Sunday, September 2, 2018

Preparing For Winter and Canning With Rain :)


The Farmer's Almanac winter predictions are out...eegad, "cold, snowy" is not really what I wanted to see for this winter lol...but what else is new here in the mountains of Quebec?? Our first snowfall is usually mid-October. More reason to preserve food so we don't have to go out grocery shopping too much!!!


Alex and I went to that farmer's market last week and it was GREAT. We got 20 pounds of green beans, which took me almost two Jurassic Park's to snap. :) It was quite relaxing actually as I watched the movies! It was a great experience. We met the owner who brought us into the mini-farm and gave us a bunch of feathers! Alex is going to clean them up and we'll use them for our hats. So cool, I'll post a photo of them soon, very colourful from chickens, turkeys and roosters! :) We also scored in their cheese shop and brought home lots of fruits and veggies - all local and freshly harvested. :)


This is the first batch, I managed to get 30 cans of green beans canned and ready for winter! :)


Next on the list was spaghetti sauce. I'd already canned 80 pounds of tomatoes and I got another 60 pounds for the sauce and for salsa.


The most time consuming part of canning tomatoes is skinning them. First they are washed, then scored.


Then dipped into boiling water for less than a minute; dunked back into cold water, then peeled. It's the easiest way to peel them but it's quite a process.


I go the extra mile with the sauces, I chop, core and de-seed them as well - another really long part of the process. My 20 pound box had 96 tomatoes in it and it ended up making 16 cups of chopped tomatoes. 


I quadrupled and tweaked my Tomato Sauce For Pasta recipe (minus the wine) and I was all ready to blend the sauce a little and can it!


The initial investment for canning is steep I must admit, but I'd been saving for this for over a year now...the Mason jars will last a lifetime if I treat them well! I feel as though my investment has pretty much already paid for itself with the money I'll save this winter!


Alex bought me a water bath canner for my birthday a few years ago and I had these handy-dandy tools to go with it. Some women ask for jewelry, I ask for kitchen appliances! :)

I use the canning funnel because it fits the Mason jars perfectly.  You fill the jars according to the recipe you use, in this case, I had to leave a 1-inch head space. The next step is to work out any air bubbles with the second tool that I call the "bubble remover".  This tool is a great gadget because it also has a measuring unit on the bottom so I can measure head space. You wipe your jar and then top it with a round lid and a screw band to "finger tight". I love the magnetic lid lifter! Keeps things sterile!


I bought a Presto 23-quart pressure canner. The instructions say it holds 10 pint jars (20 if you have the extra rack), but I found 8 on each level is cozy enough! The canner did come with a metal rack that is meant to sit on the bottom of the pot. In order to take advantage of being able to can more than 8 jars, you need a second rack to make it a double decker. The second rack DOES NOT come with the canner and I'm happy I saw another video about this, I ordered the second rack at the same time. I got the canner on sale for $121 CAD...which I think is a good price. The second rack however was $24 - highway robbery I tells ya!!! It's a piece of metal with holes in it...but it sure does come in handy. I have to remember this is an INVESTMENT for my frugal future!


So I double decked my spaghetti sauce and began the process! I was nervous at first, but if you read the directions in your manual (a few times) and follow them to a T, you will have success!


I invested in two canning books. I love them both, they are so complete and helpful. They explain very well why you can some things in a water bath canner; and others in a pressure canner (here is a good online resource: Yes You Can: Canning 101). The manual that came with my canner also has a slew of recipes in it.


This is my water bath canner (note: didn't come with the rack either, we had to get it separately). There are a lot of canning recipes out there on the internet, but I wanted to start off with some tried and true tested recipes before I branch off to "winging" my recipes more. I follow a lot of canning blogs and You Tube channels, people can everything it seems!


I made a little video of the canning process, it's about a minute and a half if you want to check it out. :)


This canner has so many safety features and I'm pretty confident about using it, though I still get a little nervous about all the pressure in there! I took this photo after the one-hour canning time was up. A hard part of the process is taking the canner OFF the stove, it's darn heavy. But once it's off the stove, you have to wait for the pressure to drop before opening it. As you can see (about an hour after I removed it from the heat), the pressure gauge is at zero...but the air vent is still popped up, indicating pressure is still in the pot. Once that air vent is down, you take the pressure regulator off the canner, let it sit another 10 minutes, then it's safe to open the lid (away from your face!).


While the veggie spaghetti sauce was processing, I ground up 3 sirloin steaks that I had in the freezer and started the next batch of meat sauce for Alex.


Another great and necessary tool...a jar lifter. Those jars are HOT!!


Here is my first batch! I left them sitting on the counter for a few hours to settle and seal..I love that popping sound they make when the lids are sealing.


So here are more rewards of my efforts of the last few days...22 pints of spaghetti sauce (and one half-pint); and eight jars of salsa that I did yesterday in the water bath canner. Today I'm going to finish water bath canning my nectarines. We are using our front closet as a pantry for as much as we can fit in there, so I'll be organizing that today too. Then I'm doing NOTHING.  💤 💤 💤 

I'll leave you with a photo that I absolutely love! My garden through my office window. It's pouring rain today but the view is awesome. Look at my pumpkins!!! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Canning, Preserving and Enjoying The Summer


My first tomato harvest. Much more to come! :)


Sometimes you just have to make Croissants!! :) We were hoping to have tomato sandwiches with these but the tomatoes aren't as ripe as we like...too bad, I guess I'll have to make more when the time comes!


I'm also starting to preserve my herbs for the winter. My dehydrator sounds like it has the flu or something...I hope it holds out!


I am LOVING my new pressure canner! I got 8 jars of Minestrone Soup (minus the pasta) and 3 jars of the broth canned!! 


I woke up to a nice bright yellow flower sitting by the coffee maker this morning...awww... :) ♥


Jack...the canine love of my life! :) The days have been nice and hot and the nights very cool. Alex and I managed to go this very hot summer without any air conditioning! That is a big deal since I do so much cooking and our bedroom is like a sauna at night! Trying to be frugal! :)

Speaking of frugal, we have a big week ahead. We're hitting a farmer's market at some point to see if we can stock up on more fruits and veggies to preserve for the winter months. It's also shopping week so I have meals to plan, dog and cat meals too now (!!) and flyers to ogle! 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Blog Comments


Here are a few of the 66 tomatoes that are finally turning red! :) I see salsa in my future... ;)


And my very first sugar pumpkin...do you think it'll have enough time to ripen?

Blog Comments:  My friends, I'm sorry to say this, but I have to turn off the "anonymous" comment feature for my blog. I don't know what the heck happened, but I woke up the other morning to over 800 comments (no joke!!!) from "Anonymous"...everything from graphically violent attacks, to bigotry to the likes of the Nigerian Prince scam of the 1990's. I even got comments saying that the Federal Government is suing me for tax evasion lol...

And all throughout the last few days I keep getting hundreds more on various posts on my blogs.

This doesn't worry me at all, I know they are just randomly generated, but it's just annoying, so I'm going back to only allowing comments from people with Google accounts. I know that some of my followers don't have accounts with Google, but I hope you understand. I just don't have the time to moderate comments when I'm getting so many spam ones.

This also applies to my other two blogs: Rain's Thoughts and Rainy Day Cheese Making...both of which I intend to resume after Labour Day as well! :)

If you don't want to open a Gmail account, I totally get that, but if you want to contact me, you can always use the Contact Form on my sidebar! I'm also on Instagram.

Thanks for understanding! :)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Home Cooked Pet Food - Revised...It's Canning Season!!! :)

Oscar, Dana and Leo


Hi Everyone :)

I want to send out a BIG THANKS to everyone who contributed to my last post about home cooked pet food. It's a learning curve and I'm STILL learning. Some of your comments had me doing more research. I want to share more information that I learned over the last few days, such as:

- Taurine amino acid supplement for the cats
- New cat food recipe
- Information on struvite bladder crystals in dogs (our Marlene has them)

$11.99 at Amazon, should last a few months

Cats and Taurine

As I've mentioned, Taurine is an ESSENTIAL amino acid that cats need in their diet for proper functioning of their bodies. Among so many scary conditions, the scariest condition due to lack of Taurine is heart failure and blindness.

Taurine is found mostly in muscle meat and organ meat. Problem is, when it's cooked, it leaches out of the meat and into the cooking water. If that cooking water isn't used, there isn't enough Taurine in the meat left for the cats to benefit from.

I'd been slow-cooking their chicken and chicken livers...but a lot of the broth wasn't used specifically for their food. Taurine is water soluble so I am quite sure that most of that amino acid was just sucked out of the meat in the cooking and only minimal amounts were left over. This worries me.

There are debates on which way to cook the meat to keep the most amount of Taurine in it etc...I'm not going to get into that here, but suffice to say, by reading my "Sources" list at the bottom of this post, you can form your own opinion! If you feed your cat a raw organic food diet, the likelihood of needing added Taurine is low if unnecessary. I'm not going to take any chances with our furry felines, so I've decided on a Taurine supplement. I found a reputable one, and it's not very expensive at all, so it's better safe than sorry here in this house. (Thanks for the heads up Deborah Harvey!!) xx

New Cat Food Recipe

Picky Oscar the Cat decided he didn't like chicken anymore...grrrr...so out of desperation, I just mashed up some of the dog's pork for him and he ate that up like it was nobody's business! Pork is a good meat for the cats and they all love it, so I'm not going to bother with the chicken anymore for them. I'll still add some chicken liver but their main meat will be pork from now on. Also, I've cut out the veggies completely from their diet, and only give a minimal amount of brown rice to bind their food - being the true (obligate) carnivores that they are, they simply do not need veggies and starch.

But again, to be safe, I give them a vitamin/mineral supplement. They absolutely LOVE that Kelp Help Supplement I give them so we've had no issues at all with picky eaters. Thank goodness!

I've made life so much easier on myself too. Instead of meticulous preparation...I have a container of pork in the fridge and a container of cooked brown rice. Each meal (twice daily), I measure out 3/4 cup of pork, a small 1/4 cup of brown rice and blend that up with some water. I divide it by three and add a half 1/8 tsp of coconut oil, the egg shells, Kelp Help and Taurine. 

They gobble it up.

Easy Peasy!

Marlene, Charlie and Jack - There's Always Room On The Porch!

Dogs With Struvite Bladder Crystals

I mentioned in my last post that Marlene has bladder crystals. She was doing fine for the last few years on the prescription kibble. But since I started the home cooked diet, I've noticed she seems irritated and has to pee a lot more in small quantities. This troubled me, I was thinking that maybe she was getting another urinary tract infection...or worse, that the crystals were forming again.

She was prescribed the Royal Canine S/O Urinary formula for her crystal problem a few years ago. It "encourages water consumption due to high levels of sodium chloride" (from the Royal Canine site). I wasn't too thrilled about that, though she was drinking a lot of water, which is good to keep her urine at a more acidic PH (which is what I want). 

This week I learned something else from a great, reputable ENLIGHTENED vet out there, Dr. Judy Morgan. Firstly she said if your vet tells you that your dog needs to be on prescription kibble for life, get a new vet. These foods were designed to treat a problem short term because they are not nutritionally sound. This is what Dr. Morgan says:

"Royal Canine S/O is made with inferior ingredients (Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, salt, egg product, wheat gluten, potassium chloride, vegetable oil, powdered cellulose, monocalcium phosphate, fish oil, calcium sulfate, DL-methionine…) The reason this diet dissolves struvite crystals lies in one ingredient: DL-methionine, which is a urinary acidifier. You can feed your dog a higher quality diet and add a tablet of DL-methionine to achieve the same results." (I've paraphrased a little, but the link is in my "Sources" section below)

Marlene With Her Treasures

A Rain Rant is imminent.....

If a dog like Marlene eats too many grains and high carb veggies, it makes her urine PH too concentrated (alkaline) and this leads to the formation of struvite crystals in her bladder - which in her case, leads to UTI's. The added chemical in the S/O formula (DL-methionine) counteracts the high grain count in the kibble - so basically Royal Canine gets away with selling a kibble that is only about 30% meat "meal"...stuffing it with grains and crap because the DL-methionine does its job. Does this sound GOOD or even responsible or nutritional to you my friends??? The more I learn, the more I cannot stand industries, especially the profit-making veterinary industries...and as I always say, I KNOW there are some very good vets out there, I've met a few in my lifetime...but let me tell you, times have changed...if you have a good vet, it's like a good mechanic...KEEP THEM IN YOUR LIFE...I'm so passionate about my pets and I really want the best for them. It disgusts me how some companies/vets take their health so flippantly...(end of rant)

The way to control crystal formation isn't with expensive non-food from Royal Canine...it's to put Marlene on a high protein and low-carbohydrate diet. This means that for Marlene, I am now feeding her 75% meat and 25% veggies that are low-carbohydrate. Of course, she still gets all of her supplements as well. The brown rice is SO high in carbs, I've cut that out completely.

Generally speaking, low-carb veggies are all veggies grown above ground...root veggies contain higher amounts of carbs. Carrot is a root veggie with a lower-ish carb count, so I'll be feeding Marlene a mix of carrots, green beans and peas. She can also eat lettuces, asparagus, broccoli, peppers...but for now I'll stick to the basics.

I read on another site that if your dog shows signs of urinary discomfort, you can put her back on the Royal Canine S/O for a month or so to help dissolve the crystals, then start the high protein diet from scratch. This should keep her safe from crystal formation in the long run.

I am going to monitor my troubled little husky gal and in a week's time if she doesn't improve, I will put her back on that kibble to help her; then in a month or so, ease her back to a high protein home cooked diet.

I also have PH strips to monitor her urine. Wish me luck with that! :)


Another thing...I've changed the way I feed the dogs too. Instead of preparing a mix of their food all in advance...I do the same as the cats. I have the meat, cooked rice and blended veggies in three containers in the fridge and I just measure it all out at each meal and add the supplements. It makes life SO much easier on me!

******************************* PART DEUX *******************************


IT'S CANNING SEASON!!!

I bought a pressure canner!!! Woo hoo!! An investment into my frugal future! :)


I used it for the first time during the weekend and canned 14 jars of beans. It was a little scary at first...you've likely heard the horror stories of pressure canners exploding and other such fables lol...Okay, I'm sure it's happened - but if you follow the instructions you'll be fine - I was! :)

I could easily go nuts on the canning right now...but I have to remember that there is a big move in my near future and I don't want to haul cans of food with me on the move...so I'm trying to only can what I will use for the winter months! 


Having said that, I also got my annual EIGHTY pounds of tomatoes canned in the water bath canner too! 48 jars for the winter!


I canned today too! Strawberry jam, marinara sauce and nectarines! I bought 8 pints of strawberries and it made 8 little jars of jam. I would love to make more jam, but yikes, the price of strawberries is NOT cheap this year! And so far, my failed strawberry "crop" has yielded THREE, count 'em THREE strawberries! I'm keeping my eyes open when I go to the market to see what fruits I can get to can this year for the winter too.

I have some more plans for canning. Once the potatoes are harvested, I'll be canning those since I don't have a root cellar. I'm also going to get another 40 pounds or so of tomatoes next time I go to the market, to make Marinara sauce for pizzas, spaghetti sauce and salsas.


My green tomato count so far is 66 on the plants. When they're all ready to pick, which I'm assuming will be all at the same time (!!), I may have to can some of those too. I'm getting lots of nice sweet cherry tomatoes right now as well!

The canner is such a good investment. This will save a lot of money during the winter, that's for sure. And it's fun to do! :) The next thing I want to try canning is chicken, spaghetti sauce with meat, chili and some home made soups. 

I'm excited about building my future pantry and stocking up! :) My dream for the future is to never leave my home all winter and just eat from the window garden, hopefully a nice greenhouse and the pantry! :) Wouldn't that be nice??? :)


Sources:

Articles About Taurine


Articles About Struvite Bladder Crystals 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Home Cooked Pet Food

Charlie, Jack and Marlene by the lake early in the morning!

Hi Everyone :)

I promised I would keep you all updated about how things are going with the pets and their new home cooked diet. This is a LONG post and chock-full of information. I don't expect all of my friends to get through the whole thing but anyone who may be interested in switching their pets to a home cooked diet might benefit from this post. If this subject isn't your cup of tea, that's okay! :) I'll be back to my usual blogging and visiting all of you friends very soon! :) xxx

In short: It's going really well!! 

#1: They LOVE it...I'm the best fur-mommy ever, just ask them! ;)

#2: We are weening Oscar the cat off his allergy meds a little at a time and so far, he's doing very well, no symptoms! Yahoo!

#3: Our nervous nelly of a husky, Marlene - her digestion has improved so much, we're so pleased about that.

#4: No mystery ingredients!! Though I feel like my hands smell of chicken liver and pork constantly gah! ;)

#5: I haven't spent any more money on ingredients than I have on kibble in the past. I expect that some months, depending on the prices, it will be more and some months it will be less. I just ordered a pressure canner and when the budget allows, we'll be buying lots of supplies to can when they are on sale! :) So exciting...

Research: I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent researching home cooked, raw and kibble diets for dogs and cats. There is A LOT of information out there, but finding credible sources was a little more difficult. I suggest reading a book written by a holistic or even an enlightened veterinarian who isn't just trying to push the expensive kibble on you. There are many YouTube channels out there too from credible sources (like vets). But really...if you come across a person who has been feeding their pets a home cooked diet for YEARS...and the pets are healthy? That's a good enough source for me!

This blog post is divided into FIVE main parts:

Part One: Supplementation
Part Two: The Food
Part Three: The Amounts We Feed
Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area of Canada
Part Five: The Recipes

I also have a section that lists all of my sources. So AWAY WE GO!!! :)

Little Marlene

Now's the time for this: 

*Disclaimer: I'm adding this paragraph because I've had some, let's say, rude, pushy, know-it-all stern advice given to me in the past regarding my pets and it's never appreciated so PUHLEEZE...any armchair "experts" out there who think they know better than me? You have the right to your opinion, but keep it to yourself okay? Thanks! But I am very open to all friendly advice, suggestions and comments! Please let me know what you do for your own pets if you like. We can all learn from each other!*

Part One: Supplementation

Calcium: Our pets need calcium and they may not get enough in a home cooked diet so supplementation is necessary to balance the phosphorus and keep them in good health (strong bones and teeth, primary body functions such as blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and nerve function...). Because our pets don't eat bones, we have opted for egg shells. Dried and ground up egg shells provide them with a good level of calcium. We never run out of egg shells!

Multi-vitamin: We're none of us perfect...so just to make sure they get all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids they need, we give them a kelp multi-vitamin powder supplement. It's not too expensive and for us, it's more like insurance to make sure they are healthy. 


Glucosamine: This isn't vital for their diets, but I wanted to mention it. Marlene and Jack are getting older so we give them a glucosamine supplement daily. We've really seen a big difference in Marlene's legs...remember Bambi? Marlene was doing that, my gosh, her legs would just give out on her...and she had a lot of trouble just a month ago climbing the stairs, now she bounces off them like she's wearing springs on her paws! This stuff really works well. For Jack, it's prevention considering the weirdness that happened to him over the winter...still shaking my head over that one. If you need to kill time, I wrote about that in three posts (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3).

Pro-Biotic Powder: Just for Marlene because of her poor digestion - we've been supplementing her diet with this for years...maybe one day we can cut it out completely. The other dogs get some homemade yogurt each day but Marlene needs a little boost.

Cranberry: Our poor Marlene came to us with a host of problems. She had crystals in her bladder which led to frequent urinary tract infections. Since we've been giving her a cranberry pill daily, she's had no issues. I also did research on what foods could make her condition worse, and the only thing I came up with was that too much spinach could exacerbate the crystal problem, so we just won't use that in their food.

A note: Marlene was prescribed the Royal Canine Urinary Formula Kibble. This quote is from the Royal Canine website: "Increased sodium chloride content encourages consumption of water"...in this kibble. Eegad.

Coconut Oil: We all know the benefits of coconut oil for us humans and I wanted to make sure it was okay for the pets too. I read an article by the American Kennel Club that stated the many benefits of coconut oil for dogs...they had me at "eliminates doggy odour" lol...but it's also very good for the coat and the skin. I found the same information out there for cats, and a bonus is that it helps with hairballs. The only downside is that if you feed them too much, it could result in diarrhea. So, we don't overdo it.

Part Two: The Food

Meat

This is the first time I've ever fed cats a home cooked diet. From all of my research, I came to the decision that the cats need 90-95% of their diet to be meat, so that's what I'm following. 

The dogs...well it varies depending on what expert you refer to.

Spencer and Winston, my late great Pugs - miss those boys!


I used to have 2 pugs and their diet consisted of 30% meat with an egg each day. I switched them to a home cooked diet when my little fella Winston was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Failure. I was told he likely had about 6 months to live. He was nine years old when diagnosed. With my home cooked diet and a good pro-biotic, he lived another SIX years and his Stage 4 downgraded to a Stage 2. My other pug Spencer lived to the age of 19. So for me, the proof is in my own experience, the diet I cooked for them worked to keep them as healthy as they could be.

Why Kibble Scares Me: My pug Winston had been eating the kibble that was recalled in 2007, the Melamine contaminant recall where melamine was found in the vegetable protein sources that were imported from China.

Definition of Melamine: A white crystalline compound made by heating cyanamide and used in making plastics.

Tens of thousands of dogs, cats and farm animals developed and/or died of organ failure due to this poisoning (**these are statistics I found on the FDA website). It was never proven that this was the cause of my Winston's kidney failure, but what a coincidence... More reason to avoid kibble...we just don't know what's really in it. There are horror stories out there that I will not share, but they are disturbing.

So...what meat do they get? Whatever is on sale is what they get. Anything under $3 a pound is what I buy and so far it's been a mix of chicken and pork. I slow cook the meat after taking the skin and fat off. With the broth, I cook the brown rice (thanks Joyce!) so that nothing goes to waste. The cats also get a wee bit of chicken liver in their meat ration (too much liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity).

Cat Days of Summer

Brown rice

This is a good source of energy and fiber for them. It also contains some protein and they just love it. As I mentioned, I cook it in the bone broth and they get so many good things from that. If you want to read an article on the benefits of bone broth, I'll add a link in my sources section. We should all be drinking it!

Vegetables

There is a long list of vegetables (and fruits!) that the pets can eat. Again, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, so I took my source from my books. We feed the dogs sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green and yellow beans, peas and carrots. Again, whatever is on sale and in season is what I'm going for so this list may change. Eventually I would like to grow enough vegetables to feed them year round so I don't have to buy them anymore.

As for the cats, they really don't need vegetables as they are true carnivores. Any vitamin, mineral or amino acid they may be lacking in their diet will be fulfilled by the Kelp supplement that we give them. Plus...I TRIED...they do NOT like veggies, finicky felines.


Eggs

These are SO good for your pets, as long as they are cooked! I poach the eggs each morning for the dogs. So far, the cats aren't getting any but that again, may change.

Keep those egg shells! Rinse, dry and bake for about 20 minutes at 300F. Then grind them up into a powder for that calcium supplement.


Part Three: The Amounts We Feed

Dogs (1/3 meat, 1/3 brown rice, 1/3 veggies + extras and supplements):
Charlie (65 pounds)...she weighed 90 pounds last winter...big girl was a little overweight. Her ideal weight is 65 pounds so we are feeding her accordingly. She gets a generous 3 cups of mixed food a day.
Marlene (55 pounds)...she gets a level 3 cups of food a day.
Jack (25 pounds)...he gets a level 1 1/2 cups of food a day.

Charlie and Marlene get 1/2 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. Jack gets 1/4 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. They all get a little homemade yogurt and a small 1/8 tsp of coconut oil. Charlie gets a whole egg. Jack gets a half. (Plus all of the other supplements)

Oscar the Cat

Cats (90% meat and organ meat, 10% brown rice + supplements):
Dana, Leo and Oscar all weigh about the same. Most cats between 10-15 pounds will eat between 4-6 ounces of food per day.

Leo eats 1/2 cup of food per day. Dana and Oscar eat a generous 1/3 cup of food per day. Oscar gets some fish broth on his food because he's so darn picky. That gets him eating his entire portion!

We feed them twice a day. All of these amounts are based on their activity levels too which is L for LAZY. :)

It's difficult to find information on how much to feed each critter. It's case by case depending on their weight and activity level.

We will weigh them monthly to make sure we are not over or under feeding them. We will be watching them and adjusting the amounts accordingly if needed.

Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area in Canada 
(our budget for kibble/meds was $290 a month for the 6 pets - not including the Glucosamine, Pro-Biotic Powder, Cranberry pills and Coconut Oil)

Here is August's example:

Pork roasts ($2.99/pound) - 56 pounds $168
Chicken thighs (skin on , bone-in)  ($1.88/pound) - 25 pounds $47
Chicken liver - 2 pounds $12
Eggs - 4 dozen $8
Veggies - 25 pounds $23
Brown Rice - 11 pounds $12
Kelp Supplement - $28

Total: $298.00 

NOTE: I bought too much rice for one month...I may need more veggies though...I have more meat than I needed for the month of August so some of this cost will roll over into September. But basically (for now) I need about 70 pounds of meat each month for all of the pets. The meat is the big cost. And we are lucky enough to have access to a year-round market with very reasonably priced fresh vegetables.

Jack: The Apple of My Eye

I know how expensive this can be for people, especially those who have big dogs (Dianna!)...and all we can do is our best for them. Up until recently, we were kind of drowning in vet bills. Every few weeks it seems we had to call or go to the vet, it was getting to be way too much. And by the way? In March we were told that Jack would never be able to climb stairs again...JACK IS VIBRANT and bolting up and down the stairs like a puppy...trusting the vets blindly is not ever a good idea. It's the same with doctors. WE know our own bodies, we know our own pets. I'm not knocking modern medicine, but sometimes the fine line between profits and pet care is messed up.

Another Scary Kibble Bit: Taurine is an essential amino acid found in animal protein that is VITAL for the cat's health. In the 1970's many cats were dying of heart failure or going blind. After years, this was traced back to the deficiency of taurine in commercially-made regular and premium cat foods. Now, many companies manufacture taurine chemically to add to the cat food. Instead of using REAL meat protein, they can fill up the food with soy, corn, starches and chemicals as long as they add that taurine, they can label the pet food "complete nutrition".

We personally believe that health starts with what you eat. We are happy and proud, knowing that our pets are getting the best food we can afford to feed them. We hope that they continue to thrive and remain healthy and happy! After all, they are our fur-kids. :)

Part Five: The Recipes

Dog Food

I cook every three days or so. These ingredients make enough dog food for 3 1/2 days:

6 1/2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
9 cups cooked brown rice
9 cups mixed veggies (washed chopped, peels left on)

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones then use the broth to make the rice. I steam the veggies and use my hand blender to mush them up for better digestion. I have three containers in the fridge (meat, rice, veggies), enough for about 3 days of food, then I cook some more.

Leo and Dana on MY (former) porch love seat!

Cat Food

I cook every three days for the cats too. These ingredients make enough cat food for 3 days:

2.2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
1/4 cup chicken liver
1 cup cooked brown rice

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones and use the broth to make the rice. I mix the meat and rice together and add 2 1/4 tsp of egg shells, 1/4 tsp coconut oil and a large tsp of Kelp. This stays in the fridge and is good for about 3 days.

If you read all of this BRAVO AND THANK YOU! :) I hope the information I've shared is helpful! If you have any questions, ask me!!! :) Just remember I'm not any type of nutritional expert...just a gal wanting to do her best for her fur-kids. :) On my side bar under "Other Posts and Pages", I'll make sure to add a link to this post so it's easy to find.

Miss Charlie

Sources:

Books:
You Can Heal Your Pet, Elizabeth Whiter and Dr. Rohini Sathish
Holistic Pet Care, Shannon Hines
The Holistic Dog Book, Denise Flaim

Articles:

Products (that I'm NOT promoting, but that I am using)

YouTube Channels and Videos

Monday, July 30, 2018

End of July Update



Hello my friends!

I made a little video for you today, just another update on what's been happening here lately. :)

I'll be visiting you all soon! I hope life is very good for you! :)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Living



Hi Everyone,

How is everything in your neck of the woods? I've been trying to get back into my painting and drawing lately, I did this watercolour on the porch yesterday in the sweltering heat. I love having my easel on the porch with me! :)


Here's a quick 1 minute video I took this morning with the dogs in the woods. Just an update on what's happening here with me. :) Thanks for all of your wonderful comments the last few posts! They make me happy! :)