Search This Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010


I have to take some time away from my art and life for a special post.  A few years ago, many dogs and cats became sick, some died, from tainted dog and cat food.  Since that time, I have become very aware of the importance of the things such as food, chemicals and vaccines that affect our beloved pets.  I check out different websites, read a lot about pet food and just spend a lot of time on the internet reading things that deal with pets.  One website that I read daily is Truth About Pet Food.  Below is an article from that website concerning something that is being done to recognize all the pets that have suffered from the love of money above all else.  It is my hope that this website will reach all the people whose pets suffered from the tainted pet food and that they will be able to memorialize those pets.  I have permission from the websites owner to repost this article.


If your Pet died or remains ill due to a pet food,
Click Here to include your Pet in Vindication

Pets Remembered by Gift
One shattered pet family, fed up with the continued snubbing of industry and government, decided enough was enough.  Every single pet that has died or remains ill because of a pet food will be remembered; why these pets became sick and/or why they died will be remembered too.
If a pet food has ever sickened or killed a Pet of yours, a friends, or a family members…I urge you to read every word on this page and share it with all.  We, every Pet Owner, have been given a powerful gift.

Five acres of land at Keystone Lake under the Oklahoma skies has been donated to all Pet Owners.  Five acres in the very center of the United States given to us; a home to focus on the very center of the problem.

Pet Food has killed and sickened countless thousands of Pets over the past years.

They all mattered to someone,
They all matter in Vindication.
  Vindication will Never Forget Them; Nor why They Died.

Yes, you read it correctly.  Five acres of land at beautiful Keystone Lake in the heart of this country has been donated to pet owners!  It is ours!  No charge, no cost. Our gift to remember the pets!

Before you learn all the details of Vindication, a moment needs to be taken to remember why...

“One of the unspoken truths of American life is how deeply people grieve over animals who live and die with them, how real the emptiness is, how profound the silence is these creatures leave in their wake.” 
From Dog Years by Mark Doty.

Losing your dog or cat because a pet food was contaminated is one of the worst experiences a pet owner can endure.  You feel guilty. You feel taken advantage of, you feel lied to.  You feel alone.  The most unbelievable levels of anger and guilt churn in your gut. 
BECAUSE OF A PET FOOD...many have held their dear friend for the last time while a lethal drug is injected into their body to end their pain and end their life.  BECAUSE OF A PET FOOD...countless others have suffered right along side their pet holding onto all hope that they recover.  Watching them die is haunting.  BECAUSE OF A PET FOOD...thousands more continue to nurse their bodies damaged by pet food day in and day out.  It is the worst emotional roller coaster ride imaginable.  The vet bills have maxed out your credit cards.  Your pet-less friends look at you like you’ve gone off the deep end, the pet food company investigation will be futile, and the FDA inspector won’t even return your call.

It is one of the loneliest feelings on the planet.

It happened six times to one family.  They have buried six pets because of pet food (2007 recall), four cats and two dogs. 

Their story of Zippy, just one story of thousands, is shared below... 

He was a stillborn baby kitten.  His human mom puffed the first tiny breath into his lungs and massaged his heart; she felt its first beat.

Zippy was not a typical cat, more of a clumsy comedian.  Seems he couldn’t make it across a carpeted floor without tumbling to the ground once or twice; a toe nail always tangled him up in carpeting.  Day in and day out, the ceiling fan startled him.  He was best friends with a Cockatiel; Zippy didn’t know birds and cats weren’t supposed to be friends.  It is a family joke that Zippy wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, but he was loved… so loved by his human family.

Zippy’s sister was one of the first that died; for two years, Zippy continued to search and cry for his poisoned sister.  For two years Zippy became sicker and sicker from the ravages of melamine laced pet food.  Damage was done.  His human mom felt his heart’s first beat under her fingertip massage at birth, and she felt his heart’s last beat from poisoned pet food when she was forced to euthanize his lingering body.

Thousands and thousands of pet owners have walked in these same shoes.  It changes you; forever.  

From the 2007 melamine pet food recall alone, some estimates are as high as 300,000 U.S. and Canadian pets became sick, died, or are still fighting kidney disease.  Countless thousands more pets have become sick from recalls or silent recalls of tainted pet food since.  
No laws have changed, no lawsuits have been settled, none responsible have been jailed.  No one has told us how many died or remains sick; no one tells us how many continue to become sick and/or die from new recalls.  Today, with numerous silent recalls (pet foods being removed from store shelves without an official public recall) we barely even know the partial truth of pet food risks.  Many pet foods continue to import inferior ingredients, continue to violate Federal Food Safety Laws, continue killing and sickening pets.  Pet Owners have written letters to Congress, begged pet loving Celebrities, pleaded with Federal Officials for change.  Time and time again we've been ignored.

One pet family decided enough was enough.

If the FDA, Congress, and irresponsible Pet Food Companies wanted to continue to turn a blind eye to the cold truth that hundreds of thousands of pets have become sick and/or died and continue to become sick and die because of a pet food, this family was going to make sure not one pet would ever be forgotten; nor why they died.  
These compassionate and generous people understood that we needed to be unified on solid ground.  They understood that no one has ever counted the dead and sick pets; the powerful want this information to be kept silent.  As well, they understood that the numbers – the massive numbers of pets that pet food has destroyed – should be known to all.  Each singular pet death or illness destroyed a family, yet each singular pet death or illness was dismissed by those responsible.  Individually these crushed families were/are powerless to protect further pets.  Vindication will gather the names, the thousands and thousands of pets sickened or killed by a pet food.  Then, the serious reality will be undeniable to all concerned.  Because of Vindication, the power will be given to the Pets.
Vindication:  to liberate, to set free, to protect from attack and encroachment, defend.
If your Pet died or remains ill due to a pet food, Click Here to include your Pet in Vindication

Vindication is ours.  As you read this Vindication is being sculpted by the donors into flowering gardens with handmade stones lining the cascading pathways.  Careful selections of flowers are being chosen; flowers will bloom both day and night.  At the very front of our land will be 16 handmade stones circled into the pathw ay beginning.  These 16 stones signify the 16 “official” pets that died at Menu Foods testing laboratory long before the deadliest recall in world history was announced. 

From the Remembered 16 Circle will be pathways that cascade over our land.  Each stone lining each pathway will be handmade and personalized with the name of a pet killed or sickened by pet food.  Each innocent victim will be remembered.  Thousands of pets – each with their own personalized pathway stone will be honored here. 


Together, these pets will speak loud and strong.
An undeniable statement to all.

The land, the plants, the benches, the handmade personalized pathway stones are our gift.  There is no charge to any pet owner, everything is our gift.  It needs to be noted, that the donors are no Hollywood Celebrity nor are they independently wealthy.  They are an average family that has been shattered by pet food.  They recognized that we all have been crushed time and time again; no lawsuit settlement, no punishment for ChemNutra, no FDA safety regulations.  This gift has been given to us because the donors wanted all of the innocent pets to be remembered, they wanted no one to forget why these pets died or became ill, and they wanted pet owners to have something that can never be taken away.  Solid Ground.  Vindication.

Merlins.JPGIn June, we will celebrate the opening of Vindication.   

Now just imagine…A beautiful June day at Keystone Lake, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  You are surrounded by pet owners – you know…other compassionate, loving people that don’t mind if you have a few stray dog or cat hairs on your clothing (the best kind of people).  You are wandering down pathways in the midst of beautiful trees and flowers covering gently rolling hills.  As you are walking down the paths, you are reading the names of pets that have died because of a pet food.  You’ll see Zippy’s stone (from the story above), you’ll see my dog Sam’s stone (the dog responsible for my work at, and you’ll see thousands and thousands more, all personalized with a pet’s name.  Then, as you are walking along these extremely emotional paths, you look down and there is your pet’s name.  His/Her personalized pathway stone; telling the world they will never be forgotten.  It will stop you in your tracks.

Smudge.JPGYou bet, it’s gonna make you cry; it will take your breath for a moment and might even take you to your knees.  There it is…your pet’s handmade pathway stone.  He/She is here…with you; he/she will be forever honored and recognized that this life should never have been taken so recklessly. 

As you gaze at your pet’s name through teary eyes, the owner of the pet on the stone next to you kneels down with you and you are no longer alone.  Someone, that moments ago was a stranger, comforts you; they understand - they have walked in your shoes.  Perhaps you cry together, share a special memory of this honored furry friend.  When you look up at all the winding paths, you’ll see others remembering their furry friends.  You are no longer alone; these pets are no longer alone.

Thousands of pathway stones –
Each with the name of a pet that has died or remains ill because of a pet food.
The thousands of Pets remembered in Vindication will become proof change is necessary.
By remembering each and every one of them, they will have a voice.

If your Pet died or remains ill due to a pet food, Click Here to include your Pet in Vindication

 After we explore Vindication, we will gather to celebrate these wonderful pets (more details on this to come).  We’ll share stories of our lost loves on our gift of solid ground.  Our hearts will hurt remembering them but we’ll know that now…because of this gift to us…because we now have solid ground to stand on…the pets have a voice that will not be ignored.  We have Vindication.

Our goal…to prevent more names to be added to Vindication.
No more poisoned pet food.

This will be our beginning. 
The First and Only Solid Ground on the Planet dedicated to Pets And Pet Owners
That have suffered at the hand of Pet Food
June 12, 2010
Keystone Lake, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Grand Opening.  Be there.

Friday, March 19, 2010

flora and fauna

We have a little bird that is always around here.  It is so pretty and I just love to see it.  It is hard to get  very good pictures of it, it is so quick.  The bird is a vermilion flycatcher.  I had never seen one until we moved to Ft. McKavett.  The day that I took these pictures, it was real windy.  The little bird was trying to fly into the wind and was getting absolutely nowhere!  He finally changed directions and flew to rest in a tree.  My pictures of it are not very good, but I wanted to share them anyway.  The pictures were taken with the zoom all the way up on my camera and I lose a lot of clarity when I do that, but otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten the picture at all.
Here he is flying into the wind and getting no where, which is why I was able to get a picture of him!!  He's the small red colored spot in the middle of the picture!  If you click on the picture, it should enlarge so that you can at least see the color of him.

And, here he is sitting in the tree.  He is in the left of the picture.

My son, Donny brought his two kids, Jacqueline and Wyatt and their friend, Taylor out for spring break.  They camped in what we call the 'park'.  It is an area that we cleared of mesquite and prickly pear.  We have a couple of swings there.  We hope to someday build a tree house, but the grandkids are getting so big now, that it seems kinda late to do that now.  Here I am relaxing in the hammock while the kids are getting their campsite ready.
                                           white anemone
                                                     purple anemone            
                                           lichens on a fence post
The kids had a good time camping.   We cooked hamburgers at lunch and fajitas for dinner.  Taylor figured out on her own how to cook fajita meat over an open flame.  They were able to camp for a couple of nights, then the rain brought it to a halt.  They slept one night with a light rain, but then got a small leak in one of the tents. We decided that since it was supposed to rain harder the next night, that they should sleep here at the house.  They learned a lot and it was a good experience for all involved!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crosses for collectors

Here are two crosses that I have done from old dishes.  I have a friend who has an antique shop and she would save the broken and chipped dishes for me that she would get along with the good pieces.   I love using the damaged pieces as it gives new life to pieces that would other wise be thrown away. 

Franciscan Apple Cross
This cross was made from the Franciscan Apple pattern.  It is a small cross.  It measures 3" x 8".  I cut the cross piece  which was the edge of small plate with my ring saw.  Some of the other pieces were cut with the ring saw.  Others were just nipped.  The pieces were glued on a wooden base.  The piece was then grouted and the base was painted a brown that matches the brown on the tesserae.  The grout and the painted base  were then sealed.

Blue Onion Cross
The Blue Onion cross is made from small plates with a Blue Onion pattern.  I don't think that these plates were vintage Blue Onion, but were newer dishes.  The cross measures 7" x 3 3/4".  The base is wooden.  The tesserae was all nipped and glued onto the wooden base.  The piece was then grouted and the base was painted a dark blue to match the blue on the tesserae.  The grout and the blue paint were both sealed.  

Both of these crosses can be purchased at my shop, Jack Rabbit Flats on Etsy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Yesterday and today have been really pretty days.  The weather has been so pretty that I actually wanted to take the dogs for a walk.  On Monday the dogs were so excited and were running a ways in front of me.  So far ahead of me that they weren't really walking with me but the cows were.

There's Smudge, Double L, 8-ball, Pretty Girl and Patches.

 The donkeys were following along too.  Sissy is in front and Millie is behind.

The dogs finally caught up with me.

Lucy is the slowest of the dogs and is bringing up the rear.  Larry is next and Abe is in front.  Abe is a fast little stink and will run forever.  Yesterday they scared up a jackrabbit and chased that rabbit forever!  The rabbit finally darted through an algerita bush and escaped.

The grass is beginning to turn green and little flowers are beginning to appear.  I can't wait for the bluebonnets to start blooming.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

I belong to a wonderful Etsy group, PieceMakers Mosaic Artists.  We are scattered all over the US, but are fast friends.  I haven't belonged to the group but a few months, but felt  at home there right away.  It has been nice to be able to visit with other artists, as I have missed that since we moved out here to Ft. McKavett.

Every 2 months the group has a challenge.  One person comes up with a theme and we make a piece of art that represents that theme.  This time it was 'Dream a Little Dream'.  For 2 months that song has been running around in my brain!!  I finally decided on a dream of mine, an English cottage garden.  I love gardens that are sprinkled with this and that and have that overgrown look.

I will never be able to have such a garden.  Living in the country in west Texas makes it hard to have a garden, period!!   I plant something that I just love, such as 'lambs ears' and find out the next morning that jackrabbits love it as much as I do!!  Or, the deer come through.  They like to just taste things, pulling many of my just planted flowers out of the ground.  One time a deer walked through my vegetable garden and pulled up an onion here and there.  It tasted a few tomatoes, green ones and ripe ones, only to spit them out.  Oh, I was SO mad!  Then there is the alkaline soil problem.  Alkaline soil produces light green or yellow leaves and stunted growth.  Roses don't like alkaline soil at all!!  Work as I may, I have still not corrected the soil enough to plant and grow a pretty rose.  If it's not the soil, or animals, there is Mother Nature.  She really likes to play games out here.  It's either hot and dry, or too wet, or hail, or a late freeze.  You name, she can do it out here!

But, the main reason that I will never have an English cottage garden is the fact that snakes also like pretty, shady gardens.  Roy has a terrible fear that I will be working in my over grown garden and get bitten by a snake.  I have two friends who live out from the city that have been bitten by rattlesnakes while working in their gardens.  It  could happen to me.  To satisfy him, I keep my garden neat, or at least I try, and keep it cut back so that there are not so many bushes for snakes to hide in.

My mosaic piece was made from many porcelain boxes, pretty plates, old jewelry and beads.  I have a 'ring' saw that I can cut out pieces for my mosaics and I love using it!  When the pieces were all cut, I glued them on a board.  Not thinking ahead, I glued a lot of the roses on.  Then, in a panic, I wondered how I was going to grout around all those roses and flowers.  That is when I thought of using beads as fillers.  I love the effect, but it was difficult using the beads and getting some of them in just the right places.  When I had finished the piece, I painted ivy around the edge of the board.  I used mirrored tile to look like a little pond.  The path is made from quartz that I find here on the ranch.  I had to soak it in water, then pound it with a hammer to get it to break into all the little pieces, but it made a nice pathway.

The challenge pieces can be voted on and who ever wins gets a small prize and the great feeling of having won an art show!  You can go vote at

                                          work in process (wip) pictures
                                          Some of the pieces that I cut up

My ring saw and some of the things that I cut up.        

The process of gluing on the flowers.                         

The messy stage.                                                       

The finished project.                                                  

A close up showing the ivy border.                             

One last close up.                                                        
For a real treat, be sure and go to the PieceMakers blog and vote for your favorite project.  There are some beautiful works there.