Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hungry Brown bear and salmon

Brown bear and salmon
Originally uploaded by Ken Bondy
Amazing photo taken by Ken Bondy.
I love the details of the glissening water, fish jumping and the hungry bear. This would have been amazing to see in person.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Camping with your kids and connecting with nature!


Camping with your kids can be a lot of fun and create long lasting memories.
Leave the computer, phone and electronics at home and really get into the feel of the wild. (Bring your phone but if you can turn it off. Make a goal to be really present on your camping vacation, the world will wait.)

I highly recommend planning a camping trip for at least two days or more. The first day of camping can be a little hectic getting camp all set up and established. It takes about two days before your regular day to day routine starts to wear away and you start to really relax and tune into nature. By the second and third day you are really feeling the peace that can come with getting away from all the daily distractions. Be present with your children during your camping trip. Use this opportunity to teach them about the wildlife that surrounds them. The native plants, the animals, the trees. Also encourage a little quiet time to hear the birds, smell the wild smells and have a little down time.

My boys are now grown. They are ages 19 and 23. We camped all the time when they were little. In Montana there's many open spaces to camp out. One of my favorites still is Hidden Lake. Yep it's hidden so mostly only locals know about it. You can head out on a Monday and have the whole lake and campground with a porta potty to yourself! Love it! Even though they are grown now they still love to camp. They both even got jobs this summer working for the Montana Conservation Corp taking care of the forests and trails.

Above: Josh and Tony prepping for their first
Montana Conservation Corp Hitch.
Below: Canoeing at Hidden Lake in 2006

Here's some tricks we used to make camping easier

*First things first, explain what camping is to your kids and how you are all going to have so much fun together! Talk about the wildlife and the rules of camp. (Staying in eye shot, making noise so bears hear you, not wiping your dirty hands on your clothes so you don't smell like dinner, exploring together, stay away from the fire rings, water safety, being respectful of other campers, etc.)

* Create a list of items you will need every time and laminate it. Before every camping trip pull it out to remind yourself what you'll need. (tent, sleeping bags, pillows, clothes, cooking supplies, food, toilet paper, toys, coats, shorts for swimming, camp stove, lantern, flash lights, crank radio, etc)

* Keep your nonperishable items you only use for camping in a tucker tote in the garage, storage or camper to save prep time on your next trip.

*Bug Spray- Target has a really good non toxic bug spray. My oldest son just tried it out recently and said it works great.

* Baby wipes are a must. They make for easy clean up for you, the kids, the table. You'll find many uses for them. They have biodegradable wipes in the camping section at most stores that sell camping equipment.

*Bring books, crayons, coloring books, bug net, bug holder, cars, journals, pens and paper. Age appropriate items. Remember leave the electronics at home, this is a time to explore, play, reconnect and learn about nature. Plan on exploring the woods around the campground together as a family.

Hands-On Nature: Information and Activities for Exploring the Environment with Children

Bring wildflower books to identify wildflowers. Animal track books to identify animal tracks and scat ( animal poo).  Collect pine cones for the nightly fire. They add a nice smell to the fire. Wildflowers, pine needles, odds and ends you find can be dried and brought home to make note cards, bookmarks to remember your camping trip or to be used for gifts. This is one of my favorite camping books: Scats and Tracks of North America: A Field Guide to the Signs of Nearly 150 Wildlife Species (Scats and Tracks Series)

*Bring smore material. Marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. You can buy marshmallow roasters or make some out of sticks.

*If you don't have a porta potty available creating a central bathroom makes it easier for everyone. You can get a toilet seat or use a big branch to sit on. Dig a big hole for waste to go into and wrap a tarp around a few trees to create a private space. Place camp shovel next to your latrine and give everyone instructions to toss dirt in the hole after they use the restroom.

*You can create a shower space the same way. Wrap a tarp around a few trees, hanging a solar powered shower bag, tie a rope between two trees to hang wet clothes and towels on and remember to bring bungee cords they come in real handy!  Solar Shower Pvc Solar Shower 5 Gallon

*You'll need to bring a saw and hatchet for campfires or gather campfire wood to bring with you.

(Bring some newspaper, matches or a lighter for easy fire start up)

Contain the Flame: Outdoor Fire Safety (How to Be Safe!)

*Check the weather forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly. Play it safe get yourself one of these

Etón American Red Cross ARCFR160R Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Red)

*Bring a camera or video camera to document your trip for memories, your next Christmas card or scrap booking. (or blog, lol)

*First aid kit. Include homeopathic tablets, Arnica for pain, Ledum for puncture wounds  Ok for your pets too.

*Bringing your dog: Leash, food, water, treats, collapsible water/food bowls. Blanket to lay on, tie out if your dog is unable to run loose due to campground restrictions.

Cooking while camping: If you have a camper to cook in great! If you don't, you need to do a little preplanning. A small folding table can come in real handy when your trying to cook in the wild.

Items to remember to bring. Camp stove, grate to go over fire,(the grate over your barbecue at home works real good), pans (cast iron can be placed directly over fire but require scrubbing for clean up) paper towels, pot holders, camp plates, cups, silver ware, knife, spices, Utensils for cooking, small container of dish soap, bucket or large bowl to wash dishes in, dish rags, coffee cups.

If you like your morning coffee don't forget your camping coffee pot and coffee. To make it simple you can bring instant coffee.

Simple food ideas:

  • Instant coffee, hot chocolate, instant breakfasts, instant oatmeal, dried soups
  • Bring lots of water (for cooking, clean up and drinking)
  • Cut up fruit and vegetables ahead of time.
  • Bring lots of ice, keep perishables cold at all times. If you are near cold water you can place your cooler at the edge of the water to help keep cool. Dry ice works really well too! Follow directions carefully.
  • Milk, juice
  • Dried foods: nuts, pretzels, popcorn, chips, dried fruit, granola bars, jerky, etc.
  • Prepare meat ahead of time. Fresh meat can be placed in containers with marinating sauce so all you have to do is place it on the grill at dinner time. If your going to be camping for two days or more. Freeze your meat ahead of time so it can thaw in the cooler. This will help it to stay fresh longer.
  • In the camping supply section you can buy a plastic egg holder if you wish to have eggs for breakfast.
  • You can place cut up vegetables, spices, little bit of butter, slice of onion in foil so it's ready for the grill. Potatoes cook great this way.
  • Place fish, butter, lemon juice, spices, onion in foil ready for the grill. Place foil meals in a container in your cooler to keep out water from melted ice.
  • Get creative, plan what your kids will eat. Prep time at home makes life so much easier on your camping trip.
  • Left over dinners prior to your camping trip can be frozen and thawed and heated up during your trip.
  • Keep it simple, your there to have a fun time not work your butt off!
The most important tip of all is to have fun! Relax and enjoy the experience. Your kids will be grown in a blink of an eye. Use your time wisely, make it count!

Handy Wild Flower books:

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: Western Region

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers--E: Eastern Region - Revised Edition

Be aware of what wildlife dangers are in your area, always respect mother nature.

I'd love to hear about your camping memories and tips! Please share.
Sharing is caring. If you like this article please tweet or share any way you wish!
Written by: Carol Lawrence

Learn to be your dog's Pack Leader. Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan can show you how.

Summer Safety with your dogs!
Here's a handy site with great dog camping/hiking tips.

Friday, June 18, 2010

15 Homemade Organic Gardening Sprays and Concoctions That Actually Work - Planet Green

Keeping our gardens and grass non-toxic is safer for our pets, kids, ourselves, our visitors and for the declining bee poplulation. Thank you for being green!

Here's an article I read that gives you easy to make bug/weed recipes for your garden.

15 Homemade Organic Gardening Sprays and Concoctions That Actually Work - Planet Green

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's that time of year again!

It's that time of year again!

It's that time of year again. I'm getting ready to bathe my dogs. Ghost my Great Pyrenees is too big to bathe in the bathtub so when the weather warms up I bathe her outside. During the winter I have to take her to self service dog wash. I'm one of those pet owners who doesn't particularly like to spend money on taking my pets to a pet groomer so I do it myself. I have alot of my own pet products that help make the job easier.

It's not a simple task, it takes at least a half hour to scrub and rinse her and another couple of hours to brush her. When I first got Ghost years ago, I was told the biggest mistake owners of Great Pyrenees make is they shave them. They have pink skin and burn easily, so we just brush her out and trim her up a bit.
I found that keeping my own pet products available and on hand makes the job go a little faster.

I've thought alot about getting a portable dog bath. I've never met anyone who's ever used one so I'm not sure how well they work. Ghost is a really big dog and may not even fit inside the largest size.
I would love to hear about anyone who's used a portable dog bath.

Here's the pet products I like to use when I'm bathing ghost.

  • Good dog shampoo. I learned the hard way not to use my shampoo. Years ago I tried it and it made my dogs skin really itchy.

  • With a long haired dog, conditioner helps a lot to detangle the hair.

  • A Good pair of scissors for clipping mats and tangled hair.

  • A bag or something to put all the hair in. (All pet hair can be used to make oil booms for oil spill in the gulf) See previous post for information on where to send it.

  • Dog wipes to gently clean out her ears.

  • A couple of towels to slightly dry her off. She takes hours to dry. She loves to sun bathe in the sun to dry the rest of the way off.

  • Nail clippers. It's important to keep your dogs nails trimmed so they don't snag their nails on the carpet or get them caught up in something and break a toe.

Ghost always thinks she's the QUEEN of the castle!
Do you bathe your own dogs? Email me your pictures of you bathing your dog and I'll post them to share

Written by: Carol Lawrence

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Here's how you can help with the Gulf oil spill.

Updated June 15, 2010

News from Matter Of Trust, June 14, 2010: Orange Beach, Alabama Mayor Kennon and Councilman Brett Holk using the donated natural fiber booms (hair, fur, fleece, feathers stuffed into nylons by volunteers) then put in shrimp bags with pool noodles for flotation. They want more because they say it works better since the oil floats underneath the white conventional boom.

Here's how you can help with the Gulf oil spill.

As I watch the news I just cringe and feel helpless in stopping the oil from harming our pristine environments and wonderful creatures. There is an organization called "Matter of Trust" that is creating a movement of making a difference you can join and help too. If you live in the nearby areas, volunteers and donations are needed. If you live faraway you can donate to help.

Matter Of Trust

There's a way anyone can help.
Hair / Fur / Waste Wool Clippings & Recycled Nylons Donations
Call up your grandma and ask her if she has any nylons she wants to donate.

Salons, groomers, wool farmers... all natural fiber donors can sign up to contribute to this program and get posters about our Hair For Oil Spills Program. Please see their specific instructions for this program. Individuals can tell their salons about the program and / or just mail in their own hair after reading instructions for individuals. Nylons must be washed, can have small runs, and be put in a separate bag from the hair if coming together. (There is a link on their site for collection sites in each state)

They are using hair and fur to make oil booms.

Watch this video to learn more!

Frequently asked questions.

They Have 9 Easy Ways To Give $ and support:

All donors will recieve a thank you letter and donation verification tax-deductible receipt.
Our Federal Tax Excempt ID#: 06-1530091 IRS Tax Exemption Letter (PDF)
  • Check / Mail
  • PayPal
  • Credit card via Phone or Online
  • Online Store
  • Foundations / Large grants
  • Inkind
  • Hair/Fur/Fleece/Feathers/Nylons donations
  • Sponsorships/ Endorsements / Social networking
  • Grassroots Projects / Fiscal Sponsoring
Go there now to contribute.

Thank you to "Matter Of Trust", all the volunteers, people
who donated, all the animal and nature lovers, and to those who care. You rock!
Please repost/retweet this article and continue to spread the movement!

Written by: Carol Lawrence

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Hello I'm Dexter, and I'm Spock
We are sitting on moms desk watching her create.
This is the best seat in the house.
We get to watch the hummingbirds, bees and birds.
Don't you love how much we look alike?
We are not related at all, we are even a few years apart in age.

Written by: Carol Lawrence

Have you seen this self flushing cat box?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Frequency of Bees

I recently watched a really interesting show about bees called "The last beekeeper" on Planet Green. It's a show about the massive decline of bees happening all over the world right now. In 1950 there were 500,000 beekeepers. In 2006 there were only 1,600. That is shocking! 100's of vegetables and fruits are reliant on bees for pollination. That's our food supply. Without bees many flowering plants fail to set seed and without flowering plants there is no food for bees, which in turn means no fresh food for us! According to Landcare Research bees are responsible for our every fourth bite of food. WOW!

I've always had a fondness for bees. As a child I had many allergies and had an allergy scratch test done.
I was told that I was very allergic to bees. Living in Montana there used to bees everywhere. I didn't really think much of the warning from the allergy doctors. About six years ago I was walking around the neighborhood and a bee flew into me and I ended up getting stung. It hurt but I was ok. I've never had a deep fear of bees or insects.

A few years ago I was working out in the backyard gardening when I went into my shed to get supplies.
I had been alone and off in thought for most of the afternoon and was in a very calm state of mind. When I walked into my shed I was caught off guard by the sounds that I was hearing. It sounded like a party was going on and they're where various words being said. As I stood there listening I began to hear a hum and I realized bees had made a hive in my shed. I was completely in awe of the communication happening between the bees. They were talking (communicating) on a level we are not normally tuned into. They communicate on a different frequency. For whatever reason that day I unexpectedly tuned into their frequency. I now have an even deeper respect for the bees and the role they play on our planet. I will never forget that day. I'm sure other people have tuned into the bees and I'm hoping they will come and share their experiences. I have bushes planted along the sides of my yard that produce little yellow flowers every spring that attract bees of all sizes. One kind in particular is very large. They are so busy collecting pollen you can even gently touch them and feel how soft they are. It really is quite amazing to pet a bee!

What's killing the bees?
  • Pesticides, Diseases, Herbicides and Insecticides
  • There is a huge debate that Genetically Modified crops are greatly effecting bee pollination.
  • The varroa mite
Ways you can help:
  • Eat honey from your local beekeepers, this helps to build immunities against allergies from local pollen and supports your local beekeepers.
  • Plant a backyard bee-friendly garden. Plant native plants too. Local bees are more drawn to native plants. 
  • Provide a small container of water for the bees in your garden space.
  • Avoid pesticides in your yard, it's better for you, your family, your pets and the environment. 
  • If pest control is necessary try using beneficial insects in your garden. (Bugs that will eat your unwanted bugs.)
  • Sponsor a bee hive
  • Teach your children where honey really comes from. Plant your bee friendly garden together.
Resources for teaching children about the importance of bees.
This site plays a cute honey bee song for little kids.
Printable bee coloring pages.

Video about the life cycle of bees.

Excellent web sources for learning about bees and how you can help.
The Last Beekeeper Documentary On Planet Green
Help Save The Bees
Plant A Bee Friendly Garden
Sponsor A Hive
Learn About Bee Research Funding
The Waggle Dance Of The Bees
Search For Local Honey In Your Area
PBS Educational Video On The Decline Of The Bees
Resources For Teaching Children About Bees-One World Poster
Birds And The Bees Key To Food Future

Written by: Carol Lawrence

What ideas are you pollinating in your life?
The meaning of bees in your dreams.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coconut Crab?

Have you ever heard of a coconut crab?                                     
I hadn't until I received an email with these really cool pictures.

They have alot of pretty colors on them.
Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world.
It is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers in order to eat the contents.

It is sometimes called the robber crab because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents


The second photo gives you a good idea of how large these crabs are -a coconut crab is seeking food from a black trashcan. 
The coconut crab is a large edible land crab related to the hermit crab, and are found in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans .. They eat coconuts for a living! How would you like to be on an island and come across a crab that is more than 3 feet from head to tail and weighs up to 40 pounds, with a pair of large pincers strong enough to open coconuts! They can climb trees too, but they only eat coconuts that have already fallen to the ground. Coconut crab meat has been considered a local delicacy.
They are the largest land crab but begin their life in the sea. Although not endangered they are on the list of threatened species. Click here for more information about Coconut Crabs.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Snowy White World To Save! Teach your child about global warming with a touching tale!

"Snowy White World to Save cleverly introduces young children
to environmental awareness and global they, too, with their parents, will become global citizens."
—SHARON STONE, Actress, Activist

Children's book author Stephanie Lisa Tara has written some wonderful children's books
to teach children about the importance on the natural world and global warming.

These educational books make great gifts for B-days, Holidays or donate one to your local library or elementary school to help encourage the children to become global citizens.