parchment paper smoked and turned black; I was afraid it would catch fire, so I took it out of the oven. It looked reasonably cooked, so I plated it and took it to the table. The top half-inch was cooked to my liking. The remainder, beneath that layer, was essentially raw; so raw that I could not remove it from the skin. I like rare salmon; I am not sure I’m partial to raw salmon.

Speaking of salmon, I still haven’t made my breakfast. And I’m feeling exceptionally lazy again. So, I’ll probably forego the miso soup and stick to the remaining little piece of salmon, which I’ll pan-fry until it’s cooked to my liking. A little lemon juice mixed with miso drizzled over the cooked fish should be the perfect accompaniment. Maybe I’ll have an avocado, as well. And a mandarin orange. I think I’m ready to eat, so I’ll stop writing. I write, I eat, I think, I write, I eat, I eat. I need to change my habits a little.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Las Madrigueras de Conejos

  1. JoAnn, your comment got more than a chuckle out of me! By the way, I think I’ll call you later in the week (or maybe next) about getting my paperwork notarized. It’s too cold to even think about right about now.

  2. jmangi1 says:

    Well, John, you managed to get a chuckle out of me this morning. In my 25 degree, barely awake, slightly groggy, state of mind, I thought… why would John be writing about de cojones? And proceeded to discover what you’d write about some Margarita lady’s cojones. So there you have it! Enjoy your day! 🙂

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