Friday, December 21, 2012

WINTER SOLSTICE 2012

Happy Winter Solstice Everyone!

The Solstice marks the Mayan rebirth and according to American Indian prophesy we are in the time of the 7th Fire.  

We humans are at a crossroads.  We can choose to continue down the path humanity has been traveling for decades or find a new direction, one where our thoughts and feelings are no longer controlled by the media and/or politicians but instead guided by our inner wisdom that tells us the difference between right and wrong.  It is time to treat all sentient beings as equals, recognize their value in this world and fight for their protection.  

The choice is ours... we can walk into the new world the same people we were yesterday or we can be better.  


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HOLIDAY COOKIE SWAP

When you can't do an "in person" cookie swap with friends you go for the next best thing...

A VIRTUAL COOKIE SWAP!

The participants and rules are:


So here are my recipes:

Salted Caramel Brownies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 oz. plus 6 oz. Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate 
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, such as Nescafe
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. of sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 to 6 oz. good caramel sauce, such as Fran's
2 to 3 tsp. flaked sea salt, such as Maldon



1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter and flour a 9x12x1 1/2 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter, 8 oz of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar.  Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature (it is very important to allow the butter to cool before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.)
3. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture.  Toss the remaining 6 oz. of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 Tbs. of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture.  Spread evenly in the bottom of prepared pan.
4. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean.  Do not over bake!
5. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it's pourable.  Stir until smooth.  Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt.  Cool completely and cut into 12 bars.

Note: the above recipe isn't a family recipe, it was just something I found in the Food Network magazine that turned out to be a big hit with my knitting group and my family so I figured they were awesome enough to share here :)

Holiday Rolo Melts
I have no idea what these are called, I just made them because the recipe was on the back of a rolo bag and again, another hit with everyone I shared them with.  They are yummy and really easy to make.

1 bag of holiday pretzel rings
1 bag of rolos
1 bag of glazed pecans (found in the baking section of the grocery store)



1. pre-heat the oven to 350
2. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
3. lay out as many holiday pretzel rings as you can fit on the parchment paper
4. place one rolo in the center of each pretzel ring
5. place cookie sheet in oven 1-3 minutes (test every minute because some ovens melt the rolos faster than others). 
6.  when the rolos is melted (usually in about 2 minutes), remove from oven and set the cookie sheet on counter.
7. place a glazed pecan into the center of every rolo, push down until the chocolate fills the pretzel (if it doesn't fill the pretzel then the rolo and pecan will fall out of pretzel when it cools).
8. you can allow the rolo melts to cool on the counter until hard enough to eat.  I usually pop mine in the fridge to cool them quickly.  

and even better than what is above...

More Recipes!
Please stop over to visit the blogs of the wonderful virtual cookie swappers.  All of these awesome ladies have great recipes to share and bake a million times better than I do so don't miss out!!  (a few may not have finished uploading their recipes yet so stay tuned because all recipes will be live soon).





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

OFF THE COB: SWEET CORN CHIPS

Ok... I needed to blog about this young man.

A while back Andrew Zimmern (Minnesota's famous chef) had twittered about this Kickstarter fundraiser for a guy named Cameron Sheldrake.   Cameron is a young entrepreneur that started a company called Off The Cob Sweet Corn Tortilla Chips.  His chips are unique in that they are made using real sweet corn, they contain no artificial ingredients, no artificial coloring, they are certified non-GMO, gluten free, and cholesterol free. When Cameron was looking for backers on Kickstarter I decided to give a little.  Now knowing that the company is legit (yes, I do worry about that on Kickstarter) I wish I had given more.  

The other day a package arrived for me and when I opened the box and discovered a bag of chips my first thought was "who in the heck would send me chips?" Forgetting about Cameron's Kickstarter Project.  When I found the handwritten thank you note it all came back to me.  

I was really excited to try the chips but I'll be honest, I didn't expect them to be very good.  I've purchased several types of chips at the Natural Food Store and I have always found them to be either too salty, not salty enough, lacking taste or being too hard, etc... but I wanted to know what "sweet" corn chips taste like so I tore open the bag and started eating :-)

I have to report that Cameron's Sweet Corn Chips are the best I've ever eaten.  My family and I devoured the entire bag in a matter of minutes, they were sooooooo yummy! Lots of flavor and just the right amount of salt. I'm bummed that we don't carry the chips locally yet but perhaps soon.  Luckily, the chips are for sale out east in some Whole Foods Stores (for those of you who live out that way) and they are also sold on Amazon (for those of us who don't live out that way).  Now I'm just waiting on my delivery so I can make some guacamole to eat with my chips :D








Sunday, November 4, 2012

CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH THEIR EYES




photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Grizzly Bear: more mountain pine beetles = less whitebark pine trees = less whitebark pine seeds = starving grizzly bears 


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Polar Bear: melting sea ice = less access to seals = more energy spent hunting for food = less time for reproduction = less polar bears  


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of an Orangutan: drought = loss of habitat due to more wild fires = no food and no place to live


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Snow Leopard: warmer, wetter weather = loss of alpine habitat = loss of hunting grounds = desperation = exposure to humans & livestock = increased retaliatory killings of the snow leopard


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Gazelle: drought = expansion of desert land = loss of of trees and grass = less food = having to compete with livestock for food = loss of life for the gazelle.  


photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Cheetah: loss of the gazelle = eating outside normal diet = getting less “healthy” protein = negative effect on sperm health = changing the ability to reproduce effectively = dwindling number of cheetahs




photo source: CLICK HERE


Climate Change through the eyes of a Tiger: rising temperatures = melting sea ice = rising water levels = flooded lands = loss of habitat



photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Shark: warmer waters = expanding food search area = becoming stressed = a refusal to mate = less sharks + more exposure to humans = more conflict = slaughtered sharks.




photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Sea Turtle: warmer weather = melting ice caps = rising sea level = erosion of nesting beaches & changes in sex ratios = less sea turtles



Photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Bird: warmer weather = change in migratory patterns = missing out on food sources & mates = unhealthy birds = less offspring. 

Add poaching and human caused habitat destruction and what do you get?

EXTINCTION!

Now what does climate change look like through your eyes?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

REAL FRIENDS MAKE SURE YOU NEVER STOP CREATING

I wish I had a bumper sticker that said real friends make sure you never stop creating or maybe even better would be real friends know that creating keeps you sane or something like that.

My friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes (growing, writing, creating) is the person my bumper sticker would be referring to.  When I was giving up on knitting, she mailed me a a pattern for knitted sox to keep me going, when I told her I wish I could bake like her she sent me an awesome cookie recipe to get me baking, and most importantly when I don't say anything at all she knows exactly what I need - like the wonderful wolf fabric she sent me yesterday.  It came at the perfect time, bringing a smile to my face after learning that the injunction to stop the wolf hunt has been denied.  Yes, fabric with beautiful wolf faces makes me smile in the midst of all the idiocy of hunting and trapping.

Teresa knows that one key to inner peace is being creative.  Whether that be writing, making soap, knitting or baking... creativity is the spice of life :-)

So this post is for you T - Thank you!!

The beautiful wolf fabric Teresa sent:



My first lace scarf.  I'm actually about to finish it and it only took me 2 months. Yay! (don't laugh but I'm thinking I might frame it. LOL!)





and... the awesome cards I received in a swap.  I don't have pix of the ones I sent to others but here is what I received back:















Saturday, September 29, 2012

THIS IS WHAT WOLF TRAPPING & KILLING LOOKS LIKE

Why is it, if you are in the privacy of your own home and someone breaks in, you have the right to take a gun or knife and kill the intruder in order to protect yourself or your children but wolves (bears, coyotes, mountain lions, etc..) don't have that same right?  Remember, when we go into the forest, the ocean, the jungle, etc... we are going into the very little space our wildlife has left on this planet and when they attack they do so because it is their right to protect their home, their offspring and themselves.  Our ability to visit their habitat is a privilege and we are not entitled to that right.

This is what our sense of entitlement looks like and no matter how you rationalize it, it is WRONG!



WAKE UP MINNESOTANS!!  This is what will happen to our wolves on November 3rd if we don't do everything in our power to stop it.  (Unfortunately for many wolves this has already taken place in other parts of the country).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN...

That my creative energy would return and I wouldn't even realize it.  Since August I've felt like a new person.  After turning 40 last year I fell into this nasty little funk and had no energy to write, craft, or even spend that much time in nature.  My summer began pretty poorly but before I knew it I was busy making cards, knitting, baking; all of a sudden I feel good again.  All I want to do is spin fiber, knit, poke around the garden - is it some kind of weird rebirth?  Who knows and who cares right?  As long as I am being productive and enjoying myself.

So my blog share is really just about what I've been up to.    Let's start with my garden:

PEAS: didn't turn out due to the insane heat we experienced this summer.

TOMATOES & ASPARAGUS:  stolen by one of natures creatures, likely deer and rabbits.

CUCUMBERS: due to my raspberry bush being grossly overgrown it swallowed up my cucumbers so I couldn't get to them without being attacked by a hoard of wasp (I learned my lesson about how closely I plant things).

STRAWBERRIES: looked healthy but didn't produce a single strawberry because of the early spring and refreeze we had.

APPLE TREES: still not producing apples.  I learned from an organic farmer that it's because I purchased the large apple trees and not the dwarf.  Apparently it may not produce for 3 more years.

PEANUTS: didn't grow - don't know why

BLUEBERRIES: deer ate them all down to little nubs.

LAVENDER: one bush died and the other is doing ok.

So what did turn out perfectly?  Shallots,  beans and raspberries!  This is the first year to plant shallots and beans and I've planted a raspberry bush a year for the past 4 years.  Thanks to my friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes (growing, writing, creating) and her advice on what book to buy I learned when to harvest the shallots and beans so not only did they grow well I was able to harvest them before they rotted.  My raspberries were in a happier mood than last year, producing and producing and producing lots of yummy fruit.  They must love heat!


And speaking of feeling creative, productive and having such an awesome friend, Teresa sent me a wonderful little package of goodies this past weekend.  The package included a recipe for pumpkin pineapple muffins, 3 little cloth bags with gifts inside, a pretty handmade card and this:


Colorful, interesting fiber to spin!  The pinkish fiber is cotton and the silky looking blue fiber is tencel.  I've never spun either so I'm looking forward to seeing how it spins.  

Thank you so much Teresa for the wonderful package and for knowing what I enjoy so well.

Now I'm off to knit :-)










DOES THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER MISLEAD THEIR MEMBERS?





I'm writing this for one reason only.  How many people look at the International Wolf Center the way I did?  That is why I write.  If you are anything like I was you see the Intl. Wolf Center as a haven for wolves.  A place that educates the public on the factual data pertaining to the Canis lupus, a place that is run by people that care about and want to preserve our wolf population (their twitter page says they advance the survival of wolves).  Well... if you think like that I would say that you are wrong, just as wrong as I was.

This year our wolves were taken off the endangered species list.  As soon as I heard about it I sent a facebook message to the International Wolf Center asking how we could help them protect our wolves. They replied that they serve only to educate the public on wolves and were remaining neutral in the wolf hunt/trap debate.  It bothered me but I understood.  Later I was reading an article that had the founder of the Intl. Wolf Center, Dr. Mech, quoted saying the wolf hunt/trap was a testament to how well our wolf population is thriving.  Here are some quotes from Dr. Mech:

Many of the folks who see public wolf hunting as a positive development actually are pro-wolf.
Regulated hunting of wolves will not endanger the species again.
[a hunt] That isn't going to hurt the population, Mech said.  And it may reduce human-wolf conflicts by making the animals more wary of humans, he said.

You can see and hear Dr. David Mech talk about how the DNR's plan to trap and slaughter 400 wolves in Minnesota is the best management plan and he also says it is "conservative."

SEE VIDEO OF DR. MECH HERE

So much for remaining neutral right?

I also recently learned that in the winter 2010 publication by the International Wolf Center, Dr. Mech was actually quoted explaining how to carry out a wolf hunt on pregnant females and pups and when it is best to kill them for their pelt.  Sound neutral to you?

I figured the best I could do after learning about Dr. Mech's position on the wolf hunt/trap was to stop giving the Intl. Wolf Center my money but... after receiving what should be my last publication from the center I had to go a bit further, which is this blog post.

In the fall 2012 International Wolf Center Publication sent to members (which I just received in the mail) there is an article titled "Minnesota's First Ever Wolf Season."  In the article the author Dan Stark states the following:

After taking public comments, as required by law, the DNR will publish a final rule for the 2012 wolf seasons.  While decisions about whether to have a wolf season and when to start it have already been made through the lawmaking process, the DNR public-comment process is intended to seek input on the wolf season proposal.

Now... the above quote may not mean much to people outside of Minnesota but as someone who believed  the Intl. Wolf Center was neutral on the hunt/trap issue and as someone who supported them financially in the past, I am angry that not only have they not remained neutral and probably contributed to the push for hunt but they outright lie.  If the above quote isn't a lie and just a delay in the publication process then they have no business writing articles that are so grossly outdated.

Back in late spring/early summer the DNR accepted public comments on the wolf hunt/trap in Minnesota and out of the 7,000 + people who responded, 80% were against the hunt.  The quote by Dan Stark leads people to believe that the DNR would take the public comments into consideration when deciding to have the hunt/trap but in fact that isn't true.  The DNR knows the results and made no changes to their plan to allow 400 wolves to be trapped and slaughtered.  In fact, the Intl. Wolf Center feigns surprise at the backlash:

Nancy Gilbson, co-founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely, said the results clearly indicate the public is still divided on the question of a wolf hunt, even if the survey was hijacked by anti-hunting groups.  "It's a surprise to me," she said of the number who responded and the overwhelming anti-hunting sentiment they expressed.
READ REPORT ON SURVEY HERE (STAR TRIBUNE) 


No anti hunting groups hijacked the survey.  That is the excuse that came out of the pro killing camp when they saw that 80% were against the hunt/trap.  I took the survey and I'm not anti-hunting.  I made numerous calls to notify people of the survey and I spoke with several hunters that shared my view that the wolf hunt is a mistake and were eager to fill out the survey.

So before I take this post in a direction that will defeat the purpose I'll close with this.  Everyone I've ever spoken to about the International Wolf Center believes the center is all about preserving our wolf population.  Even I was shocked to learn that they didn't remain neutral and I kept searching to see if the quotes above were some kind of mistake.  So if your goal is just to keep a minimum number of wolves alive across the nation (numbers not based on a current, accurate count) then the Intl. Wolf Center deserves your dollars but if you want to see a CURRENT count of wolves, one that isn't based on scat, tracks and deer carcasses, and if you think our wolf numbers are too low and still deserve protection then give your time and money to an organization that actively works to stop hunting and trapping of wolves.

Organizations that are on the ground, working diligently to educate the public on what is really behind all these wolf hunts across the U.S. and why slaughtering wolves is a mistake:

MINNESOTA
Howling for Wolves
Howling for Wolves on Facebook
Howling for Wolves on Twitter

NATIONWIDE
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity on Facebook

INFORMATION ON WOLF ISSUES NATIONWIDE (be prepared to see some gruesome photos on this site)
Howling for Justice











Thursday, September 6, 2012

FIBER COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE



I meant to blog about this sooner but...

While I was at the Shepherd's Harvest Fiber Festival in May I learned that Minnesota had one Fiber CSA and of course I wanted to join immediately.  I like the idea of having raw fiber mailed to me every couple months for two reasons:

1. I can learn how to process the fiber from beginning to end.  I got the spinning part down but now I can learn how to wash the wool and card it, all without the need to own any sheep.

2. I get to experiment with different types of wool, different colors, and in different stages.  Some of whats been sent to me is raw and some is all ready to spin.  

I received my first bunch of fibers in June (also included was a nice knitting pattern for a wool sweater).     One bunch of fiber was a wool/mohair mix, colored beautifully and ready to spin.  The other bunch was raw lincoln long wool.  

If anyone is interested in a Fiber CSA the one I signed up with is Kindred Spirit Farm.  They send a variety of fibers (some dyed and some not) every two months beginning in April.  I missed the April deadline so I was sent my April and June portion of fibers together at the end of June.  Generally the fibers arrive at the end of the month (April, June, August, October, December, February).  Right now I'm waiting for my August shipment.  I've been pretty busy with other things so I haven't processed or spun any of the fibers but I'll be working on that next week :D

Does anyone else have a fiber csa near them?  I'd be interested in signing up for others - the more variety of fibers I can work with the better.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HOWLING FOR WOLVES TAKING OVER THE CAPITOL

The turnout of wolf protectors at the state Capitol in Minnesota yesterday was awesome!  We rallied to stop the hunt/trap this fall for over 3 hours.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many like minded individuals and know that we were all there for a greater good which is to protect Minnesota's gray wolf population and put a stop to the hunting and trapping that will happen this November.  To top it off the rally went on during the special session being held by the legislature so they had to see all of us with our banners & signs protesting the hunt/trap as they walked into the Capitol buidling.  One legislator shouted out "I voted against it" which made us all feel good but unfortunately those who voted for it outnumbered those who voted against it.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves, put together a great list of guest speakers which included Howard Goldman from the Humane Society, Ray Owen (Dakota) from Prairie Island Reservation, Mike Forcia from AIM (American Indian Movement) representing the Ojibwe tribe, and veterinarian & ecologist Dr. Michael Fox.  I videotaped their speeches in three parts (I had to cut it into three parts because I was afraid my camera didn't have enough memory but I promise I didn't leave any of the important parts out).   Please watch the videos!  They are informative and enlightening.  Photos from the rally are below the videos.  Please read the press release about the rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Maureen Hackett's opening speech:



Guest Speaker Howard Goldman from the Humane Society



Guest Speakers Michael Forshaw (Ojibwe), Ray Owen (Dakota), Dr. Michael Fox (veterinarian & ecologist)


A group of HFW volunteers having a friendly conversation with capitol security while looking at some photographs.


Various individuals against the wolf hunt.  Several Native American (American Indian) tribes were represented.


A gathering of "wolf protectors" < that is what I call all of them :)


My daughter and another individual on the Capitol steps protesting the wolf hunt/trap.


My little ones are the first to hold the banner for the day.


Protesters of the wolf hunt/trap gathering on the Capitol steps


 The legislators initially came up the front steps but they didn't even want to make eye contact with us so they tried to sneak in a side entrance but the wolf protectors weren't going to let them off so easy so we all perched ourselves near that entrance.


Early morning gathering of wolf protectors.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

RENAISSANCE PROVES THE PEOPLE DON'T WANT A WOLF HUNT

Howling for Wolves had a booth at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival - Pet Fest Weekend - on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 and the response about the Wolf Hunt is exactly what we all expected.  People do not want the wolf hunt/trap this November and they were very eager to sign the petition demanding that it be stopped.  Out of the hundreds of people that passed by the HFW booth I personally only came across 3 that were in support of the hunt/trap and their responses went exactly like this:

"The wolf is a son of bitch, they'll kill your animals for fun and won't even bother to eat their kill." (false - wolves have been known to get into a feeding frenzy where parts of a kill is wasted but that is very rare)

"I don't understand why you don't want the wolf hunted, their numbers are out of control and pretty soon they'll start attacking people." (false - our wolf population hasn't been counted since 2008.  At that time the numbers were a little over 2900 and the count was based on the discovery of scat, tracks, depredation and seeing wolves in the wild.  Why does the 2008 count not represent accurate numbers?  Imagine counting the poop of your dogs.  One dog can poop several times.  If my dog take a poop 6x's does that mean I have 6 dogs?  Tracks are also misleading because wolves can cover the same territory several times.  Seeing a wolf in the wild and identifying it as such is very difficult.  Most people confuse the coyote with the wolf.  Same goes for livestock depredation.  Wolves get the blame for livestock kill when in fact a coyote is responsible.  Now here we are in 2012 and with the loss of habitat, road kills, disease, poaching (one of which was recently prosecuted and written about in the Star Tribune) and controlled legal killings by certified trappers, farmers & ranchers - how many wolves actually exist in Minnesota today?  We aren't sure.)

"Trapping doesn't hurt a wolf.  Their foot goes numb in the trap and it is virtually painless so please stop telling people that trapping is inhumane." (false - an animal in a trap doesn't cry and bleed when no pain is present.  Wolves have been known to chew off their own foot to get free from a trap.  The man arguing that wolves feel nothing when trapped claimed the wolf chews its own foot only because there it has no sensation.  He said a wolf wouldn't chew off its foot if it had feeling.  For those of you who wonder if this is true... Aaron Ralston cut off his own arm to free himself when his arm was trapped by a boulder while out hiking.  He said he experienced excruciating pain while doing so.  A wolf and a man will remove a body part not because it doesn't hurt but because the desire to survive and be free is greater.)

For the record, does this look painless to you?

http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/

One person did ask me if Wolves were native to Wisconsin because they believed that any species that were introduced to an area shouldn't be protected because they are a non-native species.  

The reintroduction of a wolf is not an introduction.  Wolves existed across the United States and were driven to the brink of extinction.  Minnesota is the only one of the lower 48 states that retained their original wolf population, the other states like Wisconsin needed a reintroduction of the species, which has fought their way back to good numbers.  

I came across a couple of hunters that were against hunting the wolf.  They were big deer hunters but think hunting the wolf is very wrong and they were happy to sign the petition requesting it be stopped.  Although I'm not a hunter I could identify with those two men for several reasons.  I come from a long line of hunters.  My family loved to hunt deer, waterfowl and small game like rabbit (some still do).  One of my earliest memories is seeing deer strung up in the backyard on our family property in Bemidji Minnesota.  There wasn't any "sending" the deer off for processing back then, the women in the family took care of that.

Being against wolf hunting has nothing to do with being against hunting in general.  My grandfather taught his children and his children taught their children that trophy hunting, which is the real reason people hunt the wolf (and bear), is for cowards.  My grandfather killed a bear once in self defense and he made it clear that he never felt good about it.  He believed as does the rest of my family that if you can't utilize all of what you hunt then you have no business killing it and although many hunters see hunting as a sport, my grandfather didn't, he was a man who lived off the land and that didn't include killing animals for their skull and pelt.  Minnesota's wolf hunt is about money, pure and simple (isn't all destruction of biodiversity about money) and Howling for Wolves is working diligently to stop it.

One of Howling for Wolves volunteers educating visitors to the booth on why the 
wolf hunt isn't necessary.



Our mama wolf showing the littles ones that there is no such thing as the "big bad wolf."



Let's not go back to this Minnesota:



My daughter as a peasant girl working at the Renaissance (I just had to throw this one in because I think she's so darn cute in that peasant girl outfit).




Friday, August 17, 2012

HONOR THE TREATY, GIVE BACK THE BLACK HILLS!

The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, ‘My God, what are these people doing to themselves? They’re killing each other. They’re killing themselves while we watch them die.’ This is how we came to own these United States. This is the legacy of manifest destiny.” (Aaron Huey)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

RUNNING OUT OF TIME...

That is all I kept thinking about today.  We are running out of time to save our wolves.  The hunt begins in November and although it seems like a lifetime away it's really just around the corner.  The leaves are already beginning to change from a bright green to a dull yellow which means fall isn't far away.  Once the leaves begin to drop it won't be long and we'll be hearing about all the dead wolves being dragged into the DNR for inspection; not looking forward to the pictures that will emerge.  It is hard to comprehend how someone can save an animal from the brink of extinction and then shout "hey, they bounced back, now let's kill 'em."  It is insane. 

Well, we are doing our best to stop it.  As I told my daughters - if we sit and do nothing, the hunt/trap season is sure to happen, if we get up off our asses and try to make a difference then maybe the wolves will have a chance.  Here we are getting off the couch.  We spread ourselves out on Summit Avenue in front of the Govenor's mansion (since the Governor does have the power to stop this hunt/trap).  This fight isn't over - we'll be handing out information on the hunt and how you can help stop it at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival during Pet Fest weekend (August 18 & 19) so if you are in Minnesota make sure you drop by.
 (check out the press release about the protest at the Governors Mansion HERE)


My daughter Maya


Howling for Wolves founder Maureen is in the red jacket on left (awesome lady)



My daughter Yana

Thursday, August 9, 2012

STOP THE MINNESOTA WOLF HUNT/TRAP THIS FALL!!!


Many of us grew up thinking of the wolf as a mythical creature lurking in the woods, ready to pounce on us without notice to consume our flesh.  Even as adults the mere mention of a wolf brings us back to that image of an innocent young girl dressed in a red cloak, fighting for her life.  Fairytales are fodder for the imagination.  They’ve been written throughout the ages to entertain children and adults alike, but their influence on the psyche can sometimes be anything but positive, and childhood stories about the big bad wolf are no exception.

Today the wolf is both loved and loathed.  In Minnesota and across the nation laws that once protected the gray wolf have been lifted and people are now lining up to decimate a creature whose very existence captures the essence of all that is beautiful in nature.  The wolf is one of the most misunderstood animals to inhabit the planet, and the desire to reduce their numbers in the wild stems from both fear and hatred. Such negative emotions have left no room for reason, and instead the public is being bombarded with misinformation that has no scientific basis.

The wolf is not a blood thirsty animal.  The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a very social animal that lives within a pack composed mostly of family members.  The family lives, travels, and hunts together, and its members develop very close relationships with one another.  Their bond is so strong that wolves have even been known to sacrifice themselves to protect the family unit.  Gray wolves are shy and wary of humans so they tend to be elusive, but like all species they have an innate need to survive.  Wolves are carnivores that hunt both small and large game, and to do so they must cover a vast amount of territory on a daily basis.  On rare occasions their travels can lead them to farms where the lure of a good meal is just too difficult to pass up.  Fortunately livestock depredation is not a serious issue in Minnesota.  *In 2011, there were only 88 verified wolf livestock complaints in the entire state, and only about 80 out of 7,000 farms in Minnesota experienced wolf depredation of livestock.  What most people don’t know is that farmers are reimbursed full market value for their animals.  As well, there are many effective non-lethal methods to prevent such incursions, and owners of livestock and pets can now shoot wolves on sight that pose any threat.  Problem wolves are trapped by certified private predator controllers - 203 wolves were killed in 2011 and over 107 have been killed already this year.  
   
Our wolf numbers are not a cause for concern.  Most gray wolf packs number between four and nine.  In Minnesota it is estimated that we have about 3,000 wolves and 100 packs, most of which live in the northern part of the state.  *Since wolves are highly susceptible to starvation and disease, in addition to their ability to control their own numbers due to limited natural habitat, our wolf population has remained stable since 1998 - without the need for hunting and trapping.  

Without wolves, biodiversity is threatened.  Our wolves play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem in balance, and their presence helps maintain habitat for all wildlife in the forest.  *Wolves keep vegetation along rivers and streams healthy by controlling the movement of animals like deer and elk. Wolves are responsible for culling weakened individuals from prey species such as rabbit, beaver and muskrats, and help to maintain a healthy population of all animals. 

Minnesota is home to the only native wolf population in the lower 48 states.  In the 20th century wolves were the only mammals deliberately driven to the brink of extinction by humans. Today our attitude towards wildlife has changed; *outdoor enthusiasts outnumber hunters 4:1, so the existence of wolves and the possibility of seeing one in the wild is a significant draw for tourists.  We need to set an example and show the rest of the nation that as Minnesotans we respect and value our canine friends and they mean more to us than just a skull and pelt.  

Please join Howling for Wolves (howlingforwolves.org) in their quest to stop wolf hunting and trapping this fall.  The law passed by the Minnesota Legislature to allow hunting/trapping is a “permissive” law that simply allows the DNR to have a hunt whenever they choose.  The DNR does not have to hold the hunt.  Contact the DNR and tell them you don’t want our wolves hunted or trapped: Tom.landwehr@state.mn.us (651) 296-5484, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155-4040

~Michelle Valadez

Listen to Maureen Hacket (Founder of Howling for Wolves) discuss why the hunt/trap is a bad idea.  Click on this link and go to the middle line of the radio hour stream and you can listen to Maureen's interview: http://media41.podbean.com/pb/a1ee5496153ef2b286904e5b2b5c194f/5024a5f2/blogs41/442845/uploads/LeftMNRadioHour08-05-12.mp3

*Minnesota Gray Wolves E-Book. St. Paul: Howling for Wolves, 2012. Howling for Wolves. 2012. Web. 10 Aug. 2012. .


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

AN ADORABLE STORY TO SHARE

My good friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes: Raising Our Own is a very talented writer and is the Enchanted Conversation Contest Winner over at Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine for writing an adorable children's story (13+)  The article is titled "Matches and Races" - please pop over there to check it out, it is a lovely read.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FIBER FINDS

I wanted to share some of the cool things I picked up at the Shepherds Harvest Fiber Festival.  I haven't been motivated to use the weavette yet since I'm just getting over being sick but I couldn't resist spinning some new yarn.

I spent hours wandering around the fiber festival looking for romney wool because I had read that it was the best fiber for new spinners but out of all the vendors only one person was selling it and unfortunately it's not roving :(  I bought it anyway but have yet to try it out.  I'm thinking I need to prep it a bit before using it because there are bits of hay throughout the fiber.  Once I figure out what to do I'll probably attempt to color it.


I hunted forever and finally found a niddy noddy.  I learned the hard way that this tool is pretty necessary.  I wrapped my spun fiber around a book and then couldn't get it off.   With the niddy noddy I know just how much yarn I'm wrapping and won't have trouble removing it.


I also found a small weaving square.  I really really really wanted it and after many failed online searches I am happy to have found it at the festival.  Now I just have to figure out how to use it.  Should be simple.


One of my best finds didn't come from the fiber festival but I wanted to share it anyway.  I was browsing at the Yarnery on Grand and found some polwarth wool top.  I'd not read anything about polwarth but the label on the fiber said it was a long fiber which is best for new spinners so I bought it.  I'm soooooo happy that I did because, so far, it is the best fiber I have spun with.  I tried the Merino Wool after having such a great experience with the BFL but the Merino made me want to give up on spinning.  It was horrible.  I'm sure the wool is awesome for someone but it wasn't for me.  I later read that the Merino fibers are too short for new spinners and often lead to failure.  Now that I have the polwarth I am back to my spinning addiction :)  NOTE TO TERESA: this is the one I mentioned sending you if you'd like to try it.


If anyone is interested in learning to spin and feel like I do, that the wheel is way too expensive to begin with, I suggest picking up the book "respect the spindle."  I took a short spinning class but I found the book to be a much better teacher.