Asking for your support: Poplar Spring Run for the Animals

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This Sunday I’m running the 7th annual Poplar Spring Run for the Animals 5k. It’s also my own seventh time I’ve run the race — the first one was just a couple of months after I started volunteering at the farm back in 2004.

As I did last year, this year I’m raising money through sponsorships. I hope that you’ll consider sponsoring me and supporting the farm for whatever you can afford using this big ol’ donate button:

SUPPORT ME... PLEASE?

This year I’m running in honor of two animals, both of whom are very close to my heart, reminding me often why I’m vegan and why I will never stop working toward educating others about animal rights.

The furry daughter with her dad Juniper

First up is Amina. We adopted Amina, a bluetick coonhound, five years ago from Friends of Homeless Animals, a nearby no-kill shelter. She’d been found wandering in southwest Virginia seven months previous. She was probably a hunting dog (she has a small buckshot still under her skin on one of her hind legs) and was likely bred, as she has had a litter of puppies. After being picked up, Amina was taken to a shelter, and her time was almost up before a woman adopted her with the intention of finding a new home for her. After bouncing between foster homes and changing names a number of times, she wound up at FOHA, where we met her and instantly fell in love. After our first meeting with her, my wife and I talked it over and went to see her in her kennel run. We asked her through the cage door if she wanted to come home with us and she pawed at the door as if to say, “Of course!”

It’s been a great five years with Amina and all her goofy quirks. For a coonhound, she’s an unsually quiet dog, only barking four or five times in the entire time she’s been with us. She’s had a rough year this year, being diagnosed with very severe inflammatory bowel disease. She’s been on a steady dose of medications for the last month and as a side effect, her leg muscles have weakened quite a bit. It’s been touch-and-go trying to get her on the road to recovery fighting this severe intestinal disease and though she’s far from herself, we’re still hoping that she’ll recover and start to reverse some of these side effects that have set in. We love the girl deeply and have struggled watching her in various stages of discomfort during the onset of IBD (which took well over a year for the vets to successfully diagnose) and during the heavy medication that’s followed. Hopefully on Sunday she’ll be feeling good enough to join us at the race to meet some of the other dogs.

Secondly is Juniper, who I ran in honor of last year. I won’t recall Juniper’s entire story (read up in Poplar Spring’s newsletter or in Deb’s great post from last year), but in short: her family had to leave their farm and when they did, they simply left her behind. Juniper survived difficult weather on her own with only grass to eat for nine months before the neighbors finally called somebody about her. She’d developed a bad infection in her legs that forced her to walk on her front knees. Amazingly, when she came to the farm, she survived and showed quite an improvement in her health. Though she was never able to fully stretch her front legs out again because the muscles had atrophied, she was able to walk on them and loved her relaxed life at the farm.

She’s now 15 years old, making her the oldest goat or sheep ever at Poplar Spring, from what Terry tells me. She’s struggling with arthritis, but is still loving her treats and surprising everyone at the farm with her strength and amazing will to live.

Amina and Juniper are living reminders of how animals in dire straits can recover and live full lives. They’re perfect examples of distinct personalities that go against what everyone expects for their breed or species (have you ever heard of a silent coonhound? Or a goat that’s picky about food and won’t drink water if you’re looking at her?). They’re reminders that animals don’t exist for our use or taste. Let’s respect them and their lives.

Thanks for supporting Poplar Spring and the essential work they do.

The teat tweet

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A dairy farm in Canada is tweeting for their cows.

The 12 cows are part of the “Teat Tweet” project, tweeting “about their lactation cycle and robotic milking activities.”

I say this is a good opportunity for some activism. I dropped a note to Freeride Speedy:

@FreerideSpeedy It must suck to keep giving birth and then having your babies and milk stolen. Don’t worry: some of us out here respect you.

How about we all adopt one of the dairy cows and tweet words of encouragement? Here are direct links to their twitter accounts. And let’s use the hashtag #dairysucks.

Zizania

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I’ve been meaning to post about her business for a while now, and with this recent feature on a local news broadcast, it’s as good of a time as any:

Dominique is a former co-worker of mine who was pescatarian when she worked with me and went vegan shortly after she left the company. She now owns her own business, Zizania, where she teaches people in the Northern Virginia area how to live, eat, and cook in a healthy way through veganism.

It’s so exciting to see a former co-worker go on to do such positive things. Rock on, Dominique!

Cookbook Review: 500 Vegan Recipes

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500 Vegan Recipes cover500 Vegan Recipes
by Celione Steen and Joni Marie Newman
Fair Winds Press
Buy Now

When 500 Vegan Recipes arrived in the mail for review a while back, I have to admit I rolled my eyes a bit when I saw the title. Here was a compendium of recipes bound for the dollar bin at Barnes & Noble. It didn’t take more than a minute of flipping through the book, though, to see that I was being a big dummy and judging a book by its cover (title).

500 Vegan Recipes has quickly become one of our favorite go-to cookbooks when we want something relatively simple, but new. While there are some old standbys in here, by and large, there are a lot of surprises and interesting twists that will keep this one on the shelf when others gather dust.

Food bloggers Steen (of Have Cake Will Travel) and Newman (Just the Food) compile 20 chapters and 500 pages of recipes ranging from breakfasts to casseroles to sides, and you know the rest. Lots of food from beginning to end in every imaginable category.

Our favorites thusfar include Butternut Drop Biscuits (made with spelt flour, oats, and butternut squash puree, they taste amazing right out of the oven getting that sweet and savory balance just right), a delicious Garlic and Sage Cashew Cream Sauce that we had on pasta but would be perfect as a pizza base (double the recipe… trust me), the budget-friendly Beefy Bacon Burgers) which take the unlikely hodgepodge of peanut butter, bacos, TVP, yeast, oil, and a few other things and make an easy and filling burger), Mac and Sleaze, and a Swiss-inspired Rosemary Apple Potato Rosti that would make a perfect late fall/early winter side.

We’ve made 23 recipes from here thusfar (still not even 5% of what’s in the book!) and only three haven’t been unadulterated thumbs up (and of those three, two were split decisions in our household). Not bad at all.

As I mentioned, while most of the recipes here are within the grasp of anyone with a little bit of kitchen time under their belt, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. Like the nicely spicy Chorizo, Cranberry, and Cornbread stuffing or the Creamy Pumpkin Almond Sauce as a super simple pasta and veggie topper. The Raw Lemon Cheesecake is another winner I haven’t seen elsewhere (and it’s not hard, even making the raw crust from scratch). There’s a lot of international influence here, too, ensuring a range of flavors for every palate.

While there aren’t any photos in the book (not unusual for such a giant tome), Steen and Newman’s blogs have more than enough to let you see what you’ll be getting.

For well under $20 at most online stores, it’s going to be hard to get a better deal on such a huge collection of recipes that you’ll return to again and again. I recommend this one whole-heartedly.

(Just to show how slow I can be with my reviews, the authors already have another book up for pre-order: The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions and a third book in the works.)