Saturday, December 26, 2009

Where are the Celebrations?

To all of the people I know who actively and proudly say they eat meat and will continue to eat meat no matter what they hear, especially in the name of celebrating a holiday, I can only say: Open your mind and hearts.

I once ate meat and I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I had not been so indoctrinated and had supporters to show me there is another way. And that it is easy and so much better in so many ways.

I'm sharing this video taken in Austria (I believe). Basically some folks dressed as Santa visited these young pigs kept on a factory "farm" - much like what we do here in the US. You will see these poor pigs are kept crowded and in the dark on cement floors, totally unlike their natural environment. They've never experienced kindness from a human or seen hay, which pigs love to play in. These kind Santa's brought them some hay and apples and the pigs over came their fear to nestle up to their new friends.

Sadly these sweet animals are destined for more abuse and to be slaughtered for a meal.

You can't watch this and not be affected or feel a need to make a change. It's not right what we do. The information is clear. The evidence is here. There are tons of resources and other delicious foods available. I promise to be here to help if you need it.

Make the future and the new year better. You CAN make the change.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Full of Flavor

One of the concerns we hear a lot from people when they ask us about being vegans and the food we eat is that they thing the food is going to be boring, ascetic or bland.

Let me just say, this is SOOOO not the case.

We are major foodies. We love food and ingredients and cooking and baking. Heck, I have at least 10 kinds of salt alone. So, when we switched to eating vegan, you can be sure it was not at the expense of our tastebuds.

One thing that you may not consider when you eat a typical animal product-centric diet is that most of the flavors in foods come from plant-based ingredients. Spices, herbs, vinegars, nuts, oils, marinades, dressings, ketchups, mustards, etc. All plant based.

Think about your favorite meals. Personally, I like a good burger, but what I love is the mix of textures, the ketchup, the onion. Having a veggie burger (or even better one of Laughing Seed's Hempnut Burgers, sigh) with the same burger fixings is perfect. Plus no upset stomach that I always got from ground beef.

For Mexican meals, we make veggie fajitas, tacos or burritos or taco salads with Crumbles and my favorite Moe's Art Vandalay burrito too.

Italian is all about tomato sauces which you can add a Field Roast Italian Sausage to (or use for a sausage-pepper sandwich) or risotto which I just make with veggie broth and EarthBalance.

Our favorite meals are usually Indian - we love the spices, the textures and the balance of the dishes - rice, naan, samosas, etc. Yum!

And then there is Thai. Thai cuisine is considered one of the most complex and layered because almost every dish ties in the five main flavor components: hot, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. A meal we had recently at a local restaurant showcases this fundamental philosophy in the cooking.

The appetizer we started with was called a Healthy Plate and consisted of a leaf wrap (here it was kale) and then chopped red onions and ginger (hot), toasted coconut (sweet), peanuts (salty), lime (sour) and a tamarind sauce (bitter/sweet). You wrapped all of these in the leaf and popped them in your mouth. Amazing!

When we received our meals you could see the same flavors combined into the more integrated savory dishes. The hubby had a tofu dish but mine was all veggies.

We ended the meal with an amazingly decadent sliver of candied sweet potato topped with a rich and creamy coconut cream sauce that I could not get enough of.

Not one part of the meal had an animal product but yet it was complex, flavorful, delicious and satisfying.

It is easy to look at your favorite meals with a fresh eye. Don't get hung up on worrying that you will be "missing out" just think of it as cooking with a few ingredient substitutions and you will be surprised how easy and tasty cooking without meat, dairy and eggs can be.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day Pics - The Animals

Just some random animal snow day pics

Jake came out, looked around, went back in. I think the chickens stayed in bed.

Tulip says "No to Snow"

This is Petal's first snow and she's all "What do I do with it???"

Stay warm!

Friends Don't Let Friends: Eat Instant Oatmeal

I've decided to start a new series here on The Daily Coop, since the chickens aren't giving me a whole lot of news every day! One of the questions we get a lot is what do we eat (because we're vegan, dontcha know) and recipes for all the delicioso food that we make. And let me tell you, it is delicious, because I am a food snob and not afraid to admit it. Don't give me any crappy or fast food. I won't touch it. Never have, never will.

So, one thing I'm very snobby about is ingredients. As they say - garbage in, garbage out. That doesn't always mean pricey but it does mean good.

So let's start with a pretty traditional meal and a frequent breakfast in our house - oatmeal.

Now we are not talking about instant oatmeal in the packets. Yes, I ate those as a kid. Particularly apples and cinnamon. And I liked them at the time. Mainly because they were sugared to death covered up the gloopy mass of gluey oatmeal. These were better than the Quaker oats my mom would make and then add milk and butter too. I detested that... still do.

This oatmeal is so far from that it isn't even funny. We're talking tasty, hearty and 100% delicious... and it's all because of the oats.

You really have to start with good steel cut oats. This is crucial. I use the John McCann brand that comes in the tin. You will get at least 4 batches worth out of this. There are other brands but this is the one I use. This recipe is totally vegan but I made this before we were vegan. There has been zero change in flavor which these ingredient changes, but we have lost the cholesterol that comes with animal-based milk and butter. So, yeah, go vegan!

Okay, Ingredients:

1 Cup steel cut oats

1 - 2 Tbl Earth Balance butter (from the sticks)

3 Cups boiling water

1 Cup Almond Milk (you can use any non-dairy milk, we just like Almond Breeze)

Pinch of Salt

Sprinkle of ground cinnamon

I made a video of the process a while back on my old camera. It crapped out in the middle so, you will have to forgive me, but I have pictures too!

Step 1: Get your ingredients. You will need a medium sized pot with a lid to cook this in.

EarthBalance sticks - you can use these JUST LIKE dairy butter. Perfect for baking, sauteing and cooking. I prefer the spread on toast, though.

Step 2: Boil the water

Step 3: Melt the EarthBalance

Step 4: While the water is boiling, toast the oats in the melted butter over low heat. Don't let them burn! And yes, I like to use a wooden spoon when I cook oatmeal.

Step 5: When the water boils, pour it over the oats and bring the the temperature down. My stove is pretty powerful so I have to put it on low. You then cover the pot and let the oats simmer and absorb the water for about 30 min. You can stir them every so often and check that they aren't boiling or bubbling over.

Step 6: When the water is absorbed, I add a few pinches of salt, sprinkle in cinnamon (optional) and pour in the last cup of liquid. This can be water but I like to use a cup of almond milk. Let that absorb in for a few minutes uncovered.

You are ready to serve and eat. Oatmeal is perfect to add stuff to. Options are:
- brown sugar
- chopped dates
- fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.
- chocolate chips (yep!)
- chopped nuts of any kind
- toasted coconut

I serve mine in big cafe au lait bowls. This meal will fill you up most of the day. Plus you will have some left over. That is another great thing about this meal. Yes, it does take a bit more time, but you can make a batch on the weekend and then save it in portions and heat it up during the week. Just as simple as instant and a thousand times tastier and better for you.
More recipes to come!

Consider the Birds

I've mentioned this before, but whenever you have extremes in weather it is so important to remember the local wildlife. If you have a yard, keep the brush around and the bushes and trees as full as you can. These sheltered areas give birds and squirrels and chipmunks (and more) a place to hide and try and keep warm.

Even more important is to provide some fresh water and even some seed or crumbs if you can. We keep a low pan of water out for the local birds and are rewarded with visits of all kinds of cardinals, blue jays, crows, finches and more.

Last night we received our first snow - a sudden storm that dumped a lot of snow in a brief time. We saw birds picking up corn and chicken feed in the coop and made sure to spread some seed and fill up all the waters with fresh, non-icy water this morning.

Almost immediately we have seen flocks of birds come by to drink and eat.

We use the land, we can give back in this small measure to help ensure they survive.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Thankful for my Turkey

I'm thankful for my turkey Jake.

I'm thankful that he was rescued from an abusive neglectful situation by Red Dog Farm.

I'm thankful he came to live with us.

I'm thankful for his calm presence, sweet personality and beautiful feathers.

I'm thankful for how he likes to follow us around the yard and how he protects the girls.

I'm thankful for food that brings me comfort.... because no animal was hurt or suffered or was killed just to fill my plate.

I'm thankful this lovely bird will never have to live in the horrible conditions or suffer the abuses so many millions of other turkeys do just because people feel they can kill them without remorse.

I'm thankful more and more the people are becoming aware of these issues and many are making changes that hopefully someday will end these horrors.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veggies are All You Need

I'm kind of in love with this image. It's an an from the International Vegetarian Union.

Why don't we have more of these ads running here in the U.S.? We need to hear something besides the perpetual cycle of meat, eggs, cheese, "happy cow", fast food and soda messaging.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vegas, Not to my Taste

I'm not going to couch this softly; I don't like Las Vegas. It is essentially the antithesis of everything I stand for and am. I have always thought it was the most artificial and crass city that I have visited. And the more I visit, the more I find that opinion reinforced.

I lived and worked in Orlando for years and some would argue that it is more fake and tacky than Las Vegas. But for me, Vegas is worse because while Disney's artifice has romantic fantasy at it's core, Las Vegas is all about emphasizing negative tendencies.

The city has this glittery overlay to it but just below the glitz it's garbage to the core. I hate the greed, the misogyny and the way people act when they are there... as if this is the place to give into, or even force themselves into, falling prey to their baser instincts. I hate the noise, the gambling and the smoking.

For me, the decadence becomes cloying fast. I am generally a hopeful, joyful vegan but the level of exploitation of animals, living and killed, here is appalling to me. The hotels on the strip are filled with restaurants but I was hard-pressed to find a decent non-animal-based meal. In a town dedicated to tourism you would think you could at lest find one vegetarian friendly restaurant or even a single option on the menu. Heck, I live in the South and typically have no trouble eating out, but it was really difficult here.

There were not even a lot of variety in cuisines. I was surprised in this lack of variety. Most restaurants were "American" or buffets or steakhouses followed by Asian and sushi options. Americanized Italian was a far distant third with very few Mexican or other options.

I pretty much had plain bagel with jam for breakfast and two nights in a row I ate the exact same Chinese stir-fried veggies and white rice. On the third night, wanting a different choice I decided to subject myself to Rainforest Cafe thinking a chain restaurant would cater to a wide variety of dietary needs and that I could probably get a harmless veggie burger there. But sadly their veggie burger contained eggs. In the end I had them make me a salad with the meat and cheese removed and paired that up with a plate of fries. I guess you don't get a lot of veggies in the rainforest... but you do get ribs, shrimp and lots of cheese pizzas and pasta.

You would think an adventurous town like Las Vegas would be a great place for people to try and experience new cuisines and options, but in the end it does nothing but try and appeal to the lowest common denominator. It mirrors back and emphasizes the worst depravities of our excessive lifestyles.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eggs are Easy

We have been vegan for almost a year now. And one of the best things about it is answering questions and talking with people about how and what we eat. There are a lot of things we grow up being told - mostly because our parents or grandparents were told these "facts" by the governments or agencies whose only vested interest was in their own bottom line.

There are also a lot of things we are not told. Things that, once we learn about them, it seems so obvious we can't believe we never put the facts together. Things that, now that we know about them, we can't help but change how we act and how we think. Now that this knowledge has come through to us we can't help but share it because we think "If only we'd known sooner, we could have changed earlier. And surely others would want to know these facts too so they can make a change as well."

Things like this -

In the egg laying industry they throw away, crush and grind up all of the baby male chicks. Millions and millions of one or two day old fuzzy little chicks are piled and run through conveyors and then tossed down a chute alive to be ground to death just because the egg industry sees them as waste.

All so we can have an egg for breakfast.

Yeah, I can't abide that. I can't be a part of that. I can't support a system that thinks that's just a cost of doing business with no remorse or caring.

So for me, eggs are easy. Easy to give up.
And while we know there are people in transition into vegetarianism and veganism. Eggs seem simple and harmless to keep in (like dairy) but, in terms of overall suffering, in many ways the egg and dairy industries are worse than the meat industry. The numbers, the longer term daily suffering and the male chick "by-products" .

Many would say that I don't really have a right to speak against this as we have the option of eating eggs since we have Meg and Gertie. And yes, the hubby, does eat them at times. But I do not. Yes, we know they are cruelty free and our girls would never be harmed or killed if they stopped laying. But we also have friends who have chickens too. And I'm sure they take great care of them. So even if we didn't have our girls we could still get cruelty-free eggs.

But we wouldn't.

There isn't any point because we don't need them. For us it isn't about the fact that we can't get access to eggs but that we don't want them.
It really can be that simple.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nice Rack

My super cooler converted spice rack (formerly a vintage ironing board cabinet) was featured on The Perfect Pantry.

We really love our old (110+ years) house. If you haven't seen the other rooms - take the tour!

Thanks, Perfect Pantry for stopping by!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Renoir and Tofu? Another Day on Sesame Street

I was on the Sesame Street sight looking at this adorable video of kids speculating about a Renoir painting (check it out!) and couldn't embedd the video, so I went to YouTube.

While I was there I found these blasts from the past...

Queen of Six (OMG! The kittens!)

Alligator King - 7

King of Eight

Ladybug Picnic - 12

These were some of my favorite Sesame Street segments of all time. Smart and fun. Why isn't there more of this good stuff instead of all the crummy kids programming now?

Monday, August 24, 2009


I wanted to share another great pet portrait my friend Miss C did. You may remember the Napoleon painting she did. For this birthday, she did an amazing drawing of Tulip and Petal...

Here's the inspirationi image -

If you enlarge the drawing image you can see how she captured the cute details like how their hooves are hanging over the edge of the table and their ears and knee-socks.
If you are interested in getting painting or drawing, send her a message via my email or on her Twitter page - @Miss_C

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Meat of the Problem via The Washington Post

An interesting article in mainstream media that talks about, if you care about the environment, you can do more good by eliminating meat from your diet. Worth reposting.

The Meat of the Problem

By Ezra Klein
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The debate over climate change has reached a rarefied level of policy abstraction in recent months. Carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Upstream or downstream? Should we auction permits? Head-scratching is, at this point, permitted. But at base, these policies aim to do a simple thing, in a simple way: persuade us to undertake fewer activities that are bad for the atmosphere by making those activities more expensive. Driving an SUV would become pricier. So would heating a giant house with coal and buying electricity from an inefficient power plant. But there's one activity that's not on the list and should be: eating a hamburger.

If it's any consolation, I didn't like writing that sentence any more than you liked reading it. But the evidence is strong. It's not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming; it's that it is a huge contributor. Larger, by a significant margin, than the global transportation sector.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat's contribution to climate change is intuitive. It's more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people. Some of the contribution is gross. "Manure lagoons," for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas -- interestingly, it's mainly burps, not farts -- is a real player.

But the result isn't funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius (PDF). A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. That prompted Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to recommend that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere. The response was quick and vicious. "How convenient for him," was the inexplicable reply from a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "He's a vegetarian."

The visceral reaction against anyone questioning our God-given right to bathe in bacon has been enough to scare many in the environmental movement away from this issue. The National Resources Defense Council has a long page of suggestions for how you, too, can "fight global warming." As you'd expect, "Drive Less" is in bold letters. There's also an endorsement for "high-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids." They advise that you weatherize your home, upgrade to more efficient appliances and even buy carbon offsets. The word "meat" is nowhere to be found.

That's not an oversight. Telling people to give up burgers doesn't poll well. Ben Adler, an urban policy writer, explored that in a December 2008 article for the American Prospect. He called environmental groups and asked them for their policy on meat consumption. "The Sierra Club isn't opposed to eating meat," was the clipped reply from a Sierra Club spokesman. "So that's sort of the long and short of it." And without pressure to address the costs of meat, politicians predictably are whiffing on the issue. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, for instance, does nothing to address the emissions from livestock.

The pity of it is that compared with cars or appliances or heating your house, eating pasta on a night when you'd otherwise have made fajitas is easy. It doesn't require a long commute on the bus or the disposable income to trade up to a Prius. It doesn't mean you have to scrounge for change to buy a carbon offset. In fact, it saves money. It's healthful. And it can be done immediately. A Montanan who drives 40 miles to work might not have the option to take public transportation. But he or she can probably pull off a veggie stew. A cash-strapped family might not be able buy a new dishwasher. But it might be able to replace meatballs with mac-and-cheese. That is the whole point behind the cheery PB&J Campaign, which reminds that "you can fight global warming by having a PB&J for lunch." Given that PB&J is delicious, it's not the world's most onerous commitment.

It's also worth saying that this is not a call for asceticism. It's not a value judgment on anyone's choices. Going vegetarian might not be as effective as going vegan, but it's better than eating meat, and eating meat less is better than eating meat more. It would be a whole lot better for the planet if everyone eliminated one meat meal a week than if a small core of die-hards developed perfectly virtuous diets.

I've not had the willpower to eliminate bacon from my life entirely, and so I eliminated it from breakfast and lunch, and when that grew easier, pulled back further to allow myself five meat-based meals a month. And believe me, I enjoy the hell out of those five meals. But if we're going to take global warming seriously, if we're going to make crude oil more expensive and tank-size cars less practical, there's no reason to ignore the impact of what we put on our plates.

Ezra Klein can be reached at kleine@washpost.com or through his blog at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ezraklein.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Visual

I know it's hard to imagine the degree of depravity that can be done by abusive people.

Here's a visual from the investigation of a man, I assume, about to hurl a turky bodily into the ground or that cage.

In what world is this condoned? In what world do we not care.

How can we continue to support these atrocities by buying the animals killed for us to eat?

Monday, June 29, 2009


You may have seen one of the latest horrors of animal abuse coming out of factory farms. Factory workers crushing heads with their feet, slamming the birds against wall and general psychotic behavior left unchecked and unmanaged yet supported because people continue to buy and eat the results of this violence.

Well there has been a small victory for the animals.

Several of the abusers have been convicted and one has been jailed.

Late last year, some factory-farm employees got their pink slips from Aviagen Turkeys, Inc. in response to PETA's undercover investigation, which documented that workers were breaking turkeys' necks, stomping on their heads, and shoving feces and feed into turkeys' mouths.

Then, in February, a grand jury handed down 19 indictments, including 11 felony charges, against three former Aviagen workers, marking the first time in U.S. history that factory-farm employees have faced felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds.

Fast forward: Two of the three ex-employees, Scott Alvin White and Edward Eric Gwinn, recently pleaded guilty to cruelty charges. On June 8, White was sentenced to serve one year in jail—the maximum period permitted by law! Today, Gwinn was sentenced to serve six months' home confinement—the maximum period permitted by law—on each count, concurrently, and is banned from living with, owning, and working with animals for five years. The case against the third ex-employee, Walter Lee Hambrick, is pending.

Can't get enough? In September, a grand jury in neighboring Monroe County, West Virginia, may well issue further felony indictments against White and Hambrick.

These historic victories by no means even the score for the turkeys who were punched and thrown or the many other birds who suffered when they were forced to watch as other turkeys were abused at Aviagen. After watching our undercover video, animal behavior expert Dr. Lesley J. Rogers stated, "It is now known that when social animals, like turkeys, see and hear other members of their species under stress or suffering physical injury, their levels of stress become elevated. Hence, the behavioural stress is widespread in the birds in the vicinity of those that have been injured and/or handled roughly."

Let me tell you. None of the animals on these farms - commercial or otherwise, look like this:

That's my Jake who is the epitome of what you think a turkey looks like and what we "celebrate" at our holidays (by killing them).

No, the animals that are killed for you to eat look like this...

Use your dollars to show your support.

Boycott these companies - Butterball (One worker told an investigator: "If you jump on their stomachs right, they'll pop ... or their insides will come out of their [rectums]," and other Butterball workers frequently bragged about kicking and tormenting birds.), Aviagen, and more - or just consider cutting back on eating animals. It's a change that's good for you and makes a huge change for these defenseless animals.


Article source here



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Smells Like Awesome

What kind of pet parents are we?

Well, we are totally the over-indulgent kind!

We went out over the weekend and got our baby goat girls an awesome new climbing toy, aka a picnic table.

A goat's gotta climb, right?

I mean, how can you resist a baby face like this???

You can't!

Be jealous! I get to smooch on this cutie every morning!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home on the Range

So, Jake is finally with us.

I came home from my trip to see our new boy here. We're still getting used to each other but hopefully he will settle in okay. He seems to get along fine with the hens. We just to get him used to us.

I know this is a quick post and I've been lax in writing here but I promise to tell you tons more about Jake very soon. In the meantime, here are some new photos from Saturday free ranging in the yard. You can open them up big to see how colorful and majestic he is.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Disconnect

As we have made the switch from a better than average, but still somewhat typical American diet, we've made an effort to educate ourselves on the food we eat. Growing up I ate a lot of meat, eggs and dairy like most people. But in general, I felt I ate better than most. I never drank coffee, I stopped drinking soda before high school and couldn't even stomach ground beef. We never eat fast food (a decision further solidified by Super Size Me) and shopped a lot at our local farmer's market.

Then Napoleon was hurt and our eyes, mind and heart were opened. It takes a lot to realize that you've been marketed to all and told this story all your life. That information was withheld from you and that you were so disconnected from the food you put into your body that you don't even make the connection that the veal you've opposed all your life is directly a result of the cow's milk you were so afraid to not have for your cereal.

I think I'm a pretty savvy person when it comes to marketing stories. I mean, darn it!, I work in advertising. I create these stories and positioning everyday. That's why, as we've learned more and more I'm even more appalled. If, as someone in the industry, I couldn't see through these deceptions, how easy can it be for other people?

That's why it's so important that people see these documentaries. Food Inc. is about where you food is coming from. There is some information about factory farms (the probable ground zero for the latest swine flu outbreak - a Smithfield factory farm in Mexico) and huge seed/chemical companies. While The Future of Food focuses more on Monsanto and how there are only a small handful of corporations controlling our food sources and distribution. The latter scared the heck out of me!

Food Inc. just played at a local film festival and will probably have a limited theater distribution. I had some friends who saw it and said it was very very impactful and eye-opening. I missed it but hope to see it via Netflix soon

The Future of Food is available on Hulu right now. I watched this the other night and was surprised and scared at the implications. There could come a time very very soon when the US is banned from exporting our corn and wheat completely. That is a major issue when our economy is in such a precarious state. And what these companies are doing is so risky and, frankly, unethical. You will be amazed at how little you knew about what was going on. I know I was.

I think that all of this information about food and what we eat and where it comes from should be taught in schools. I feel like I've been told nothing but propaganda my whole life. I am just now coming out of the dark and into the light.

Monday, April 20, 2009


One of the questions you get (among many) when you are vegetarian or vegan is:

Don't you care about people? Why don't you spend more time worrying about people rather than animals.

Personally, I find it very weird to think that these two things are mutually exclusive. Many people I know who are animal activists care very much for people too. They care about the environment. They often do other volunteer work. They support anti-child labor laws.

But even if you don't actively campaign for a human cause, you are helping people by switching to a vegetable based diet.

There are tons of side benefits that eliminating animals and animal secretions from our diets. Insurance rates could be lowered because health would be better. Lifestyles would improve. The run off from animal processing plants would be reduced. The mental trauma from killing animals would not happen either.

Another huge impact is to the clear cutting of the rain forest for cattle. This impacts our air, potential medicines and even slave labor. Greenpeace just released thier report on the Amazon Cattle Footprint. Some highlights from the report are:

- Forests are a crucial carbon stock: forest ecosystems globally store about one-anda-half times as much carbon as is present in the atmosphere.25 Deforestation of tropical forests is responsible for up to approximately 20% of the global emissions of greenhouse gas, more than the world’s entire transport sector.

- The Amazon is estimated to store between 80-120 billion tonnes of carbon.27,28 If this is destroyed, roughly 50 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from the US will be emitted.

- Cattle ranching in the Amazon has horrific social impacts, including the highest rates of slave labour in Brazil. 3005 rural workers, kept in slavery, were freed from cattle ranches in 2008. 99% of them had been held in the Legal Amazon.

- The region is home to more than 20 million people – including over 200,000 indigenous people, belonging to 180 different ethnic groups31. The rainforest is their home, providing them food and shelter to tools and medicines - it is also central to their spiritual life.

- Studies estimate that the Amazon supports 40,000 plant species; 427 mammals; 1,294 birds; 378 reptiles; 427 amphibians and 3,000 species of fish. Many other species are still unknown.

- The Amazon produces 20% of river water in the world. The forest influences the hydrologic cycle at local and regional scales, as humidity retained by the Amazon is carried by the wind to other parts of Brazil and South America. The reduction of the forest cover diminishes the amount of rainfall on the Southeast and Center of Brazil, affecting agriculture productivity.

- Belched methane from livestock constitutes one of the largest sources (roughly 30%) of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Agriculture as a whole contributes between 10-12% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

- The greenhouse gas emissions from beef are13 kilograms CO2-eq per kg36. This means eating a kilogram of beef represents roughly the same greenhouse emissions as flying 100 kilometers of a flight, per passenger.

It is definetly something to consider when you are choosing your food. The food we eat should be considered as carefully as any other choice, be it politics or money, because each bite we take as far reaching consequences. Consequences that impact more than just ourselves. The impact of each meal is shared by the world.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celebrate Life

Today, Easter and Passover, is a day for celebrating life, renewal and rebirth.

I'm celebrating today by eating a meal that causes no harm: no eggs, no meat, no dairy.

Consider this thought as you choose your meal to celebrate.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Another sad post today. My sweet pup has passed.

I've had my boy Bailey for over 15 years. He was a wonderful pup and I can't imagine my life without him.

He was super smart and always with me. When I first brought him home I used to carry him around in my purse he was so small. And he was always good in the car too. We went on many many road trips. He used to like sitting behind my head so he could see out the window.

Baily came from a family that had two pups. They were both totally adorable 2lb fluff balls. I had a hard time choosing between them at first. When I couldn't pic we did a little test. We took both pups to one end of the room. Then I went to a corner and we took the mom to the other corner. Then they let the pups go. The other pup ran to his mom but Bailey ran to me. I've always felt like his mom.

There are a million memories I have of him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Can't Handle The Cute

Baby Petal climbing like a big girl.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Arrivals!

Well, the pen is finally done, in spite of the off and on weather, and the girls are now in their new home. The stable looks great and I hope they love their new yard area.

Sadly today is a crummy rainy day so I'm sure they'll get used to their covered area, eat some grain and hay and keep warm!

Here are the first shots I took from inside while they were just getting used to their space. I love them already... they're so good. And Petal is still so tiny. She's just like a kitten! But she loves to frisk and gambol around and nibble on everything.

The stable space is pleny big enough for them. I hope the yard area will be too.

Love them!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dust Bath

Not a lot of people nowadays get to see live chickens at all, but especially not in a natural environment, so I wanted to share these videos I just took of my girls. When the weather is warm and dry, the girls love to find a coop patch of clean dirt and have a lovely dust bath. Think of it like using a dry shampoo. Many animals use dust baths to absorb oils and keep away itchiness or parasites.

But I think the girls also just like to kick up the dirt and sand, roll around and take a nap in the sun.

Gertie especially loves napping. She lays on her side, spreads her legs out like a kitten and closes her eyes.

This is just one of the many natural behaviors that factory farmed chickens are not allowed to engage in. Something so basic and simple is denied them, just like roaming in the grass, seeing the sun, living a normal lifespan.

It's a horrible life I'm so glad I don't contribute to. And I'm glad that my girls will never be subjected to it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Welcome Additions

While we continue to be very sad about the loss of Napoleon, we are still committed to caring for all of our pets in the best way possible.

I may have mentioned that Meg and Gertie were still a bit skittish about coming out of the coop. We have created some panels for over the coop yard to protect them and have also reinforced the coop and yard as well. That said, we've still not let them into the "new" yard area because that is where we found Napoleon.

The girls liked having a protector and looked to Napoleon for cues on what to do. Often times he would be keeping an eye out while the girls grazed around looking for food. With him gone they have had to do both and it makes them skittish.

We have decided to bring home an old friend. Jake the turkey was one of the first animals that I met at Red Dog Farm and I had fallen instantly in love with him. He was rescued from the hands of someone who didn't care for him at all and he was nearly starved. After his rescue he sat in a corner for two weeks without eating or moving but the loving care he received at RDF brought him back to life and health and he is now an amazing sight to see. He is very tall and extremely friendly, coming up to you right away to be petted and paid attention to. Right now he is getting stressed by a new rooster that was brought to RDF so we think coming to our place will be a better situation for him. We are honored that they trust us enough to take care of this wonderful boy.

And while I've long had a love for Jake, we are also going to take on more of a surprise addition too. Meet Miss Tulip (the black and white girl on the right) and her baby. Are they not precious?

These are pygmy goats so mamma will not get much bigger than 2 feet tall.

And her baby is as small and light as a kitten right now.

Gah! Just look at her!

The whole heard of 7 goats were rescued from another ignorant (I'm being kind) person who endangered their life by breeding one of the girls, Grace, to a regular sized goat. Consequently, the babies were too big and died, nearly killing Grace in the process.

We're very excited to bring these sweeties home. So not only will you be hearing about the chickens (and our other pets) but also about our new handsome turkey and how we learn to take care of these two girls as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Heart Hurts

My heart hurts. I think I got about halfway through this before I started crying. What is hardest is that I knew all of this information with my head but seeing the reality of it makes my heart ache.

I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be open and receptive and not push an agenda... just inform and help be an example, but it is so hard. When someone sits in front of me and orders a meal with meat or eggs or butter, all I see is the death and suffering that went into creating that meal. The death and suffering that happens to animals so very much like the ones that I hold dear.

I see the hens suffering and being abused and killed and it hurts. I would give anything to have my Napoleon back and to keep Meg and Gertie safe and others just treat similar animals with hate and disregard. They treat them worse than garbage and value them so little.

And to know that this happens to billions of animals all over the world is horrifying. To know that it is unnecessary and that the alternatives are so much better for our health and our earth overall but are ignored or even reviled just makes it even harder.

I can't spare myself from looking or talking about this because that would not help create change. I have to keep giving the message and bringing it to those around me. I am willing to share my sadness because I hope it will maybe inspire someone to take a look at the images and maybe make a change, however small themselves.

At the minimum you should watch the images and learn more about the animals that become your food and how they are treated before hand. These are animals that you put into your body, into your mouth. It is important to understand the origins so that you can be informed. People are more informed about the cleansers they use in their house or their shampoo than they are about there food.

If you only watch for that reason, you should watch and learn...

Sites to learn more:

- Meat.org

- World Day for the Abolition of Meat

- Chicken Industry.com

- Compassion Over Killing

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message: He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

- W. H. Auden