Sunday, February 16, 2020

Patch's Canine Peanut Butter Balls



In early February I adopted Patch, a 5.5 year old English Setter boy who has tested positive for Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. 

He's not a food motivated dog, which to me is perplexing.  He turned his nose up at any treats I had in the house, including the homebaked senior treats I created for the late and great Jorja and Elliot.

Patch is the first dog I met who didn't gobble the soft, pumpkin/oatmeal based cookies.  Even Max, adopted in November 2019 is a big fan.



So, I decided it was time to find what might get Patch's jowls drooling. 

I thought I would start with a peanut butter flavor.  I mean, who can resist peanut butter?  I tried a few variations and this one seems to be a hit.  It's easy to put together and doesn't require a mixer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 grated carrot (I use the nutribullet)
1/4 cup organic peanut butter (no additives)
1 tbsp flaxseed
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil melted
1 egg
1-1/2 cup oatmeal

Combine carrot, peanut butter, flaxseed and coconut oil in a bowl.
Beat egg and stir into mixture.  Stir in oatmeal a little at a time until all is combined.

form into 1/2 inch balls (gloves recommended) and place on parchment lined cookie tray.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 then turn off oven and let sit in oven for 45 minutes. Remove and cool. 

Refrigerate. Makes approx. 50 treats


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

English Setter Déjà vu


Patch and Max
 When you adopt senior or special needs dogs, they aren't necessarily with you for very long. Unfortunately in the past 4 months 3 of my pups (Elliot, Loui and Jorja) all headed to the rainbow bridge.

Elliot (2007?-2019), Loui (2011?-2019) and Jorja (2006-2020)

Shortly after Elliot passed I was looking so see if there were any senior setters in need and I ran across a photo that could have been Elliot's twin. I looked and read the story of Max, a six year old boy from Indiana who is blind in one eye and soon to be completely blind. He traveled to me arriving on November 17th and is a wonderful addition to the family.

Just weeks later Loui needed exploratory surgery to determine if what the doctor felt in his abdomen was cancer. They removed a grapefruit size mass from his intestines along with his spleen that looked suspiciously diseased. Unfortunately, Loui's heart stopped while in recovery and they could not revive him. I was devastated.

Jorja, Max and I plodded on with life. Jorja (age 13.5) had been diagnosed with severe arthritis last year. She began receiving monthly injections when she came up lame one day in early autumn. The CBD oil and carprofen were no longer being effective to keep her pain free. The injection worked for a time, but then she began struggling again. In early January she stopped eating full meals and began losing weight. A steroid shot was given on a Friday to try to stimulate appetite and she managed through the weekend, but by Monday I knew it was her time.  She would not eat and she couldn't stay up, even with help.

When I adopted Elliot in 2013 he was in pretty sad shape including having a cancerous tumor hanging from his neck. It was at that time I made the decision that moving forward I would only adopt senior or special needs dogs.

Jorja came to me in 2017 at age 10 and within months she was diagnosed with breast cancer which was successfully treated with two surgeries. Loui was adopted in 2018 at age 8, heartworm positive and with a leg that had at one time been broken but never reset. They were all really super dogs that just weren't perfect in a traditional "buy them at the pet store" sense. But they were PERFECT companions.

Max (age 6) is a huge comfort. I adopted him via Our English Setter Rescue (OESR) which is based in Ohio but has volunteers throughout the country. They maintain a Facebook group for adopters/fosters to ask questions and I am learning quite a few things from the posts. Dogs in need of fostering and those ready for adoption are posted.

Patch is one of those dogs and is my first venture into being a foster mom. He is age 5.5, positive for anaplasmosis and lyme disease. He was rescued in Virginia from a unpleasant situation covered with ticks. OESR saw that he was quickly neutered, bathed and vetted by an angel named Deanna. He arrived this past weekend via a transport chain of 8 wonderful souls who volunteered to drive him down to me in Florida.

He is quite the beautiful dog but OY, is he a pigpen. He lies in the dirt and brings it all in the house. Then it dawned on me.....I frequently called Jorja "pigpen" because she would come inside and by the time she got up from the kitchen mat there would be a cloud of dirt reminiscent of the Charles Schulz character.

Patch is identical in color and in conformation to the late and great Jorja. Patch is just a somewhat larger version. He is a tad worse than Jorja in the pigpen category since he digs in the water bowl, flooding the kitchen and walking through it with his GIANT dirt covered paws. The mops are getting a workout but his angelic face takes the sting out of the constant mopping. Hopefully the new "Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl" I ordered will at least limit the flooding. Can't wait for it to arrive tomorrow.

Patch, like Jorja is in constant motion patrolling the property when he is outside.  He does laps...always on the hunt.

By the same token, Max could be Elliot's clone. He goes outside and stays in one area, hunting lizards.  I even find myself accidentally calling him Elliot from time to time. He is soft, mild mannered and quiet. He doesn't drag dirt into the house and neither did Elliot. I guess white and orange Setters just aren't dirt attractants. 

I glanced up the other day to see Patch and Max standing side by side in the yard.  The two dogs are so different personality-wise yet the similarity to their same-colored predecessors is striking.

That's when I had my déjà vu moment. It was as if Jorja and Elliot were back. 

Jorja and Elliot Dec 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Jorja and Elliot's Senior Canine Soft Treats


Jorja approved!
Update May 2018:  I now am adding ground flaxseed (1/8 cup).  I also made them substituting blackberries for the cranberries which are available in my yard now.  And, I did try the coconut oil.  Still a hit with the woofs.

Jorja and Elliot are 11 and 10 year old English Setter rescues, the former rescued in May 2017 and the latter rescued in September 2013.  Both have had cancer which involved surgery.

Elliot had a malignant tumor removed from his throat area back in early 2014 and has been cancer free since.  He does suffer from terrible arthritis which had been treated primarily with supplements (Actistatin) and 6 months ago we added a single daily dose of pain killer (Carprofen).

Jorja has had surgery to remove mammary tumors twice in the 6 months since she joined our family and so far the areas that were operated on don't show any signs of recurrence. We keep a close watchful eye since she was only spayed a few days before we adopted her and cancer in unspayed dogs or those spayed late in life is quite common after age 10.

In addition, while she still gets around well at age 11 she is showing beginning signs of arthritis when getting up in the morning.  We have put her on the vet-recommended supplement mentioned above.

We are striving to fend off further problems and did a little research on battling cancer and arthritis through natural foods.  This is the recipe I came up with and a test taste over the past 2 months indicates that I'm on target from my doggie's perspective.  They LOVE them even pushing one another out of the way to get to me first.

Elliot even seems to have a perkier step since I whipped up this recipe.  They get them a few times throughout the day and three before bed.

3 ounces fresh cranberries (or try seasonal berries, such as blackberries)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup organic turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper (use a pepper grinder)
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon Oil (olive or coconut)
1 16 oz can 100% pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 egg  beaten
2 cups dried oatmeal (I put mine in the Nutribullet for 15 seconds or so to make is more flour-like for mixing but you don't have too)
4 ounces fresh spinach chopped fine
fresh elderberry flowers (optional---I put them in when available from my yard)


Cook cranberries in water for about 8 minutes until they crack and can be easily mashed.  Mash and allow to cool.

Blend in turmeric, black pepper and oil
blend in pumpkin and egg
add dried oatmeal and flaxseed a little at a time and mix until blended.
blend in chopped spinach and elderberry flowers.
drop by teaspoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheets.  They do not spread so you can drop close together.

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.  Cool and store in the refrigerator in a closed container for up to two weeks. Makes about 60-70 treats. Although I haven't tried it, you probably can freeze them.  I always freeze pumpkin bread without any problems.

You can use a mixer or just mix using muscle power.  I have made them both ways.  If I'm feeling strong and lazy I just use the pot I cook the cranberries in and mix everything up with a fork.

If my back is bothering me I generally opt for the mixer but then there is more cleanup of the bowl, beaters, etc.



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cardinal Pest Control for Cash Crops

There was a half-dozen or more Northern Cardinals gleening insects from the leaves of my zucchini plant early today.  You should be able to find five in the photo (click the picture to view larger size).  No wonder I haven't had any more pickleworms making their way into the fruits. Wonderful to see IPM in action.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friends and Nature in 140 Characters or Less

I'm not exactly sure why this never got published back in 2012, but I just found it and figured it still is worth a share, even if it is 3 years later.

I started using twitter back in March 2009 when our local news team was offering free movie tickets to tweeters.  In exploring a practical use for Twitter, I thought that I might be able to incorporate some publicity for our local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society by setting up an account.

Slowly I began locating tweeters to follow, using search terms that had to do with #environment #ecology #gardening #Florida and the like.  I pretty much followed back anyone who followed me, provided that their avatar wasn't naked or their timeline filled with "just ate a sandwich, it was good" or "damn, the ice tray was empty".  I religiously retweeted environmental article links that I found enlightening and somehow began acquiring a solid following.  I guess my mindless drivel isn't such drivel after all ;)

A fellow tweeter caught my eye because she gives a morning weather report for Long Island, my old stomping ground and still home to my eldest sister.  She also shows a penchant for being environmentally concerned. And I also noted a quick wit imbedded in her 140 characters.  I was headed up to NY in 2010 for a wedding so @gemswinc and I agreed to meet for coffee at the airport.  Let's just say that it is somewhat amazing that either of us is capable of communicating using only 140 characters.  We are both quite chatty.  On that trip Cindy was kind enough to drive me from the airport to my sisters, saving a trip for my brother-in-law and the environment since she drives a Prius ;)

In 2011 she was headed down to Central Florida for a family visit so we agreed to meet for lunch.  I found an "off the beaten track" restaurant on Lake Jessup which was unique and somewhat nature oriented.  

Here we are in 2012.  I was once again headed to Long Island for a wedding so we planned to meet at least for coffee or lunch during my 5-day whirlwind trip.

The week I planned my trip details, I had to update mailing lists for the native plant people.  I noticed a member had a 631 telephone area code. Odd, because that is the area code for my sister on Long Island.  I looked and saw that this member showed an affiliation with "South Fork Natural History Museum" which I had never heard of, and since I lived part of the time on Long Island for 20+ years, my curiosity was piqued.  I ran a search and found that it is located in Bridgehampton, on Long Island's East End and it indicated that it had a nature center and trails. I tweeted @gemswinc to see if she ever heard of it. Nada.
We decided this might be a fun place to investigate for our lunch "tweetup".  Obviously geared toward children, but heck, we're just big kids, so it seemed like the perfect venue and it was.  We headed out and had a quick lunch at "the Pear" in the town of Bridgehampton and then headed off to find the museum.

What a great place! Lindsey ??? greeted us and gave us each a field guide for the inside exhibit. She explained that the tour is set up to get children (and adults) familiar with making use of a field guide. I also learned that the native plant society member is the retired director of the museum and I saw his name on a flier as a scheduled tour guide for the upcoming weekend tour.
Since it was a Monday in off-season, we had the whole place to ourselves and Lindsey was quick to interact and answer our questions.  You open doors, pull out drawers and peer through portholes to learn various aspects of nature.  Cindy and I were discussing whether or not the turtle was alive or animated when Lindsey quickly explained that many of the inside exhibits have a "live" half.  The turtle WAS alive!  We were a lot more vigilant looking for things on the "live" side.

There was a "touch tank" filled with crabs, fish, muscles and other interesting creatures.  We headed out to the trails and saw beautiful butterflies, lots of wildflowers and birds.  A return to center took us up to the observation deck that is equipped with spotting scopes and books of the possible creatures you might find out in "the old field". The director ???? joined us and he spotted an eagle doing acrobatics off in the distance and he positioned the spotting scope so we could enjoy the encounter too.
It was a beautiful fall day. The trails are part of the Long Pond Greenbelt which is public lands, so the museum doesn't have to be open for you to enjoy this aspect, but I highly recommended that you plan a museum visit to see all this little natural wonder has to offer.  Bring the kids if you have them, but don't let not having kids stop you from enjoying this "off the beaten track" gem.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Loret’s Excellent Adventure

So, I spotted a cottonmouth snake a couple of nights ago on the patio, eating a Cuban treefrog.  If not for the dogs this would be a joyous sight.  Anything that eats the invasive frogs is a good thing in my book.  Unfortunately, cottonmouths a.k.a. water moccasins, are venomous snakes of the “get thee immediately to the hospital” venom variety.

Most snakes move on in good time, but Chili encountered the snake the other morning, luckily with no serious repercussions.  Again, snakey had a frog in its mouth so couldn’t bite her.  He did, however regurgitate the frog by the time I ushered the dog into the house, so he was getting ready to feast on the larger, more annoying Irish Setter prey.  Thankfully tragedy was avoided.

Today, Elliot, Chili and I were out wandering around and I decided to go inside for a bit.  Down on the patio below an opening in the brick lattice was the cottonmouth. AGAIN!

Obviously the snake was not going to move on so I checked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission website for a snake relocation service.  I was happy to find one just a few streets over from me.

Meet Sonny and Greg of Sonny's Unwanted Adventures…snake handlers extraordinaire.  They arrived in less than 20 minutes with their fancy equipment consisting of a golf club (I think a 3-iron) and a white plastic bag.  The snake had moved but was still visible and they dispatched him into the bag in short order. 

“What do I owe you?” I asked.  “Ten dollars”, Sonny announced.  I was stunned by the low amount and I guess my face showed it because as I opened the door to go inside, Sonny sheepishly said, “Well, I’d take $20 since I have a helper”.  I reached into my purse and grabbed $25.00. At that moment I heard some conversation from the two gentlemen.  “I’ve got it”, one said.  “Check under there, there must be a nest”, the other reported.

I stuck my head out and they were adding a second snake to the Hefty kitchen bag.  They moved the lawnmower and the rubber mat and cleaned out under them.  They looked around a bit and said they would come back if I found any additional visitors.  I reached into my purse and exchanged the $5.00 for a second $20.00. 

Sonny thanked me profusely and reminded me that I now had a credit for a few more catches, to call any time.  I pooh-poohed him and said I’d pay his regular rates for return visits, just knowing that he was close by was worth it to me.

What a relief.  I’m glad I called in the professionals. I might have thought a 9-iron would do the job, and I’d have come up very short!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life beyond the corral

I let Elliot out after dinner one evening this week and I glanced out at the roadway.  I did a double take, for there, on my street, was a herd of goats. Just munching along the culvert like they belonged there.  They probably live on the next block, I can hear goat sounds every now and again. They must have broken down a fence and meandered through the empty lot across the way.  Ahhhhhhh Country Living, it never is boring.
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