Homemade Dog Earwash

We have a wonderful Golden Retriever named Shalmar.  He is goofy and loving and allergic to EVERYTHING including Antihistamines.  Shalmar had constant ear infections that were secondary infections caused by his allergies and, apparently, yeast infections.  This meant that Antibiotics would not work for him so we tried Antihistamines as recommended by our vet.

Shalmar began to gain weight and sleep a lot.  Within a few weeks, he couldn’t hold his bladder for more than a couple of hours.  He was deteriorating quickly.  His ears did clear up for a short time but this was obviously not a viable option.  We could not just leave him with the constant pain of an ear infection so we started to look for alternatives.

We first found a fruit based Ear Wash only available in the US.  It worked fairly well for him when we rinsed his ears twice a week.  I kept looking and experimenting.  Finally finding a recipe for a Homemade Ear Wash that are inexpensive and easy to make.  A trip to the pharmacy to get Boric Acid (a powder) and Rubbing Alcohol, and Apple Cider Vinegar from the grocery store, add a squeeze bottle and you have all you need to make a very effective product to keep your dogs ears in great shape.  Shalmar hasn’t had any problems since we started using one of these ear washes every week.  Now for the recipes:

½ cup Rubbing Alcohol
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsps. Boric Acid


1 cup Rubbing Alcohol
2 tbsps. Boric Acid

Mix very well and put in the squeeze bottle.  Squirt into each ear once or twice a week as needed, and massage the ear well before the dog shakes it out.

This recipe also works for drying dogs’ ears after they get wet, and works for most other ear infections we’ve come across.  We use it for all of our dogs after every bath as a general maintenance and drying rinse, as well as, when we see a lot of ear scratching going on.

The best way to tell if your dog has an ear infection is to inspect the ear and if it is red and inflamed and/or has a dark discharge or flakes, then there is an infection present.

Good luck and I hope that this works as well for your dogs as it has for ours.


Rising Food Prices

Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background
Garden Broccoli with Carrots and Swiss Chard in the background

Watching the news the other night, we hear that China is stockpiling food, corn at the moment.  There was already a shortfall due to the pressures for plant based bio fuel and the absolutely crazy weather over the last couple of years.  Supply and demand; rule one of a capitalistic society.  Corn is an ingredient to so many other things, processed foods, dog food, and fast food.  These prices will all be increasing to reflect the increased corn costs.

We have been seeing a distinct and sharp upward trend in our food prices over the last few years.  The environment has been playing a major roll in it all.  Frosts and snow in the south, floods, well, everywhere, except where there is drought and fire.  Crops on a world scale are being damaged and destroyed by ecosystems that are reacting in record setting extremes.

Lovely and fun news (insert heavy sarcasm here).  Some of us are so fatigued by listening to disaster after disaster, that we have a level of unidentified anxiety about, well everything.  We are tuning out the news or simply shell shocked as we hear of another flood, earth quake, drought, fire, volcano, hurricane, tornado…  The unbelievable thing is that the government is trying to normalize the entire thing.  A 6.8 earthquake is hardly a whisper in the news world.  I remember when a 5.0 quake was talked about for a week or longer.  I actually had a great laugh when we were informed by one news source, that the 5.0 earthquakes in Ontario and Quebec in June 2010, was a fairly normal occurrence.  Really???  The last one on record, I believe, was in 1935.  This does not in my opinion, constitute normal.

The bad news and disasters are, however, becoming normal occurrences.  The question, how to deal with the stress and anxiety of unstable environments and food sources?  At what point do food prices outstrip the family food budgets.  For some, that time has already come.  But, we are not helpless.  Many have lost touch with our food production and preparation.  We have the choice to resolve some of these things.

There are some fairly simple things we can do to contribute to our food supply.  One is to start a garden in your yard, a family member’s yard, or if you don’t have access to a yard, in a community garden in your area.  Even if you don’t think that you have a green thumb, some carrots and beans, corn and peas are fairly easy to grow from seeds (no need to buy starter plants), can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned and taste fantastic, are less expensive, better tasting, and more nutritious than store bought.  A small patch takes no more time to care for than a flower garden, but the returns are so much higher.  The whole family can get involved.  It is fun and rewarding.

What I have started doing over the last couple of years is exchanging the regular inedible houseplants with edible herbs and plants.  When anyone brushes up against an herb plant, the most delightful aroma is released, all natural, no purchase necessary.

It is amazing how many different fruit and vegetables should grow in my climate.  I live in the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada.  The fruit trees and bushes, as well as, the perennial herbs have survived through a very cold winter last year, with very little snow for insulation.  Organic food for nothing more than time and energy is a wonderful thing.  Harvesting seeds is another way to decrease the cost of gardening and food.

I’m excited to see what I can bring home into my control.  Definitely helps with my anxiety, my health, and my food budget.


Stove Top Percolators vs. Drip Coffee Makers

Looking at the downsides of Drip Coffee Makers and finding them to be many, I had finally had enough of them. The machines that just quit, right in the middle of brewing a pot of coffee, while company, who has come over for a cup, sits waiting for the coffee that will never appear. Or the coffee makers that do not make the coffee hot enough, so one brews a pot, pours a cup, and then proceeds to the microwave to warm it up. The coffee just doesn’t get to the great taste one would expect. It always tastes a little watery, cold, weak, or just not very good. I haven’t even mentioned the broken and the cracked carafes yet.

How does one make a glass coffee carafe husband proof? For some reason the laws of expansion and contraction elude my lovely husband Helping out, doing the dishes, wanting to get it all done, puts a hot glass carafe in the considerably cooler water and sure enough, the carafe cracks, surprising him of course. Trying not to waste, and having finally found a coffee maker that at least does a passable job, we order a replacement carafe: cost $60.

This carafe lasts a while, until one day, I am going to make a pot of coffee and behold, another crack running along the bottom. My husband stands blinking with the, “I didn’t do it” look. He later admitted that he just tapped the side of the carafe on a ceramic bowl in the dish tray, and once again, was very surprised that it cracked.

At this point I am no longer willing to spend another $60 to special order the carafe, but there are universal carafes available. We end up trying two of them. One carafe does not fit at all (I had actually grabbed the wrong one), one almost fits, but alas, the coffee is cold and watery. ‘Almost Fits’ is just as bad as ‘Wrong One’ for coffee maker carafes.

I start to consider all the coffee makers of days past. I consider the interesting info about plastics leaching toxins when heated and it occurs to me that I am done with Drip Coffee Makers. I do not need to be poisoning myself while having a bad cup of coffee. I do not need to be spending ridiculous amounts of money replacing the machines and the carafes on fairly regular schedules. I was looking for something that made a great cup of coffee, would not break down, and was husband proof.

Stainless steel appeared to be the answer. I had already switched to a stainless steal stovetop kettle after the last time my son fried the cord on my electric one. Just need to clean it with vinegar every 6 months to a year, give it a wipe once in a while, and that’s it. Love, love, love my stove top, stainless steel kettle! So the question was, how do I find the same thing for coffee? Happily, I found a stainless steel stovetop, 12 cup, percolator at my local hardware store. Both the jug and inner working are stainless steel, stronger and definitely less fragile than the aluminum ones. It looks great. It took brewing 3 pots to come up with a killer combination and timing to perfectly fit my taste. Did not take any longer than a drip machine. The entire setup cost me less than $45, made a fantastic pot of coffee and I will not have to replace the equipment again. It is sturdy and husband proof. It is the most Eco Friendly and pocket book friendly option I could find. I do love the win, wins when I find them. Newer is not always better, and this is definitely the case for the New Drip vs. the Old Percolator Style Coffee Makers. The stove top Percolator wins hands down!