about us


We are Delena and Lucy and we are happy to be here sharing this blog with you!

A love of the natural world and a desire to simplify my life has shaped a deep interest in natural health over my entire life. I am an energetic and enthusiastic woman with many hobbies and interests, all of which are related in some way to natural living. My passions include hiking, cross country skiing, canoeing, observing and photographing wildlife, eating a local diet, making do, renovating, crafting, organic gardening, foraging for wild plants and fungi, cooking, baking, preserving, flea market finds, reading, writing, and sharing my life with my dog Lucy.

A lifelong learner, I have a Bachelor of Science degree (biology major, art and design minor), Bachelor of Education degree, a certificate in cabinetmaking (NAIT), and a Master of Education degree (Educational Policy Studies specializing in Indigenous Peoples Education).  As a Metis (born in the Pas, MB), Indigenous core values and perspectives infuse my beliefs and are expressed in the way I live my daily life. Living out in the wilderness makes it easier for me to study local wild plants and fungi and learn about the medicines of my Ancestors. That is my current passion and focus of study.

Lucy and I found each other through NASAP (Northern Alberta Society for Animal Protection). I had lived in the cabin for 3 months and was ready to welcome a companion into my life. I saw many adorable pictures on the NASAP website and a few dogs caught my eye. However, something about Lucy’s picture drew me back time and time again. I finally made the call and went to meet her. She was already a year and a half and beautiful! I sensed a quiet kindred spirit in her and after spending an hour together, I asked her if she would like to go home with me. This was December 23, 2010, two days before Christmas.

Since then, Lucy and I have become inseparable and we are, indeed, kindred spirits. We both need a lot of exercise, we like to go to bed early and get up early, we like our quiet time away from the world, we both love long car rides and digging in the dirt, and we are both redheads. She is a loyal companion and a daily source of unconditional love and deep belly laughs!

ChaytonIntroducing our newest member, Chayton Skye Danser. Born July 28th, 2013 at five pounds and 17 inches long. Since his arrival, Chayton has been the source of light and love in our lives, as well as the sweet little muse for many new ideas and inspirations; some of which will be shared here while most of which will be posted on a new sister blog (or shall I say ‘brother blog’) called cabinorganic~bellybabe&child. Becoming a mother has encouraged me to continue live a life fully committed to simple, natural and healthy living. Not only does this free up more quality time to spend with my son, but I know that our quality of life will be greatly enhanced because of it.

21 thoughts on “about us”

  1. I came upon your site through NASAP. I have never enjoyed a blog more. The writing is crisp and insightful and full of interesting insights. Having no access to nature I am loving the photograpghs, and the recipes make my mouth water. Just wanted to say that I very much enjoy your site. Well done.

    • Thank you so much, Diana! I spent part of my childhood in the bush of northern Manitoba. After 18 years of city living, moving out here last fall was the nourishment I desperately needed. I am finding my life even richer now that I can share a bit of it through the blog. Of course, Lucy adds a richness of her own and keeps me laughing. Your comment made my day! Thanks again!

  2. I can’t wait to see that chicken coop when it’s all ready to go. 🙂 I will have to pop by and bring you some baking, biscuits for Lucy, and not to forget new books sometime soon.

    • Meggan, it was great to run into you yesterday! We have a LOT to catch up on. All good! I live an hour south of Edmonton- is that too far of a drive?

      • Just a wee drive, the country air will do me more of a favor, no problemo. I still have the same phone# if you have the old list kicking around. Or you can email me at behielsm@shaw.ca

  3. I really enjoyed stumbling upon your site and perusing some of your interests & efforts! Thanks for sharing this with the rest of the connected community that inherently share these same ideals! I believe it’s in our roots.

  4. Alan Dunn said:

    Best wishes on your Birthday, Delena and many more of them.

    As aye…


  5. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog, your living the kind of life I would like. I am learning how to plant and grow my own garden and while doing research I came across your gardening pictures. Thanks for the information you provide.

  6. Alan Dunn said:

    Happy BIrthday, Delena! Best wishes to you both….

  7. Hi Delena,
    I was searching the web for currants to plant in our California front yard when I came across your pictures of Lucy. She looks EXACTLY like our dog Austin who we adopted from a local rescue group. Austin – like Lucy – is a gorgeous silky brindle and whenever we take him on walks people ask what breed he is. We just say Big Hairy Dog because we have no idea his lineage. We were told Australian Shepherd and Chow – but we can’t believe there’s any Chow in him. We had him tested and nothing definitive came up. I’m writing to ask if you know Lucy’s makeup. Austin and Lucy look like they could be from the same litter! You can view my blog on WordPress: http://burbettesfeast.wordpress.com/ I’ve posted a picture of Austin and my husband although the picture of Austin doesn’t show off his coat at all well.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Whitney!

      My apologies for the late reply- Chayton has kept me busy these past months! However, at 6 months he has now discovered the jolly jumper which gives me some precious time to blog and reply. I checked out your picture of Austin and I can’t believe it- he is the SPLITTING IMAGE of Lucy! Have you clicked on my flickr site? There’s a link on the right hand column called Lucy’s Life at the Cabin. It’ll take you there for lots more pics of Lucy. Wow!!! They really could be from the same litter! Lucy was a stray and we have no idea where she came from originally.

      When I adopted her NASAP guessed that she was half german shepherd and have Australian shepherd. However, quite a few people have commented on the Border Collie in her. She has some mannerisms that only Border Collies do- like lying down just before “attacking” another dog. She also herds everybody in the house and will get in my way in order to move me somewhere else. I have lots of great stories of how she had protected me in the woods, such as nosing my leg vigorously and gesturing to go back home immediately, only to find out later that day from a neighbor that there was a bear sighted there earlier that day. When I was very pregnant she did the same thing, insisted that we return home and on the way home I almost fainted. I believe that Lucy sensed it coming and wanted to get me in a safe place. She’s the perfect bush dog- she chases the deer, squirrel and mice but leaves the moose, skunk and porcupines along. THis summer we kept sighting porcupines right on the trail and she would just respectfully trot by them (inches away) without any incident. (When she got quilled two years ago it was completely accidental).

      I’m so glad you found us, Whitney! I look forward to spending some time checking out your blog and I will keep in touch if I have any new Lucy stories. I am planning on making a Lucy calender to sell and give the proceeds to NASAP (where we adopted her). When that happens (hopefully this fall) I will send you a free copy!

      Take good care and all the best to you, your family and especially Austin!


  8. Hello Delena,

    I just discovered your site today and look forward to digging in over the next few weeks. I’m 60 now and have been living a similar lifestyle for about 25 of the last 45 years, so your topics adress all my favourite preoccupations. I was looking for recipes, then became captivated by the photos of Lucy – she looks so much like my sweet border collie Volchok, except for her very beautiful and exotic colouring. He keeps me well-exercised and laughing, and teaches me “being here now” on a daily basis. You are a wonderful photographer! I love that photo of Chayton (very newly arrived in that pic, I’m thinking). My “baby” is 40 now but he’s never strayed far from the gentle, earthy, natural ways of his childhood.

    All the best to you and Lucy and Chayton.

    • Wow Vicky!
      Nice to hear from a kindred spirit out there! I especially loved hearing about Volchok- do you have any pictures of him? Yes, I do hope that Chayton will grow up to value nature and the simple life. In the meantime we are having fun with him- and Lucy, of course! I’d love to hear from you again 🙂

      Al the best,


  9. All I have to say today is… You cross country ski too???? 🙂 🙂
    Oh and I am looking forward to lessons from you on local plants and fungi. 🙂

  10. Hi
    Great blog.
    Just built a new deck and was wondering what stain you used and what the dark color is.
    It looks great and different.

  11. I love the idea of a round raised garden. However, I am horrible at geometry. Could you post instructions on how you measured and cut the wood? Thank you!

  12. Richard Mundell said:

    Hi Delena, I randomly came across your blog while searching for images of calm lake water. I’m looking for an image to use as a background image in an online course I’m creating. Would you mind if I used your image of the channel between the reeds with the clouds?

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