Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year - To those that have warmly welcomed us to the Blogpaws and Bloghop community and for those that support Animal Rescue and Education--A very happy and blessed New Year--warm and safe with your furever homes--Abby the Lab and her Family

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Abby Adventures

Mom was working late and didn't get up at 5 a.m. yesterday, like she usually does so I barked once to wake her up in case she forgot. She said it was a "day off". 

But she stayed up and after letting me out, she made eggnog pancakes for Dad.
I offered to catch them like a Frisbee but she said no.  She's no fun at all early in the morning.

But she and Dad are both home and the weather has been unusually warm in Chicago.  There are still leaves on the ground and it hasn't snowed yet!
The bat thermometer says it's 40. My new home is small but it's snug and warm.  Mom says it's a "Mission Bungalow".  I don't know if that's like "Mission Impossible" but I like it and they let me nap on the sofas which is just awesome.
I helped Mom bundle up some books she autographed and is donating to PAWS - No Kill Animal Shelter for a fundraiser they are having in March.  Mom is helping other dogs and cats  like me that ended up in a shelter without a furever home and PAWS is making sure they do all they can to help.
Oh boy - her friends are here.  They drove all the way from another town to see me again.
Mrs. O is Native American and has the most beautiful black hair, just like me.
She said my fur is SO soft and shiny and called me "Princess Wondercoat."

Pet me, pet me, pet me.
I like Mom and Dad's friends.

After visiting with them, dominoes were played and my people did a lot of laughing.
Mom made roasted red pepper lasagna for dinner.  And biscuits.  I suggested stuffing the Kong with the lasagna, but again - she said no. I love my mom but she's seriously stingy with the people food though I get some tasty doggie food with sweet potato and other nummy things in it.
Pretty soon the sun started to go down.  One more walk for me!
Then Mom and Dad put on their PJ's and bathrobes to watch TV with me after the dishes were done (seriously - I said I could lick them clean).
Dad's pajamas are funny.  Mom bought them for Valentine's Day for him.

We sat in the family room and watched the TV show Bones.  Bones!  Bones!  So many bones! I like my furever home.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Black and White Blog Hop!

Barkley the Lavatory Retriever fetches the last roll.  Unfortunately it's full of holes.

We miss Barkley - but he still gives us so many memories in words and pictures - Abby the Lab and her Mom

Join  Black and White Blog Hop Hosts


For the fun!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Santa Paws Was Here!

See that neat bag with the paw prints underneath the 1960's Aluminum tree? Santa Paws left that! Mom came home and found it in the bin on the covered porch with my leash that the lady who walks me during the day uses.
Is that for me?

She's a really nice lady, and at Thanksgiving she also gave me a toy and gave Mom some sugar cookies which I didn't get as Mom said the sugar is not good for me, so I got treats. Mom said they were awesome people treats.

Oh boy - gifts from Santa Paws!  There were toys in there and a card and Mom found these two cookies. She remembered how good those sugar cookies were and she and Dad bit into these.
They got funny looks on their faces. Apparently, these were treats for me, with no sugar in the actual cookie and they were VERY crunchy.  I didn't mind the teeth marks and I thought they were delicious!

But Mom's now looking for a treat to get the taste of the treat out of her mouth.

Abby the Lab

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

See What Everyone's Barking About

The Book of Barkley
By LB Johnson
Outskirts Press, $13.99, 246 pages, Format: Trade

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

It started with the dream of a puppy, a dream that soon outdistanced practicality and well-meaning advice. This pensive memoir of the ten years L. B. Johnson shared with her dog Barkley will resonate with animal lovers everywhere, especially those who carry the memory of a beloved pet in their hearts.

“It is the story of someone that did not know his destiny, but followed it with unfaltering step, bound to me, not by vows or paper, but in the name of the trust that was the best part of his nature.”

The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever is a dog tale for sure. Barkley bounds across the pages leaving behind a plethora of anecdotes to keep the reader engaged and chuckling. There is a pajama-clad Johnson in her slippers chasing her black lab puppy through the neighborhood; the case of the missing pizza and a contented canine with pepperoni breath; and the classic irony of a dog that loves water and hates baths. Johnson is at home with description. She brings her furry soul mate to life with words.

At first it seems a weakness that initials replace first names or a brother is simply “Big Bro.” Specifics about place and time are shrouded. However, Johnson is generous with her interior life. Thoughts, feelings and impressions inspired by Barkley are throughout and lend a universal quality to their story. Like the author, most of us grapple with past loss, and worse still, the losses yet to come…still we take risks. Johnson writes, “Some things are just too precious to pass up even as we know we can’t hold them forever.”

Stories about great pets abound, yet there is always room for one more. The Book of Barkley holds its own in this genre. The give and take between delightful doggy antics retold and the author’s musings, often lyrical and heartbreaking, strikes a satisfying counterbalance. Like all animal lovers, Johnson realized many life lessons with Barkley as her companion, not the least of which that home is in the heart.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fridays with Friends

Why it's not a good idea to let the dog watch you make Grandma's glögg recipe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Second Chances

They say you can't get one dog to replace another and that is true. But when I lost my black lab Barkley, to an aggressive bone cancer, immediately followed by my only brother, also to cancer, I refused to even think about another heartbreak. As I penned their stories for the book I had put off writing for years, the tears flowed and with the tears, came healing.

Then I saw a picture of a little black lab mix at a local rescue. She was older, grey around her muzzle, dumped at a shelter where she languished for months. Something in me responded--for I came out of the foster system, with that brother of mine, and I remember what it was like to not be wanted.

So I got her, and her lively personality and deep love, healed my recent wounds.
"They say you cannot go home again, and perhaps as far as a childhood home, that is true. But what of the memories of other places we hold firm in our mind's eye. Some of them we have a name for, our elementary school, the river where we dove as far out as we could into the dark water, a place where church bells rang. In the Book of Genesis, all is drawn out of fluid chaos by its name, "God called the dry land Earth". Sometimes, the incredibly complex can be summed up in one word. I read in a story that the Inuit Indians have one such word to bring to conceivable life the fear and the awe that possesses them when they see across the ice, the approach of a polar bear. Some things have no words at all, their form remembered only in the etchings of tears." - From The Book of Barkley

But of those places, both named and unnamed, there are places you are drawn back to, years later, praying they are not changed, and knowing it will not be so. So it is that I am drawn back, to love, in the form of a black dog that is stealing both my slippers and my heart.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Drop a Bomb on Me, Baby

I'll SIT for a treat,  but do you have any idea how COLD  my butt is right now?

That had BETTER be a really good treat.

Barkley's No-Bake Nut Butter Bombs

3/4 cup 100% natural  unsweetened peanut or almond butter

pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk
1  and 1/4 cups slow cooking rolled oats (NOT instant oatmeal, it can contain salt)
1 Tablespoon fresh flax seed (ground in a blender first)

These treats are dairy free but always check with your vet first if your dog is food sensitive.  Peanut and almond butter based treats are safe for dogs, served in moderation but I only use the natural, ground in the store kind that has no added transfats and sugars which aren't good for dogs.

Mix nut butter, cinnamon and almond milk. Add in oats and ground flax seeds (mixture will be thick but you can add another Tbsp. of almond milk if it's too hard to work with).

Use a teaspoon to scoop and shape small balls.  Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate a couple of hours.

Keeps 3 weeks in airtight container in fridge or freeze some for later. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why Sleep is Better than the Internet - by Barkley

Top Ten Reasons Snoozing on the Couch is Better than Surfing the Web.

10.  I can't stick my head out of Windows 7.
9.    "You've got mail" less fun to bark at than actual mailman.
8.    I thought it was  What a disappointment!
7.    A butt sniff is more honest than most online dating sites.
6.    I can't mark where I've visited without getting yelled at.
5.    Bruised nose trying to catch MPEG ball.
4.    No Microsoft Opposable Thumb
3.    Mouse doesn't come with cat app
2.    Carpal Paw Syndrome

And the #1 reason?

SPAM and COOKIE's are not food ? !

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Abby Lab Sundays

"For I know the plans I have for you", says the LORD.  "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."--Jeremiah 20:11

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Barkley Goes Stick Fishing

There's something to be said for putting on a pair of hip boats and wading out into the middle of the Grey's River to go after some wily fish--Steelhead Fishing.

But in In the Midwest, we have a sport that is even better, at least if you're a canine.

Stick Fishing.

Leash (it's a city park, sorry Barkley)
One Redhead who is willing to get wet
One big creek
A few loose sticks found themselves carried down the creek to be snatched up in the jaws of the great Labrador Retriever like a Giant Grizzly.
You're going to have to get out there where it's a little deeper, that's where the sticks are.
Insert Planes Trains and Automobiles voice here -   "You're Going the Wrong WAY!
No, they come from UPSTREAM. Other way!
Just wait. .
I think I see another one coming!
I caught one!  This one's TROPHY sized!
The sticks didn't survive the mandible of death.

Neither did the frozen yogurt.

Friday, December 5, 2014

PAW IT FORWARD - Holiday Photo Contest

Miss Piggy is a lab rescue that belongs to an online friend and supporter of The Book of Barkley--  one of the folks at Lab Rescue of the LRCP (Maryland).

They've entered Miss Piggy in a photo contest for Quaker Pet Group.  VOTING ENDS IN JUST A FEW HOURS AND THERE'S ONLY 7 VOTES BETWEEN 1ST and 2ND PLACE.  The winner wins a BIG box of dog toys which Miss Piggy's Mom hopes to win for tthe Rescue Group's many dogs as they await their forever homes.

Please click on the link tonight and vote for Miss Piggy (Black lab on first page)  You click on the little box above and to the right of the dog.  They collect NO personal information from your click.

Thanks for helping my friends while I head home for the weekend.

Here's the Link!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Would We All Be Like the Dog

Would we all be like the dog,
our pain hidden deep inside.
Where unkind thoughts and fear and loss,

 are buried with our pride.
With someone - stalwart friend, kind soul,
who shows us wrong from right.
With rebuke soft, a gentle hand,
unfair judgment far from sight.
Would we know that secret place,

 where playful thoughts abide.
Waiting only for that one true friend,
 in whom we can confide.
LB Johnson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pet Dander Allergies? - Pure Beeswax Candles May Help

For years I used the typical decorative candle that smelled like apple pie or cinnamon or such.  I also attributed the constant sneezing and sniffing when I was burning a decorative candle to seasonal allergies.  But when I started cooking and canning and doing more things from scratch around the home, I looked into a better, cheaper option.  Well, beeswax isn't cheaper, not at first glance, but it is SO much better, an ultimately, a good value.

Hundreds of years ago, candles were made from beeswax.  Over time, those beeswax candles were gradually replaced by tallow (animal fat) candles, and then in the last century by paraffin candles.  If you look at the candles in your home, that's likely what you have. But what exactly IS paraffin?

Well, it's made from the goo found at the bottom of barrels of crude oil, which is then treated and bleached with chemical solvents such as benzene and toulene  to "clean it up".  This is AFTER the stuff to make asphalt is extracted.  There's a reason such candles put out soot and smoke when you burn them, along with some tasty carcinogens.  To get around that natural "diesel fuel" smell the makers add synthetic fragrance oils, many of which can be toxic if burned.
No wonder I was sneezing and sniffing.  The minute particles of that sludge byproduct, over time, can also stain walls, and drapes.

Then I discovered 100% beeswax candles.

Not only do beeswax candles not put out the pollutants, they also help clean the air, for as the candle burns, negative ions are emitted that clean the air.  How?  Negative ions are drawn to positive, and positive ions attract and hold on to airborne things such as mold, dust, bacteria, viruses and odor causing pollutants, and are suspended in the air.  The negative ions latch on to the "contaminated" positive ions and weigh them down where they fall to the ground.  It's similar to a the cleansing of the air you see after a thundershower a negative ionic event if there ever was one.
I have no hard science as to the allergy connection, but several friends for whom I gave beeswax candles as gifts, say they have seen a marked improvement in their allergies, burning a beeswax candle in their bedroom for about 3 hours before sleep. I tried it when Abby Lab's dander was causing me to sniff and sneeze and I agree.  It works!  I burn one for a few hours in my small home each day and I don't have near the issues I used to with pet dander.

But LB!  You're Scot!  You're a spendthrift!  You refinish and reupholster throw away curb furniture and bake your own bread.  Those candles are rather pricey.
100% Beeswax candles burn 3 times longer than traditional candles.  Considering that, they are quite competitively priced with most high commercially sold candles. It's dollars well spent.

Home Emergency Supplies - candles are a part of most smart folks ready reserves for natural disaster or electrical outage.  Not only does the beeswax candle burn cleaner, nice in close quarters, but it has a flame that's much brighter than traditional candles, with the same light spectrum as a ray of sun.  I keep one in the glove box of my car, in case of an on-road emergency requiring a bit of natural light and heat without polluting the cab of the bat truck.
But (there's always a but).  Not all Beeswax candles sold are 100% pure. Labeling in the US requires only that they be 51% beeswax to be pure (much like some of our food labeling).  Look for the phrase "100% pure beeswax" and note the  unique and fresh, subtle honey fragrance.
I get mine from  Morningsong Gardens.

They are a family-owned, Midwest-based Company and their bee balms (from unscented to my favorites lavender/vanilla or almond/vanilla) have saved my hands for years from the constant scrubbing that is sometimes part of my day and I love them as face creams when my skin is extra/extra dry. I'm a big fan of honey-based products for my skin and always carry in my field kid the poison ivy bar, itch relief and wound salve another great Ohio faced bee-based line -  Meadowlake Farms

The Morningsong Gardens bee balm, especially the Calendula Pomegranate is wonderful for the skin, for eczema as well as just very dry skin.  It's also wonderful for folks going through radiation with cancer treatment and I try and send a jar out to bloggers I know are going through that or have a family member who is. Like other beeswax-based products, it's, natural SPF 15 with no chemicals that can be used on the face for light daily sun protection (though being redhead, if I'm out in the strong sun for a long period of time, I need a hat, SPF50 and a few of those tiles they use on the space shuttle).
So, when I saw they also made 100% pure beeswax candles, made in the USA with pure cotton wicks (no lead). I ordered some and have been so happy with the speed of shipping and the quality.

Plus I have the little animal ones around my tub now instead of those Ikea tubs o'tealights for ten bucks, which just sooted up my shower curtain. These candles produce NO smoke and last SO long, while your drapes, walls, and air stay fresh and clean.
Whether you are a candle lover, a homesteader, someone who loves their "Calgon Take Me Away" candle accompanied baths, or live in an area with power outages, add some pure beeswax candles to your supplies. You might just like them because your house is full of dog hair and you're sneezing all the time.  For whatever the reason you, will find the slight amount more you pay has benefit beyond compare.