Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Little Something to turn your Stomach.

Image result for chicken transport trucksIf you still eat chicken, and you aren't buying cage-free or free-range chickens, here's how they are shipped to slaughter. I passed one of these trucks yesterday on Hwy 101 north of Santa Rosa. The cages were so short, the chickens were lying on their sides. It was the most sickening disregard for a live being I've ever seen. And if this doesn't do it for you, think of the terror of traveling at 55 mph in open air. There was no ID on the truck, so no way to know which farm they came from or where they were going.

Jul 24, 2018 - At the slaughterhouse, after being held in the trucks for 1 to 12 hours, chickens raised for meat are torn from the cages and hung upside down ...

Image result for chicken transport trucks 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Night of the Cane Toads by Maureen Eppstein

I haven't done a blog post in over a year. I have to admit, it's because technology threw me. I have a lovely new website that I don't know how to use. I tried blogging from it and failed. I didn't want to keep bugging my web-designer, so I put off trying again and time does what time does. It moved on, leaving me further behind.

Today, I read something I thought would make a good post and found this one by Maureen. It's the one I couldn't get uploaded to my website. But, by golly, this old blogspot is still up and running and even has viewers, so I'm going to give it a shot. One year late. Apologies Maureen.

My friend, Maureen Eppstein, is a New Zealander with an accent I could listen to all day. She's a naturalist and poet, with an eye for astonishingly beautiful details.
Image result for maureen eppstein
Maureen Eppstein's website

Night of the Cane Toads
Image result for cane toads

More about Cane Toads 

P.S. From my friend Johanna, always the clever one:

"Good souls abound. That’s a profoundly homely toad. Great that someone has their bumpy backs"

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Colonizer by Charlotte Gullick

A mutual friend sent this story to me a few days ago. Those of us who know and love Char were terribly upset and worried about her. If you don't know her, she took over Suzanne Byerley's creative writing classes when Suz moved to Ohio. She is a past Executive Director of the Mendocino Coast Writers' Conference, where her focus was creating a safe place for diverse voices. I was in a writing group with her. Those of you who have read Lost in the River Grass may recognize her influence.

I'm going to tell you right up front that she's doing better. Much better. This then becomes, not just her brush with a scary health issue, but our society's brush with another scary disease--the metastasizing of bigotry.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Life with Spiders

Image result for Pholcus phalangioides
I've done this. Showered with spiders. I'm not afraid of them, though admittedly, I will capture and release BIG ones. A friend sent this Orion Magazine article and it reminded me that here in the Pacific Northwest, we are always finding spiders in our bathtubs. Another friend provides them with a toilet paper ladder, and the friend who sent this, leaves a towel draped over the side of the tub.

          Showering with Spiders

Itsy-Bitsy Spider                         

The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

In spite of this message of determination, spiders drown easily, so pre-shower preparations include checking and removing spiders that aren't ceiling high.

Image result for golden orb weaver

As frequent readers of this blog know, I'm originally from Florida. We have serious spiders down there. My favorite is the Golden Orb spider. I probably like them best because I made friends with one once. I found and  hand-raised a baby Spotted-breasted Oriole. They are fruit-eaters, but for protein I always had a supply of mealworms for him. A golden orb spider had her web outside our back door. She would hide into a corner whenever the door opened. One morning I let the dog out and flipped a mealworm into her web. She stayed hidden, but when I did the same thing the next morning, she ran down her web, sank her fangs into it and began wrapping it in silk. On the third morning, she sat in the center of her web waiting for me and took the mealworm from my fingers. 
Image result for spotted breasted oriole

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I want to believe

Image result for black panther
I know I haven't done a blog post in months. First my computer hit the skids after 14 years (I was still using XP), then a month of 'last minute' prep for the writers' conference and the conference itself. I also have a much-needed new website in the works. Excuses, excuses. Maybe I just ran out of steam for a while. Then yesterday a friend sent me this video. I, who have loved and been an advocate for animals all my life, would give anything to have this ability. I even took an animal communication class once, and failed. I want to believe it's possible. This video has come pretty close to convincing me. Either way, it's heartwarming.

Abused Leopard Growled At Everyone Who Passed By.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Empowering Girls by Maxine Rose Schur

 After strolling through the unrelenting pink princess aisles for girls at Toys R Us, seeing toy after toy with images of skinny, impossibly pretty royalty and the overwhelming emphasis on “prettiness,” I’ve come up with a new toy mirror for girls.  Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror™ is a plastic hand mirror, large but light to hold. When a young girl lifts the mirror, the technology is activated: soft music plays, clouds swirl and in a moment the child sees, as if arriving from faraway, a 3-dimensional fairy godmother type figure coming closer.  This is Princess Lily. The music stops and Princess Lily’s face now fills nearly the whole mirror surface. She speaks to the girl from the world of the mirror. She tells the child, a fun bit of poetry, sings a short song, provides an affirmation or empowering suggestion. What Princess Lily says is unpredictable: sometimes playful, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always supportive. After she speaks her words to the child, she vanishes within clouds so the mirror becomes once again simply a mirror in which the child sees herself, but perhaps in a different, more positive way because of the reassuring words just imparted to her. 

I posted the idea on a site called JazWings and if I can get 100 people to vote for it--- which means they like the idea-no money involved, then the parent toy company, JazWares will consider it. I’m asking everyone concerned about empowering girls from an early age to please vote and to provide feedback for improvement.  This is very important but it’s easy. Here’s how:

Access the site through Facebook or through
NOTE from Ginny: Try this link first. I may take you directly to the VOTE page.

Otherwise Go to Community

Sign up (register) (takes no more than a minute) and no, you won’t be spammed.

Click on Discover and scroll down to Princess Lily's Enchanted Mirror.

Give it one to five stars then press the Vote button.  If you do it right, you'll get a message "Thanks for voting."  

If it's confusing or difficult, I'm happy to call you and walk you through it. It should take just a minute or two at the most! My email is

There is no money or any kind of obligation with it, it's just a vote.

Thank you in advance for your support and feedback. I very much appreciate it.

Maxine Rose Schur (

To understand why I’ve created this toy idea, read on:

Since the 1995 publication of the landmark book Reviving Ophelia* there has been greater awareness of the importance of a strong self-image for young girls to counter the “beauty-perfect” images that pervade the media through television, movies, video games, toys and advertising.  The book and subsequent research have brought to light the insidious impact the popular media and societal pressure have on the self-image of young girls who learn at a very early age that being pretty and attractive to boys is a measure of self-worth and social success.  The research revealed that even the self-esteem of strong, confident girls diminishes dramatically from the age of seven as they become more exposed to mass culture.

Because children are learning new behaviors and “wiring their brain,” affirmations can be particularly effective with them. Research shows that positive self-belief developed in childhood stays throughout life. When children hear words of praise and encouragement, they learn to praise, and respect themselves. Once affirmations are learned, they work by coming to mind when that belief is challenged.  Also, the more an affirmation is repeated, the stronger it becomes.

Also of importance, affirmations are believed to be the most powerful when said or heard while looking into a mirror. Young girls introduced to this concept may feel more comfortable and self-assured looking at themselves in the mirror as they mature.

Because the mirror is programmed with hundreds of words of encouragement and because they take a varied form: rhymes, riddles, charming, unexpected thoughts, serious affirmations and questions, the toy does not present as didactic, nor can it quickly become predictable as are the current crop of toy mirrors. Rather Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror continues with each use to be unpredictable—surprising, fresh and above all, more fun.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror is accompanied by a small storybook that tells the story of Princess Lily and her three empowering sisters, the enchanted land in which they live and how the mirror came to be “enchanted.”  It also includes a guide for parents in giving positive affirmations and modeling and encouraging the self-awareness of feelings.

Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror reflects to the child not merely her external appearance, but her inner strength and beauty.  The mirror anticipates the child’s age-appropriate anxieties, concerns and doubts and gently and creatively suggests behaviors and thoughts to challenge them. In this way, Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror functions as both a toy and a psychological tool.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Good News for Dolphins and Orcas

France bans captive breeding

"Living in captivity and being forced to perform shows for the public has been proven to take a terrible toll on the physical and psychological health of marine mammals. When confined in a space that severely lacks stimulation, dolphins and orcas grow frustrated and become aggressive – something that never happens in their natural habitat. The only documented instances of orcas attacking humans have happened in captivity. Additionally, dolphins often start to display zoochotic behaviors similar to symptoms of prison neurosis when left in a tank that prohibits them from exercising their intellect and social skills. Extremely stressed animals are known to engage in acts of self-mutilation, like throwing themselves against the walls of their tanks. Those and other symptoms even lead to feeding captive marine animals pharmaceuticals – SeaWorld has admitted to medicating their orcas with psychoactive drugs similar to valium." OneGreenPlant


This is the French version of How to Speak Dolphin. I'm thrilled that the French have taken steps to end the terrible lives we have submitted these intelligent mammals to.
Lolita, 45 years in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita's prison for 45 years  

and France is not alone