Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite fiction authors. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a work of non-fiction. It tells the story of an experimental year as Kingsolver and her family became locavores. They grew and harvested most of their own food, and bought local organic food for the majority of the rest. It’s not fiction, but it almost reads like a novel. I became very interested in the happenings around the farm, wondering about the crops, how their youngest daughters egg business would do, and anxious to see if the turkeys would hatch their eggs. … Continue reading

Gold Barb

The cherry barb isn’t the only good beginner fish in the same family. The gold barb is another hardy freshwater fish that would make a great addition to a beginner tropical aquarium. This is a long lived tropical fish — expect your gold barb to live between five and seven years! The gold barb is colorful — not only golden in color as the name might suggest. The body is mostly gold but will have dark or black patches running down the sides of the body. It is a relatively small fish that won’t grow to more than three inches … Continue reading

The Pets Blog Week in Review for Sep 24-30

Happy first day of October! Does that make you think the same thing I’m thinking? “When the heck did that happen? Where’s the year going? It’ll be Christmas before I know it!” Well, I don’t know where the year is going, and, yes, Christmas will be here before we know it. However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s pause. Catch our breath. Slow down. There, that’s better. Now, in case time was moving so fast that you missed anything Aimee or myself happened to write about last week in the Pets Blog, here’s your chance to catch … Continue reading

Cherry Barb

One more easy beginner fish for your tropical aquarium is the cherry barb. These fish can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. They are active and peaceful, and get along well with other fish — cherry barbs will mostly stay out of the way of bigger fish. Also known as the crimson carplet, the cherry barb is a smaller fish — between one and a half and two inches long (up to five centimeters) when fully grown. Because they are on the smaller size, they can live a long and happy life in a smaller tank of five gallons … Continue reading

Sip Up Summer Fun

Think about your favorite summer activity.  Do you cherish lounging by the pool, barbequing in the backyard or sitting on the front porch watching your kids catch fireflies? Regardless of where you most enjoy spending the dog days of summer, there’s nothing quite like an ice cold beverage to beat the heat.  Of course, you can’t have fun in you are totally tanked.  Nor is it much fun for kids if they get stuck drinking water while the adults gleefully sip colorful fruity concoctions from neon straws. This summer, have fun making these nonalcoholic tropical drinks that can be served … Continue reading

Fun with Summer Fruit

When the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I don’t think I can muster the energy to move one. more. inch. I remind myself that I birthed a child who loves fresh fruit more than chocolate. Summer is the season of love in my home. My daughter is in fruit heaven right now. In addition to her favorite strawberries, she has been able to gorge on succulent summer peaches, nectarines, blueberries and cherries. While she will down them in their natural state, I enjoy having a little fun with my summer fruit. Here’s how I give the … Continue reading

Happy National Pie Day

I just got back from the supermarket where the cashier wished me a “Happy Pie Day!” At first I thought she was being sarcastic because I didn’t have a single item in my cart that was pie-worthy. Then, she flashed a smile, pointed to her cherry pie-shaped lapel pin, and explained that January 23rd was National Pie Day. Thanks American Pie Council. A day to celebrate pie? Yum! Then again, who needs an excuse to eat pie? If you are looking for a way to honor the great American sweet and flaky dessert today, then consider making my daughter’s favorite … Continue reading

Your Favorite Holiday Pie

When the desert comes out around the holiday dinner table do you have to be quick to make sure that you get a piece of your favorite pie? Throwing a napkin in someone’s face can help you win that slice, although I admit, the practice isn’t very nice (worse still if it is a used napkin). Usually, we wind up with too much of a certain type of pie and not enough of another. So, you may just want to have an informal survey of your relatives and friends to see exactly how much and which types of pies to … Continue reading

More Flower Fun

If the winter blues are getting the best of you, then it might be time to sample a taste of spring at one of the dozens of flower shows being hosted in major cities around the nation. In a previous blog I detailed some of the nation’s most popular orchid shows. But, if you can’t make it to Miami, New York or St. Louis in the next few weeks, then consider visiting the following flower expos taking place in other parts of the country: San Francisco Orchid Society Pacific Orchid Exposition, March 6-8 Smoky Mountain Orchid Society Show, March 6-8, … Continue reading

Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard

Butterflies can be a beautiful, fascinating, colorful addition to your backyard habitat! Sadly, many butterflies have lost their favorite feeding spots and breeding grounds to human development. Areas that have not been built up may instead be poisoned with deadly pesticides. By inviting butterflies into your yard, you can help them feed, breed, and flourish. It can be very easy to attract butterflies to your yard. Here’s what you’ll need: Food for caterpillars — after all, that’s where butterflies come from! Caterpillars have chewing mouths and like to eat leaves and stems. Food for butterflies. Butterflies have sucking mouths and … Continue reading