Thursday, March 29

Interior Design: Idea Slices

Hover your mouse over the thumbnails to see each photo's title. To the right of the title is a "Photo Link" which takes you to my flickr page so you can see the larger sizes.

I am working here with the concept of interior design, both literally and metaphorically.

Slices of what I see everyday and any day.

Slices of the natural world: Nature's product samples.

Paint Chips/ Nature Chips

Let's have fun with this - you don't have to be a professional! You only have to let your mind and heart play.

  • Where does Design come from anyway?
  • Where does Inspiration come from?
  • What makes something a work of art as opposed to just a lifelike copy or a fatihful reproduction of an existing object, color combination or texture?
  • How do our own personal filters operate to create inside us, something unique out of the deluge of sensations we swim through every day?

Do you remember an art teacher telling you as a child, "Try to make your horse look like a horse." or "Tree's have brown trunks and green leaves -- not green trunks and blue leaves!" I do. Fortunately I also had art teachers and other mentors who encouraged me to see things my way.

Metaphorical Interior Design: design a place where you feel at home. A place where you can be yourself. A place that reflects who you are, in your choice of furniture, floor and window coverings, accents, colors, upholstery and art-on-the-walls ... what is your interior like? How much does it really fit you?

Monday, March 26

World Changing: a User's Guide to the 21st Century

World Changing is the next book for us and I'm going to buy it from our local independent bookstore rather than Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

World Changing: A User's Guide to to 21st Century,
is being hailed as the "Whole Earth Catalog for this millennium" (how many of my readers still have Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog on your bookshelves? Do you remember when it first came out in the late 60s? -- I think it was '68 -- now that was a world changing publication (I mean the first Whole Earth Catalog along with it's succeeding versions ...)

Al Gore wrote the forward. Here's a quote:

To build that future, we need a generation of everyday heroes, people who – whatever their walks of life – have the courage to think in fresh ways and to act to meet this planetary crisis head-on. This book belongs in the library of every person who aspires to be part of that generation. -- Al Gore

Check out the World Changing website - it's full of good stuff, very do-able ideas. If you want to do your part to "save the planet" and just need a bunch of good ideas to get you started, this site has it all -- and a weekly newsletter you can sign up for.

Thursday, March 22

World Water Day, April 22nd 2007

In honor of World Water Day, March 22, 2007, today, I am posting a few links to water conservation specifically for gardening and landscaping because that's what I do for a living (landscape design specializing in design of waterwise landscapes and sustainable gardens) and because lately I have been working on some native grass meadow and lawn projects, and this ties right in .... so here we go:

World Water Day Links:

Xeriscaping & Water Conservaton Links:

Edited to add these two photos of my mom, Pat, with her Raging Grannies group. They sang and performed for World Water Day in Kelowna, BC. My mom is the one in the turquoise shawl. Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, March 18

Worried about Pet Food? Make Your Own!

Recent news of a recall of major cat and dog food brands made me even more appreciative of the benefits of preparing a homemade raw-food diet for our 18 year old retriever, Sam. If you read the list of brands being recalled, you might wonder if there is any commercially available food for your beloved pets. I bet there will be a run on raw meat, eggs and oatmeal over the next few weeks!

Now I worry about the millions of cats and dogs in families across Canada and the USA, who have been fed the commercial pet foods that were recalled this week. Some pets have died of kidney failure after eating food made by some of the major brands.

Menu Foods, the Ontario, Canada-based company that produced the pet food, said Saturday it was recalling dog food sold throughout North America under 48 brands and cat food sold under 40 brands including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The food was distributed by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.

The company said it makes pet food for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.

Our cat Sadie, died in late January after an acute and very sudden kidney failure. She lived at Tim's woodworking shop -- and was loved by everyone who came in contact with her. We nursed Sadie for a week and finally had to make the decision to euthanize her when it became clear she would not recover. It was really sad -- and we were left wondering how the kidney disease could come on so fast! Now we are suspicious that the food Tim was feeding Sadie, Special Kitty Meat Pouches, was the cause of her sudden disease. Special Kitty is on the list of Cat Food Brands being Recalled this week.

Unfortunately we haven't come up with a recipe for raw cat food that our other cat, Baggins, will eat. He's pretty picky. My mom feeds her cats exclusively a raw food diet that she purchases from my sister, Dr. Moira Drosdevech, a holistic veterinarian in Kelowna, BC. I may just have to redouble my efforts to concoct something Baggins will eat. I don't want him to suffer the same illness Sadie had.

Many of my readers are familiar with my frequent posts about Sam -- our flatcoated retriever who, at 18 years old, has outlived all the other flatcoats I know. We have been feeding Sam variations of a homemade diet for many years. Currently he gets 100% homemade diet. Sam relishes his "Healthwise Raw Food Cakes," and I'm convinced that this homemade organic diet is largely responsible for his longevity.

We were amazed when Sam turned 16 a couple of years ago .... now that he is 18 years old, we consider him kindof a "miracle dog."

Awhile back, I wrote a blog post about homemade dog food, including a list of ingredients I use for Sam's Healthwise Raw Food Cakes. That post also had other notes and recipes for homemade dog treats. Over the years, I have refined my dog food recipe and recorded the amounts I use so I could share it with my readers. The dog and cat food recall has motivated me to write out my recipe today, knowing that thousands of pet owners will be looking for what to feed their pets until the commercial pet food companies can convince us their foods are safe!

Here is my tried-and-true recipe with some photos I took during preparation.
This is a document you can print out and use for your own pets. For write me an email for permission to reproduce the recipe for anything other than personal use. Thank you and Enjoy!

List of Dog Food Brands being Recalled
List of Cat Food Brands being Recalled
List of FDA consumer complaint numbers, to report a suspected link between your pet's health and the food you have been feeding.
Google search results for recalled pet food stories

My Recipe again, for Sam's Healthwise Rawfood Cakes

Friday, March 16

A party for a very old dog ...

Happy Birthday Sam!

Today we are having a party for Sam, who is 18 this year. That is really old for a big dog like Sam (a flatcoated retriever) The real party is already over (all the cake is in Sam's stomach) but you're invited to head over to the virtual party at Flickr to wish Sam a Happy Birthday and whatever else you want to tell him. I promise to convey all greetings to Sam in person. Plus hugs, ear and belly scratches, etc... he's loving it.

Birthday Cake with Steak, Apples, Raspberries and Salad

His cake is made of the homemade raw 'salad' he gets to eat everyday. I made it special by topping the cake with raspberries, and surrounding it with juicy apply slices and mouth-watering raw steak cut in little pieces (otherwise, I swear Sam would eat the entire steak in one gulp)


Sam wouldn't look at his 18 candles while they were burning so we had to wave them out for Sam ...

Tim's sister, Ann showed up just in time for Sam's cake. She brought Amy and Ashley with her (Tim's niece and great-niece) -- they were just dropping by on their way from Pocatello to Missoula. It was nice to have some other folks to help us celebrate.

Of course, Baggins (our cat) who is best friends with Sam had a few pieces of steak but he wouldn't eat the apples.

I posted directions for making your own party hats here.

Thursday, March 1

Poetry Thursday: Love the Place You're With

Portent Portent II
Landscape with Red Gesture Snow Angel I


Last night, just moments before the sun went behind the ridge, I stopped along Prickly Pear Creek just a little south of East Helena. There, the creek runs between two ridges and has been used and abused for years, by locals who toss beer cans and garbage in the gulch,and by hunters who discard elk and deer carcasses after taking what meat and trophy parts they want to keep.

I had driven by this creek numerous times, though I hadn't stopped until now. I had Sam with me and we both wanted to get out someplace new. So, this is where we ended up. I had to keep Sam on a leash for this walk - if I hadn't, he would have availed himself of the opportunity to douse with that special fragrance loved by dogs -- "Eau de Carcasse." There were at least 30 carcasses along the stretch of water we walked. Eeeuwww!

I had my camera with me, of course. The light was fading fast and I knew I had to hurry to catch it before nightfall. As I looked around for something that appealed to me -- a scene or detail I might want to shoot, I thought about what many people have told me when they see my photographs of Montana -- that I must live in Paradise, that Montana is so beautiful, pristine, that they want to visit here, to see what (I) see.

Yet here I was, scanning this trashed-out, dumping place for some little detail to photograph. It was worse than a garbage dump. This creek with its sad parking spots, its lovers' lane, its game carcasses strewn in the bushes ... this damaged wetland was a stark testimonial of how little we humans care for the earth.

In anger, I almost turned right around to leave. But something in the water caught my eye. A beaver dam, breached in the middle, icy willow branches bravely stacked against the winter, against the beavers' predators. The little dam was something I needed to see last night - it was a glimmer of optimism, of hope, in this trashed out riverbottom.

I sat for a few minutes, just feet from the large ribcage of an elk. I scolded Sam for being too interested in the bones. He put his head on his paws and watched me shoot -- quickly -- as the light changed and the water shape-shifted.

I wanted to redeem my species somehow, to reach back in time, find the memory of who this little dancing creek had once been, before the cement plant started polluting the waters, before people started using the valley as an unofficial dump and drinking place ... I wanted to catch the narrow slice of sky reflected in Prickly Pear Creek. I wanted to remember, with my mind's eye and my camera, the way graceful branches danced with the current.

Night Swimmers for Bruce Grant

I tossed a stone just upstream of the beaver dam. I clicked and clicked the camera shutter until I could see only the beauty of water, of evening, of a beaver's industry and natural design ...

until I could see
only the deep
blue sky and black
branches and golden
light swimming in
blue night

This is how to see the place
where you belong.
This is how to love
the places you spend your days
and nights.
Look under the surface
love the beauty you find there
no matter where you are.


Singing Land

Your burning skies are never-ending
Across your red brush plains
Out where the dingo still is king and eternity remains
There between the old and ancient there's an oasis bright
Your gentle children who have gone are close to me tonight

In your singing land, in your singing land
Shine on, oh shine on over me

There's a feeling still and eerie, there's a feeling strong
The path humanity has come and the path that he has gone
Me I am I am just passing three score years and ten
And I'm just a stranger who may never come this way again

In your singing land, in your singing land
Shine on, oh shine on over me

Under the spell of caterpillar dreaming
New life shapes its form
Along the river's naked banks
That are straining for the storm
Oh sacred rock, in thunder ocean
The tree of man grows clear
The woodlarks sing, the brolgas dance and
Dawn is slipping near
-- song by Dougie MacLean

I have put together an audio/visual experience for you in this little slideshow with Dougie Maclean's song (above) To listen and watch the slideshow, click the arrow in the center of the screen below:

Posted for Poetry Thursday's totally optional prompt for this week, which I am totally ignoring. As usual. ;-D or check out the other poetry posts for this week by clicking this button:

I posted the first bunch of photos in this set, Love the Place You're with, last winter ... this winter I went back to the same place to see if I had a similar response to the place and I did. It has imprinted itself in me. It has become a numinous thing for me. It has become the kind of place that shows up in my dreams.