raised on sunshine

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hello, Goodbye...

Hi Everyone!
I just wanted to drop a little note to let you know that I won't be posting here anymore. We've started a new blog that will be focused on all of the cooking, canning, drying, gardening and general little homestead-y projects we've been working on since we moved. While I haven't been posting, I have been keeping up (mostly) with all of your blogs and bookmarking tons of new recipes to try. There are so many great holiday recipes that I'm dying to test out.

I've really enjoyed this blog and I know that it has made me a much more adventurous cook. I'll leave it all up for now and maybe edit it down to just recipes at some point. Thanks for all of the great comments and advice over the past few years! Happy Holidays!

Friday, August 14, 2009



Little Digby came down with parvovirus this week. He's recovering and doing really well now, but it has been extremely painful for him going through it and for us watching him go through it, extremely expensive to get him proper treatment and extremely stressful dealing with all of the reading, speculating, isolating and bleaching that comes along with this horrible virus. The worst part is that it most likely could have been easily prevented if we hadn't been so ignorant of the dangers of our procrastination. Neither of us have ever had a puppy this young before. We had no idea that they were so vulnerable. We had no idea that they needed several rounds of vaccines before they were safe and that they shouldn't be exposed to other dogs until the entire process is complete. We made the mistake of being far too casual and simply put off taking him to the vet.

This has nothing to do with food obviously, but I know that a lot of vegans are distrustful of modern medicine--especially vaccines. And some of us are just lazy. We fall into the latter category. Both of us believe in vaccination; we just put it off until it was too late. Either way, the results are often the same. 85% of parvo puppies will die if not given timely treatment. Treatment is very expensive, generally costing >$1000 per puppy. It's just not worth the risk of not vaccinating. Neither of us would say it out loud, but we both thought that he would surely die. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seeing a tiny puppy so sick that he can't lift his head or bring himself to drink water even though he's literally dying of dehydration--why take the risk? Some dogs die within 24 hours of showing symptoms, most without treatment die within 72. Besides the stress of having an extremely sick animal, we had to bleach everything in our house. Parvo can live outside of the host for up to 9 months. It can be brought into your home on your clothes, your shoes, your dog's paws, etc. It can live in your yard and infect other dogs that are exposed to it. It just really isn't worth it. I can't begin to describe what an exhausting process it has been. And we got lucky. We were home when he started feeling sick, kept a watchful eye on him, and got him to the vet immediately when it was obvious that it wasn't a normal stomachache/cold. We were lucky that I was home when it turned for the worst. We were lucky that Mason could take off work early and was only a few miles away. We were lucky that a veterinary hospital is just a few blocks down the street. We were lucky that Mason's parents offered to pay for it so that it wouldn't completely break us.

If you are worried about the side effects of vaccination, I implore you to do the research. It is such a small risk when compared to the array of disease that puppies are susceptible to. I'm no big fan of a lot of the pharmaceutical industry's practices, but you have to weigh the risks. If you are lazy, I beg you to get off your ass and get the vaccinations. It probably won't take more than an hour of your time. If you are broke, find a way to pay for it. Cancel your cable for a few months, borrow it, sell something--it will be way more expensive if your puppy has to be hospitalized for parvo or distemper.

Now that I've scared you to death, you should know that this virus is treatable. 80% of properly treated puppies will live. If you've made the same mistake as we have and your dog starts to show any of the symptoms--lethargy, anorexia, vomiting or diarrhea--get him to the vet asap. The sooner you catch it, the better chance your dog has to live. Most dogs die not of the virus itself, but of the dehydration that it causes. The virus isn't treatable, but the dehydration is. The vet will most likely put your pet on an IV to replenish fluids. They may also give your puppy anti-nausea medication to prevent more vomiting. This is why giving food and water orally will be ineffective--it will generally induce more vomiting, exacerbating the dehydration. Digby is on a bland food diet that is more easily digested and antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection. It looks good for him right now. He's home and feeling almost normal again--because we were lucky. So, I now feel the need to be especially evangelical on this topic: don't depend on luck to save your dog when this illness can so easily be prevented.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Road Trip

car dogs

We're back from Oklahoma. These three were actually surprisingly good during this ride, despite the mischievous looks on their faces. It was a fun, but short trip that we attempted to jam pack with activities. We ate birthday cake, sat on porches, hit up garage, estate and church sales, enjoyed all of our old thrift store favorites, introduced everyone to Digby, picked blackberries and decided that we should probably get out of our apartment and possibly even out of Dallas. The dogs love my dad's huge yard and it would be great to have a yard that wasn't shared. We would love to have a bigger garden and grow a surplus to can and freeze. There are tons of projects that we would like to do, but can't without (even a tiny bit) of our own land-rainwater barrels, fruit trees, solar panels, brick and solar ovens, etc. So, maybe we'll find a place and that will give me something new to blog about here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Salads

Mark Bittman has a list of 101 Simple Salads for the Season in the Times this week, about 1/3 of which are vegan. Numbers 2, 3, 15 and 18 sound especially good. We make something similar to number 25 at least once a week throughout the summer. I'm especially salad obsessed at the moment because we've missed the farmer's market for two weekends in a row and I'm feeling deprived. We'll be in Oklahoma this weekend, but I'm hoping to work in some berry picking and maybe hit a few farm stands!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chocolate Orange Zebra Cake

chocolate orange zebra cake

I found a new (to me) blog that I enjoyed reading today. The author is vegetarian and, in addition to making some delicious looking Indian food, does a lot of beautiful baking. Like this, and this, and this...you get the idea. It rained all day today, so I seized upon the opportunity to throw open the windows and celebrate the 78 degree weather (with a breeze!) by baking a cake. This cake, to be exact. I had serious doubts about whether I could pull off the zebra effect, but was too fascinated not to try. While mine definitely does not look as nice as hers (or this one!), I was pretty happy with the results.

zebra cake

I ran out of cocoa, so the chocolate isn't as dark as I would have liked it to be. I definitely need to find some really dark cocoa and try again. It might also be tasty to layer vanilla and orange for a creamsicle cake, though the zebra effect would be much more subtle. I'm thinking that these cakes would be perfect holiday gifts. I could use my 4" or 6" cake pans, wrap the results in butcher paper and give them away in little tins. This one was really dense and moist, so I imagine that it will keep nicely for several days. I put half of it in the freezer--I'll let you know how it tastes thawed out next week.