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Archive for October 2011

For The Birds

Wow! I said to myself when I saw these fabulous birdhouses. They’re made up of all kinds of stuff like sugar canisters, percolators, compasses, vintage garden faucet handles, fan blades, and license plates. So cool.

For The Birds

Brian Carlisle’s first birdhouse “aha” moment was when he saw the copper coal bin at an antique store. “For some reason,” he says “I saw the hole for the bird and the handle as a perch. From there it made sense to me to form the roof with some sheet metal and make it swoop with the form of the opening.” He brought it home and as they say, the rest is history.

Already a fan of birds (his yard is certified with the National Wildlife Federation) and photographing them, that along with being a graphic designer – presto! It all came together.

Garage sales, thrift shops and dumpsters is where Brian finds the materials. He considers his upcycled birdhouses “helping not just birds, but all of nature which then reflects and affects us completely. I try to keep the focus on using materials that eventually would have ended up in the landfills and giving them a new life that hopefully will last far longer than their original intent.”

Even though the birdhouses are primarily decorative, Brian says they are habitable  – complete with drainage holes, ventilation and protection from the weather. He just reminds us to keep them out of direct sunlight or cold winds.

Pretty cool stuff. Ordinary items left for junk turned into a work of art. And a habitable one to boot.

See for yourself at gadgetsponge.com.

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Recycled Love

I can’t even imagine, I was thinking to myself as I sat in the veterinary emergency room in the wee hours of the morning, how I would feel if I had to surrender Angus to a shelter or the alternative (gasp – I won’t even say it) because I couldn’t pay for his procedures. So sad having to make a decision like that.

With the average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat being $700 to $875 annually, handing over furry friends to shelters is at an all time high. That gets me to thinking about the ones that end up there and how do we make their transition an easier one?

Recycle This

“For the past 18 years, the Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter have been ultimate recyclers— of hope, lives, and love”* Since their inception, they have “rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed” more than 35,000 animals.  “Yes, the biggest need is to remember that animals need homes” says Andrea Kuentz of the shelter, “but also small acts and donations add up in a big way too.”

While our furry friends are waiting to be part of a new family, there are a lot of things you may already have around the house that could be of use to them at a shelter. Peanut butter for the pups, white pages of the newspaper for litter, old towels, or e-collars. And, instead of putting that old armchair out to the curb, donate it to make Fluffy more comfy at a Cat Community. Any old plastic toys your pet isn’t interested in anymore – wouldn’t those make the stay more fun? From adhesive tape to rubber gloves to hot dogs – check alternate ways to give at www.dearbornanimals.org or with your local animal shelter and see how we all can help make life a bit easier.

Recycle things you find in your home. Or upcycle and fill up the water bowl for a new addition. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about ultimate recycling for unconditional love.

*http://www.dearbornanimals.org/events/black-tie-tails-2/

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Life In The Park

When I was asked to do a cartoon about Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan and what a great place it is to live, I wondered how does this relate to being green and cause minded? Come to find out I didn’t have to look too hard.

Amongst the safe, clean tree lined streets you’ll find charming homes and many mom and pop stores. The Park (as it’s lovingly called) also recently built their very own movie theatre and a fitness center.

But wait, there’s more!

The Park also has a “Tree City USA” designation. In order to be considered for this title, one of the criteria is that the city has it’s very own designated full time forester on staff. The Park covers just over one square mile and every one of the 8,000 city owned trees are tended to by forester Brian Colter.

One of the many interesting things I found out is that when residents rake the fall leaves to the curb for city pickup, they are taken for compost and then re-used for landscaping. “Black gold” Brian calls it. He also mentioned that when trees die the wood isn’t wasted. Even the mighty ash borer can’t take the tree down so to speak. The Park’s ice rink’s warming hut floor is made from those once infested ash trees which now help keep skaters warm and toasty.

Grosse Pointe Park. What a perfect community blend of ambiance and sustainability. Who knew that in the heart of Metro Detroit the small town is alive and well.

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