There was a hard frost last night.
Halloween is less than two weeks away, and although we’ve already carved a couple of pumpkins (I can’t get enough of the seeds, man; here is my all-time favorite pumpkin seed recipe), I’ve been thinking about carving another (or five) as the holiday gets closer. I genuinely love plain, old school carved pumpkins with uneven triangle eyes and jagged toothless smiles because they remind me of celebrating Halloween as a child. But I’m also a fan of more creative ideas for pumpkin carving, and that’s where today’s 10 Great comes in. While searching for inspiration for unique jack o’ lantern ideas, I came across the projects you see above. They range from beautiful to fun, intricate to simple. I’d love to do something similar to both #1 and #3 over the next couple of weeks.
And if you’re looking for another creative way to decorate your pumpkins this year (one that doesn’t involve having to use a sharp object), click here or on the image above to see the DIY painted pumpkin project we did last year.
Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide by Laan Vander Ray My rating: 5 of 5 stars A visual stunning DVD and accompanying study guide, “Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide” really challenges the reader to discover what it means to be an ambassador for Christ. An in depth dvd from the founder of “That the World May Know” and…
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Hey, Donna, I shared your "A New Dog in the House" handout with a friend who is hoping to bring home his first dog very soon and basically he freaked out and shut down. He thought maybe the content would be better served up in a blogpost, so I tried to share blogposts, but even the title "Boot Camp" (for the story of Tater), was so upsetting to him that he couldn't read it. He promises he's pro-structure (I explained that anxious dogs need this structure every bit as much as boisterous dogs), but he refuses to use these methods on the timid little fluff muffin he's applied to adopt. So… I was wondering if you have any favorite "new dog" resources that wouldn't be quite so intimidating to a soft-hearted first time dog-owner.
BAD RAP Blog
If you were ever to ask me what my favorite big is, I would not hesitate to tell you it’s the jaguar.
It actually still enthralls me that jaguars were once fairly numerous in the United States. How numerous is up to a bit of debate, but they were found throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They were also found in much of Louisiana, but there are accounts of them coming as far east as North Carolina and maybe as far north as Kentucky or Ohio. These accounts have always been regarded as urban legends, but one must keep in mind that the jaguar actually evolved in the Old World before entering the New. There was actually a jaguar species or paleosubspecies found all over Europe up until 1.5 million years ago. In order for jaguars to get here, they had to go through the very cold land of the Bering Land Bridge, so our common notion that jaguars were always a tropical or semi-tropical species is a bit in error.
The jaguar is the only surviving Pantherine cat in the Americas. There was also a lion species or paleosubspecies that lived in both North and South America, but it is now long gone.
Humans have been hard on big cats. We’ve extirpated the lion from Europe and all of Asia but the Gir Forest. We made several populations of lion and leopard threatened with extinction, and we’ve waged such a successful war on the tiger that there is a very good chance that it won’t be known in the wild within just a few decades.
There is no breeding population of jaguars in the United States anymore. They were killed off for their pelts and because jaguars do kill horses and livestock.
But every few years, a jaguar is captured on trail camera or winds up being bayed up by cougar hounds. It’s said to be a wanderer and very little is done about it.
We used to be a big cat nation, but now we don’t even consider those that do wander up from Mexico to be native. The idea of a jaguar in this country is at once romantic but also repugnant. We might lose our minds as we debate wolf reintroduction, but no one talks about the “Texas leopard” anymore.
It’s much a phantom as the American lion, the European jaguar, and the Smilodon are.
I can remember the first time I laid eyes upon a jaguar. It was at the Cincinnati Zoo when I was about 5 years old. There were two jaguars in a large enclosure that was surrounded by thick glass. The spotted one was reclining in the background, but the black one was lying up against the glass. My dad had me sit next to the glass and pretend to pet the great beast, which paid me no mind at all as my dad recorded it on a VHS cassette.
Every time I see a photo or film of a black jaguar, I think of that one.
It never lived wild. it never killed a deer or a horse.
Yet it still had all the essence of a big cat. Smooth and gliding, yet chiseled and sharp. Like cutlasses on springs.
We turned the wolf into a symbol of wilderness, and we managed to restore to it. And now we fight about the best way to manage them, but the idea of jaguars in the Southwest or Louisiana or Texas just sounds like a fools’ mission.
The wolf of the Northern Rockies and the Midwest’s North Country survived by romanticism, but el tigre never got the same treatment.
He will not wander the White Mountains of Arizona or the piney river bottoms of Louisiana. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that this animal lived here only at the margins of its habitat. Never mind the extensive records of these animals in the United States.
The species just can’t be preserved here.
I suppose we have a bit of Trumpism in our ideas of what an American native species is. A wolf sounds like it belongs here.
A jaguar doesn’t.
We’ve been fostering puppies a fair amount this past year. Not because we wanted to find one to adopt, but because we find Lacey is much more comfortable accepting them and because I find them so much fun. :)
Well we finally decided to adopt one ourselves. Marlin really became attached to these two latest boys and when one of them got adopted we decided to keep the other one. So may I introduce Summit.
When he first arrived he was very skinny and underweight. Within a few weeks we had him all fattened up. We are still struggling to get him to eat enough and not have diarrhea at the same time but fingers crossed it all gets straightened out any day now. :)
He is a pretty confident little dude. So far new people and places don’t phase him and when he does get taken by surprise, he is very quick to recover. I’m determined to have a “bomb” proof dog that is comfortable around new people and new places. I want a dog we can take places – to people’s homes, on group camping trips and hikes, etc. I think he has the temperament to do all this, I just need to not screw it up. So every day we are doing something to expose him to new things.
- Friday – he went off to the family that ended up adopting his brother and spent the afternoon there.
- Saturday – we brought out the cat tunnel (which he instantly loved) and explored the upstairs for the first time. (On Monday he learned how to do the indoor stairs and promptly went exploring up there over and over again.)
- Sunday – we went to the pet store, a drive through and the daycare. He met Chewy and got exposed to studio photography lighting equipment – no fear at all of the flash or the umbrella – even when I put it on the ground or spun it around in the air.
- Monday – we went out to Amanda’s to meet her dogs, and explore her yard. He had a great time with her new pup Siren.
- Tuesday – we spent time in the front yard watching the world go by. We saw cars, a bus and a lady with a dog on the far side of the road. The cars were no problem but the bus made him startle. The dog was hilarious. He just sat and watched in awe. I was feeding him kibble and he absentmindedly would open his mouth to take it but was often forgetting to chew.
- Tomorrow we are going to hang out at the grocery store parking lot and then the recycling depot.
- Thursday if the weather is nice we’ll go to the playground by our house and watch the children.
- Friday we are going to hang out at the front of the house again and try and catch the school kids walking home.
- Saturday we are going to a puppy class.
- Sunday we’ll probably try and find more people to meet or do whatever Amanda suggests at the puppy class. :)
This photo showing a red fox killing an arctic fox was taken at Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba. The photographer, Don Gutoski, is a physician at an emergency room, but his amateur status didn’t stop him from being named 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year f by BBC Wildlife and the National History Museum.
The photo is an epic demonstration of climate change’s effects on an ecosystem. Red foxes are expanding their range north into arctic fox range, and red foxes in those northern regions are known for eating other foxes when they come across carcasses. It’s doesn’t take much for them to start hunting the little arctic foxes, the polar jackals that follow the great white bears across the sea ice.
With climate change, red foxes can come north into areas where they weren’t before, and this is bad news for the arctic fox.
This predation has fascinated me quite a bit. Check out my previous posts:
- Red fox kills arctic fox at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
- Red fox kill arctic fox
- Red fox kills arctic fox, Part II
These two species actually have produced sterile offspring in captivity, but it should be noted that they aren’t that closely related. Red foxes originated in the Middle East. Their closest relative is Rüppell’s fox. Arctic foxes are have been said to have an Old World origin, but their closest relatives are the swift and kit foxes of North America.
So climate change has thrown these two lineages together, and it’s not looking good for the specialist polar jackal.
And this photo is so amazing. I’m glad Don Gutoski was able to capture it, and I’m quite pleased that he is being recognized for it.
A dog who was once abandoned himself now cares for abandoned baby zoo animals.
According to a Cincinnati.com story, Blakely, a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd, works at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, Ohio, watching over zoo babies who were orphaned or abandoned by their mothers.
The dog came to the zoo when he was seven months old; just a baby himself. The zoo team adopted Blakely from a local shelter.
Perhaps that’s why he seems to have a knack for his “caretaker” role.
The abandoned or orphaned babies are brought to the zoo’s nursery, where Blakely is ready to nurture them. He takes his job seriously. He must teach these babies how to play, interact and co-exist with other animals – a lesson a human simply can’t teach.
When I say “Cat Lady,” what do you picture?
The old tropes die hard. And while those types of cat ladies are still out there, I’m sure, those of you who have been paying attention are probably realizing there is a new breed of cat lady out there. The Kate Benjamins and the Dorian Wagners and the Taylor Swifts, the crazy (and cool) cat ladies of the world.
Though Jackson Galaxy may arguably be the most likely spokesperson for “Cat People Don’t Look Like What You Thought They Looked Like,” the trend of Cat Lady receding from the line of perjorative descriptor has been going on for a while. I have to say, and I mean this with the greatest of love, that we Dog Ladies actually have some catching up to do in this department. Exhibit A:
Straddling the razor’s edge between dog lady and cat lady like I do, I was super excited to see a new subscription box service that actually contained stuff I could use. Cat Lady Box, the brainchild of avowed cat lady and action-figure lookalike Dorian Wagner, is pretty darn awesome. Each month, Dorian hand-picks a bunch of unique, small-quantity produced items for cat ladies. Not for the cats, for the women who love them and also love style.
I was so flattered as a t-shirt wearing standard Dog Lady that I was able to review one that I could barely contain myself. And Brody is so used to packages arriving for him he immediately assumed this was all his.
Sensing something was off, he perched behind me to make sure I wasn’t tricking him and this was in fact a box full of dog toys. It wasn’t. A typical Cat Lady Box can contain various items such as jewelry, clothing, decor, and books.
If you have a cat who is as tenacious as my dog, there is an option with Cat Lady box to also get a few items for your cat included, like treats and toys. It’s called, you guess it, the CRAZY Cat Lady Box (wink wink) and it includes things like this adorable fortune cookie toy.
It was around this time that my review went off the rails. For you see, there is a cat lady in the house. Not me. My daughter. You see, I had been buying her clothing with pictures of puppies on it for years and she was always ambivalent and I couldn’t understand why, until she got older and was able to verbalize: KITTY!
She has a cat lunchbox and a cat messenger bag and dressed up as a cat for Halloween. As soon as she figured out what I was reviewing, she came downstairs from where she had been reading with Penelope and claimed this box for her own. I had no choice but to defer, because really, it’s PERFECT.
And she looks darn adorable in that shirt.
For more on Cat Lady Box and to sign up for your own, pop on over to CatLadyBox.com!
disclaimer: I received a Cat Lady Box for free to review, but every reiteration of its kick-assedness is my own genuine opinion.