Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dog Brings Possom Into The House
My dog, Carmella is the ultimate exterminator. She catches squirrels, bugs, birds, and tonight when I let her outside in the backyard and left the door open for a few minutes I heard her come in and go back out again. I decided to go back and close the door because it was getting cold in the house. The light in that room was off but I saw something on the floor that looked at first like a towel. Thinking that Carmella had taken something out of the laundry hamper I turned on the light and walked over to pick it up when I saw that it was not a towel at all but instead it had a snout, eyes, ears, and a tail! Upon close inspection I saw that it was a Possom. Its tail had a bit of blood on it and so I looked carefully to see if it was dead or just pretending to be.

It was breathing, so I knew it must be playing dead, and as I stood there a little while its eyes began to follow me and it moved its ears slightly. This is the second one Carmella has caught and tried to bring me. There was another about one year ago that she'd dropped on the back porch.

Tomorrow I finally have someone coming to address the squirrels in my sophets that have been chewing ravenously at the wood interior, so I guess this is the best time to have found this Possom. Maybe he can take it to a rehabber on his way out tomorrow and it can be re-located somewhere way out in the country.

I scooped it into Carmella's old carrier that she's grown out of, keeping my hands far away from its mouth and closed the latch on the gate as quickly as possible. It looked at me warily, opening its mouth slightly. It has a set of needle-sharp teeth, so I didn't want to leave it outside where Carmella or another dog or person could potentially get bitten, or for it to make its nest and start breeding in my attic.

It will be interesting to see what shows up over the next few days when the Atlanta Squirrel Removal company starts their trapping. I wonder whether I got the only one tonight or whether there are more Possoms in or around the house in hiding.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Animal Planet Donates Money To Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue Facility for Each Person Who Watches the show Pit Bulls and Parolees tonight at 10:00 PM EST

The reality show Pit Bulls and Parolees features Tia and her kennel staff of parolees located on 10 acres of land in the foothills of California, and a group of approximately 150 Pit Bulls rescued from all types of adverse circumstances, all in need of loving homes.

Villalobos is the largest facility of its kind in the world and its operation requires $600-$800/day to feed, house, and care for its residents. It goes through 2100 Lbs of dog food a week, and adopts out approximately 5 dogs per week to new homes! The dogs they rescue include former fighting dogs and other abused and/or neglected dogs from a variety of places. At the sanctuary all are spayed, neutered, and given love, training, and the veterinary care they need.

The vet bills alone average $30,000.00, and the monthly operating costs have increased to $15,000

The center is closed to the public except for Saturdays, but welcomes potential adopters. Those interested in adopting one of their Pit Bulls are asked to call for an appointment before coming though. Their phone number is (661) 268-0555. An e-mail form is available on their site;

They also have a live stream here on their Facebook page;

Although there are a number of Pit Bull rescues out there this one is particularly unique in that it has the dual purpose of offering opportunities for employment to people with a criminal record who otherwise would have a hard time finding jobs. Thus, while these parolees are being rehabilitated so are the dogs, and this meets an important need in the community. Through the exposure the television show has garnered the parolees and dogs are offered a unique chance to build back the public's trust, and go on to live happy and productive lives.

The parollees' rehab program is called The Underdawgz Inc.

Very soon tonight Animal Planet will be airing a special episode which will act as a benefit for Villalobos, partnering with ROAR; for each person tonight who watches the show Pit Bulls and Parollees Animal Planet will give a donation to the Pit Bull rescue.

So if you love Pit Bulls, or dogs in general, get your family and friends together, post this on your facebook page, tweet it, and get as many people to watch as possible, and if you can't be there at that time set your TV to tape the show. That counts too!

I know Carmella and I will be watching tonight's episode!

I will leave you with this very moving video;

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dog Saves Woman from Rabid Squirrel
Sometime between 5 and 5:30 PM yesterday I heard Carmella barking and clawing at the kitchen window which leads to the back porch. I knew that neighborhood dogs sometimes passed through on either side of my house but this didn't seem like something just passing through, as she continued to bark and claw at the window sill for over 10 minutes, so I came in to see what was out there. I looked out the windows in the back door next to the kitchen and saw a squirrel latched onto the screen on the outside of the wooden framework of the porch. It was making quite a fuss, and strangely did not make a move to run when it saw me just a few feet away. In fact it strained forward on the screen as if to meet the potential threat of a larger predator head-on, riveted to my every move. A former roommate's dogs had torn out the screen from the panel just below but it clung there right where it was, the only thing preventing it from hurling itself in my direction; that it didn't seem to see the open area just beneath. Despite the barrier it just kept making these staccato raspy chirps, the kind squirrels make to other squirrels to challenge another, and staring me down. I have had a problem with squirrels chewing through my fascia boards at the perimeter of my roof overhang for some time now and now hear them gnawing on the wood for hours every day for the past few months, and this must have been one that had been making its home inside my overhang and just popped out one of the holes.

I thought maybe if I got a little closer and scared it off with a stick it would dissapear into the woods, but no such luck. It just seemed more intent on me and Carmella. I let Carmella out to scare it off and rather than going the other way and making its easiest escape up any number of trees it scurried horizontally across the the screen, then turned upside down, head first, and jumped onto the back porch floor and ran straight at me! People think of squirrels as benevolent, innocent, sweet little harmless creatures, but not this one! This monster had come straight from the bowels of hell! It was the stuff that nightmares and horror movies are made of.

I yelled for Carmella to get it and she ran to my side and intercepted it just as it was a few inches from my left foot. That's when I knew for sure it had to be rabid because as she snapped it up it was snarling like an angry cat, as if it really thought it could take Carmella on, unaware of their difference in size. Lucky for Carmella she is up to date on her rabies shot. I wouldn't have been so lucky if I'd been attacked since humans are not vaccinated for rabies. At first snap, Carmella took half its tail clean off and then grabbed hold of the middle of its body. It seemed crazed, almost posessed. Normally Carmella's strong jaws killed  a squirrel in just two bites but this one seemed to keep going and going. If she didn't kill it the backyard wouldn't be a safe place for either of us to walk in. A few more bites from Carmella's powerful jaws while shaking it violently and it finally was dead.

Despite all its carrying on it had not bitten Carmella. Carmella had been quicker, Thank God. There may be more rabid squirrels as the disease can spread from one animal to another and I heard one this morning at 6 AM again chewing on the corner of my house, so today I am going to see if I can find out who to report the animal I saw to. There are children living in the neighborhood, so I don't want any more of these to endanger the people on this street.

Thanks to Carmella, I avoided a trip to the ER and a painful rabies series. She amazes me with her loyalty and protection every day and I consider her a hero. But I think if you were able to ask her she'd tell you that's just what friends/family do. They are there with you when threats cross your path, right in there with you to fight that which could be your undoing in one form or another. If not for her I don't know what I would have done.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 7 of Carmella's Snake Bite Recovery, and Day 1 of EvoraPet Oral Probiotic
Carmella's skin color is getting better each day and the scab on her toe is healing. She still wants to sleep alot but when I take her outside she bounds around like she usually does and no longer avoids putting weight on the leg that was bitten by the snakes.
As you can see below, the bruise on her stomach is gradually shrinking in size and the edges are more defined.
The medications are doing their job. The only thing I notice out of the ordinary is that she's peeing alot more and more frequently than she usually does, and I'm not sure whether she's always aware of when she has to go. She slept on my bed agan for most of the day and when I left the room for just a few minutes to go to the kitchen I thought she had gone back to sleep but when I came back she was still on the bed but I saw a big puddle on my rug. Carmella looked at me guiltily and jumped down to leave the room. She has been housebroken for a long time and usually whines when she has to go to the bathroom. I don't know if the urge came on suddenly this time or what was wrong but she can usually hold it long enough for me to get her out the door in plenty of time.

I had to use a big towel on the rug and then spray some enzyme on it so that my room wouldn't stink. The enzyme is left to air dry over a 24 hour period while it dissolves the urine and any bacteria in it. It's a good thing I had almost a full bottle left because I've rarely had to use it. If any of you have puppies this stuff is good to have on hand and works better than bleach, Pine Sol, or most other commercial cleaners/disinfectants because it gets right to the root of the odor rather than covering it up or using potentially toxic chemicals. Most brands of enzyme are biodegradeable and just dissipate once they've done what they're designed to do. You can ask for it at just about any pet supply store.

Well, speaking of pet products, I put a scoop of that EvoraPet on Carmella's food tonight. The company says it's tasteless but she managed to weed the majority of it out and shove that part of her food aside after eating the rest. They must have forgotten that a dog's sense of smell is way stronger than ours! I had worried that might happened and wondered how one could be sure the animal got the full dose that way.

Luckily Carmella can't resist the juice that seperates from yogurt and I had some in the refrigerator, so I poured that over the pieces of dog food she'd refused and the flavor of that disguised the flavor or smell of the probiotic powder and then she licked the bowl clean of every last particle.

Before her first dose I took pictures of some of her teeth so that I can do comparisons over the next few weeks. Her teeth are fairly white but she does tend to get tartar around the gumline, especially around her molars. I think this is due to her strangely proportioned head which is about half as long as it should be for her size, and her teeth are set way back into her head. Although she chews on bones and dog biscuits daily those molars are too far back for these to scrape off the plaque, and it's next to impossible to stick a toothbrush back that far. Her molars nearly reach the back of her throat! When you open her mouth wide enough to see it kind of looks like the jaws of an alligator except that her snout is not proportionally as long.

Photographing her teeth with one hand while keeping her mouth open (and still) with the other was hard to do but I got a few really good shots. You can see that she has some yellow in the grooves of her molars that are hardest to reach. Probably being on antibiotics for the Copperhead bites has actually already helped her breath because I could stand to get near her mouth which I can't do when it's at its worst, but the yellow areas in her teeth will serve as a good baseline, and it's possible that her breath will be even better once she's been on this a little while. Her mouth is still rather slimy (which it isn't after her teeth have recently been cleaned) so if that goes away that is likely an indication it's working also.
Left upper molar
I'm not sure whether the little black dot in this molar on the upper left side is a cavity or some sort of particle.

Left lower molar

Right side upper molars and lower teeth (Close-up)

Right upper molars and lower teeth

Upper right Canines and Bicuspids

The teeth closer to the front of Carmella's mouth have less visible plaque. There's only a little bit right at the gumline. Her chewing of bones and dog treats has definitely prevented alot of it from forming on these teeth.

Cuspids and Left Side Canine (Upper)

I'll take more photos of her teeth periodically to compare with these.

Here are a few cute shots I took of her in the kitchen today.

Carmella licking her healing foot

 Carmella playing with big bone

 Carmella walking and turning around

Carmella with front foot tucked under chest and ears at attention

In the morning the man from Rid-a-Critter is coming to look around for any possible snake dens and I hope, will be able to tell me if there are snakes living on the property. Maybe he can let me know the best methods for keeping them from using my backyard as a hiding place or throughway so that Carmella will be safe to go out there without being bitten again. I took her out on the leash tonight and since it was too dark for me to see what was on the ground I didn't go very far from the driveway or let her get close to any bushes or high foliage of other types. She kept wanting to go into the back yard and seemed to hear something back there. I don't know what it was but was too leery to go look since it was around the same time of night that she was bitten. There's no telling what ghastly things might have been creeping (or slithering) around in the dark. (Cue spooky music).

Despite the fact that snakes can be pretty bad-tempered and defensive I think they are nonetheless beautiful animals. I've even got a few wearable snakes available for purchase in my jewelry shop on Etsy. These make wonderful gifts! Click on the photos for more details on each piece.

Sterling Silver Snake Bracelet with Genuine Emerald Eyes (Strong Medicine)

Abstract Snakes Intertwined Ring - Argentium Sterling and Fine Silver

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Snake-bitten Dog, Carmella, The Healing Continues
Carmella rested comfortably on my bed most of the day while I read, and took care of some Etsy business and then it was time for her dinner. She ate most of her food but still is a little reserved and her stomach isn't back to normal 100% just yet so she left a little in her bowl. She still has diarrhea, and is peeing alot more than she usually does. On her walk tonight she must have gone 4 times and I don't mean a little bit each time; but more like 4 bladders-ful! Hopefully that is a good thing and means she's getting rid of excess fluid. The vet did say she might have blood in her urine and that was normal; a way of flushing fluid and dead blood cells out.

Luckily her hind leg looks less purple today. The rest seems to be paying off. I think I see hair growing back where they shaved her too. I removed the bandage on her front leg this morning where they had had the IV. Both front legs have patches of hair missing. The left from the IV they gave her at the emergency clinic, and the right from that given at Dr. Norwood's office. There's some bruising on the left "forearm" leg.

It is encouraging that the color seems to be returning to normal in the leg that was bitten by the Copperheads, so maybe she'll be lucky and not have any necrosis. That odd dark vein is still visible though.

After dinner Carmella stretched out on the floor in the kitchen, chewed on one of her steak bones, then sacked out again to sleep some more.

I think the whole ordeal has made her exhausted. I have been pretty tired myself, so I can imagine how tired she must be after the assault upon her body.

Today I received a product I ha ordered earlier this month that is a newly developed probiotic for her breath called EvoraPet.

I first heard about EvoraPet on a TV infomercial. There are alot of products on TV that I don't order because they seem kind of iffy, but this one seemed plausible, so I took a look at their website; http://evorapet.com/ and read more about it and looked to see what people were posting about it, then also did some searching in other places online. Somebody was even giving away a box on their blog Is There A Bathroom on This Ship. I signed up but didn't win.  Most reviews were favorable and I did not find any reports of negative side effects. For further information go to http://www.oragenics.com/
They have two 800 numbers; (866) 998-9935 and (877) 803-2624 Ext. 251

It only costs $14.95 plus shipping for a 60 day supply (for a limited time; usually that price is for just 30 days' supply), and since Carmella seems to be prone to bad breath I decided to give it a try. It's most likely better than having to rub her teeth and gums with anti-plaque mouthwash every few days (which only works temporarily). Most people seemed to notice an improvement in their dog or cat's breath and whiter teeth in anywhere from a few days to a month.

The beneficial bacteria used in this mixture is supposed to be specifically to balance mouth bacteria unlike those longer-known vaieties that work on the digstive tract.

Inside the container is a small scoop and yellowish sort of pale peach-colored powder. The directions say to take that pre-measured dosage and then sprinkle it on the dog's (or cat's) food once a day. The beneficial bacteria act the same way in this same dosage for any size animal, and start to crowd out the potentially harmful bacteria that cause bad breath, dental problems, or gum disease. It will be very interesting to see whether it really does work as well as it claims. If so then it will be very helpful to my readers who have dogs and/or cats. If it is effective it sure beats having Carmella's teeth cleaned every year. Last year I had that done and it was expensive and with all the other medical expenses I'm struggling to pay off for Carmella's medical care it would be nice to find an alternative that is cheaper, works just as well, and doesn't requre that she go under general anesthesia!

Tomorrow night I will give this to her at dinner, and will keep you posted over the next few weeks on how it goes and if/when I notice any improvement. As a control, I'll take pictures of her teeth tomorrow for comparison. They don't look too bad currently but might have some yellowing in some areas. Her breath right now is not the worst its been but it's not great and if she breathes on me it definitely stinks!

If you would like to help Carmella, this adorable special needs dog please consider starting your holiday shopping in my Etsy jewelry shop; Giftbearer and for jewelry or craft supplies; GiftbearerSupply , use the donation button at the top righthand side, or purchase a little banner ad on my blog where it says "Are you in my Top Spots", through Scratchback. Thanks for your support of my work and of Carmella.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Carmella Comes Home!
 Carmella is home and feeling much better. Her leg is purple but the swelling is not near as bad as before. It looks as though the snake venom went all the way up her thigh to her stomach.
 She still has loose stools but is eating again and drinking plenty of water, and she has much more energy although actually seems calmer than she usually is, content to lounge around on my bed.  She has jumped up to listen to something outside the window once or twice but doesn't seem on pins and needles at every sound as she usually is.

 She spent some time in the kitchen earlier this evening chewing on a bone and I can tell that she knows the worst is over. The purple bandage on her right front leg is where they had the IV. That bandage can come off tomorrow.
I don't know how long it will take for all thr bruising to go away, but the vet wants to check her again in a week.
I noticed that a vein or artery is showing very dark through her skin on her inner thigh. It's visible in the picture above.

The company that was supposed to come out yesterday to look for the snakes is coming on Monday instead because the man who was assigned got tied up removing bats from a elderly woman's house on Thursday. I had hoped he could have the nesting areas identified before Carmella came home. So far I have not seen any when I've looked around myelf but they could be somewhere I can't see like the big burrow underneath the width of the back porch that some other animal made. Just in case, I am keeping a close eye on her and taking her out on the leash until the guy comes to inspect.
 Carmella will be on 4 medications every 12 hours for awhile;
* Prednisone (20mgs)

* Ciprofloxacin (250 mgs.; 1/2 tablet (125mg. every 12 hours)

* Cephalexin (500 mgs.; 2 Tablets every 12 hours)

*  Metronidazole (500 mgs. every 12 hours)

Eek! After the emergency visit Monday night and treatment overnight for 3 days at her regular vet's, the bill is somewhere around $1,500 already. I was just beginning to make a dent in her previous medical bills when this emergency happened.

If you would like to help her there are several ways to do that;

* Purchase one of the ad spots through Scratchback on my blog in the sidebar

* Use the Donate To Carmella button at the top; donate via Paypal

* Purchase Jewelry from Giftbearer

* Purchase jewelry supplies/craft supplies from  GiftbearerSupply

The holidays are coming up and I have lots of variety in both Etsy online shops to choose from be it a piece of finished jewelry or something to help you create finished jewelry or other crafts. I make a point of offering alot of one of a kind and limited stock items.

I found this video on YouTube that might be helpful to those of you who have animals. It is the season for these venomous snakes to be restless and with the weather changing these seem to be more on edge and more likely to bite.

The dog in the first video was bitten by a rattlesnake, not a copperhead, but the clip is interesting also because apparently someone has developed a vaccine to help protect dogs from these bites.

The dogs n these videos below were bitten by a copperheads;



There is a product I found out about that is supposed to repel snakes from your yard called Snake Away;

Here's another;

I don't know whether these work or not but they might.

Some people claim that moth balls repel snakes but I can't stand the smell of moth balls!

I found this video on snake repellents which says the strong smell in some of these confuses the snakes;

http://www.foxlabs.com/ makes one that is supposed to be eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets.

Carmella has been sleeping soundly tonight while I've been on the computer and researching on Youtube.

I'll continue to keep you posted on her recovery.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carmella's Snake Bite Update

One of the vet techs at Dr. Norwood's office called me back to let me know that Carmella is doing better today. She said she was glad to see her alive when she came into work today and that it was a good thing that the bites were as far as possible from her heart. She has much more energy today and was able to get up to go to the bathroom outside.

Her inner thigh is all black because of bruising but so far no flesh has fallen off.  The swelling has gone down almost to normal after the Prednisone they gave her.

She is not eating though and has diarrhea so they are going to try to feed her by hand with some special high nutrient food. They think maybe the poison from the snakes could be affecting her digestive tract.

This dog truly has nine lives!

Tomorrow a company called Rid-a-Critter  which offers a free assessment is sending out somebody to look at the yard and see if they can find any snakes or identify what holes they might be using. The woman on the phone told me that this time of year they may not even stay in dens if they do have them and they are on the move so there's no guarantee they'll still be here when they look and they might have just been passing through. I hope there is something they can do which will prevent them from coming into the yard so Carmella will be safe and it won't happen again. Maybe they can also address my squirrel problem. They have been gnawing the wood near the roof of my house at odd hours of the morning and night.

I need to make alot more sales this month because although the pet insurance should cover a good bit of the recent vet bills it could take awhile to be reimbursed and it doesn't cover it all.

Currently I'm working on a new Budding Vine bracelet and a few other pieces but with all the stuff related to this emergency that needs doing I literally haven't had time to work on much.

I miss Carmella and look forward to when she comes home; if all goes well, before the weekend.
Carmella is Bitten by Nest of Copperheads

Monday night I let Carmella out in the back yard as I usually do before turning in for the night so that she could go to the bathroom. She was out there for about 15 minutes and had not come back to the door yet, so I called her to see if she was finished. She came to the back door a little more slowly than usual. Anybody who knows Carmella knows she never does anything slowly, and usually runs back inside at top speed.

As she entered the livingroom I noticed she was limping and upon closer inspection I saw that her back leg was very swollen, so much that the dewclaw on that leg stuck out. Her leg looked blown up like a balloon animal. At first I thought she had broken it, but then I saw two little puncture marks starting to bleed a few inches above the paw on the side of her leg and that's when I realized it must have been a snake bite.

Within about 10 minutes her paw was also bleeding. It was about 11:00 PM and Carmella's regular vet's office was closed. The only option was to take her to the one emergency vet in Dekalb County, and since I don't have a car and couldn't think of anybody to call at that late hour, I called the emergency clinic to confirm that I should bring her in, then called a taxi. I never know how long it will take to get a taxi late at night but  think the fact that it was a week day worked to my advantage. Had it been on the weekend it might have taken alot longer for one to arrive.

Even so, it probably took about a half-hour  and by that time Carmella was bleeding all over the kitchen floor and was starting to pant and whimper. What was coming out was more plasma than blood and it was fairly sticky. I was worried that she might collapse before a cab showed up so I called the emergency clinic back to see if they knew of any vet that made house-calls just in case things got critical and we didn't have time to get there.

The woman on the phone did locate the name of one vet but she wasn't sure if she worked late at night or not. I was hoping I wouldn't need to use that option and that we'd get to the clinic in time.

Carmella's leg was so painful I couldn't even wrap it in a T-shirt to keep dirt out of the wound.

We arrived at the emergency clinic and it seemed surprisingly quiet. There was just one dog in there other than Carmella, but it was a pretty lengthy process and after I'd filled out the paperwork Carmella and I waited for some time in a room before we finally saw the vet. Carmella was still in alot of pain and I finally had to go find someone to ask that they give her something for that. All I could think of was how the venom was still surging through her body out of control.

I think it took about 2 hours before she got any treatment after they'd prepared 3 different written quotes. Then they took her in the back area to clean the wounds, check to see how quickly her blood was clotting, give her pain medication, and some fluids under her skin.

She started whimpering when they shaved that hair on the leg where she had been bitten. The vet explained that it looked as though she had multiple bites between her toes as well as on her leg; some on both sides of the leg, and that most likely she had stepped in a nest of baby Copperheads because this is the time of year for them, and the babies tend to release all their venom unlike adults that only release a controlled amount. She said for that reason being bitten by baby snakes was worse.

Apparently there had been quite a few cases coming into the emergency clinic recently. Carmella fared better than smaller dogs because of the ratio of body weight to venom even though she probably had alot of venom in her. Even so, that was not a huge consolation because the full extent of the venom's effects would not be known until after a few days had passed. Among the risks are possible necrosis (tissue death), clotting problems, need for plasma transfusions, loss of function in the area bitten, and a whole host of other effects.

Neither human nor animal emergency departments use anti-venom for Copperheads much anymore because the side effects are almost worse than the venom. Pretty much all they can do is supportive care and hope for the best. There is no real way to prevent the effects of the venom and each dog reacts differently. Some recover completely without any necrosis, whereas others have some scarring, and still others may be severely impacted with big chunks of flesh falling off and need skin grafts to repair the damage.

The emergency clinic closes at 8:00 AM and since I knew we would need to go to Carmella's regular vet in the morning I figured it wasn't worth taking a cab back home and coming back at 8:00 to pivk her up and home again in another cab, as the faire was about $22.00 each way! I had this vet at the emergency clinic do what she could to get Carmella through the night safely and then planned to get a few hours of sleep before heading off to Dr. Norwood's office in the morning. Carmella was still in pain after she'd been given some medication and we got back home around 4 AM. She didn't want to lie down and was whimpering for the rest of the night, but finally I think we both got about 2 hours of sleep before Dr. Norwood's office opened.

When I woke up and it was quiet I tiptoed to the kitchen to check on her and make sure she was still breathing. She was but she seemed to be breathing more shallowly than usual. Knowing that somehow I was going to have to get her back into a taxi to go the the vet I slowly woke her although I hated to do that since while asleep was the only time she was not in pain. I got her to reluctantly drink a little yogurt juice (one of her favorite treats), and got the leash to try to give her time to go to the bathroom. Luckily she did get up and hobbled on three legs outside with me, peed, and came back inside. I took her out the front because I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any snakes out there near the driveway.

When I put her back inside I called the taxi and since it would be 15 minutes or so before we would be picked up I took a stick and went out the back way by myself to see if I could find where the snakes were living or whether I could find any dead snakes. I looked at nearly every corner of the yard except a pile of sticks and the outer edge near the fence on the opposite side, but saw no trace of them. Knowing Carmella I wouldn't be surprised if she ate them after they bit her. She has a strong predatory instinct and I have seen her kill small animals in about two bites and then quickly wolf them down before anyone could get them away from her; even squirrels, birds, and possoms.

I may need to find an expert to locate the den and remove them if she did not kill/eat them because I'm concerned it might happen again. It's worrisome that they may not be gone. There are a few holes in the yard; one big one under the house, and smaller ones in a few other areas of the yard where they could be hiding.

When we arrived at Dr. Norwood's office I couldn't get her to get out of the car, so the male vet tech who works there had to come out and carry her into the office. We went into a room right away and it wasn't long before several staff were in there and then Dr. Norwood came in to take a look at her.

He was very concerned; more so even than the emergency vet, and he said he thought it would be a good idea to hospitalize her and treat her aggressively with intrvenous fluids, antibotics, and prednisone. I'm not a big fan of prednisone but probably short-term it won't do Carmella any harm and it might get the swelling down more quickly. The swelling in her leg really looks extreme. If it got any worse I'd worry it would burst, and that wouldn't be good at all.

Dr. Norwood reiterated what the other vet had said about what could happen over the next few days and said that if she ends up needing a plasma transfusion they will have to take her to the emergency clinic at night to have that done because his clinic doesn't generally keep plasma on hand. It's a small office and doesn't have as many medical supplies as the larger vet's offices in town. I also recommended calling Dr. Muller at Briarcliff Animal Clinic if that ended up being necessary. That way maybe they could give or sell Dr. Norwood  the plasma to take back to his office and Carmella wouldn't have to get in and out of a car again.

I'm hoping that there won't be any complications or permanent tissue damage and that she will start healing now that she is under 24 hour care.

If everything goes well she should be ready to come home on Friday, and they'll send her home with some oral medications to continue here.

The house feels empty without Carmella, my little buddy. I'm not getting much sleep tonight. Hopefully I'll have some news tomorrow about how she's doing. To keep myself occupied I created a treasury list on snakes. Craftcult doesn't seem to be working to post it here directly, so here's a link; http://www.etsy.com/treasury/Mzg1NXw3MTYyNTM2MzY/if-it-was-a-snake-it-would-have-bit-you

Friday, July 29, 2011

Delicious Sprout Meals
Veggie Sub with Crimson & Clover Sprout Mix

Here are just a few of the numerous dishes I made with the variety of sprouts available! This sandwich was gobbled up quickly. The Crimson & Clover mix was fresh and crunchy but at the same time very light.

California Mungzuki Salad

The Mungzuki Mix combines Mung Bean and Adzuki sprouts, both substantial and robust. This mix is perfect when you want something a little more substantial. It's a good substitute for meat while at the same time light enough to use in salads. In addition to mixing it with feta and avacado as you see here, I've also made salads combining it with steamed asparagus.

Tex Mex Black Bean Soft Tacos with Sunflower Sprouts

If you love Mexican or Tex Mex style food then try the organic Black Sunflower Sprouts with corn tortillas and your favorite fixings! Sunflower Sprouts are thick and hearty and can be used in place of lettuce in any fresh dish. I would normally put Avacados in this too but ran out when the sprouts were ready to use.

These sprouts have a distinctive "green" flavor which is both refreshing and earthy. They have lots of chloraphyl in them, especially if you put them where they can get some light during the few days before harvest. When you eat them you can really tell you're eating something packed with nutrition!

I have even noticed my skin feeling more youthful since eating all these sprouts over the past few weeks!

Besides, I think I've grown about 2 pounds of this material and still have about half of the seeds left. It has saved me alot of money at the grocery store this month! I plan to continue this on a regular basis!

If you'd like to give this a try go to Moonlight Micro-farm and purchase some seeds for yourself.

She's currently offering a 15% discount to readers who enter the coupon code ALN15OFF at check-out! Be sure to try out her seeds and make use of this deal soon. You'll
be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Woman Prosecuted (and Persecuted) for Growing Vegetables in Her Own Yard!
OMG! Tonight as I was looking for some tips to help my fruit trees on Youtube I was getting ready to sign off when I came upon the story of Julie Bass, a woman from Oak Park, Michigan who was in the National news recently because she's being taken to court by the City, and could even face jail time for growing a vegetable garden in her front yard. The City cites some vague policy that says plantings in the front yard in the City must be "suitable plant material" although there is nothing that actually states that vegetables are not suitable. They are interpreting "suitable" to mean that which is "common" in the area. As a fellow planter and supporter of DIY I could not go to bed without writing about this in my blog, as from what I understand, her court date is today.

There were several videos about this situation posted on Youtube, one of them from a man in California with a magnificent vegetable garden, producing enough fresh food probably to fully sustain him. More and more people have to resort to growing their own food (myself included).

I went to her blog; oakparkhatesveggies.wordpress.com and also read some of her own postings, one of which really moved me. It was about the fact that the city had villified her and attempts to set her apart from those in her community but in reality she's not really any different from anyone else.

She lives in a neighborhood where most of her neighbors actually like what she's done with her yard and the neighborhood children enjoy helping with the gardening. She is somebody who was just going about the business of living and some busybody took it upon herself to turn her in (and that particular neighbor after turning her life upside down over what should have been a non-issue hid behind a disguised voice when interviewed by the TV news station, and wouldn't allow her face or identity to be revealed).

It occurred to me that not only was this mightily unfair that such a thing could have been so blown out of proportion based on one complaint but it could very possibly be unconstitutional; a violation of her property or other rights to live as a free citizen of the United States.

Would the city of Oak Park rather she seek government assistance to pay for food than for her to grow her own? Clearly they have not fully thought through the full ramifications of their position. And if they should prevail in court what is that going to do in other municipalities where other people have to rely on home grown food for their survival? Hunger in this country is very real and ever-present and right now with unemployment being at an all-time high (and many unemployed are not even officially counted), the citizens of this country cannot afford to lose any liberties.

Food prices are increasing yet salaries are not. Those who are not out and out laid off from their jobs are likely to have their salary cut and/or have their hours reduced. Many people still cannot afford health insurance. Governments all over this country are saying they cannot afford to operate and are cutting back needed and vital services.

Going after private citizens in their own homes to challenge what they choose to do with their own yards is not the answer and it will accomplish nothing but making both parties increasingly broke.

Before I get too long-winded with this I want to let you readers know what you can do to support Julie Bass in her good fight against this ludicrous ordinance. To reach somebody fastest

Please e-mail Kevin Rulkowski (Director/City Planner) at krulkowski@ci.oak-park.mi.us
and/or call (248) 691-7450
Fax: (248) 691-7165
Mon-Thurs. 8 AM - 5 PM

I just sent off this e-mail to Mr. Rulkowski;

Dear Director Rulkowski,

I have been hearing about the plight of Julie Bass on the news and on the web and would like to ask that you drop this case against her and allow her to continue to grow produce in her front yard. It is my understanding that only one neighbor disagreed with the vegetable garden and that the majority of the community is behind Ms. Bass in this use of her yard.

This one neighbor should not be allowed to blow such a thing so out of proportion and cause trouble for this woman who is only trying to live her life. This garden is doing nothing dangerous to anyone in her community and it sounds as though the root of the controversy is merely a matter of personal taste.

I think if you'd really think about this you'd realize that to legislate against something like this would set a very bad precedent and at a time when many branches of government are operating at a severe deficit and that persuing charges against someone for something like this really takes money away from much more serious matters.

Besides, would you rather people go for public assistance to pay for their food? Don't you think the alternative to growing your own food would be even more costly? Think about if you or someone in your own family were laid off or not making enough money to eat for the whole month. What would you do? Wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to remain independant and provide for your family? That is all this woman is trying to do. What she does with her own property should be her decision as long as it does not endanger anybody else, and this doesn't.

That one neighbor might not like how it looks, but part of being neighbors is having tolerance for how others live their lives even if you wouldn't live that way, and it sends the wrong message to indulge somebody who has made a mountain out of a mole hill when there really isn't a vital reason for it. This is a difficult time in our country and instead of divisiveness our government officials should be encouraging communities to pull together and support one another, not to nitpick every tiny detail nor to abuse local ordinances and make others' lives that much harder.

There may come a time when growing a garden in one's front yard becomes a necessity for most people and that time may be sooner than you think. It is likely that this recession is going to continue for quite awhile and the worst may be yet to come.

Why not give this woman a break and consider this her personal decision and something the government should stay out of. There may be constitutional issues that supercede City ordinances on this issue anyhow. People have been gardening for food since the days of the early settlers and I think a case could be made that it is a well-accepted practice even in today's society.


Pippit Carlington
If any of you readers grow edible plants I hope you'll do the same because this affects all of us ultimately. We sure don't want other municipalities following this bad legislation/policy. Citizens should have the ultimate control over what they/we eat, and should be allowed to grow it where we live, and no government entity should have the right to place restrictions on that choice.
You can also post links and info on your blogs and Facebook page, forums, etc,  if you have them.
Ther's also a petition you can sign here; http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/oak-park-hates-veggies/
I'll be posting part II about the sprout dishes soon, but this story was too important to put off another minute.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moonlight Micro-Farm Helps People Eat Well 
Despite a Tough Economy

The cost of food has been steadily increasing in recent months so I had to think of a creative solution to make the most of the same amount of money I get each month, as I started to run out of food before the end of the month. Extreme times call for extreme measures although if one harkens back to simpler times it's not really so extreme to grow your own food. The concept of Micro-farming makes doing so relatively easy and user-friendly. My property is not the best for growing vegetables because it's covered by trees and doesn't get much direct sun. I have 2 Granny Smith apple trees and 1 Peach tree that I'd had high hopes for at the time I planted them but after several years have produced no harvestable fruit, and tomato and other seedling plants in recent years have had their roots eaten by in-ground bugs, attacked by aphids, or turned yellow and died before I could recover anything edible from them.

As I looked at various goodies on Etsy I came across some listings for seeds which could be sprouted for food, and this idea started to look more and more attractive and viable to me the more I looked into it. A search on Youtube yielded alot of videos made by people who were benefitting greatly from this approach; people even in areas of the country where fresh vegetables were unavailable in their local grocery stores during Winter months! Did you know that sprouts pack about 10 times the nutrition of their resulting fully-grown plants? They are full of anti-oxidants and natural fiber!

I convoed Chandra Hartman at Moonlight Micro-Farm, an Etsy shop offering such  harvestable seeds and asked her how much seed I'd need to last me the summer and she helped me to come up with a nice array of varieties that would last me, and I'm so glad I did because even after a few weeks the box of seeds has already paid for itself! Rather than needing to go to the grocery store each week to replace my perishable vegetation I have only had to go maybe twice, and that has been mainly to replace other foods like dairy and meat products!

All Chandra's seeds are grown organically and in addition to the sprouting varieties she also offers everything from mini Watermelon to Artichoke and Brussels Sprout seeds in addition to the more common vegetable and herb seeds.

I bought the Crimson and Clover , Mungzuki , and the Organic Black Sunflower Seeds and I created some recipes especially for each type of sprout.

The Mungzuki

and Crimson and Clover

sprouted easily without incident, but the black sunflower seeds were a little more finnicky.

After soaking 8-12 hours, then rinsing the seeds twice a day for 3-4 days in a row I got this jarfull of big, fat, juicy sprouts!

Please do try this at home;

You'll need:

* A flat container; preferably with small drainage holes in the bottom
* Something to place underneath for excess water to drain into
* A spray bottle
* Potting soil
* A cover (optional but not absolutely necessary)

I got a flat at Walmart but they didn't have the kind I really needed with small drain holes, so I had to get the one that included peat pellets with a little insert that had square nitches and holes about the size of a nickel.

I removed the peat pellets and decided to try to put a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom of the tray so that dirt wouldn't just fall through the holes.

Then I put a 1 inch layer of Jiffy brand seed-starting potting soil in the tray on top of the packing peanuts.

Then I poured out the sunflower sprouts in the tray on top of the dirt, spread them out evenly,

and then covered them with about 1/4 inch more of dirt. I sprayed the dirt with the spray bottle so that all the dirt was moist but not too saturated.

Then I covered it and put it in the bathroom in the dark to let the seeds form roots and start to grow.

Well the planting results of my first batch were not as good as they were when the seeds were in the jar.

I think it was the packing peanuts or else they were too crowded. These didn't ultimately make it. I noticed that some people who had videos on Youtube just planted theirs without drainage and theirs came out just fine, so this time I planted a smaller batch in a glass container. Here were the results step by step;

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

At day 6 I noticed that the sprouts had two leaves but were only 2 inches long and they were beginning to go in wild directions rather than growing upright. I figured I better cut them and eat them the next day for lunch jut in case they might be in the dirt too long. This seemed to help and as a result the ones that were not as far along that had been lying down grew longer and more upright again! It was like when you prune rose bushes or trees. It seemed to free them up so that they could make full use of their resources.

Day 8

Some of the seed casings are stubborn and don't want to come off by themselves, so after this picture was taken I picked off the persistant ones.

Meanwhile as I'm waiting to get another batch of edible sprouts from this container I started another one. It's a good idea to time them so that you can have sprouts ready to eat at all times by staggering the preparation and planting.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this story where I'll show you some of the delicious meals I prepared with my sprouts!

In the meantime, grow some yourself and see just how delicious home-grown can be!

To get started on your own indoor micro-gardening adventure go to Moonlight Micro-Farm now!