Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

being green~ garden for wildlife

The National Wildlife Federation has a program, “that helps members turn their backyards into wildlife havens.” How spectacular! Being a national organization, this program applies all over the country. In addition, you can certify your garden to be one of 140,000 Certified Wildlife Habitats across the US! 

Yes, our ranch in Colorado is certified, and working on getting my California garden registered as well.

The cost is minimal ($20 dollars and is what you’d pay for a good plant, so consider it part of the landscaping budget) and you get certified; you become a member of the NWF with a year subscription to their award-winning National Wildlife® magazine; a free subscription to their quarterly tip-filled newsletter which will help you run and maintain your habitat; and your name listed in the NWF national registry of certified habitats.

The best part is that it’s not as difficult as it might sound to get your yard up to snuff. You need some basic amenities for the critters that most yards probably already have to one degree or another, stated as per NFW’s site:
Food sources like native plants
Water sources like birdbaths or fountains
Places to take cover like birdhouses or thickets
Places to raise young like dense vegetation, shrubs or nesting boxes
Sustainable gardening like chemical free fertilizers and compost
This program can be instigated just about anywhere: on your college campus, at your child’s school or in any other community garden area. Check out The National Wildlife Federation’s website for details and more information on how easy it is to turn your outdoor space into a wildlife habitat!
visit their website for more information NWF-garden for wildlife

Urban sprawl is one of the biggest devastations happening to our wildlife, making your gardens small sanctuaries is telling Mother Nature - thank you for her beauty.
their survival is in our hands

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

meal ideas ~ open-faced tilapia sands

Open-Face BBQ Tilapia Sandwiches

These sandwiches were fantastic.  Grilled fish nestled on a bed of crunchy coleslaw and capped off with a drizzle of barbecue sauce. The smoke from the grill, slight tangy sweetness of the sauce, and the crunchy, citrusy coleslaw were a terrific combination. You can also use catfish instead of tilapia, and red cabbage in the coleslaw.

4        fresh or frozen skinless tilapia or flounder fillets
          Nonstick cooking spray
2        tablespoons light mayonnaise
2        teaspoons lemon juice
2        cups packaged shredded (coleslaw mix)
4        slices whole wheat bread, toasted
2        tablespoons bottled low-calorie barbecue sauce

1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Measure thickness of fish. Lightly coat both sides of each fish fillet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. For a charcoal grill, place fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

3. In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add cabbage; toss to coat.

4. To assemble, spoon cabbage mixture onto bread slices. Top with fish fillets. Drizzle fish with barbecue sauce.

note: very low-carb, diabetic friendly

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

healthy living ~ refreshing summer bath? you bet!

I love soaking in baths, however, do I like taking a bath in 95F degree weather? here's a refreshing way
Epsom salt baths. They make your skin soft as silk and have an amazing array of health benefits. My favorite perks from soaking in Epsom salt include detoxification, stress reduction, and muscle pain relief–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously, if there ever was truly a miracle cure, I do believe Epsom salt might be involved.

I found a cooling Epsom salt bath that is the perfect antidote to a steamy, stressy summer day. It’s a bath that incorporates cucumber, fresh mint, and a hint of scented essential oil.

Cucumbers are a great treat for the skin. Last week’s posting gave some ideas for facial care with this great veggie, here’s another idea to stay cool in the summer. Throw in a handful of fresh peppermint because it’s growing like bonkers in the garden and it’s also cooling, peppermint also has a soothing and cooling effect on skin irritations caused by hives, poison ivy, or poison oak; it reduces headache symptoms. For some extra summery flower flavor, try a few drops of flora scented pure essential oil in the mix- I love heliotrope or rose.

Here’s the how-to:
To a tub of tepid water add 2 cups Epsom salt, stir in 1 sliced cucumber, a handful of torn peppermint leaves, and 3 drops pure essential oil. Step in, relax, and await small miracles.

added info:
Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:

Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
Help muscles and nerves function properly
Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
Make insulin more effective
Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
Improve oxygen use

Flush toxins
Improve absorption of nutrients
Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
Help prevent or ease migraine headaches

Monday, July 25, 2011

the Song of Ch'an Tao Chia

The Song of Ch'an Tao Chia
The Twenty Seven Precepts of Taoism 
  1. "Have compassion for all sentient beings causing them no unnecessary hurt nor needless harm.
  2. Refrain from needless competitiveness, from contriving for self-advantage and from subjugating others.
  3. When accepting authority over others know also that you accept responsibility for their wellbeing.
  4. Value true friendship and fulfill your obligations rather than striving with egotistical motive.
  5. Seek liberation from the negative passions of hatred, envy, greed and rage, and especially from delusion, deceit and sensory desire.
  6. Learn to let go of that which cannot be owned or which is destroyed by grasping.
  7. Seek the courage to be; defend yourself and your convictions.
  8. Accept transience, the inevitable and the irrevocable.
  9. Know that change exists in everything.
  10. Negate the barriers to your awakening. Discover the positive in the negative and seek a meaningful purpose in what you do.
  11. Be just and honorable. Take pride in what you do rather than being proud of what you have accomplished.
  12. Having humility and respect, give thanks to those from whom you learn or who have otherwise helped you.
  13. Act in harmony with your fellow beings, with nature and with inanimate objects. 
  14. Know that a thing or an action which may seem of little value to oneself may be a priceless treasure to another. 
  15. Help those who are suffering or disadvantaged and as you yourself become awakened help those who seek to make real their own potential.
  16. Know that there is no shame in questioning.
  17. Be diligent in your practice and on hearing the music of the absolute do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song.
  18. Remember to renew the source in order to retain good health.
  19. Seek neither brilliance nor the void; just think deeply and work hard.
  20. When still, be as the mountain. When in movement be as the dragon riding the wind. Be aware at all times like the tiger, which only seems to sleep and at all times let the mind be like running water. (this one is my favorite)
  21. When you are required to act remember that right motive is essential to right action, just as right thought is essential to right words.
  22. Beware of creating burdens for yourself or others to carry.
  23. Act with necessary distinction being both creative and receptive and transcending subject/object dichotomy.
  24. Know that you are not the center of the universe but learn to put the universe at your center by accepting the instant of your being.
  25. Seek security within yourself rather than in others.
  26. Know that even great worldly wealth and the accumulation of material things are of little worth compared with the priceless treasures: love, peace and the freedom to grow.
  27. Allow yourself to be so that your life may become a time of blossoming."

 Stan Rosenthal, (Shi-tien Roshi) of the British School of Zen Taoism, 
The Song of Ch'an Tao Chia: The Twenty Seven Precepts of Taoism
 Translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stan Rosenthal  

this week's journey

 I was graced for the first time to see this beautiful dragonfly in my garden. 
staying for a long time, she rested on my hibiscus between her dashes into the sprinklers. 
she is a female and a "red-veined darter dragonfly."

what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs

Hornby Eaglet Alexandria had her first flight @ 12:55 pst. 7-23
David is still in the nest but getting ready to take that leap-
fun videos to watch on their Facebook page Hornby Eagles- facebook

don't forget to visit  Journey  for pictures and webcam updates

Friday, July 22, 2011

fun friday~ nature's way

I received this in an email from a wonderful friend who loves animals almost as much as I do. I wanted to  share it with everyone here.                 thanks lois !

This is a True Story!
The Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara , CA , last week caused these two to take shelter together. The fawn is 3 days old and the bobcat about 3 weeks. The fawn came from somewhere in the fire and the bobcat from Carpenteria. They immediately bonded and snuggled together under a desk in the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Office for several hours.

The bobcat kitten was rescued near Arnold Schwarzenegger's ranch, where it was dehydrated and near death. They rescued the fawn during last week's wildfire. Although wild animals, especially of separate species, are never placed together due to regulations, in this emergency situation, they had no choice. During the mayhem of the fire, they were forced to put animals anywhere they could, since they had run out of crates large enough for the fawn. The kitten ran to the fawn, and it was instant bonding.

I often get asked if I had a choice to live in nature with wildlife as my only companions or as a "normal" human in the depth of society, which would I choose?  Nature… without question; it is stories like this that proves we are not necessarily the "superior" species.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

being green~plastic shopping bag uses

Don't you just love the plastic shopping bags? No, I do not, however, my neighbor does. While watching her unload a weeks worth of groceries and Target bags—my frown appeared. She smiled, knowing I was getting ready for my “make it green one person at a time” speech about using re-usable totes, she stops me in my tracks with….“Plastic bags are incredibly useful for all sorts of things other than carrying your purchases. Plastic bags can find themselves reincarnated in a million different ways.”
I told her, “Okay, give me a list of 10.” She laughed and said she would be right over with a list. I took the cue to keep quiet and left. Later, true to her word, she came over, but instead of 10, she gave me 36 and proudly said I could use it for my blog. So here is Carol’s list of uses, not necessarily in any sort of order of usefulness.

Just how versatile are plastic grocery bags?  Well, let me count the ways…

1. Crochet or braid a plastic bag--- tote! 

2. When you ball them up they can be used as mattress and/or pillow stuffing.

3. If you have a broken arm or leg, you can use plastic bags to help keep the cast dry while taking a bath or shower.

4. Plastic bags are also great for holding dirty diapers.

5. Line your cat’s litter box with them.

6. Speaking of pets, plastic bags are perfect for picking up dog and cat poo.

7. Use them in your luggage to keep your wet clothes separate from your dry clothes, and your clean clothes from dirty ones.

8. When traveling with a suitcase, plastic bags can also be used to protect your shoes from scuffs — or keep stinky shoes from affecting your other clothes.

9. Most everyone knows you can use them as a simple lunch sack.  Or do they?

10. Got  a leaky bottle or jar?  Use a section of plastic bag as a seal prior to screwing a cap onto the container.

11. If the forecast calls for frost, you can protect delicate plants by placing a plastic bag over them the night before.

12. As packing material for fragile items.

13. To prevent messy leaks when defrosting meat, place the meat in a plastic bag, along with a paper towel.

14. For cars that are parked in the open, you can place plastic bags over the side mirrors and wiper blades to keep them free from snow or freezing rain.

15. Painting a large room and need to take a break?  Wrap your paint brushes and rollers in plastic bags to keep them from drying out so fast.

16. Can be used as cheap disposable gloves for handling unpleasant things.

17. They’re also great for storing old rags.

18. Use them as a non-stick surface for rolling out dough.

19. When I watch Margeaux’s home for an extended period of time, I use plastic bags to hold her mail until they return.

20. And nothing is better for tossing out moldy fruit or stinky refrigerator leftovers that, um, need a shave.

21. Use plastic bags to make kitchen spills easier to clean up by placing all your wet paper towels in them.

22. In a pinch?  When traveling on the road and your miles away from the nearest facilities, you can use them as emergency toilet paper.

23. You can also use them as a makeshift shoe horn.

24. Plastic bags can be used to coat chicken or beef with flour prior to cooking.

25. While you’re in the kitchen, keep in mind that you can wrap your homemade bread in a plastic grocery bag.  Those who know say the bag will help keep the bread fresh while still allowing it to breathe.

26. By the way, if you find yourself out of bread crumbs, you can also use them to crush crackers without making a mess.

27. When you’re working the garden, try wrapping some plastic bags around your knees to not only keep them dry and clean, but also provide a little extra cushiony comfort.

28. Oh, and while your busy tending to the yard, don’t forget you can also use plastic shopping bags to collect those smaller yard clippings.

29. Plastic bags are often used as emergency rain gear.

30. You can also use them to bring home your wet clothes.

31. Hopefully, you’ve also kept a few extra plastic bags in the car and near your home’s front door for storing those muddy shoes.

32. And, hey, even if it isn’t raining you can still use them to waterproof all kinds of stuff.

33. You can use plastic bags to store Christmas wreaths and decorations.

34. When traveling, store perfumes and other toiletries in a plastic bag to prevent leaks from making a mess.

35. Got a son or nephew who owns a G.I. Joe?  Plastic grocery bags make great parachutes for them!

36. And you can loop multiple plastic bags together to make a plastic rope too.  (For you, not the G.I. Joe.)

So there you have it!  That’s 36 uses for plastic shopping bags, and I know your readers probably have a bunch more that I failed to mention.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

meal ideas ~ blueberry-mango upside-down cake

Blueberry-Mango Upside-Down Cake
Mangoes and blueberries join forces with an extra light ginger-and-orange cake in this up-to-the-minute adaptation of old-fashioned upside-down cake. If your daily meal plan allows, enjoy it with a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

2            egg whites
1-1/3   cups whole wheat pastry flour
2          teaspoons baking powder
1          teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2      teaspoon ground ginger
3          tablespoons packed brown sugar
2          tablespoons butter, melted
1          tablespoon water
2          cups peeled, pitted, and sliced fresh mangoes*
1/2      cup fresh blueberries
1/2      cup granulated sugar
1/4      cup butter, softened
1          teaspoon vanilla
2/3      cup fat-free milk
 Vanilla frozen yogurt (optional)

1. Place egg whites in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, orange peel, and ginger; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x1 1/2-inch round baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, the 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the water. Spread in prepared pan. Arrange mango or peach slices over brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle with blueberries.
3. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the 1/4 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beating on low speed just until combined. Fold egg white mixture into batter; spoon over fruit in baking pan, spreading evenly.
5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
6. Loosen side by running a knife around cake; invert onto serving plate. Cut into wedges. Serve warm. If desired, serve with frozen yogurt. Makes 12 slices.
*Note: If you can't find good mangoes, substitute 2 cups refrigerated sliced mangoes. Rinse slices with cold water; drain and lightly pat dry with paper towels before using.

source: diabetic

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

healthy living ~ keeping cool with a cucumber

Cucumber is the perfect treat for summer skin: Reduce that heat-induced greasy feeling, soothe itchiness, tighten pores, reduce eye puffiness, and reveal truly radiant, dewy-fresh skin with the cooling, refreshing ways of cucumber. Here are the easy formulas:

Cucumber Astringent
An easy way to reduce oily summer-heat shine:
Coarsely chop 1/2 a cucumber, peeled, and place in a blender; blend until smooth. Apply liberally to face and allow to stay on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat face dry.

Nourishing Cucumber-Avocado Facial Mask ** this one is my favorite!
This magic formula does it all: nourishes, tightens pores, and helps slough off dead skin cells to reveal fresher skin.

Place the following ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled cucumber
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled avocado
1 egg white
2 teaspoons powdered milk

Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then apply to face and neck. Leave the mask in place for 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Splash cool water on after that, then gently pat dry.

Clear Skin Mask
If you are occasionally troubled by blemishes, this easy mask will help to prevent them.

Place the following in a blender and blend until smooth:
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 tablespoon instant nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon plain yogurt

Apply to face and leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Radiant Facial Treatment
If your complexion is dull and oily, this easy formula will help you look glowing and radiant:

1 teaspoon grated cucumber
splash of rosewater

Apply to face and allow to stay for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Monday, July 18, 2011

bits, pieces, & ramblings

I am sure everyone has thoughts and ideas about what is going on in the world right now…I am no different; I usually keep quiet not wanting to “bog down the blog” (ha!) with what we get inundated with in the news. Nevertheless, here it comes.

The Deficit: I am a simple person and I know that if I exceeded my household budget I would need to cut expenses- why doesn’t our Government get it? They do, everyone I listen to in the government is saying this….BUT… let’s not cut expenses in my town, county, state…. Yea right.  I occasionally have email conversations with Barbara Boxer, one of my senators, and one that is proactive on the “Wildlife, Environmental issues.” Several of us “wildlife people” signed a petition saying we would be agreeable to cuts in some of the areas regarding wildlife in our state. To help not only the federal government but our state budget crisis. She absolutely refuses our suggestions. Why? Because she says if it goes away, even with the intention of a short time, we may never see it again. Perfect example of “we need to do something, but not in my jurisdiction.”  Then…. 
I heard that we are cutting the space shuttle program, no more shuttle trips—hurray, that should save some money. BUT  wait! Why? Not to help cut our government expenses--- they are going to use that money for the already costly “Man on Mars” project. Holy *&%$- A project that is costing us billions and billions of tax dollars.  And guess what? Anything that goes up…stays there, including people; they are looking at making a colony. Hey, let’s send our government officials! OKAY—peoples…. We need to SAVE our Earth before we begin destroying another planet. 
OMG- humankind is synonymous with moron.

Has anyone noticed that the canned goods and boxed grocery items that haven’t gone up in price are less in quantity? I have. I purchase these ChefBoyrdee mini tubs for my lunches at work. The raviolis use to be 8 to 10, inside this tiny tub, but recently I have noticed that I am lucky to get 4 raviolis inside a tub filled with sauce….but wait! All is kosher… even though the packages are the same size, the volume labeling on the new packages IS less. Therefore, bottom line is- they don’t want to raise the prices- that is too obvious- so the lessen the contents. Everyone I have spoken to sees the same thing in a variety of products.  Note to manufactures: we are not totally stupid, just be honest and up front and tell us “Excuse us consumers we have an option, to raise your prices or reduce the quantity, which would you prefer?”  

Last but not least- Casey Anthony- my internal instinct knows that she had something to do with the death of her daughter…but, I also know that the prosecution did not prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The lame story of the pool was enough of a possibility to create that.  Now, we can be mad, we can be disgusted, we can holler, scream, rant or…. We can stop any further discussion of this. Back in the “olden days” a society would ostracize/banish a person for wrong doings. The family or entire town would pretend that the person had died and refuse to acknowledge/see them, even going as far as having a funeral for this living-dead. In this modern, non-barbaric age, we make them millionaires.
      Worse than the verdict- is the notoriety and possible financial gain this woman might get- so my suggestion?        
      If we as a society refused to purchase any books, movies, magazines, watch TV programs where C. A. is involved- it would all stop and she would be worthless=a shadow.    The sad thing is…  I know 3 people that can’t wait to read her first exclusive interview- no matter the cost. 

this week's photo

Bathing Parrot

Photograph by Cesar Badilla, My Shot National Geographic
During a boat trip across the Gulf of Papagayo, this nice parrot decided that he couldn't stand the heat of the Guanacaste summer and decided to take a bath
what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs

remember, Hornby Eaglets fledging date is this week- stay tuned 
or go to hornby eagle webcam

don't forget to visit  Journey  for pictures and webcam updates

Friday, July 15, 2011

fun friday ~ wildlife family updates

Update to the wildlife families:

Hornby Eagles: Alexandria and David are expected to start to fleged the nest in about 6 days, that’s right- these two have been doing a lot of wing work and practicing as they near their fledge age. Their peeps are turning into eagle calls- mini chahakas- and a screech here and there.

Alexandria is the most active, jumping from cam box and nest and back with wings flapping, being the oldest by several days we expect her to take that first jump and flight.

 David spends a great deal of time at the edge of the nest- while stretching wings- and looking over the edge as if to say “OMG, that’s a long ways down.”

Mom and Dad frequently visit the nest to bring food and help clean- but they spend most of their time in the babysitting tree not far away.

The other night, on the anniversary of Phoenix’s death, (last year’s eaglet) many of us were amazed when Mom landed in the nest and literally cuddled with Alexandria and David quietly for several hours. It touched all of our hearts. Some will say it was coincidence, some will say means nothing…but for me it means a lot- it is said that eagles have an outstanding memory about critical and important events in their lives--- is this our proof? I think so.   

I wish I had better pictures: visit the webcam and see how beautiful they have become:

remember expected fledge date: July 20

Lily, Hope and Faith:

These three are doing terrific. The most exciting news… Hope is radio-collared.

She didn’t want it, but she got it.  The NABC wants this 
collar to help them continue studying this unusual family another year. In the fall it will provide a place to put the "don't shoot me" ribbons for protection during hunting season.  It took a ton of donated pecans to do it. It’s pretty loose, which may be okay for her small neck and big head at this age.  We hope it will stay on.

Faith was sticking by big sister Hope and climbing on her.  They are true friends.  It will be interesting to see how they relate after family breakup next spring when sisters normally become competitors.

here are our three ladies:

Lily and Hope play in a tree - I love the way Lily just sits on the branches

Hope teaching Faith the tree game

Thursday, July 14, 2011

being green~reposting Resuies

Over a year ago Steve and I decided to start diligently "being green" and we started with cutting out the use of plastic baggies. The benefit that I hadn't counted on was the cost savings it had on our budget. plastic baggies are expensive!

This article about the Resuies was my first 'being green' post and we had just started using them. Well, it has been way over a year now and all I can sat is they are TERRIFIC. Since that post there are now many styles and brands out there, but Resuies are the best I have found so far. I use them every week, have washed (cold water) in the washer and lined dried several times. However, the biggest plus I found surprised me... more often than not I leave my snack veges (carrots, celery, snap beans, green beans, broccoli, ect.) in the cloth baggies for several days in the refridge while waiting to be munched and LowAndBehold they are crisp and fresher than if I have left them in their original package or baggies. Yep, not only am I saving on not buying plastic bags, but not having to toss out "limp" veges.

repost of being green March 2010
I decided at the beginning of this year 2010, I would make an effort to do something, at least one thing, environmentally friendly or “green” per year. Plastic bags are my choice to start this campaign. I have been very diligent with using my own reusable shopping bags, if I forget my bag(s) then I only purchase what I can carry out of the store… or head back to my car for my bags.  I do keep one tucked into my purse; it folds up into its own little pocket.  My biggest problem to solve was how to get rid of the plastic sandwich and snack bags for my lunch box or picnic outings.
     Why is this important?
The EPA estimates that one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. If that's not enough to ruin your day, each plastic bag takes over 1,000 years to break down. They do not biodegrade; they photodegrade, meaning that over time, they break down into smaller, more toxic petropolymers. Less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled, and it costs more to recycle a plastic bag than to produce a new one.

announcing… REUSIES….
These reusable Sandwich and Snack Packs made from 100% cotton, lined with leak-resistant nylon (BPA-, lead-, and phthalate-free), and secured with Velcro closures are the perfect alternative. Each one has the potential to eliminate hundreds of plastic bags. Each pack comes with a Sandwich size (approx. 7 1/2'' x 6'') and a Snack size (6'' x 5''). They can be machine-washed and dried, washed in the dishwasher, or for the longest life, simply wiped clean with a soapy sponge and air-dried.

Several sites for information on Reusies or purchasing       Reusable     
If you're a Facebook fan: Reusies on Facebook