Gizzy in Heaven!

Gizzy in Heaven!
I love you forever and ever, Amen!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pet Costume Contest!

LAST DAY TO ENTER: OCT. 14TH I just finished Gizzy's bee costume for the dog show at the Honey Bee Festival on Saturday, which prompted me to have this pet costume contest on my blog as well. Everyone's invited to participate in the fun and to enter your pet(s) in costume via e-mail so that I can post the pictures here. This is not only for dogs, but cats, rats, bunnies, birds, monkeys, donkeys, pigs, horses, llamas...whatever pet you have. After I've received all the entries, I will provide a voting poll so that everybody can vote. Here are the simple 1-2-3 steps to enter: 1. You can submit up to 3 photos of your pet (or pets) to my e-mail address here: (if you use any of my other e-mail addresses, it will most likely get lost or accidentally deleted since I only receive e-mails in my inbox from contacts I have in my address book. 2. Include your pet's name, age, breed, what the costume is or represents (for clarification) and, if you want, include a little something extra about your pet, i.e. what are his/her favorite activities, just to personalize it a little, but this is optional. 3. Include your full name for my records. I will only post your first name and if you want, your link to your Etsy store, Artfire studio or blog, to do a little networking as well. If you don't have a blog/shop, please leave me your e-mail address so that I can contact you. That's it! I will collect entries for two weeks. Last day to submit your entry will be Wednesday, Oct. 14 and then the voting will begin. Anyone can vote, so ask your friends, relatives and colleagues to help. As I mentioned earlier, I will provide a voting poll. Voting will be for one week. Last day to vote will be Wed. Oct. 21. I will try to contact you on the blog/e-mail address you've provided, but PLEASE, make it a point to check back here to see if your pet has won! And now for the fun part: The winner will choose anything from my shop (just click here - you do not need to set up an Etsy account just to look.) You can pick any item(s) in the total amount of $15.00 and I will pay for standard shipping (to USA and Canada only.) I also want to offer prizes for second and third place, but that's still undecided. Once the winner knows what he/she wants, send me another e-mail (or convo, if you already have an Etsy account) with your address so that I can send it to you. I hope you all think that's incentive enough to get started. As for myself, I simply want to see all your critters in costume. I love animals and love people that love them ;-) Another kind blogger by the name of Lani posted a link on her dogblog to invite people to enter my contest. Why don't you go and see all her dogs on that can get your dog on there too. She also has one for cats and other pets. For inspiration, here's a few more of Gizzy's photos. I crocheted his frock and made the antennae, but the butterfly, which serves as the wings, was given to me by a neighbor. It was in her garden, but broken off from the stick, so she was just going to throw it away. I asked her for it, because I think this butterfly makes excellent bee wings, don't you? Standing, looking a bit drowsy. I woke him up for the photo session. Streeetching because, my gosh! I interrupted his siesta. The whole thing's just one big yawn ;-) Back view. I think the ornamental garden butterfly looks great as wings, don't you? I'll be sure to groom him before we go to the Honey Bee Festival on Saturday, so that he'll look extra spiffy. Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Please vote every day till December 20th

This is about the animals, but then with me it's almost always about the animals - or the environment. I would like to ask all of you nice folks in Blogland to please participate...and ask all your friends to help too. It's very simple: Each day through December 20th, you can cast your vote for your favorite participating shelter or rescue group by clicking here: The Animal Rescue Site You can help that shelter win one of three big prizes, which include a $3,000 grant for third place; $5,000 grant for second place; and a $20,000 Grand Prize grant. Thank you and God bless you for loving our animals!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome Autumn!

Autumn is a very exciting time, a time of transformation, preparation and profound changes as is evidenced by the brilliant colors of the foliage. Animals are preparing for the winter by storing food or migrating to another place to live. Speaking of migration, the Monarch Butterfly embarks every year on a 2,000 mile journey from Canada to Mexico. Imagine, that tiny creature flying all that way - some of which may be right outside your backyard at this very moment. You can track the Monarch's migration, if you like, and here'a a link that tells you how: Monarch Butterfly - Journey North (go to Fall Migration) I recently photographed this lovely Golf Fritillary butterfly near my apartment and, who knows, maybe he's on his way to Mexico right now too. I have been seeing a lot of butterflies lately, reminding me of a film I saw on Nova (PBS) a while back about the butterflies' amazing migration. It left such a powerful impression that I want to share it with you. It's a magnificent journey, an awe-inspiring, absolutely spectacular event. I never knew what those tiny creatures go through every year. I always enjoyed and admired the butterflies, but now I respect them even more. Do yourself a favor and follow the 2,000-mile migration of Monarchs to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico: The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies The trees in front of my apartment are still green, and probably will remain so for quite some time. Although autumn officially started on the calendar, I live in Southern Georgia where summers tend to last a bit longer than what I'm accustomed to. I associate fall with squash and pumpkins (one of my favorites) and homemade vegetable soup after a long walk in the crisp morning air. I think of baked bread and apfelstrudel, the scent of apple-cinnamon potpourri and making handmade gifts for family and friends in anticipation of Christmas. What about you? This is what I'm hoping to see again this year. My dog, Gizzy's just like a little kid. He loves to walk through the rustling leaves and sit smack dab right in the middle of them, like in this last year's photo: ...something to look forward to and blog about later! Happy Autumn everyone! Here's another little autumn memory: Me, standing in an apple orchard. I went apple picking with some friends during a visit to Maine a few years ago.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My sweet, little honey bee

I can't take it - I had to show you guys my honey bee in the making. For Halloween this year, Gizzy's going as a honey bee with me as his beekeeper. I can wear my mosquito net and gardening gloves while handling him (he, he, he.) I made him these antennae and I'm crocheting a little brown and yellow striped vest to complete his outfit. Isn't he going to be just the cutest little arthropod? I just had a wonderful idea! What about me having a pet costume contest on my blog this year? People could e-mail me their pet's photos (any pet with a costume) and I'd post it on here with a voting poll. I also would like to mention the owner's blog or Etsy shop (for a little Promo) and then we could all vote for our favorite entry. The winner can chose something from my shop! I think that sounds like fun! What do you think? Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer's End

While I was walking around my apartment complex this morning with Gizzy, I took some photos reflecting summer's end. The crepe myrtles are blooming their last blossoms and the few bees surrounding them seem to be more agitated (in my opinion) than in the spring when thousands of bees were busily collecting nectar and pollen from the blossoms of the popcorn trees. The buzzing was immense, yet none of them cared about me standing in their midst taking photos. These bees today, however, seemed to be flying towards me as if I were an intruder and competing with them for a spot on the few remaining blossoms. I had to duck several times while photographing them. Look! It's a "Two-Fer" ... the honey bee at 10 o'clock and a green spider on 5 o'clock! As Gizzy and I moseyed towards the woods, I saw one of those yellow butterflies again that I've been trying to photograph all summer long. Well, with a little patience and perseverance, I finally managed to sneak up on one before he flew up high into the trees. These clusters of white blossoms were on a very tall bush so that I could not get a good angle for my photo, but I did not stick around for very long, because there were a couple of really big wasps on it and I'm REALLY afraid of wasps. A bunch of lovely, little pink impatiens in front of the apartment's office. This late blooming bush in front of the clubhouse has lovely, pale pink blossoms. I don't know what it's called. I love this delicate looking blossom on this little bush growing near the mailbox. It looks like a hibiscus flower. It's the season for the "love bugs" to come out again. Everyone hates them. They don't fly, they just kind of float piggy back (attached to one another) through the air. There's so many of them sometimes that you have to swisch your arms through the air in front of you as you're walking. They really mess up your car too. You have to wash off the front of your vehicle as soon as you get home, because leaving them on there can ruin your paint job. This little vine climbing over the bushes by my apartment is most likely a weed with delicate, little, blue blossoms. Some weeds have the prettiest flowers. I neglected my roses this year and it shows. I will make an effort to fertilizing them more, because the red ones, especially, have a lovely honey-like fragrance and make for excellent potpourri. The moss did really well this year. It stayed green all summer long, because we had so much rain. I don't know why, but I love seeing those velvety, green patches next to my back porch. All in all, I have been very pleased with this year's summer. We had lots of rain and I've heard people say that it looks greener than they can remember for quite some time. The mosquitoes were not as bad as initially feared. I'm attributing this partially to the plentiful dragonflies population because they eat mosquitoes and knats. I saw more dragonflies and bees all summer - more than I can ever remember, partly probably because I'm paying more attention to them, but still... other people are noticing this also. I am still looking forward to the cooler weather though, so that Gizzy and I can be outside more. I simply breathe much better in the cold air...and Gizzy, too, has more pep in his step. He runs and bounces like a pup when it's chilly. We're both ready for autumn to begin!

Cooking with honey

You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy the natural goodness of traditional kosher dishes. Sweeten Jewish celebrations with all-natural honey. Honey has a rich tradition in customary Jewish dishes including kugel, challah and coffee cake. From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, there are many important celebrations that often include delicious and elaborate family meals. Here are a couple of recipes, courtesy of the National Honey Board, that offer a sweet twist on these traditional holiday dishes: Butternut Squash Soup 2 Tablespoons butter 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, diced 1 potato, peeled and diced 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth 1/2 cup honey 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed Salt and pepper, to taste Directions: In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic. Cook and stir until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, potatoes, squash, chicken broth, honey and thyme. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor; process until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat until hot and serve. Honey-Kissed Carrot Zucchini Kugel 1/2 cup water 1-1/2 cups grated carrots 1-1/2 cups grated zucchini 1 medium onion, finely diced 3 eggs, separated 1/4 cup honey 1-1/2 cups peeled and grated potatoes 1 cup matzo meal 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill, optional 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Directions: Combine water, carrots, zucchini and onion in medium saucepan. Simmer about 4 minutes or until vegetables are soft; cool slightly. Whisk together egg yolks and honey in large bowl. Stir in cooked vegetables, potatoes, matzo meal, dill, salt and pepper. Beat egg whites in separate large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 egg whites into vegetable mixture; gently fold in remaining egg whites. Turn mixture into well-greased 1-1/2-quart soufflĂ© or 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until kugel is puffed and golden brown. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Meet Possie, the Opossum! This morning, one of my neighbors came running asking me to get my camera because there was a kitten and a possum sitting together on a branch, but by the time I arrived, the kitten had jumped off, but look how cute this opossum is. We have a feeding station for all of our strays and community cats that roam our complex, so this opossum is now part of the "posse." I don't ever remember seeing such a cute opossum before. As I was talking to him/her, it kept twitching its ears forwards, backwards and all around and blinking at me, as if trying to figure out what I was saying. It was very adorable!

Monday, September 14, 2009

At the Drive-Through

This morning I stopped at Bank's Lake National Wildlife Refuge to walk with Gizzy and to brush his coat at our usual picnic table on the pier. He sits in front of me on the table and enjoys the view, while I'm brushing him. I normally carry his grooming equipment with me on our walks, so that I can keep all that fur outside and hopefully the birds can use some of it for their nests. While we were sitting there, looking out at the water, I noticed an alligator. See? ...that small oval streak in the center? That's a gator! (Click on the photo to enlarge it!) You can see total satisfaction in that dog's face. Gizzy's always so happy when we're outside. As soon as it starts cooling down, we'll spend a lot more time outside, that's for sure! On the way home, we went to the Hardee's drive-through restaurant and that dog knows, he's getting a hamburger. That's his attentive look! He stares and concentrates on that window, literally willing it to open and somehow - like magic - produce a bag of food containing a tasty treat! He even does that at the bank's drive-through window. Sometimes the ladies give him a doggy biscuit, but he doesn't want that...he wants a plain burger, hold the bun!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Valdosta remembers 911

Yesterday two ceremonies honoring victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy, first responders, the military, and patriotic Americans everywhere were held in the heart of Valdosta, Georgia, Friday morning. The first ceremony of remembrance was held at Valdosta Fire Department Fire Station No. 1. The second Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony was held on the Lowndes County Courthouse lawn. Here's the full article in the Valdosta Daily Times concerning yesterday's 911 Memorial ceremonies. We will never forget! God Bless America! Towers of Life They stood hushed and glimmering in the night, Giants able to frame the moon, Slumbering magnificently in their might. Day breaks and the sun gently warms their skin, Veins begin to pulse with life, The spirit of a thousand of kin. Evil tears towards them through the brilliant morning sky, Propelled by the blackest of hate, Guided by a lie. Barely risen they stand with no defense, Innocent and distracted they are not prepared, The pain about to be inflicted intense. Like a bolt of lighting that shatters the morn, Evil crashes once then twice into their sides, Their bodies are scorched and torn. Horribly crippled they continue to stand, Holding onto life until the last orders are given, They take the command. The battle is brief, the giants begin to yield, Life drains from every artery, Their fate is sealed. Collapsing to Zero, First to one knee then to the next, From their dust will emerge so many a hero. The question is asked, How can such evil exist. JDK (I found this poem here on this 911-Heroes site with more memorial poems and pictures.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kudos to Jo-Ann's

Look what Jo-Ann's offering! Since a lot of you have young children or grand children, I thought this may interest you. Jo-Ann's offering children's birthday parties where they can make crafts. What a wonderful idea it is to create something with your friends. A nice change from pizza and ice cream parlors and a lot healthier too. If you live near a Jo-Ann's maybe you will want to take advantage of this. I know I would! Let's get started with the arts and crafts! If any of you children are looking at this, why don't you ask mom or grandma to print out this page for you, so that you can color in the bee...have fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Honey Bee Research is No. 1 on my list

Many of you already know that human overpopulation, habitat destruction, pollution, and global warming are driving species extinct at a catastrophic rate, but most people don't. Extinction is the most serious, irreversible impact humans have on the planet -- extinction is forever. These days, three species go extinct every hour. I know pollinators have been disappearing for decades - but this new phenomenon called CCD has never been seen before. The honey bee is the most important pollinator because the honey bee can be domesticated and transported to pollinate crops on a grand scale. The bees are responsible for every 3rd bite of food we eat and for a third of the plant life. If you look out the window, and imagine one third of all vegetation gone, then that's what it will be like if the bee vanishes for good. We certainly can't save the children of the world nor the polar bear, for instance, if we can't even feed ourselves or end up having to pay $50 for an apple since we have to hand pollinate our crops because there are no more bees. Unless we want to live on wheat, corn, soy and rice, we'd best find a way to figure out how to keep our bees alive and well. We need them more than they need us. Albert Einstein once said that “If bees were to disappear off the surface of the earth, mankind would have but four years to live... no bees, no plants, no animals, no man" and I don't want to be around when that happens. If you are a skeptic and don't want to believe me, perhaps you will listen to the experts in this documentary that aired on PBS/Nature which raised my concern for our honey bees. I've always appreciated the bee, but now I try to inform and teach others about the bee's dilemma and CCD in hopes to make a positive impact on a small scale. Here's the movie that got me all riled up over our disappearing honey bees: Silence of the Bees (PBS/Nature) For those of you that like to read, let me recommend some interesting books that might enlighten you and get you inspired to share this information with others: A World Without Bees Robbing the Bees A Spring without Bees And while there is a lot of information available on the Internet about CCD and the bees, I want to mention one blog that has always amused me. It's truthful, albeit a bit harsh and sometimes crude (as the name suggests), so it's not for the meek and timid (view at your own risk!) HOLY SHIT THE BEES ARE ALL DEAD I think that's enough food for thought for now. I will leave you with pictures of some of my crocheted (and knitted) bees. Sometimes I like to raise honey bee awareness in a silly way! B2 is unhappy because he wasn't there and now he's, well, square! Hap B is my knitted honey bee doll Sassy Bee is a cute little pin/brooch for your lapel, scarf, hat or purse...or anywhere you want. Buzz, the Spiffy Caller found a new home. He's a one of a kind Valentine's bee shelf sitter whose new owner's name I stitched on the heart. She loves him, says hubby who purchased this bee for his wife. This decorative bee throw pillow would cheer up a child's room or a breakfast nook, for instance. Sunflower hat with Beatrice bee, an autumn assemble. Last, but not least, is my little Patriotic Bee. He can just hang around and look cute. PLEASE NOTE: all my crocheted and knitted bees are OOAK originals by me and are for sale. Take a look at my Honey Bee Crochet by SturmDM Etsy shop and let me know if you want something specially made for you.