Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

Reasons For Increase In The Number Food Poisoning Cases In Kenya

An incident was reported on 18th July 2005, the family once celebrated an arrival of a newborn calf by having colostrums from a cow, which is known as a traditional ceremony in the Abagusii community. But just after few hours, 4 children died and 399 people got hospitalized due to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, which are the symptoms of bacterial blood-borne illness.

Due to that, milk safety was the biggest concern that was raised. But it should not be forgotten on the other hand that raw milk intake is the best medium for many micro-organisms as it consists of higher water content, neutral pH, Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Milk is generally safe to drink after pasteurizing or boiling which kills disease-causing micro-organisms. Fermentation is done in order to extend the shelf life of milk by inhibiting micro-organisms. The acidity developed by fermentation helps in destroying pathogens like coliforms.

Quicker fermentation is occurred by lactic acid bacteria which ferments it to lactic acid and which is used to make traditional fermented milk products like mursik. This can be known as “good” bacteria and the same procedure is used to make milk products on a commercial basis like yogurt and maziwa lala. Boiled and processed milk must also be stored hygienically in order to prevent it from contamination which can result in food-borne illness.

The incident is let us think about that the milk which was consumed was not ready for normal milk but from colostrums, which is the milk produced during first few days after giving birth, known as calving. Colostrums contains less amount of fat compared to regular milk and also have a high amount of proteins, any normally they are immunoglobulin which helps to protect a newborn from microbial infection in the first few days. It is known that there is a difference between normal milk and colostrums in terms of chemical composition, but they are prone to microbial issues. We have some resources by which we can reduce the risk of food poisoning so if we start freezing the milk we can keep it fresh for a long time.

Also read : Freezing methods to keep food fresh.

Though the laboratories who are trying to identify the causes of food-borne illness have not yet declared the cause behind the disease. But as per their reports released before, it is actually a case of food intoxication, which is actually a disease caused by having a milk with the microbial toxin, different from food infection which is actually caused by ingestion of pathogenic bacteria in food and microorganisms start to multiply in the body.

Still, there are many species those are already present in milk before leaving cow’s udder, also bacterial infection also causes pathogens in the milk, which is the main culprit in food poisoning in Gucha, an organism called Staphylococcus aurous, which is caused due to contaminated milk and sub-clinical mastitis. It also results in food intoxications. Among many human populations, they are a healthy carrier of S.aureus, which can be existed in many nasal cavities, which can be seen on the hands and under fingernails.

An organism can be easily transmitted while handling or preparing or while storing food at certain temperatures for a longer durations which causes bacterial growth. It is possible that the colostrums can be extended in one week at certain temperatures, which allows microbes to multiply and produce toxins in milk.

Staphylococcal food poisoning is different due to its shorter incubation period, like 2 to 6 hours or it can also be shorter as 30 minutes sometimes. Those symptoms are nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Illness can last for 24 hours causes a non-fatal. The seriousness is dependent on the number of toxins taken and immunity power of an individual. People like infants, young children, and pregnant women, the elderly have a higher risk of food-borne illness. If people understand the process of preserving the food, this problem will reduce day by day itself.

Some bacterial toxins are heat resistant and some are entering toxins, and they get deactivated only after boiling for more than 30 minutes. So if anyone has a doubt that it contains S. aurous, then boiling food can destroy some amount of bacteria but it is possible that toxins those produce illness are destroyed by the process. So it is important to prevent food from contamination with the toxigenic organism.

Milk should be handled with care and hygiene since it is susceptible to microbial spoilage. So it is important to boil raw milk before consumption and fermentation. Once treated, it should be stored in clean containers to avoid contamination.

After Gulcha tragedy, it should be thought about the traditional ceremony called Abagusii in order to avoid the risk of food-borne illness, so it should be thought of twice which is consumed on the universal basis.…

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How To Preserve Your Food In Summers

Summer is a time when you can enjoy having fresh, local fruits and vegetables. There are many varieties available in local farm shops and stores there are so many wonderful flavors available like the tartness of blackberry or say, the sweetness of a cherry, you can easily find these amazing flavors.

There are some fruits and vegetables which you will not find on the other side of the world once the summer is ended. But with a little bit of knowledge of what to do, these fruits and vegetables can last for a whole year in your kitchen. The below are seven effective ways to preserve fruits and vegetables an those can be done at home only.

  1. Drying:

Water content removal from fruits and vegetables is called drying. As bacteria serves on water, once it is dried, it is for sure that the food does not get harmed. Drying results in changing the texture and taste of the food, which is different from other preservation techniques. It can be stored in ambient conditions once dried successfully.

A Dedicated dehydrator can be used to store summer fruits and vegetables for the winter season, you can select a proper setting by just loading a machine with your food. Normally, the latest dehydrators are of different sizes and textures. If your dried fruits still look sticky and spongy, then they need more drying as they are not yet ready. Food normally needs to be hydrated on 95% before storing it.

You can make a use of your oven if you do not wish to buy a dehydrator, but its result can be something different or miss. Fruits and vegetables must be cut in thin slices and once cut; they need to be soaked in a mixture of lime juice water with an equal amount. After waiting for nearly 10 minutes, take a baking tray with parchment paper, placing the slices on it. Preheat the oven and put a tray in it. The Temperature should be between 130 to 160 degrees. When drying citrus fruit, you must keep the temperature at a lower range. Rotation of baking tray is a must on each hour and cooks it without stopping till slices are liable and gets a leathery texture.

 

It will make you amazed when you get to know that how people preserve and eat food in Africa’s summers.

  1. Canning:

One can be misguided with a term “canning”. If canning is done at home, usually mason jars or the things similar to that are used. This preservation method normally contains sealing a food to b stored in a sterile, air tight. You can easily canned cooked and raw food by making a use of heat for sterilizing and sealing the jar.

Pressure canner is needed while canning fruits and vegetables at home. A Full of canning jar, seals, rings, lids, funnel and none other than a big pot for blanching. The purpose is to kill the bacteria inside the jar with heat. Application of steam pressure is applied to airtight containers leaving sterile vacuum which helps to stay food safe and fresh for several months.

  1. Pickling:

Inhospitable environment is created for bacteria by pickling fruits and vegetables. The Acidity of vinegar kills the potentially dangerous bacteria, which results in keeping the food safe and edible for many years.

By using a pickling method of preservation, a taste of fruit or vegetable drastically changes. The method is first create a solution for pickling with white vinegar, salt and sugar, and boils them in a pan. Then keep fruits and vegetable in an airtight jar and pour a solution on it till the food submerged in it. Then jar can be stored and sealed for next several days. It can be used for a chunky summer vegetables such as zucchini.

 

  1. Fermenting:

Conversion of carbohydrates into an alcohol or organic acids is known as fermentation. To start with the procedure, you will need salt, whey, dedicated starter culture to water, which will create a brine solution for fermentation.

It is relatively easy to ferment summer fruits and vegetables. But more importantly, they should be cut in small and even chunks. By putting a food in airtight container, brine solution is poured on it. Do not forget to ensure that all the food is fully merged in brine till fermentation finishes. While fermenting fruit, a process will last for 48 hours. Vegetables on the other hand, take longer time as they have less amount of sugar content.

  1. Freezing:

To make the food last for whole winter, freezing is easier and quicker way to preserve summer fruits and vegetables. But freezing or thawing may damage some softer fruits like strawberries-by changing their texture totally. Do not forget the thing that freezing does not kill bacteria; they get inactive for some time and are dormant on defrosting.

Once it is decided to freeze fruits and vegetables, firstly, they should be kept in a metal tray. On getting hard and stiff, they can be transferred to sterile, airtight freezer bags. For starchy vegetables like potatoes, they need to blanch in iced water before placing into a freezer. For the fruits which can turn their color to brown, do not forget to treat them with ascorbic acid before freezing.

  1. Oil Packing:

Using vegetable oil for storing summer fruits and vegetables makes it harder for bacteria to develop, but it also changes the flavor drastically. It is best to preserve tomatoes, herbs, eggplants, onions and olives. It helps in creating anaerobic conditions by adding acids, normally vinegar. Airtight mason jars are commonly used by most of the people to preserve fruits and vegetables nowadays, but sealable food bags can be utilized as well.

  1. Salting:

It is difficult for bacteria to survive due to hypertonic properties of salt. Organisms can be deactivated or died with the help of dehydration and food can be stored at ambient temperatures for a longer time.

You can store food in salt by putting them in a big baking pan and merging them in water. Keep on adding salt in water till it starts depositing on vegetables, this indicates that the saturation point has arrived. Keep those vegetables in water and refrigerate them for a week or so. You can complete the procedure by draining out the brine and more salt can be used to cover your vegetables, and then store them in a dry and cool place.

Do not forget to add your summer recipes during winter season. You can utilize these preservation techniques and be sure of having a stock of fruits and vegetables for a whole year.

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What Should We Eat In Africa’s Summer

Normally, stews, soups, and snacks are parts of African cuisine, apart from that, there are various interesting and easy to make stapled starch dishes that come together with those dishes. The list below shows the various dishes included in African cuisines.

Couscous:

This staple dish is normally found in North African cuisine. It is the dish contains semolina which is served with a meat dish or stew. Algeria has a national dish called Couscous and it is very popular in Berber traditional dishes. This ready to eat dish can be found in most of the Western supermarkets. An authentic couscous is made with semolina, flour, spices like saffron and cinnamon and boiling water. This blend tastes better. Here you should know one thing that if you want to store the leftover food in Africa’s summer you just need to know some tips to keep your food fresh for long time.

Kisra:

It is a staple dish found in Sudanese cuisine, which is a kind of bread prepared from durra, sorghum, corn. It is normally given with stews like waika, sabaroag and bussara mainly made from dried meat, dried onions, spices and peanut butter, adding milk and yogurt are optional. The mixture is made up of sorghum with water and kept it for overnight and then flour and more water is added to make a batter. Then it gets fried in a pan. Variety of staple is made with asseeda, which is also given served with stews.

Mkatra Foutra:

It is a popular staple dish of Comoros, which is given with coconut-based curries. It is yeasted-leavened bread prepared with coconut milk, flour, salt, eggs, butter and sesame seeds. It can be served with famous east African dishes like island dish, rougaille which is made with tomatoes, chili powder and shallots.

Injera:

It is regularly utilized flatbread which was found in Ethiopian cuisine. It is normally served with stews like zigni and tsebhi stew. It is prepared with teff, a grain widely grown in East Africa and can be used as a substitute for rice, maize, and corn. The mixture of teff flour and water and kept it for 3 days for fermentation. For better fermentation, yeast is also added sometimes. And then cast-iron skillet is used to fry the batter.

Ugali:

It is a staple dish served with the dishes like sukuma wiki, which has leafy green vegetables like kale, tomatoes, onion, and spice mix called Sukuma ya nyama, mchuzi mix, which is actually a version of meat of sukuma wiki. It is made from cornmeal, by taking boiling water in a pot and it is cooked until it gets stiff. This dish is also served in countries Tanzania, Rwanda, which is prepared with cornmeal, cassava flour, millet or sorghum. It is served with mchicha from Tanzania, prepared with beans and leafy vegetables like spinach, garlic, tomatoes, and onion. Ugali is known as posho in Uganda.

Bogobe, Pap and Nsima:

These are famous accompaniments in the South African regions. These 3 names are similar to a dish from East Africa such as cornmeal, sorghum, and maize cooked with the help of boiling water in a pot until it gets stiff. It is made is thinner consistency for breakfast and given with a milk and sometimes sugar. These dishes are given with other foods such as mogudu (tripe), braai meat, ndiwo, a vegetable from Malawi. In some region people are capable to fight against poverty and now they are fulfilling there need of food by there own.

 

To:

It is the famous food that is known as the base food of dish in the Sahel region in Africa, normally in Mali and Burkina Faso. It is prepared with millet, sorghum and corn, which is then, gets in boiling water for a few minutes. And then set in a cleaner bowl. After adding, flour is added to make it thicker smooth paste like Ugali. It is normally served with soup, sauce, or stew dish.

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How To Pack Your Food To Make Sure Your Frozen Food Lasts Long

It was a tradition to keep all the things in a freezer for years. It is time when you just look at your freezer and must throw all the things which are not going to be used for six months. Like say a trout which was brought some 3 years back and a loaf of bread which was brought from sale last year (the one will ice crystals all the way).

You can surely be getting some surprises once you have sorted the newly brought items, after going in deep. But is not that pretty, on opening a freezer, it is possible that you may find a melted and refrozen syrupy juicy bars and a bag of peas was spoilt long ago.

We are in need of all the freezer space as it is possible that a freezer may get overflow on any day of the week. It can have ice packs locked and loaded stored for sports injury, some fruits and vegetables for the time when fresh ones are not available; frozen entrees for the time when it should itself become a lunch, and frozen desserts or appetizers when your friends can come unexpectedly.

So what needs to be thrown out? It is said by FDA as the food can be kept in a freezer is safe for a longer period, that does not mean that it is still tasty and have good texture. Any food which is no longer identifiable, or something which you or your kids may find “ew!” or “that’s gross”-needs to go out of your freezer.

Some golden rules for freezing a meal:

To avoid those unpleasant discoveries in the freezer, one must know how to freeze food wisely. You must keep some things in mind before freezing a food is.

  • Preventing a freezer burn.
  • Preventing moisture loss.
  • Use the excellent freezer to make your food fresh ( Universalreview’s chest freezer review )
  • Prevent transferring a smell from one food to another.
  • Prevent your chilled food from poisoning.

It is important to do things like, proper wrapping and storing of your meal is important. Some golden rules are:

  • You must use freezer bags and freezer safe containers to remove as much air as possible before you seal them that contain the food you want to freeze.
  • A foil must be used to wrap meats and baked goods before placing them in a freezer bag. It is not good to store packaged meat directly from the store as it does not go well with your freezer temperatures. They are good to use just for a month or so.
  • Make use of smaller containers as to avoid it from producing bacteria- with a capacity of only 4 quarts. The food inside should be 3 inches thicker inside the container.
  • You must quickly cool your hot food by placing a pan in an ice water and stir it regularly. If you want to cool something with larger quantity like a saucepan, and then make its smaller section into smaller containers.
  • Try placing dates and label them properly, even if that food is going to be used within a week or two.
  • Food items must be stored in the coolest part of the freezer until they are totally frozen.
  • It is ok to thaw for some food like muffins, bread and other baked items to work at room temperature. Or else “Thaw” setting on the microwave can be used for the same.
  • Try to make a use of your frozen food within 2-3 months.
  • When freezing dairy items. You must keep in mind that it can be separated some when thawed. Cheeses with hard or semi-hard can be frozen with 8 to 16 ounces blocks that need to be wrapped in plastic, before keeping it in the freezer. After thawing also cheese will contain its characteristic and will get little crumbly and tastes the best on using it in cooked dishes. Some cheeses like cottage cheese and cream cheese are worst worked on storing. As blue cheese normally gets crumbly.

How long should a frozen food be kept?

What is the time span to keep the food fresh without making it icky to use? You must check the use- by date for foods that were purchased already frozen. The below is the FDA recommended timetable for other commonly frozen foods to maintain it optimum quality.

  • Sausage and Bacon: 1-2 months
  • Cooked Poultry: 4 months
  • Uncooked Poultry parts: 9 months
  • Uncooked whole poultry: 12months
  • Uncooked ground meat: 3-4 months
  • Uncooked Roasts: 4-12 months
  • Frozen dinners and entrees: 3-4 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 months
  • Casseroles: 2-3 months

For that unlisted food, defrost it first and then check its quality. And smell it, food with some”off” smell should go out, as FDA. If it is not that good as it used to look but otherwise seems ok, then you can try it in soups or stews. In the case of raw foods, cook them first and if you taste it ok then you can use it.

More frozen facts:

Some facts those are unknown about frozen foods:

  • Freezing a food at 0 degrees F makes the microbes inactive, but it does not kill them. On thawing, they may get active and multiply, under certain conditions.
  • We all know water expands on freezing, fruits and vegetables with higher water contents cause their cell walls to break as the water inside expands. As a result, some thawed food contains a mushy structure.
  • On turning off electricity, the door of the freezer should be closed. A totally loaded freezer has to keep a food fresh and frozen for 2 days without opening its door.
  • There are many vegetables those can be cooked right away from the freezer, corn and cod are the exceptions, which needs to be half defrosted before.
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Give The Dog A Bone

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Earlier this summer we added a little puppy named Bella to our family. She’s been a perfect pet for us and has fit right in with our family. Aside from the normal puppy stuff you deal with we really can’t complain. She’s playful, has a great personality and isn’t a barker.

We gave Bella a few rawhide bones when she was a puppy (until we found out they weren’t good for her) so we recently bought some real bones for her to chew on and that’s when the fun started…

The primal instincts kicked in for our adorable little 5-pound dog as soon as she got a hold of a “real” bone. She took it in her crate and would growl viciously at anyone who tried to take it from her. That same dog who only hours before would play with the kids or fall asleep on our lap would think she was a wolf in the wild if she had a bone.

Needless to say, we’re working with her to train this bad habit out of her, but it got me thinking – I’m not really that different than my 5-pound pooch. They say dogs are like their owners but in this case I’m a lot like my dog.

I act pretty thankful for God’s blessings and provision until I latch on to something I really want. I growl and complain if God decides to take something away that I think belongs to me. I forget that I’m only a caretaker of the gifts God entrusts to me and start thinking that they’re mine.

God has been teaching me to hold everything loosely. I’d like to say that I always live by these verses from Deuteronomy – I don’t, but I’m trying – “Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. Always be generous, open purse and hands…” 

Guest Post by UniversalReview.net

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I live in Kenya, And I have Gun Safe At My Home – Taylor Stoke

A report from CNN on June 19, 2017 stated 1300 U.S. children are killed each year from guns. And this make me worry that if a secure country like USA is suffering from this, so we also can.

This was a study from the Disease Control and Prevention National Vital Statistics System Database.Because of fairly easy access to guns, a deranged person can obtain powerful rifles and handguns. Currently the background checks do not identify a mentally I’ll individual. The thought of this occurring seems inconceivable but as mass shootings continue we are shaken from this happening in our civilised world.

The answer to these catastrophes is not to take everyones’ guns away. Besides being an impossibility, it would be unconstitutional in our democratic society. One solution is to secure one’s weapons in a safe and another is education in schools and at home. Children become almost numb to violence that they see on TV and video games. Sometime they become fascinated with the power of a gun and want to experience it for themselves. Not being taught how to handle guns, a child can easily shoot themselves. A hospital Emergency Department sees many terrible cases but seeing accidental shootings of children are devastating.

Gun shot wounds cause extensive tissue damage and even with many surgical interventions the child is never the same emotionally or physically. A solution to keep children safe at home is to own a locked safe. They are well worth the cost as
they could safe a life. Education of the dangers a gun possesses should be taught at home and in schools. There should be strict rules in place regarding who is allowed access to weapons in the home and always double check the safe is locked and the key is secured where only the adult has access.

Note :– Also read Why we need gun safe at our home.

Every adult who is responsible and wants a gun should be allowed to purchase guns as it is their right; however I think there should be a psychological test required to identify mental instability. Selling guns to the mentally ill individual should be prohibited and the gun seller should face criminal charges if he does. Powerful rapid firing assault weapons have no place in the home and should only be used in combat. The homeowner who desires protection from intruders or assault should always be
allowed to own and carry a gun if they have the proper license. Owning weapons requires a lot or responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

Another option for guns are trigger locks. Usually they are provided when a person purchases their gun. If trigger locks are in place the accidental handling by a child can prevent their death. It seems surreal we have so many killings by guns. Every time there is a mass shooting or a child is killed by a gun at home there is an outcry for gun reform. However because of the constitution gun advocates insist it is their right. I think we all agree on that but the extent some gun owners push the limits to obtain an arsenal is in my opinion irrational. If we lived in Iraq maybe an arsenal would be appropriate. There are no limits on how many guns an individual can have in this country and I think there should be regulations in place so it would be impossible own an arsenal.

Sometime I think people do not value this precious life we were given; being reckless and non caring they bypass the love and beauty we were put on earth to enjoy. I do think guns have their place for hunting( If you have so many guns, it’s good to use American security safe accessories for that ), target practice, and collecting; but our society has turned gun ownership into a topic for arguing and defensiveness. There are groups in the U.S. Who enjoy heckling non-gun owners with angry phrases that are nonsensical. On the other hand we have non-gun owners who push their puritan values on others and make matters worse. Both groups are equally at fault and need to find a happy medium. Seems it is an impossible feat these days.

In the meantime, keeping guns locked in a safe, using trigger locks, and teaching children and adults responsibilities regarding handling and using weapons should be our goal. As a Pre-medicine student at Pacific Lutheran University, I shutter when I hear of people getting killed by guns. So, we advise you to usea gun safe with fingerprint recognition as they are secured by fingerprints.However, my family has firearms and I have never feared that they were a danger in the home. Rather, to the contrary, I feel more secure and confident my family are responsible gun owners. As most responsible gun owners, my family keeps their guns in safes.

I remember when I was ten years old my family and I lived in a house in a not so great area. At this time, we did not possess any fire arms. Although we had no guns, we felt safe. Around Christmas time at 2 am, there was a random attempt break in. Someone was pounding on our front door trying to break it down, thinking no one was home. I was in my room terrified and began silently crying. My dad quietly opened my door and gestured me to come into his room where the rest of my family conjugated. We immediately called 911 and they responded at such a rapid pace the attempted intruderfled from the sirens. The cops then searched my neighborhood and found him claiming he was a wanted man for intruding homes.

Ever since that day, my family has owned fire arms. I have never felt more secure in my own home from owning guns. My family goes shooting every once in awhile at gun ranges to improve their skill. As responsible gun owners, we own a safe in our home and keep all guns locked inside of it. Our purpose of being gun owners is only to keep each other safe in case someone tries to harm us like when it almost happened to me when I was 10.…

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Why We Need Gun And Gun Safe In African Countries.

Africa is a large continent and has many countries in it. The problem with Africa has been Racism for a long time now.

Along with Racism illiteracy is also a major problem. With the increase in illiteracy rate crime rate is also increasing.

The crime rate has fallen by 1.8 percent in the last two years but still, African countries are suffering from hideous crimes all the time.

In 2016 it was reported that there have been more than 35000 cases of robbery. Not only robbery, the cases of murder has also increased in the past five years. This is all happening because the youth of Africa is jobless so they get into crime world.

It has been observed that many gangs have been formed and they operate all over the African Continent. So people are not at all safe in Africa and they can’t protect themselves using sticks or hammers. It is time to raise the bar African people instead of using sticks and hammers you need to start using guns to protect yourselves. Now it is time to fight Fire with Fire.

There are many people now who are purchasing Guns for themselves so that they can protect their families. Obviously, it is very difficult to operate a gun in difficult situations as there is always a hesitation that you might kill someone but even if you a gun to an intruder or a thief it will scare them. So always use a gun for Self Defense purposes.

There has been a rapid increase in the number of people purchasing guns for themselves.

But with great power in your hands comes great responsibility. People are purchasing guns but they are not doing anything to protect their guns from falling into the wrong hands.

So the best solution is to purchase a Gun Safe along with a gun( here are some car gun safe reviews you can read ). This will help you to secure your weapon and you will be assured that no one else would be able to use your weapon against someone else or even you.

The gun safe always acts as an investment for you. It is like investing in your own safety. Sometimes the price of the gun safe might fluctuate your mind but think about the safety of your family. Family always comes first, so if you invest now then you will be tension free for the rest of your life. Some area in Africa have very high crime rate, so if you are travelling by car, we advice you to use hidden car gun safe by gunsaferview.net. In case of Emergency, you can easily use it.

There are different types of gun safes available some have basic features and some have advanced features.

The price of the gun safes varies as some are cheaper and some are expensive. Usually, Basic Gun safes have a nominal price and the advanced gun safes come with a big price tag. But this doesn’t mean that advanced guns safes are un-necessary they come with a lot of features which will be useful for you. Even the basic gun safes are very useful. So, choose according to your budget.

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Dead Birds, Fish & The End of the World

Blogs and local news agencies have been abuzz in this past week with stories of mass populations of animals who are mysteriously dying without any apparent reason. The story that started with the thousands of blackbirds that fell from the sky in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve.

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Since that story broke, new instances of mass animal deaths have been popping up around the world. 300+ Turtle doves in Italy, hundreds of dead pelicans…

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…150 tons of red tilapia in Vietnam, 40,000 crabs in Britain, 2 million dead fish in the Chesapeake Bay

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In what was perhaps one of the most tragic instances of animal deaths, the beloved Twitter bird was found dead among the thousands of black birds in Arkansas.

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Someone posted a link to this Google Map that is tracking the mass, unexplained animal deaths around the world. The mass deaths are more than a little unsettling when you see them all displayed around the world like this.

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Needless to say, end-of-the-world theorists are pointing to this as definitive signs that time is short for everyone on this planet while end-times scholars are trying to find new ways to interpret these animal deaths according to verses in Revelations.

Before anyone gets too carried away, it’s important to remember that mass animal deaths like this occur all the time. On average, 163 such events are reported to the federal government each year, according to USGS records. And there have been much larger die-offs than the 3,000 blackbirds in Arkansas. Twice in the summer of 1996, more than 100,000 ducks died in Canada.

But that explanation is too boring. The end of the world makes for much better conversation around the water cooler, right?

Just for fun, let’s jump on the conspiracy bandwagon for a minute. What do YOU think is to blame for all these unexplained animal deaths around the world? Military Experiments? Global Warming? Signs of the times from Revelations? Glen Beck?…

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2010 Atlanta Bloggers Meetup

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It’s that time of year again…time for the our 3rd Annual Bloggers Meetup in Atlanta! So many of you have been emailing or DMing asking about this so I’m excited to share the details for what is one of the highlights of my year.

A few changes this year…

New Location

First of all, the Loafing Leprechaun – a restaurant we had come to love in the two brief years we were there – has closed up shop. Fortunately though, we have a new location that is almost as close. This year we will be meeting at The Arena Tavern which is still within walking distance for those who are coming from the Catalyst Labs.

Benefiting Thrive Africa!

We also decided to change one more thing this year. I know many of you enjoyed the swag bags you got last year at the Meetup (and we’re so thankful for all the publishers and record labels who provided them) but isn’t it “more blessed to give than receive?” Of course it is! That’s why this year we’re charging $5 per person with100% of the ticket price going to my dear friend Alece Ronzino (@GritAndGlory) and her amazing ministry Thrive Africa. I’m so excited to be able to partner with Thrive and help them in their mission – all while having an enjoyable evening with other bloggers!

RSVP & Facebook Event Page

Every year so far we’ve had such an overwhelming response to this meetup that we’ve had to turn people away once we filled up. All of the details are on the  BloggersMeetup.org web page including a page to purchase your tickets for this years Meetup before we run out of spots! To officially RSVP and see who else is coming, go to our Facebook Event Page.

Here are a few pictures from last year’s meetup.

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Hope you can make it! Remember, RSVP on our Facebook Page and go to BloggersMeetup.org to get your tickets before they’re all gone!…

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Our New Family Member

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On Monday we welcomed our newest little family member into our home. And I do mean little. She’s just under 8 weeks old and weighs 1-1/2 pounds. Her parents were both under 5 pounds so when she is full-grown she should only weigh around 4-5 pounds.

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Her name is Bella and she has managed to capture the hearts of everyone who has come over and seen her so far. Bella is a designer breed called a Mal-Shi or Malti-Tzu, which is half Maltese and half Shih-Tzu. As you know if you’ve been following me on Twitter we’ve been looking for a dog for a couple of months now. The longer we looked the more we began to narrow down our search. Early on we decided that we wanted a smaller dog  (nice thing about small dogs? Everything is cheaper – smaller crates, less food, easier to transport). Trying to find that was small enough and cute enough to pass the “There-Is-No-Way-I’m-Going-To-Walk-In-The-Park-With-That” test proved to be the challenge.

We found several adorable dogs online in different states but nothing close to Indy. Then over the weekend Lisa spotted an add in the paper for Mal-Shi pups. She called on them and found out that the parents were both under 5 pounds and that they had two females left. Bingo.

We drove over later that afternoon and fell in love with this adorable little fur-ball.

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We’ve gotten quite a kick out of little Bella although we realized just how much like a child a little puppy can be when Lisa and I had to get up 3 times during the night to let her go to the bathroom.

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Watching her play in the grass is hilarious because the grass is as tall as her.

And so, after years of waiting we have finally joined the ranks of proud dog owners and our two girls couldn’t be happier. As for Lisa and I? Well, we’re more like proud parents that we would probably care to admit. I’ve already caught Lisa showing her off and sending pictures of her online. If you know Lisa, you know how big of a deal that really is!

So this post is for all the pet owners out there…what kind of pet(s) do you have and what do you love about them?

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