Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Something to Cluck about.

until now has been an oxymoron.

In all the years I've been writing this blog, I've never written about a commercial establishment, but this got my attention and I think it's worth sharing. They are also paying their employees between $14 and $17 an hour.

The link above it to their website, but here is their story.  Lucky California. We have the only two locations SO FAR: San Francisco and Pleasanton.

Leading and inspiring change with the first certified organic fast food.

Every part of the Organic Coup’s business is built and inspired by our years working at Costco Wholesale. The philosophies learned at Costco have become our foundation at The Coup. We are a business filled with passionate people pushing for social change.

What’s the story behind our name? Truth be told, it started out as a typo when spelling the word “coop” while first hatching out the plan (pun intended) for an entirely new fast food concept. But, this typo actually captured the spirit of our mission and we knew we had our name.  A “coup” is a takeover – and that’s our vision: an organic takeover of the fast food industry. Totally disruptive and bold. The Organic Coup represents a new day and a new attitude about fast food – fast food can be good food.

The Coup believes in food that is raised within the Organic USDA standards.  These standards do not allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals and pesticides, or the use of antibiotics or added hormones in livestock.  We believe in sustainability, not just for the quality of life today, but also for the future.
We believe in “Team Coup” (our employees) and we are investing in them with a livable wage that sets a new standard in fast food.

We are building an army of Coup Nation Ambassadors as the food movement is at its tipping point. Coup Nation Ambassadors – people like you – are changing the status quo by transforming the conventional and unsustainable food system through vision and action. The simple act of buying a certified organic sandwich makes you an agent of change.

We are seeing the future of food come from people with deep courage, powerful voices and unwavering vision who want to make a positive impact.  Please join us at The Organic Coup in eating your everyday peaceful protest.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bird Safety

Luckily, my cat, Blue, isn't interested in birds. He's hell on chipmunks, but not birds. This morning, I received this email from a friend. 
"Talking about cats, Luna had become a bird killing machine (one, sometimes two, a day). In desperation I went on line and found a site - “Bird be safe.” Apparently birds can see bright colors - I bought a simple cotton collar from the site and- voila- no more dead bird gifts. I mean none. She seems almost proud of her collar and, although she can take it off easily, she generally doesn’t. If you have friends with a similar problem you might want to pass this along." 
pet cat kills between one and 34 birds a year, while a feral cat kills ... 
It's well known that cats kill millions of birds a year--Estimated at 3.7 million. If there is something that works to cut down on that number, it has to worth a try.
Want to Stop Your Cat From Killing Birds? Dress It Up Like a Clown
 If any of you try it, I'd love to hear back.

P.S. I got this from a bird-rehabilitater of the first order.
"That bright collar sounds like a fine idea. Yes, songbirds and many others can see ultraviolet light, for one thing, which creates a kind of neon glow. For another, most diurnal birds have at least four types of color cones in their retina, RGB and violet. We have three - RGB. Other non-primate mammals, most of them, have two- blue and green. Birds react strongly to color for display and possibly territory protection, and in hunters, in getting food. What a simple solution!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Case of the Pot calling the Kettle Black

Bumble bees pictures (1)
A few years ago, on one of our many chilly mornings, I found five or six bumblebees all snuggled together in a single flower. Though it was pretty obvious they were bundled  for warmth, I wanted to know why they'd chosen this method. I called my go-to person on all science questions, botanist Teresa Sholars. She said some species of plants actually increase their metabolism at night to attract bees. Bumblebees shiver to keep warm. A bunch of shivering bumblebees inside a flower insure they will become covered in pollen, and insuring pollination for the flower. How bloody cool is that!
 I, unlike bees, love sleeping in cold room with lots of blankets. This morning, I found a very numb bumblebee in my bathroom sink. At first I thought it was dead, but when a leg moved, I edged it onto a piece of toilet paper and carried it outside.

Nearly every morning, I'm awakened by ravens gathering to follow my animal-loving, but rather peculiar neighbor, who goes by, rain or shine, just at dawn, pulling a cooler full of stale bread, which she drags to the top hill to feed the assemblage. 

This morning, I'm on my upper deck trying to encourage my bee, which has crawled off the toilet paper and is now on my fingertip, into a nasturtium bloom, when I hear my neighbor coming along the road, talking to the ravens, which are flying along behind her, and I think aloud-- "Charlotte, you poor old thing, you're not all there," --then I catch sight of my reflection in the sliding glass door. Staring back at me is a seventy-plus-year-old woman, in her pajamas, with a severe case of bed-hair, and a bumblebee on the tip of her finger. 

P.S. I ended up carrying the bumblebee downstairs, put it on a piece of paper near a lamp, gave it a drop of honey, and covered it with plastic lid with a breathing hole. It drank the honey, and when it warmed up and started to buzz, I took it outside and let it go.

"The bumblebee is either sick, too old or too cold to fly. If it is sick or infected with a parasite then I'm afraid there is not much that can be done. However if you find a grounded bumblebee early in the year, just at the start of the first warmer days, then it is probably a queen. She may have been caught out in a sudden shower or a cold spell. If the temperature of the thorax falls below 30 oC the bumblebee cannot take off (see temperature regulation). The best thing you can do it pick her up using a piece of paper or card, put her somewhere warmer, and feed her. When she has warmed and fed she will most likely fly off. You can feed her using a 30/70 mixture of honey and water in a pipette or eye dropper, or just a drop of this on a suitable surface within her reach, but be careful not to wet her hair or get her sticky. By saving a queen you may have saved an entire nest. If the weather is really unsuitable for letting her go, or if it is getting dark, you can keep her for a day or so if you are willing to feed her."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pretty Bird and then some, revisited.

 I wrote this post last month then came across this video today. Too cute not to share.

As someone owned lock, stock, and barrel by this parrot for the last 35 years, I found this article a fun read. It was sent to me by Bill Bonvie, a fellow writer and author of Repeat Offenders.

Parrots Are a Lot More
Than ‘Pretty Birdfrom the NYTimes by Natalie Angier.

‘Feathered Primates’ 

"Parrot partisans say the birds easily rival the great apes and dolphins in all-around braininess and resourcefulness, and may be the only animals apart from humans capable of dancing to the beat."


"The most celebrated dancing parrot is Snowball, a sulfur-crested cockatoo with a trademarked name whose YouTube dance performances to Queen, Michael Jackson and the Backstreet Boys have been viewed some 15 million times."


Hopi was hand-raised and came from a breeder. India, Mexico, South Africa are the source of many illegally imported parrots, none of which, if they survive, will ever make good pets. The stress alone can cause them to sicken and die. If you want to own a parrot, please get one that is hand-raised, preferably by you, and purchased from a breeder. Also recognize, it will be lifelong commitment. They can live 80 or more years, and are messy to a fault. Ask any of my friends.

 Parrots make up for almost 50% of bird trade in India, experts say


  Unsustainable Grey Parrot Trade in South Africa | National Geographic ...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Elephant Love


wonderful video of Lek Chailert
 Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

the story behind this picture.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Makes me ashamed of my attempt to grow my own potatoes

Snow Crab
Last night a group of friends got together for an Alaskan snow crab dinner. Here on the north coast of California it is dungeness crab season, except it isn't. Because of domoic acid poisoning, a deadly neurotoxin, this year's crab season remains closed. I brought all the shells home to compost. This morning, I read this story about a family raising 6000 lbs of food on a tenth of an acre. They make their own gasoline out of cooking oil and only use $12 a month in electricity. I was already feeling ashamed about how much crab I ate last night, then wake up to a reminder of what we each could do to become less of a burden on the planet. I'll be out composting the crab shells while you enjoy the video.

Dungeness crab

 "Domoic acid, which can cause seizures or death in humans, began showing up in crabs after colossal algae blooms caused by unusually warm ocean waters started disgorging the neurotoxin in April. Recent state testing still detected it in a few northern areas such as Fort Bragg, and it’s those test areas that commercial crabbers are hoping will come up clean soon so the season has a chance of finally starting." SFGate story  By Kevin Fagan and Jenna Lyons


story by Seth M

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Left to Starve

If you've read this blog even once, you know that I come down on the side of animals whether it's to rant against the horrors we inflict when we lock them in cages to test our drugs, cosmetics, pesticides, and chemicals on them, or make them do tricks for our amusement. If any of these things make your stomach turn, you're my choir. I can only hope that once in a while a potential new member stumbles upon one of these posts and wants to help. And it's why I write for children, who are our last best hope to make us a more moral species.

Left to Starve
"Ponso is one of dozens of chimps who were stranded on a string of abandoned islands after the New York Blood Center (NYBC) finished years of painful testing on them."

Chimp Abandoned On Island Welcomes Rescuers With Open Arms

 By Ameena Schelling for the Dodo

 "The decision was met with widespread condemnation. At the time, Jane Goodall called the announcement "completely shocking and unacceptable." Duke University primatologist Brian Hare told the New York Times, "Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this."