Meet Your Hidden Housemates: Cockroaches, Oooh

The rather handsome Speckled Cockroach from north-east Africa has spread across the world with human assistance. Anthony O'TooleCockroaches are a very ancient group of insects. They have been around virtually unchanged in general appearance since the Carboniferous period, more than 300 million years ago. Technically speaking they are in the Order Blattodea (the same level of classification as, for instance, all butterflies and moths).

How Serious Is Inbreeding In Show Dogs?

How Serious Is Inbreeding In Show Dogs?A German shepherd with a sloping back that was awarded best of breed brought the dog show Crufts in for this year’s annual bout of criticism. Viewers took to social media to accuse the owner of animal cruelty by suggesting that its unusual shape meant the dog must suffer health problems brought on by inbreeding – something the owner denied.

Why Dog Breeds Aren't Considered Separate Species

Great Dane, meet Chihuahua. You have lots in common. Ellen Levy Finch, CC BY-SA

Dog owners might disagree, but as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, all dogs are just dogs. It may seem odd that Canis (lupus) familiaris extends from rabbit-sized Chihuahuas to Great Danes which can be almost the size of a small pony, whereas seemingly much smaller differences place many animals into separate species or sub-species.

Organic Farming Techniques Are Closing Gap On Conventional Yields

Organic Farming Techniques Are Closing Gap On Conventional Yields

Some farmers have turned to less chemically-intensive techniques to reduce the negative impact of agriculture, such as organic farming, which has been shown to outperform conventional farming by many standards of environmental sustainability. The question is whether we can meet the demand for food, which is predicted to rise substantially in the next 50 years.

Are Energy Star Ratings A Good Idea For Homes?

Are Energy Star Ratings A Good Idea For Homes?Homebuyers respond well to green features such as solar panels, rather than stats and figures. If you’ve ever bought a home you’ll know the feeling of deciphering real estate advertising spin. But those advertisements traditionally don’t tell you about how much

Dogs Really Can Tell How Their Owners Are Feeling

Dogs Really Can Tell How Their Owners Are FeelingCan dogs tell when we are happy, sad or angry? As a dog owner, I feel confident not only that I can tell what kind of emotional state my pets are in, but also that they respond to my emotions. Yet as a hard-headed scientist, I try to take a more rational and pragmatic view. These personal observations seem more likely to result from my desire for a good relationship with my dogs.

Spare A Thought For Our Furry Friends This Christmas

Spare A Thought For Our Furry Friends This ChristmasChristmas is typically a time for celebrating and spending time with loved ones. But while we party, give lavish presents, and visit our families, we can sometimes overlook how some very important family members — our pets — might be affected.

Why Cats Are Fussy Eaters But Dogs Will Consume Almost Anything

dog drinking teaWhy Cats Are Fussy Eaters But Dogs Will Consume Almost AnythingAnyone who’s watched a cat throwing up after munching on grass knows that our feline friends aren’t natural plant eaters. So you might be surprised to discover that these carnivorous animals share some important genes that are more typically associated with herbivores. And this might help explain why cats aren’t always easy to please when it comes to food.

How Do Hummingbirds Draw In Nectar?

How Do Hummingbirds Draw In Nectar?Hummingbirds live life at incomprehensible speeds. Their flight acrobatics are amazing, maneuvering more like insects than birds as they flit around, flying upside down and even backwards. They’re a blur as they race between flowers. When they do pause to visit a flower momentarily, they’re licking 15 to 20 times a second to extract their nectar fuel.

When Is It Ethical To Euthanize Your Pet?

When Is It Ethical To Euthanize Your Pet?In the 1960s, I knew people who, before going on vacation, would take their dogs to a shelter to be euthanized. They reasoned that it was cheaper to have a dog euthanized – and buy a new one upon returning – than pay a kennel fee.

Preserving and Foraging: Depending on Nature for Food

Depending on Nature for Food: Preserving and ForagingLife, for foragers, can be more secure for the simple fact that they understand crop failures happen. Thus, we learn not to depend wholly on one type of food. The lovely thing about foraging is that there are always alternatives. In nature, there are usually plenty of options, and all of them are free.

What Horses Can Teach Us About Ourselves

Learning About Ourselves by Communicating with HorsesNews of my communications with the horses had spread in the small Costa Rican community. The horsemen, the veterinarian, and the cabin retreat employees were all aware of it. Some had reacted with apprehension, suspicious of my abilities, while others were afraid that I might be reading their minds, too.

Beyond Compost: 5 Ways to Get Your Soil Ready

The key to gardening is dirt. If you can grow good dirt now, you can grow good vegetables this spring. And you don’t have to run to the garden store to load up on boxes and bags of stuff to do it if you start early and think of it as a year-round project.The key to gardening is dirt. If you can grow good dirt now, you can grow good vegetables this spring. And you don’t have to run to the garden store to load up on boxes and bags of stuff to do it if you start early and think of it as a year-round project.

The Wonder of Worms In The Garden

The Wonder of Worms In The GardenThe key characteristic of the loving landscape is healthy, living soils which foster plant and animal health without artificial inputs. Compost, mulch and worms form the holy trinity of organic soil health.

Back to the Garden: Mulch, Mulch, and More Mulch

Back to the Garden: Mulch, Mulch, and More MulchBoth compost and mulch foster the life of the soil, and both are important components of the loving landscape. Sometimes they are confused for one another, but they are quite different animals.  Compost, which we talked about last week, is more nutrient rich than mulch. It’s full of life, and inoculates soil with that life.

Little City on the Prairie Steps It Up

small townA Latino family strolls leisurely through the park, immersed in conversation. Coming up fast behind is a blonde woman in designer exercise gear and earplugs, intent on maintaining her power-walking pace. Bringing up the rear is a young man with his Husky, both of them staring up at a patch of sun that has appeared from behind the clouds.

Just What Does The Loving Landscape Look Like?

Just What Does The Loving Landscape Look Like?So, let’s say we want to play nice with the rest of nature. Let’s say we want public parks, yards and gardens which exist for more than show, spaces which support a diversity of life, steward our resources wisely and are a joy to the eye. We’ve got to change the existing lifeless paradigm of lawn and hedge and disposable annual flowers.

Can Planting Flowers Help Bees Fight Parasites?

Can Planting Flowers Help Bees Fight Parasites?A growing body of research suggests some animals may derive medicinal benefit from plant chemistry, and perhaps even seek out these chemicals when sick. Could naturally occurring plant chemicals in flowers be part of a solution to the worrying declines of wild and managed bees?

Equine Encounters: Hearing The Horses Whisper

Equine Encounters: Hearing The Horses WhisperI share the treasure I have received in communicating with horses so that other people may better understand their inner world, and the ways it can help us understand our own. And for those who ride or own horses, I tell this story as another way for you to learn to trust what you hear when your horse needs to speak.

The Western System of Feng Shui Color Theory

The Western System of Feng Shui Color Theory

The way people react to colors is due to a mix of physiological, sociological and spiritual factors. What works in one society does not always work in another. Likewise, the knowledge that has come out of the mystery schools often needs to be adjusted to apply to modern tastes.

Feng Shui Can Counteract Negativity In City Living

Feng Shui Creates Harmony In City Living

In Hong Kong the majority of businesses and families with economic clout consult Feng Shui experts before buying land or beginning construction on their homes or buildings. A real estate advertisement mentions of the quality of Feng Shui present in the design and the shape of the building...

New Wiki Will Help You Grow a Better Garden

New Wiki Will Help You Grow a Better Garden

Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.

When Your Pets Behave Outside Their Nature

When Your Pets Behave Outside Their Nature

When a dog behaves unnaturally in response to any neurotic, chaotic, or disruptive energy taken on from humans, he tends to look confused because he has nowhere to put the energy that is reverberating within him. He doesn’t really know why he is acting out, nor does his behavior make the least bit of sense to him.

Your Dog Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Your Dog Does Talk & Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

So often I hear people mutter, “If only my dog could talk. Then I would know what it really wants. I would know what to do!” All the while I am thinking — they are communicating with you. They are communicating with you more than you communicate with yourself. That is the problem.

In Partnership with the Earth: Biodynamic Gardening

In Partnership with the Earth: 
Biodynamic GardeningBiodynamic farming offers us a way to both cherish the Earth and attend to the process of growing foods and raising animals properly. According to activist and CSA owner and educator Allan Balliett, biodynamic farming is “a spiritual approach to growing.” Biodynamic farmers “try to take into account all of the forces that affect plant growth and their nutritional value.”

The Garden as a Metaphor for Life

The Garden as a Metaphor for Life

I know a fair bit about a lot in the garden, most of it practical, but my great fascination is with the metaphysical aspect, that forever-unfolding energy of life expressing in the garden. For me, a garden is a place to connect with Nature, life, and living...

Sweet Basil: Things You Need to Know About This Herb

Sweet Basil - Everything You Need To Know

Sweet basil’s many herbal uses include culinary, landscaping, medicinal, and spiritual, and the essential oil can be found in fragrances and insect repellents. Cultivated largely as a culinary herb and often associated with Italian cuisine, basil is excellent in tomato-based dishes. It is also used cooked or raw in...

Growing Community with Community Gardens

Growing Community with Community Gardens by Peter Ladner

One of my first awakenings to the myriad benefits of community gardens was when the community police officer in a troubled neighborhood in Vancouver helped get one started. She wanted a project for the homeless people hanging around the neighborhood. They embraced it eagerly...

What Diet is Best: Pet with Arthritis

It is important to consider how diet can affect the pet with arthritis. Let’s take a look at pet foods first, then we’ll talk about obesity and how controlling this major health problem can help the pet with arthritis walk more comfortably.

How to Live with More Than One Dog

Living with more than one dog can be a rewarding experience. Dogs love the company of other dogs. Knowing how to prevent problems and teaching dogs how to share resources so they do not bully each other, or pester you, is pivotal to having a harmonious...

What's in the Cat Food Bag?

 Let's take a look at the ingredients on the actual label of a dry cat-food product. I examined one of the brands that's quite pricey and sold through veterinarians. I found that it contains poor-quality ingredients and substances that aren't at all appropriate for...

Horses and the Mystical Path

Horses and the Mystical Path

by Adele von Rüst McCormick, Ph.D., Marlena Deborah McCormick, Ph.D. and Thomas E. McCormick, M.D. When our journey with horses and healing began, more than twenty-five years ago, we never imagined that horses would lead us down a mystical path. Nor did we foresee how valuable and enriching this experience would be, not just for us but for the hundreds of people who have participated in our Equine Experience...

Pet Nutrition: Minerals, Enzymes, and Supplementation

Most people and animals are usually prescribed drugs -- specifically antibiotics and vitamins -- at times when they are ill. However, antibiotics kill germs and rarely discriminate between good and bad germs. When the 'good' germs are constantly assaulted by antibiotics, the 'bad' germs can become supergerms...

Dogs Never Lie About Love

Can anything be as joyous as a dog? Bounding ahead, crashing into the bushes while out on a walk, happy, happy, happy. Conversely, can anything be as disappointed as a dog when you say, "No, we are not going for a walk"? Pure joy, pure disappointment.

Cats Can Talk

I was as skeptical when I loaded Rodney, my cat, into his carrier to take him down to the holistic veterinary clinic where a psychic was seeing animals. I was having some problems with Rodney that my regular vet couldn't help, and I figured, why not give the psychic a shot? I had found a human being who could talk to a cat...