I do it for the dogs

I prefer hiking in the bush with my dogs over walking on the pavement. I enjoy the solitude and I’m sure my dogs like it better as well. Charlotte at some points is even allowed off of her leash rope. I have my dogs on 15-25 foot ropes so they can wander more than a 6 foot leash would allow. Leroy (a runner), on the rare occasion, such as when I have meatloaf in my pocket, is set free also. The pleasure they must experience gives me immense pleasure too.

However, when I decide to exercise them at 3 in the morning, we have to stick to the streets. We recently ventured into the bush at 3 in the afternoon. I’m within a 2 minute drive of a very large wooded area riddled with trails.

There’s a pond where Charlotte will swim any distance to get her precious ball. 014

There’s a sand hill Leroy goes crazy for digging in.008007

I really love throwing Charlotte’s ball UP that hill! She’s so obsessed, she goes after it every time and it’s awesome movement for her. 013

I’m often sitting with my bare feet buried in the sand, face turned upward getting a big dose of Vitamin D 🙂 It’s generally a good day out when we go hiking in the bush.

Until the all-terrain vehicles show up.

Although they can clearly see me reining my dogs in so they can pass by, they still try to squeak past rather than wait a whole 20 seconds. They leave us in a cloud of dust and diesel fumes. They’re pampered city boys who aren’t man enough to actually load their toys up and go elsewhere.

Instead, they roar down residential roads, causing noise pollution and aggravation just to ride on trails that all lead back to one another. Covering them by foot is one thing. It takes a while. I don’t understand the lure of basically going around in circles on motorized bikes and 4-wheelers. They go so fast and they’re so loud, they’re missing all the wonders of nature; the birds singing, the sound of the breeze in the tree tops, the feel of the sun warming their skin.

I handled the mosquitoes, the flies and the heat that day but I’ll have to consider going by 7 a.m. The odds are there won’t be any four wheelers around. Hopefully no other people or dogs either!

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A salad in a sandwich

One of my all-time favorite sandwiches is tomato. And then I load it up with various veggies; onion, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, red pepper, whatever I have on hand and whatever I feel like washing and cutting up.

For the next couple of months I’ll be using glorious greens from my garden! 🙂

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From left to right there’s Osaka Purple mustard greens (very strong flavored eaten alone but undetectable mixed in with everything else), Bloomsdale Savoy spinach (sadly already going to seed because of the warm weather), Winter Red kale, Pomegranate Crunch romaine lettuce (under the kale) and 2 types of green romaine romaine lettuce (Plato II and Winter Density, I can’t tell them apart).

One thing so wonderful about having your own garden is you can plant varieties you won’t find in the grocery stores. Next year, when I have my greenhouse back, I’ll be in tomato heaven. Green Zebra, Bonny Best, Gold Nugget, Old German, Jaune Flamme, Indigo Rose and Taxi are all on my current list. I’ll be sure to add more.

For now, I have to be satisfied with regular, old hothouse. Some onion. And alfalfa sprouts.

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Sprouts are fabulous! I encourage everyone to give home sprouting a try, it’s really very simple unless you’re out 18 hours a day. Crimson Lentils, Daikon Radish, Mung Bean, sunflower, broccoli, I can’t even name them all. I’m certain I’ll do a post one day solely upon sprouting. But now let’s focus on my sandwich!

I make homemade buns. Bunwiches I call them actually because they’re not truly a bun and not truly bread, somewhere in between I guess. 100% whole grain (whole wheat and spelt combo) from a sourdough starter. The final result is a toasted sandwich/bunwich that’s thicker than a burger and so much better for me.

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I swear every time I have one I roll my eyes and tell myself, “Oh my God, that was sooooo delicious!”. I want another one right now that I’m remembering it. YUM.

6 months to Christmas!

In local news. . . . . 🙂 just kidding! The search is still on for the man moron imbecile who rode that poor moose though. He faces a fine anywhere from $345 to $100, 000. Of course, he won’t suffer anything significant enough to learn his lesson!

As I mentioned already, it’s 6 months to Christmas (and Leroy’s 7th birthday!). I’m never prepared and always doing things at the last minute even knowing right now I should begin planning what I’m up to. I do believe I’m cooking turkey dinner in my brother’s new place. He will need decorations and such. Yes, I should begin planning.

He has a fancy new table, maybe I’ll make some Christmas place mats! I’m sure I have suitable material around here somewhere. . . . . good idea. It’s going on my list.

And now that I consider the cookies I’m baking today, it makes me realize I have 6 months to find fabulous, vegan sweets recipes to try over and over again before December 25th arrives. Put that on my list too. Too bad my sister and her husband will be in Mexico. I’ll be cooking and baking for true, non-vegans/vegetarians.

Okay, I’m heading to the garden. I’ve been eating mixed greens in my sandwiches for a week or so. It’s great! Organically grown, from garden-to-plate, you can’t get any healthier than that.

Have a fantastic day everyone! 🙂

No such thing as “seen it all”, this world is too full of idiots

Now I know why I don’t watch tv!

My mom had it on again this morning and there was a story about some guys (I’ll use that word loosely because I’d sure prefer another one) who chased a moose swimming in the water. In. The. Water.

Yes, they chased it with a boat.

And then one of the guys (aka Major A-hole) actually jumped on to the back of the moose!!

A video was posted on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4-NLlv5VuU and the authorities are now looking for the offenders. I hope they find them and nail them hard.

What incredible stress that poor moose must have gone through, just minding his own business, trying to cross a body of water and wham! First a boat pursuing him and then some idiot climbing on him. Unbelievable.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve never seen it all and probably never will because someone, somewhere always tops the previous moronic act. What I don’t understand is how they think posting it on the internet is a wise move? But then again, there are many viewers out there who will actually approve, as amazing as that may seem.

Like I said, this world is too full of idiots.

Now, I have to go clear away the outrage and disgust. . . . . . I’ll sew 🙂 And give my dogs each a hug! They are the perfect medicine.

Dog Meat Festival

Yes. You read the title for this post correctly. It’s something that occurs in China. I learned this, not by choice, just today. To me, the word ‘festival’ brings forth visions of joy, laughter and merriment. But when you pair it with the words ‘dog meat’, it creates an awful feeling, a sick sense of foreboding.

I don’t live in a bubble (although sometimes I wish I did!). I’m unfortunately aware that in many areas of the world, animals we’d never imagine consuming here in Canada, animals we don’t even have here, are eaten on a regular basis.

I haven’t always been, but am now and for a couple of years or so, a person who absolutely refuses to buy products made in, or food grown in, China. Better late than never I guess!

Why?

You only have to go as far as your keyboard to Google ‘pollution in China’

http://www.earthporm.com/23-shocking-photos-reveal-bad-chinas-pollution-problem-become/

or ‘what not to buy from China’ to understand my reasons. China has caused atrocious damage to their sliver of earth; the water, the soil and the air. All of these are in a horrible state, which of course then wreaks havoc on every living being. China routinely, and I’m sure knowingly, exports unsafe products far and wide.

I won’t support a country that cares so little for itself and then infects the countries it supplies.

What they do, or don’t do, will hurt the rest of the world in one way or another because we’re all connected.

Tainted pet food. Anti-freeze in toothpaste. Lead based paints on children’s toys. Harmful honey. American chicken sent to China for processing and then sent back to America. (I’m still shaking my head over that one). Damaging fishing practices. Poaching of animals such as rhinos and tigers to feed their “need” for traditional medicine.

The list only grows when one keeps researching. Reasons beyond the environment quickly come to light. Poverty level wages. Child labor. Working conditions that cause severe, debilitating illnesses. It’s astounding.

I feel very sorry for the innocents who unwillingly call China their home.

It’s all unacceptable and yet “we” still condone it by continuing to purchase items imported from China.

I stopped buying anything made in China when their pollution of the environment came to my attention. If my sister bothered to read this post, perhaps she’d finally be convinced not to as well. But I know she wouldn’t have made it past the title.

I can’t offer a lot of details. Or any really, except for the fact that they eat dogs in China. I’m sure this isn’t surprising to many people. And horrifying to many others.

My mom, who’s been staying with me for the past few weeks, had the tv on. I don’t watch tv. I never even have tv services hooked up unless my mom is here. She was watching a show that was talking about the dog meat festival in China and whether or not it should end. I made some comment and she said, “They slice the dogs while they’re still alive!”.

I can’t fathom that and I didn’t want to hear any more.

I won’t Google it either.

Just considering it makes my stomach turn. Dogs are some of the most loyal creatures on the planet. They love their humans unconditionally. Eat them? When it’s NOT necessary for that human’s life? How utterly barbaric. And disgusting. No, revolting.

I don’t say this because I’m a vegan. I say this because I’m a dog owner. Dogs simply are not meant to be on a dinner plate. No ifs, ands or buts.

And it’s another reason for me to continue my refusal to support the Chinese industry. In fact, it will make me even more determined not to. While it’s definitely more challenging, it’s NOT impossible.

I’ve compiled a fraction of the articles available on the internet for you if you wish to know more. I do understand not everything can be taken as 100% truth, but there’s definitely enough there to keep me on my “Refuse anything from China” path.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/231731-top-5-imported-foods-from-china-you-should-avoid/

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/tainted-chinese-honey-pervades-us-stores-60674.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/opinion/the-price-of-made-in-china.html

http://time.com/107922/china-pet-food-contamination-recall-video/

http://www.globalanimal.org/2013/10/24/list-of-recalled-dog-jerky-treats-pet-chews-from-china/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/02/us/02toothpaste.html?_r=0

http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2218/

http://magazine.good.is/articles/asian-air-pollution-spreading-around-the-world

http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/nearly-one-fifth-of-china-s-farmland-polluted-with-toxic-metals-1.1781719

http://qz.com/47580/apple-china-labor-factories-opens-its-eyes-wider/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-navarro-and-greg-autry/dont-buy-made-in-china_b_4349947.html

Back to the bags

For me, a vital part of caring about the environment is recycling, reducing and reusing as much as possible. Making reusable, denim shopping bags was a natural path to venture down.

And I did, once I realized how difficult it was to deal with large quilts.

Shopping bags are obviously smaller, and therefore, should be simpler. Not so! Not yet anyway. I ran into issues with them as well. But I’m learning from my mistakes!

In the meantime, I still have this bag . . . . . . .

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You’ll notice it’s missing something! Yep, handles!

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I have two handles (only one of which I could find for picture taking purposes). This bag is fashioned from an old t-shirt my dad bought for me when I was a teenager. I’m now in my (cough, cough) mid-40’s and my dad is no longer here, so this bag has sentimental value for me. I’d like to finish it.

When I decided to make it, I hadn’t actually made a reusable shopping bag before. . . . no. . . .no, hang on. . . . I suffer from a notoriously-horrible-memory and this was a while ago.

I’m having a vague recollection now that I’d made 2 bags in early 2014,

Planet Hollywood007 (2)

and Tweety022

I did so entirely from my head (no pattern searching on the internet) and have struggled with the handles as a result. My first attempts, I didn’t like, not strong enough.

I truly love the new and improved style of the Big Bad John’s handles. They’re super sturdy and you need that in a shopping bag. Don’t you?

It’s hard on my sewing machine though. At least it was when I attempted the same handle style on another bag (another failure valuable teaching experience)

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Because these handles are 4 layers of denim and the band around the top of the bag is an additional 4-6 layers. . . . . my sewing machine failed me. It’s why I have a handleless bag and bagless handles. I’m currently left to ponder the problem. I need to figure out how to lessen the layers while keeping the strength I’m looking for.

I take great pride in what I do and I want my bags to last a very long time. Otherwise, a person might as well go buy a cheap, made-in-China, piece of crap bag from a dollar store.

I’ll be back one day with photos of a finished product, or two I should say, because the owl bag needs completion as well. I think I have to disassemble the band and handles. . . . sigh. . . . . removing blue-on-blue stitching isn’t something I’m hurrying to do! I’ll have to sit outside with the mosquitoes because indoor lighting is never adequate enough for a job like that!

YES! I am missing something!

The ‘like’ option (along with all the other ones) appears AFTER a post is published!!!! For this particular theme anyway.

I guess we really do learn something new every day!

(You’d have to read my first post for today to know what I’m talking about)

*** Well. I don’t get it. It’s been a few hours since I published this and discovered how the ‘like’ option appears AFTER publishing. . . and now all I see again is the ‘Leave a reply’. . . .Is it only me because I’m the creator of this blog??

Changing my theme again. . . . .

I just changed my theme again. I believe this is the 6th one. I realized, with my previous theme (Big Brother), that unless someone clicked on ‘Leave a comment’, the ‘like’ option wasn’t visible. More often than not, many individuals find it easier to ‘like’ rather than leave a reply. However, if they can’t even see the ‘like’ option, then they don’t do anything and I’m left here thinking, “Where is everybody?” (not really)

So I began searching through all the themes again. This one is Twenty Eleven. All I can see is a ‘Leave a reply’ box. . . . with no option for a simple ‘like’. I don’t understand why every theme doesn’t have a very, in-plain-view, ‘like’ option. Am I missing something? Is it merely because I truly don’t know exactly what I’m doing?

It makes me frown.

But I like everything else so I’ll give it a go for now. I’m sure I’ll change it in the days to come. I had a list of all the themes I preferred. And I can’t find it. I’m famous for writing lists. And losing them. Or forgetting them at home. I always say I need a note pad on a string around my neck. I wonder if that would really work.

Anyway, it’s the second wet, rainy day in a row we’re having. I’m very glad for it although it feels like the sun has been missing for ages. It’s the kind of weather that makes me feel lazy. Or maybe it’s the 2:30 mornings responsible for that. I’m trying to get motivated when all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with Charlotte, my Boston Terrier mix. She LOVES naps and is a willing participant any time, rain or shine 🙂

My tentative plans for this afternoon are centered around my sewing room. I MUST use my sewing machine (or try to), the one that was giving me grief a few weeks ago, the one I’ve ignored ever since. Somehow I think it’s going to be magically repaired! Yeah right!

Whatever your plans are, be safe and have fun!

A Tale of Two Toads

My post for today is prompted by something my mother said to me not 25 minutes ago. She’s currently a house guest, so she witnesses many of the things I do when I’m out in my yard and she’s sitting on the porch smoking (BLECH).

I was in the back where my garden beds are. As usual, because I’m still in the process of major weed removal, I have piles of debris here and there. I decided to clean one of them up. It included an old, purple yoga mat I used for kneeling on. I was surprised (not really, I knew there was one somewhere in the garden bed) by the little toad living under it.

I like my toads. Yes, I refer to them as my toads. I look after them.

Naturally, rather than scare this little guy away, I began searching for something to construct a “new” home. My mother asked what I was doing and when I told her, she said, “Jodie, you’re going to have too many toads in your yard”. I just mentally shook my head and thought ‘as if’. She’s aware of my toad situation. She tells me I’m weird. I’ve learned to ignore her.

I made a fantastic shelter for this guy. 006

It’s a simple board with a large rock under it. We wouldn’t want him getting squished now! I hope he stays 🙂 and he probably will. He was living under a yoga mat after all! His new digs (pun intended) are much more desirable. And safer.

Now, onto another toad tale.There’s an old, dresser drawer in one spot of my yard. 007It’s an eyesore, I admit it.

It (the drawer) was supposed to make a journey from my back yard, to my front yard, to the garbage bin. However, when I picked it up one day, there was a toad living under it. So the drawer remained. I placed rocks under it, again, so no one was squished. And I took pictures just now! 009

Little Toad is there! (They’re all either Little Toad or Big Guy. I have trouble telling them apart from each other unless their size and color is vastly different).

Okay, maybe I am weird. Whuteva.

Every evening I put fresh water out for my toads. If I find one (like this morning), I relocate it, leave it alone or shelter it better. I have one I call “Big Guy”. You guessed it. He’s big! And green. He’s cool. I explain to my mom that toads are good for my garden. They come out at night and eats bugs I don’t want. Her reply is typically, “Who cares?!”. My constant and never-changing retort is a resounding, “I DO“.

WHY am I weird because I care about these particular living creatures? I don’t think I am but I can handle being considered so. I won’t ever stop having concern for my toads.

Unique. I’m unique.

Yeah. I like that. It’s not insulting.

Less than 2 minutes can change your life

I’m very dedicated to organics. I believe in the industry and I support it as much as possible. My garden is grown strictly without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. When I eat at home, it’s 100% organic.

I wasn’t always this way.

When I was in my early 30’s, my mother was diagnosed with diabetes. My grandmother had high cholesterol and the beginnings of macular degeneration. It made me stop and think. I didn’t want to end up like them when I got older.

I searched for ways to ward off these kinds of problems and it led me to nutrition, which led me to organics. I’ve done the work. I’m not a “blind” organic freak who has latched onto the latest craze. I learned if we put poison into our bodies, we WILL suffer the consequences.

Now I’m in my mid 40’s. I AM older! (How the heck did that happen??) And although I don’t have any illnesses that I know of, I can surely still acquire one.

I don’t want to.

Food can be our enemy or it can be our guardian. I definitely try to strive for the latter. I don’t succeed every single day but when “mistakes” become fewer and farther between, it’s all good. Very, very good.

I know many, many people scoff at organics. I also know if they did their due diligence, they’d very likely feel differently. My sister recently showed me a short documentary on the effects of organic food. It was so powerful, I immediately told her to share it to my Facebook page.

She did. And now I want to share it with you.

You hear about all those nasty “things” they spray on crops and it’s an abstract notion, easily dismissed. When you actually SEE it, it makes an impact. You don’t have to go organic all at once, simply begin with the most contaminated produce (apples and celery are right up there!). It took me several years to finally have my pantry (and fridge) converted completely over.

It takes time. It’s your health. It’s worth it. YOU are worth it.

http://foodmatters.tv/content/the-organic-effect-a-short-documentary