Sunday, May 20, 2012

Walk for good health! A giveaway!

Another vacation for me!  Today I am busy packing - tomorrow I'm off for the rest of the month!  In the meantime - catch up on the blog, peruse the archives, find something meaningful to you, read it, and comment on it!

I have three pedometers to give away.  All you have to do is comment on a post - easy peasy!  Upon my return (in June), I will select three commenters, at random, and mail you your very own personal pedometer!

Happy reading/commenting!  See you back here in June!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tis the season...

... for sunscreen!

As someone who burns very easily, and has a family history of skin cancer, and lots of freckles myself, I am a huge proponent of sunscreen.  All the time. Every day.

However, I've learned that not all sunscreens are created equal.  Avoid those with oxybenzone, opting instead for titanium or zinc oxide.  Be careful of nano-particles too, as their effects are still in question.

One of my very favorite organizations, the Environmental Working Group, has come through again with their best sunscreen guide.  I strongly recommend you check it out before buying!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Plant with Purpose

I just learned of this GREAT group, Plant with Purpose.  I'll let their site do the explaining - they can do it better than me!!!

I'd start with the "Trees Please" icon, for a great explanation of who they really are.

Trees Please. Fight Poverty, Plant Trees.

To learn more about them, explore the "Our Purpose" link, and to take action, click on "Get Involved" (from here you can click the sublinks depending on what you are interested in).

I know there are many social/environmental groups out there, and we can't support them all.  My hope is that you'll find one that speaks to you, and support THAT one!

Remember - "It is not enough to be compassionate.  You must act."  ~ Tenzin Gyatso


Today is Endangered Species Day!!!!!

First off, check out the official website.

Endangered Species Day

Second, sign the Endangered Species Act legacy pledge to show your support!

To take further action, click the species of the day - today the Bowhead Whale.


You can also join the activist network:

Join the ESC Activist Network

You can also send a greeting card to your friends, and encourage THEM to get involved!

The Center for Biological Diversity put out a report on the state of the ESA.  Check it out.  Or, go HERE to see the report in full.

Here's a handy guide if you want to check out what's going on with species in your region.

On a positive note, click here for 110 species success stories!!!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Give your wooden cutting board new life

I love wooden cutting boards.  I had two, and then our wonderful neighbor (who is quite the handy man) made us a third for Christmas this past year.  That made me decide to refinish/renew the two we already had - they were long overdue!

It is very easy.  All you need are the following supplies:

  • the cutting board you want to refinish

  • fine sanding paper/block

  • mineral oil

  • brush to apply it with (or rag/sponge, etc.)

Simply sand the board to remove surface imperfections.  Sand until your heart's content.  Then rinse the board off.

Next apply a thick coat of mineral oil, and rub it in, all sides.  Apply as many coats as you'd like.

Let it sit and soak for a while.

Wash, and - voila! - like new!  Recycling at it's finest!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Song Sparrow Shelf

Likely, no matter where you live, you have Song Sparrows.  They do have beautiful songs.  If you want to keep them around, build them a shelf!


Schutz, Walter E.  1973.   Bird Watching, Housing and Feeding.  Milwaukee: Bruce Publishers

Check out my last two posts for plans on wren, phoebe and swallow bird houses, and click here for even more!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Phoebes and Swallows - What wonderful birds!

We have Cliff Swallows beginning their annual nest building under the eaves of our house.  How I like to watch them!

We get Say's Phoebes around our house, but that's it.  I miss the Eastern Phoebes from home, and in San Diego we saw Black Phoebes everywhere - I love them!

If you'd like to try to attract phoebes and swallows to your yard, here are some plans for the appropriate structures.  Good luck!


Schutz, Walter E.  1973.   Bird Watching, Housing and Feeding.  Milwaukee: Bruce Publishers

For more bird house plans, see my other posts!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wren Dens

I am so happy!  My little House Wren that nested last year in the Alabama-shaped bird house that my best friend got me is back!!!  I am upset, however, because a pair of House Sparrows seem to be trying to take it over and chase him away.  Grrrrrr.

If you want to attract wrens to your yard, House Wrens or others, here are some nest box plans.


Schutz, Walter E.  1973.   Bird Watching, Housing and Feeding.  Milwaukee: Bruce Publishers

Check out my other posts on bird houses!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Developing the desert

It is amazing how we, as a species, try to harness nature and control it for our own desires, even when what we're trying to do flies in the face of everything rational.  As we were returning from San Diego, driving about 45 miles north of Las Vegas out in the middle of the desert, I suddenly noticed groves of palm trees.  Very curious, we then encountered the stately concrete signs on either side of the entrance to what will soon be (developers hope, conservationists not) the new ritzy subdivision called Coyote Springs.  Why in the world these people can't just go a few miles outside of Vegas to build their little utopia in the desert is beyond me.  Here's an interesting article on it.  (Sorry for the formatting).

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Water pipeline faces another legal threat: snails

Officials with the Center for Biological Diversity have announced they will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unless the agency acts on a 2009 petition to protect 35 spring snail species under the Endangered Species Act.
Posted: 04-26-2012 – 3:24 p.m. PDT

First it was tiny fish. Now conservationists hope to use snails no bigger than pinky fingernails to block the Southern Nevada Water Authority's plan to siphon groundwater from across eastern Nevada.
The Center for Biological Diversity has announced it will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unless the agency acts on a 2009 petition to protect 35 spring snail species under the Endangered Species Act.

The Tucson, Ariz.-based environmental group put the federal agency on notice Thursday. The lawsuit will be filed in 60 days unless the Fish and Wildlife Service takes appropriate action, said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist for the center.
He said the tiny snails - some barely the size of the head of a pushpin - could be wiped out if the water authority is allowed to pump groundwater to Las Vegas from across rural Clark, Lincoln and White Pine counties.
"The snails have a very narrow ecological window. If the springs are impacted, the spring snails are going to be the first to be affected," Mrowka said. "They're kind of an early warning (system) for other species."
The center already is locked in a lawsuit with the federal government over the Moapa dace, an endangered fish found only in the headwaters of the Muddy River, 60 miles north of Las Vegas.
Mrowka and company contend the dace could be wiped out by large-scale groundwater pumping in a neighboring valley by the water authority and the developers of Coyote Springs.
Dan Balduini, spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada, said the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.
Water authority spokesman J.C. Davis defended his agency's environmental record and questioned the motives behind the threatened lawsuit.
"Conducting the analyses associated with determining whether a species should be listed requires a tremendous level of scientific rigor, so the volume of work required to evaluate three dozen species is staggering," Davis said. "It is ironic that activists purportedly committed to thorough scientific review now seem to be pushing for a quick decision."
Last month, state regulators granted the authority permission to pump up to 27 billion gallons of groundwater a year from four valleys in Lincoln and White Pine counties.
On Monday, a coalition of conservationists, ranchers and rural residents - including the Center for Biological Diversity - appealed that decision in state District Court.
Las Vegas water officials want to tap rural groundwater to supply growth and insulate the community from shortages on the Colorado River, which supplies about 90 percent of the valley's drinking water.
To get the water to the Las Vegas Valley, the authority plans to build a multibillion-dollar network of pumps and pipelines stretching more than 300 miles.
Opponents of the project insist it will drain springs, draw down the water table, destroy native wildlife, ruin rangeland and trigger dust storms that will foul the air as far away as Salt Lake City.
There is no timeline for completion of the proposed pipeline.

Davis said right now the authority is concentrating on getting it through the permitting process so it is "shovel-ready" if needed.
The project is now in the midst of a lengthy federal environmental review.
Authority officials expect more lawsuits to follow.
"I would anticipate we're going to see litigation by a lot of opponents at every opportunity available to them," Davis said. "It's just the nature of these things."



Oh - and I should mention, it's going to be a GOLF course too.  Blah. What more ridiculous thing could you put in the desert? A quick google image search gives you a better understanding of the vision.  And here's a quick overview of the development.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


What we do with our lives depends on the perspectives we have.  For many of us, life is good.  Oh, we all have our problems.  We all face dilemmas and hardships and rough times.  But really, when we examine our lives, we are blessed.  We have shelter where we are warm and dry.  We have food to eat when we are hungry.  We have clean water at our disposal.  All of the necessities of life are taken care of, which leaves us time to turmoil over those dilemmas, hardships and rough times.  Our perspective often pertains to our quality of life.  Perhaps we debate taking a new job we've been offered, whether to upgrade to an iphone, whether to spend our free time tomorrow evening having a quiet dinner at home or seeing a movie with friends.  Life is good.

Then there are those in the world who have a completely different perspective.  They have experienced suffering - a kind of suffering most of us couldn't imagine - and suddenly it becomes hard to take for granted that roof over our head, spaghetti on our dinner plate, or water coming from the tap in our home.  They know that not everyone has the luxury of these things.  And suddenly, their perspective changes - no longer do those dilemmas, hardships and rough times seem quite as such.

My perspective came this past week, as I was reading Angels of a Lower Flight by Susie Scott Krabacher.  It is about her experiences with the abandoned, orphaned, neglected, and handicapped children of Haiti.  I have seen poverty before.  I have been on two mission trips to Jamaica - construction and medical - and two trips to a Guatemalan orphanage - and after those trips I thought I'd gained perspective.  But then, life took hold of me, and my world insulated me from the world of those who I had met in those places of what seemed like ages before.  Don't get me wrong - I always have compassion for them.  I pray for them at night, my husband and I sponsor a family in Ghana, I find it difficult to throw food away, knowing others go hungry, I often struggle with luxuries like purchasing plane tickets to visit family across the country or asking for gifts, when I know that money could be used for something so much more rewarding.  But still - my life is pretty great, my perspective pretty padded.

I could be wrong - ask me in six months - but this time it is different.  Throughout my travels, I still never experienced suffering like she describes in this book.  I cannot get it out of my head.  I go to bed thinking about these children, and wake up still thinking about them.  I hold my daughter close to me, sing to her at night, and it makes my heart hurt for the children who will never have this.  Not the ones Susie's organization (Mercy and Sharing) has reached, per se - but what about the ones who don't make it to her?  What about the children around the world who are abused, abandoned, left to die?  Who will love them?  Those are the ones that haunt me at night in my dreams.

I encourage anyone to read the book - hopefully it will give you some perspective.  If you do - I'd love to hear your comments.  I feel sure it will change your life in some way.  Here are some excerpts (WARNING - these are pretty heartbreaking, so if you're not ready for perspective...  scroll down to the "How you can help" part.)  I was particularly moved by the accounts of the children in the Abandoned Baby Unit in the Port au Prince government hospital.  A place (which was decimated by the earthquake) where babies, many with defects, basically are left to die.  When Susie discovered it, no one was caring for the children.  The maids who were caring for them had quit being paid and all left.  The children were severely dehydrated, hungry, soiled, riddled with bedsores, and some were even dead and had yet to be removed from their cribs, where they were often with other living babies.

From Angels of a Lower Flight:
"I found one child, probably two or three years old, tied by both wrists to the rails of a two-by-three foot iron crib.  There was no adult in sight.  The child's head was huge, perhaps four times as big as its body.  I couldn't tell its gender.  The head had grown so heavy with fluid that it had begun to flatten into a thick pancake.  As the child rested against the hard surface of the plastic-covered slats of the crib, I calculated that the head alone weighed thirty or forty pounds.  I watched the child for several minutes before I found the courage to caress its hideous head.  Its eyes popped out from under their lids- pressure was causing them to bulge painfully.  The child convulsed at my touch, then calmed as if hypnotized by something unseen.  I rubbed its crusty, concave belly and stroked its tied arms.  As we stared at each other I fell in love.  The child, like most others in the ward, way lying in a pool of yellow diarrhea. I untied the knotted rags that bound its little hands to the rail.  Viximar helped me lift the child so I could wipe away the mess from under its body.  After removing a stiff cloth from around the child's groin, I discovered it was a girl.  I kissed her forehead and she drifted into a deep sleep."


"I picked up one child who was quiet and awake.  As I lifted her there was a slight resistance.  She screamed and arched her back fiercely.  I caught her head in my hand to pull her to me and comfort her.  My hand sank into the back of her head and ooze ran between my fingers.  I gasped and looked at the metal crib.  A patch of flesh and hair stuck to the metal bars.  The child had been lying so long without being picked up that her sores had healed onto the metal frame."


I am having a hard time figuring this out myself!  Of course, money is ALWAYS the biggest help.  I know everyone is spread thin, and you can't save them all, and you probably have several charities you are interested in donating to, but...  the reality of it is, if any progress is to be made, money is required.  In this case - to pay the Haitian mothers to care for the orphans, to pay school teachers to teach them, to buy food for them, and on down the line.  So - I encourage you to give - even if it doesn't seem like much, it's  a start.  Choose a charity that speaks to you, and give.

If you are a spiritual person, you can pray.  Pray that God will give those who are trying to help the wisdom to help in the best way possible, pray they will get resources they need to help, and pray for those who need the help most of all.

Beyond that, however, I am still working on it!  I want to be on the ground - I want to rescue these children, hold them, pull them out of their hell, tell them they are loved.  Mercy and Sharing doesn't accept volunteers - there are some organizations that do.  But I want to go where I can help the most.  THAT I will have to be working on for the present time.  I am speaking with someone from Mercy and Sharing next week regarding grant writing (as I was successful in securing some for my MS research).  We'll see where that leads.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why are you paying to kill wildlife?

We all are.  Thanks to the USDA's Wildlife Services branch, a rogue group who indiscriminately kill wildlife, protected or not.  If you are interested, the entire article from The Sacramento Bee is posted below.  If you just want the high points, here they are (from a Scott Sonner AP article):

  • Wildlife Services has refused for nearly two decades to conduct the environmental reviews necessary to justify the mass killings with traps, snares, poisons and aerial gunning, according to WildEarth Guardians

  • From 2004-2010, the agency spent $1 billion (in YOUR taxpayer money) to kill nearly 23 million animals, along with thousands of "non-target" species that were killed accidentally, mostly by traps and poisons

  • The agency had accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not causing problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles and more than 1,000 dogs, including family pets

  • To do something - click here

I encourage you to read the whole article - it is pretty disheartening.  The whole agency exists to exterminate wildlife that are purportedly harassing/killing livestock.  Hmmm - who has more right to the land, native wildlife or introduced domestic livestock?  For me that's a no-brainer, and reason enough to shut them down.  In addition to your tax dollars, the agency is funded by groups such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Sheep Industry Alliance, and American Farm Bureau Federation.  Here is their vision and mission statement.  For any year, you can look up the sheer numbers of animals killed by WS, like in 2011 - they killed 3,752,356 animals that year alone, and that is just what was reported, which, as the following article implies, is WAY underreported.

(Sorry for the formatting):

The Sacramento Bee

Wildlife Services' methods leave a trail of animal death

By Tom Knudson, The Sacramento Bee
Published: 04-30-2012 – 4:59 a.m. PDT

The day began with a drive across the desert, checking the snares he had placed in the sagebrush to catch coyotes.
Gary Strader, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn't intended to kill.
There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.
"I called my supervisor and said, 'I just caught a golden eagle and it's dead,' " said Strader. "He said, 'Did anybody see it?' I said, 'Geez, I don't think so.'
"He said, 'If you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don't say nothing to anybody.' "
"That bothered me," said Strader, whose job was terminated in 2009. "It wasn't right."
Strader's employer, a branch of the federal Department of Agriculture called Wildlife Services, has long specialized in killing animals that are deemed a threat to agriculture, the public and – more recently – the environment.
Since 2000, its employees have killed nearly a million coyotes, mostly in the West. They have destroyed millions of birds, from nonnative starlings to migratory shorebirds, along with a colorful menagerie of more than 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves.
And in most cases, they have officially revealed little or no detail about where the creatures were killed, or why. But a Sacramento Bee investigation has found the agency's practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.
The Bee's findings include:
• With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists.
• Since 1987, at least 18 employees and several members of the public have been exposed to cyanide when they triggered spring-loaded cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes. They survived – but 10 people have died and many others have been injured in crashes during agency aerial gunning operations over the same time period.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 4
April 30, 2012
• A growing body of science has found the agency's war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.
Sometimes wild animals must be destroyed – from bears that ransack mountain cabins to geese swirling over an airport runway. But because lethal control stirs strong emotions, Wildlife Services prefers to operate in the shadows.
"We pride ourselves on our ability to go in and get the job done quietly without many people knowing about it," said Dennis Orthmeyer, acting state director of Wildlife Services in California.
Basic facts are tightly guarded. "This information is Not intended for indiscriminate distribution!!!" wrote one Wildlife Services manager in an email to a municipal worker in Elk Grove about the number of beavers killed there.
And while even the military allows the media into the field, Wildlife Services does not. "If we accommodated your request, we would have to accommodate all requests," wrote Mark Jensen, director of Wildlife Services in Nevada, turning down a request by The Bee to observe its hunters and trappers in action.
"The public has every right to scrutinize what's going on," said Carter Niemeyer, a former Wildlife Services district manager who worked for the agency for 26 years and now believes much of the bloodletting is excessive, scientifically unsound and a waste of tax dollars.
"If you read the brochures, go on their website, they play down the lethal control, which they are heavily involved in, and show you this benign side," Niemeyer said. "It's smoke and mirrors. It's a killing business. And it ain't pretty.
"If the public knows this and they don't care, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," Niemeyer said. "But they are entitled to know."
Agency officials say the criticism is misleading. "If we can use nonlethal control first, we usually do it," said William Clay, deputy administrator of Wildlife Services. "The problem is, generally when we get a call, it's because farmers and ranchers are having livestock killed immediately. They are being killed daily. Our first response is to try to stop the killing and then implement nonlethal methods."
In March, two congressmen – Reps. John Campbell, R-Irvine, and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. – introduced a bill that would ban one of Wildlife Services' most controversial killing tools: spring-loaded sodium cyanide cartridges that have killed tens of thousands of animals in recent years, along with Compound 1080 (thallium sulfate), a less-commonly used poison.
"This is an ineffective, wasteful program that is largely unaccountable, lacks transparency and continues to rely on cruel and indiscriminate methods," said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, a Bay Area nonprofit.
"If people knew how many animals are being killed at taxpayer expense – often on public lands – they would be shocked and horrified," Fox said.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 5
April 30, 2012
The program's origins
Wildlife Services' roots reach back to 1915, when Congress – hoping to increase beef production for World War I – allocated $125,000 to exterminate wolves, starting in Nevada.
Popular among ranchers, the effort was expanded in 1931 when President Herbert Hoover signed a law authorizing the creation of a government agency – later named the Branch of Predator and Rodent Control – "to promulgate the best methods of eradication, suppression or bringing under control" a wide range of wildlife from mountain lions to prairie dogs.
Federal trappers pursued that mission with zeal. They dropped strychnine out of airplanes, shot eagles from helicopters, laced carcasses of dead animals with Compound 1080 – notorious for killing non-target species – and slaughtered coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and grizzly bears across the West.
Their efforts drew protest and calls for reform.
"The program of animal control … has become an end in itself and no longer is a balanced component of an overall scheme of wildlife husbandry and management," a panel of scientists wrote in a 1964 report to the U.S. secretary of Interior.
The report was followed by hearings, another critical federal review in 1971, unflattering press and an executive order by President Richard Nixon banning poison for federal predator control. "The time has come for man to make his peace with nature," Nixon said in a statement at the time.
President Gerald Ford later amended the order to allow the continued use of sodium cyanide.
The killing has continued on a broad scale. In 1999, the American Society of Mammalogists passed a resolution calling on the agency, renamed Wildlife Services in 1997, "to cease indiscriminate, pre-emptive lethal control programs on federal, state and private lands." Today, the society is considering drafting a new resolution.
"It makes no sense to spend tens of millions of dollars to kill predators, especially in the way that it's done, to the extent that it's done, when it can have cascading effects through the ecosystem, unintended consequences and nontarget consequences," said Bradley Bergstrom, a professor of wildlife biology at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Ga., and chairman of the society's conservation committee.
Clay, though, said his agency is more science-based and environmentally sensitive than ever. "We've increased the professionalism 100 percent," he said. "We've also emphasized research to more specifically take target animals. And we work very closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies."
Elizabeth Copper, a Southern California biologist who has worked with Wildlife Services, agreed. She applauded the agency's work to protect the endangered California least tern from predators in the San Diego area.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 6
April 30, 2012
"I know the reputation Wildlife Services has and it is particularly inappropriate for the people involved with this program," said Copper. "They work really hard with a focus for something that is in big trouble. And they've made a huge difference."
Unreported killings
But elsewhere, the agency's actions have stirred anger and concern from private citizens, scientists and state and federal fish and game officials.
In 2003, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources received a tip that a golden eagle – one of the largest birds of prey in North America and a species protected by three federal laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – was struggling to free itself from a leg-hold trap in the remote Henry Mountains.
Roger Kerstetter – an investigator with the state wildlife division – found the trap, but no eagle. Nearby, though, he spotted feathers poking out of the sand.
"They turn out to be the neck feathers of a golden eagle. And one of them comes out with a .22 bullet attached to it," Kerstetter recalled.
On the trap was another clue. It was stamped: Property of the U.S. Government.
"At that point, we started doing our homework," he said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also joined the investigation. In federal court two years later, a Wildlife Services trapper pleaded guilty to killing the eagle and paid a $2,000 fine.
"We never did find the bird," Kerstetter said. "He claimed he just buried it."
Nor did a record of the incident turn up in the agency's files.
"They are required to report the animals they take accidentally," Kerstetter said. "This eagle was never reported."
Strader, the former agency trapper who said he snared and buried an eagle in Nevada, is not surprised.
"That was not the only eagle I snared while working for Wildlife Services," he said. "I will not say how many. But the one (my supervisor) told me to bury was the first one, and I figured that was what was supposed to be done all the time, so that is what I did."
Overall, agency records show that 12 golden and bald eagles have been killed by mistake by agency traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000 – a figure Strader believes is low.
"I would bet my house against a year-old doughnut there were more than 12 eagles taken, way more," said Strader. "You cannot set a trap, snare or (cyanide poison bait) in habitat occupied by eagles and not catch them on occasion."
Agency policy instructs trappers "to accurately and completely report all control activities." But Niemeyer, the retired Wildlife Services manager, said the policy is often ignored.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 7
April 30, 2012
"Trappers felt that catching non-targets was a quick way to lose the tools of the trade and put Wildlife Services in a bad light," Niemeyer said.
Asked about the allegations, Deputy Administrator Clay said: "I certainly hope that is not the case. … We track those things so we know what kind of impact we are having on populations and the environment."
In all, more than 150 species have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services traps, snares and cyanide poison since 2000, records show. A list could fill a field guide. Here are some examples:
Armadillos, badgers, great-horned owls, hog-nosed skunks, javelina, pronghorn antelope, porcupines, great blue herons, ruddy ducks, snapping turtles, turkey vultures, long-tailed weasels, marmots, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, sandhill cranes and ringtails.
Many are off-limits to hunters and trappers. And some species, including swift foxes, kit foxes and river otter, are the focus of conservation and restoration efforts.
"The irony is state governments and the federal government are spending millions of dollars to preserve species and then … (you have) Wildlife Services out there killing the same animals," said Michael Mares, president of the American Society of Mammalogists. "It boggles the mind."
One critical loss occurred two years ago when a wolverine, one of the rarest mammals in America, stepped into a Wildlife Services leg-hold trap in Payette National Forest in Idaho. It was the third wolverine captured in agency traps since 2004 (the other two were released alive.)
"Shot wolverine due to bad foot," the trapper wrote in his field diary, which The Bee obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
"Oh my God, that is unbelievable," said Wendy Keefover, a carnivore specialist with WildEarth Guardians, an environmental group in Colorado. "Wolverines are a highly endangered mammal. There are very few left. Each individual is important."
Wildlife Services spokesperson Lyndsay Cole said: "We were surprised at this unfortunate incident. As soon as it occurred, we again worked directly with Forest Service officials to take steps that would prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future."
And Clay, the deputy administrator, said traps, snares and cyanide are key tools that nearly always get the right species. "Overall, these methods are at least 95 percent effective," he said.
But environmentalists don't trust the data.
"There is an enormous amount of pressure not to report non-targets because it makes them look bad," said Stephanie Boyles Griffin, a wildlife scientist with the Humane Society of the United States.
Many scientists want the collateral damage to stop. "In times when fiscal constraint is demanded, we believe programs that carelessly kill rare species and indiscriminately kill a great diversity of non-target species should be defunded and discontinued," Mares wrote in a letter to Wildlife Services in March.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 8
April 30, 2012
The family dog
Raccoons are most often killed by mistake, followed by river otters, porcupines, snapping turtles, javelina, striped skunks and muskrats. But there are other accidental victims that are often more keenly missed: dogs.
One was Maggie, a tail-wagging, toy-fetching border collie-Irish setter mix beloved by Denise and Doug McCurtain and their four children.
Last August, Maggie's spine was crushed when she stepped into a vise-like "body-grip" trap set by Wildlife Services near the family's suburban Oregon home to catch a nonnative rodent called a nutria.
"How in the heck can a government agent put a dangerous trap out in a residential neighborhood?" Denise McCurtain said. "It's absolutely disgusting."
The family has filed a claim for damages.
"Never once did anyone come to us and apologize," she said. "It was like they pretended it didn't happen."
On average, eight dogs a month have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services since 2000, records show. Some believe that figure is low, including Rex Shaddox, a former agency trapper in Texas.
"We were actually told not to report dogs we killed because it would have a detrimental effect on us getting funded," said Shaddox, who worked for the agency in 1979-80 when it was called Animal Damage Control.
"If we were working on a ranch and killing dogs coming in from town, we didn't report those," said Shaddox, 56. "We buried them and got the collars and threw them away. That's how we were taught to do it."
Clay, the agency deputy administrator, said:
"We've got policies that instruct employees that they need to accurately report everything they take. Anybody that's in violation is dealt with immediately."
Two years ago, a dog wearing a collar with a rabies tag disappeared in West Virginia. Its worried owners, James and Carol Gardner, contacted the state police. Only then did they learn that Charm, their 11-year-old husky, had been killed and buried by a Wildlife Services trapper trying to poison predators with a spring-loaded "M-44" cyanide cartridge.
"We were not notified," said Carol Gardner. "We were very, very, very upset."
"It's terrible," said James, 71. "I think it's a sin. Our tax dollars are paying for this. It should be mandatory that people are notified."
Charm, he added, was not just a pet – she was "a member of the family."
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 9
April 30, 2012
A few days later, he received a letter from Christopher Croson, the agency's state director.
"I must apologize for my employee's failure to recognize that a pet owner could be identified using a rabies tag number," Croson wrote. "This was a most disturbing lack of judgment."
Today, the Gardners watch for missing-dog notices and call the owners when they see one.
"We notify them that, hey, maybe you'd better call the USDA and see if they buried a dog with your description," Carol Gardner said. And she added: "Someday it's going to be a human being, instead of a dog."
Injuries to people
There have already been close calls. Over the past 25 years, at least 18 employees and several private citizens have been injured by M-44 cyanide cartridges. Here are a few examples from agency records.
From 1987: "We will never know but it is very likely the fact that (the employee) was carrying his antidote kit … may have saved his life.
From 1999: "The cyanide hit the left forearm of the employee, causing (it) to scatter, with some cyanide hitting his face. He started to cough and felt muscle tightness in the back of his neck. The employee used two amyl nitrate antidote capsules. … He used two more amyl nitrate capsules on the way to the clinic.
The clinic doctor administered oxygen and two more amyl nitrate capsules. The employee was air-flighted."
From 2007: "The individual kicked or stepped on the M-44 devices and cyanide was ejected into his eyes. Individual reported that his eyes were irritated and burning."
Agency officials downplay the risk. "Although use of M-44 devices has resulted in some human exposure reports, most involved program staff and minor or short-term symptoms," said Carol Bannerman, a Wildlife Services spokeswoman.
"A majority of exposures to members of the public resulted from the involved individual's disregard of warning and trespass signs or intentional tampering with the devices," she added.
In 2003, Dennis Slaugh, 69, was hunting for rocks and fossils in Utah when he spotted what he thought was a surveyor's stake. Curious, he bent down to have a look.
"I just kind of brushed it and it blew up in my face and put cyanide all over me," said Slaugh, a retired county heavy equipment operator. "I was instantly sick. I was so sick I was throwing up."
Later, he recovered the M-44, which is engraved with the words, U.S. Government. Slaugh believes it was set by Wildlife Services. The agency denies responsibility.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 10
April 30, 2012
"If it is stamped 'U.S. Government,' it is probably the property of Wildlife Services," Bannerman said. But she added, "Wildlife Services did not have any M-44 devices set out in the area. … No information or review suggests the validity of the claim. No device had been set there for more than 10 days. An investigation conducted by EPA in 2008 did not find any wrongdoing by Wildlife Services."
Slaugh said he has not been the same since. "The cyanide hooks to your red blood cells and starves you of oxygen. I can feel that more and more all the time," he said. "I'm getting real short of breath. I went to the hospital the other day, and they are thinking about putting me on oxygen."
"It's awful to put poison out there where people can get it," he added. "Lots of people's pets have got (killed). One woman lost her dog a half-mile from where I was at."
M-44s were banned in California by Proposition 4 in 1998, but Wildlife Services still uses them on American Indian land in Mendocino County.
"Over the past five years, there has been no unintentional take," said Larry Hawkins, the agency's California spokesman.
"I'm deeply shocked," said Fox, who pushed for the M-44 ban as a coordinator with the Animal Protection Institute. "They are a rogue agency that believes they are above the law and can employ their lethal wares wherever they want – regardless of state law."
Poisoning predators with cyanide is not the agency's only risky practice. Killing coyotes from low-flying planes and helicopters is, too.
Since 1989, several employees have been injured in crashes and 10 people have died, including two in Utah in 2007, one of them a good friend of Strader, the former agency trapper.
"I went to the funeral," Strader said. "He was just a real nice guy, funny, joking around all the time. And he got killed for what? To kill a stinking coyote. It don't make sense.
"We ain't threatened by coyotes so much that we've got to lose peoples' lives over it," Strader said.
Concern across California
Other agency records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal for the first time just where the agency kills wildlife, intentionally and accidentally, across California. And in many of those locations, there is conflict and concern.
Inyo County, in the eastern Sierra, is where two Wildlife Services hunters – working under contract with the California Department of Fish and Game – have been tracking and shooting mountain lions to protect an endangered species: the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.
Becky Pierce, a mountain lion biologist with the state, said the effort has been marred by unnecessary killing, including, in 2009, when a Wildlife Services hunter shot a female mountain lion with kittens.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 11
April 30, 2012
"They got left to starve, waiting for mom to come back," she said. "I'm not saying we don't sometimes have to remove lions if they are (preying) on sheep. But everything should be done in a humane manner. And that isn't humane."
Tom Stephenson, who directs the sheep recovery effort for Fish and Game, declined to comment. But Andrew Hughan, a department spokesman, said the kittens may have survived.
"To say that a female lion was taken and her cubs left to die is completely subjective. They are resourceful creatures," Hughan said.
Pierce, who has studied lions for two decades, disagreed. "They were relying on the mother for milk. It would be a miracle if any of them survived," she said.
In March 2011, two more mountain lion kittens, just days old, were mauled to death in the Sierra when a Wildlife Services hunter's dogs raced out of control and pounced on them. Their mother was then shot, too.
"We all want to see bighorn sheep protected," said Karen Schambach, California field director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "What gives me the greatest angst is how inhumane some of this stuff is. For Wildlife Services to allow dogs to go tear newborn kittens apart is outrageous."
Hawkins, the agency's California spokesman, called the incident "a regrettable outcome over which our specialist had no control."
No mammal draws more agency lethal force in California and the West than the coyote. Records show that most are killed in rural regions, such as Lassen, Modoc and Kern counties, where they are considered a threat to livestock.
"It's a very valuable program," said Joe Moreo, agricultural commissioner in Modoc County. "We have very good trappers up here, and we're fortunate we have them."
But coyotes are also killed where people like to hear their howls and yips, including Alpine County, south of Lake Tahoe.
Since 2007, Wildlife Services has killed more than 120 coyotes in Alpine County.
"Coyotes are part of our magical landscape," said John Brissenden, a former county supervisor who manages Sorensen's Resort along the west fork of the Carson River. "Our primary motivator for people coming here is the wildlife and the outdoors. That's what our business is built on. It's what Alpine County's commerce is built on. To take that away makes no sense."
Many coyotes were killed in the middle of winter, when they are easier to spot and shoot, including 15 in February 2010. Hawkins, the agency spokesman, said the animals were killed "in the protection of livestock." Asked where – public land or private? – Hawkins said he didn't know.
Brissenden would like some answers.
Desert Complex NEWS OF INTEREST Page 12
April 30, 2012
"We are 97 percent state- and federal-owned," he said. "There is very little grazing here. To have a federal agency eliminate these animals without public review is astonishing and appalling."

If you want to read more, click here.

If you want to DO something about it - click here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Save our Turtles!

Another reason to be disgusted by "traditional Asian medicine" - add it to the list of bear gallbladders, rhino horns, and the hundreds of animals whose populations are being devastated due to it.

Barbour's map turtle

From the Center for Biological Diversity:

Freshwater turtles are facing more and more devastating overharvest in the United States for sale to the pet industry and food and medicinal markets in Asia. Beautiful map turtles are already endangered, and unregulated international trade is rapidly destroying them and other native turtles.

Protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species would put limits on international trade and monitor their populations.

In response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that it may propose 17 species of U.S. freshwater turtles for CITES protection at the next meeting in Thailand. The agency has invited the public to comment on which species should be listed.

Please take action now to tell the Service to protect U.S. freshwater turtles from falling victim to an insatiable international market.

I hope you'll take a minute to do this!  And, PLEASE don't purchase animals from pet stores, as by doing this you support a whole host of problems, from parrot smuggling to coral reef destruction to the decimation of wild reptile populations and beyond.

Feeding yourself while feeding baby

This post is eighth in a series:

Note: While nursing, I wanted to make the experience as healthy for my baby as possible.  So I gathered this information regarding what I should be eating/doing while nursing, and general helpful info.

1) Breastfeed for as long as possible (min. 6 months).

2) Take probiotics (yogurt), DHA (300 mg), vitamin D (1000 IU), and a prenatal vitamin daily.

3) Avoid allergenic foods when baby is sick or on antibiotics.

4) Avoid genetically modified foods (GMOs).

5) Avoid artificial sweeteners.

6) Avoid foods (common in soups) with MSG – bad for developing brains.

7) Eat organic, especially diary.

Vegetarians: B12 (2.6 mcg/day); Ca (1000-1300 mg/day)

Everyone: vitamin D (1000 IU/day); DHA (300 mg/day); protein (71 g/day)

Storing pumped breastmilk –

  • If will use within 10 hours, leave out on counter.

  • If will use in >10 hours but < 8 days, refrigerate.

  • If will use in >8 days – freeze (will keep 3-6 months).

Freezing breastmilk –

  • 1-2 oz. quantities for newborns; 3-4 oz. quantities for older babies

  • Thaw in fridge for 12 hours.  Warm in bowl of warm water.  Once thawed, use within 24 hours.

  • If baby does not finish, can feed during next feeding if only a few hours later, but discard unused after that.

  • Never refreeze.

If use formula, choose organic, and make sure the sugar source listed is lactose.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Same ole' lunch? Healthy Food Ideas for Baby

This post is seventh in a series:


It was important to me from the start to instill a love of fruits, veggies and whole grains in my baby, and avoid all things artificial, sugar and salt.  I really loved Dr. Greene's book Feeding Baby Green.  For times when I was in a rut or stumped on what I'd feed my baby for a meal, I kept this printout on hand.  (It also came in handy when making out my grocery list.)


Puree lentils with brown rice – together they make a complete protein.

Puree cauliflower with veggies like spinach, carrots, asparagus or green beans.

Finger Foods:

½ of a banana slice

Steam or lightly grill green beans with olive oil and garlic.  Could also add sautéed mushrooms or roasted red peppers.

Steam broccoli, green beans or asparagus.  Can season with butter, garlic and herbs.

Slices of green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers with hummus, cottage cheese, or guacamole for dipping.

Quartered cherry tomatoes with hummus, cottage cheese, or guacamole for dipping.

Small pieces sautéed/steamed/grilled broccoli, peas, carrots, green beans (keep frozen on hand).

Applegate Farms Organic Hot Dogs – quarter lengthwise

Sweet potato fries

Diced mango

Pieces of string cheese

Diced kiwi

Diced carrot (soft-cooked)

Avocado slices

Grilled cheese sandwich torn into pieces

Diced seedless watermelon

Pieces of muffin

Diced strawberries

Mashed cooked beans

Pieces of whole-wheat pita

Shredded cheese

Pieces of veggie burger

Bite-sized pieces of cheese ravioli (or squash ravioli, etc.)

Whole-wheat waffles torn into pieces

Treasure trays:

Fill a compartmentalized tray/plate/muffin tin/ice cube tray with a dipping sauce (such as applesauce, yogurt, jam, pureed fruit/veggies, hummus or guacamole) and foods such as:

Steamed cubed sweet potatoes

Diced pears

Half slices bananas

Half slices soft-cooked carrots

Diced soft-cooked green beans

Shredded apple

Diced kiwi

Shredded carrot

Cubed cheese

Diced avocado

Diced peaches

Quartered grapes

Bite-sized pieces wheat toast



Always include 1 green veggie, a second veggie, a whole grain, a protein and a fruit.

Good green veggies: salad, broccoli, peas, green beans, spinach

Put baby in high chair and let feed self.


Beyond Finger Foods:

Salad with dressing on the side for dipping

Small burritos/quesadillas

Elbow macaroni in spaghetti sauce (easier than spaghetti noodles)

½ ear corn on the cob


Get creative at restaurants!

Sushi – like single-ingredient maki rolls with cucumber or avocado.

Mild, coconut-based curry soup or over rice.

Falafel dipped in tzatziki sauce.

Make faces on pancakes with cut-up fruits and on sandwiches with cut-up veggies.  Or cut them into shapes.

Choose a color theme for each meal:

Red – tomatoes, red bell peppers, watermelon, strawberries

Orange – carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe

Yellow – yellow bell peppers, bananas, yellow tomatoes

Purple – beets, plums, berries

Dessert Ideas:


Pitted cherries

Pineapple sorbet (puree ripe pineapple and freeze)

Zucchini bread

Strawberry frozen yogurt

100% frozen fruit bars

Baked fruit with oats and brown sugar

Fruit and yogurt parfait

Healthy cookies/minimuffins

Fruit breads (wheat flour)

Graham crackers and wafer cookies (natural ingredients)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeding Baby - General Guidelines

This post is sixth in a series:

Always choose natural, organic, colorful foods.  Eating organic dairy and produce has shown to decrease toxic pesticide exposure from food an average of 97%.

If feed jarred food, choose organic with no sugar added.

Avoid snacks with more than 1 gram of sugar per 25 calories.

Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, malt syrup or maltose in the ingredients.

Avoid food dyes and artificial colors, as their effects are not known.

Avoid processed foods, added sugar and salt.

Use olive oil or organic canola oil; avoid corn syrup and hydrogenated (or partially) oils.

Baby should get 400 IU vitamin D/day.

Baby will be more likely to try things from six months until she’s walking, so take advantage and push a variety!

Pull baby’s high chair up to the counter so she can watch you make her foods.

Be a good role model!  Baby will want to eat what you eat!

Offer baby a food, let her see you eat and like it, and hopefully she’ll try.  If she rejects it, don’t push it, just offer another day (may take 6-16 times on average before a food is accepted).

Make your own baby food!  Nitrates are not a concern.  The AAP says to avoid homemade baby food until at least 3 months old, but shouldn’t be feeding solids by then anyway!

The primary source of nutrition for the first year is breastmilk/formula – this is mostly a time to introduce solids, but don’t rely on them.

Add omega-3s by adding ground flaxseed or wheat germ to foods (like oatmeal, applesauce, yogurt) once baby has tried a wide variety of foods.

Avoid juice until 1 year.

Never give an unhealthy food just so they eat something.  Be firm and keep trying healthy foods.

Good rule of thumb once baby has tried a variety of foods and is eating three meals a day: feed something green at every single lunch and supper, and feed 1 bright color at all 3 meals.

Use similar flavors to transition between similar foods (ex. add garlic and olive oil to pureed spinach and later also to whole spinach leaves).

Take a food baby likes, such as carrots, and mix it with a new vegetable to encourage it.

Main drink other than breastmilk should be water in a sippy cup.  Avoid juice until 1 year.

Let baby see the real food she’s eating (banana, avocado, etc.), not just the puree that looks nothing like the real deal.

Start each meal with veggies, then move on to fruits.

Give whole-grains.

Kids 3 and under should get 1 Tbsp. from each food group per year of age (at each meal).

Never push or coax foods – will make baby suspicious of them and reject them.  Take a food on your plate and nonchalantly transfer it to hers, without appearing to try to push it.

Have them point at foods, playing “Where’s the apple?  Where’s the broccoli?” etc.

Offer baby a variety of foods, tell her to try just one bite, if she doesn’t like doesn’t have to eat.

Avoid choking hazards under 4 years of age: nuts, seeds, popcorn, raw carrots, whole grapes, raw apples, whole sausage links/hot dogs, hard candy, large chunks of meat or hard foods, chewing gum, marshmallows, gummy/jelly/hard candy.

Until get molars and improve chewing skills, food chunks shouldn’t be larger than pinky fingernail.

Once baby is eating three times/day, offer 3 foods at every meal – one they’re sure to like and two that everyone else is eating (or you want them to eat).  Don’t give seconds of favorite until has tried other two (often takes many exposures before child will eat new food).

Don’t leave unhealthy foods in plain sight and restrict them – will make baby want them even more!

Let baby feel she has a choice – offer 2 or 3 healthy options (Do you want an apple or banana?  Do you want to drink your milk first or eat your cereal first?) and let her choose.

Never coax, bribe, or reward baby to eat something.  “If you eat your spinach you can have dessert” teaches her to value dessert over spinach.

If you’re eating something you know she doesn’t like, put it on her plate anyway.  Say it’s there to taste if she decides she wants to, and eventually she may.

Don’t make baby clean her plate, as it teaches her to overeat.  Just serve less, and save leftovers.

Don’t allow her to skip a meal and then get a snack.  She should get 3 meals/day and small snacks (not within 2 hours of a meal).  If she tries to immediately get a snack, say “lunch is over, you’ll have to wait for snack time now”.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Feeding Baby - 18 months

Fifth post in the series:

By 18 months baby is ready to “help” you make food or bring you things to put in food.  She’ll be a lot more eager to try what she’s helped with!

Grow cherry tomatoes and veggies in a garden that she can plant and help nurture.  Grown an indoor herb garden that she can harvest from and add to meals.

Visit orchards, farmer’s markets, pumpkin patches – places kids can see where food comes from!

As an alternative to water, can brew own jug of decaffeinated unsweetened tea (such as peppermint).

Baby shouldn’t watch TV until at least 2 years old.  Then, don’t allow her to watch TV commercials for food – it will make her want, and usually unhealthy.

Baby will master the spoon and begin to use the fork.  Let her experiment, even if messy!

Always eat meals together as a family, and pull baby’s high chair up to table with everyone else (tons of educational and social benefits have been proven).

Teach her ultimately to eat what the family is eating, not to have her own special meal.

Stock up on seasonal foods when they’re available, then you don’t see them again until next year.  Teaches her to look forward to yummy in season foods.

By 18 months she can digest beans well, so start including them more and in greater quantities.

Take her grocery shopping with you, but make sure she’s rested and fed; when she begs for things, allow her to choose one item.

Always keep a fruit bowl out in plain sight.

Don’t give shellfish before age 2.

By 18 months should not be relying on milk (breast or cow’s) for primary source of nutrition.

Choose organic ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup or chemicals.

By age 2:

Daily requirements haven’t changed except calorie intake goes up to 1000 calories.

Aim for:

2 ounces lean meat/beans

1 cup fruit

1 cup vegetables

3 ounces whole grains

2 cups organic whole milk

Continue multivitamins.

Introduce some sweets to teach to moderate (1 small piece of cake at a birthday party okay, every night is not).  Choose sweets with nutrients (see desserts below).

Strictly forbidding a food makes them want it more.  Don’t keep anything in the house you won’t let her have, and don’t forbid things you keep around, offer them in moderation.

Don’t keep junk food in house, don’t use as a reward, but don’t forbid it once child discovers it – okay if has occasional treat at birthday party, holiday celebration, etc.

By age 2 shoot for 3 – 8 oz. servings of milk per day.

Restrict access to the fridge – we control snacks.

Kids ages 2-8 need 2 hours of physical activity/day.

By age 2 can switch to 2% or skim milk.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feeding Baby - One Year

Fourth post in the series:

During the first two years, a baby’s brain grows a lot.  A large proportion of the brain is fat, and much of this fat is in the form of the omega-3s DHA and EPA.  Once baby is off of breast milk or formula, aim to feed your little one 300 mg DHA per day.  And give your baby a full-fat diet, avoiding low-fat foods.  (Breast milk is almost half fat and can be rich in omega-3s if mom consumes them).

Once baby is no longer nursing (or it is not a large part of her diet) start on liquid multivitamin drops with at least 150 mg DHA and 400 IU vitamin D.

Historically babies nursed for 2-3 years, so by all means nurse as long as you both want to!

By now, baby can eat most foods – cut into a manageable size and wean off of jarred food.

Can start giving whole cow’s milk in a sippy cup (in addition to breastmilk if still nursing).

Even at 1 year, better to avoid juice, but if do give, should have a max of 4-6 oz/day until age 6, and a max of 8-12 oz/day after that.  Dilute with water.  Opt for whole fruit over fruit juice.

Offer good fats – salmon, egg yolk, avocado.  Avoid low-fat foods until age 2.

Watch serving sizes (we tend to overestimate portions).

Rinse canned fruits before serving (eliminates excess sugar).

Can introduce allergens – egg whites, cow’s milk, nut butters, soy, citrus, fish, honey.

One to three year olds should get 7 mg/day of iron, in the form of food or supplements (good iron-containing foods = iron-fortified cereal, tofu, prune juice, beans, green beans, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, eggs, lentils, lean meat, and seafood).  May need supplements until eating extensive solid foods.

Make sure you eat together as a family – has tons of self-esteem benefits for children.  Restaurants are okay too – teaches kids food is special, how to behave in public, etc.

Nutritional requirements at 1 year:

* 900 calories

* 13 grams protein

* 500 mg calcium

* 35 grams fat

(For perspective, 2 cups of whole milk contains 300 calories, 16 g protein, 550 mg calcium, and 16 g fat).

Minimum daily intake at 1 year:

* 1.5 ounces lean meat or beans

* ¾ cup veggies

* 1 cup fruit

* 2 ounces whole grains

* 2 cups organic milk (not much more than that, or will replace other foods she needs):

Can break up into smaller servings (ex. 2 – 4 oz. glasses of milk instead of 1 - 8 oz.).



1 year and up

protein1.5 oz/day – choose 21 egg, ¼ C kidney/black beans, 1.5 tsp. peanut/nut butter, 2 thin slices turkey/ham, ¼ small chicken breast
dairy2 servings/day – choose 28 oz. yogurt, 8 oz. whole milk, ½ C ricotta, 2 slices (1.5 oz.) cheese
grains2 ounces/day – choose 2½ whole-wheat English muffin, ½ C cooked oatmeal, ½ C cooked whole-wheat pasta, 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 5 whole grain crackers, whole-grain waffle
veggies¾ C/day – choose 21/3 C carrots, 2 ½ broccoli florets, 3 cherry tomatoes (quartered), ¾ C raw or 1/3 C cooked spinach, ½ sweet potato
fruits1 C/day – choose 24 oz. applesauce (unsweetened), ½ C grapes (quartered), ½ C banana/berries/apple/pear, ¼ C raisins



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feeding Baby: 9-10 months

Third post in the series:

Add finger foods to baby’s diet!  Good foods include (as baby is ready for them) wafer cookies/crackers and other bite-sized finger foods (crunchy toast, well-cooked pasta, Cheerios, bite-sized pancakes, grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, small pieces of meat, diced fruit, diced cooked veggies, diced cheese), chunky jarred foods, boiled/mashed egg yolk, cottage cheese, and strawberries.

Start to add new flavors/spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, oregano, etc.).  Research indicates that if diverse flavors haven’t been introduced by age 1, a baby may prefer a more narrow bland diet when she grows up.

Cut foods into cubes or interesting shapes.

Good supplements include Brewer’s Yeast (1/2 – 1 tsp. / day) – adds protein and B vitamins, and flaxseed – adds omega-3’s.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Feeding Baby: 7-8 months

Second post in the series:

Once a wide variety of purees have been mastered, start to make the foods lumpier.  Research has indicated that feeding only pureed foods after 9 months will lead to a pickier eater.  Switch to coarsely mashed food, leave lumps in the blended food already feeding, and add broccoli, blueberries, mango, pineapple, spinach, cauliflower, and cucumber.

Once baby has mastered the coarser food, start soft/cooked table foods cut into tiny pieces (banana, squash, carrots, peas, potatoes, green beans, soft-cooked pasta, soft-cooked chopped veggies, soft diced fruit, mashed potato, beans/lentils).  Also add yogurt, wheat cereal, and cooked/mixed grains.

Work up to offering solids three times per day.

Don’t give dairy or corn under 9 months.

Give baby her own spoon.  Dip it in her food and let her try to get it into her mouth.  It will be messy, but this is how she learns!  To make sure she gets food, alternate bites between feeding with your spoon and letting her take a bit with her spoon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Feeding Baby - 6 months

Perhaps you've already seen my series of Baby Fact Sheets - my age-by-age collection of information I found valuable when pouring over parenting resources while preparing for my own little one.

I made printable fact-sheets by age regarding feeding my baby as well.  So for those of you who enjoyed the printable "fact" sheets, get ready for the next series - here are their contemporaries!

A good rule of thumb is to wait until baby is at least 13 pounds and has doubled her birth weight before starting solids.

When start baby on solids, there’s no one way to do it.  However, one school of thought is that it’s better to give veggies before fruits (and start with green veggies) to encourage a taste for them.  A good recommended sequence: whole grains – veggies – fruits – meats.

When start baby on cereals, start on whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal or barley mixed with breastmilk or formula.

When start on cereal, will eat a TINY bit.  Mix with breastmilk or formula, whatever baby’s eating.  I used Fresh Baby’s food trays (like ice cube trays but BPA free) and froze up 1 ounce cubes of breastmilk.  Then, just thaw a cube (= 1 ounce), add about ½  Tbsp. of cereal, and you’re ready to start.  Once is eating cereal readily, can up the amount (2 cubes or 2 ounces breastmilk and 1 Tbsp. cereal, etc.).

Other good starter foods: cooked/strained/pureed veggies and fruit (peaches, pears, apples, banana, apricot, avocado, plums, prunes, peas, green beans, winter squash, summer squash, carrots, sweet potatoes) mixed with breastmilk

Start by offering solids once/day.  Offer bites, pausing between each, until baby is no longer interested.  Don’t coax to eat more – quit when she’s finished.

One school of thought is to offer a food then wait a few days before offering another.  A second school of thought is that by changing up foods constantly, it will increase baby’s acceptance of new foods.  In other words, don’t wait between introducing new foods, but bombard baby with variety.

A baby’s brain triples its weight during the first year, and is 60 percent fat.  Give your baby a full-fat diet, avoiding low-fat foods.  Much of the brain’s fat is DHA and EPA, and breast milk is almost half fat and can be rich in these omega-3s if mom consumes them, so take your supplement!  (I use fish-free algal DHA supplements).

The literature is conflicting regarding iron; some pediatricians recommend supplements: 11 mg/day for 6-12 month olds.  Others (mine included) do not.