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Posts Tagged ‘Funny’

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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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Got Worms?

My significant other had never come across a tomato worm before. You know, the big fat green worm with horns? Now he had one in his very own garden and didn’t know what to make of it. So, while poking around on the internet on how to get rid of the vermin, I ran across a natural deterrent. Dill. Yes, dill weed.

Got Worms?

If you do, then need to know this. The worms love dill even more than the tomatoes themselves. It seems that if you plant dill near the tomatoes, the worms will gravitate towards the dill and away from your prized, red juicy fruit.

I found another way to get rid of the critters organically is by sprinkling cornmeal around the plants. The idea is that when the worms eat the cornmeal then drink water, they swell up and burst. I opt for the former “dill weed” pest defense, myself.

In the meantime, it seems like everyone has a good tomato worm story. My friend Stefanie shared one with me (see below) and I hope you will too!

Who’s Afraid of a Little Worm?

When Birgit told me she was creating a strip about tomato worms, the first thing I said to her was my mom chased me around our backyard with one when I was about 8. Maybe I should explain.

I grew up with vegetables. My parents always had a garden. In fact, when it wasn’t a cool to grow your own produce, my dad plowed up a quarter of the backyard of our house in the suburbs to plant vegetables that always included a wide variety of tomatoes. Picking the “crops” was an everyday occurrence for my whole family and I never minded it until my first up close and personal visit with a tomato worm.

In my opinion, tomato worms are some of the nastiest looking pests you’ll ever find in a garden. They are green and plump and they stick themselves to tomato leaves and feast. Since those little munchers are the same color as the plant you don’t see them until you’re right on them and that’s exactly what happened to me. Hello ripe tomato, I’ll put you in the basket. Hello, wait, what’s that?! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (It’s hard to know how many explanation points to use, I believe the entire neighborhood thought I was on fire.)

My mom was also in the garden. She came over, told me to stop yelling, broke off the leaf with the offending worm and (now here’s where the story becomes a bit cloudy) chased me around the backyard with the wormy leaf. That’s my version. I called my mom to get a little insight before I outed her to the world as someone who would chase her child with a worm and she told me a much different story. Apparently my mom hates tomato worms too, but as a mom, she saw it her duty to protect the crops and set an example for her children. Like she would be afraid of a worm? So she worked up enough courage to break off the tomato leaf and tried to show me it was no big deal. But when she raised the leaf toward me, I thought she was going to touch me with the worm and the screaming chaos ensued.

Thanks to Birgit, my parents will now be planting dill near their tomatoes.

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The Procedure

When those commercials come on with the animals sitting in cages waiting to get adopted (you know the ones I’m talking about), I get all weepy and want to rescue them all on my own. That got me to thinking, what is it that animal shelters and rescues really, really want us to know? How can we really help?

So, I gave the Michigan Humane Society a call to find out. In speaking with Kevin Hatman the Public Relations Coordinator, I told him we all understand the importance of donating for care, taking time to walk the sheltered dogs, and adopting. But what else is important for us to be aware of? OK, guys. This is where you cross your legs and wince.

Keep our streets litter free.

He said most importantly it was spaying and neutering the animals. That too many end up as strays, being feral, sick or injured. And worst – can’t find loving homes.

The MHS has “fixed” 270,000 dogs and cats in the last 20 years which has kept exponentially millions of animals off the streets. Was there a number that could make an impression on us, something more relatable, I asked? Well, here’s a biggie. One pair of cats left unchecked could lead to over 300,000 offspring over the course of 7 years. That’s a lot of litter, so to speak.

Who knows what you’re “kids” are doing out there when you’re not watching, so send them out with some protection and help keep our streets safe and litter free.

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Best In Show

“What do I know about judging a dog show” I thought to myself when I got the call from the Canton Public Library.  But, hey. I know that I love dogs and have, after all, seen “Best In Show.” So there I was, agreeing to be a judge. But then I began wondering, who were the other judges? What did I need to bone up on? What criteria would I need to know? Would I find it hard to vote on only one and not the others. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Here’s something to chew on.

Funny thing is, when the dogs got up in the “ring” for the most part they all got stage fright. Kinda like me, not exactly sure what to do, but eventually got it.

Buddy, a leader dog pup in training was there and he’s just like the rest of us. Learning step by step. And, Poncho the 11 year old police dog getting ready to retire had to start somewhere, too. These guys weren’t there to win anything – just to show us how to help and be of service in some sort of way.

So, I guess don’t be afraid to try something new or to reach out and help. We don’t always need to win. We don’t have to change the world. It’s the little things that make a big difference. Take one step in doing something you’ve been thinking about. Give a call to someone who would love to hear your voice. Drop some change into the Humane Society bucket. Give an old blanket or towels to a local shelter to help keep the animals warm. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.

I didn’t know what to expect going in as a judge, but it turns out it wasn’t about what I knew, but rather what I learned.

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Excess Baggage

I love to travel, and I must admit over the years I’ve learned to make due with just two (OK, maybe three) pair of shoes on a trip – depending. But, it turns out that all along without knowing it I was doing the planet a favor.

It goes to figure that the more a vehicle weighs, the more fuel it will take to power it. Alaska Airlines found that by removing just five magazines per plane they could save $10,000 in fuel costs a year!

Excess baggage doesn’t mean your significant other.

Same goes for when traveling by car. The U.S. Department of Energy wants us to know that by avoiding items unnecessary for our trips, we could reduce our MPG by up to 2% for each 100 pounds. That’s an equivalent gas savings of .04¢ -.07¢ per gallon!

At any rate, that savings on an up-coming trip could add up to a nice dinner. If nothing else, maybe we’ll get an extra bag of pretzels on our next flight.

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Swimmin’ In The Rain

Watching Petticoat Junction as a kid, I became intrigued by rain barrels. Even though the characters swam in the Shady Rest water tank in Hooterville, it always looked like a huge rain barrel to me. I guess in a sense it was. A huge rain barrel, that is. Just not sure I’d be inclined to drink that particular water, though.

The rain barrel is really not a new idea, it goes back thousands of years and can be traced back to ancient history as a basic tool for survival. Even though these days we’ve got it a lot easier to get our water, many are using it again to catch and store rainwater. I found out through tvakids.com that you can get 700 gallons of water off an average roof during a one inch rainfall. That’s about 17 baths or 58 showers!

I’m not saying you should take a bath in one, but since rain water is free of harsh chemicals, fluoride, minerals and heavy metals (unlike our tap water) your skin and hair would thank you for it. But for the most part, that chemical free water keeps the flowers, lawns and gardens healthy. Especially during those outdoor water-ban days.

Heavy metal ain’t for flowers.

Now, rain water is free – that’s an easy one, but for those of you whose sewer bill is based on water usage, this could mean even more savings.

But this is a biggie. According to Joshua at Maxi Container, Inc, because the lack of planning “back in the day” for proper runoff, Detroit is the number one polluter of the Great Lakes. The sewage treatment plants can’t handle the large amount of rain water and the “partially treated sewage” (and we all know what that means) ends up overflowing into the lakes. Nice.

So, maybe if we take small steps and and catch the rain to tend our gardens with, or to help keep a bit of water out of the drainage systems– Mother Nature will take care of us, too.

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