The Terrible Toxic Toad

While paging through my comprehensive dog care book looking for treatments for Buddy’s open sore, I came across something dreadfully alarming—especially alarming for my friends in Florida, and me, as I tend to spend a good deal of time there lately.

Apparently Florida is home to a Toxic creature called the Bufo Toad.  I cannot believe I’ve spent what amounts to about a years-worth of time in the Sunshine state and this is the first I’ve heard of it.  They are extremely common.  Actually, they live in other areas as well, but the Florida ones are particularly dangerous.

The Bufo toad moves very slowly; so slow that most dogs or cats could easily catch one in their mouth.   At first this may seem funny and cute to see, but unfortunately if it were to happen, your pet could easily die in a matter of minutes.

The toad has salivary glands on the back of its neck that look like warts, and they will release a poison into your pets mouth that will instantly absorb into its system through its mouth and stomach lining, and at first will cause heart irregularities.

Then, your pet will start to drool profusely, and become unable to stand up, losing coordination and shaking its head.  Its heart rate and breathing will become rapid, and soon it will collapse into convulsions.  Death can occur within 15 minutes.

Holy Hanna.  Right?Bufo

So what can you do?  There are only two things you can do, and it’s imperative you do them immediately once you see your pet has had hold of the toad.

  1. Immediately grab your pet, wrap your arm around the head and hold it, pointed down, and rinse out its mouth thoroughly—I mean thoroughly—with a hose, taking care not to ever tip the animals head back, or water will go down its breathing tubes, potentially causing it to drown.
  2. Get your pet to the nearest veterinarian’s office immediately. Time is of the essence, so don’t try to call for an appointment. Just rush your pet in to the nearest office–we are talking ‘911’ style. Tell them what happened. They will need to administer intravenous drugs to try correct the heart irregularities, and they will be racing against time. Survival is not guaranteed.

Make sure you keep a close eye on all creatures moving across the ground when you have your dog or cat outside. If you walk your dog at night, make sure you keep them on a short leash so you can see what they see. Think twice about letting your cat out to prowl in the dark, that’s when the Bufo Toad likes to be out too.

So now you know what I know. Always keep it in mind, doing so may be saving your pet from The Terrible Toxic Bufo Toad. Please feel free to share this information with others. I’d love to hear if you’ve had any experiences with this terrible toad!



There’s no denying it—I have an addiction.  Maybe it’s the smoky smell when you walk in, or the tantalizing samples that are handed out, or perhaps it’s something they are adding to marinades.  Whatever it is, I will drive for two hours to get my fix at Schmidts Meat Market in Nicollet Minnesota.

It could be my 11thCommandament— “thou shalt not go without Schmidts”.

The market came to life in 1947 thanks to Gerhardt and Esther Schmidt, who decided to purchase a tiny little butcher shop in Nicollet Minnesota.  His plan was to serve the area farmers custom processing and butchering needs. SchmidtsStore It was a three person business; husband, wife and one helper, but that didn’t last long.  Seems they had a gift for German-style sausage making.  The business soon grew to become a full service butcher shop,  wood fired smoke house, processing production facility and retail store.  They even had to expand into another building.  Over the next 30 or so years, their sons stepped in to carry on the tradition, and Schmidts continued to grow, requiring even more space.  Now in the 3rdGeneration of Schmidts, my addiction destination boasts well over 3,000 feet of operations, providing me 56 feet of full service counter and 75 feet of self-service freezer cases  with an amazing selection of meats and over 50 employees.

I can tell when it’s time to head to Schmidts.  Cravings begin—the kind that get me pacing, fidgeting, opening the fridge 20 extra times a day as if to somehow magically find some maple beef sticks in there.

But no luck. The good news is, it’s an easy, scenic drive, between Mankato and New Ulm; one that can usually be combined with some business and pleasure stops.  In the fall it conveniently blends into a day of pheasant hunting.  And once there, welcome to carnivore heaven.  These butchers provide only the highest quality local meats.  You can call ahead to order special cuts of meat (I have requested whole smoked chickens before—oh my, they are fabulous!) but they will always have fresh selections at the ready every day.

What are my staple “must haves” from Schmidts?

SchmidtsMeatsOne package blueberry wild rice brats
One package cheddar brats
AT LEAST 20 maple beef sticks–and I am not good at sharing them–at all!
Two packages honey BBQ marinated pork chops (2 per pack)
One or two packages raspberry chipotle bacon
A selection of Italian herb, lemon & garlic, mesquite, and tequila lime marinated chicken breasts –each individually wrapped
One Wisconsin style summer sausage –cheddar cheese and cranberries
One garlic summer sausage—soooo garlicky!
One Minnesota style summer sausage – blueberries and wild rice
Half a dozen good size smoked bones for the kids


Of course it doesn’t stop there.  They make amazing little single serving pizzas that are scrumptious, and perfect for just me. Their ground hamburger is super lean, and available in bulk rolls or pre- made patties.  For recipes calling for sausage,  I will only use their bulk ground pork.  They have a huge array of cheeses, deli items, unique crackers, spreads, and dipping sauces.  They carry lutefisk.  They carry specialty items. They ship and offer gift cards.  Their award winning German-style summer sausage is their specialty, but trust me, they kick it in all the categories.

Schmidts Meat Market.  An addiction I will never EVER give up!   So, what’s your addiction?



Game Fair!

Did you hear that?  It’s a duck!  No, it’s a Goose!  No, wait, it’s a Turkey!  Oh my goodness, it’s all of them!  It’s the call of the Outdoor Sporting Show we’ve been waiting for all year—Game Fair!

Guns and bows and gear and gadgets.  Seminars, demonstrations, contests and exhibits.  Archery, Sporting Clays, Trap and Skeet.  Working dog and Agility dog demonstrations.  Sharp shooters in action and hunting authorities sharing secrets.  The amazing Falcon exhibit.  Hands-on opportunities to learn how to hold and shoot a shotgun.  Need some tips on game call technique?  Get some great training advice for your dog, test his skills in the field, and win great prizes.  See all the dog breeds, and maybe find a new bundle of fur to bring home.  Artwork, wood work, gun smiths, the best in motorized toys for adults, and great games for the kids, it’s all there on 80 acres of exhibitors and events. The perfect place to bring your guns, your bows and the whole family, including your pooch, to find out what’s new in the sporting world.

What outdoorsperson could possibly pass up Game Fair?

Live it up in the Great Outdoors, attend Game Fair!

Two Great Weekends:

August 8-10   and   August 15-17

Fri and Sat 9-6   and   Sun 9-5

For more information, goto:








It’s not easy to watch someone suffer, whether it’s a person or a pet.  At least to some degree, a person can tell you how they feel, or give you feedback on what’s working and what’s not.  A dog is only going to look at you with adoration, attention, expectation, and unconditional willingness to please, even when they can’t.

So it is with Buddy.  The mass on his left shoulder is growing, and his leg is drooping farther. His homemade boot is just not enough.   He wants to move.  He wants to run.  He tries.  Every right legged hop-step he takes jolts his bad shoulder and leg.  It puts me to tears.  I cannot afford to take more drastic measures, nor do I want to put him through that rigorous process. It would not extend his life. What quality of life would he have for the short time he has left?  If he could just have some support on that left side.  I search and search online, looking for solutions, and come up with nothing.  Why isn’t there a chest harness out there designed for supporting a “shoulder injury”?

And then I looked at the Thundershirt.

It’s a soft, thin, stretchy fabric body wrap you can tighten as needed.  It wraps across the entire torso and captures both shoulders snugly in place with Velcro.  While the purpose of the Thundershirt is to calm a dog experiencing general fearfulness, leash pulling, incessant barking, crate or separation anxiety, or anxiety due to storms, fireworks, travel, or if the dog is just plain manic, the actual design of the shirt could be just what we’re looking for. After explaining our situation, and confirming with our local Petsmart they had the shirts in stock, Buddy and I were on our way to the store.

We hadn’t been shopping together in a very long time.  Tail up, head up, ears perked, he knew right where he was.  Hello Petsmart!  The land of endless treats, crotches, pooches, and amazing, euphoric smells.  What a happy dog.

The folks at Petsmart were so very kind and helpful.  They had several shirts waiting for us at the front of the store so we wouldn’t have to spend Buddy’s limited energy trying to find them.  Buddy was so cooperative, and loved the attention. Two associates helped us figure out how to properly fit him. We tried on several sizes to zero in on the best results for our unique requirements.  We tried pulling the shirt over to the left side to more fully enclose the lame shoulder, leaving his right shoulder more free.  The minute we had the large camo style wrapped around his sweet frame, Buddy melted onto the floor in a puddle.

“I think this is the one.”  I said.

“Why don’t you walk around the store with him in it for a while to be sure it’s doing what you need.”

“Well, thank you so much!”

What an incredibly kind gesture by the employee.  Buddy looked up at me, perfectly relaxed and content to stay there on the ground in his shirt.

“Treats?  Treats, Baby?”

He was standing in a flash.  Off we go for a test walk.

His first steps were clumsy and gingerly placed, as he looked up at me with worry in his big brown eyes as if to ask; ‘What is this thing hugging my body?’

But within a few minutes, he relaxed into it, and seemed to not even notice it was there. The Thundershirt gently held his shoulders together, making his limp far less exaggerated.  The shirt, combined with his homemade boot, seemed to help redistribute the weight and decrease the pain he was feeling.  He bounded up and down several isles, sniffing the merchandise, flirting with a couple fine girl dogs, and showing off to other humans what a good boy he is.  He even went on full point at the canaries!  We canvassed the store, ending up with a cart full of dog food and a few special treats.  He could have gone another round—he was a happy, not to mention relaxed, dog.  And I was a happy customer.

Just like when I would go grab the E-collar, Buddy perks up to attention when I reach for his Thundershirt.  Instantly at my side, he knows it means we’re going on an adventure together, and stands ready to be fitted into it.  I am so grateful for the Thundershirt.  It takes away some of his pain, makes it easier for him to walk, calms him in the process, and is extending what is left of our quality Thunder 074time together.


We’ll take those small miracles where we can find them.  Thank you, awesome Thundershirt makers!





Da Gorilla Boot

The pet industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade or more.  There are dozens of mail order catalogs, upscale pampered pet stores, and a Petsmart and Petco in every major city across the country.  There seems to be an endless variety of products in all flavors, colors, shapes and sizes, to address virtually anything a dog may need.  That is, unless it pertains to medically focused products.

As my boy continues to be consumed by Osteosarcoma, the tumor grows larger, weighing on his deteriorating shoulder bone, causing pain, and he is beginning to drag his left front paw.  Apparently this type of cancer is common with dogs, especially as they age.  Still, outside of amputation, nothing really exists except drugs to help cope with the condition as it slowly worsens.  It breaks my heart, watching him limp around, trying to carry on as though nothing is wrong.  I’ve tried to keep him off tar, cement, and gravel surfaces, but it’s not always possible. He has started wearing the fur on the top of his foot and toenails down, causing “rug burn” sores.  So, I went searching for some affordable, protective footwear for dogs.

Surprisingly, there is not much available in terms of protective footwear for a dog in my dogs condition.  Sure, there are some sporty looking hiking boots that run about $50 for a good set. They are designed to protect the bottom of the dogs feet from rough terrain, but when it comes to the prospect of dragging a foot across the ground, there just doesn’t seem to be anything out there that is going to survive more than a few walks before it’s worn through.  And for that price point, it puts them out of range for us.

So we had an arts and craft day, and I came up with a low cost, effective solution.

Introducing “Da Gorilla Boot” for Buddy. ???????????????????????????????

I have to start off by saying, Gorilla Tape is a girl’s best friend.  Goodness knows how many times I’ve used it for one project or another around the house! Of course it would be my first choice in materials for my boy’s special needs. After much thought and analysis, I carefully formed a sleek, heavy duty boot the size of his foot with Black Gorilla Tape, adding extra layers of tape on the side that drags.  It slips on snugly, ties at the top, and stays on fairly well for our mediocre short walks.  It’s smooth enough to not catch on anything, and I even created a small ventilation hole on the side that does not hit the ground.  As he drags his foot, it will remain protected from the elements.  No more wearing down of his toenails, fur or skin around the top of the foot.  We take those small blessings where we can.

This hand crafted, rugged stylish boot made with tender loving care serves his needs perfectly.  One roll of tape is only $6.00 and it will provide enough boot repair fixings to last longer than he will need.

It is a fairly strong piece of footwear.  He seems to use it for a little support when standing, and when he get’s up to a faster pace, will throw his bad foot forward, using that added support to almost appear as though he is not limping.

When I go to get his leash and “Da Gorilla Boot”, he instantly perks up, knowing it means we are going for a walk.  Hopefully we will still share a good many more little walks, he and I. DaBoot

Many, many thanks to the makers of Gorilla Tape.  Once again, they have rocked my world, and now Buddy’s!



The Icy Igloo

Convenience. What a big word, and tall order when you don’t have any, aren’t near any, but would like some.  What was ‘convenience’ to our forefathers?    What is ‘convenience’ to people today living in third world countries?  What is convenience to you?

For me, it takes on many meanings.  Some are more vain than others, from keeping a hairbrush on the lower level and the upper level at home, to my recent upgrade from traveling the country with minimal gear to pulling a fully stocked “home on wheels”.  And now it also IcyIgloo2means not having to drive 30 miles to town for ice every day.

Even with the all the amenities that come with having an RV, one thing is for certain:  The fridge and freezer are too, too small!  After the upgrade, I still found myself keeping all liquids outside in coolers, and driving to town for ice every day.  How inconvenient!

But all that has changed now.  I found the magic answer at Walmart for $99.00 plus tax.  The Igloo ice maker has been my Florida winter savior!

This little machine cranks out a serving glass of beautifully roundedIcyIgloo3 ice cubes every 10 minutes or so.  Even out in the elements in 80 plus degrees!  It is compact, stylish, and quiet running.  It tells you when it’s out of water.  It provides the option to generate big cubes or mini cubes.  As long as the water reservoir is kept full of water, the Igloo will provide perfect ice cubes continuously.

For me, that meant 3 months straight, rain or shine and no matter how tropical the temperature got.  I have done the happy dance more than once because of my Igloo.  It paid for itself in one season, simply by me not having to drive and purchase ice elsewhere.  The sound of brand new ice cubes dropping into the tray makes me smile—my Igloo tells me when the ice tray is full, and if I don’t retrieve the ice promptly it will simply melt away, and re-circulate, creating fresh new ice cubes once again.  Guaranteed, any time I do set up a minimal gear trip where there is electric provided at a campground, my Igloo ice maker will come with me.  What a difference this will make in menu choices and keeping food, plus, no more driving to get ice!

IcyIgloo1Visitors are always surprised and somewhat in awe at my sturdy little ice making machine.  What an amazing convenience! Unfortunately the raccoons think so too.  But how convenient to discover this cute wooden crate for $7.00 at Home Depot that fits perfectly over the Igloo to ward off those masked scavengers?

Warm weather winter life is good when there is ample ice in it.

Since returning home, I noticed there was something missing.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first.  Then it hit me—one day I went out to the Toy Hauler, retrieved my Igloo, and set it up in my kitchen. The sound of that first set of brand new ice cubes dropping into the tray, once again made me smile.  Images of palm trees, beaches, sunsets, and tall cool drinks all came rushing to mind.

Life is good when there is an Igloo ice maker in it any time.

Why would you through the summer without one?




Fishy Business

Retirement: the American dream.  The tasty carrot dangling at the end of a career.  The gold ring. That hard earned life of leisure we work our whole lives to enjoy.

What do people do with all that newfound free time?  Some go golfing.  Some spend time up north at the cabin.  Some putts around the house fixing things up.  Some maintain every blade of grass in their yards to shear (get it?) perfection.

Fishy2And then there is Dennis.

He has a very different view of retirement.  It may seem like he and his wife lead a quiet, caring life of faith and community.  But on top of all that, in an effort to make good use out of the scrap wood in his commercial woodshop,

Dennis is into some fishy business.

Dennis has decided to devote his energy into making fish.  Not as in a fishery;  not as in serving fish at a restaurant.  No, we’re talking about a scrap of solid wood, carved into a fish shape.  Not just any shape, a shape with meaning.

How cool to make a few here and there.  You know, give them out to people like friends, and family.  A truly non-denominational expression of faith.

But oh no, that’s not where it stops for Dennis.  He is into this fishy business to the tune of about 200 fish in a batch, about 30 fish per day until the batch is complete.  What started as a cute fish idea, has grown into supplying churches in 16 states across the UniteJesusd States, and in four other countries.  All hand drawn, cut and finished.  He’s casting out a faithful message with wooden fish into the world.  Annual volume ranges right around two thousand per year.  Every stranger he encounters is presented a fish.  I treasure mine, indeed!  Calls come from all corners of the country—of the world–for fish orders.  All word of mouth orders.  One of his recent Church orders called for 350 fishes.

Now that’s a bunch of retirement fish!

Dennis and Carol lead a very busy life besides being up to the gills in fishy business.  They travel south in the winter to help communities in need of housing assistance.  His carpentry skills are put to great use rebuilding homes still waiting for “post Katrina” repairs. His wife works by his side, sewing, cooking cleaning, and prepping for the next work project to be done.

What an admirable couple on a mission of faith and fish.

Sometimes, when I am distracted, restless, or just not feeling up to par, I find myself reaching for my fish.  Yes, I am hooked.  I never seem to tire of examining its curves, the deep cut lettering, the way it fits so perfectly in my hand, or the simplicity of its message. It certainly reels me in.  As I clutch it tightly into my palm, I smile and think about Dennis, a man in a very Fishy Business.

If you’d like to cast a net full of these awesome fish, contact PR Brady AdVentures for more information.

Sugar Me Bare

Ladies and Gents, hair removal doesn’t have to be a painful experience—just try Sugaring.  Sugaring can be used on legs, brows, nose, ears, face, bikini line, under arms, or anywhere you have unwanted hair.

Where to go for the best Sugaring treatment ever—

Estrella Apothecary and Spa
Holistic Skin Care, Therapeutic Massage, Natural Nail Care       
2515 Nicollett Ave S Suite C
Minneapolis MN 55404

Ask for Skin Care and Beauty Specialist, Orrin Black

Orrin is one of 20 elite official Educators for Alexandria Professional, the longest established Worldwide Leader of the Professional Sugaring Education Process.  You want him to be your Sugaring provider.sugar2

Orrin is an amazing professional, focusing on Body Sugaring and makeup applications and lessons.  He is devoted to working with both women and men clients, giving them exactly what they need to look and feel their best about their skin.  Short list of his services include: Full Body Sugaring, Kisswaxing, Male Grooming and Manscaping, Salt Glow Scrubs, and Hungarian Wellness Mudwraps.

Go ahead and tame the gorilla in you, Sugar!

Escape to Serenity! BWCA August 2013 Trip

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
The Gateway to an Extraordinary, Wild, Adventure!  
 Release the stress
 Challenge yourself physically
 Relish the solitude
 Simplify your routine
 Listen to the call of the Loon
 Get in touch with your inner, outdoor self
 Refresh, renew, and revive


Experience a world without human influence.  An ancient, uninterrupted wilderness that few make the effort to visit. Breathtaking views, pristine lakes and streams, abundant wildlife and memories to cherish a lifetime.

Escape to Serenity!

Come with me for an amazing adventure week of paddling, camping, exploring, and fishing in the famous BWCA Wilderness.

August 19 – 23, 5 days, 4 nights  Deadline to commit is August 8th. Prepayment post marked by August 10th.
$749.99 per person
Includes food, gear, and transportation as outlined in the trip detail documentary
Pre trip social August  16th 5:00 – 8:00

 Trip group sizes are limited.  Message me today with your email address for complete trip information, pricing and registration!

Minnesota Permit To Carry Course — September 15, 2013

Minnesota Permit to Carry Course

Sunday September 15th  2013

8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Caribou Sportsman’s Club

30649 380th Street

Le Sueur MN 56058

Approximately 45 minutes south of the metro on 169

$118.00*          Lunch included

Are you prepared to defend yourself or your family in a life threatening situation?

Do you need added protection for your job, business or recreational pursuits?

Do you want to support Americans  2nd Amendment right to bear arms?

Minnesota statutes offer law-abiding citizens an opportunity to secure a permit to carry a concealed firearm. This course is designed to meet the requirements to allow you to apply for that permit.


Here is a brief overview of what is covered:

Psychological preparation before a violent encounter

– Conflict and situation avoidance

– Use of deadly force requirements

– Law enforcement encounter

– Legal obligation when carrying

– Aftermath of the use of deadly force

– Ammunition, weapon types and selection

– Drawing from holster and holstering

– Holsters, clothing and concealment options

– Malfunction clearing and weapon retention

– Plus many other aspects of legality are presented 

This is an all day course, consisting of classroom instruction followed with state mandated live fire range exercises that will make for a full day.  Eye & ear protection is provided.  For the range exercise you will need a handgun and 50 rounds of ammunition.  *If you do not yet own a firearm, either a revolver or semi automatic handgun can be provided for use on the day of the class for and additional $15.  Arrangements for this must be made with me by September 1st!

Class size limited to 16 students—and these classes fill quickly!

Reservations and prepayment postmark deadline August 15th  

*Note:  This course is NOT a basic or introduction to handguns, although some basics are covered, this is a Minnesota permit to carry course, NOT how to shoot a handgun.

Contact me today for complete information and registration details.