Magdalen Islands Seafood Pizza

There is nothing more scrumptious then Magdalen Islands fresh seafood pizza, piled high with the most tender lobster, crab and scallops imaginable. No one knows more about seafood than the Island chefs. Although I don't consider myself a chef, I have played with a basic Magdalen Islands recipe, adding thyme, bay leaf , cloves and mushrooms and tweaking the pizza dough to make it rise better, yet taste less yeasty, and adding shrimp, therefore making it mine. The simple trick to this kind of pizza is in the slow cooking of the Béchamel Sauce.

Pizza Dough

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water, not hot
1 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Pour warm water, comfortable to touch, into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Blend with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast and mix. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and the olive oil and mix until well blended. Add the rest of the flour and mix well. The dough should turn into a ball. If the dough does not ball up because it's too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.

Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked. Place the dough in a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise.

After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. Punch it down and let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. Repeat if desired. The dough is now ready to be rolled out.

Béchamel Sauce

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chopped mushrooms, optional
1 small onion studded with 2 Or 3 cloves, optional
1 small bay leaf
dash dried leaf thyme, crumbled
salt and white pepper to taste
nutmeg, to taste

In a medium heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat. When butter starts to foam, add flour all at once, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly to incorporate and cook flour. Remove pan from heat and let stand, up to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, scald milk (heating it until just below boiling point).

Return saucepan with roux to medium-low heat. Add all of the scalded milk at once (to avoid the formation of lumps). Simmer, stirring gently with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Add onion studded with cloves, bay leaf and thyme. A cup of mushrooms chopped into small pieces can be added to the sauce. Cook, stirring, over low heat, 15 to 20 minutes, until smooth and thickened. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer. Add salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste. Set the sauce aside while you prepare the toppings. This makes about 2 cups of sauce.

Cook lobster, shell and break into bite-sized pieces. Do the same for the crab and scallop. If desired a can of baby shrimp can also be added to the layers of toppings. Have plenty shredded mozzarella cheese or three cheese pizza mix. When prepared this should make two large 15" pizzas.

National Historical Site: Fortress of Louisbourg

One of the most popular historical sites in North America is the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park, Nova Scotia. It offers a wide range of activities for the whole family and makes learning history, a great pleasure for all. It is on the eastern seaboard, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and is the site of the challenge, set between the French and English cultures for the domination of North America in the mid eighteenth century.

At Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park, Nova Scotia, the enactment year is 1744, the year before the battles began. Dozens of costumed animators become the town's residents for the summer. There are the Kings bakers, the Governor, and his kitchen help, blacksmiths, foot soldiers and many others, who act the part of the population of the day. Surrounded by ramparts, the King's Bastion is a fort within a fortress. The Bastion Barracks is the largest building on the site and in its day was one of the largest buildings in North America. Within its walls are the Chapelle St. Louis, Louisbourg's garrison chapel. Artifacts found during 20 years of archaeological excavation are on display in the building. Talk to a soldier, a baker, maid or a smithy. You'll find them happy to tell you about guard duty, living conditions, armaments, security, food, a soldier's life and the lives of the people in general.

If lucky, the unsuspecting visitor could accidently come across an archeological dig in progress. At the beginning of the 2007 season, a body had become unearthed in a section of the old part of the ruins not yet restored. As it turned out, archeologists from several universities found thirty bodies who had been buried in a common grave under the dirt floor of the foundation of a building. As of yet there is little information as to why these bodies were placed there in such a fashion. This one was headed by Dr. Bruce Fry of the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB).

At its peak, Louisbourg was a town of several thousand inhabitants and since the cod fishery was the foundation on which the economy of Louisbourg and Île Royale (Cape Breton) was built, the local fish merchants dry and display their merchandise, while life around the town bustled on. It was both an inshore and offshore fishery and organized into two seasons, which dominated the colonial economy and was of great significance internationally. Fish, preserved by salting and drying, was an important foodstuff in Europe. Competition for fish stocks often led to international rivalries. The per capita value of Île Royale's dried cod exports in 1737 was about eight times greater than the value of Canada's fur trade during the same period. Major export markets were in France and the West Indies.

Thanks to its spacious, ice-free, well-protected harbor, its lucrative fishery, and its near-perfect location on the Atlantic edge of North America, Louisbourg quickly developed into an important center of merchant trade. Ocean-going vessels from France, the West Indies, and Canada - and coastal ships from New England and Acadia - used Louisbourg as a trade and transshipment center. An average of 150 vessels a year sailed into the Louisbourg harbor, making it the busiest seaport in New France and one of the busiest in North America. Louisbourg's importance as a trading center was demonstrated by its many warehouses, its careening wharf, admiralty court, the harbor defenses and what was Canada's first lighthouse.

In taking a self guided tour and asking questions to the various tradesmen and women of the town, one can enjoy many hours of living history. There are historical games and activities where children can come and play with the interpreters, making the trip a learning experience for the whole family. A guided tour is given, so that all the information is presented in order, but there are many places that are not covered in the tour. Authentic meals and refreshments can be had at one of two eating establishments, one for the lowly folk and another for the more well-to-do class. It is a full day of activities at the National Historical Site of the Fortress of Louisbourg, so be prepared to have good walking gear.

Great Ecotourism Destinations: Brion Island

Ecotourism is the new wave in vacation hotspots around the world. There are many who would not even consider the traditional vacation anymore, but rather have the exercise and learn as much as possible about areas that they have never been to. Brion Island, part of the Magdalen Islands, Quebec, Canada is one such place, but it is one of a few places which has limited access - only one thousand persons a year, including the guides for each separate trip they make. Needless to say, the limited reservations are taken almost before they can be given. Most of the reservations are taken as a first come, first serve reservation.

Going to the Magdalen Islands includes a five-hour ferry trip across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. On arrival, accommodations are taken. On the correct date, the ecotourist presents themself at the wharf in Grosse Isle North, on the far northern eastern end of the islands. There is now a kiosk in place for the ecotourists, where they can pay to land on the island. They board upon either zodiacs or fishing boats, depending on whom they have their reservations and sail the hour voyage to the island. Usually, the zodiacs will take a tour around the island first, while the tour guide explains the life that took place on the island and its history and processes as to how Brion became Quebec’s twentieth Ecological Reserve. There is always a stop at the Seal Rocks on the eastern end of Brion and watch the young seal cavorting amongst themselves between the rocks while the older, more majestic Harbour and Hood seal lounge on the tops of the jagged edges of rock, sunning themselves in the beautiful weather. A full explanation is given for the reasons that the eastern tip of Brion is left entirely to nature and no human intervention is allowed. Only the occasional biological study group may set a foot on this section.

As the tour continues, the towering cliffs on the north side are examined at close range. The marine bird populations that nest on the capes are intriguing to watch and are a delight for bird-watchers. The razorbill that looks like miniature penguins, and the Atlantic Puffins in all their splendor, can often be approached while they are sitting on the water, because they are sometimes too heavy from feeding to lift off. There are Large Cormorants that are as black as can be imagined and blacked-legged Kittiwakes with their interesting calls. The birds are so numerous that when in flight, they cover the sky and block out the sun. The capes on the north side of Brion are also an excellent opportunity to view the stages of the evolution of the islands and of the Saint Lawrence basin because the eons are clearly etched into the rock walls. As the tour moves on, the caves can be looked at and how the many shipwrecks saw their last days on the rocks of Brion Island. The sight becomes living history of the evolution of navigation and its reasons for being.

The zodiac part of the tour ends, when the boat rounds the western end of the island, except for the return voyage to the wharf in Grosse Isle. Here the passengers disembark beside an old fishing wharf, that is now nothing more than a hazard, and they walk up the hill to the Brion Island Interpretation Center, which was the cookhouse for the fishermen, who would come to the island in the early spring and stay until late fall, harvesting the fruitful waters, back in the 1950's and 60's. A tour of the cook house and the surrounding outbuildings - the foundation of the saline or salting factory, the boat-haulers building, the fishermen’s camps, the outhouses are all part of the tour. Up over the savage campground hill to examine the now fully automated lighthouse and understand why lighthouse-keeper spent many nights in lonely watch for the ships that would pass in the night, hoping that it wouldn’t be the night that one would come up on the rocks. A climb down onto the sandy beach for a couple of hours of swimming and relaxing is made before the return to civilization.

As a separate part of the tour there is the long trek to the area known as the deserted Dingwell property, house and the Saddle. This trip is done on foot over the top of the northern capes, up hills and down in valleys, for a five-hour hike, which is not recommended for the physically weak. The trip can only be made with a registered Brion Island tour guide, who is in contact with the mainland and is trained in life saving techniques. The guide continues the tour with more comprehensive information of the peoples of Brion Island, how they came to be there, how they lived in such isolation and the reasons for their departure, since the island once had a thriving, rich culture who cultivated its fertile soil. A more in-depth study of the shipwrecks is given and local folk-lore of the days and nights that passed on this island. More bird-watching is possible from the tops of the capes.

By the time the ecotourists are ready to board the zodiacs or fishing boats upon which they came, they find they are weary and completely convinced that it was worth the trouble and expense to get to Brion Island. The photo opportunities were stunning to say the least. The guided tours were comprehensive in the two official Canadian languages. The presentation of the information was colorful and intimate and the people, whom they met friendly and helpful to a fault sometimes, making the trip an eventful one, but as safe as possible. The sail back to Grosse Isle is usually quiet. They pass the navigation buoys that the ships in the shipping lanes use while going to and from the St. Lawrence river, and see the occasional Atlantic dolphin or Minke whale. The ecotourists are reflective of what they came for and what they were returning with.

For more information about Great Ecotourism Destinations : Brion Island, see

Travel Destination : L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland

The name 'L'Anse aux Meadows' or 'Meadow Cove' originally thought to be French for 'L’Anse Aux Méduses' or in English, 'Jellyfish Cove'! But to call it 'Cove of Meadows' is quite apt also since it is flat with a lot of prairie grasses growing. For whatever reason the place is called L’Anse aux Meadows, one thing can be certain, L’Anse aux Meadows is where the New World began.

On a summer’s day around the year 1000, a substantial Viking expedition from Greenland landed on the shores of what is now called L’Anse Aux Meadows - a community located at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in Western Newfoundland. Thought to be under the leadership of Leif Eiriksson, the group of between 70-90 people established an encampment that served as a base for exploring south throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Over the next couple of decades, the Vikings would make a number of voyages to this region of the world that is thought to be what they called Vinland, mainly in search of hardwood lumber, which does not grow on Greenland. These trips would result in the first contact between Europeans and North American Aboriginal Peoples.

L'Anse aux Meadows was first brought to the attention of the world in 1960, thanks to Dr Helge Ingstad, an historian and explorer, and his wife Anne Ingstad, an archaeologist. The Norwegian couple were determined to prove the North American existence of the legendary site spoken of in the Norse Sagas. Their years of searching came to an end when they met George Decker, a local fisherman. He had noticed unusual grassy mounds in the area, the type the Ingstads were searching for. Twelve years of archaeological research followed, conducted first by the Ingstads, then by Parks Canada. Those grassy mounds turned out to be the remnants of eight, 11th century Norse buildings.

During their work in the 1960s and 70s, archaeologists uncovered remnants of iron production - an important early clue that Vikings had visited the site. L'Anse aux Meadows is thought to be the first place in North America where ore was smelted to produce iron.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated L'Anse aux Meadows as a national historic site 1977 on the basis that it is the first know Viking site in North America, and provides the earliest evidence of Europeans in the western hemisphere; it contains extensive remains of the Viking presence; and finally the site's geographical features and strategic location on the Strait of Belle Isle contributed to the Vikings decision to select this site for their base camp.

In 1978, L'Anse aux Meadows was also designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), primarily due to what it tells us about the worldwide movement of peoples. This designation signals the site's importance as an international cultural resource, deserving protection for the benefit of humanity.

Now, early in the 21st century, Heritage Canada supports the re-enactment of the Norse village at L’Anse aux Meadows. Each summer, amateur actors, mostly from the area, dress the part and live the Viking life of 10 centuries ago. There is the chieftain Bjorn, the principal storyteller who weaves visitors to the site through wondrous tales of how the first Europeans would have lived in the area so long ago. Sit down on the rustic benches and beds and listen as he tells of his trade while he fashions himself a pair of shoes as the past chieftain might have done. Go to the next thatched hut and learn the secrets of navigation and shipbuilding from Gunnar and compare his woodworking tools with those of today. Watch Thora as she spins some fleece into wool thread and other textile arts, as she reveals her position within the Norse society. Ragnar, the blacksmith will talk to you beside his forge and anvil about how to turn soft bog ore into nails for boat repair.

Once you have seen what there is to be seen at the archeological site, wander over to the costumed re-enactment of the replica Viking port of trade at Norstead, as it may have looked during the Viking era (790-1066 AD). Join costumed interpreters in the dim light of the Viking-style Chieftain's Hall and listen to mysterious Viking tales. Watch the Check out info on the blacksmith forging iron. Step aboard the full-scale replica of the Viking ship Snorri, the 54 foot replica Viking knarr which sailed from Greenland to L’Anse aux Meadows in 1998 with a crew of only nine men. Learn how the Vikings mastered the North Atlantic. Use a simple notched stick to measure distance by the stars. Shape clay into pottery the way the Vikings did. Spin some sheep fleece into yarn using ancient drop spindle technology, dye the yarn bright purple, pink, or rusty yellow using local plants and berries, then weave it into cloth at the loom. There is also a chieftain's hall, church, and a workshop, with costumed interpreters who bring the site to life. All buildings, which consist of wood paneled walls and earthen floors, have been created to convey the look and feel of the Viking Era. Here is a museum where visitors are encouraged to touch the artifacts and learn by exploration.

Norstead, has won the “Provincial Attractions Canada” award for “Best New Attraction”, in the year marking the 1,000th anniversary of the Vikings' arrival in the New World. Events generated widespread media coverage and helped the site attract 28,000 visitors in its first season of operation. The aim of the site is to ensure that visitors have the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of Norse life, while having fun through an enriched travel experience.

The drive to L’Anse aux Meadows is certainly one of the breath-taking drives, with spectacular mountainous scenes combined with beautiful azure waters of the Strait of Belle Isle and the forested beauty of the conifer forests. While at L’Anse take in a traditional Newfie pub and listen to the Newfoundland music, if you should be so lucky.

Home-Schooling Co-operatives

Home School Support Groups and Co-operatives

One of the greatest issues facing home schooling today is that of socialization. For many parents, the danger of negative socialization in traditional schools is one of the reasons leading to their decision to home school. It is also probably the most commonly misunderstood issue connected with the decision. It is certainly an issue that must be addressed, since it will most likely be one of the first, if not the primary concern of grand-parents, neighbors and other interested on-lookers, as well as the local educational authority.

The decision to home school is bound to make a child feel isolated, especially at first and particularly if the older child has been educated in the traditional system, in the past. There are several options open to parents who have made the decision to home school. In almost every area there are support groups for those who effectively go ‘against the flow’. These support groups meet on a regular basis, perhaps as often as once a week, for various group activities, such as arts and crafts, sports and outings. Often it is possible to tap into a valuable resource of support and encouragement from similar-minded people, who often have several years of experience of home schooling. These support groups also may have access to a wealth of legal expertise relating to home education should it be needed.

Home school co-operatives can go even further and actually meet each day to educate their children as a group, in the kind of one-room school environment of days gone by. Some can even ‘hire’ an expert to do the teaching, instead of the parents themselves. If there is a collective total of five or more children, it is possible to register a home-school co-operative as a small school, in some areas. Certainly there are some advantages to this kind of arrangement, but there are disadvantages also.

Home school co-operatives, or groups, are derivative of home schooling where families join together to educate their children. Families share the burden of teaching is the co-operative word, which allows time for parents who have other obligations such as full or part-time work. It is low-cost education, cheaper then most public schooling institutions. One of the advantages is that there is a pooling of the resources in terms of knowledge, expertise and financial resources. It can enable the purchase of expensive scientific equipment and books, as well as sharing existing books. Co-operatives take many forms, are highly flexible, and can change or evolve over time. Some are limited to specific activities such as sports teams, the study of a particular subject, music ensembles, or field trips, whereas others involve more time and cover a broader array of activities. Typically each family takes on part of the teaching responsibility and/or financing of the group.

Co-operatives often receive free-teaching services from retirees, interns and adults of all ages. Most anyone with a special skill or subject of interest might teach at a home-school co-operative. Larger co-operatives make it even easier for families to work their child’s schooling into a busy lifestyle.

Some of the disadvantages of a home-school co-operative are that unless it is well structured, it can be difficult to know exactly what type of relationship each person has with the next and whether they can be considered doing their fair share of the work. By it’s nature, the home-school co-operative requires its members to co-operate, so a ‘head’ person would need to be appointed, if only to mediate conflicts. A curriculum or teaching plan for the whole group would most likely take a great deal of planning. A registered home-schooling co-operative would be bound by government bureaucracy, including increased form-filling, monitoring and inspection that straight home schooling is capable of avoiding.

Importance of a raw food diet for your dog

Not only is raw food safe and healthy for your pet, but it is also a very natural meal. A dog’s intestinal tract is short in comparison to a human and digests food at a much faster rate, therefore bacteria that could harm a human, would pass through a dog’s system, before it would have time to multiply. Also a dog has a very acidic stomach, which can kill bacteria, such as salmonella and E. Coli.

You’ve heard this before - “You are what you eat.” This same expression works well for your dog. Commercial dog foods are made of ‘meat by-products’. By-products are generally defined as animal parts that are not fit for human consumption, such as bones, organs, blood, fatty tissue and intestines. Someone got the great idea to process all the leftover garbage, from the meat packing plant and call it, “Dog Food.”

Dogs are natural raw feeders. They closely resemble the wolf which is a carnivore, a raw meat eater. The DNA strands differ by only 2%, so it is safe to assume that dogs can also be carnivores. There are those that say dogs are omnivores, however, dogs are ‘opportunistic feeders’ or in other words they will eat whatever is available.

One popular raw diet is the BARF model, Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (or Bones And Raw Food). The BARF diet which includes non-meats and numerous supplements was designed for pets and wild animals by Dr Ian Billinghurst. This diet mimics what would be considered a 'natural' diet in the wild. It includes organ meat, skin, muscle, and bone, without extra supplements.

A diet largely composed of as wide a variety of meats and butchers’ scraps as possible and the occasional table scraps are now a chosen meal for dogs. When choosing to feed raw food to a dog, prepare the food using the same common sense as used when preparing people food, such as washing hands and counters, not leaving the food out too long and always store food properly. Taking precautions can eliminate the worst potential problems.

For a diet of raw meats, the guidelines are usually 10-10-80. Ten percent raw meaty bones, ten percent organ meat and 80 percent muscle meat. Added to this, home cooked foods such as baked chicken, eggs (cooked or raw), low-fat cottage cheese or plain yogurt, can round out a reasonable pet diet. For treats give whatever the dog normally enjoys, such as table scraps.

A diet that is high in easily digestible protein in important to a dog’s health. Protein is essential because it is utilized as the building blocks for tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, etc. A body cannot manufacture the necessary amino acids without protein. The most highly digestible, complete protein sources come from eggs, muscle and organ meats. Once the body has utilized the protein it needs, the extra is metabolized and used for energy.

The feeding of the raw, canine-appropriate diet can, by itself, work literal miracles on many dogs. Most pet owners notice many improvements in the health and general condition of their canine companions. Many of the improvements noticed are shinier, healthier coats with less shedding, eliminated "dog" odor, better body muscle to fat ratios, cleaner teeth and breath, decreased itching from certain food allergies, normalized energy levels, improved urinary tract health, better resistance to infections, increased mobility with a decrease in arthritis pain, decreased allergy symptoms and lower stool volume. In fact, many pet owners even report lower veterinary fees and lower costs feeding as compared to 'commercial' diets.

'Last Holiday' - Movie Review 2/2

I just finished watching the DVD, 'Last Holiday' with Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, and Timothy Hutton, in a Wayne Wang film. It is a romantic light-hearted but not what I would call a comedy. The heroine, Ms. Georgina Byrd (Queen Latifah) is straight-laced, church-going, single woman who finds herself attracted to a fellow co-worker Sean Williams (LL Cool J), is emitted to the hospital for knocking herself unconscious on a set of cupboards in the workplace. The examination results in a CAT scan which ultimately shows she has a rare virus that leaves her with approximately three weeks to live. After finding out that she isn't insured for the surgery needed to remove the brain tumors, nor can she come up with $350,000 cash, she resigns herself to the inevitable.

Realizing that she will never have the time to fulfill all her dreams, including marrying Sean, salesman in the sports department of the store she works at, she quits her job during the Christmas rush, cashes in all her bonds and savings and decides to go on a dream ski trip to Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia. She books her flight second class and ends up in first class because she felt that with only three weeks to live she would splurge. After finding out that it would take an-over night drive to get to her hotel, she hires a helicopter to take her to the luxurious hotel, where only the rich play. After arriving in high style, she finds that she is early and hasn't a reservation so she pays the extra and stays in the Presidential Suite, which only adds to an illusion that she is accidentally putting up.

At dinner she orders the famous Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu) specialties, without substitutions which pleases and impresses the chef who introduces himself and strikes up a conversation with whom he believes to be a very eccentric, wealthy woman. Georgina becomes an instant hit of the hotel, by being friendly and spending money on a new international wardrobe, a complete new look, taking snow boarding lessons, base-jumping and other noticeable activities.

Sean Williams decides around this time, that he has to get to better know her and asks the doctor who gave her the CAT Scan about his findings. After persuading the good doctor, he goes to her home only to find that she has gone. With more than a little luck, he meets a youth who picked her possibilities (dreams) book out of the garbage, where she threw it, and finds out her thoughts concerning himself and her destination. He departs to find her.

Meanwhile, her doctor is finding that everyone that passes through the CAT scan has the same virus. He comes to the conclusion that the machine is at fault. After searching for Ms Byrd, he also finds out where is and sends a fax stating that she is not going to die that the machine was faulty. The fax drops to the floor of the hotel reception office and goes unnoticed for the time being.

The hotel floor valet has been tipped by the antagonist, corporate mongul Matthew Kragen (Timothy Hutton) of the movie to reveal who Georgia Byrd is exactly. Ms Byrd is invited out to a casino and ends up cashing out with approximately $100,000. The valet, Ms Gunther finds the note the Georgia writes as her final will and testament, which explains her impending death and without trying shows Georgia the way to go is to return home. She returns the tip and tries to do the ‘right’ thing. Georgia leaves the hotel but she finds her way blocked by the same avalanche that blocks Sean from getting to her. Ms Gunther finds the fax and is more than happy to tell Georgia the good news.

In the end, Georgia uses the winnings from the casino to make another one of her dreams come true. She creates a small Bistro style restaurant at home at Louisiana.

This is not what is called a Block Buster Movie. Instead, it is a good Christian film that would be rated for the whole family. It is about serious events that everyday people living everyday lives go through with a touch of humor to make the movie more light-hearted. It is about how one woman survives death. It is about success. I would definitely recommend the movie without hesitation to anyone.

This is your non-active article

Natural relief for migraines

There are many different types of headaches, migraines being one of them. The most simplest natural relief is to take a warm bath, keeping your hands warm and place a cold compress on the back of your neck. It helps to have the lights turned low or off, since your face will likely be turned up. It doesn't always work completely, but it does feel good.

This is your non-active article

What are some good bumper stickers you've seen?

Did you know:
That GOD is alive and hiding in Argentina!
To Let the Eastern Bastard Freeze in the Dark!
That The Eastern Bastard is my brother!
To Drink Canada Dry and Turn It Into Another Sierra!

Dangers of commercial fishing 1/3

A Day In The Life Of A Fisherman

I was out lobster fishing one morning with the Captain and another. It was 4:00am, and the sea was flat calm. The power to the boat's lights was out so I held the spot light for the others to see to haul in and clean the traps. Before daylight, the calm waters became wavy and at one point the boat turned in such a way that the spot light I held slipped up and lit up the area outside of the boat. There was a wall of water at the rear of the boat about 30 feet above us. The boat slipped up and over the wave, then down into the trough. I was stunned and another wave was coming. This time I yelled for the others to look at the wave. They had been so intent on the catch, that the rocking of the boat didn't disturb them. When the Captain saw the wave coming. He screamed to chuck the traps over and ran for the wheel house to straighten out the boat. To be in a boat that small, 35 feet and have waves 30 feet above you is really scary, but fun kind of like a wild roller coaster ride.

We headed for shore along with forty or more other boats racing to get to the protective harbor. When we got near the breakwater, the waves were crashing over a sand bar that was normally under six feet of water but was now dry in the wave troughs, so it was necessary to surf the waves to get inside. The Captain's mostly were experienced but there were a few younger ones, whom the older Captains instructed via radio. The Captain I was with showed fear while on the, because it was necessary to keep the boat straight throughout the roll, while the rudder was out of the water, or the boat would turn over with the wave. Eventually we cleared the sandbar and then the cursing started as the boat was still surfing toward the beach, which was approaching fast. It was then necessary to turn the boat toward the wharf, but one slip and the boat would roll up the sandy beach. We made it, but the boat in front of us missed and was almost destroyed on the beach.

A younger Captain in behind us also saw the trouble and went into deeper water to pass us. He had a lighter boat with a faster engine and with everyone screaming at him to stop it, he went in, but a wave broke at the mouth of the harbor and picked up his boat and threw it high, out of the water. His boat spun in the air with his engines going full tilt, when the boat landed it was headed for the breakwater, a heavy anchor-like cement wall. The fibreglass boat would have shattered, but the Captain managed to throw his engines into reverse and barely skimmed the breakwater.

We went into the harbor by gunning the engines between waves. Then the next boat came in between the next set of waves. I was never so thankful of have experience at the wheel.

This actually happened and although it felt like a wild roller coaster ride, the Poseidon Adventure comes to mind. We still don't know where those waves came from.

How Bioremediation works 1/1

Bioremediation is used to clean up contaminated sites that are environmentally hazardous. It is a relatively new technology that is being used in cleaning areas of land and water where there has been contamination by oil spills. It uses naturally occurring micro-organisms that are able to break down contaminants and release carbon dioxide and water, both natural to earths environment.

For the most part these micro-organisms exist and do break down contaminants however, they are not usually in such large quantities as to work miracles on large contaminated areas, without some form of assistance of bioremediation. Essentially, the goal of bioremediation is to overcome the factors that are limiting the natural degradation of the contaminants. Several methods can be used such as feeding the micro-organisms that are already present to increase their numbers or presenting great quantities of the necessary micro-organism to the contaminated site.

Since there are as many possible variables as there are micro-organisms, each bioremediation case must be treated uniquely. For example, for a large gasoline spillage, it would be necessary to use a multitude of different micro-organisms because gas is a mixture of over a hundred different organic compounds. No one micro-organism can break down such a compound therefore test must be accomplished before bioremediation can be used.

More lately, genetically engineered micro-organisms called Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 has been designed to break down polyaromatic hydrocarbons like benzene, napthalene and other such contaminants. These are formed through the incomplete burning of organic substances such as coal, oil, gas, tobacco and other substances. These substances are very harmful to humans and animals. The versatility of these genetically engineered micro-organisms is capable of using many contaminants, both synthetic and naturally occurring, as a source of both carbon and energy.

So much of our earth is contaminated with chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Bioremediation is one of the ways that humans can and do use to clean up their backyard. Improving on natures abilities are the only way we sometimes have to clean up the mess that we sometimes create.

Places to visit in Canada 4/21

A Visit to the Magdalen Islands

Arriving on the Magdalen Islands, Iles-de-la-Madeleine in French, the dramatic change of scenery astounds the first time visitor. If arriving by plane, the lagoons with their azure and sandy coloring, stretching for miles has a serene, calming effect on the senses. If arriving by ferry, the landmasses of the dozen or so islands that make up the Archipelago and the dunes connecting the majority of them blend, break apart and then stretch out of sight and into the horizon. Each island is enlivened by rich green valleys, spectacular cream sandy beaches, deep red cliffs and countless shades of blue from the lagoons, the sea and the sky.

The Archipelago is located in the center of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on the eastern coast of Canada. The islands have been pushed up out of the sea and into a half moon or fish hook shape, stretching approximately sixty-five kilometers, from end-to-end, as the crow flies. They are enjoyed by a mild maritime climate that is strikingly different from the mainland. The huge shallow water masses that encircle the islands temper the weather and create milder temperatures because it takes more time to warm or cool water than it does to change the temperature of air or land. The air is pure and invigorating.

Constant breezes greatly influence the climate of the islands. They keep the temperatures milder in the winter and cooler in the summer months. It is because of these winds that the islands have been attracting so many visitors. They come for a number of reasons of course, such as the beaches, swimming, clam-digging and all the extreme water sports that take place. They come for the culture and the seafood, all of which is enticing. They come for the magnificent scenery and to be with the seal. They come to learn about a quieter style of living.

The Magdalen Islands has seven islands that are inhabited and several other islands and islets that are inhabited by only the birds. Those islands which are easily accessible to motorists, cyclists and hikers are Grand Entry or Coffin Island, Grosse Isle, Pointe-aux-Loups, House Harbour, Grindstone and Amherst. Entry Island is an island populated by people of Irish and Scottish descent and is accessible only by boat. Of the uninhabited islands, Brion Island is the only one capable of sustaining human life. It is an ecological reserve owned by the Quebec government, who only allows a limited stay by visitors. The Bird Rocks, which were navigational hazards in the past, because of its strategic location in the shipping lanes between the Saint Lawrence River and the rest of the world, is now only inhabited by maritime bird life. Other islets are Deadman's Rock, Seal Island and Shag Island all of which have their fair share of the shipwrecked history that surrounds the Magdalen Islands.

Guide to keeping finches 2/2

Depending on the type of finch, they can be kept in a variety of cages or aviaries, big or small. For pet store finches, a 24-inch cage is large enough for two small birds. They will breed in this size pen but as the number of finch's increase, the size of the cage must also increase. Also, if there are praying animals present, such as cats, it would be prudent to hang the cage from the ceiling to reduce stress to the birds. All birds that are kept in a cage tend to spit the husks of their seed, causing spillage on whatever is below the cage. Since the birds are flying animals, they should have some flying time, perhaps in and enclosed room at least some of the time.

As variety of seeds are the mainstays of a finch's diet, they do occasionally love treats. Fruits and vegetables are sometimes appreciated as well as honey or fruit sticks. Millet, dandelion leaves, an aloe vera plant or certain grasses can be grown especially for the birds. Fresh water each day is a basic necessity for the birds and can be served in a variety of acceptable dishes. Gravel bought at the pet store is also required for the birds because they need this for digesting their foods. As with all birds, finch should have access to some form of calcium such as a cuttlebone from the pet shop or shell of some sort. Hens egg shells are fine but should be heated to kill possible bacteria on them.

A finch likes to bathe, so keeping a bird bath available for them is, if not necessary, a well-appreciated accessory. It is however, necessary to keep the water fresh and clean because they will relieve themselves in it, thus contaminating the water.

Deep brain stimulation treatment for depression 1/1

Severe depression has made many people in our civilized society feel helpless. It accounts for a high percentage of suicides, aggressive acts toward the innocent and fatalities. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

There has been a recent study done by German psychiatrists using brain stimulation to help people suffering from some clinical depressions. Though the study is inconclusive, all three patients who have tried the procedure have shown remarkable progress. The research team has warned that though the preliminary studies are valid, exaggerated expectations would be unwise, due to the small number of patients involved.

The procedure is to use electrodes that are implanted selectively in certain areas of the brain and an electric pulse generator activates, a deep brain stimulation. The procedure has been used successfully in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and is only now being investigated in some psychiatric diseases, such as compulsive behavioral disorders.

Although there is nothing conclusive, this could be a viable treatment in the future for those suffering from this crippling disease.

Top 10 reasons to savor the single life 44/73

I've never been married, though I've had a couple of relationships that could be seen as marriage. I think I will always prefer the single life.
I love my independence. To be able to go or buy or have time to think for myself is so stress-relieving.
Not having to share my bed is one of the many thing I like about being alone.
I enjoy the pleasure of eating my meals, while reading a good book or on the computer.
I don't want to have to justify myself each time I decide to feed every stray animal that comes on the property.
My house is set up the way I want it and when I want to build a new piece on, it is my choice.
I love not having to repeat myself or listen to the same complaints everyday.
I enjoy being selfish with my time. Giving time to friends, volunteering in the community or just having the time for someone whom I wasn't expecting, and not feeling guilty about it.
I enjoy going shopping and not having to justify the money spent, or the money not spent if I choose only to window shop.
I enjoy the pride I have being able and capable of doing a man's job, without a man to supervise me.
My solitude is so very important to me.
Perhaps I'm selfish because I don't want to share my time or maybe I'm just plain strange, but I don't want someone in my life who tries to control me.

Raising chickens in your back yard 9/10

Raising chickens in your backyard can be a rewarding experience. Most people consider raising chickens for their eggs. However, there are plenty of other reasons for raising the birds.

Chickens provide a natural barrier be humans and insect pests. Because the natural body temperature is slightly higher in a chicken than in a human, biting or stinging insects such as mosquitoes tend to hover about them, well within reach of the beak of a hen. They will eats any and all insects that stray within their reach. If allowed to be free-ranging chickens they will keep your yard and you home free from insects.

Chickens are also natural scavengers and will keep the yard clean of organic or eatable substances. They fertilize and facilitate the breathing of lawns. If kept watered a lawn can have a polished, well kept look, with chickens on it.

Finally the is the uses of chicken. Their eggs taste great on Sunday morning and their meat taste great as Sunday dinner.

Dog breed: The Border Collie 8/10

Gemstone was a Border Collie. Born in 1987, she became a police trained, professional guard dog. At the tender age of three, she had a vocabulary of approximately 250 words and phrases or the equivalent of a 6 year-old-child. Gem continued to add to her vocabulary as she grew older.

Gem had a different bark for every person she came in contact with. She would track children by both scent and name and would differentiate between children. She would track a lost child through the woods and not give up until her quarry was found.

At age four, a request for Gem's purchase was made from Walt Disney Studios at Orlando Florida, to make a film. The request was denied because of her profession.

Saving lives was not limited to tracking though, since Gem would swim to give aid to a person in the ocean. She would physically haul children away from highways and keep them safe, until help came. Gem would go for help when children became caught amongst tree branches. She would comfort wild ducklings and protect them from fox, until their mother returned.

Gemstone died at the ripe old age of eighteen. One day she just stopped. She fought to live but lost the battle eventually. Gone but not forgotten.

Inside a food factory 2/4

Seafood transformation factories can be of the most disgusting of all factories. The killing and torture of the American Lobster is most disheartening and discouraging. Because of animal rights personnel, who think boiling a lobster alive is cruel, governments have made it law that the animals must be killed before they are cooked.

To kill these animals, a plate is shoved up, inside the external skeleton. The claws and arms are then ripped off the body, as well as the tail. The body of the lobster remains alive for several hours sometimes, until it is put through the saw that cuts the eight small legs off. The bodies are then considered dead and are sent to the boilers. Their antenna are still moving around feeling for some way to get out. The rest of the respective parts go to the boilers also.

In a similar fashion, crab and welk are prepared for the transformation. If ecologists could only see what harm they are doing to these animals, they would never have advocated to stop the killing by boiling. At least by boiling, the animals are dead in relatively no time at all.

Memories of my first car 24/26

My first car war a 1964 Ford Falcon convertible. It cost me $200 because the son of a friend needed the money for college tuition. I had never before sat behind the wheel of a car, so I had to ask my dad to go pick it up for me and store it in his garage. After much persuasion, father dear convinced me to take drivers lessons, something that I failed successively.

I did however, learn to drive and without persuasion, I drove across Canada, without a permit or insurance. That drive was a very stressful one, no doubt about it. Two hours out of Calgary, the engine was out of oil. In the end it cost more in oil to cross the country than in gas.

I owned the car for five years before selling it to an antique dealer who put the car on a pedestal. Now, twenty-five years later, I still see that old car, in parades, with it's white top rolled back and its coral red body glistening, its chrome bumpers and hardware flashing like mirrors in the sun. Now many can enjoy that beautiful automobile that was my first love and my first heartache.

Do animals have rights? 33/43

The rights of animals in the world today do not and never will take precedence over that of a human being. However, an animal does have the right to receive decent treatment. They do not have the right to 'become human', since they cannot speak for themselves clearly in human language.

Animals have rights in my home and on my property. If they abuse those rights by doing the unforgivable, then I have the right to remove them. The unforgivable is generally something that is not common to their own personalities. It is common for a cat to kill a mouse, bird or rat and therefore do not do the unforgivable. The unforgivable would be something along the lines of an unprecedented attack, thus losing the rights the animal had.

Testimonies: Losing a dog 22/39

I needed a guard dog. The police were camping in my driveway to keep the stalker away and I had swore that I would borrow my cousins shotgun and kill the SOB. On the chief's recommendation, I found a young German Sheppard that might have fit the bill, but my young son fell in love with a month old Border Collie. This Border whom we named Gemstone, became my life line before long. A local police officer and dog trainer helped and soon Gemstone was known by everyone in the community for her noble purpose.

To prove her worth, the police stopped my car on a routine check, at eleven o'clock one summer evening. Two female officers came up from behind on either side of the car. Gemstone and I had been had been watching the officer on the right, while her partner came up on the left, unnoticed. The drivers side window was rolled down and she tapped the side of the car for attention. Without hesitation, Gemstone left the rear seat and went through the window. By the time I had turned my head, the dog had the officer down, flat on her back on the asphalt, teeth bared about six inches from the officer's neck. A very quick command had the dog back through the window and into the back seat. The second officer quickly came around and asked for pertinent papers. I remember thinking that they were going to throw away the keys this time. After returning to their cruiser, I happen to look in the rear view mirror and the officers were laughing. Unknown to me it turned out that Gemstone had been registered as a guard dog in the on-board computer system of the police car. The officers neglected to draw up my plate number before approaching the car. If they had, they would have known that the car was to be approached with caution. They were laughing at their error. I was stopped quite often after that, in the most unusual places, because one officer or another wanted to say "hi" to the dog, of all things.

I have a thousand and one interesting stories about her, but at eighteen years of age, Gemstone left me, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, holding her tightly, crying uncontrollably. She fought dying because she didn't want to leave her friend. For eighteen years, I lived in relative security. That was two years ago and here I am, writing with tears streaming down my cheeks.

What to do with grass cuttings 7/8

A few years ago, I collected my grass cuttings all one season and put them in beds surrounded by tight alder branch fences, about one foot high. In the spring, I planted strawberry plants directly on the cuttings, with only a handful of soil from the garden, to cover the bare roots.

For the next five years, the strawberry beds produced the largest, most flavorful and most abundant fruit imaginable and I never had to weed the beds. The neighbors were coming for miles for the treat which I gratefully gave away.

I never heard of it, before making the beds and I don't know where the idea came from, but if you think about it, it makes sense. The cuttings not only fed the strawberries but also kept the weeds at bay, until the strawberries grew so thick, that they kept out any weeds that tried to grow.

A Biography Of My Memories 186/228

While writing out some facts about myself in the tagged section, I remembered a memory that I thought should be wrote down. There are many of these important memories and as I think of them I will put them in place.

My Important Memory

My first memory was when the baby’s clothes caught fire while hanging above the stove in the kitchen. My mother put my little sister in my older sister’s arms on the doorstep. I must have been outside, because the picture I have in my mind is that of my older sister holding baby Karen, sitting on the door step, with my mother throwing buckets of water over the top of the stove.

I know this is my memory because Karen was 10 months younger than I and she died at 3 months, making me between 10 and 13 months old. Neither my mother nor my father ever spoke of my little sister other than to say, she died of rapid pneumonia, which claimed the lives for 57 babies in Halifax that winter.

Many years later, I told my mother of the memory, just before she died. She confirmed that it really did happen, but that she had forgot it. So I know I have a precious memory of my little sister now, along with all the memories of my precious mommy.

Western Riding Adventures and Ranch Experiences 5/6

Neither western riding adventures, nor ranch experiences need happen only in the west. All over the world there are ranches with adventure trail rides. Eastern Canada also has ranches which cater to trail riding with western equipment. There is one place, off the beaten trail, which serves to tantalize the adventurer in all of us. It is a place, which takes adventurers on trail rides throughout one of Canada’s Wild Life Reserves. It is a private tour and not advertized, but the real adventurer knows how to find the place and how to convince the guides that they deserve to be on one of the tours.

It is a guided tour which describes the history of the setting, the parks in the area, the inhabitants and how each family name came to be there. The rides follow the paths previously made by All Terrain Vehicles and covers approximately thirty miles. The tour covers a great variety of terrains from wood paths to wetlands, to sandy beaches, with breath-taking panoramic views in all directions. With stops for meals and swimming, hiking and birdwatching, the tour takes about two days. Radios with headphones can be used to hear the tour guide speak of the ecology and of the fragile, evolving eco-system surrounding the parks and the areas in general.

The night includes camping in a tent, rough showers and toilets, and barbequing supper over an open fire. They have a camp fire, surrounded by like-interested people, listening to ghost stories of shipwrecked victims, elves, pirates and ghouls of all types, all while roasting marshmallows. The crackle of the campfire and the spitting wood is reminiscent of the past. The smell of burning wood with salt sea air and the open night sky, with all it's infinite number of stars and constellations are there for the adventurer to speculate upon, before falling into a deep worn-out sleep.

Agrostology: An Overview 1/1

Agrostology is the scientific botanical study of grasses. Mostly it encompasses the true grass family, but more recently it has included more grass-like or graminoids species, such as that of the sedge family, the rush family and the bulrushes or the cattail family. The study of agrostology is on the rise, as the human and grazing animal populations of the world increases.

An agrostologist is someone who studies botany, more specificly, the study of different types of grasses. This study is found to be important to third world countries as well as those of the developed world. In India, there are migratory communities that rely heavily on the country's grasslands. According to an estimate based on the 1991 census, on average, every hectare pastureland has more than 7.88 migratory animals grazing on it. This pressure is expected to further increase, if the rising trend of migratory animal population and the number of sedentary animals is also taken into consideration.

Maintenance of wild and grazed grasslands is of utmost importance to the world for without these grasslands, starvation will become far worse. Agricultural crop plants such as rice, maize, sugarcane and wheat grasses and many types of animal fodder are all types of grasses. Also, urban and environmental horticulture, turfgrass management and sod production, ecology and conservation has become important to the growing needs of the population.

As the ever increasing world population demands more meat, milk, and wool, more pastureland becomes arid. The worse the pastureland becomes, the more trees are felled to create more grazing lands. Take this into consideration along with the increase of noxious weeds that cannot be fed to animals, and there becomes a world crises.

As a result, there is more pressure put on the scientific world to find a solution to the ever increasing need for better grasses, which have the growth potential to overcome the growth of unwanted weeds. It is found that cultivated grasses possess higher biomass production per unit land, high nutritive value, high palatability and very low wastage by the animals as compared to the conventional grasses.

The socio-economic conditions, lifestyle and food habits of people make a collective impact that further encourages an increase in the livestock population. Hence, agrostology is considered to be a highly important option for science and pertinent, to the growing needs of the world population.

A Simple Recipe For Tostones 1/2

Tostones are twice fried, flattened green plantains or bananas as they are sometimes referred to, and are staple food of the tropical regions. However, a plantain is not a banana. The plantain is a fruit in the same family as the banana, but it is usually larger, firmer and has a lower sugar content than the banana. Unlike the banana, a plantain is never eaten raw. Instead, it is fried into an easy to make plantain chip, that can become the base for a number of exotic dishes.

A plantain is a fruit, but considered and cooked like a vegetable. When green, they are bland and starchy, much like a yucca root or potato. When they are cooked they are used in a number of different dishes from appetizers to desserts.

The tradition of the tostone comes from African slaves. In the Congo, the people prepare plantains in the exact same way, even to this day. In Puerto Rico, "Tostones" are usually served in restaurants to accompany seafood dishes, but they go well with any Puerto Rican dish.

A simple plain recipe for making tostones is as follows: It is best to peel the plantains under running water so as not to stain your hands. Cut them into 1 to 3 inch slices. In a deep skillet, heat one half cup vegetable oil and fry the slices for approximately 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the skillet with a large, slotted spoon and place on paper to drain a bit. On a hard surface, flatten the slices with the bottom of a flat bottomed bottle, or a tostonera, which is a specially designed tool for this purpose. The tostones can be dipped into a bowl of salted water at this point, dried and returned to the frying skillet for 30 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately with seasoning. The seasonings can be any number of choices but the most common is a little salted water with a half teaspoon of garlic stirred in and sprinkled over the chips. Tostones are well liked with sausage, salami, fried fish, chicken or pork chops or with soup or broth.

Horse Anatomy: The Back 1/2

The strength and structure of the back of a horse are critical for the usefulness of the animal. Since a horse is used for a variety of activities, it therefore is necessary for the user of the animal to understand the strengths and weaknesses that can occur with a particular horse. The back is a complex design of bone, muscle, tendons and ligaments that all work together to allow a horse to support the weight of a rider.

The shape of a horse’s back can vary from horse to horse and it can change on an individual horse over the years, as the horse ages. The ‘topline’ of the back is the upper curvature of the withers through the bac and to the loins whereas the ‘underline’ is the length of belly from the elbow to the flank. Both lines work together, to enable the horse to move flexibly. The abdominal muscles where the underline is, can provide tremendous support to the back when well conditioned. A long ‘underline’ in relation to a shorter ‘topline’ is ideal for riding activities.

The average horse can carry up to approximately 25% of its body weight. This also depends on body structure or the conformation and the physical condition of the horse. In other words, a horse with well-developed abdominal and back muscles, will be able to carry more weight for a longer time than one that is not in shape

A ‘roach’ back and a ‘sway’ back are two primary flaws in back conformation. A ‘roach’ back or a straight back on a horse is when there is insufficient curvature of the spine as is not as common as a ‘sway’ back. The ‘sway back is when there is too much curvature. Either conformation can be distressful to a horse, but can also be if not overcome than aided, with proper attention.

The ideal length of a horse’s back is one third of the entire length of the body. A long backed horse is when the length from the peak of the withers to the point of the hip exceeds a third of the overall body length or from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, excluding the head and neck. Whereas, a short back is less that one third of the body length.

An example of a long backed horse might be that of a ‘gaited’ horse, such as an American Saddlebred or a Tennessee Walker, though not all long backs are ‘gaited’. The advantage of riding these types of horses is that the back is flexible, making the back flatter, quieter and an overall smoother ride. The disadvantage is that it is difficult for the horse to round his back up for tight quick maneuvers. An example of a short back could be Arabians, Morgans or the American Quarter Horse. The advantage to a short back is that the horse is quick, agile and strong, able to change direction with ease. However, a short back is usually less flexible and could lead to spinal arthritis.

In determining the conformation of the back of a horse, a rider can decide if a particular horse will suit him or her. It will tell the rider whether or not the horse in question will suffer from exposure to the work determined by that rider. If an animal is showing signs of back pain a veterinarian experienced in large animal care or an experienced horse owner can palpate the back of a horse to pinpoint sources of pain and from there, assess the most likely cause of the pain.

Dog Breeds - German Shepherd 6/30

German Shepherds are highly intelligent and agile dogs who are well suited to active working environments. They are also know for their loyalty and patience through hardships. Often a German Shepherd will be deployed in various roles such as police work, guarding, search and rescue, drug finds, therapy, in the military, as well as guide dogs for the blind. Despite their suitability for such work, German Shepherds can also make loyal and loving pets, as they enjoy being around people and other animals.

This breed of dog has even been known to aid suffers with reading disabilities and has recently been used by organizations to help youth to read more comfortably. For children with low self-esteem, or for those who struggle with academic performance, the presence of a friendly, nonjudgmental friend can help immensely. Thirty minutes reading to a German Shepherd has aided many people to read more comfortably and without the fear of failure.

The breed is thought to have originated by Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1899. It is said that he admired the German landrace herding dogs and, aware of the declining need for them, believed they had the potential to be all-purpose working dogs. He was clearly correct as the German Shepherd remains one of the world's most popular breeds.

Raspberry Honey Iced Tea 1/1

A refreshing, rejuvenating tea mixture with raspberries and honey makes this is a very refreshing summer drink that is nicely flavored without being too sweet. It contains no sugar, only honey and the all natural sweetening flavor of raspberry juice. This recipe serves eight people.

The ingredients of the recipe are:

- 4 cups regular or Lipton iced tea
- 4 cups raspberry juice, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup liquid honey

Mix the raspberry juice, tea and honey together in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients until honey is completely dissolved. Serve cold over ice cubes. If you wish a change of taste, you can substitute cranberry juice, instead of raspberry juice for a completely different taste.

Croque-Monsieur 1/2

A croque-monsieur is a hot ham and cheese grilled or broiled sandwich. This is an affordable Parisian classic which originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafés and bars. More elaborate versions come coated in a Mornay or Béchamel sauce. This is one of the more elaborated recipes which calls for a béchamel sauce.

The ingredients used in this recipe:

- 4 slices bread, from a rustic round loaf
- 1/4 pound ham or chicken, sliced thin
- 1/4 pound Gruyère or Beaufort cheese, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère or Beaufort cheese
- 1/8 cup Dijon mustard
- butter for spreading
For the béchamel sauce:
- 1 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cups whole milk
- salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper to taste
or use a pre-made béchamel sauce mix.

The Method of Preparation:
To make the béchamel sauce:
1. Melt butter in small saucepan just until it just starts to bubble. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until smooth, but not brown.

2. Whisking constantly, add the milk, continuing to cook until thick.

3. Remove from heat and add the seasonings. Transfer to a bowl and cover by placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce.

Preheat the broiler and have a griddle or skillet ready.
5. Spread the mustard on one side of the bread. Top with ham or chicken and cheese and cover with remaining bread.

6. Generously butter both sides of the bread. Place sandwiches on hot griddle or skillet and cook about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on both sides.

7. Transfer the sandwiches to a broiler pan or baking sheet. Spread some of the béchamel on top of each sandwich and then top with the grated cheese. Broil about 2 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Best Children's Books Ever 11/30

Of all the authors of children’s book, Enid Blyton stands at the top of the list. Her lengthy series of the Famous Five has time and again reach the top of the charts, generation after generation. When the first book, Five on a Treasure Island was published in 1942, it won great acclaim from both fans and critics. The series has gone on to become amongst the best-loved stories ever to have been written for children.

The series included a fictional group of children who were named Julian, Dick, Anne and George and of course, their dog Timmy, in the first volume, Five on a Treasure Island. Three of the children are siblings, who spend their school holidays at their Aunts and Uncle’s cottage with a tom boy cousin, named Georgina or George for short. The genre of the stories is under mystery and adventure. The activities invariably take place during the holidays when the children come together from their various boarding schools. Every time they get together, they get caught up in an adventure, the location of which varies from book to book.

Originally, Ms. Blyton only considered writing six to eight volumes but the series grew to include 21 full featured volumes due to the high sales rate and the immense commercial success. By 1953, the series had a sales rate of more than six million copies. Even now in 2007, more than two million copies of the books are sold each year, making them one of the biggest-selling series for children ever written.

Dog Breeds - Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most sought after dogs in the Western World. It is well known for it’s exceptionally friendly attitude and intelligence. Labs make excellent companions and working dogs. The Labrador Retriever is not indigenous to Newfoundland, Canada, but it is believed that the breed was to have originated on the island part of the province, from the now extinct St. John’s Water Dog breed.

While the Lab is one of several kinds of retrievers, it's the most popular breed of dog in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a breed that responds well to praise and positive attention. They have been selectively bred for retrieving the downed waterfowl in water environments as 'gun dogs'. The Labrador breed is well balanced and versatile, adaptable to a wide range of functions, as well as making very good pets. Though their primary role is that of a retriever, the steady temperament of Labs and their ability to learn, make them an ideal breed for search and rescue, detection, and therapy work. Approximately 60-70% of all guide dogs in the United States are Labradors. Labs are highly intelligent, initiative-taking, self-directed in working roles.

This breed of dog matures at around three years of age. Their life expectancy is generally 12 to 13 years, and it is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems, though they sometimes can have ear infections, because their floppy ears trap warm moist air. Because Labradors have a reputation for large appetites, the Lab owner must carefully control the dog's food intake to avoid obesity and its associated health problems.

A well-kept Labrador is a relatively large dog. Males typically weighing 60 to 80 pounds (27-36 kg) and the female dog is approximately ten pounds less. The Labrador Retrievers are excellent swimmers, with web-toes and an unusually thick and powerful tail that they use as a rudder for changing directions, while in the water. Their short, smooth, interwoven coat is also relatively waterproof. The breed tends to shed hair regularly throughout the year.

There are three recognized colors for Labs: black (a solid black color), yellow (anything from light cream to gold to "fox-red"), and chocolate (medium to dark brown). Puppies of all colors can potentially occur in the same litter.

Dog Breed - Golden Labrador

The Golden Labrador is a ‘designer dog’. A mutt, cross-breed, or mongrel, but in general, it certainly is a lovable one. It is the cross between a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Labrador Retriever. The look and the temperament of the Golden Labrador can vary as much as that of its proud parents, the Retrievers.

In many ways, the Golden Labrador will look like both parents. It could have the chunky head of the Golden Retriever or the refined head of the Lab, as well as the refined sleek body of the Lab or the long haired, stout body of the Golden Retriever. The Golden Lab will most likely be a good water dog and most certainly can be trained as a 'gun dog'. It also could be considered seriously as a service dog and would be quite capable of making decisions without prior training.

The best thing about a Golden Labrador perhaps, is the fact that it is a cross breed and therefore, would be less likely prone to have certain genetic failures of the two parent breeds. Hip and elbow dysplasia, ear infections, certain cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, followed by lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumor, epilepsy and osteosarcoma are all common in the retrievers, that are not so frequently seen in the Golden Labs. Heart, joint and skin diseases are also somewhat lessened while cross-breeding.

All in all, a Golden Labrador is a mighty fine dog to have. They are sensitive, intelligent, active and live long, healthy lives, if well cared for. They make superior companions, children’s pets and the Golden Lab should never be over-looked as a perfect 'Man’s Best Friend'.

My dear darling Aurique - the Golden Prince - is a Golden Labrador. He was designed by chance and not because of human interference. His mother was a pure bred black Labrador Retriever and his father was a yellow purebred Golden Retriever. Aurique was one of the resulting litter of 12 puppies. He came to me by a friend, who wanted only to rescue him, since the owner was going to shoot the puppy, because he followed people who would walk on the road for exercise, rather than stay home. My friend thought since I lived in the woods and my beautiful Border Collie, Gemstone was very old and crippled, that I would need a dog to replace her. In spite of not wanting another dog, I took him to save his life. He was three months old on August 21st, 1999, the day he was brought home for good. In bringing Aurique into our home, he saved the life of my precious Gemstone. Because of his tenacity, he forced Gemm to get up and walk, forced her into his type of therapy and played with her another four years, before she finally died painlessly at 18 years old. Of the twelve puppies he is the only survivor. Ironically, the other siblings to my golden prince were all killed on the road, one-by-one.

Do PETA's Naked Protest Tactics Work?

This is a ridiculous way to protest and can only harm that which they supposedly strive to protect. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Now just imagine seeing a beautiful naked male or female. Does it remind you to make a donation to a worthy cause or cause your mind to think thoughts that are not on the topic of Ethical Treatment of Animals? Better still imagine a body that looks like it should be on a treadmill 24/7. Would you even think to donate to that cause or would you even realize what it was that they were trying to make you aware of?

Those people whom they are trying to reach with their protest are generally so disgusted and distracted by the visual, that the message is not getting across. Of course there are those who already disagree with PETA’s methods, who find the actions totally comical and are willing to gawk and laugh at the apparent desperation of the organization.

The only thing that naked protesting does is bring awareness to the instability of the organization and its members. It certainly does not bring awareness to the animals that they have sworn to protect.

It can be said that any protest that conjures discussion and thought about the cause, most certainly works, because that is one of the reasons people protest in the first place. However, when all is said and done, the very audience of the naked protest is going to go home and discuss the naked individuals and not what the protest was all about. It also can be said that the naked protest brings about awareness of the protest in topics such as this debate. But this debate is not on the awareness of the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It brings awareness to the protest, but not the topic chosen by the protesters and therefore renders the protest useless. It doesn’t matter whether PETA’s audience is comfortable with the naked protest, outraged, or agreeing that nakedness gets the point across. It will be the nakedness that will stimulate future conversations and not the point of the protest.

Nakedness has nothing to do with protesting animal rights and should not be part of the process. If PETA or any other animal rights want to be noticed for the cause they are protesting, then bring the facts to the people and let the audience decide if the protest is worthy of donating their well earned time and/or money. If you can’t get your audience to remember what the protest was for, then what is the sense in protesting. In PETA’s case, it seems that its claim to fame is the exhibit the human body, or do some other equally ludicrous action.

Would I Send My Child Off To War? A Yes/No Debate

In my humble opinion, this is more of an emotional question than a question of need, at this point in humanity’s history. It is not necessary to fight for ones country because in all reality, there is no world domination threat at this time. So, under that pretext, then the answer to the question is no, I would not send my child off to war. I also would not be happy if he or she chooses to go into the military, with the desire to go to war - to kill mankind.

I understand the need for the military in our peaceful countries and I understand the need for peace-keeping in countries that are tearing themselves apart. I even understand the war against terrorism and I believe in the need to battle it. I will not criticize those who do go to do battle for the free world. But I would not send or encourage one of my own to do so, because I do not believe a physical war is necessary for our freedom. Although terrorism must stop, I do not believe terrorists are in any position to take away our rights, in our own lands. I do not believe that the benefits of war, outweigh the disadvantages of working for the military, at this point in time.

Financially speaking, the military is not an occupation to get into, since only a living is made and not a future for military children. Because there is not a world domination threat, the military is being forced to keep their budgets trimmed. Governments are controlled by the taxpayers, and therefore are not making the military as high a priority in their budget. Therefore the military is not paying a wage that one would expect for a life-threatening occupation. There are also other reasons for not joining the military. Will there be a position in the civilian market for your child, after he or she has returned from war? Often the future of ex- military personnel is over-looked. Once a person is trained by the military, they develop certain habits that are very difficult to over-come once they return to civilian life. Their posture is a military manner, their attitude is military mannered and indeed in three to five short years, their entire outlook on their future may have changed so completely, that civilian employers may defer the high quality military training, in favor of a more civilian attitude.

The excitement of ‘saving our freedom’ is a serious advantage in joining the military. If one of my own, wanted or needed to have this experience, then I would not in any way prevent their movement into the military. The need to see the world and learn of different cultures from experience is a strong pull to serve one's country. The learning experience is as good as most people can expect and so should see this as an opportunity to better oneself. However, because of the drawbacks involving the military at this time, I would choose not to encourage my child to join.

How To Cue Your Horse To Back Up

There are several ways to teach your horse how to back up. One of the most popular ways is to cue your horse while sitting in the saddle. Another would be while standing, cue the horse from the front. A third way might consist of using both the first and the second manner together. Just realize that backing is an illogical movement for horses. This is not a movement they do in defense or in play. The horse backs by moving its legs in diagonal pairs, just like it does at the trot. So it has to shift its weight from side to side in order to back. The rider must apply alternate side-to-side pressures to ask the horse to shift its weight from side to side in order to back.

On a flat riding surface, ride your horse for a short time. Keep you back and hips flexible. After moving forward for a while, bring your horse to a halt and allow him to stand quietly for a short period of time. In following the first manner in cuing you horse to back, cue your horse to walk forward using your seat and legs, then gently squeeze back with your hands and the same time you cue with your legs, thus preventing the forward motion. Look straight ahead and keep your chin up. Stay relaxed and don’t stiffen up. Quietly use a voice command, “back”. Keep an even tension on the reins and don’t lift your hands. Use only a wrist motion, causing the lower part of the hand to bring the reins back. Turn then slacken your wrists, using only soft motions on the reins. Possibly a straight back pull on the reins might work, depending on the horse, but not a severe pull. Do this a few times, then move forward. Repeat the procedure until the horse understands the motion put to him.

The horse should step back with one diagonal pair of legs, and then the other. Never ask for more than a few steps. Release the tension on the reins after each practice session and let the horse move forward a few steps, before repeating.

If after working on this previous cue work, your horse still resists the cue, then work from the ground, so he can learn how to balance himself in the backward movement and understand your voice command. Never give him a reason to toss his head. If this happens, it is because he is not balanced or you could be pulling the reins too assertively. Also, the horse might turn his hind quarters. Be sure that you are cueing him with the same pressure on both sides and that your hands are even on the reins.

Dog Breed - Golden Retriever

Originally developed as a hunting dog, retrieving downed game, the Golden Retriever has become popular as a family dog because of it’s naturally friendly disposition, polite and ability to learn. It is a high-maintenance dog and thrives on attention, regular, vigorous exercise, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. They typically bark when startled, but generally their friendly nature makes them poor guard dogs.

Originally the breed is thought to come from Scotland. The first accepted registration was by the Kennel Club of England, as a flat coat - Golden in 1903. In 1913, the Golden Retriever Club was founded. The breed name officially became Golden Retriever in 1920.

The Golden is and athletic and well-balanced dog that appears symmetrical and powerful. A male will generally stand almost two feet tall at the shoulder and the female is slightly shorter. The coat is dense and water-repellent and weather resistant, in various shades of lustrous cream or gold, with moderate length and feathering. The coat can be straight or moderately wavy and usually lies flat against the belly. When in motion, the Golden Retriever looks free, powerful and well coordinated.

Typically, puppies are fairly unruly and may chew everything they can get a hold of. However, upon maturity, they develop and exceptional patient demeanor as befits a dog bred to sit quietly for hours while hunting, though they do remain active and playful as they grow older. They have a great love for water and swimming. Golden Retrievers tend to be very tolerant of boisterous children. As they age, they remain excellent friends and companions. They adore their owners and exhibit what can be described as unconditional love.

Because of the moderately long coat, Golden Retrievers should be groomed at least once a week, and every day during heavy shedding. Their coats shed heavily the entire year, and even more excessively in the spring as the dog loses its thick winter coat. They also need to have their ears cleaned regularly, or otherwise an ear infection might occur. They are a breed prone to obesity and should have regular and vigorous exercise.

The typical life span for Golden Retrievers is 10-13 years. The Golden Retrievers are known to have many health problems. Indeed it would be a very lucky owner that had a Golden without health problems for its entire life span. As a result of careless breeding techniques, many of the dogs don’t live 10 years. They are prone to genetic disorders and diseases and may have such maladies as hip and elbow dysplasia, cancers, eye diseases, ear infections, heart diseases, epilepsy, joint and skin problems and Haemophilia.

The Charasteristics of the "French" Canadian Horse

The Canadian Horse is a little known national treasure of the country, because it was rare for someone to write about the breed. This breed has descended from royal horses, originally sent to the “New World” by King Louis XIV of France in the mid 1600's. The Norman and Breton horses were thought to have had Arabain, Andalusian and Barb ancestry, all traits of which are still recognized in the Canadian Horse. These horses were distributed among the military officers of the Carignan-Salieres regiment, government officials and the religious communities of new colony.

For centuries the French horses bred with little influence from outside breeds. Indeed, they developed into their own distinct breed, which originally was called the "French Canadian Horse", but has long lost that name. This horse evolved under adverse conditions of harsh weather, scarce food, and hard work and it remains the sturdiest, most acclimatized horse in Canadian history. They are tough, strong horses, tolerant of inclement weather conditions, and are extremely “easy keepers”. Because of these traits, the Canadian Horse is often referred to as “The Little Iron Horse”.

In the 1800's around 150,000 of the animals were known to exist. The breed was used for cross-breeding to improve strength and hardiness in other breeds and aided in the founding of breeds such as the Morgan, Tennessee Walking Horse, the Standardbred and the American Saddlebred. The number began to dwindle rapidly when the horse was exported for wars and work in dangerous situations. The Canadian Horse was near extinction with the advent of mechanized farm machinery. By the late 1870's the peril of the breed was finally recognized and efforts were made by diligent breeders to bring the Canadian Horse back from the verge of extinction. In 1888, the first stud book was created to try and preserve the breed.

Down to a count of 400 horses worldwide and only approximately 250 breeding stock in Canada, the breed slowly began to gain in numbers, after the first stud book was presented. However, after more than a century, there are still only 2500 purebreds in existence. The Canadian Horse is classified as “critical” on the American Livestock Conservancy list. On April 30th, 2002, a bill was passed into law by the Canadian Government making the Canadian Horse an official animal symbol of Canada, sharing the title with the beaver.

Typically the Canadian stands 14 to 16 hands high and weighs 1000 to 1400 pounds. Most often they are black in color, but have been known to be dark brown, bay or chestnut. They have finely chiseled heads, naturally arching necks and thick, long manes and tails that may or may not be wavy. They have sturdy, strong legs and short cannon bones often exceeding nine inches in circumference. Their hooves are exceptionally well formed, tough and require little more that routine trimming. The Canadian Horse is renown for its kind, sensible, sociable nature, intelligence and willingness to please.

Most commonly used for driving, the Canadian Horse is truly one of the most versatile of all breeds and may be found in show classes doing such activities as dressage, jumping, and in event classes. It is known for it’s long endurance, trail-riding, ranch work or just being the family or kid's horse. Whatever reason a person might want a horse for, a Canadian will fit into that position comfortably.