Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pet Ownership Hits a New Low at MudBay

I got a unsolicited catalog in the mail today from Mud Bay. Mud Bay is a pet supply company with about 14 locations in The Puget Sound area. I personally don't keep pets, but when I did, Purina Dog or Cat Chow seemed to keep them healthy for a reasonable price. It contained grains, meat by-products, vitamins and minerals--pretty basic stuff. Today I thumbed through a catalog that, first of all, made me angry, and then as I read more, ashamed.

"Mud Bay offers more than 500 varieties of healthy foods for dogs and cats." And, they are PROUD to say so right on the cover!

See the first "article"? Remember that this is Seattle and I live in one of the poorest neighborhoods. Mud Bay thinks I will need a Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat for my DOG, when I take it out on my BOAT! The price of $49.95-$69.95 is right in the range of what I spend on groceries at the local Canned Food Outlet. Let me or dog life preserver??? The US Government sent US Service Men to Iraq with out of date body armor but one of my low-income neighbors is going to buy a 1680-denier BALLISTIC nylon doggy boating outfit???? THIS IS SO WRONG!

CBS did a series on a product called Plumpynut, basically a nutritious food bar made of peanut butter, designed to feed starving children. Since the introduction of the product in 2007, thousands of children have been rescued from the edge of death, but guess what? The price of peanut butter is on the rise--39 to 100% in worldwide markets. That means that Plumpynut is only going to be available to about half as many children next year. The good news is Mud Bay has plenty of peanut butter snacks for our PETS. Mud Bay customers must be rolling in assets though, Presto Peanut Butter Twinkles start at $7.99 for 8 ounces! ($7.99 would feed 8 children for 2 days. ) If an 8 ounce jar of peanut butter was $7.99 at the grocery store, America would be outraged! THIS IS SO WRONG!

Whats for dinner? How about Organic Beef, & Organic Vegetables with Cold Pressed Unrefined Safflower Oil? Sound like the best meal many of us will see all year, but this is for DOGS! If a Mud Bay customer feeds their pet Organic petfood and then I cook their pet for Sunday dinner, is that considered Organic & Cagefree Meat? THIS IS SO WRONG!

The ingredients listed in the PETFOODS sold by this company are amazing, and these are not listed as "By-Product". How many things on this list do you buy regularly? How many things on this list would your pet eat if it wasn't processed?
  • Duck
  • Beef & Organic Beef
  • Turkey & Organic Turkey
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Venison
  • Lamb
  • Tilipia
  • Tuna
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Rabbit
  • Maki Rolls
  • Artichoke
  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Potato
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Sweet Potato
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Papaya
  • Figs
  • Cranberries
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Flaxseed

We all know how much dogs love to hike and Mud Bay has the prefect take along dehydrated foods just for dogs! It comes in 4 flavors made from either Venison or Brushtail. And don't forget the $15 Folding Water Bowl...don't want Fido drinking out of a mountain stream--Heaven forbid!! After EXTENSIVE research. I finally found out what "Brushtail" is. Wiki says "Brushtailed possums are also very intelligent creatures, with brainpower comparable to a dog. This makes hand reared possums ideal to teach tricks. Common tricks can include "sit" and "hiss" but they can also be trained to "fetch" with enough time. It is important to remember when training brushtailed possums to be firm with the instruction and always give a reward such as fruit or vegetables." So, Americans grind up animals as smart as dogs to feed to dogs. I guess it's the Brushtail's fault for not being smart enough to get their own Kennel Club. THIS IS SO WRONG!

Cat litter is a problem for most cat owners in the city, but thankfully Mud Bay has them covered with a wide array of cat-pee absorbents that have no resemblance to the owners favorite pillow. First offender, the Lavender scented clumping litter ..."some people mix it with unscented litter for a subtler effect" In other word this stuff is strong and unless you want to be greeted at the front door by a WALL OF LAVENDER SCENTED CAT PEE, you might want to cut it a little. Second offender, Swheat Scoop, made from WHEAT(that stuff we need to get a decent Artisan Loaf of Bread) and it "smells like healthy breakfast cereal". If wheat prices go much higher we may be buying this product in the 40 pound it "high fiber bread!" The third offender is "World's Best Cat Litter". I want the President of Mud Bay to fly to Mexico City and face the crowds rioting over the price of corn tortillas. Let that person tell those hungry poor people that the price has gone up, not just due to bio-fuel but because Americans need corn for cat-litter! That's right this product is made out of corn. THIS IS SO WRONG!

For $13.95, you can buy a purse that clips to your dogs collar so they can carry their own poo to the garbage much cooler for you than walking around with a bag of sh*t for a half hour!

In a world of food riots and starvation around the world, this company offers pet food made from blueberries, organic beef, duck, buffalo, shrimp, salmon, artichokes, avocados, and lamb??? No wonder the price of groceries is so high--rich people have so damn much money that they are feeding the good stuff to their pets.

In a word, Mud Bay is ridiculous. And, since this company has no sense of shame, then I will be ashamed for them. American pets are treated and fed better than half of the children in the world. SHAME!


Junk mail eats up 100 Million Trees a year, so the very action of printing and mailing out 10,000 of them to my zipcode is a huge waste. I see a future, when junk mail will finally be outlawed!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easter Baked Pineapple

When I was young, my Mother always made a ham for Easter that was covered with cloves and pineapple rings. The pineapple was always my favorite part of the meal. This recipe reproduces the flavor of the baked pineapple without the meat.

1 Whole Ripe Pineapple, skinned and cored.

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Tsp Bacon Salt

1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves

Spray a sheet pan with cooking oil and set aside. Heat oven to 350.

Slice the whole pineapple into 1/2 inch slices and cut each in half to create a crescent. Arrange slices on a sheet pan. Mix sugar, cloves and bacon salt together and then sprinkle a tiny bit over each slice.

Bake the pineapple at 350 for 60 minutes or until slightly browned. Turn the pineapple over every 10 minutes.

After baking, arrange the slices in a food dehydrator and dry on regular setting for 6-8 hours or until very leathery. Store in the fridge until eaten.

Eat these slices as is for snacks or chop them up and use them in recipes calling for dried fruit.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dandelions: Pest or Asset?

The best way to manage a pest is to think of it as an asset and learn how to use it for profit. Once this strategy is in place the Old Pest/New Asset will start to decline.

Dandelions are a great place to put this principal to work. Think of the origins of Dandelions: Dandelions are native to the Middle East and were carried along the Spice Trails over a thousand years ago as a medicinal plant as well as a garden green. Immigrants carried dandelions from Europe to the United States in the 1790's as a guaranteed nutritional food crop that required little work to produce. It has since then, self seeded all over the western continents and being so common, most of Dandelions' value has been forgotten.

Currently, Dandelions are enjoying a resurgence of popularity as people rediscover the wonders of this plant. Bundles of young leaves share space with spinach at my local farmers market at about the same price. Dried roots are available at most health food stores and on eBay for $5.00 for 2 ounces of dried root. Recipes for Dandelion wine are every where on the internet, carefully reproducing recipes tracing back to our ancestors over 300 years ago. Scientists are experimenting with processes to use the latex in dandelions to produce commercial rubber. Dandelions have a lot to offer to anyone who takes the time to appreciate them.

Dandelions through the year:
Early Spring: Pull off the young leaves(less than 8 inches long) and mix them with salad greens or cooked greens for a super nutritional boost! These youngest leaves are good to eat as long as you keep harvesting them. Once the leaves start to get old, they will be too bitter to enjoy.

Early Summer: Gather every flower you can get your hands on. Remove all the green bits and make a few gallons of Dandelion Wine. This traditional wine is a scarce treat that will delight your family and friends at Christmas time. Serve in small quantities as this wine can develop an alcohol content of up to 14%!

Flowers are also terrific deep fried in batter. Simply dip the whole flower into your favorite tempura style batter and fry until golden brown.

Fall: Gather Dandelion Puffs before they blow away for a natural and Vegan substitute for down filling. It takes a lot of dandelions for a vest but the puffs will not deteriorate for at least 20 years.(And even after 20 years the seeds will still grow if given the chance.) and the insulation qualities are very similar to goose down although not as water repellent.
Late fall: After the first hard frost, dig up the dandelion roots, dry them and use all winter long for a good diuretic tea that still packs a nutritional punch in the form of potassium and other trace minerals. For the whole story on Dandelions for medicine visit Here.

After following this plan for a couple of years you will see the Dandelion supply go down. As is the case every time you change a pest into an asset.