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Guess what? Today is Uncle Jesse’s 8th birthday!
Joseph Frazz Photography
And I thought, “What better way to honor him than to steal his food?”
As luck would have it, our latest shipment of V-Dog plant-based kibble just arrived!
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry.
…If this goes viral, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it.
If you’d like to celebrate how much we love our furry families, and every kind of love, I hope you’ll consider doing what I just did and buy a copy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s new children’s book, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.” Proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. (And if you really want to geek out, check out the line-up on the audio version!)
Last fall I lost my mind and decided to go back to school. I’m now halfway through my Masters degree in Humane Education a.k.a. Learnin’ How to Save the Planet.
Of course, we all know I really just want some more of those fancy letters to add to my work signature.
Over the past year, I’ve struggled to find humor while bearing witness to the countless atrocities detailed in the coursework. I even considered throwing in the towel on higher learnin’ altogether. But speaking of towels (wait for it) – there’s still hope! On top of the recent move to tiny living, here are some of my favorite ways of ensuring the world’s chipmunks will have many, many years left to thrive:
1. (S)wipe Left on Paper Products
No, no, no. I’m not asking you to trade your TP for twigs. But getting into the habit of using dishtowels as napkins is the gift that keeps on giving! Who wants to dry their hands with 18 pieces of tissue paper anyway?
I love using soft, fluffy hand towels as much as…
2. Bag Lady
I’m obsessed with my reusable bags. Remember this?
No more once you switch to sturdy, waterproof bags!
3. From K-Cups to More-than-OK-Cups
Not only do they make gobs of compostable products for any coffee machine, they also sell reusable Keurig K-Cup pods that you can fill with your own coffee, then compost the grinds, for a totally waste-free caffienating experience.
4. Got milk? Yeah, and it’s nuts!
Swapping out any one dairy (or meat) item at any one meal for a plant-based option instead is a HUGE win for woodland critters and humans alike. I know, I know. “BUT CHEESE,” you’re thinking. Thankfully, the plant-based options for milk and cheese are becoming more convincing than ever – check out Chao cheese if you don’t believe me. (For more on the implications of eating dairy, which I know can be confusing – shoot me a note. And here’s a great article with lots of cool charts emphasizing the impact of small dietary changes.)
Since then, I’ve upgraded to an item that’s marketed as “the most beautiful composter in the world.” By tossing all of my raw produce, coffee grinds and compostable packaging in there, these bad boys have cut down my garbage by a whopping 75%!
6. It’s the Little Things that Count
Plastic straws, paper receipts, those little stickers on your fruits and vegetables – they really add up! Say “no thanks” when you can and hopefully these items, much like Scott Baio, will soon become a thing of the past.
7. This is Us. Not Buying New Sh*t.
Learning about the materials and energy required to produce every single new consumer good was enough for me to reconsider buying that battery operated armpit hair braider. Even recycling itself -turning those plastic Sprite bottles into a rug, for example- can demand intensive resources. Choosing refurbished or borrowed items will make you the Kevin to Mother Nature’s Kate.
8. Do you have your permission slip?
Because it’s field trip time! Visit your local farm sanctuary and be amazed by the animals’ stories. Did you know chickens experience REM sleep and teach calls to their babies before they’re born? They even purr! So cool!
9. Cabbage Patch Pets
Remember how Cabbage Patch dolls came with those nifty adoption papers? There’s a lot to be said for adoption – skip the breeders and pet stores and scoop up a rescue.
10. Fork You
Switching to reusable utensils (and dishware) was a “sacrifice” that played in my favor! I dine like a queen at work:
11. Warm Fuzzies
The best thing you can do for chipmunks? Love. Love them, love yourself, and love the land we share.
It was just another Wednesday, albeit an unseasonably warm one in northern New Jersey, as I walked my dog through the neighborhood.
The autumn leaves were a Crayola box of gold, crimson, and green, and I snapped a photo when I reached my destination: a half-mile, gravel-lined walking trail near a local park.
I tried not to think of my mounting to do list and the fact that I was sweating profusely in mid-October as I walked briskly beneath the canopy. After thirty minutes, I reached my highest level of Zen (that is to say, an almost manageable degree of panic) and headed home.
Stepping back onto paved roads, I heard a strange shuffle to my right.
I looked up, and…
There is a dog on a roof, said my Zen mind.
There is a DOG on a ROOF, said my anxiety.
There is a BLOG POST in your POCKET, said my inner chipmunk.
Now that I’ve had time to consider this sight more deeply, I’ve come up with a few possible explanations:
He’s a watch dog for a new K-9 super breed who can fly, bend steel with their minds, and resist the smell of crotches.
He’s trying to catch a glimpse of Canada, so he knows what to expect after the next presidential inauguration.
Anything is better than hearing his owner complain about work. I mean seriously, how hard is it to neglect pets for a living?
He is a she, and she’s waiting for the right stud for whom to let down her tail of gold.
DISCLAIMER: Animals were hurt during the making of this post. Really hurt. Like Bambi’s mother hurt.
This weekend, Babs, my mom, sent an email with two troubling pictures attached. The email was entitled, He Finally Snagged One.
She was quite put out, because her neighbors recently constructed what she called The Gallows in their backyard. Every time Babs set foot on her porch, this monstrosity was in plain sight.
Before I show you these pictures, you need to understand that my parents live in suburban New Jersey, in a town full of white-collar yuppies who take the local train into Manhattan for work. They shop at Pottery Barn. They buy artisanal bread. Their kids play lacrosse.
In my parents’ world, the world in which I grew up, people have graduation parties and swing sets in their back yards. They do not have…well. This:
I’m sorry, Babs. If it makes you feel any better, now that Peppermeister and I are out in western New Jersey, we have deer in our backyard every day, too.
Of course, they’re still alive…
Do you have any neighbor horror stories? No? Any good venison recipes?
So you’re probably thinking I’m going to start this post like I always do, by greeting you as my fuzzy, wuzzy, li’l Chipmunks. Well, I would, but Peppermeister (First Husband) told me snakes eat chipmunks. And I just don’t want to take that kind of chance here.
You see, on Saturday, amidst hour number 8,002 of yard work, I went over to the pool filter and lifted the cover so I could clean it out. We had just had a big storm, so I knew it would be full of crud.
Oh, I was right about that.
I’d like to take this time to remind you that I live in New Jersey. The reason I stay here is simple: NO SCARY CREATURES (unless you count our politicians). No scorpions, no box jellyfish, no dementors, and no grizzlies (I don’t think. Don’t burst my bubble).
Now, okay, this snake was probably only 18 inches long, and a harmless garter at that, but that didn’t stop me from letting out a strangled cry and jumping back 5 feet.
I made Peppemeister repeat the process when he got home, so he too might have something to blog about. Which is when we discovered it was still very much alive.
Now that I’ve had a few days to recover, I’ve decided I’ve given this snake far too much power. And I know I’m not alone; so many people are terrified of snakes.
I’m going to take care of all that for you, right here, right now. It’s the least I can do considering you’re probably still pissed from hearing that I have a pool and haven’t invited you over.
Allow me to present to you:
BOB, the Worst Stand-Up Comic Snake of All-Time
And so you see, snakes are nothing to be afraid of. Until they start telling jokes.
Have you ever encountered any unwanted critters in your dwelling?