Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dog and Cat Food

To change up a little from Human Food, I thought, since there was a request, I would speak some on the making of dog and cat food we do at our house. There are many books and articles and web pages out there on the making of dog and cat food and I encourage you to look and see what is good for you and your Furry Baby. What I am showing you is that, yes it can be done on a continuing basis and what we do.

We first started making the dog food when we got our St. Bernard, Loki Strong Heart. When he was a puppy he started immediately having some tummy issues which we proceded to make rice and ground beef for on bad days. Loki's tummy issues did not change for the better and eventually we were told he had food allergies and went on the hunt of what we could feed him that did not make him sick. Nothing seemed to help for long, almost everything did for a little while. To make a long story short we found the allergy to be to fleas and flea medicine and his problem to be more like IBS. This has been mostly fixed by adding 3 Tablespoons of homemade yogurt to each meal, which brought immediate and miraculous results.

Big dogs can easily have a problem with bloat. So it is important to feed them good food and food that is not dry. Hence, we still make dog food.

I have 2 very large crockpots, 7 qts each. In them I add 1/2 gal. of water and dashes of ground parsley, rosemary and cinnamon. Just dashes, very little. Do not add garlic. It has been found that in many dogs this can lead to a problem similar to lukemia.Then I add the chicken. We get boneless skinless thighs. This seems to be the best for your buck. Many people have told me to buy a whole chicken, but by the time you take out the bone, it is not cost effective per pound. We get 3lb frozen bags and I use approx. 1 1/2 bags for the 2 crockpots. I figure it 8 pieces of chicken in each crockpot, which, of course, is 16 meals. This lasts about 3 days, give or take. We are storing them in 31/2 cup containers, we have a big pup! But if you have a smaller dog you can cut the pieces in 1/2 or 1/4th and package accordingly. We also feed 4 times a day, so if you don't, yours will last longer.

I digress. Now add 1/2 of a 42oz container of oatmeal in each crockpot. Then add one can of green beans and one of peas to each crockpot also. Then fill each crockpot to the brim with water. I put my crocks on low and cook for 4 hours. Then as said, I put one piece of chicken in each 3 1/2 cup container and fill the rest of it with the soup part. We also feed our chow, Ming Fou with this same food. She is 70 pds and gets 1 1/2 cups each meal. Loki recieves 1 1/2 containers each meal.

Many people ask about other veggies and suppliments. Loki can't take hard veggies like carrots, some can. Go by one your pup can handle. Also I only supplement with a vitamin for each pup, each day and a Glocosamine pill for the St. Also because of dental issues we feed one of the 4 meals each day with a good hard dog food. We added this slowly, as we were not sure Loki could tolerate it with his stomach issues. But in time, he could, and we add yogurt to each of their dry dog meals, just as with the stew.

It took me quite awhile to find a homemade cat food that I was happy with. We have 8 inside cats and this really needed to be cost effective. I take the same crockpot filled 1/2 way with whey left over from the yogurt or water, and add one 1lb container of chicken livers. Cats need a lot more protein then pups and they need organ food, so regular chicken will not meat their needs. Then I add 1/4 of a container of 42 oz oatmeal and it cooks within about 2 hours on low. I give each cat a healthy tablespoon of the food each morning and follow up with dry food at nite for dental reasons also. I am closing in on making a hard cat food and and will let you know when I find a recipe I am happy with. I sometimes add the same spices for the cat food, but they do not seem to care. What they care more about is that the food is very "soupy". So just before I package it, I add more water, enough to make it very runny and then package.

Both of these foods freeze very nicely and will last about 1 week in the fridge. Also as a treat, we give the kitties homemade yogurt also. Never milk. But we have found that daily doses of yogurt for kitties, makes very round kitties. LOL!

Let me know how it goes and Bon Appetit to your Furry Babies!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pysanki Eggs for Lent

I am a little late on this one. But better late than never, right?

Food mixed with traditions is always a fun thing to me. So we'll talk about the Ukranian Art of Pysanki. One reason that this tradition started is that people had chickens, but during Lent you were not supposed to eat eggs. But, the chickens really did not understand that, they kept laying eggs.

So with this art you need some dye (There is special dye you can order, but I have used homemade or even Paas dyes.), beeswax, a taper candle and an instrument to put the wax on, like drawing, which is called a kista.

You take a raw egg and with a pencil draw your design on the egg. There are many designs, you can look them up, and each has a meaning, or "wish" or prayer for the person you give the egg to. Then you decide on a first color and submerge your egg. It is important to do this similar to doing watercolors. Which means you go from light to dark. The last color that you use will be the actual color of the egg, and the color that gives your message.

So you have your design and the egg has been put in one color. Now, take your kitsta and fill it with some beeswax. Light your candle and run the kista back and forth in the flame, until the beeswax is melted. Now apply the beeswax to all the areas that you want to remain your first color. Example: You have your design on and you submerge your egg in yellow. Now all the places that you want to remail yellow you put wax on.

Now you continue to add color to your egg layer by layer. As you put your egg in each color you then add the beeswax each time to the areas that you wish to remain that color. The designs can be as intricate or simple as you choose.

By the time you are finished your egg should look almost completely like a mass of beeswax. The only part that is not colored is after the application of the last color. You can look up the traditional symbols and colors and thereby decide what you want your color scheme to be.
This takes a long time for the application of all the colors. When I did Pysanki on a regular basis, each egg would take about 3 - 6 hours depending on the intricacy. So be patient, this is not a "quick art".

Now comes the magical part. You take the egg and very gently pass it back and forth through the flame. You go a little at a time, not keeping the egg in the flame too much at one time, because you do not want it to scorch. As you pass parts of the egg back and forth in the flame you gently wipe off the now melted wax with a paper towel or soft rag. I prefer a sof rag.

You now see the vibrant colors now magically appear in their design. At the end it is good to very gently pass it through a little at a time and get the last slight film of wax off until all the colors look vibrant.

After allowing the egg to dry for at least a day you gently put a pin hole in the top and bottom of the egg. You put a little larger hole in the bottom. Gently shake your egg to break the yolk and now start to blow the egg out of the shell.

Some people wash the inside of the egg with many things. I think this is a little over the top and it is too easy to wash your colors off the egg. And if you have gotten this far without breaking the egg, my advice is to not push it.

The eggs were blessed at church and then distributed as gifts to family and to one's true love. Each egg with the design and color held a meaning - health, posperity, happiness, love.

If you are interested google and find the meanings to the symbols and colors or even better order a kit and make some yourself. This is not an expensive art form. They also make very nice Christmas gifts and ornaments.

There is a belief that as long as Pysanki remains being done in the world - goodness with outweigh evil. Let's help that along. Enjoy and let me know how your eggs look!