Blogs for 2013
checkout the archived city farm blog articles to learn about our takes on farm & city life
checkout the archived city farm blog articles to learn about our takes on farm & city life
Sometimes you just get to have some fun with animals you would never normally get to touch.
Another animal company – Boones Animals for Hollywood – recently had some baby bears that they were training for a job. It didn’t take long for the word to get around to all the trainers in this business, and slowly one by one, we all made our way over to Boones to play with babies. I feel extremely privileged to be able to do this. By the way, can you see how dirty I am? Yes, playing with bear cubs is a dirty business, but someone has to do it!
I have this silly tradition of starting and ending my week with one favorite treat; I like to enjoy my food! While watching what I eat is an equal concern, I came across this article today and it brought great comfort to one of my
guilty pleasures, homemade chips and guacamole.
Courtesy of the examiner.com and Debbie Nicholson, a study was released examining the health benefits of daily consumption of avocados. Researchers conducted a survey among 17,567 men and women aged 19+. Results showed that 347 adults that consumed about 1/2 of a medium sized avocado within 24 hours showed increased intake in nutrient levels. Specifically, “36% more dietary fiber, 23% more vitamin E, 13% more magnesium, 16% more potassium and 48% more vitamin K than non-consumers”.
While every study has limitations, this one certainly makes me want to increase my avocado intake! Follow this link for the full article: http://www.examiner.com/article/avocado-s-linked-to-lower-risk-of-metabolic-syndrome and enjoy your avocados today! I know I will.
Maybe it’s that cozy winter feeling, but the grey overcast today (my secret favorite) has me itching for other cold cities; London, to be exact. One of our dear friends just returned from a trip there and she was gracious enough to share some of her behind the scenes pictures with me. Naturally, I have to share them with you!
Taking a vicarious trip, the forecast in London today is 5 degrees Celsius, a chilly 41 degrees Fahrenheit. One of her favorites that is a sure indoor ‘must-do’ is to spend the perfect winter day at London’s oldest, Spitalfields Traders Market. Open everyday, these shops showcase the cutting edge trends for fashion, health and beauty, art, home interiors and even gourmet food and wine. The design of the building stands out among others with its beautiful glass canopy; complete with world cuisine restaurants; you really don’t ever need to leave.
Spitalfields is located on Brushfield street, available by bus, car and bike. Open seven days a week, from 10:00AM – 7:00PM. Enjoy these pictures, and plan your next British visit to this beautiful market!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re married, in a relationship, or single; today is about spreading the love. In making my own gifts, I wanted to share my favorite handmade Valentine Idea with you, courtesy of Spoonful.com. You’re never too old for hand-crafted Valentine’s.
To create these beautiful flowers, gather colorful construction paper, scissors, a glue stick and your favorite lollipop. You can also use Cake Pops for an extra pop of color and sweetness.
1. Cut out a heart, flower, or any shape your desire from the construction paper. Glue the wrapper of the lollipop to the paper.
2. To make the leaves, simply fold paper in half and cut a leaf shape.
3. Unfold the leaf shape and glue it around the lollipop stem, press firmly to secure the shape.
4. Enjoy your handmade Valentine’s!
Thank you Spoonful for the DIY inspiration! To a day filled with red, chocolate, flowers and fun. Enjoy~
As we welcome spring, our roses begin to awake from their winter nap.
Each year in late January, I trim my roses back for winter. This is the best time for Southern California blooms. I always marvel at their strength for within a week or so of pruning, I can see tiny sprouts popping their heads toward the sun announcing springs arrival. While I gage this by my roses, most people rely on a calendar. My old habits die hard.
Roses need three things: water, sun and food. Water your roses often. They can’t get enough of it. As for food, there are lots of choices available from your local gardening center, and their staff can recommend the right type for your garden. I personally use a granular organic fertilizer and my roses bloom profusely all summer long.
When spring arrives, your roses need to be fertilized. Roses require a lot of nutrients to produce healthy growth and beautiful flowers. Fertilizers should be placed around the outside of the plant, one to two feet away. Carefully pull back any mulch and place the fertilizer into the first inch of the soil surface. Take care not to damage tender roots which may rest near the surface of the soil.
As for summer, roses need to be fed once a month during their growing season, however, make sure to stop feeding your roses in the fall, or at least four to six weeks prior to the first annual frost date. If you fertilize too long, your roses will continue to produce new growth which can be damaged by the cold.
Enjoy your blooms this year!
Inspired by Gandhi’s above quote and today’s trending tweet of #changestuff, I was curious–what’s the change about? After browsing I quickly realized no ‘one’ event signified the trend (unlike the Super Bowl of course, which generated an overwhelming amount of trending tweets), but it gave us a chance to voice our change, what we want to change and what motivates that~to each his own.
This time of year signifies change most, a Spring season of new beginnings, ventures, a renewal of the mind and all things life. One of the most beautiful changes to me, aside from the change is season but in connection with; the change in fashion. New York fashion week airs tomorrow, one week to forecast the next few months of ‘must have’ looks. I like to connect these looks with one of the most important aspects of change; what we define ourselves by. These looks connect to the change we want to see in the world, the look we choose as a direction connection to who we are.
The bright colors, the pastels, the soft fabrics all give us a different definition and connection. The feeling of a soft pastel dress with the sun on your face.. It’s those moments that make me enjoy change, in its most basic form. What’s your change? Write in and tell me about it.
Currently on travel in Amsterdam, I had to start my morning in Jordaan walking the Singel flower canal. I stumbled along the Bloemenmarkt, the worlds only floating flower market.
Bloemenmarkt has roots that date back to 1862, when daily deliveries came by barge. Now by car, this market still boasts some of the freshest and most beautiful Dutch tulips, geraniums and other rare and unique floating finds. 15 other specialty shops reside within Bloehmanmarkt, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
Although its currently around 36 Fahrenheit (brr!!), these beauties survive and thrive even in the colder months. I’ll show you the secrets of the American finds soon enough!
My love affair with traveling began when I was fifteen years old. My mother took me clear across the country by train…from Los Angeles to New York. On the second day, the train was scheduled to make a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After breakfast, Mom and I returned to our stateroom to prepare for the big adventure. We put on makeup, did our hair, and changed clothes a couple of times. When we were ready, we headed to the Club Car, found a seat, and waited…and waited. After an hour or so, a porter passed through the car.
“Excuse me,” Mom said. “What time do we get to Albuquerque?” The porter shook his head. “Sorry, ma’am. We stopped in Albuquerque over an hour ago.” We both burst out laughing. We’d gotten so wrapped up with our hair and makeup, we never noticed the train had stopped.
One of my fondest memories of that trip is the French Toast that was served in the dining car. I asked the waiter, and he was kind enough to give me the recipe. It’s a recipe from the past…nothing like the healthy, low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie food we all try to stick with today. But if you’re feeling decadent, try this recipe. Everyone should eat this delicious breakfast at least once in their lifetime. It’s amazing!
Santa Fe Railroad French Toast
5-6 slices day old white bread or egg bread, cut 3/4″ thick
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt canola oil powdered sugar
Cut bread slices diagonally in half. Beat the eggs with cream, vanilla and salt. Dip bread into mixture and let soak 1 hour. Heat canola oil until very hot (about 450)̊ in pan, to a depth of 1″. Add 3 or 4 pieces of bread , or enough to fit the pan without crowding. Fry until edges turn golden brown. Turn and cook the other side just until the edges brown. Remove and place on oven rack over a pan.
Bake at 400̊ for 3 to 5 minutes until puffy and golden. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
While I absolutely love the California sunshine, sometimes it’s hard to compete with the French elegance that is Paris, even if it was 30 degrees..for 7 days straight.
We just returned home from attending the Maison D’ Objet Trade Show in Paris, full of inspiration and creative products. My favorite part of our French travels were the food, the fun and the future we get a birds eye view of, as we know European markets set the trends. While it would be unfair to share all of my secrets of the products we’re soon to unveil–I will divulge this: I hope your sweet tooth and your homes are ready!
The beauty of getting lost in specialty shops captured me most. Pictured below is the cozy olive oil, tapenade and honey store Epicerie Provencale, Premiere Pression Provence. While exploring around the West Bank and Le marais, we strolled (coffee and pastry in hand, of course) in here, leaving with arms full of herb, spice, butter and aromatic flavored cooking oils. Certainly a shop to be seen out on your next travel to Paris!
HINT: Future product inspiration and clues may be hidden in this blog. We’re back and excited to show you more country chic style this Spring!
Most years just before Christmas, Budweiser embarks on a a mini movie of sorts – a commercial they shoot that will air during the Super Bowl a couple of months later. I have worked on a couple of these and the pictures I took on this commercial show how beautiful and magnificent the horses are and how stinking cute the dogs are. I do not have anything to do with the horses, the training of these amazing Clydesdale’s is left in the capable hands of Robin and Kate Wiltshire http://www.turtleranch.net/Turtle_Ranch/Home.html and many extra hands from Budweiser.
If you have ten minutes and LOVE horses – watch this video put together by Turtle Ranch on training the Clydesdale’s for the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si7p23Nex-g&feature=share&list=UUMCE4MR_S9rEVL89WUVq9bQ.
It will make you feel ashamed that your dog can’t sit/stay – lol.
I have been a part of the training of the dogs in a few spots though. In the above commercial – also seen in this link: http://youtu.be/i6hnqnPVJcE you will see Tommy, owned by Robin and Kate, he had a featured role for this spot and it is one of my favorites. To check out the Clydesdale’s on the Budweiser site – click here: http://www.budweiser.com/en/us/content/clydesdales/article/the-budweiser-clydesdales
People often ask how we train our squirrels and where we get them from. Well I can tell you that all of our squirrels are rescued. We get phone calls from people that have found a baby on the ground and don’t know what to do. We encourage them to leave them alone for a while to see if the mother comes to collect her baby and get it back to its drey (nest). Only when its quite apparent that the baby is abandoned do we agree to take it. *Note: we have licenses from the USDA and the department of Fish and Game to keep and house squirrels.
As far as training squirrels, they all have different tastes and preferences, but most of them will happily be trained for some peanut butter, sunflower seeds, tiny pieces of grape, slivers of walnut or other nuts and monkey chow (a diet used in zoo’s for many different animals, despite its name). They are usually what we call “hands off” – meaning we don’t touch them once the become fully grown as they do have quite a nasty bite! They may appear cute and cuddly, but realistically that is the last thing they want to do with a pesky human.
In the picture below you can see myself and another trainer Deborah working a trained squirrel in a park. The park was in Budapest, Hungary! You can see the box that I am holding, that is called a catch box. And this box is where the squirrel is released from and where it runs back to after he has performed. It has a doorbell type buzzer attached to it, so when I ring the buzzer, the squirrel knows to return to the box, once inside he gets a treat. we only use this box on set for the few minutes the squirrel performs. After he has done his actions, we transfer him to a larger cage that we use for traveling. At night when we return to our facility, they then get transferred to an even bigger enclosure, with tree branches and hammocks and nesting boxes.
What can you train a squirrel to do you might ask? Well, when you consider the average job for a squirrel, this may be just sitting in a tree. Easy enough I hear you say. Not so fast! We usually ask production to provide a branch or section of the tree that they want to shoot and we separate that from the real tree, so in the event the squirrel wants to go on safari, he is limited to a very small area. We have trained our squirrels to retrieve and hit a mark (like an actor), to run from “a to b”, sit and hold something, to wave and they are really good at eating. You can click on this link to see the commercial we shot in Budapest, http://youtu.be/8sBsNn48u4Y the only thing the squirrel did not do (and was added in post production) was carry the candy bar up the tree trunk. It was a fun job and very challenging, yet extremely rewarding.
You just have to remember one thing when training any animal – what is its motivation? For your dog, he may not like treats, but loves a tennis ball. Your cat may love beef flavored baby food or chunks of chicken and a rat might like dog kibble. Find out what food or toy excites your animal in training and use it to train some amazing things!