August 28, 2014

Wot did you doo for summer vacay?

by @winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Wot did you doo durin' summer 2014 vacay? Hopin' you had bestest fresh og noms and good walkies!

When ourselves doo travel any pawlaces, Mumsy does pack emergency Go-Bags for all of us. . . . Ani Meezer maows: "Would you like to see my Hissaster Purrep Kitty Pack? MOL." . . . Mum sez: "Yes, Meezer, everybuddy should see your Purrep Pack. Please post pics someday soon."

Ourselves not travel often or furry far this summer. In summer 2013 da wildfire smokes got us many times. Nobuddy wanting to run into wildfires and smokes again.

In summer 2014, da wildland fires in Nor Cal forests and wilderness areas have been widespread and intense. Mum keepin' watchful and sometimes teary eyes on da fires. . . .Mum sez: "I try not to dwell on the suffering of animals and people caught up in this intense period of Western wildfires. But it's not easy to ignore the suffering, especially that of wildlife in the Siskiyous and Cascades."

You doo know summer 2014 is my ancient woofself's 17th summer? Mum did think mywoofself might not be up for big travels. Mum has da concerns bout my stamina effurr since myself's peeky OTRB in Feb 2014. But myself dooin' fine. Fooled you! BOL!!

Ani Meezer did make wee vacay at Jonny Cat clay quarry. Meezer maows: "Liked tour of giant litter boxes. MOL."

Mywoofself watched local campers tryin' to pitch tent. . . . Howl. Tis not MY craft beer. Methinks Mumsy set myself up to look like a doggeh lush. BOL

Furbro Jackie Nippers also watched campers strugglin' to pitch tent. Hiswoofself asked "Is that a pup tent?" . . . OMD BOL! Myself did snort.

Ourselves did roll on grass wit big BOLs. Da campers looked o'er at ourselves as if we be mad dogs. BOL!

Barkin' at Mum for more vacay! . . . But nobuddy need 'nother "vacay day" like earthquake day on 24 August 2014. *Paw prayers* for all folks and furriends in Napa area. . . . Pawleeze make da emergency Go-Bags for pets + everybuddy, as you doo neffurr know when next disaster comin' eh.

March 16, 2014

Spring furward

by @winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

My old woofself had grrreat 16th birthday pawty November 2013. Now myself peekin' round corner toward 17th birthday.

Doo not paw attention to rumors of myself's demise. Da rumors are grrreatly exaggerated. True myself did sudden and dramatic peek over Rainbow Bridge in February 2014. Myself did meet many ER vets and techs. Then myself did come back to earth pawlane. Not finished 'ere yet!

Now mywoofself and furbro Jackie Nippers are springin' furward.

Nommin' fresh whole food meals like a ravenous puppy! BOL! Da fresh steamed organic broccoli arfully good. Now ready for furrst asparagus of da spring season.

Enjoy good noms, furriends!

September 30, 2013

Many horses are needin' help

by @winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Soon cold weathers and big rains and winds will come, and the horses will still be standing out there in the fields ... with no shelter or blankets ... with no feed, just acres of mud. They are the thousands of neglected, abused, and unwanted horses in today's American West.

Mywoofself has always loved tall neighing furriends. Since puppyhood, myself has met many rescued horses in California and Oregon.

It is good to be gettin' to know some of da most needy horses. It is comfortin' to learn about caring humans who rescue the horses or collect hay bank money to feed them.

Pawleeze document and report horse neglect, abuse, or starvation when you see it! You can contact a rescue organization for advice on how to do this properly. Also ask county sheriff's department and animal control the best way to get help for the horse who's in trouble.

Here are some good folks to know about:

Colorado Horsecare Foodbank
provides feed grants + emergency hay

Oregon Hay Bank
helps horses in Oregon + Northern California

Safe Haven Horse Rescue
horse rescue in Northern California

California Coastal Horse Rescue
horse rescue in Central California

Neigh Savers
California’s Thoroughbred Rehab/Rehoming

Equamore Horse Sanctuary
horse rescue + sanctuary in Oregon

Mustang Meg
Wild Mustang advocacy in SE Oregon

Buck Brannaman
natural horsemanship training
("starting" colts, not breaking them.)

August 31, 2013

Ani Meezer's Anchovy Dressing

by Ani Meezer, Kitteh Queen of the kitchen

Anchovy? Oh my cat!

Do not furget to call me if you have anchovies!

Seems it is time to tell you how to make a lovely AV Dressing: Mediterranean-inspired Anchovy Vinaigrette Dressing for salads. Mymewself will narrate for Mum.

Aye do see Mum has placed dressing ingredients on kitchen counter.

1/4 cup EVOO
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 anchovy, chopped finely
S+P to taste (Careful with salt! Anchovy is already salty.)

Mum is using "what's on hand" and making only small batch of dressing to test how well ingredients go together. If Mum does not like the brands of extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, she will seek other choices.

A few paw-notes about olive oil, vinegar, anchovies, and garlic.

In California, cooks are accustomed to finding fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). You might prefurr a mild oil, like good old Bertolli. But whatever oil you like, you want good quality and freshness. . . . You know stale or rancid oils and fats are bad for human and pet health. (Kibble eaters, take paw-note.)

It should be easy for humans to find fresh organic wine vinegar in gourmet stores. It is not difficult for wine grapes and other fruits to turn to vinegar -- that is Nature's neat recycling trick. But it is not easy to find good wine vinegars. Mum needs to find a wine vinegar that's as great as her fave cider vinegar, Solana Gold, made with Sonoma County apples.

Anchovies are tiny fish of many diffurrent species that live in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Foodwise they are called an "oily fish." Mum finds them canned, packed in salt or in olive oil, usually including their little bones -- which we kittehs and some people eat along with the fish. (If packed in salt, brush all the salt off and store them in olive oil.) The typical brands seen in U.S. stores are marked "Product of Morocco." Are they high quality? Mum doubts it.

Mymewself finds anchovies purrfectly nommy. This is why, whenever Mum turns her back, the anchovy disappears, and so Mum has to get another one out of the can. ...

Do not let mymewself steal another anchovy before you get it in the jar. MOL

Appawrently some human cooks fear these itty bitty fish. Or purrhaps they just fear strong flavors? ... Fear not! A little bit of anchovy adds a "uniquely satisfying" flavor note to a salad vinaigrette or pasta sauce.

As for garlic from most supermarkets, it is blech. Often it is elephant garlic, and it has been in cold storage for about 1,000 years. Mum likes to use fresh garlic from a farmers' markets or food co-op. Garlic can be very mild and tasty, ourselves are told, though we cats and dogs do not eat garlic (or onions).

Put your dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid that seals well, so you can shake to mix. Mum is using a recycled pint-size Mason jar. If Mum wants a stronger-flavored dressing, she will play with these proportions, adding more to the jar until the mixture suits her. Then she will triple or quadruple the batch, and store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Try this dressing on any fave green salad! And experiment with using it as a dressing for steamed or raw veggies!

Before you put the dressing on your salad, we hope you share some greens or veggies with your dog and cat companions.

Remember not to feed garlicky foods to us cats and dogs. A few licks are not toxic to most of us, but a larger amount of garlic is toxic to a pet's system.

Mum says: "Thank you, Joyce Goldstein! ... No cookbook inspires me more than your classic, The Mediterranean Kitchen."

July 31, 2013

Vacay Pawt II: Barkday Brambleberry Banana Split

by @winecountrydog Jackie Nippers Corgi

Wot did you doo on your summer vacay? ... Did you nom frozen desserts?

On mywoofself's barkday, Staff (aka Mum) served Brambleberry Banana Split. Organic blackberry ice cream with organic banana slices and sprinkles of probiotics.

Our Ani Meezer loves blackberry ice cream too. Hermewself does not eat ta banana.

Ourwoofselves are not only ones eating ice cream in July -- "National Ice Cream Month." Ta ice cream biz is over $10 billion a year in the States. Mostly industrial farm dairies, not humane dairy farms where cows are treated like special, honored furriends.

Blackberries get high rating as antioxidant and have got other health-confurrin' properties as well. Smart wild furriends such as foxes, coyotes, deer, and birds love nomming ripe wild berry fruits in season. Humans like picking berries from wild bramble bushes or buying 'em at markets wot sell local organic berries. If your Staffs like to pick berries, tell 'em to avoid bushes by roadsides. Tis not good to eat berries wot have been sprayed with agrochemicals or berries wot have absorbed pollutants from motor vehicles on roadways.

A bowl of homemade real blackberry ice cream is a wonderfur treat. Dependin' on howl much dairy food you are allowed to nom, you could enjoy ta blackberries in ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sherbet. Or if no dairy at all, have ta sorbet or fresh berry ice treat made in blender.

Sometimes our Staff serves frozen dessert wot is homemade. Sometimes not. Staff likes wild blackberries on pre-made organic vanilla ice cream. On myself's barkday, Staff got organic blackberry ice cream. Howly berry! No icky synthetic stabilizers or preservatives!

Ta furry idea of ourwoofselves and Meezer eating dairy or sugar does upset some pet owners and vets. Not to worry, pawleeze. Our bodies doo fine with bit of organic dairy foods. Our weights are normal. Our digestive systems are strong 'cuz our daily homemade diet is fresh whole foods. Ourselves doo not have problems with ta allergies or ta insulin or lipid metabolism or hyperlipidemia.

Ourwoofselves (not Meezer) doo eat fruits a few times a month -- more often in summertime -- with no ill effects from ta fruit sugars. Ourwoofselves and Meezer get food treats wot have refined cane sugar only a few times a year. You doo know occasional bowl of organic real ice cream with sugar is better 'n most pet snacks. There is nothing healthful 'bout "treats" like pet jerky or many of ta other packaged snacks. Furriends, you be better off eatin' tablespoon of organic ice cream! Our woofly ancestors 'ave been eating ice cream since ta first British ice cream recipe twere published by Mrs. Mary Eales in 1718.

Tis fine for healthy, normal-weight dog or cat to have high-calorie, high-dairy-fat treat like organic ice cream once in ta while. Howlever, ourselves not suggesting ice cream for furriends who are overweight or insulin-troubled or who have got skin problems, candidiasis, or ta chronic unidentified digestive problem.

Doo ask your Staffs to give you only homemade or organic brands wot contain no synthetic or artificial ingredients. Make double-doggone sure is ice cream sweetened with organic cane sugar, fruit, or honey. And ask Staffs to add some good probiotics such as ta Pet Dophilus.

Ta caveats:
~ Doo not serve ice cream to pets with history of dairy intolerance. Non-dairy sorbet and fruit ices would be good alternatives. ...
~ Doo not confuse berry types: Raspberries, red and black, or even blueberries or strawberries would be OK substitutes. But elderberries are toxic to cats. ...
~ Doo not ever feed xylitol-sweetened frozen desserts to pets! Xylitol, an artificial sweetener common in many foods, is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

Tis helpful for Staffs to talk to vets whose pet feeding experience includes diets that go "beyond can and kibble." Also, Staffs can learn a lot 'bout wot foods agree or doo not agree by observation: Watch a dog's or cat's behavior for a period of time after he eats diffurrent foods. Reactions to foods should not cause lethargy, hyperactiveness, urgency to doo the doo or to pee, and certainly not diarrhea.

- - - - - - - - - -
Comments from Mum:
Buying pre-made ice cream? Ice cream is a subject that involves much discussion about food politics and food technology. The ice cream learning curve, in terms of how it's made and the range of ingredients that can be used, is rather steep -- an icy, slippery slope, if you will.

When you've got to choose a commercial ice cream, stick with brands containing only the following ingredients:
  • Organic milk and cream;
  • Cage-free egg yolks as primary emulsifiers;
  • Organic cane sugar, honey, or real fruit sweeteners;
  • "Natural flavors" from extracts or essential oils of fruits, vegetables, or other plants; 
  • "Naturally-derived" emulsifiers and stabilizers (citric acid, guar gum, gum from carob or locust beans, tapioca starch, pectin, soy lecithin, xanthan gum).
Some of the ice cream stabilizing and emulsifying ingredients are added in very small amounts. Does this make them all safe for people or pets? Maybe not. After reading about the emulsifier carrageenan in research cited by Dr. Weil, I decided to avoid ice creams and other foods that contain it.

Generally, the imported gums and other extracts are neither organic nor fair trade. When they're used in a certified USDA “Organic” food product, they cannot make up more than 5% of the total ingredients, and also they must appear as "Allowed" on the USDA-approved “National List" -- as substances that can't be sourced organically but are "needed" in food processing.

I like making most of our frozen desserts from scratch. But I'd like to find a commercial ice cream with 100% organic, fair trade stabilizing ingredients. If you know of one, please let us know the brand!