Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Fun

 After a rowdy game of Jolly ball with Jeffie and Rudy, Rosie runs to the doggie pool to swish her head in the water.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Adopt Presley Pointer Lab Mix Dog | Tuesdays Tails

This adorable dog is Presley.  He's a black and white Pointer and Labrador Retriever mix dog.  Staff at the Humane Society of Missouri animal shelter say Presley is about 2 years old and is already neutered.

Presley loves people and going for walks.  Presley knows how to sit for treats and takes them nicely.  He had lots of playful energy and is ready for an active forever home.

Have a look at Presley's adoption video and contact the Humane Society of Missouri St Louis City animal shelter at 314-951-1562 for more information.  Presley's animal ID number is A551284

We're participating in the Tuesday's Tails blog hop hosted by Dogs N Pawz.  This is the blog hop that features shelter pets.  Find a pet at your local animal shelter or rescue and join us!  Please help spread the word about these beautiful animals via social media and let's find them forever homes!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Mischief: Skeeter is Stalking Something

Our cat, Skeeter, is the one causing mischief.  Though I have no idea what she is watching (stalking), there's bound to be some trouble ahead for a rabbit, bird or whatever she has her eye on!

Skeeter is sitting on the cross member of a gate that leads into a pasture, just next to the creek and pond.  

Eight foot in the air, she's being pretty bold.

We don't know how old she is, since Skeeter came to us as a stray, feral cat.  However, we know she was an adult when she arrived 9 years ago.  The past year she's slowed down considerably.  Other than a bit of vole hunting with Rudy and Rosie, we've not seen her stalk or catch anything for some time.

We haven't seen her climb the wisteria that covers our deck (where she used to lay to scout birds) this year.

The red circle in the photo above shows where Skeeter is laying on the arbor, concealed in the wisteria.  A prime place for bird watching.  Can you see her little nose sticking through?

 So, although she's certainly up to mischief, we're glad to see it!

Thank you to Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, and My Brown Newfies for hosting Monday Mischief! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dog Song Saturday: Better With You There

It's Saturday, so time for a dog song at Talking Dogs.  Today's dog song is Better With You There.  With words and music composed by Daniel James Reising and Richard Patrick Reising, this upbeat country song tells a story of dog love and loss.  

Richard, who has 3 Jack Russell dogs, wrote this song with his song, Dan.  Better With You There is available for download at iTunes and Amazon.  Any profits the Reising's make from the song downloads go to Hearts United for Animals in Auburn, Nebraska.

The video that accompanies this song features the beautiful paintings of artist Nancy Schutt.

Grab a dog.  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and enjoy Better With You There.

Here are the lyrics to Better With You There ©Daniel James Reising and Richard Patrick Reising:
My friends down in the fact’ry say I’m actin mighty strange
Its not that I look different, but somehow somethings changed
They ask me “Hows the wife & kids , I say…We’re all doin’ great”
But head hung low I turn & just keep walkin through the gate 
Cuz when I’d get home from work each night
You were  always there to greet me 

With so much love my troubles seemed to
Fade & Turn to Smiles
You’d smother me with kisses
Sitting in that big old chair
Life was so much better with you there

I been tryin’ta pass the time without ya’
But things just ain’t the same
I stare at that old collar
Remembrin how I’d hollar out yer name
When I’d say, “C’mere boy…let’s go for a ride”
You’d beat me to the car each time
With the windows down , wind blowin in your face.

I know ya had to leave..but its so hard on me
To go on without my best friend

Now when I get home from work each night
Yer not there to greet me
Suddenly I’m Troubled and its
Hard for me to smile
Left with no more kisses
Sittin alone in our old chair
Life was so much better,
Life was so much better…back when

 I’d get home from work each night
& you were at the door to greet me
With all that love that made my troubles
Fade & turn to smiles…
Smother me with kisses
Sittin in Our Big old chair
Life was so much better with you there

Fetch more dog song music videos at Talking Dogs.  You'll be surprised at how many we've collected over the past few years!  And be sure to scroll down below today's featured dog song to explore some barking good blogs in today's Pet Blogger Hop.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Learning to Live with Fritz: Book Review

Learning to Live with Fritz: Disgruntled Angel in a Hairy Disguise by E Rawlins has been a good summer read for me.  

Though I thought this book would simply be light reading, I found myself contemplating the larger issue:  dog as spiritual teacher.

I do believe that dogs have much to teach us, plus as our special friends, they have prime opportunities to deliver lessons about life and love.  So I was open to Rawlins tales of her dog, Fritz. 

According to the book's back cover:
An opera singer meets her greatest teacher in a Manhattan pet shop.  In Learning to Live with Fritz author E. Rawlins tells the story of how one crazy little dog changed her life.

A soon-to-be divorced soprano is mysteriously compelled to purchase a pup only days before saying goodbye to her unhappy role of California corporate wife.  Rushing back to Europe to save what is left of her flagging career, the decision to take along a twelve week old Maltese puppy is more than implausible ... it is insane.

Humorous and self-critical Rawlins tells the story of her chaotic adventures with Frizbee, an eight pound nut case who was in reality an ill-tempered angel in a hairy disguise.  Fifteen years of non-stop travel take the dizzy diva and her high maintenance mascot to Paris, London, Brussels, Tokyo, Vienna, Salzburg, Milan, and back to the Big Apple.  Along the way they pick up a handsome young baritone on his personal journey to international operatic celebrity.  As the drama unfolds the idea of love at first sight reveals itself to be anything but a romantic illusion.

Fritz continually upstages and controls his mistress through his rigidly enforced rules and regulations, his antics, his irascible charm... and his bizarre other worldly connections.  This is a memoir of a narcissistic would-be diva and a dog who is dead serious about teaching her how to give up her me-myself and I illusions, to live authentically... and above all to learn the meaning of unconditional love.

Fritz / Frizbee ©E.Rawlins

Part 1 of the book is a series of stories - some hilarious, some eyebrow raising (think Marley and Me) - that give you a very clear picture of this little dog and how he is in charge of his world.  And I do mean in charge

Fritz/ Frizbee leads his mistress on a merry chase of the good life.  With his bad behavior, huge personality, headstrong temperament, Fritz seems an unlikely match for a woman who describes herself as a Diva.

Yet, the two make quite a team in life.  The author notes:
Frizbee's sojourn here on Earth was the beginning of a personal transformation that I hope will continue for the rest of my life.  It has become a journey toward self-knowledge, fulfillment, and success through service to others.

Part 2 Learning to Live Without Him, was even more enjoyable for me.  I fully understood the author's heartbreak when it was time for Fritz end his 15 years of life here on earth.  More importantly, I enjoyed Rawlins' exploration of what she had truly learned from her beloved dog both before and after his death.  Did Fritz truly communicate with his mistress from beyond the grave?  I leave that for you to decide.

If you're not a fan of opera (I'm not), don't let this dissuade you from a fun, thoughtful dog book.

E. Rawlins is a retired international opera singer.  She is a metaphysical teacher, seminar leader, drama coach, poet, first time author and dog lover.  She resides in Switzerland.  Learning to Live with Fritz is available at IUniverse,  on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book retailers. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting

While I'm in my jewelry studio getting packages ready for shipping, one of my assistants is waiting for me and hoping for a game of Jolly ball.

When she hears the door open, Rosie scrambles to her feet.

Rosie's smile is pretty persuasive:  "Hurry up, Mama, so we can go play!"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Natural Balance Jerky Dog Treat from Product Review

We love, so when they asked if we'd like to try some Natural Balance dog treats, we said sure!

As always, shipped our order speedily and before we knew it, Jeffie had the thrill of scaring the UPS delivery man.

That's always a bonus for Jeffie.
These Natural Balance Chicken and Sweet Potato Formula Jerky Bar dog treats are a real hit with our dogs.  Jeffie, Rudy and Rosie love them.

According to the web site:
Natural Balance LIT Limited Ingredient Treats Jerky Bark Chicken and Sweet Potato Formula Dog Treats.  These dog treats are designed with a limited number of protein and carbohydrate sources.  Formulated to provide high quality nutrition and optimize skin and coat.

According to Natural Balance, these dog treats are highly palatable for picky dogs.   They are grain-free and contain no corn, soy or wheat.  In addition, they're made in the USA and contain no artificial flavors or colors.

  • chicken
  • sweet potato
  • cane molasses
  • natural flavor
  • salt
  • mixed Tocopherols (preservative)
  • natural hickory smoke flavor
  • rosemary extract
  • zinc propionate
Guaranteed Analysis:
  • crude portein  30.0% minimum
  • crude fat   18.0% minimum
  • crude fiber   2.5% maximum
  • moisture   20.0% maximum
I found these treats to be unlike other jerky treats we've tried.  They truly are small bars which are easy to break into smaller pieces.  They're dry and somewhat the consistency of a garden peat pot.  They leave no smell on my hands and are "clean" to feed.

Natural Balance L.I.T. premium dog treat jerky bars are available at in 6 oz bags $9.99 and 12 oz bags $19.99 and on sale now with 30% off.

Talking Dogs is pleased to recommend these Natural Balance jerky dog treats and we highly recommend  I like their wide variety of choices available, easy to navigate web site, fast home delivery and excellent customer service.

* We received one package of Natural Balance Chicken and Sweet Potato Formula Jerky Bar dog treats from in exchange for our honest review of the product and service. We received no other compensation.

We're joining the Tasty Tuesday blog hop today.  This is a blog hop that celebrates good food, sponsored by Sugar the Golden Retriever and Kols Notes. 

Adopt Puggle Dog Moe | Tuesday Tails

Though I usually am drawn to lab mixes, black dogs or senior dogs to feature here, this cute guy caught my eye.  I'm partial to adoption video stories, so I kept scrolling... only to return to this one, so here he is!

Moe is a tri color Pug and Beagle mix dog.  He's about 5 years old and already neutered.  Moe loves to go for walks and explore the world.  He's a small dog, fully grown, and ready for adventure.

Moe is a favorite of the animal shelter staff and volunteers.  He loves people and is very affectionate.

Have a look at Moe's adoption video and then give the Humane Society of Missouri's Maryland Heights animal shelter a call at 314-951-1588.  Moe's animal ID number is A537463.

We're participating in the Tuesday's Tails blog hop hosted by Dogs N Pawz.  This is the blog hop that features shelter pets.  Find a pet at your local animal shelter or rescue and join us!  Please help spread the word about these beautiful animals via social media and let's find them forever homes!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mischief Monday: Missouri Puppy Mill Lawsuit Withdrawn

Once again, I'm not talking about mischief at my house.  Today I'm barking about commercial dog breeders in Missouri.  

Several months ago, a group representing 83 dog breeders in Missouri brought a lawsuit to stop the new regulations for humane standards of care for dogs in puppy mills.  (The Canine Cruelty Prevention Act was passed in 2011.)  

These breeders now have dismissed their lawsuit against the regulations and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act will remain the law of the land in Missouri.

Dog breeders must now comply with the new law or close their dog breeding businesses.  As of today, more than 1,000 dog breeders have chose to close up shop.  All breeding dogs now must be provided with veterinary care including an annual veterinary examination, have unfettered access to outdoor exercise, increased living space, and can no longer be housed on wire flooring.

Obviously, that's good news.  The mischief has to do with the testimony given in the latest court hearings.

Here's what the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation has to say about the lawsuit being withdrawn:
"We are certain that the lawsuit was dropped not only because there was no legal basis for such a court case but a public trial would have proved extremely embarrassing for the commercial dog breeding industry.
In the hearing for a preliminary injunction, one breeder testified that when she was told she had to provide her dogs with access to the outdoors, she chose to kill them rather than comply with the new rule. She had her veterinarian euthanize 72 of them and proudly presented a photo of 25 dead dogs to the judge as evidence of how her business has suffered since passage of the new law. Another breeder in the courtroom audience stated that she also destroyed her dogs rather than comply with new rules and bragged that she only had to pay her vet $7 per dog to have them euthanized.   

While some of the testimony was a tragic exposure of how dogs are exploited in the commercial dog breeding industry, some of the testimony proved farcical as the breeders and their representatives argued that they did not know what "constant" and "unfettered" access to the outdoors meant. They claimed that since the regulations did not define the terms, the breeders were left in the dark. One witness under cross examination by the attorney general's office was asked to read the definition of "constant" and "unfettered" from the dictionary. After reading the definition, the witness claimed that nowhere in the regulations did it say to refer to the dictionary for meaning of the words. He claimed not to know to use a dictionary for words he did not understand. He argued that "even words with defined meaning need further clarification from the Department of Agriculture."  

Another breeder testified that her dogs cannot be outside as they are too excitable and the excitement of being outside could kill them. She said she could not risk them being outside as a car might backfire or children might walk by her yard. Any excitement could cause them to die. This, of course, raises the question as to whether she informs her customers that the puppies she is selling are restricted to indoor use only for their entire life and can never go outside even to relieve themselves. This breeder testified that "outside air causes loss of ventilation" for dogs. She alleged that six dogs died of heatstroke and excitability when she tried an outdoor exercise plan.
The breeders argued that dogs do not need access to sunlight and even expressed objection to providing extra bedding to dogs housed outside in winter weather claiming they did not know what "extra bedding" meant. The breeders also argued against the requirement for heavy duty tarps for windbreaks for dogs housed outside.

An Assistant Attorney General summed it up well for the judge when he asserted that dogs are simply commodities to commercial dog breeders. We are certain that the dog breeders did not want the public to be aware of that sad fact and dropped their lawsuit rather than publicly expose the cruel conditions of puppy mills and the uncaring attitude of too many commercial breeders at an open trial."
Though I've been critical of the new Missouri law, saying that it does not go far enough, I'm glad we've got it when I think about the kind of people it addresses.

EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION:  The Canine Cruelty Prevention Act addresses individuals and entities that enter dogs or cats into commerce as defined under Missouri state statute.  Commercial breeders are inspected at least once per years by Missouri state animal care inspectors.   

In plain language, for those dogs confined to crates/small wire enclosures in commercial dog breeding facilities, attached outdoor runs are required.  Those runs must have "constant and unfettered access", as well as meet requirements for drainage and shade.  And there are other requirements for commercial dog breeding facilities.

My post (above) summarized testimony given by those commercial dog breeders who testified in a public court hearing.   

Thank you to Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, and My Brown Newfies for hosting Monday Mischief! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado Dogs and Cats Find Homes at Hope After The Storm

A few weeks ago I share information about the OK Humane Society's Hope After The Storm adoption event.  Adopters from across the country were able to pre-register on their website for a chance to attend the event and see if they would fall in love with a new best friend.

60% of the animals displaced from the May tornadoes were reunited with their owners.  Most of those not returning to their homes were placed into foster homes after a 30 day waiting period.  When reunions slowed to a standstill, the OK Humane Society organized Hope After The Storm, a private adoption event on July 13.

Some of the dogs and cats were adopted by their foster families and the majority of all the refugee pets found homes during the event.  Those animals not adopted at the event will be cared for in their adoption program until the right family comes along for them.

Have an inside look at the Hope After The Storm adoption event in this video:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dog Song Saturday: When I Found You (The Adoption Song) by Jayne Olderman

It's Saturday, so time for a dog song at Talking Dogs.  Our song today celebrates pet adoption.

When I Found You (The Adoption Song) was written and is performed by Jayne Olderman.  She has dedicated it to all who have adopted and loved an animal or person.  

Get the tissues handy for this gorgeous video of before and after adoption photos.  Rescue and shelter groups featured include:  the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County, the Human Society of Northeast GeorgiaPilots N PawsHall County Animal Shelter.

Here are the lyrics to When I Found You (The Adoption Song):
When I Found You
So many in the room; it overflowed
I felt so sad for all those unadopted souls
So desperately in need; but, I chose you and you chose me
And so it goes, so it goes

Somewhere along the way my heart was broken
I lost a piece but that's ok 'cause now it's open
There you were you were my choice; You gave me purpose and a voice
That swelling in my chest is love filling emptiness

When I found you I knew you were the one
In your darkest hour did you know I'd finally come?
The past is done and gone, now we're going home to make a brand new start
When I found you I found the missing piece of my heart

You're more beautiful than beauty; wild as the wind
With you I'm closer to God than I have ever been
We've been moving towards each other through endless space and time
Some say I saved your life, but, it's you that has saved mine

And when our time on earth fades into mist
We will meet each other at the Rainbow Bridge
Though it's a mystery; I know it's meant to be

Since I found you my life's forever changed
You've made me more than I could have ever been
That day I promised to always be there for you; We'll never be apart
When I found you
When I found you
When I found you I found the missing piece of my heart
©Jayne Olderman
Grab a dog.  Grab some tissues.  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and enjoy When I Found You (The Adoption Song) by Jayne Olderman.   If you'd like to add it to your playlist, it is available on Amazon for only 99 cents.

Fetch more dog song music videos at Talking Dogs.  You'll be surprised at how many we've collected over the past few years!  And be sure to scroll down below today's featured dog song to explore some barking good blogs in today's Pet Blogger Hop.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Follow-up Friday: Work, Animal Adoption, Horse Slaughter, Threshing

I'm happy to be joining Heart Like a Dog in the follow-up Friday blog hop this week.  This is the blog hop that lets you wrap up your week and leads you right into the weekend.  Hosted by FUF creator, Jodi Stone at Heart Like a Dog and co-hosted this week by Jodi Chick at Kol's Notes.

I've been busy in the studio this week.  Much as I rant about the bricks and mortar stores pushing Christmas too early (and it seems like earlier and earlier each year), as one of Santa's elves, I'm guilty, too.  I'm working as fast as I can to build up my inventory at For Love of a Dog because before I know it, fall with be here and I'll be too busy shipping packages to create new jewelry.  

This means that I'm not getting around to read and comment on all the blogs I'd like to.  Instead, I'm working.  I feel the need to let you know, if you have any hope of snagging a dog breed Christmas ornament in your favorite breed.... hurry!  This week I'll be adding new ones to the For Love of a Dog online shop and they're limited in quantity.

The dog daddy and I managed to catch a broadcast of one of the Purina Incredible Dogs competitions.  Dog, I love them!  Jeffie and Rudy snoozed through the whole thing.  Rosie watched with us.  At one point she even hopped up close to the TV screen to get a better look.

Nope, no photos of that.  I've discovered the dogs can hear the zip of the camera bag from the other end of the house.  Rudy, especially, is sure that means dog treats and we're going to do another product review!  Candid shots are impossible lately.

I'm breaking my own rules on the blog this week.  Rule #1:  no politics or religion.  Blog the Change happened just as I was gnashing my teeth and screaming here at home about the new horse slaughterhouses being approved by the USDA.  Gandhi said:  "The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals."  If that's true, I think we're in big trouble.

Dog Song Saturday: Girls and Horses
Okay, I get it.  You prefer dog songs.  Be sure to visit Talking Dogs tomorrow for a great original song by Jayne Olderman.  It's a treat you won't want to miss!  You'll need tissues for the happy tears you'll be shedding at these positive rescue stories in the music video.

Adopt Amelia a POA Appaloosa Horse
This pretty mare is a rescue horse currently living at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.  Longmeadow is just one of many rescues for unwanted, abused or rescued horses in the US.

Blog the Change: Ban Horse Slaughter in the US
First, please know that as much as it pained you to read my post, it pained me to write it.  I don't like thinking about the issue; few people do.

Linda asked a number of good questions and I'll try to answer them here.

In my opinion, the cruelty inherent in this industry is intolerable.  And make no mistake, this is an industry.  It's about money.  This industry is not providing some kind of public service for people who don't want/can't keep their family horses any longer.   These corporations are looking to cash in on the market for horsemeat.

Yes, the market for horsemeat.  The horses slaughtered in these facilities are for human consumption.  And, no.  Horsemeat is not safe to eat here in the US.  The majority of the horsemeat will be exported.  US horsemeat is dangerous to humans because of the unregulated administration of numerous toxic substances given to horses before slaughter.

Horse slaughterhouses are not what we need for homeless horses.  The USDA documented that 92.3% of horses sent to slaughter are in good condition and are able to live out a productive life.  These are horses that could be sold, donated or otherwise re-homed, however kill buyers regularly outbid potential horse owners and horse rescues at auctions.  According to the Humane Society of the United States:  
"Based on the USDA's won finding, fewer than 1% of the US horse population may require the help of rescues or euthanasia."
According to the Homes For Horses Coalition:
"The notion that without horse slaughter there will be flood of abandoned horses is simply unfounded. When the number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. fell by approximately 90% between the early 1990s and the early 2000s there was no correlating increase in abandoned, neglected and abused horses.
"Likewise, equine cruelty investigators in Illinois report that horse abandonment and abuse cases actually dropped during the temporary closure of the Cavel slaughter plant in the early 2000s (the plant is now permanently shut under state law).
"In California, not only was there no increase in horse abuse and neglect cases following passage of the states stringent anti-horse slaughter law in 1998, but there was a 34% drop in horse theft."
Estimates on the number of horses that need re-homing or rescue vary.  One thing is for sure - the breed organizations are one key to the solution.  Another is banning horse slaughter.  Without killer buyers, the rescues can be able to afford to purchase unwanted horses and re-home them.  It is a situation very similar to puppy mills.

And, once again, I'm being too wordy up here on my soapbox.
Let me put it to you this way:  there are many countries who consume dogs and cats.  We can all agree that there are more pets than there are homes available.  Would you wish this same fate on them?

According to ABC news (July 17, 2013) the newly licensed horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa are set to open August 5.  On August 2, a federal judge will decide whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the openings due to the lawsuit by animal protection groups.   These would be the first horse slaughterhouses to operate in the US since 2007.

Adopt Sally, A Senior Australian Cattle Dog
Sally is still available for adoption.  Please visit this blog post and share her story and adoption video.   If you're not already a part of the Tuesday's Tails blog hop, why not join us!

Threshing with Horses:  A Farm Story
Thanks for all your comments.  You know, it's not so much hard work as it is slow work when you farm with horses.  In this case, it's harvesting oats without much noise other than the creak of harness and wagon, the soft plodding of hooves, birdsong, and quiet conversation with friends.  Instead of smelling fuel from a tractor, it's smelling the sweet perfume of horsesweat (yes, perfume) and the fresh smell of the grain.  

There's also great satisfaction for me in being a part of the circle of life.  The horses who will consume those oats and use that straw, are a vital part of the planting and harvesting.

Haying is another task like that and I've been on a search for an audio file to share with a future post about the hay baler conga dance at our place.  
That's our follow-up for this week.  Join the blog hop and catch us up with what's been going on in your life!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Threshing with Draft Horses: A Farm Story

Folks who farm with horses tend to be drawn to one another.  Though there are many reasons to get together, threshing time is one of the most enjoyable.

When we lived on our old farm, we were fortunate to be a part of an annual threshing gathering.  It was a lot of hard, sweaty work.  It included a pretty fabulous potluck lunch.  And it was great fun.

This is not a part of some kind of organized event or demonstration for some kind of group, club, what have you.  Rather, it's a gathering of like minded friends who spend the day harvesting oats and baling oat straw in preparation for winter;  a by-invitation-only happening.  By-standers and gawkers not welcome - held on private property with very good farm insurance.

As you look at the photos, you may wonder: where are the women?  They're up at the house with the little kids, visiting and dealing with the food.  Not me.  I'm out there with the guys.  The lone woman who works horses.

I've come across women who enjoy driving horses, but few who work them.  

At any rate, here's a bit of a photo story of harvesting oats our way. 

It all begins in the fall with plowing.  Shown above is the dog daddy plowing one of our valley fields with our mules Bonnie and Clyde, plus Tom, one of our Belgian draft horses.  There's such a drag on the plow, that a 3-up is best when plowing fallowed land such as this.

To prepare the seed bed requires harrowing.  Shown above is yours truly working with Tim and Tom.

Unfortunately, I've found no photos to show you seed planting.  The old farmer's guideline is to get your oats in the ground before St Patrick's Day.  An early start is important and seed should be drilled as soon as the soil can be worked.

Harvest time - July.  Here you see the binder at work.  The binder cuts the oats and binds them into shocks.  Yes, we're cheating with the tractor.

The oat sheaves are then gathered and shocked - stacked to dry out and cure.  The sheaves are standing with the grain end up and a sheaf fanned out on top to deflect moisture.  When they've cured enough - usually only a few days in the hot summer sun - it's time for threshing.

All that hot, sweaty, itchy, back breaking work to build the shocks...  only to be torn apart a few days later!  

The shocks are broken apart and the sheaves - bound bunches of oats - are gathered onto wagons.  Shown above:  Andy is preparing to pitch a sheaf onto the wagon.  There's a method to stacking the sheaves to built a nice wagon load that is safe and secure.

Higher and higher... the load of oats grows.

Here are Tim and Tom with a nicely built wagon load of oat sheaves.

A bit of a line up.  Mules in the center are Mollie and Nellie.  Tim and Tim are on the right.

 Another photo line up of full wagons waiting to line up at the thresher.  Equine include Belgian draft horses, Haflinger draft horses, and mules. 

Forking the oat sheaves off at the threshing machine.  

The thresher separates the grain from the stalks.  The wagon you see right in front of the thresher is collecting the oats grain from an auger.  The stalks are coming out of the thresher on the left, augered into a huge pile.  Those stalks will then be baled into oat straw.  This particular threshing machine is belt driven and powered by a small gasoline engine attached to the thresher.

Shown above is a steam engine which we've also used to power a threshing machine.

Hard work?  Yes.  However, the fun and fellowship greatly outweighed the sore muscles, sunburn, and perspiration.

For me, threshing is a strong tie to my roots and my love of working with my animals as a team.   And the fellowship with like minded friends and their equine can't be beat.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Bringing in the Sheaves

Center:  Mollie and Nellie, mule team
Right:  Tim and Tom, Belgian draft team

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Admit it.  You suspected our whole week of blog posts would have an equine theme!

Yes, it is a modern day threshing.   For you city slickers, that's all about oats.   

I have a farm story to tell.  Tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Adopt Sally, a Senior Australian Cattle Dog | Tuesday Tails

Sally is a spayed female, blue ticked Australian Cattle Dog.  She's 10 years old and looking for a loving home to spend her golden years.  Right now she's calling the Humane Society of Missouri in St Louis City home.

Animal shelter staff report that Sally is housebroken and walks very nicely on a leash.  A mellow companion, she has a very sweet personality.  Sally has become a favorite among the shelter staff and volunteers, who all hope she'll find a forever home soon.

Take a look at this pretty girl's adoption video.  Then give the HSMO a call and find out how you can enjoy the company of this great dog:  314-951-1562.   Sally's animal ID number is A551940

We're participating in the Tuesday's Tails blog hop hosted by Dogs N Pawz.  This is the blog hop that features shelter pets.  Find a pet at your local animal shelter or rescue and join us!  Please help spread the word about these beautiful animals via social media and let's find them forever homes!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blog the Change: Ban Horse Slaughter in the US

I love horses second only to dogs.  I've found my heart dog and my heart horse, too.  Horse crazy since I was a kid, I've ridden horses, driven horses, worked horses, shared my whole life with horses.  So it should come as no surprise to you that I am rabidly opposed to the United States lifting the ban on horse slaughterhouses.

When I caught up with my calendar and realized that today was Blog the Change Day, it took me about two seconds to decide what cause I wanted to talk about.

I vehemently believe that horse slaughter is inhumane.  In addition, over the course of their lives, horses are given a wide variety of drugs and veterinary treatments that makes their meat toxic for human consumption.

In November 2011, the US Congress lifted a 5 year ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.  In March 2012, Wyoming based Unified Equine was planning a new horse slaughterhouse in Mountain Grove, Missouri, where they planned to slaughter between 200 - 400 horses per day.  The meat would have primarily been shipped overseas, but some was intended for specialty stores here in the US.  In addition, Unified Equine planned to raise horses specifically for slaughter.  Mountain Grove, Missouri, residents declined and the facility was never built.

Two weeks ago the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a horse slaughter plant in Sigourney, Iowa and let it be known they plan to allow plants in Missouri and New Mexico.  Other new applications are pending for facilities in Tennessee and Oklahoma,

As I told you last Monday, this comes in spite of:
  •  the statement by Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, opposing horse slaughter.  
  • the US senate Appropriations Committee passed a ban on domestic horse slaughter as part of the fiscal Year 2014 budget.  That ban prohibits the USDA from using funds to inspect horsemeat intended for human consumption
  • the US House Appropriations Committee's vote to deny funding for horse slaughter
  • President Obama recommended the FY 2014 Appropriations bill not contain funds for horse slaughter.
In addition,  Senators Mary Landrieu and Lindsey Graham have introduced legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter:  the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE Act - SB 541.)  The SAFE Act would not only permanently ban horse slaughter operations in the US, but it would also end the current export of more than 150,000 US horses shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter each years.  Representatives Patrick Meehan and Jan Schakowsky have introduced similar legislation in the US House.

In the United States, horses have never been raised for human consumption.  However, there is foreign demand for horse meat for diners in Europe and Asia.  Since the last horse slaughter facility closed here in 2007, thousands of US horses are shipped out of our country to slaughter houses in Mexico, Canada, and Europe.

The majority of horses that go to slaughter are purchased by "killer buyers" - middlemen who work on behalf of the foreign-owned horse slaughter industry. 

Where do most of these horses come from?  From the horse industry.  Young, healthy horses that are a result of over-breeding by people trying to create the perfect horse are ideal candidates for slaughter.

According to the late John Hettinger, former owner of Fasig Tipton (the second largest Thoroughbred Auction House), past Chairman of the Grayson Jockey Club Foundation, previous member of the Board of Directors of The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and NY Racing Association Trustee:
"7,000 to 9,000 Thoroughbred racehorses are slaughtered every year. Killer buyers frequent horse races to purchase under-performing racehorses after the races end. Thoroughbred Deputy Broad raced at Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, West Virginia on July 11, 2011 and was needlessly slaughtered one week later, not because he was “unwanted,” but because he was disposable. The famous racehorse, Ferdinand who won the 1986 Kentucky Derby, the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the 1987 Eclipse Award Horse of the Year and became a highly sought-after stud horse in 1989, was sold to Japan where he was slaughtered in 2002."
In addition, mares and foals that are by-products of the Premarin industry, wild horses, stolen horses, and those purchased by killers from owners who are unaware who they're selling to.

What happens after the killers purchase the horse(s)?  They're transported.  Riding in overcrowded conditions, often for more than 24 hours, deprived of food, water, and rest.

In a sworn statement in court in Cook County, Illinois, a former employee of Cavel International, a horse slaughter plant (now closed) testimony describes what is commonplace:

"...they were unloading one of the double-decker trucks. A horse got his leg caught in the side of the truck so the driver pulled the rig up and the horse’s leg popped off. The horse was still living, and it was shaking. [Another employee] popped it on the head and we hung it up and split it open. …
Sometimes we would kill near 390, 370 a day. Each double-decker might have up to 100 on it. We would pull off the dead ones with chains.
Ones that were down on the truck, we would drag them off with chains and maybe put them in a pen or we might drag them with an automatic chain to the knock box. Sometimes we would use an electric shocker to try to make them stand. To get them into the knock box, you have to shock them … sometimes run them up the [anus] with the shocker. …
When we killed a pregnant mare, we would take the guts out and I would take the bag out and open it and cut the cord and put it in the trash and sometimes the baby would still be living, and its heart would be beating, but we would put it in the trashcan.”
If you think horse slaughter is humane euthanasia, think again.  Once in the slaughterhouse equine hell continues.  Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia.
Animal Euthanasia - from the Greek, meaning 'good death' - the act of humanely putting an animal to death or allowing it to die as by withholding medical measures.  [Wikipedia]
Horses are intelligent animals.  Highly sensitive and acutely aware of their environment, the flight or fight instinct is strong.  According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):
[Horses] react to the smell of blood, the sounds of other horses being slaughtered and react violently to death when they see the instrument or “stun gun” aimed at their heads, which drives a four-inch spike into their skulls.
They make desperate attempts to flee, exhibiting typical equine “fight or flight” behavior and extreme panic and fear. They prance back and forth with their ears pinned back and their eyes wide open.
That inevitably results in the instrument hitting the horse and wounding it and not rendering it unconscious, but rather resulting in repeated blows.
In addition, video evidence shows horses being beaten on their faces, necks, legs and backs; purposely blinded by bludgeoning their eyes out to get them under control, electric cattle prods inserted into their rectums to get them to move into the kill box, mares giving birth on the kill floors, and remaining alive and conscious when they were shackled and hoisted by a rear leg to have their throats cut.
The horses stand in line sensing the terror and electrocuted or speared into the kill box where they shake violently, falling and unable to stand from fear.

From 2007 to 2009, Animals' Angels USA conducted investigations of the horse slaughter system including the conditions and treatment slaughter horses undergo at auctions, feedlots, during transport and at the slaughter plants. They concluded:
  “…horse slaughter encompasses public safety issues, public health concerns, environmental issues as well as the obvious and very significant concerns regarding cruelty and inhumane treatment. Our investigations during 2007 to the present made clear that at the instant a horse is designated a ‘kill horse,’ handling and treatment change radically from that normally given horses. A ‘kill horse’ is treated with cruelty, with indifference at best, but more typically with violence and aggression. Cruelty increases, while safety, health and welfare – its care and humane treatment are so diminished it is virtually nonexistent. These horses are “only passing through,” say the veterinarians as well as the ‘kill buyers.’
If the ‘kill horses’ had been normal horses under the care of a different type of owner, humane officers and police would have required, in keeping with state animal cruelty laws, proper veterinarian care and sufficient access to food, water and shelter. The ‘kill horse’ is outside the protection of cruelty laws.”

There are many humane alternatives to slaughter for horse owners unable or unwilling to care for their horses, including equine rescues, sanctuaries, retirement farms, equine therapy facilities, and many more.  I believe that horses that are sick, elderly or dying should be humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian using lethal injection.

My horses are my friends, companions and working partners.  I owe them a good life and a good death.  My horses that have died, all died at home and are buried at home. I know that they all - living or waiting for me to cross over - join me in urging the ban of horse slaughter in the United States.

For more information about this issue, I recommend reviewing the positions of the ASPCA, HSUS, American's Against Horse Slaughter, Stop Horse Slaughter , Mary Nash's Horse Slaughter web site and many more.  You can sign petitions here  and  here.
July 15th is Blog the Change Day - a day when pet bloggers and pet lovers come together to blog, read, share and Be the Change for Animals!  Bloggers are encouraged to write about pet fire safety in July or about a cause near and dear to their heart. Readers are encouraged to read and share their favorite posts.  Join Team BtC on July 15th to Blog the Change for animals.