Monday, December 31, 2007
Apple Cinnamon Doggie Biscuits
·1 package apple, dried
·1 teaspoon Cinnamon --(I usually just shake some in)
·1 Tablespoon parsley, freeze-dried
·1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
·1 cup ice water
·1/2 cup Corn Oil
·5 cups flour
·1/2 cup powdered milk
·2 large eggs
·1 tablespoon corn oil
Put the apples in a food processor so that pieces are small. Combine in a bowl all of the ingredients--can add oil or water if dough is too dry. Using a rolling pin roll out dough to about 3/16" thick (can make thinner or thicker). Using a cookie cutter--cut into shapes -place on cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for approx 20 -25 minutes (until golden). NOTE: if you substitute corn meal just subtract about 3/4 cup from flour and add Corn meal .
Todd offers special treats for dogs with allergies and a host of other options. Check out his site at http://www.roversrecipes.com/
Also, if you are shopping for a new dog food, consider Life's Abundance.
I have a personal testament to this food. My last foster puppy, Perry, was a parvo survivor. Perry was a half Australian shepherd whose mother had been abandoned while pregnant. She had the litter in a foster home. I had actually adopted Perry's littermate before him, who broke with the terrible virus and I had to take him in to be euthanized.
The original foster mother, who lost most of the litter, was devastated. She offered me Perry to replace the other pup. Perry had been sick too, but he'd recovered. He was a very good-natured puppy, blue merle, mostly black, with a blue spot in one eye. I named him Perry, short for "Periwink." I brought him home when he was about ten weeks old.
Perry had beaten the disease. However, it had ravaged his intestines. He had a loose stool that no matter what I did, just would not firm up. I tried giving him canned pumpkin and yogurt, and I tried several different foods, including cooking hamburger and rice.
Finally I tried Life's Abundance. Perry's recovery was nothing short of miraculous. He immediately started gaining weight, and his coat shone. In just a week's time he was radiating good health.
Perry has since gone to a good home with a wonderful family. He enjoys playing with Buster, his Boston Bull buddy, and I am told he fetches the paper every day!
Life's Abundance dog food is holistic, no preservatives, and shelf life is never over six weeks. You order it online and it's delivered right to your door. They offer cat food too, AND horse treats!http://www.newnaturalpetfood.com/
Here's wishing you and your pet "Bone Appetit!" and Happy New Year!
Friday, December 28, 2007
It can't always be easy living with a parrot. I have always liked birds but have never taken on the responsibility of a large one. (I did have a parakeet once; a delightful little guy named Joshua.) I imagine it will happen someday.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Alex, the famous African grey who shattered all science's ideas about the limitations of the avian mind. Alex died in September of this year at the age of 31. He was emotionally equivalent to a two-year-old child (yikes!) and intellectually a five-year-old. He could identify 50 different objects, 7 colors, 5 shapes, quantities up to 6, and most astonishingly, knew the concept of zero.
Alex did math better than I can!
Dr. Irene Pepperberg spent 30 years working with Alex, and I can only imagine what it was like to lose him. Reportedly his last words to her were something like, "Goodbye. You be good. I'll see you tomorrow. I love you."
*gulp.* Sure makes me look at KFC a whole different way....
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I went to see TSO last night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and the sound is still ringing in my head... Or is that my fillings?
Up until this year, I'd never even heard of TSO, which is rather surprising since they have been around since the 1990's.
Unfortunately, I found the concert to be a hard sell; tradition wrapped up with some original stuff that's somewhat gutter style -- lyrics about bartenders having a change of heart (P.S. How could he afford to give out free drinks all night when he'd emptied the cash drawer?), and a lot of flash. Lasers, glitter, smoke, flames. Woo hoo. Not to mention a gaggle of blondes with big boobs. There was also a 20 minute drum solo. Okay, maybe it only seemed like 20 minutes, but I thought drum solos were relegated to basement parties.
Admittedly, when it comes to Christmas, it probably is difficult to come up with original material. The group obviously exudes musical talent. I loved the "keyboard duel", especially when one of them launched into "Linus and Lucy".
But overall, I found that the songs all sounded the same, and the concert was waayyy too long -- nearly three hours. I came out feeling like I'd been beaten about the head and shoulders with a glow-in-the-dark fiddle.
However, I am probably not the one to ask. I have found Christmas while out walking in the woods.
He paused from totting up numbers on the register, and looked at me. For a moment, he didn't say anything. Finally, he turned back to his machine and handed me the receipt. "Sometimes when you come in here, I feel like I'm under interrogation."
One cannot overlook, in this case, the reputation of postal workers being prone to sudden bursts of violence. I took my receipt and quietly left the building.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
We both looked at each other and started laughing.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Twister's owner has artists in her family, so she was savvy enough to give me artistic license with the commission. I thought it would be neat to have him leaping through the air as his name suggested.
I didn't have any pictures of him in midair, but I had a good representation of his markings and features, so guess who the "airborne" model was? That's right! Good ol' Cajun, my own happily flying friend!
Now Caje is a lot bigger boned than a Terv, so I had to take that into account. But it all worked out. Twister's owner was thrilled with the original watercolor, and this resulting ornament is my best-selling Terv piece. Belgian shepherd fans tell me that it embodies the true spirit of the fun-loving Tervuren.
I never told them the model was a German shepherd!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Reminiscent of my days in Fairbanks, everything was covered in frost yesterday morning, with a soft low-lying fog that kept the weak winter sun from burning it off. The dogs love the cold weather! Rippy and Cajun had a great time romping in the snow.
A lot of people are surprised to find out that horses love winter! Trudy and Clifford are so happy right now. The only thing that bothers them is wind or freezing rain. Otherwise, there's no heat to contend with, and no bugs. They stand out in the pasture foraging for whatever is hidden under the drifts, and at mealtime they come charging in, blowing and snorting, all a-shivery and ears forward. They purr happy snorts while waiting for their grain and then settle down contentedly.
Horses "burn hay" to stay warm. With plenty of hay and an escape from the wind, they do just fine. They do drink a lot of water. I am so grateful for their electric buckets, because I don't have to break ice, but I have to fill them every day. As they consume more hay, they need to drink more, and that's fine because it keeps things moving.
With that in mind, I have a strong opinion that horses need to be outdoors as much as possible. Mine have free access to the outdoors at all times. On the rare occasions when Clifford is shut in his stall, the first thing he will do is go to his Dutch door and open it so he can put his head through and see outside.
I think as long as horses can keep moving, and put their heads down to graze or forage, their digestive system is healthier and they are less prone to colic. Plus, they are happier too.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I love the colors in this shot and the backlighting effects especially. It was such a nice photo to work with.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
That being said, the dog (whose real name is Abbey) is a great actor. It is almost worth seeing this movie just to watch the dog work. I may be biased, since the German shepherd is my breed of choice.
I've long had this fantasy of being a movie dog trainer. To this point, the best movie actor dog I've ever seen is probably the Brussels Griffon from "As Good As It Gets". Other favs are the corgi from "The Accidental Tourist", Toto from, "The Wizard of Oz" and of course "Ol Yeller" -- both of the latter were trained by Rudd Weatherwax, the guy of Lassie fame.
The Cuteness Award goes to the "Bruce Almighty" dog, but he wasn't quite as plausible as the others.
Am I digressing? Sorry, I always get a little distracted when there's a dog in the movie. On to the review, proper:
This film is a heart-thumper almost straight from the beginning. Plenty of zombies, yucky scary-looking veiny hairless guys, and a little of Will Smith's schtick. New York is overgrown with weeds, and to make things even more desolate, the remnants of a Christmas season. It should be noted that the disaster's setting is I think the year 2009, and gasoline is over $6.00 a gallon!
There is a helicoptor explosion, but the filmmakers' credit, they don't actually show it. They do, however, show the bridges getting blown up. (As if zombies weren't enough to attract the male viewers?!) Also, although the city of New York is AGAIN the target for disaster, the Statue of Liberty is for once left alone.
The zombies can't come out in the daylight, but after dark, watch out. It's an invasion of the Undead ala "The Omega Man". I use the term Zombie loosely, as these never were actually dead, but getting there. The virus which has mutated them seems to have added amazing athletic ability. They can jump like monkeys and run like deer. They feed on (what else?) blood.
I may be waxing glib because this film made me uncomfortable. The scraps of information that are fed to me throughout the beginning, the piecing together of what has happened, and why, all come with a sense of, "There, but for the grace of God..." There are newspaper articles tacked up here and there. There are snatches torn away about the virus, initally a cure for cancer, gone haywire. I watch Will Smith's character make mistakes, and I really care about him. He's funny, compassionate and heartbreakingly isolated. And I especially don't want anything to happen to the dog. This was all good stuff early during the movie.
I like the premise, but felt "I Am Legend" never really filled its potential. It caved to sensationalism, but that was probably the intent. After all, it DID sell a lot of tickets. I didn't understand why religion suddenly showed up in the last ten minutes, like a slap on the side of the head with a hymnal. And this without any Charleton Heston!
Overall though, I had a heart-slammin' good time. And that, after all, is what it's all about.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Christmas Pepper, my one remaining Somali, will be fifteen years old on the 20th of this month. I acquired Pepper when she was about five months old (she "chose" me at a cat show). She is a benevolent soul, always unruffled and was the cat I elected to trust with Amanda, my little sis, at shows. They did great together. Pepper raised several litters here. Although she allowed Reva, my maternally-driven German shepherd, to surrogate all her litters, Pepper was never crazy about dogs. In this respect she was vastly different from my other cats. I know it is because she wasn't raised with them, and she herself was not one of Reva's "children".
Since Kenya died two weeks ago, Pepper for the first time in her life is the only cat in the household. I wondered how she was going to take this, especially at her age.
Well, just a few minutes ago I came around the corner into the living room and found her rolling and purring and nuzzling on CAJUN!!!
If it weren't so dark, I would snap a couple of photos of this new development.
Times, they are a-changin'....
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I recently did this pastel painting, and adapted it to a Christmas card. Apparently the charm of the Berner is not lost on the world. The original painting was sold to someone in England. Since then I have shipped these cards to Washington state, Belgium, Australia, and Idaho, respectively.
Most interesting was the Washington lady who turned out to be a theatre buff, like me. She was appearing in a stage performance of "Meet Me in St. Louis". The cards were a gift for the lead singer who, besides singing the lyrics on the card, "Faithful friends who are dear to us...", also owns a Berner!
It's pretty neat how the Internet brings an influx of these types of stories, and that someone is giving/getting the perfect gift this year. I love Christmas for the spirit of generosity that prevails, all over the world.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
One year my ex gave me pants with one leg shorter than the other, and a sweater with a hole in it that you could have fit a quarter through.
That's not WHY he's now my ex, but I suspect at one point he was one of those glassy-eyed shoppers.
Here's a suggestion: For those of you with big bucks, a diamond tennis bracelet would work just great. Trust me on this. And yes, she IS worth it!
For those of you who don't have the resources for a tennis bracelet, I will save you the whole hassle of the mall, and the expense of gas. Go to Etsy.com. Type your girlfriend's favorite color and then "bracelet" into the search, and see what comes up. You will be amazed at the truly beautiful handmade items to select from -- and at reasonable prices too! Does your girl like horses? Try typing in "horse". Is she a dancer or skater? Try those too. You get the picture.
There is nothing that speaks of a gift from the heart like a handmade treasure. Plus, you will be supporting the arts! What could be better?
Have more than one girlfriend to shop for? Can't keep em all straight? You sly dog! Try typing in "ornament" and see what comes up. There is nothing like handmade Christmas ornaments. Believe me, Christmas items like ornaments are very dear to us, and will give us something to remember you by, or burn, after we dump your sorry cheatin' ass.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Today's ornament is a team of Alaskan Malamutes. The two lead dogs actually belong to my insurance agent. He mushes here in Michigan as a hobby. His girlfriend had given me some photos of them lying around the house, but wanted a dynamic painting to hang over his mantle.
I looked around online and found some images of dogs mushing. I used the images as a guide, but made the two lead dogs his dogs. Bob is actually in the picture too! But I cut him out for the ornament. If you look on the right you can see a little of his blue jacket.
This painting is one of my favorites because of the action. I think one can see the pulling effort as the dogs throw themselves into their work. Dog sled races are a lot of fun. When I lived in Alaska I was lucky enough to experience the North American Sled Dog races in Fairbanks. What a great time that was!
Showing these ornaments off is going to be a fun project for me. The only problem is that there are so many to choose from.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
...A new equine Christmas card design, from a watercolor I did earlier this year. I love the colors and the mare and foal together in the snow... Kind of rare. The inside of the card says, "Let your heart be light".
Despite the fact that I can't see the floor in my closet, I have nothing to wear. I started shopping online days ago, and found the dress I wanted, a sexy red number that will accentuate all the right parts and diminish all the others.
I go on my computer, through all the dialup rigamarole, only to find it on backorder through the 16th.
I decide that since I am going to Ann Arbor anyway, I will go to the mall and look for a dress. No back orders. No dialup.
I walk around the mall. Christmas lights twinkle everywhere. Store fronts are littered with huge signs that say, "SALE" and "SAVE". Every store has dresses, but there isn't anything that is the right color, the right size or the right price.
Finally, I find the Dress. It is black, the universally slimming, safe color. It is sparkly and festive. It's 25% off! It is by Calvin Klein. I can't afford it, but it's Christmas so I try it on anyway. Maybe it will be lumpy and make me look fat.
I squirm into it. Of course, it is perfect. I look like a movie star. Okay, maybe just an extra. But this is the dress.
I put it back on the rack. I walk around the mall some more in hopes that I will find another dress that's half that price. Maybe a green one! Green is my favorite color, after all, and I already have the shoes.
The search leads me past Godiva Chocolates several times. The scent of chocolate milky delicacies wafts out at me. I am thinking, if I have to pass this one more time, I am going to go in and reward myself for my frugal and tenacious efforts.
But then, I go outside and get in the car and drive to Dress Barn, where I am greeted by an enthusiastic salesperson. She says all the party dresses are in the front. I go and look at them. There are no green dresses, but my head is now swimming with images of the Black Calvin Klein. The way it's cut. The fit. The sparkles.
Oh, hell. It's Christmas. I go back to the mall and apply for a credit card and save 15% more on the dress.
Amount saved on dress: 40%.
Amount saved on potential gasoline to further search: Approx. $36.49.
Amount saved on Godiva chocolates: Approx. $9.00.
Now I need shoes.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
My friend Joni the Pony, a wonderful graphic artist in her own right, directed me to this website where I can have Giclee prints made of my work, and pick the mattes and frames right online. This would be an artist's dream if it weren't for one thing: DIALUP.
I have an equine art gallery started on the Imagekind site, but only four images. I intend to do canine and feline galleries too. It's time to get serious, make a CD of all my best images, and go to a friend's house who has high speed! On the occasions when I do this, it's pretty depressing to think how many hours I have spent sitting at my home PC, watching little green dashes crawl across the box.
Time's a-wastin' though as the countdown begins, and the shoppers rush home with their treasures.
I live seven miles from the nearest gas station. The farm sits way back on a half mile driveway, behind other property, not visible from the main (dirt) road. There are rumors that Livingston County will be getting free high speed internet next year! Hmmm... Wonder how long it will take them to bring it back here! Cable? Forget it! I looked into a satellite dish, but it's too costly.
Don't get me wrong. Country living is the way to go. Clifford and the dogs can roam around loose without me having to worry about traffic. I don't even get traffic noise. Deer come up the hill all the time. Maggie the Redtail Hawk still frequents the breezes above the pastures. Last year a kestrel made a nest in my barn. She raised four babies and taught them to fly screeching over the back field. It was wonderful.
Inconveniences like dialup are the price I pay for these experiences.
Meanwhile, the dog breed Christmas ornaments are selling like gangbusters. I have over 165 ornament designs and keep adding new ones all the time. But when I think back about all that downloading on dialup, it boggles my mind.
Joni suggested getting a laptop computer and going to a local coffeeshop and loading stuff there. That is a great idea -- but who can afford a new laptop?!
I wonder how long it will be before dialup is completely obsolete. I'm counting the days like they're little green dashes.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
But I said goodbye to a friend on Sunday. His kidneys failed him and his time was up. So I will go back in time, to my Hall of Shame, in his honor.
He was a retired show cat, son of the greatest Somali of all time, although he didn't quite follow in his dad's tracks, at least from a showing standpoint. He developed a bad habit of hosing down the show cages -- and yes, I do mean hosing. It got so bad that at times, the judge would have to retrieve him from a puddle.
His name was Ch Foxbrush Kenya Strut. He lived up to the name, since he had a serious case of happy feet that didn't quit.
When he was at the height of his show career, in hopes of distracting him from the peeing habit, I taught him to do tricks. I used a clicker and some soft canned food -- some kind of veterinary diet that was mostly liver and water -- on a plastic spoon.
He loved it. He learned to sit up, twirl in a circle, salute with one paw. I taught him to jump through an embroidery hoop too. He got so good at it that he could leap several feet off the floor. He loved lapping the soft food off that spoon and would become quite excited when he heard the click. Sometimes he would grab the spoon with his paw, as if he couldn't get it fast enough.
My favorite of his tricks was to "shake". I would hold out one finger toward his front paw and tell him, "Shake!" and he would lift the paw and flutter it, as if it were wet.
Kenya was twelve years old and long retired from the Show Cat Halls of Shame. Our tricks had fallen by the wayside too, as I had become distracted by other things over the years. A couple of weeks ago, he was still purring and "marching", but he was ill and his appetite waning, so I took him in to the vet.
In the exam room, the vet tech brought in a can of soft food.
"Let's see if he'll eat anything." She scooped into the food with a small, flat wooden stick and held it out to Kenya. He immediately lunged for it, wolfing it down voraciously. The tech looked at me strangely, obviously wondering if I ever fed this poor cat.
I just smiled.
Rest in peace, sweet boy. You will be missed.