Crazy Golden Chloe . . . just like our Darcy

This first video is a touch too long but cute nonetheless of Golden Retriever Chloe. It reminded me of my Darcy, as this was her way of interacting with moving objects as well, shown in the 2nd video. Enjoy!


The Garden of Eatin’

1792: Construction on the White House – known first as the ‘President’s House” – begins on what had been a tobacco plantation.
1800: Construction is completed. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams move into the White House as its first residents. Adams plants the first “First Vegetables” but is soon after voted out of office.
1801: Thomas Jefferson takes office, reaps where Adams sowed, and redesigns the garden plan adding a number of ornamental and fruit trees. It is worth noting that some of the first White House gardens, including Jefferson’s, were dug and tended by slaves.
1814: British troops set fire to the house, destroying its interior. Three years of reconstruction and renovations take place which include building the portico and painting the President’s House white.
1825: President John Quincy Adams plants fruit trees, herbs and vegetables to help support his own household.
1835: President Andrew Jackson builds an “orangery” for growing tropical fruit.
1857: Orangery is demolished and a full-scale greenhouse is built.
1902: Greenhouse is demolished and replaced by West Wing.
1918: President Wilson and First Lady Edith Wilson recruit a flock of sheep to mow and fertilize the First Lawn at a time when the country was trying to conserve resources – human, financial and fuel – for the war effort.
1943: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt plants a large Victory Garden on White House lawn over the objections of the US Department of Agriculture inspiring millions of Americans by her example.

1954: President Dwight Eisenhower installs a putting green on White House lawn.
1979: President Jimmy Carter installs solar panels on the White House roof and tends an herb garden.

1981: President Ronald Reagan removes the solar panels and proposes that ketchup be considered a vegetable for public school lunches, a proposal that is lambasted by health officials and the media and quickly withdrawn.

1990: President George H. W. Bush declares the White House kitchen a “no broccoli zone.
1995: Chef Alice Waters writes to President Bill Clinton calling for organic gardens on the grounds of the White House and the Vice Presidential mansion. Clinton at one point responds “send me the seeds,” but soon after gets caught sowing his own wild oats in a scandal that becomes the dominant flavor of his second term of office.


Edible landscapes for all: can you dig it? Yes, you can!

My hubby has planted an organic vegetable garden at our home since 1987, as well as several fruit trees. Our Golden Retrievers have loved it, of course, and often have taken to feeding themselves . . . or trying to dig up the spoils (such as sweet potatoes). The organic yield is unbelievable, but sadly, we are virtually the only home in the neighborhood that utilizes much of our small piece of land (1/3 acre) this way.

The future is going to be more fresh, juicy and delicious than a lot of us realize. That’s because edible landscapes are going to be more integrated into our yards, neighborhoods, towns, and cities in the future than they have in the recent past. To make this happen, though, more people need to be asking for and digging these landscapes. Here are a few things you can do to help:

1) Sign the “White House Food Garden Petitionwhich Eat The View will deliver to the Obamas along with a diverse collection of heirloom seed packets. Eat the View is the citizen-led campaign to plant a large Victory Garden on the White House lawn. (I signed already and it took virtually no time at all.)

2) Identify a landscape near you that you think should be “edible-ized”. Start with your own yard, neighborhood, or child’s schoolyard. You can also ask your elected officials at the state and local level to lead by example. The Governors of Maine, North Carolina & New York are already eating from gardens planted at their official residences.

3) Become a supporter (check out my forum profile page here). Also, grab some great photos or widgets to place on your own webpages and blogs. You can grab photos here and you can get some really cool widgets here. This is our favorite photo.

Learn more about gardening at Kitchen Gardeners International, a 501c3 nonprofit founded in Maine, USA with friends from around the world. Their mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve greater levels of food self-reliance through the promotion of kitchen gardening, home-cooking, and sustainable local food systems.

Cat Adopts Baby Red Panda

A zookeeper’s house cat has adopted a baby red panda abandoned by its mother and is nursing the cub along with her own kittens. The panda and its sibling were abandoned by its mother and a zoo keeper initially kept them in an incubator. However the keeper’s cat, which had just given birth, took the two and let them feed off of her alongside its kittens. While one of the baby red panda’s didn’t make it, this one has been thriving. The little fella even plays with its adoptive brothers and sisters. Officials at the Amsterdam zoo say they plan on letting the cat continue nursing it for three months before switching the panda over to bamboo and fruit. Red pandas are distant relatives to the more famous giant pandas and officials say they expect this guy to eventually become just a little larger than its adoptive mother. Officials say they have no idea what kind of relationship the two may have then. — The Associated Press.

Obama loves Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” too

When I saw this on Saturday Night Live last year, I just could not believe it. It was just incredibly funny. Then, when I tried to show it here, via Youtube, it was taken down due to music copyright issues. Well, I found another one and also found out that our president loved it as well.

It’s clear that our President is the new cool, but nothing shows this more than his recent meet-and-greet with various celebs at the Lincoln Memorial following the star-studded “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration” concert.

Captured on video by singer John Legend, the Obamas walked up to greet Beyoncé. Michelle Obama says, “Mr. President, you didn’t tell Beyonce about ‘Single Ladies’? Your rendition?”

“I’m not like Justin [Timberlake]” Obama says laughing, referring to Timberlake’s spoof of the video on Saturday Night Live. “I didn’t put on the outfit. …[But] I didn’t want my girls thinking that I couldn’t, you know…I got a lil something.”

He then does the infamous hand flip.

Check out the original SNL broadcast of “Single Ladies” with Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.
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Now, check out this Obama impersonator’s Beyoncé “Single Ladies” SPOOF.

G.G. where’s the lizards?

Here at the Land of PureGold Foundation I’ve come to make many Golden Retriever pals. And, as much as I rejoice in the fun doggie times, I also experience such sad times when our cherished furkids leave us.

The following lizard tale is particularly meaningful for me because when I had my first Golden, Ollie, he was a lizard lover as well. Of course, he only saw the lizards from inside an aquarium since I do not live in a tropical climate. That was, until he decided to investigate more closely and we noticed a little tail sticking out of his mouth. That poor lizard probably suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after that encounter, Ollie just content to carry his new friend around in his gentle retriever mouth.

Sweet G.G. and her lizard pal

Sweet G.G. and her lizard pal

Last month Rene’ Howell shared this farewell with her precious Ginger (called G.G.), with us such a short time [8-23-2000 to 12-27-2008] due to losing her battle with hemangiosarcoma.

Hi Rochelle,

It is with a heavy heart that I want to let you know that Ginger is gone. I can’t believe in a matter of 3 weeks (Dec.6 – Dec. 27) that awful cancer took her life. We had to rush her to the emergency vet because the bleeding would not stop. I had to let her go. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I lied on the floor next to her, kissed her face and told her over and over how much I loved her. The sadness I feel cannot be put into words. I miss her so much. My little malti-poo won’t eat this morning and Chance, my 4-year-old Golden, won’t stop looking for her. There is a spot in my house that only Ginger lays down at. Chance was in that spot in the middle of the night. It looked like she was waiting for her.

This photo was taken Christmas Eve. Ginger loved lizards. She would always search for them as soon as we let her out. She would get face to face with one and stare it down. Never would she try to hurt one. She was just fascinated by them. I’m sure going to miss asking her, “G.G. where’s the lizards.”

Pet Owner’s Guide to Cancer: Cornell Video Series

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Partners in Animal Health, in partnership with The Cornell Feline Health Center, has created a wonderful video series Guide to Cancer.  The authors are: Margaret McEntee, DVM, DACVIM, DACVR(Radiation Oncology), Dennis Bailey, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), and Jodi Korich, DVM.

Vodpod videos no longer available.What is Cancer?
Vodpod videos no longer available.Why Do Pets Get Cancer?
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Early Detection

Vodpod videos no longer available.Diagnosing Cancer
Vodpod videos no longer available.Making Treatment Decisions
Vodpod videos no longer available.Mandy’s Chemotherapy
Vodpod videos no longer available.Triton’s Radiation Therapy
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Sunbear Squad Watch Tip of the Week: January 20th

The Sunbear Squad has resolved to make a difference for neglected and abused companion animals. They are transforming animal lovers into animal welfare defenders — with knowledge, tools, and inspiration.


Watch Tip: Watch and listen for stray pets in student neighborhoods. When students move to new apartments, pets get lost, trapped, or abandoned.

Be Sunbear Squad Informed
5 Simple Things
Bill of Rights for Pets
Risk Factor List
Learn about Abuse
Action Guidelines

Sunbear Squad Active
Neighborhood Watch
YouNet FAQ
Start a Squad
Free Materials
  Be Sunbear Squad Prepared
Wallet Card
Roadside Rescue Kit
Disaster Plans
Reciprocal Fostering
SCRAPS Breathing
Be Sunbear Squad Inspired
Roadkilled Blessings
Be a Good Samaritan
Inspirational Sayings
Avoid Dog Slang
Humane Awards

“High-Five Inauguration!”

The Montage hit Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. They high-fived an all-star cast that includes: Jack Black, Peggy Noonan, Governor Howard Dean, Former (republican) Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Obama Girl, Sarah Silverman, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Larry King, Arianna Huffington, Maria Shriver and Family, Senator Russ Feingold, General Wesley Clarke, John Legend, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, and House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
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Embarrassed to admit this but . . .

In the last 2 months, I have bought at least 20 boxes of oranges from my Golden pal, Pat. And, it is a painful type of purchase because most of the oranges are juiced and then placed in freezer bags to be thawed throughout the entire year. I cannot remember how many bags I made from last year but they were so welcome and enjoyed, that’s for sure. I love that they are organic and pure goodness. There are not that many safe and good foods left, and oranges like these just cannot be beat.

Right now I have 5 boxes sitting in the hallway waiting to be juiced. Gary tried one yesterday and said it was the sweetest yet, just like sugar. It was what I call a ‘baby’ orange as it was really small. The sizes are always mixed that I get from Pat but the taste never varies. They are just incredibly delicious. Pat just emailed me this morning about the season now coming to an end due to warmer weather making it necessary to get the oranges off of the trees a bit earlier than usual. So I went and ordered another 5 boxes. That means I have to now go and spend many, many hours juicing, which is very hard on my hands due to carpal tunnel syndrome and my connective tissue disease. But, as they say, no pain, no gain.

So, do get over to Life Barks to place your order. I make nothing on this deal folks. I simply want to pass on a truly Golden find. And, check out Pat’s other goodies that she is selling to help support her wonderful service dog work.

Pat just took on a new Golden girl to train for CCI service dog work. And, she has set up a blog at Life Barks to let folks share in the process. Here is a fun entry from the blog today.

Dear President Obama,
Since you seem to be really good at researching other President’s great lines, (by the way, loved your speech), How about this one: 

Golden Service Pup-in-Training Blythe

Walk Softly And Carry a Big Stick! I’m thinking that in the not too distant future you’re gonna need that stick!  Anyway, I wanted to comment about your dilemma about which puppy to get for your girls.  LABRADOODLE?  PORTUGUESE WATER DOG?

First off… what exactly is a “Doodle”?  I get the Labr apart, and even then, my short haired counter part wouldn’t be a good choice because they are far too “busy” for a place as elegant as the White House.  (you did see Marley and Me right?)

Secondly, I’m a big fan of good old American Named Dogs… there is something so wrong about anything that begins with Portuguese.  I mean what’s next, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd, Afghan Hound, Australian Shepherd, French Bulldog…you get the idea.

Clearly the best choice for your family is the elegant, faithful, beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, (did I  say beautiful already?), Golden Retriever.  There is no other choice that comes close really.  Even our name suggests elegance.  As for people with allergies, I’m pretty certain that there would be a lot of bathing going on in the White House to get rid of most of the dander that builds up.  A girl’s gotta stay clean.  Think about future family photos… Now picture that funny looking water dog or the odd doodle dog.  Now picture your beautiful family and a Golden with long flowing gorgeous hair.  No contest really.  And cute growing up?  Nothing cuter than a Golden Puppy, if I do say so myself.

Here is a picture of me and my big brother Teddy:

We would be happy to come to the White House so you can see first hand how one of our kind would fit in.  Just send info on when Air Force 1 is available to pick us up.  We will be waiting….

They’re baaaaaaack

Six months ago I posted about Golden Retriever Tavi, a CCI Service Dog-in-Training being raised by Pat Lawson (she’s trained nearly 20!). Pat is a charter member of the Valley of the Sun Volunteer Chapter of CCI. At winter time, all the Goldens at Pat’s enjoy these wonderful organic navel oranges. She has a mini grove in Arizona where the oranges are growing at the base of the San Tan mountains, in soil that promotes incredible sweetness. We love ’em and believe that organics are great for every 2-legged & 4-legged family member.

Well, Tavi has left for CCI College. This is the funny post that Pat just wrote about our orange-loving pup.

Sadly, Tavi the orange lover will be going off to CCI College before they are ready. We bought him a “store” orange… And he took a few bites and left it sitting on the ground. Seems he is an “orange snob”! :0) He has been lurking around the trees, even sampling a green orange or two that has fallen. Poor guy. Where ever he ends up, I’ll have to keep him supplied with his favorite food of all time, San Tan Sweet Oranges.

From Thanksgiving through February you can enjoy these sweetest Navel Oranges on the planet! They are grown in the shadow of the San Tan Mountains in the ultra rich sandy soil of central Arizona. And, these all organic trees are irrigated twice monthly to produce seedless sweet oranges. Try them and you will never want “store bought” oranges again! Trust me, Gary and I are now addicted to these goodies and are too embarrassed to tell you how many boxes we purchase from Pat during this short season. Let’s just say that an orange a day must keep the doctor away because Gary must have a few of these delicacies daily.

Pat has created a new website, Life Barks, to sell all her wares, all helping to benefit CCI. Soon she will be adding calendars and posters and who knows what else. I already am expecting my first box of oranges which get sweeter and sweeter as the season progresses. They start out great and just become irresistible by the time February rolls around.

Golden Retriever Annie thanks her Heroes

The week before Christmas, a two-year-old Golden Retriever was found in a snowbank in northern Minnesota, where she lay dying from gunshot wounds through the neck and stomach.

Dubbed “Orphan Annie” by local animal control, she was entrusted into the care of Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) and taken to the veterinary school at the University of Minnesota. After surgery and a 12-day stint in intensive care, Annie went to a foster home to recuperate.

Orphan Annie’s story was picked up by the media in Minnesota and around the country, and she became a familiar sight on the evening news. Moved by Annie’s gentle spirit in the aftermath of cruelty, Minnesotans and viewers nationwide became a part of Annie’s legacy through their tremendous outpouring of thoughts, prayers and donations.

Annie not only survived her grievous wounds, but vets believe she will be able to live an active, normal life.

About a month after she was shot and left for dead, Annie made a public appearance–her last before being adopted–so she could thank her many benefactors.

How sad is this?

Senator Ted Kennedy laughs ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President on the West Front of the Capitol. (UPI Photo/Win McNamee/Pool)

U.S. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., collapsed and was taken from the luncheon at the Capitol marking the inauguration of Barack Obama as president.

ABC News reported Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WVa., was so upset he was removed form the luncheon as well.

The incident came before Congress presented Obama and Vice President Joe Biden crystal balls and photographs of the inauguration commemorating their ascension to office.

ABC initially said Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer, suffered convulsions.

The best part.

It was so nice to see Pete Seeger, at age 89, make it to perform at the inaugural performance this weekend. And, unbelievably, he was spry enough to jog off the stage with his fellow performers. That part simply blew me away. We should all be so fit. But, it was his smiling face on that stage that said it all.

Pete’s voice is basically gone at this point and his wife will tell you he’s lost without his hearing aid, but he still performs, so enlisting the help of his incredibly talented grandson, Tao Rodríguez-Seeger. When he was sixteen, in 1986, he began performing with his grandfather. He sings in English and Spanish and it is his vibrant voice that you hear in the rendition above.

Here is Pete from earlier days:

Can’t wait to hear this tomorrow – Updated with video!


I just love John Williams’ work, his music now a part of our culture. He has composed many of the most famous movie film scores and is actually the second most nominated artist, after that of Walt Disney.  He brought violinist Itzhak Perlman aboard when he created the haunting score for Schindler’s List, and worked with both Itzhak and Yo Yo Ma after composing the score for Memoirs of a Geisha (the photo above from that collaboration).

Such musical genuis. Tomorrow it will be wonderful to experience their efforts as they become part of history.

Williams’ music to Obama’s ears: Ma, Perlman to perform at inauguration
By JON BURLINGAME, Variety, January 15, 2009

A classical quartet gets the prime spot between the swearing-in of Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and that of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday. And along the way, a 56-year-old musical injustice will be rectified.

Two of the nation’s most familiar classical artists — cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman — will be joined by Metropolitan Opera clarinetist Anthony McGill and Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero in performing a new piece by composer John Williams.

It’s called “Air and Simple Gifts,” the centerpiece of which will be “an exuberant rendering,” in Williams’ words, of traditional Shaker hymn “The Gift to Be Simple,” which Aaron Copland made famous in his 1944 ballet “Appalachian Spring.”

Williams surrounds “Simple Gifts,” as the tune is also called, with an original, hymn-like theme. The whole piece will run about 4½ minutes and will be performed live by the quartet (although Williams will supervise a recording of it Sunday in D.C. as an emergency backup in case of inclement weather).

The president-elect asked Perlman and Ma to perform, and they in turn called Williams — a frequent collaborator with both artists — “to help them prepare something to play.” Ma chose the other two performers, Williams told Daily Variety.

Knowing of Obama’s appreciation for Copland, they chose the Shaker hymn, which Williams arranged for this unusual quartet, and then composed “a reflective and prayerful theme” as musical bookends.

Since Ma was in L.A. last week to perform with the Philharmonic, he visited Williams on Saturday to run through the piece. The quartet played it for the first time on Tuesday in New York and will rehearse again and record it with Williams on Sunday. Chamber groups are not usually “conducted,” so Williams will not be seen on Tuesday (although he said he may attend as part of the crowd).

In January 1953, Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” was scheduled to be performed at Dwight Eisenhower’s inaugural concert but was banned at the last minute when an Illinois congressman complained about Copland’s liberal politics. Later that year, Copland became a target of Joe McCarthy’s Communist witch-hunt.

In time, Copland was “completely rehabilitated,” Williams noted, performing at the White House and eventually receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. The performance at this inauguration of “Simple Gifts,” a piece widely associated with Copland, “describes a completed circle of events that is nice to think about,” the composer said.

“We all feel a sense of great privilege to be able to contribute in a very small way, musically, to an event like this,” Williams added. “It’s a great moment in our history.”