Friday, December 30, 2011


The egg bounty this week!

Someone asked me today why I have backyard chickens and if I really saved that much money on eggs.  I had to honestly answer: no.....  My urban flock is up to 17 birds currently, and where most of of them are not up to the age of laying eggs just yet, they will be soon!  The answer to this question is that I love knowing where my food comes from.  I love knowing that my eggs come from chickens who have been free to run around and scratch the ground.  They have eaten large amounts of fresh vegetables and have gorged on bugs.  They have been fed, watered, loved and in return they pay me back by giving me fresh eggs.  It is the security of having food in my backyard, readily at my fingertips just in case there is a some type of apocalypse and all of the grocery stores are closed down.  Backyard chickens are to me a form of security in a not so secure world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Better To Give Than To Receive!

We all remember what it was like to be a kid at Christmas time.  The wonder, the awe, and the excitement of everything...  Well this year my daughter wanted a Kindle for Christmas.  (This was really the only thing on her list other than an ipad.)  As an avid reader myself and Kindle lover, I was very excited to learn that my parents had purchased each of the three older grandchildren Kindles.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, all I heard from Katzya was how she really hoped for a Kindle for Christmas.  I think this photo captures the moment of surprise beautifully!  Katzya was so shocked when she opened this package, and it took her a split second to realize just what was in the box.  I love the look of surprise on her face!  We all know it is better to give than to receive, and making other people happy couldn't be conveyed any better than in this picture.  

PS:  No, I did not buy her an ipad.  Like a good parent, I bought her pajamas and flannel bed sheets.  You have to be cozy while you read your Kindle, right?!

"Is this REALLY what is in this box?!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop: Happy Halloween


I hope this blog post finds you all safe and happy after this weeks Halloween fun!  We had all sorts of fun carving our pumpkins and getting our costumes ready.  This year K decided to be Little Red Riding Hood and she had to have a black wig to go with her costume, however after trying it on she really was not very impressed with it.  Soon it became a prop to use on the dogs, and the effect was not quite Little Red Riding Hood.  It was more like Cher on a bad night in Las Vegas!  

Have a great Saturday and thanks for stopping by on the Blog Hop!

Larry doing his best imitation of Cher...

Stewart can't even keep a straight face in his costume!  He thinks the idea of Cher is a bit ridiculous!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Blaze of Glory by M. Garzon

On occasion you start reading a book by a new author and you instantly know that you have just stumbled upon greatness.  That is exactly what happened when I picked up Blaze of Glory by M. Garzon.  Much like Sara Gruen in Water for Elephants, Garzon hooks the reader from the very beginning and doesn't let go until the last page.  Her writing style is smooth, vividly descriptive, and easy to get lost in.  Her characters are rich, well rounded, and she makes you feel as if you intimately know them.  

There is an optimistic sentiment through the entire book for the characters to come out on top.  You find yourself hoping that this family recovers from the personal trouble that they each face, and that they can begin to heal and grow as a family.

You don't need to be a horse enthusiast to enjoy this book.  The constant undertow is a developing love story that is attractive to both the older teenager and the adult audience.  This novel moves at an effortless pace that will have you curled up in your favorite chair reading well into the evening hours.  This being Garzon's first novel, I can't wait to see what is next.  One thing I know for sure is that this is a new author who is going to take the literary world by storm! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We Are Back!

Larry the Labrador

We have had an amazing summer in the Browning-Smith household!  It has been full of friends, family, horse shows, and of course: dogs!  We have had one new addition to our household this summer.  His name is Larry.  Larry found us while on vacation, and we just couldn't leave him behind!  (The animal shelter there was in a very rural area, and they said that Larry would most likely be euthanized due to his age and overcrowding.)  Larry is between 10 and 12 years old, and it is almost as if he has been our dog for his entire life.   He bonded with me instantly which has created some separation anxiety issues, but hey who can blame him for being a bit scared of being left behind again?  There was some thought that we would adopt Larry out to a new home, however due to his age he will most likely live out the rest of his life here at Rainbow Acres.  That is unless the absolute perfect home comes along....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop: The Happy Box!

Do not pay attention to my terrible hair in this picture.  I know I look like Kramer off of Friends....

Part of my quest to be an "urban farmer" has made me look at the food that I eat.  I have determined that I eat terrible because it is easy, so I recently joined a CSA program in our community.  It is called "The Happy Box".  You decide what vegetables and fruits that you want to receive, and they pick and deliver your produce once a week.  It is all organic, and it tastes amazing!  I swear I eat more produce this way strictly because I get so excited to eat it.  Opening that box on Friday is always so exciting because you never know what you are going to get, and I eat things I would never have eaten before because they are delivered to me.  Pictured below is the photographic evidence that I am not the only one who is excited about "The Happy Box".  It turns out Stewart likes organic produce too!

Stewie and his organic carrot!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Urban Farming: Chickens


Okay, so confession time: I love chickens!  There is nothing like sitting on your deck, sipping a glass of wine, while watching your chickens frolic in the yard.  The problem?  I live in the middle of the city....  This has not deterred me from my dream of becoming an urban farmer though.  (I really want fresh eggs!)  All winter I have been researching chickens, and finally I purchased these 6 little girls from the local feed store just a few weeks ago.  I built an indoor chicken coop over the weekend, and an outdoor coop will soon follow.  I love listening to them chirp and cheep, and they are everything I imagined they would be!  Katzya and I named them: Dixie, Dorothy, Demi, Daisy, Dolly, and Diane (after my mom!).  It will be a few months before my fresh eggs start rolling in, however I am in love with these fuzzy little critters already! 

Watching our new arrivals!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop: Goodbye Fenway

This week has been particularly hard on our family due to the death of one of our "pack" members. I have a variety of animals that bless my life, and each of them are treasured members of my family. That is why I have not blogged for the last 2 weeks. We noticed that our kitty, Fenway, was unstable on his feet last Friday and we immediately took him to the veterinarian. She did a number of tests on Fenway and his blood work showed that he had elevated ammonia levels and he had a fever of 105 degrees. We were looking at the possibilities of a liver shunt, toxoplasmosis, or FIP for a diagnosis. Fenway continued to get worse over the course of a few days, and his blood work came back negative for toxoplasmosis. A liver shunt was ruled out since he had a fever, so we are thinking that he had FIP. (He had the majority of the symptoms for this disease...) He was making no improvements in his ability to walk, and was having a hard time eating so we made the painful decision to euthanize him.

Fenway was a rescue kitty from the humane society. He is featured along with his brother in one of my December blog posts. I was supposed to only foster both of these boys, but after it became obvious that Abner would never be a candidate for adoption, we decided to keep them. Fenway was only a 5 pound kitty, but the hole that he has left in my house and heart is big enough for an lion. Fenway was always purring and snuggling with us, and even with his last breath he continued to purr. My house seems empty. He was a constant fixture on the couch or in bed, and I miss him greatly.

There are times I wonder: "Why does this one need me?" I wondered that with Fenway. He was such a perfect kitty, and I often thought that I would place him without Abner because I just didn't need 2 more kitties. I guess the answer is that God knew Fenway needed me, even though I didn't know that myself. I was able to give Fenway a home where he was safe, fed, and above all: loved. I have no regrets with this rescue. My only regret is that I couldn't have loved him a little longer....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop: The Wisdom Of A Dog

We went letterboxing ( last weekend, and we took Suzy with us.  We went to several cemeteries looking for places to plant boxes.  One of the cemeteries had several neat gardens, and my daughter took a moment out of her day to pray at the Garden Of The Bible.  I took this picture because it honestly looks like Suzy is praying with her.  It is one of my favorites!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring: A Time to Renew

As spring rolls around every year, I am in awe.  To watch the world "wake up" from it's winter slumber is a miracle that amazes my over and over again.  I love to watch the rebirth of animals and plants.  I love that it is daylight longer.  My favorite thing about spring though, is that it gives me time to renew myself.  This is a season where I look forward to growing fresh vegetables, hiking with the dogs, and reading on the deck.  Take time to renew yourself this spring.  You deserve it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Adventures of Suzy the Pitbull

It's me Suzy!  Today my Hoomans took me out for a hike at Charleston Falls!  I had the best time.  The littleest Hooman is who walked me today.  I tell you what, she has more energy than me!  I loved all of it, except the little Hooman wanted me to wade in the creek with her.  I wanted no part of that!  The water is still very cold, and I get chilled very easy.  The Mommy Hooman had to remind her of this...

I met some new friends on my adventure today!  This was my friend, Zero.  He is still a puppy and has a lot of growing to do.  His paws were the size to my whole head! 

This is me and my little Hooman taking a break after our long hike.

I found the first sign of Spring.... Grass! 
I can't wait to pee on the grass again!  I HATE snow...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (One day late....)

St. Patrick's Day is an observed holiday in our house, and there is no school or work on this day.  Instead, there is a lot of Irish Dancing!  Yesterday was no different from any other year.  Katzya danced and we drove her around.  We had a blast!  We were blessed to spend the day with many friends and many laughs.  May the luck of the Irish be with you!

PS:  The luck of the Irish was with several other people and dogs yesterday also.  The Piqua shelter that has been the home base to a very large hoarding case, placed it's last 3 dogs into foster care yesterday, and with that 110 dogs are now on their way to new lives!  We pray that the 367 dogs that were owned by the same guy, but in a different county will be so lucky!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meet Ava!

Photo credit given to Debi Canody

Meet Ava!

Ava was one of the dogs rescued from the "Jeff Burgess House of Hell".  Ava is somewhat shy due to the complete lack of socialization and care that she received during her stay with Jeff, however she is very sweet and  will make a great dog for someone!  Ava has no manners and we are going to start working on that tomorrow!  I see knowing how to sit in her near future!  :)  Ava WANTS to learn to be a dog.  I am hoping to be able to give her that. 

It was a little "hairy" here tonight when I brought Ava home.  Hazel (another rescue from the same place) does NOT like her!  It is not one of those warning snarls and growls.  It is all out: "I want to kill you!"  Hopefully, Hazel will be able to work out her issues, and will allow Ava into our pack.  (I promised Hazel that Ava would not be here forever....)   On a good note, Ava has been out in the backyard feeling grass on her feet for the first time in her life, and she has made friends with Chai (Belgian Tervuren) and Shelby (Chocolate Lab).  Ava has also learned how to sleep on the couch!

I will keep you posted on Miss Ava in the days to come, and if you know anyone who might be interested in adopting Ava please let me know!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Greatful Beings....

Sometimes I just look around my house and wonder what goes on in the minds of these dogs.  All of them are rescue dogs from one bad situation or another, and they are all so amazing!  People frequently ask, "Do all of those dogs get along?!"  Well the answer is yes, and as I sit here watching them I realize that this is because they are greatful to be here.  Each and every one of them....  This is apparent in the way that they interact with me as well as the way they interact with each other.  For example, the dog pictured above is Suzy.  Suzy is a pitbull mix that I got from the animal shelter.  Suzy was a cruelty case.  She was owned by a woman who left her out in a wire cage with flood water up to her stomach, and no food or clean water to drink.  When Suzy got here she was possesive of every resource we gave her including water!  This was because she had never had even basic care before, and she wanted all of the other dogs to know that the food and water was hers!  Sure enough though, Suzy has learned that there is no reason to act like that here.  Here Suzy is a dog who can just be herself.  She doesn't have to worry about her next meal.

Then there is Hazel.  Hazel was one of the dogs from the "Jeff Burgess House of Horrors".  She too was very possesive when she got here.  She didn't like dogs.  (Not a huge surprise to me...) She was cage aggressive and possessive over her food and water.  She is adjusting beautifully though.  She loves the other dogs, and has completely stopped resource guarding.  She is so greatful!  Today Hazel and I took a walk, and she looked so happy!  Her head was up and her tail was wagging.  It was so nice to see her like this.  A far cry from the scared dog that paced around my house and wouldn't even walk on leash 2 weeks ago.  Hazel is a wise, old soul and I have no doubt that she is greatful that she has been rescued.  The thing that I realize even more is that I am greatful to have rescued her.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Fairytail of Epic Proportion!

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a princess.  Her name was Hazel.  Hazel spent all of her days and nights locked in a dungeon.  It was dark there, and damp.  There was no heat, and seldom any food.  Hazel was a peaceful little girl, about 10 years old.  She only wanted to be loved, and to love in return.  She meant no harm to anyone she met, not even to the evil toothless ogre that kept her locked in this dungeon.  (The evil toothless ogre's name was Jeff.)  Hazel paced around her 4 foot by 6 foot cell, just praying that she would escape one day.  She remembered a life where she once was loved, where she lived inside, where she ate good food.  She remembered what it felt like to have the sun hit her face!  Oh, how she would give ANYTHING to feel that again!   Hazel couldn't understand why she was here.  What had she done?  Hazel was frustrated, so she prayed.... and she prayed.... and she prayed. And as everyone knows, prayers do not fall on deaf ears!   And finally, one day Hazel's prayers were answered!  Angels came into the dungeon and freed her!  They said, "Hazel you are such a pretty girl!  You are so kind, and you never gave up believing that one day your life would be different!"  And oh, how different it was!  Two of the angel's took a great liking to Hazel, actually it was more like love.  They said, "Come with us Hazel.  Let us love you, and you will never want again.  You will be loved, and cherished and you can live the rest of your life doing what you want to do!"  Hazel thought this sounded like a pretty good idea, and that is what she decided to do!  So, off Hazel went.  Into the sunshine!  Never to look back at that dungeon again, and she surely wouldn't miss that toothless ogre!  Hazel was now going to live: HAPPILY EVER AFTER!    

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It made a difference to that one!

This blog post is dedicated to Amy Welker at the Piqua Health Department, Dr. Lisa Nadasi DVM, the Miami County Animal Shelter, ALL of the volunteers at the Piqua facility (there have been a bunch!),  the Clark County Animal Shelter, The Clark County Health Department, the ASPCA, the Montgomery County Resource Center, the Franklin County Humane Society, and anyone else who has worked on this project.  Without everyone of you, Jeff would still be abusing these poor animals.  Please sleep well tonight knowing that YOU have made a difference in the lives of animals who had no voice.  Because of you this animals will now be able to LIVE!

     If you have watched Channel 7 news in the last several weeks, or even if you live under a rock somewhere in Miami County, you have heard about Jeff Burgess and his rescue "One More Chance Rescue".  Jeff operated a "rescue" in Piqua.  (He called it a rescue, the rest of us called it abuse, and the dogs that he owned called it the 7th Circle of Hell.)  Thanks to the help of Amy Welker, the Piqua Health Department, and a whole bunch of volunteers these 108 dogs will make it so see a better way of life. 
     I have been volunteering on the weekends in Piqua: walking dogs, cleaning cages, and feeding dogs.  It has been a very rewarding experience.  One of the most amazing things is the way that everyone has pitched in to help this group of dogs, and every weekend I am reminded of the good in this world because it is reflected in the people that I volunteer with.  What an experience! 
     The first time I went to the Piqua shelter, I was immediately drawn to a little Jack Russell Terrier.  The thing that reached out to me was this dog's resilience.  She didn't care that her fur was stained yellow from sitting in her urine and feces.  She didn't care that she hadn't been fed or watered regularly.  She didn't care that she wasn't loved or protected by her owner.  She was not an abused dog.  She was not a victim.  She was a dog with something to offer.  She was a dog that was going to offer her heart back to the thing that hurt her the most: humans.  Why?  Because she doesn't want to be known as an abused dog.  She wants to move on.  She wants to forget where she has been.  Tonight, I brought home Marla.  Marla will be at my house for a short while until a permanent home is found for her.  While she is here, Marla will be living in the "now".  She will learn how to be a dog.  A dog that is loved.  A dog that is fed.  A dog that is a cherished member of a family.  Marla will be all of this because of all of the people that have helped her thus far and who have given her a new start in life.  Trust me when I say, Marla will not be quietly watching from the sidelines.  Marla will be playing the game! 

     Sadly, Jeff didn't have just one group of dogs.  He had another group of dogs in Springfield, and help came too late for 76 of them.  The good news is, that today the Clark County Animal Shelter, the ASPCA, and Montgomery County Animal Resource Center helped move 376 dogs out of danger and into the Franklin County Humane Society.

     When I was little I always loved this story about a boy and some starfish.  It goes something like this....

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.  He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. 

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer.   He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all.  The young boy was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. 

He came closer still and called out, "Good Morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?!"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean!"

"I must ask, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean? asked the somewhat startled man? 

To this the boy replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out.  If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile?!  You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean.  As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference to that one!"

     I rescue a lot of dogs.  I often have more dogs at my house then most people would consider "normal".  It has always been who I am, and I can't imagine ever stopping.  Many times people say to me: "You can't save them all!"  I know I can't save them all, but I can make a difference to that one!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Raising a Humane Being...

Katzya and Suzy

Everyday I am blessed to share my life with an array of animals and one brilliant young lady.  Katzya has an amazing amount of compassion for animals of all types, and I couldn't be more proud to be her mom!

In the Kitchen with A Chicken!

We went to Kroger recently and they had whole chickens on sale for only $4.00.  I was so excited by this sale, and cooking this chicken was all I talked about for a week!  (No, I had never cooked a whole chicken before...)  Well, it is safe to say, I don't think I will ever do it again!  (Although it did turn out delicious!)  You see, I am an animal lover and a frozen chicken is no exception.  After cooking my chicken for 2 hours, I picked up it's leg to take it's temperature and it's leg fell off!  Of course I started crying, and Solitare had to cut up the chicken for me.  I felt compelled to be vegan after this experience, and Soli has banned me from cooking a whole chicken again. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jack Russell Terrorists!

I have been house sitting for Christie and Brent Remy while they have been on vacation.  For those of you who don't know, they are very involved in rescue and Jack Russells are their breed of choice.  Now, I know this is not every one's breed of choice and in the past has not been my favourite either.  However, I challenge you to spend any amount of time with Christie's dogs, and still have that opinion.  You will find that these are actually very delightful little creatures!  (Although they did chase a raccoon into the dog room where it became very angry and it was a bit of a challenge getting it out.) I love them and their scrappy little attitudes!

This is Ziggy the wonder dog, and the love of my life!  I would OWN this dog.  He is the best JRT that was ever created!

Protecting their home and hearth from their arch-nemesis:  the squirrel!

(Behind every great pack of JRT's there is a chihuahua that runs the show!)

Gali, Solitare, and Roxi sharing a good laugh!

This is a wise dog, and a very old soul.  I love him!

Me:  "Gali, do your parents allow you to sit on the dining room table?"
Gali:  "Yes, yes they do!"

Gali getting some serious air!

Tug O' War

Yes Brent, you were right.  See?!  I got the picture to prove it! 

Christmas 2010 - Browning Family

Christmas is always my favorite time of the year.  It is a time for family, and that is what I love the most about it.  We went to Amy and Larry's house this year for Christmas, and it was a great time!  These are the highlights:

Cooper  decked out in his Christmas apperal.  Really is he not the cutest?!

Angie taking time for a picture with the boys.  For those of you who don't know Angie, it is virtually impossible to get a picture of her.  She hates pictures.  I think I was 4 years old in the last picture I have with her.....

A boy and his truck.....  Isaac LOVES trucks and I snapped this picture as he was running his truck up and down the table. 

Amy and Larry, well maybe just Amy, have a little dog named Bella.  Of course, Katzya fell in love with her.....

Amy's laugh is one of my favourite things about us getting together at the holidays.  When I think of laughing, I think if Amy.  I am so glad I got this picture!

When a women doesn't have a glass, what is she supposed to do?!

Amy got a new Nikon camera for Christmas too!  We are a Nikon family!

Dad and his story about a hooker...  There is nothing else to say on this one!