Friday, November 27, 2009


Just in case you don't have a stack of great books next to your bed....

The book I just finished and wished it would never end:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The book I haven't gotten my hands on yet that is hot off the press and I cannot wait to read:
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism
by Melanie Joy

see the fantastic book trailer here:

The book I am just finishing and loving:

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
I am so glad that this book is generating a boatload of discussion about the cultural myth we have rarely questioned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Drop the Dead Bird And The Fake Meat, Too!

Acorn Squash on the Vine
Where Every Turkey Wants to Be This Week!
(Above: Wild Turkey having a great Thanksgiving Holiday)

I hope its not too late. I hope you didn't already shop for Thanksgiving. I hope you are last minute people who will be in the crowded groceries today and tomorrow...or you will skip this holiday altogether or you will spend it serving people yummy vegetarian food at one of the more mindful/compassionate "feed the homeless" programs.

Considering one of those fake meat "turkeys"? It will most likely not make most people happy. Some people love them and others hate them. Better to not try to duplicate something that is unnecessary. Here is a main dish for this or any holiday that is a total crowd-pleaser. Put some mashed potatoes next to it and make PLENTY of the gravy because it will disappear. Have so much gravy there that people can have their food swimming in it! A big green salad and some fresh cranberry sauce (just cook fresh cranberries in orange juice..until it is all cooked down) and you have a delightful, delicious meal that did not support animal cruelty and makes everyone happy.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
3 acorn squash or 8 delicata squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
2 T margarine, melted
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp each dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package vegan cornbread stuffing
Chickenless gravy (see below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the inside of the squash with the melted margarine. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion, celery and apple for 8 minutes. Then add syrup, raisins, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well. Mix in stuffing and spoon into each squash half, cover with foil, bake about 40 minutes or until squash is tender. Serve with gravy.

Chickenless Gravy
2 cups boiling water
2 T vegetable oil
3 T nutritional yeast
1 veggie bouillon cube
1/2 cup diced mushrooms (any kind...I use Shitake..but regular button are yummy)
1/2 cup chopped onion
Onion salt to taste
Unbleached flour

In a large saucepan, simmer all the ingredients, except the flour, for 5 minutes. Slowly add the flour (tablespoon at a time, whisking with each addition) until desired thickness is reached.

Enjoy and then go outside together and have a peaceful grateful great-full day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Living With Limitations-Happily

Loving being in northern Florida....sweet walks to the river and the best piles of organic greens you have ever seen at the farmers market. I just got back from a fantastic visit to Rochester. The RAVS group (Rochester Area Vegetarian Society) group was receptive and warm and I loved doing the program for them.

I watched a service dog and his blind person as they got on the plane and sat in front of me. The huge golden retriever squished his body on the floor between the woman's feet. He did not move the entire flight. Then we all got off at our connection in Charlotte and the blind woman was in the bathroom stall next to mine and the dog just sat and waited for her. The woman got to relieve herself, but the dog didn't. They then got on another flight.

I don't know that much about service dogs, but I do know that this dog seemed to have a broken spirit. The woman did not touch the dog once in all the time on the plane or in the bathroom or between our flights. I have had enough dog experience to know that this dog was not necessarily miserable, but he sure was not happy. It made me think about the various forms of slavery we inflict on other beings. I would define slavery as owning a living being and forcing them to do what we want them to do for us, but with no choice on their part. Many people will think that this blog is unsympathetic towards the blind woman. I am not blind, but I do know that there are other choices for people wanting more mobility despite their physical limitations. It also seems that humans are accustomed to not having to be limited by physical conditions. Some authors have written about people with disabilities wanting access into wilderness areas and that this access has had an effect on the habitat of the wildlife in an area. Paved areas and roads going into a wild area change that habitat and often cause a species to move out of an area or to stop reproducing. We can learn to live with our limitations and enjoy the aspects of life still available to us. I hope I live to see the day that, as a society and as a species, we question the enslavement of other beings or destruction of wilderness for our own desires.

When I am addressing zoos in talks, the concept of our self-centeredness is at the core of what I discuss. Although most of us will never see these animals in the wild, we can accept this rather than enslaving them in unatural habitat in zoos. I recommend the book "The Pygmy in the Zoo" about a Pygmy man (Ota Benga) who was brought to the USA for display. The justification was "most people would never get to see a real live Pygmy if he weren't brought to the USA."
The Pygmy ended up committing suicide.
Ota Benga

The holidays are coming and I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces:

A Holiday Thought…

Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

~Revised from Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates

Friday, November 13, 2009

It is REALLY a blog!

OK, so far I have not figured out how to publish a new blog posting and not have it go to everyone in my email address book! But, when it appears in your email inbox, it does not actually have the original format. I am going to figure it out, because I dont want people getting it in their email who are not subscribed as followers to the blog.

For those who want to continue to read the blog regularly,
you can sign up as a follower at the blog site:

Sorry you have all been getting the full blog, unrequested, in your inbox!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


WE GOT TO EAT AT THE GRIT FOUR TIMES THIS WEEK! Lemon Poppyseed Cake at The Grit in Athens Georgia (May every person who ever said you can't make wonderful vegan cakes eat at The Grit!) Grit Golden Bowl with Broccolli

Places get into our bones either by their geographical beauty and the non-human community or because of the humans we love and feel close to in an area. Or because there is great food there!

It is rare for people to have all three in the place they call home.

Athens, Georgia was our home for only a few years. The land, with its abused forests trying desperately to recuperate from being cotton fields at one point and the red clay turning to red mud during every rainfall is not endearing. The land and polluted rivers and creeks in that part of Georgia do not make me go “ahhhhh”. But in the past week of reuniting with friends there, I could feel how Athens got into my bones. It is the people....and the food. Pretty much everywhere I have lived it has been the people. ( In Maine, Massachusetts, Sweden and New Mexico I was lucky enough to have both the land and the people to love..but not always the food. )

In Athens, we were having dinner with friends, who, like me, love thinking about language and culture. It also just so happens that sitting at the same table were two friends who are guaranteed to make me laugh until my jaw hurts. One of them has been a doctor for years (I cannot say his name…doctor/friend confidentiality). He was telling stories about language in the south. When he first began practicing medicine in the south there were things that his colleagues needed to translate for him especially when patients over 80 came in.

One patient was telling his medical history and said he had “Smilin’ Mighty Jesus”. Our doctor buddy was, of course, confused by this…..until the nurse whispered in the doctor’s ear "That’s spinal meningitis).

Here is an abbreviated glossary of senior southerner medical terms, in case you need it in the future:

The “roaches of the liver” means cirrhosis of the liver.

“Fireballs of the Eucharist” means fibroids of the uterus.

“Technical shot” mean tetanus shot. the uterus looks like for those of you who have never seen it up close.

Being with these friends reminded me of how incredibly rich our life is. To be able to land in a town that you only lived in a few years and laugh for 5 hours with people who feel like family…it doesn’t get any better.

We worked our butts off sorting and holding a yard sale to try to lighten up what we have in storage in Athens. The bad news: It was a home football game weekend at UGA and almost no one came to our sale. The good news: we got a lot of exercise moving heavy boxes and furniture many times and we were able to donate a boatload of valuable goods to Project Safe Thrift Store (profits go to the domestic abuse shelter in Athens). I got a lesson in local ordinances when the ordinance enforcement patrol car pulled up to our sale and told us that we could not have our signs posted on any public property. I immediately told the officer, "How great that you noticed our signs!" (After all, they were hand painted and bright pink and orange and as big as 10 bread boxes).

Now we are back in High Springs, Florida. Greeted by 75 degree temps and a fantastic vegan meal created by our friend Chas. Time to get to work on my book and more Vegfund tasks. Fe River in High Springs...canoe and kayak heaven.....

We sure do have a lot of wonderful homes….wahoo…smilin’ mighty jesus!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How Does This Happen? Techno Magic Out of My Hands!

When I post to our blog and hit seems to go to everyone in my address book. I dont know how that is happening......
The blog site is:
If you want to follow it you can go there.
but, just so you know...I am not sending the blog out to all of you. I just hit share and it goes to the whole darn list. I never gave it direct orders to do that. So, if anyone knows how to control such things a little bit, let me know. Thanks!