An Inspiring Story

January First is always a time for reflection.  In 2012 I experienced many blessings and some heartbreaks.  Both of my children married wonderful people- a wonderful blessing for us all. The great friends I have made through my store continue to support me and add so much to my life.  I said goodbye to some good friends – Sassy my sweet pony who left this earth with her head on my lap, Sara my devoted golden who went to the Rainbow Bridge so suddenly, and Buffy the mother to my sweet Ginger who was always calm and steadfast – even at the end.  I closed my store on Main Street in Berryville and moved everything to my home to create a part time shop on Saturdays.  Not quite what I imagined when I opened the store 6 years ago but I have now met a wonderful group of people at my new job at Jakobsen and Bowe, for which I am so thankful. My little goat friends, Lily and Nutmeg joined my Peaceable Kingdom in the fall and have brought so much joy and laughter.

And today I received a special gift.  An update from the “parents” of my former foster dog Abby that is so uplifting.  Abby arrived at my home as a very frightened young Golden-Doodle a few years ago.  She seemed to want affection but was so afraid.  Her first few days were spent hugging the walls and hiding behind furniture.  She did eventually come out to join my goldens and seemed more relaxed in the group – Sweet Sara,  Buffy, Ginger and Murphy all helped her adjust.  But her terror from whatever she experienced in the past just would not let her completely trust her new human friend.

In all my years of fostering for Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training ( there have been only three who I thought I should bring into my family.  Most of the goldens were so typical of the breed – “I’m happy, what’s next!”  and I knew they would be fine with their new families.  But there have been three that seemed so damaged by human beings in their past that they touched my soul.  Abby was one of those.  But before I completed the paperwork to adopt Abby two angels came forward who wanted her to join their family.  (I did adopt the other two.) And today I received this wonderful email they have agree I can share:

Wanted to send you an update on Abby! She is a big love bug! Funny thing is that she never became really comfortable with her surroundings until this year when she had a big medical setback! Three years ago she had come down with Glaucoma in one eye and after much specialty treatment she lost her right eye but there was no difference in her. And then this year without warning she walked into a wall head on and could not see much at all out of her good left eye! Off to the specialist to find she had the same thing in the one good eye…Treatment did not work and she lost the second eye! The first 4 days after surgery we didn’t know if we did the right thing as she never left her bed!!! On the 5th day she came out of her shell and has been more active without eyes than she was with eyes! She can’t see her fear anymore! She has no fear at all anymore and if you didn’t know you would never know she had no eyes! Her eye specialist asked us if we were going to euthanize her and if so would we let her adopt her! No deal, she is our girl and would be coming home with us leaving the eyes behind! Other than the eyes she is great and runs the house!

Foster Girl Abby with my Ginger
Foster Girl Abby getting her bath at my house
Abby Today – One Special and Lucky Girl!

More Adventures of Lily and Nutmeg

Today Lily and Nutmeg spent the day in the backyard.  Although they had the entire area to graze and play, they preferred staying on the back porch with the goldens.
Lily used the chairs to get closer to the goldens
Sara enjoyed the company
Can we come in and play?

Earlier this week I took some house plants outside to freshen them up.  Hindsight is 20-20.  Houseplants and goats together on the porch are not a good combination.

This was a lush tropical plant yesterday

When Gustof joined the fun the goats decided to go back into the yard.  Gustof doesn’t seem to know if he should guard his little herd or play with them.  Today Nutmeg tried to play with him like he was a goat.  And Gustof returned the favor by trying to share a stick with Nutmeg.

Don’t worry Lily, I’ve got your back

What do you find so good about this stuff?

Do you want to play Nutmeg?

This is how goats play, watch your head!

I have a better idea, let’s play with this stick instead

Buyer Beware

Do you remember the massive pet food recall in 2007 because of melamine that killed and sickened thousands of pets?  Do you remember the melamine in baby formula in 2008 that sickened thousands of babies in China and caused irreparable harm to their kidneys?  Do you think that after such horrendous incidents there are enough safety precautions in place that we no longer have to be concerned about melamine in the food supply?  If so, you would be wrong.

Melamine is not a food substance.  It is a chemical used in plastic manufacturing that has been intentionally added to products in China to artificially boost the protein analysis.  If it doesn’t kill you, it will seriously injure your kidneys. 

I have been tracking the FDA import refusals from China since February of this year.  The number of refusals is staggering and the reasons are disturbing.  Food has been refused because it is filthy, decomposed, poisonous, organics containing pesticides, and fish testing positive for unapproved vet drugs.  For this post I’ll tell you just about the melamine. 

Here are the foods that were refused entry into the United Sates in the last six months because of melamine contamination.  Keep in mind the FDA inspects only about 2% of the imports.  So I believe it is safe to assume that some melamine contaminated food is on store shelves as I write this.

2/21/12   Manggong Biscuite – Melamine; Poisonous
2/9/12     Isolated Soybean Protein – Melamine; Poisonous
2/9/12     Dog Food – Melamine; Poisonous
3/27/12   Chocolate – Melamine
3/26/12   Guinea Pig Treat – Filthy; Melamine; Poisonous
3/26/12   Rabbit Carrot Treat – Filthy; Melamine; Poisonous
3/26/12   Quiche Lorrain Small Animal Treat – Filthy; Melamine; Poisonous
3/13/12   Chicken Tenders – Melamine; Poisonous
3/13/12   Bull Pizzles – Melamine; Poisonous
3/1/12    Shortbread Butter Cookies – Melamine; Poisonous
3/1/12    Sesame Cookie Rolls – Melamine; Poisonous
4/23/12  Isolated Soy Protein – Melamine
4/13/12  Pet Chews – Filthy; Melamine – Poisonous
4/2/12    Ice Cream – Melamine; Poisonous; Unfit4Food
4/2/12    Hawthorne Cake – Melamine; Poisonous; Unfit4Food
5/15/12  Breadcrumbs – Melamine, Poisonous
6/27/12  Organic Soybean Cake Meal – Melamine, Poisonous
6/22/12  Dried Baking Powder – Melamine, Adulteration
6/20/12  Antistaling Agent (Used in food production) – Melamine,
6/13/12  Biscuit, Kraft Foods – Melamine
6/13/12  Biscuit, Nabisco – Melamine
7/20/12  Hot Chocolate – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/19/12  Chocolate – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/18/12  Cracker – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/12/12  Sugar Free Soybean Drink Powder – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/12/12  Vegetable Biscuit – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/12/12  Wheat Cracker – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/10/12  Pea Protein Pg Feed Grade – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration
7/6/12    Fried Round Gluten – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulterated
7/5/12    Coconut Milk Flavor Crispy – Melamine, Poisonous, Adulteration

And if you think you can avoid products from China by reading the labels, it’s not that easy.  If a products is made in the United States with materials from China you will not see any indication of it on the label.

Gives a whole new perspective on Buy Fresh Buy Local doesn’t it?

The Adventures of Lily and Nutmeg

To say the newest additions to the farm are busy would be an understatement.  Each day we spend time walking through the field together and today I decided to bring a camera with me to capture some of their antics. It didn’t take long. For the first time they discovered the ramp into the chicken house and scampered in with me hot on their trail.  Lily discovered she really doesn’t like chicken feed while Nutmeg was jumping on me with his usual exuberance.

Once we got back out in the field the twins began their grazing so I decided to get some pictures when they were not so naughty.  Holly had different ideas.  She decided it was her turn for attention and each time I lined up a shot she stepped in.

Excuse me Holly, step back just a little please.
OK, now I think you are doing this on purpose.
 After our walk I decided to sit in the lawn chair and enjoy the evening while the animals grazed.  Lily had other ideas.

Hey, Nutmeg, watch this!

I took Mom’s chair!

No Holly.  There are just some things the goats are allowed to do that you can’t.  Sorry girl.



The Store Has Moved

Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets is home!  My home that is.  And we are open for business. 

2626 Shepherds Mill Road
Berryville, Virginia 22611

We are open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 – 6:00
Tito enjoys napping on the checkout counter

Midas The Store Cat

When I moved Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets to my home this week I had to make new accommodations for our store cat Midas.  He is FIV positive and has been living as the only cat in the original store since showing up as a stray a couple years ago.  I cannot bring him inside to mingle with my house cats because of the risk of spreading the disease so I thought he could enjoy life as a barn cat.

On Sunday evening I brought him home and set him up with a comfortable bed, food, water and toys in the barn.  The next morning I came bearing gifts of treats and new toys only to find that he was missing.  Frantically I searched the barn and the pasture to no avail.  I had to finally admit the search was fruitless so I returned to the house.  Guess who was sitting on the front porch patiently waiting for his breakfast?

So I am happy to report that Midas will continue to be the official greeter for Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets.  He has chosen the front porch as his new home so we will fix that up as Midas’ palace.  Apparently he won’t have it any other way.

You expect me to live with farm animals?  I don’t think so.

Pet Treats From China

There are class action law suits being filed by pet owners whose dogs have been harmed by chicken jerky treats made in China.  Now there is a possible link between other China imported pet treats and illness. 

Check out this article

Before you buy any pet treats look for the country where they are made.  You may be surprised by how many are from China.

A Summer Storm

We had quite a storm blow through last night that left the pasture littered with tree branches.  A large piece of a maple tree took down part of the fence and landed on the goat house.  I was concerned when I couldn’t get to the door but Lily and Nutmeg met me at the other end of the pen acting as if nothing was unusual.  Their only concern was for the bottles I held so we improvised and they were fed through the fence.  After breakfast they danced around with full tummies just like any other morning.  The twins seem pretty flexible but I wonder what they will think of the chain saw noise during the clean up.  They will have their first taste of flower essences before we start just in case they need help coping with this new experience.

Lily and Nutmeg

Meet the newest residents at my Peaceable Kingdom – brother and sister Nubian kids Lily and Nutmeg.  Magic and Trinken are very curious about the new arrivals.  The sound of the kids crying for their bottles brings Trinken running from wherever she is grazing in the pasture. 

Horse Love

This evening I was massaging my donkey Jill when Triken, my 28 year old horse, came over to receive her share of the love.  Jill moved away, since Trinken is the “alpha” of our herd. 
I massaged Trinken until my arms tired and then sat down on the 4×4 at the entrance to the run-in-shed.  Trinken went into the shed and stood behind me.  She then brought her head down and started to sniff my hair, my shoulders and my body.  She took great breaths in as she smelled me and the expression on her face was somehow both intense and serene.  I put my head back and she brought her big beautiful head down in front of me and snuggled my neck and rubbed my face.  She stayed cheek-to-cheek for the longest time and it was a tremendous experience.  She took in every scent of my hair and face and I mimicked her with my own breath. 
This large, powerful, beautiful animal standing behind me was so gentle that I was mesmerized.  I told her how much I loved her and she lowered her head beside me.  We stayed beside each other for such a long time, just enjoying each other.  Then the barn swallows began flying in and out of the shed which lent to the tender experience that nature chose to share. 
Tonight, through the love of animals, I have to say I was as close to the natural world as I have ever been.  Whether you pray to God, Spirit, Nature or some other entity; I think animals are here to show us some powerful messages.  I know Trinken and the barn swallows shared something powerful with me tonight.