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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkey Sponsorships

Hello everyone! I just wanted to talk a bit about two very special turkeys, Petunia and Tibbott.

This Thanksgiving, Zach and I decided to start a new tradition by sponsoring a turkey at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which we visited over the summer for their July Jamboree. We chose to sponsor Petunia. Here's her photo and a bit of her story from the sponsorship e-card we received, which described her as "cute, inquisitive and sensitive."

Petunia

"When Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary received a call that a turkey was running in the streets of Queens, we immediately dispatched one of our amazing volunteers, Dawn Ladd, to the rescue. Dawn found out from neighbors that a local man had bought the turkey as a Thanksgiving joke for his family, but when the holiday was over, they kicked her out into the streets to fend for herself. Dawn found Petunia terrified and running between cars, being taunted by neighborhood children who did not understand the little bird was in great distress and very fearful. Dawn, who is an expert at rescuing and gently capturing birds who need help, brought Petunia to safety here at the Sanctuary, where she is cared for, loved, and gets to have the comfort of other rescued turkey friends."

Additionally, for my birthday, my parents surprised me by sponsoring a turkey on my behalf. His name is Tibbott, and he is very colorful and handsome.

Tibbott

He lives at Farm Sanctuary's Northern California Shelter, and was "rescued from a feed store, where he was going to be sold for snake food." He is "outgoing and friendly; likes people," and his favorite foods are "lettuce and grapes" (http://www.farmsanctuary.org/giving/adopt-a-turkey/meet-the-stars/). You can find his story online here.

Have you ever sponsored a turkey or another animal at a sanctuary?

"Why did you put my picture here? I am not a turkey."

Peace. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

End of November Recap

Hello everyone, and happy December! 


I successfully completed this year's NaNoWriMo on November 27, with a final word count of 50,123! 


This was the first time I have ever finished my writing early, and it was worth it to have the last three days of November off!

A sketch of my main character and her cat friend.

Once I finished writing and had a quick lunch, Zach and I got ourselves packed up and headed to his parents' house, bringing Mystery along with us. That night, I finished the last sketch for my "Respect turkeys. Go vegan." album that I had been putting together on Facebook. Here are my final turkey sketches and their captions.

"Turkeys are able to adapt to a wide variety of habitats. However, most wild turkeys are found in hardwood forests with grassy areas." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_turkey_and_juveniles.jpg]
"Like cats and dogs, turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals who form strong social bonds and show great affection to others." (http://freefromharm.org/farm-animal-intelligence/farm-sanctuary-reveals-10-fascinating-facts-about-turkeys/)
[sketch based off of photo from here: http://animalplace.org/_blog/Animal_Place_Sanctuary/post/28-days-of-turkey-talk-day-9/ (Photo caption: "Creek and Miwok arrived together from a free-range turkey farm. They would spend time grooming each other and pecking dirt off of each other's face.")]
Domestic turkeys being raised for food are "routinely 'beak-trimmed' (also called de-beaking or partial beak amputation).... Beak-trimming is performed using sharp shears, a heated blade, or a high-voltage electrical current. Turkeys' beaks, loaded with sensory receptors, are highly sensitive, much like human fingertips, and this painful procedure severs and exposes nerves. Some birds starve to death before they are able to eat again with this painful disfigurement; some die of shock on the spot." (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)
[sketch based off of photo from here: http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/meet-the-animals/turkeys/tomoko/ (Photo caption: "Like millions of others, Tomoko was being raised for slaughter for Thanksgiving 2013. She has the sadly typical scars from having been debeaked and de-toed. Thankfully for Tomoko, the horrors of that torture are becoming a distant memory, since a kind soul rescued her and 2 others (Jean and Loren) and brought them to the loving arms of Woodstock Sanctuary.")]
"In natural conditions, baby turkeys would stay with their mothers for up to five months, but turkeys on commercial farms never experience the safety or warmth of the nurturing presence they instinctively long for. … Eggs are collected from breeding hens and hatched in incubators. The unmothered, frightened hatchlings are transported to larger facilities where they spend the remaining portion of their brief, miserable lives." (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://www.visualphotos.com/photo/1x6054754/newly_hatched_turkey_chick_and_eggs_e764257.jpg]
Turkeys raised for food are "slaughtered at only 4-6 months of age. They still respond to a recording of a mother turkey hen's cries for her lost chicks. Birds are slaughtered young on both large and small farms." (http://animalplace.org/_blog/Animal_Place_Sanctuary/post/28-days-of-turkey-talk-day-15)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://pacificbirdandsupplyco.com/wp/pacificbirdandsupplyco.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/White_Turkey-290x300.jpg]
"Detoeing is cutting off the ends of a turkey's toes." (This is done without any anesthetic.) (http://46millionturkeys.com/2013/10/25/an-impression-of-free-range/)
"Young Petunia had quite fortunately not been debeaked, which is a sad but all-too common practice in the highly exploitative poultry industry where birds' beaks are burned off without any pain relief, often rendering them unable to eat. She had, however, had another cruel and common procedure performed – the cutting off of her toes." (Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary)
"Between 250 and 300 million turkeys are raised for slaughter every year in the U.S. – more than 46 million are slaughtered for Thanksgiving alone." (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)

For Thanksgiving, we went to my cousin's house; my contribution to the meal was a cider roasted root vegetables dish (red potatoes, gold potatoes, shallots, & carrots roasted first in olive oil and then in an apple cider/apple cider vinegar/brown sugar mix). I didn't take a picture of the one I prepared for Thanksgiving, so in its place is a photo of the leftovers of the first test batch I made. 
 

My sister made a vegan version of our Poppy's corn and mac bake. Other vegan foods at Thanksgiving dinner included corn and applesauce, as well as plenty of snacks (potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, vegetables, and fruits). We also brought along some leftover vegan goodies from my birthday (cake and chocolate peanut butter cups made by my mom). So it was a good feast, and while my sister and I were the only vegans, there were others at the table who did not eat any turkey, including Zach. I had a fun time hanging out with my little cousins, especially since they wanted to do their kitchen experiments with us again (creating new recipes in the kitchen and then bringing out the results for everyone to taste-test). This year, the main ingredient was clementines (last year it was cranberries).

On Friday, we headed over to my parents' house and had a nice relaxing day.

Saturday was the harvest dinner with Zach's family. Vegan snacks included tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and pickles. For dinner, I had a burrito with peppers, onions, brown rice, and salsa, with corn on the side. And for dessert, ginger snap spice cookies with apple cider. Another great feast and lots of fun! Zach and I got a workout chasing his little cousins around in circles inside the house for the majority of the time we weren't eating. After that, it was time to pick up Mystery from my parents' house and head home.

Enjoy the new layout for the holidays (I'll have a post soon with photos of our decorations), and here's a (blurry) sleepy Mystery to bring this post to its close.


Peace. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo, Turkey Sketches, and Mystery!

Hello everyone! Just another quick writing update, more sketches, and of course, Mystery!

With NaNoWriMo, I passed the 2/3 mark last night and am currently at a total of 34,508 words (I haven't written today yet). I'm going to buckle down and start writing more each day because I want to build up enough of a buffer so I won't have to write on Thanksgiving. If all goes well, I might even finish NaNoWriMo early (I've never done it before, though, so we shall see). 


Here are the most recent turkey sketches I've done.

"It is difficult to sneak up on a turkey. They have excellent vision and hearing, even though they have no external ears." (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)
"Male turkeys, called toms, love to feel noticed and admired. Toms on sanctuaries are known to follow busy human caretakers from chore to chore, standing off to the side, puffing out their exquisite feathers in a blast of scalloped ruffles, quietly and patiently waiting for the prospect of attention." (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)
[sketch based off of second photo from the above link]
"A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler, a female turkey a hen, and a baby turkey a poult or chick. A young male turkey is called a jake and a young female is called a jenny. A group of turkeys is called a flock." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of first photo from here: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/the-sanctuaries/rescued-animals/2011-rescues/a-safe-thanksgiving-for-25-baby-turkeys/]
"Wild turkeys spend most of the day searching for food like seeds, wild berries, small insects and acorns." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
"Wild turkeys have dark feathers which help them blend in with their habitats." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Pictures/Turkey3.jpg]
"Domesticated turkeys have been bred to have white feathers." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Pictures/Turkey4.jpg]
"Male turkeys will start making their gobbling sound before sunrise and continue through most of the morning. Hens make a clicking sound." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)

On Tuesday, I had to bring Mystery to the vet for some blood work. As a senior cat, her kidneys aren't so great, so the vet has her on special prescription food and she gets blood tests done every now and then so we can make sure that she's doing OK. The vet called me yesterday with the results: Mystery's blood work came back showing improvements in her BUN (blood urea nitrogen), creatinine, and hematocrit levels. Yay for Mystery and her old kitty kidneys! (She's also gained weight; she's at 6 lbs. now!)

And finally, a cute Mystery story: Yesterday while I was putting away laundry, Mystery climbed onto the nightstand from the bed and from there climbed into the third drawer of our dresser, but it was filled too high for her to snuggle in. I picked her up and pulled out the next drawer instead, which had more room, and set her in it. She soon curled up and took a little cat nap; when she was done, she climbed out, using the little step-stool (laundry basket turned upside down) I'd put there for her. And she went in and out on her own two more times that night to enjoy additional naps. 



Peace. :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaNoWriMo Update, More Turkey Sketches

Hello everyone! I'm nearly to the halfway point for NaNoWriMo; I'm currently at 22,578 words (still need to do my writing for today). 


I've been continuing with my turkey sketches as well, so here's the next batch for you to enjoy!

"Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. On the ground they can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour. Domesticated turkeys usually weigh too much to be able to fly. Their weight is about twice the weight of a wild turkey." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
"Turkeys like to listen to music, especially classical, and will often sing along!" (http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/)
"[Turkeys] have a field of vision of about 270 degrees and are able to see in color. They can see movement almost a hundred yards away. They don't see well at night." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of first photo from here: http://littlebitsofgreen.com/article/a_new_thanksgiving_tradition/]
"[Turkeys] have a poor sense of smell, but a good sense of taste." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151966007245569&set=a.10151965989580569.1073741857.25267825568&type=3&theater]
"Male turkeys have black, hairlike feathers on their breast called beards. Some female turkeys have them too." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151966007230569&set=pb.25267825568.-2207520000.1384316201.&type=3&theater]

"The bare skin on the throat and head can change color from flat gray to shades of red, white and blue when the turkey becomes distressed or excited." (http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm)
[sketch based off of this photo: http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/2013/05/nutmeg-the-turkey/]

And to bring this short post to an end, here's a little photoset which I like to call "Mystery and the Art of the Blurry Close-Up."




Peace. :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo, Turkey Sketches, and More!

Hello everyone! I'm currently in the midst of my fourth NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), wherein participants attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I've been keeping myself on track (writing at least 1,667, if not a bit more, words per day). Yesterday, I passed the 10,000-word mark, so I am already a fifth of the way done (I still have to get my writing done for today, though; writing this post is a bit of procrastination on my end).


My story's still coming together, and I'm always hesitant to share what I am writing, but here goes: My story is about a girl (a senior in high school) who decides one day to leave home, setting off on foot for the city, determined to walk to her new life and never look back. Shortly after she leaves, however, her family's cat is attacked by some neighborhood boys. The girl learns that her parents intend to have the cat euthanized (disabled, the cat is now useless to her parents for the purpose of "pest control"), so she returns to rescue her friend, and the two continue the journey, together.

Also, in these days leading up to Thanksgiving, I have been doing sketches of turkeys, which I have been posting to Facebook, accompanied by some turkey facts. Each post ends with: "Respect turkeys. Go vegan." Here are the sketches I have done so far; all the quoted facts in the captions are from the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

"Turkeys like to eat breakfast and dinner together as a family. They have two main meal times, one mid-morning, the other mid-afternoon."
"Young turkeys under four weeks of age, known as poults, learn crucial survival skills and information from their mother, including what to eat, how to avoid predators, the geographical layout of the home range, and important social behaviors."
[sketch based off of this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/etaddei/5267958686/]
"Mother turkeys are fiercely protective of their young, and will risk their lives to save their babies. If she senses a threat, a mother turkey sounds a specific warning cry to her brood that means only one thing: run for cover. She may also attack, or pretend to be wounded to distract the predator from her offspring."
"Turkey hens are devoted mothers who care diligently for their young, with broods staying together for 4-5 months and male siblings maintaining a social bond for life."
[sketch based off of first photo from here: http://www.dennisgoulet.us/2009/08/turkey-and-poults/]
"Turkeys are sensitive, social individuals, and in conditions where they are permitted to thrive, they are seen for the complex, adaptive, and intelligent animals that they are."
[sketch based off of photo from here: http://www.ourhenhouse.org/2013/08/tilley-the-turkey-at-cedar-row-farm-sanctuary/]
"When trust has been established, turkeys love to be stroked, snuggled and petted for long periods of time. When receiving such affection, many turkeys make a sound that can only be described as 'purring.'"
[sketch based off of photo from here: http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/factory-farmed-animals/turkeys/]

I've also gotten my Thanksgiving decorations set up...







In the spirit of fall, I've made my pumpkin brownies. I didn't even use the full can of pumpkin this time, but they still turned out super mushy, so I cut them up as best I could and froze them. I've been enjoying one each night with my tea (just warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds). 


Also, as you may have noticed, my background design has been updated to reflect the lovely sights of fall!


Finally, here's a picture I took about a week ago of Mystery enjoying the sun; today she's grumpy because it's cloudy and rainy.


Peace. :)