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Southwest Saskatchewan


Continued from Page 14 A Square Peg in a Round Hole While she was qualified to teach, and did just that for close to 30 years, teaching was never really her dream. She did enjoy, however, the relationships she was able to develop as a result of teaching. “The best thing was undoubtedly the


many wonderful kids who I still call my own,” she says. She continues on describing the warm


relationships developed with many of the parents over the years. Teaching at Stewart Valley Elementary School meant she was able to get to know many people in her community. More of a free spirit, the freedom of


creativity, cooking, nature and beauty, were aspects which really appealed to her. “They had a list of characteristics for


entrepreneurs,” Carolynn says, referring to the Entrepreneurial Center in Swift Current, “and they were dead on for me.” She continued, “Perhaps I would have been happier as an entrepreneur/artist right from the beginning.” Creativity and artistic ventures were not highly-


Photo by Tyler Olson The tea house is a labour of love for the Mau family.


valued back then; times were a little tough in rural Saskatchewan, and the focus was understandably on working hard in order to survive. “I always wanted to be at home in the garden,"


Carolynn says, but she carried on teaching and kept drawing pictures of the tea house, that one day would be nestled among her flowers. Hand me that hammer Gene had been a pastor in Canada, and in a similar


role in Pakistan although in different culture. When they returned to Saskatchewan, with a


family to feed and needing a bit of a change, Gene got into construction. Looking back now, Carolynn must be really glad he did. Over the years, Gene would usually view his new carpentry skills as a hobby, but it proved to be a


valuable pastime. First, they bought and renovated an old character house reminiscent of the house on the TV show The Walton’s. It was fine for a family of six: Elke, Christiaan, Sofia, Justin, Carolynn, and Gene. Nobody named John-boy. Next came the gazebo in the garden; a 25th wedding


anniversary present for Carolynn. This was followed by renovating an older building to be used as a bed and breakfast cottage towards the end of the yard by the pond. Another anniversary present. The tea house is Gene’s 40th wedding anniversary project. “And I have lots of ideas for the 50th,” Carolynn


says laughing. Gene also played a critical role in setting up what


turned out to be a stepping-stone business towards building the tea house: raising golden doodles. Carolynn always loved animals as a child, and her dream-maker husband went right to work building


PRAIRIE POST - Friday, September 9, 2011 - 15 Tea House a popular stopping spot for tourists


the kennels for her furry friends. Dimitri, the patriarch of the dog community, has also become Gene’s faithful friend. Going on a lot of walks is one sure way to was to make a dog happy. Perhaps Gene recalled his dog, Tippy, back on the farm in Minnesota, as he walked through the wheat fields near his new home in Saskatchewan.


Breaking Ground and Breaking Bones Carolynn’s drawings were eventually passed along to her architect brother, Dennis, for some fine-tuning, and then they were ready to begin. Before they did, Carolynn decided to seek advice from the Entrepreneurial Center in Swift Current. What she heard was encouraging. “Five years ago, I would have said,


maybe,” Karen Bonesky, the former manager at the center notes. “Right now, I think your timing is right on.” Rabbit Hill is located close to the Beaver


Flat Resort Village and the Saskatchewan Landing, both of which had grown in


popularity as tourist destinations on Lake Diefenbaker. At the same time the Saskatchewan’s economy was doing well. The Mau’s had something attractive to offer people with a bit more discretionary income, and a role to play in the development of tourism in the southwest. So they went ahead, but early on they had to deal with delays. The Saskatchewan contractor they had hired to


build the foundation and work with Gene building the basic structure had a nasty experience with a cow on his ranch. “He had to recover from being dragged through his


corrals by a cow at the end of a rope,” Gene says sympathetically. Darcy Patzer had been trying to help one of his


cows give birth, and it was almost the end of him. Continued on Page 16


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