Archives for November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunset. Image, courtesy of Michael Coulter

We hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are grateful for the sunsets and stars; the shelter of our home; the food on our table; the hope that comes from knowing Jesus; and the warmth of loving hearts. Blessings to you all.

Lynn and Miss Paws

 

 

Paw-some Gifts for Pets! (You Know Your Dog Wants These)

Courtesy of West Paw Design

Human friends, writer-grrl has been researching Christmas gifts for furry friends like me. If you need  ideas for your favorite doggie (and after all, we deserve a buncha nice stuff, because we are soooo cute and loveable), then check out her list, below.

(Santa, please note: I want all this stuff and a whole lot more….wags, Miss Paws)

Scratch right here…puh-leeze. Itchy pups may be allergic to their bedding, especially if it’s woolen. Otto likes this Organic Bumper Bed with its easy-to-wash, removable cotton cover. These comfy sleepers are stuffed with recycled plastic, which means they’re Earth-friendly, too. Available in five mix-and-match colors, and sized extra-small to extra-large.

Thanks to West Paw Design for this image. This is Otto, on a West Paw bumper bed. Such a hottie! ~ Miss Paws

Born to run? What dog isn’t? When you’re clenching a leash in your hand, your poor doggie can get jerked along. Canines recommend this Patento Hands-Free Leash, which lets you pump your arms naturally. That lets your running companion (moi, Miss Paws) run at a more natural pace, too. The leash attaches to a nylon wristband with a mini-pocket for your keys or a handy dog biscuit. Reflective stitching on the leash keeps us more visible at night.

Patento Pet USA makes this hands-free leash, sold by Petco stores. Image courtesy of Patento Pet USA.

Humans, I–Miss Paws–am a “power chewer,” which means that writer-grrl spends a lot of money trying to keep me in toys. If you’ve got a chewer in your pack, it can be tough to find—well, a tough toy. Tux is a toy made of a super-strong, FDA approved material. I like it when the humans stuff my Tux with a treat, but it’s also fun if they just throw it for me to catch. Sold by WestPaw, with a one-time free replacement if I do manage to gnaw it up…and I’m working on it.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a snuggle-bunny kind of pup, check out this soft, plush Owl toy. It’s featherless, with a sewn-in squeaker that guaranteed to keep you happy and annoy your humans (LOL–it’s not really annoying). These plush toys are stuffed with 100% recycled materials and they’re machine washable, so your human won’t be grossed out after you’ve got it all nice and slobbery. Best of all, it’s certified safe by third party testing.

Light up the night, so we can see where we’re going! This Dog-e-Lite leash is just what we need for our evening walks. It comes with an LED flashlight that slips onto the leash, so humans can keep one hand free (that makes it a lot easier for them to reach down and scratch behind our ears). Solar technology lets the light recharge in the sun or under artificial lights. I like that eco-friendly stuff, and writer-grrl likes not having to buy expensive batteries.

Okay, that should start my list to Santa. Writer-grrl, are you listening?

~ Miss Paws


 

How To Take Care of Your Christmas Cactus

Have you kept your grandmother’s Christmas cactus growing?  I don’t have my grandmother’s; wish I did. But I do have this one, given to me several years ago by a friend from church.

When I kept it on my desk inside an artificially-lit office, it didn’t re-bloom much. Worse, I made the mistake of re-potting the first year, only to discover later that these plants like to be somewhat root-bound.

Finally, I took my Christmas cactus home and left it on my shaded porch all summer and fall. One day I realized it was studded with buds, and today—ta dah! It’s turned out to be more of a Veteran’s Day cactus than one for Christmas, because it’s already blooming and it’s not quite mid-November, but that’s okay. It’s beautiful anyway, and I know the ones in stores have been cultivated in greenhouses, so they’re timed to bloom at the holidays.

I’ve done some reading about these plants, and I’ve learned that even though they are called “cacti,” they’re really epiphytes, and they’re in the same family as orchids. They’re native to Central and South America, where you’d find them growing in the forks of trees, rooted in the fallen leaves and other debris that gets caught in the branches.

To coax your Christmas cactus into bloom, give it cooler temperatures starting in September and October, around 50 degrees F. Keep it in a room where no lights will be on at night–even a little light will disrupt the bloom cycle. It will need 12 to 14 hours of total darkness each day.

Water your plant, but keep it on the dry side throughout the fall and winter. (Overwatering can cause the buds to drop.) Don’t expose it to freezing weather, or you’ll have mush and blackened stems. You can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season, which is roughly April to September each year.

Or you can do what I do, and just put your cactus outside in a shady spot starting in the spring, and water it when the top soil feels dry. Bring it in when the buds start to form. Keep it out of drafts, and in a spot that gets good light–but not in a window where direct sunlight will burn it.

By keeping your plant outdoors, Mother Nature will take care of the light exposure as the days grow shorter. Of course, your cactus will also bloom before Christmas, as mine is doing right now. That’s okay…it’s beautiful! And I’m grateful for the glory of flowers 🙂

P.S. –Want to know more about caring for your Christmas cactus? Click this link to tips from Purdue University.

 

 

 

The Bark – What’s In Your Autumn Landscape?

“Summer’s loss seems little, dear,

on days like these” ~ Ernest Dowson

 

“Our house is a very, very fine house,

With two cats in the yard” ~ songwriters Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

 

Delicious autumn! ~ George Elliot

A cup of coffee with a friend

Is happiness tasted,

And time well spent. ~ unknown

(I love a cuppa that smiles back at you.)

A Devotional Booklet for Your Bible Study, Retreat, or Quiet Time

A big, big thanks to Kay Marks and the ladies of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arvada, Colorado, who created a lovely devotional booklet I can share with you! Here’s the cover:

 

 

Kay contacted me awhile ago, to ask if it was okay to reprint some of my gardening tips and devotional thoughts from a calendar we created to go with my first book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds. I was happy to say yes! I love these kinds of booklets, and Kay is kindly allowing me to share the finished product with anyone who would like to use it for personal use (that is, group or individual use is okay, but it must be not-for-profit).

You can’t really appreciate the colors and artwork in the booklet from this picture, because my scanner let the colors bleed through (boo, crummy old scanner). But if you’d like a copy, please leave me a comment or email me lynn(at)lynncoulter.com. Then you can reproduce as many copies as you’d like. I’d recommend using a slightly heavier paper than ordinary office stuff, so the colors don’t show through. (Or use a good scanner/copier, LOL.)

The complete booklet is about 12 pages. We’re happy to share this with you, especially at Thanskgiving!

Lynn and Miss Paws