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!”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

meal ideas ~ the power of beans

~ beans

You can't go wrong with beans. Beans are high in fiber and protein and are a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, which is essential for the water balance between the cells and body fluids, such as electrolyte balance. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of foods to get the necessary soluble and insoluble fiber needed daily--about 25 to 30 grams a day, which is twice the amount the average American adult normally consumes. One serving of navy beans is 1/2 cup and has 5.8 grams of fiber per serving.

There are so many delicious varieties of beans to choose from, such as black, kidney, garbanzo, white, lima, and pinto, finding ways to incorporate beans in your diet is a breeze. Soak and cook dry beans or use canned beans. Try substituting beans as your main protein source for lunch or dinner a couple times a week. Protein is an important part of your daily nutrition, which helps the body repair and produce cells and build muscle and bones.

Fix-and-Forget White Chili 
You thicken this slow cooker chicken chili recipe by slightly mashing the beans. If you like a thin broth, you could skip this step.  6 servings / carbs: 52

12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3 15 ounce can Great Northern beans or navy beans, rinsed and drained
2 4 1/2 ounce can diced green chile peppers, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic (3 cloves)
Dairy sour cream (optional)
Avocado slices (optional)
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

1. In a large skillet, cook chicken in hot oil just until lightly browned. Place beans in a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker; mash slightly with a potato masher.

2.Add chicken to slow cooker. Stir undrained chile peppers, onion, chicken broth, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, salt, and garlic into mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.

3. If desired, serve with sour cream and avocado. If desired, garnish with thyme sprigs. Makes 6 servings.

Beef and Black Bean Wraps
Whole wheat tortillas and black beans make this sandwich recipe a filling, high-fiber meal with a snappy, south-of-the-border appeal. Ingredients safeguard against diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and protect against some cancers.  6 servings /carbs: 27
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 8 inches whole wheat flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 to 6 ounces)
Salsa (optional)

1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic for 5 minutes or until meat is brown. Drain off fat.

2. Stir in cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in black beans, tomato, salt, and black pepper. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

3. To serve, spoon beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with lettuce and cheese. Roll up. If desired, serve with salsa. Makes 6 wraps.

------------Recipe source:  -- also you can print this page by clicking the  "+" or printer icon at the top right of the blog, above my profile.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

healthy living ~ houseplants remove VOC's

Houseplants are a great way to beautify a room: their colorful leaves and interesting shapes often provide the perfect natural counterpoint to man-made furniture and structures. But houseplants are more than just a bunch of pretty faces. According to research, they can help improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Plants’ ability to help us breathe easier indoors was first demonstrated in a two-year study conducted by NASA in the late 1980s. At the time, the agency was looking for houseplants to help clean the air in space facilities. The study examined the ability of 15 houseplants to remove three common indoor pollutants — the VOCs benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene — from the air. Benzene is emitted from paints, synthetic fibers and plastics, among other sources. Formaldehyde is released from many sources, including foam insulation and plywood, and sources of trichloroethylene emissions include paints and varnishes.

Below is a list of 10 household plants that were found to be effective at removing VOCs in the NASA study:

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) - This plant, which does best when placed in a shady spot, can remove both benzene and trichloroethylene. It is poisonous, so keep out of the reach of children and pets. Also, avoid overwatering.

Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) – This vine proved adept at filtering formaldehyde. It can be placed virtually anywhere in a home and requires a thorough watering about once a week.

English ivy (Hedera helix) – Effective at removing formaldehyde, this plant thrives in cool, moist air. It too is poisonous, so keep it away from pets and children.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium) – This plant, which can produce wonderfully bright-colored flowers, can filter both benzene and formaldehyde. It does best in direct sunlight.

Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) – Just like the chrysanthemum, this plant features bright flowers and requires lots of sunlight. It removes both benzene and trichloroethylene.
Mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii') – This hardy plant filters formaldehyde and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) – The bamboo palm is effective at removing formaldehyde. Its soil should be kept moist, and it needs to be placed in indirect sunlight.

Azalea (Rhododendron simsii) – Effective at filtering formaldehyde, this popular plant does best in a cool environment (around 65 degrees) and out of direct sunlight.

Red-edge dracaena (Dracaena marginata) – Capable of growing up to 15 feet in height, this household plant is a good multi-tasker: it can remove both benzene and trichloroethylene. It is best suited for a temperature of 75 degrees or so.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – This plant filters formaldehyde and doesn’t need a lot of upkeep.

Monday, February 27, 2012

international polar bear day !! today

Love polar bears and the Arctic? You can play a role in saving the bears and their habitat.

Scientists say that hope remains for polar bears if we all do our part—but this will require major shifts from the business-as-usual model. It's important to recognize, though, that we do have the physical ability to achieve CO2 targets to save polar bears. What's needed now is the social and political will to do so!

Educating others is essential for making a difference in saving polar bear habitat. Currently, most people don't understand the nature of the problem, so it's up to us lead the way. We've gathered key website links to help you become part of the solution.

International Polar Bear Day is celebrated on February 27. The day is dedicated to learning more about polar bears and the dangers they face.
Chill out on International Polar Bear Day. Polar Bears International asks everyone to turn down their thermostats by 2 degrees and "bundle up for polar bears to lower carbon emissions and help save polar bears. ... Reducing our carbon footprint can slow and even reverse climate change, which causes sea ice to melt," says Kathryn Foat, of PolarBearsInternational. You can also observe International Polar Bear Day by adopting a polar bear, or donating.

The polar bear is related to the brown bear and probably evolved from brown bears which became isolated from the rest of their species. Brown bears and polar bears can mate and produce offspring which can reproduce. The Alaska Brown Bear and the polar bear rival each other for the distinction of being the largest land mammal. Despite their similarities, brown bears and polar bears are unable to survive in each other's habitats. Polar bears are so adapted to cold that they can’t take temperatures above 50 degrees.

There are about 25,000 polar bears worldwide, but their population is declining. Pollution and poaching are a problem, but global warming is the polar bear's biggest enemy. Its habitat is disappearing, since sea ice is not as prevalent and the seals the polar bears feed on are dwindling. The summer ice loss in the Arctic is now equal to an area the size of Alaska, Texas, and the state of Washington combined.

Russia, Greenland and the United States have all outlawed hunting of polar bears. Canada allows regulated hunting of about 500 polar bears a year. In Russia, illegal poaching is a problem.

Reducing carbon emissions is good for the environment and will help reverse some of the effects of global warming. Individuals can contribute by purchasing more efficient appliances, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, walking or riding a bike instead of driving, and planting trees. They can also lobby their governments to pass climate and clean energy legislation.
here are a couple of links you should check out:
Polar Bears International,
National Wildlife Federation- 13 things about polar bears

this week's journey

spring is here, the jasmine is blooming with its sweet scent

what's new... click on the link and take a peek at  jesse's blog:

berner tails ~

articles this week:
international polar bear day !! today
houseplants remove VOC's
the power of beans
webcam news~ two eggs for the Eagles, cubs growing
fun friday~ rhino air

don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

wildlife cam news~ new nest cam- Decorah Eagles

Decorah Eagle Cam

About Decorah Eagle Cam from their website

As lovers of nature, when we first heard about the live webcam, we had to check it out immediately. We were instantly mesmerized by what we saw. Being able to see into the lives of this rare species was truly amazing and educational.

Having learned late about the webcam, we had missed the live births and had to visit YouTube in order to catch up. In addition, while watching the live feed with some friends, we thought it would be nice to be given a little "heads up" when something exciting was happening.

So, we created Decorah Eagle Cam in an effort to celebrate this amazing experience and to make it easier for people to enjoy it as well. We have brought together the live stream and many of the prior key moments of the stream with video and added a little bonus feature: by signing up for alerts, you don't have to sit and watch if nothing is going on. We'll alert you when things start to get exciting.

Decorah Eagle Cam for the amazing saga of the Decorah eagles. For those of you new to the craze, the birth of 3 eaglets has been witnessed live by millions and become a viral internet phenomenon.

Through the genius of the Raptor Resource Project a 24 hour webcam has been placed so that the world may watch the growth and lives of a family of bald eagles. We here at Decorah Eagle Cam have embraced this amazing opportunity and have put together content from across the world wide web in one place for your convenience. In addition, we have set up a system of alerts to let you know when the real action takes place.

Please have a look around the site and enjoy!  Decorah Eagle Cam

One other really cool thing about this site: is it has an eagle who is wearing a transmitter and can be tracked wherever he goes- check it out : 

Lily and Faith are doing great. A mixture of sleeping, playing and nursing. The NABC is contemplating putting a den cam into a den with a mother and yearling next year so they can see if the actions are normal or is Lily and Faith’s behavior unique. Remember, live den cams are new and all this information as to what happens inside a den during winter is vital new research. The picture is of these two rascals wrestling in their den. Lois... check out Faith's feet. 

Jewel and the babies…and are they growing fast!! We get very good views of the cubs, especially now that it is warming a little and they are peeking out of their furry nest more often. When is it best to see them on the cam?—early afternoon seems to be their most active time, but still it is mostly hit and miss. picture: cub coming up for fresh air :)

Here is a video of some of the best moments last week. 

Jewel the Black Bear - Highlights

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

meal ideas ~ red grapefruit

~red grapefruit

Of all the fruits, this one is my favorite. Sweet, juicy, and delicious, the ruby red grapefruit packs more antioxidant power and possibly more heart benefits than the white grapefruit. In a preliminary 30-day test of 57 people with heart disease, those eating one red grapefruit daily decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20 percent and decreased triglycerides by 17 percent. In contrast, those eating a white grapefruit reduced LDL by 10 percent with no significant change in triglycerides, compared with a group of people who didn't eat the fruit. One serving of a large grapefruit is one half of the grapefruit or 3/4 cup of grapefruit sections. Include the vitamin C-rich grapefruit as a juice, in salads, or by itself. The only way the body can get vitamin C is through food, such as citrus fruits, or supplements.

important note: Grapefruit interacts with certain drugs, including statins and antiarrhythmic medications, so check with your health-care professional.

Citrus Salsa with Baked Chips
This fiery tomato and citrus salsa recipe is ideal for snacks or for an appetizer at parties.
SERVING SIZE: 1/4 cup salsa and 4 chips  CARBS: 10

4 corn tortillas
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped grapefruit segments*
1/2 cup chopped orange segments*
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. For chips:1. Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Cool.
For salsa:2. In a small bowl, stir together grapefruit, orange, tomato, cucumber, green onion, cilantro, crushed red pepper, and salt. Makes 8 (1/4 cup salsa and 4 chips) servings

Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare chips as directed in Step 1. Place chips in an airtight container; cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Prepare salsa as directed in Step 2. Spoon salsa into an airtight container; cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Other varieties of citrus fruits (such as clementines, blood oranges, cara cara oranges, kumquats, and/or tangerines) can be substituted for the grapefruit and/or oranges.

Citrus Turkey Spinach Salad
Pink grapefruit, turkey and a light honey-poppy seed dressing transform this spinach salad recipe into a low calorie main dish. SERVING SIZE: 2 cup CARBS: 22

8 cups fresh baby spinach or torn fresh spinach
8 ounces cooked turkey, cut up
2 pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Place spinach in a large bowl. Add turkey, grapefruit sections, and orange sections.
2. For dressing, in a screw-top jar, combine orange juice, oil, honey, poppy seeds, salt, and dry mustard. Cover and shake well. Pour the dressing over salad; toss gently. If desired, sprinkle with almonds. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

healthy living~ natural cough syrup

My neighbor has had a nasty cough from a cold for the last few days, even to the point that neither her husband nor she was getting any sleep.  Finally she came over and asked if there was anything in my “holistic” basket she could try.

Here is what I gave her and the next day she said I really needed to put this on the blog—obviously she was happy, quietly happy.

Garlic and onions are tough on colds and fevers, honey and glycerin help soothe the throat, vodka helps quite the cough, and the horehound has been used for almost 2,000 years for respiratory relief. Horehound extract can be found in your local health foods stores, I get mine from Mother’s, Sprouts, or Whole Foods. This formula will work without the horehound, but it’s better with it. If this is for a child, you can leave out the vodka.

1 tablespoon minced red onion
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon glycerin
2 tablespoon 90-proof vodka
1 teaspoon horehound extract (optional)

Warm the honey. Mix all together and shake well. Store in a cool place

Shelf life: with the vodka, will keep for 2 weeks or more (can be stored in the refrigerator); without the vodka, can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

mother nature says: if you have a night cough, get up and swallow a small amount of pure honey, a few doses will usually slow your cough.

Monday, February 20, 2012

time for a Media fast?

in regards to...The Media~  I am getting very tired of all the propaganda coming from our media sources- that is not their purpose or at least what I was taught when taking some journalism courses in college.

        What happened to the days when you trusted what your reporters wrote or said about the current events of the day or week? Remember, Cronkite, Brinkley, and of course Barbara Walters.  How rare was it that you felt the reporting was biased? Very rare- it was just the facts, or facts known at that moment and quickly recanted if it was found out to be incorrect or false.  Even FOX News who claims to be “fair and balanced” have a few that in my constitutionally protected opinion are not…Hannity for one is so one-sided and biased it makes me cringe.  On the other hand,  Anderson Copper & Greta Van Suskern are two I feel I can trust.  Sadly it is pretty much only those two of all our media services. Now, back to my initial thoughts….

There is a lot of information available to us at this time in history, more than ever before, and it travels fast. We are able to learn in the blink of an eye about something that happened halfway around the world, and it’s natural for us to want to know what’s going on. However, it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to become so caught up in one way of looking at events that we lose perspective. Often, the news comes to us in a very fear-oriented format, and when too many of us get caught up in fear, the balance of the whole is disrupted. It helps to remember that we have a much greater and more positive impact on the world when we maintain our inner sense of peace and joy.
We are aware enough to know when we are eating something that is not good for us, because we don’t feel well after we’ve eaten it. In the same way, we can determine for ourselves whether the sources in which our information comes are ultimately healthful. News can be presented in a way that inspires us to take positive action to help the world, or it can be presented in a way that leaves us feeling powerless and sad. It is up to us to seek out and support media that empowers and informs us, and to say no to media that drains our energy and our hope.

For a time, it may even be of benefit to commit to a Media Fast, in which we stop taking information in for a time to give ourselves a rest. When we return to the task of taking in and processing the information all around us, we will come to it with a fresh mind. This will enable us to really notice how we are affected by what we hear and see, and to make conscious choices about the sources of information that we allow into our lives.

Simplificating Goal for this week:  shut off the News, click out your News Browsers, close that Newspaper or Magazine and give it all a rest!

this week's journey

hello little bug

what's new... click on the link and take a peek at  jesse's blog:

berner tails ~ the 4 B's-bunnies, balls, bones & a bed

articles this week:
time for a media fast?
natural cough syrup
red grapefruit~ power food
webcam news~ new nest cam! Eagles of Decorah
fun friday~ kitty needs some love

don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates 

Friday, February 17, 2012

fun friday video ~ two dogs dining

This was sent to me by my good friend Angie W., once again she has sent me laughter and smiles. Thank you Angie !!

So cute- it is a must see.
Two dogs waiting patiently to get served in "restaurant",
 and in spite of waiting and eating, never get anything to drink.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

wildlife cam news~

Lily & Faith
Lily & Faith tumbling around
Sunday, I visited Lily and Faith's den cam and was surprised to hear the nursing sounds coming loudly from the den, and Lily patiently letting Faith nurse. This was unexpected for me, I almost thought I had opened Jewel’s cam.  When Faith makes her deep-throated pleas to nurse, she really let’s her wishes be known, and Lily eventually gives in to long nursing sessions.  Is this unusual?  Why didn’t anyone know this before as loud as it is?  So much that we are seeing and hearing was previously unknown.

And Monday was full of playing. We remembered the frequent play in the den last year between Lily and Hope and between Hope and the cubs.  We wondered if that was the norm or was the play unusual because of the mixed-litter.  We wondered if other bears play in their dens.  Today, Lily and Faith played.  Does that mean their bond is strengthening after a winter of suckling and grooming?  We’ll continue to watch and wonder as the Den-Watch Team records it all for the eventual publication.

Jewel & the cubs
We love the peaceful sounds of happy cubs nursing, and that’s what poured out of Jewel’s den this week.  Despite the cold, that one would think would cause some cries for warmth, we heard a lot of nursing—two cubs in unison.  Now at 20 days of age, they apparently have things figured out—how to reach the nipples, which nipples are whose, and how to hang on for secure, steady nursing.  And for Jewel’s valentines to herself was snow treats.  Jewel had a major session of eating snow from 12:02 PM to 12:40 PM plus other times.  

This picture is actually Juilet's den, who was also munching a valentine's treat. It shows how it looks outside a den when the bears have been eating away at the snow in the entrance

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

meal ideas ~ blueberries

~ blueberries  One serving is 3/4 cup and has 15 grams of carbs. You can enjoy fresh, in-season blueberries May through October or buy the frozen varieties year-round.

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes
Buckwheat, a whole grain in these delicious pancakes, contains a phytochemical that might have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels. Ready in 30 minutes, with few ingredients, this low-fat, low-sodium breakfast or brunch recipe is suitable for diabetic meal plans. MAKES: 6 2 pancake servings  CARB: 22 & Calories: 132

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

1. In a medium bowl, stir together buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, beat egg slightly; stir in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until combined but still slightly lumpy. Stir in blueberries.
3. Heat a lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until a few drops of water sprinkled onto griddle dance across the surface. For each pancake, pour a scant 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Spread the batter into a circle that's about 4 inches in diameter.
4. Cook over medium heat until pancakes are brown, turning to cook second sides when pancake surfaces are bubbly and edges are slightly dry (1 to 2 minutes per side). Serve immediately or keep warm.

Very Berry Sorbet
Keep the berries on hand in your freezer so you can whip up this beguiling berry dessert whenever you want. MAKES: 6 to 8 servings CARBS: 16 & Calories: 67

2 cups fresh blueberries, frozen*
2 cups fresh raspberries, frozen*
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup frozen pineapple-orange-banana juice  
             concentrate or citrus beverage concentrate
Fresh blueberries (optional)
Fresh raspberries (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine frozen berries, the water, and frozen concentrate. Place half of the mixture in a food processor. Cover and process until almost smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture. Serve immediately. If desired, serve with additional fresh blueberries and raspberries.

Make Ahead Tip
Prepare as directed. Transfer mixture to a baking dish. Cover and freeze about 4 hours or until firm. Use within 2 days.

Note:  To freeze the 2 cups blueberries and the 2 cups raspberries, place them in a single layer on a baking pan and place in freezer. When frozen, put berries in a freezer container or plastic freezer bag and seal. Keep containers or bags of berries in freezer for up to 12 months.

source: DiabeticLiving

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

healthy living~ happy valentine's day

** Happy Valentine’s Day **

Your sweetheart may have the key to your heart, but a proper diet and regular physical activity can be the key to a healthy heart. This Valentine’s Day, indulge your sweetheart with a heart-healthy gift or date.

Nevertheless, everyone likes a little chocolate on Valentine’s Day. If you’re the gift giver, forget about the cheesy sampler box and go for something that’s smaller but higher in quality. And let’s not forget that dark chocolate is good for your heart.

And, if you were gifted a luxurious box of chocolates from your sweetie stick it in the freezer and enjoy in moderation over several weeks.  Remember, it’s not as much what you eat, but more importantly just how much of it you eat. 

Portion control is the key to many long and healthy Valentine’s Days.

May yours be filled with Love, Joy,  and Health.

Monday, February 13, 2012

cleansing nature ~ rain

Fingers poised on the keyboard, I ponder what would be a great subject for this week’s main post. Then,  I glance outside and notice clouds building in the sky. The lighting is subdued; everything appears more colorful, not washed out by the sun’s rays. The anticipation of rain flutters at the edge of my senses and I am brought to mind an article Madisyn Taylor wrote about four years ago. I decided my subject had been shown to me.  enjoy

Cleansing Nature

There are times when we might feel the need to wash away all of our troubles and call forth freshness into our lives. Since the most cleansing substance on this earth is probably water, we can think of the joy rain brings as an energetic bath, rejuvenating our minds, bodies, and souls. Just being able to spend a few moments every time it rains to become aware of the healing powers water brings to us can renew us in so many ways. As we do this we will find that the more we appreciate the universe’s gift to us in the form of rain, the more we can see that a gentle rain shower is a strong reflective tool that has the ability to cleanse our entire being.

The next time it rains might be a good chance to experience the rain through all of your senses, allowing you to truly understand the importance of each and every drop of water. First, take a few minutes to look outside and notice how each individual raindrop seems to come down in a continual stream. By noticing this you can contemplate how it takes many small accomplishments to create the whole of your existence for nothing exists in isolation. Then you might wish to focus your attention on the sound of the rainfall, letting the sounds of drops penetrate into the innermost recesses of your self. Listening in this way may bring you a greater sense of connection with nature and the world around you, knowing that the sounds you hear are an integral part of not just the physical sustenance you require but that they also nourish your spirit.

Consciously using our senses to feel nature’s healing energy as it comes to us in the form of rain is an act of internal cleansing. Just as the rain physically washes over the earth and rinses out any impurities and imperfections, it also bathes our spirit in the joy that comes from knowing that we are one with the world around us. 
                                         Daily OM- Madisyn Taylor

this week's journey

got a new camera - everything gets a shot

what's new... click on the link and take a peek at  jesse's blog:

berner tails ~ ahhh, love is in the air

articles this week:
cleansing nature ~ rain
happy valentine's day
blueberries~ power food
webcam wildlife news~ excitement as cubs grow
fun friday~ two dogs dinning

don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates 

Friday, February 10, 2012

fun friday photo~ honey badger day

Guinness Book of World Records have named this species the most fearless animal on earth. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

wildlife cam news~ oops Jewel's butt

UPDATE: 2-7-12 the bottom-bam-opps has been fixed and the webcam is better than ever, showing a clearer picture of the events in the den
The Jewel Den Cam image is kind of dark because the light reflects off the dirt/bedding in the foreground, but the image is clearer than before.  With the new and improved view, we think we saw something—a boy and a girl.  We’re waiting for more views to be sure, but we’d bet on it.  We’re now looking for ways to tell their faces apart.  So far, we don’t see anything unique on either of them—no chest blazes, no prominent brown eyebrow spots, no face or muzzle that is unusually light or dark, no difference in the brown patches cubs have behind the ears.   They may be too young for some of these differences to show up._____________________
Here is the log from the Bear Center—explaining why we are looking at roots instead of the cubs… ha! They did get a cute photo of the cubs alone.

Heard but not seen-feb 3,2012
Dr. Lynn Rogers at den entrance

Our attempts to improve the den cam image today only made things worse.  Jewel bumped the camera as soon as we left, leaving us with sound and no image.  Well actually we have an image… an impressive view of the den wall.  However, we did solve the mystery of what Jewel was doing when she backed past the camera to the den entrance.  There, just inside the den were 2 lumps of bear scat (feces).  

Things started out nicely.  We said “It’s me, bear” and threw Jewel a few grapes so she’d know everything was okay.  Shortly, the family fell to nursing as calmly as ever—without squawking.  That went on for over 20 minutes until Lynn could no longer hold the camera in position without shaking.  The goal today was to clean the den cam lens and record high definition video of the cubs to learn more about them.  We never saw them.  They were too busy nursing.

photo of cubs while Jewel was briefly outside
Then, Jewel became interested in what we were doing and decided to come out.  That’s when we normally would have left and come back later when Jewel was settled back in.  But we can’t work as freely and sensitively as before.  Our new research permit reads “Dens may be visited no more than once per week.”  We are forced to pack more into a single den visit than we normally would.  Leaving the job undone now means leaving it undone till next week—not just overnight.  We’re stuck with the current view until next week.

Also, here is a video, about 8 minutes, of highlights with Jewels and the cubs. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

meal ideas ~ asparagus

Are There Power Foods in Your Diet?
If you already follow a healthful meal plan filled with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean protein, congratulations! You're on your way to a long, healthy life and are taking a major step in controlling your weight and blood glucose levels.
For those who are taking the baby-steps approach to eating better this year,  the "Journey" will be even more helpful as I feature some of these power foods. Not only are these power foods high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, they're also familiar and easy to find. That means you don't have to hunt down any exotic ingredients or shop at specialty grocery stores to find foods that will help you get on track with a healthful meal plan.

Over the next few weeks I will feature some of these power foods with my favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy and get healthy. If anyone has a recipe of their own email it me, I would love share. please feel free to copy & print these.

~ asparagus A serving of asparagus is 1/2 cup, or 4 ounces cooked, and provides 33 percent of the daily recommendation of 400 micrograms of folate--FDA

Sauteed Shrimp and Asparagus
Cook asparagus in white wine to make this sophisticated shrimp dinner. Try it the next time you're entertaining.  4 servings: Carb grams/serv: 36

1 pound fresh or frozen large shrimp in shells
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
8 ounces fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta

1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook shrimp in hot canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque, turning occasionally. Remove shrimp from skillet; set aside.
3. Carefully add wine and asparagus to hot skillet. Cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add shrimp and green onions to skillet; heat through. Serve with Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta.

Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta
1 cup dried orzo pasta
1/4 cup pasta cooking water
1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Cook dried orzo pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta. Return pasta and reserved pasta water to saucepan. Stir in finely shredded lemon peel, thinly sliced fresh basil, snipped fresh chives, snipped fresh thyme, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until water is absorbed. Serve warm.

need a side-dish recipe?

Thyme-Roasted Asparagus

Shaved Parmesan cheese makes an attractive topper for this colorful side dish. Start with a wedge or block of cheese and run a vegetable peeler across a flat side to make super thin bite-size pieces.  4 servings

1 medium red sweet pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
Olive oil (optional)
Cracked black pepper (optional)
1. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. Halve sweet pepper lengthwise; discard stem, membranes, and seeds. Place sweet pepper, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until blackened and blistered. Carefully bring foil up and around pepper halves to enclose. Let stand about 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Peel skin off sweet pepper. Cut sweet pepper into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Set strips aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine oil, thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper; pour over asparagus spears. Toss lightly to coat. Arrange spears in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, turning asparagus once.
3. Arrange asparagus spears and sweet pepper strips on warm serving platter. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. If desired, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 4 side-dish servings.