It’s Alive. Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone

October 2nd, 2015

No, you wouldn’t want the long-clawed yet adorable grizzly in your living room, but now you can have the next best thing!




Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone is the culmination of 10 years of work, and it’s one of the most timely books to be published this year.

The bears almost became extinct due to logging, mining and poaching in the area in the 1970s. The Endangered Species Act saved the grizzlies, but they’re once again facing a threat from us.



 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


Believe it or not (I had trouble believing it!), grizzly bears may lose their federal protection. It may soon be legal to pursue them in trophy hunts right here in the United States.

Are you shocked? Read more about the status of grizzly bears at the NPS. Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.


Grizzly 610 and cubs walking along Pacific Creek Road.

Grizzly 610 and cubs walking along Pacific Creek Road.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


More about Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone

This monograph is not only a great gift for the nature lover in your life, it also has all this:

  • The book honors and follows the most famous family of grizzly bears on this planet—matriarch 399 and her adorable offspring as they roam the Greater Yellowstone Park and the Rockies
  • More than 150 crisp and lovely (see for yourself in this post!) images from nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen, who tracked and photographed the bears for 10 years
  • A dramatic story of the near annihilation and ultimate survival of grizzly bears told by environmental writer Todd Wilkinson
  • Life-and-death stories, including those focusing on the relationship between people and grizzly bears
  • Forward by Ted Turner, whose foundations work for our safer, healthier future by addressing wildlife conservation, and other causes
  • High-quality 13” x 10 ½” hardcover that spans 240 pages with a nice cover hiding behind that also-nice dust jacket (What I’m saying here is that it will look good in your house, or inside a reusable gift bag)


Grizzly 399 and her three cubs cross Buffalo Fork in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Grizzly 399 and her three cubs cross Buffalo Fork in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


This book will be released by Rizzoli on October 13, 2015. Follow the Rizzoli link, and you can find out where to buy the book locally or online.


Grizzly Bear 399 and cubs walking over snow-covered sagebrush in Grand Teton National Park.

Grizzly Bear 399 and cubs walking over snow-covered sagebrush in Grand Teton National Park.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


Let’s close with what Tom Brokaw had to say:

Tom Mangelsen is a photographic genius at bringing nature’s greatest creatures into our lives—and his work with the magnificent grizzly bears of the American West is a gift for all generations. We have grizzly visitors in Montana—usually a mama and a pair of cubs—and their presence stirs the soul for they are the essence of wild. Tom’s photographs and Todd Wilkinson’s narrative capture all of that without the need to find an escape route!” —Tom Brokaw


© Thomas D. Mangelsen

Would Automatic Voter Registration Be Greener?

August 20th, 2015

The upcoming election year hovers above us like smog. Maybe that is bleak-think, but apparently many people don’t like elections much. Just look at low voter turnout rates.

I’m excited that I no longer have cable and will be spared the never-ending negativity/sense of doom encased in most political commercials.

Image by flickr.biofriendly

Image by flickr.biofriendly

Right now, around a quarter of Americans eligible to vote haven’t bothered registering. But one might ask: If voting is a right, then why do you have to register?

In fact, many politicians have been asking that question. Well, at least democrats have been asking it. So, now I’m asking you these questions:

  1. Would automatic registration increase voter turnout? Take a wild guess.
  2. Have you ever wanted to vote in the past, but couldn’t because you didn’t register?
  3. Would everyone be mailed voter registration cards, or would an ID suffice, saving paper and money?
  4. Would automatic registration encourage voters who are concerned with the environment to show up to vote?
  5. If automatic registration became the law all across the U.S., would anyone really want to opt-out of that process? (If so, please explain why!)

Don’t leave me hanging. I really want to know the answers to these questions.

How to Get Cats to Drink More Water

May 29th, 2015

Do you also struggle with an elusive water drinker? For years, I filled my cat’s little water bowl. I never saw him drink from it, but I refreshed it anyway.

After an emergency room visit for a bladder problem years ago, I  had to make sure he got plenty of wet food. I think this was his plan, but that’s another story. So, now I see my kitty cat of 12 years drinking water all the time. You know what changed?



The Solution: A Dog Bowl

My cat started drinking out of the large stainless steel water bowl belonging to my 70-pound dog.

No, he doesn’t like dog-slobbered water, but he’s commandeered the dog’s second water bowl. The dog learned to make do with one water bowl at most times.

I think my cat likes the dog’s bowl because it’s large. But the stainless steel bowl is great because it’s easy to clean, and healthier than plastic. And it’s unbreakable!

Cheap and Easy Alternative to Pet Fountains

So, if you’re considering spending a lot of money on one of those fancy plastic motorized contraptions (cat fountains) that require tedious cleaning and replacement filters (I hear, but I’ve never had one), don’t do it. Get a big pan of water instead!

You can buy a nice steel water bowl designed for large dogs for about $10. I would recommend against getting one with a rubber bottom, as those have more of an odor. Place the bowl on a mat to prevent skidding.

Do it! And watch your kitty drink at last. But still give him wet food. Cats rule, and they deserve to eat like royalty. Of course, cats have distinct personalities, and you’ll never know for sure if this will work until you give it a try!

Appreciate the Kitty Kiss

February 13th, 2015

Get Your Pickle Bucket

February 6th, 2015

Ever found yourself needing a place to stash dog poop?

Let me explain. I’m between houses. When you have a house, it’s easy to throw your dog poop in your outside trash receptacle. Cause you don’t want to bring that sh-t indoors. Continue reading »

Cat in Your Engine? Winter Pet Safety Tips from the ASPCA

February 6th, 2015

It’s cold out there! The ASPCA put together this new infographic with tips to help you keep our furry pets and feline ferals safe this winter.  Continue reading »

Most Adorable Kitten Graduation Photos You’ll See Anywhere

November 5th, 2014

Just in case you’re having a bad day, here are some smile-inducing images from the graduation of the ASPCA Kitten Nursery


The kitten nursery is the very first high-volume facility located in New York City that’s dedicated to care of this vulnerable (and cute) population. It began in the summer of 2014. Continue reading »

Natural Dog Treats, Made in USA

October 20th, 2014

I always read labels on food I buy for myself, but I do that for my pets as well. It matters! I stay away from brands that have had recalls, and I never buy any pet treats or food that are sourced from China.

So, where do you turn for good, natural dog treats? Asking your local pet store about options is a good place to start. You’ll have better luck with the local pet store chains, not the big ones. However, some big pet stores have started to carry more natural options.

Whenever I get the chance, I test out new natural dog treats for my rescue pup Stella. (Well, she’s the one who eats them. I just give them to her, but she loves her job.) So, I agreed to receive a couple bags of Look Who’s Happy dog treats for review here.

And Stella loves these! My cat Choco wanted to try them out too. But cats are always curious…. (Time for honesty: My cat got into a little spat with Stella over these treats, but it’s all good now. I have a horribly shot video of this, but who wants to see a dog get whipped by a cat?)


The Story

Look Who’s Happy dog treats are made by Big Creek Foods, founded by two brothers, Jeff and Tommy Gay. All treats are made in Gainesville, Georgia. And I’ve got to wonder who does their photography. These are the happiest-looking dogs I’ve seen on packaging!

Look Who’s Happy highlights 

Safe Dog Treats: The brothers operate their own private processing facility according to FDA food safety production guidelines. They even meet much higher standards than the pet food regulations require. Plus, every meat and poultry ingredient is sourced from the USA, Canada or New Zealand (never China), and is USDA-inspected.


Natural Dog Treats: Look Who’s Happy treats contain no by-products, or artificial stuff (like preservatives, colors or flavors). The treats are also grain and gluten free. Fetch’n Fillets and Tempt’n Tenders are even made with whole muscle meat or poultry. And, of course, the treats are slow-cooked for great taste. Apparently, they are so expertly cooked, even cats want them!

Do you feed natural dog treats? And, does your cat ever try to steal dog treats?

Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality Creates Suffering

October 16th, 2014

I’m happy to once again take part in Blog Action Day. Light Green Stairs has participated since the beginning in 2007!

The topic this year is especially important. Inequality exists all around us. Frankly, this topic is so important, it’s difficult to be specific in just one blog post. But I’ll try…

Rich and Poor

Oxfam is a key partner for Blog Action Day 2014. According to them, the richest 66 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. (A previous report indicated the richest 85, but that number has since been updated to the richest 66. It’s getting worse!)




What does this mean, and why care?

If you’re poor, you’re more likely to die sooner than a rich person. Part of the reason is lack of access to health care. But another issue is the inability to afford healthy food, or living in a food desert with no access to healthy food. And extreme poverty is very stressful.

What else does inequality mean?

Yeah, I told you it’s difficult to be too specific with this issue! It’s not just about income. Inequality exists on many levels:

-Inequality against women, including violence, attitudes, sexual harassment and getting paid less than men for the same work

-Inequality against the elderly, including just not taking them seriously or placing value on their lives

-Inequality against the disabled, including bullying or not affording the same opportunities as abled-bodies people receive

– Inequality based on race, including police violence against unarmed black teenagers


BAD2014 copy


What can you do about it?

First, take a look at your own beliefs and attitudes. No one is perfect, including me. Ask yourself how you can work to make things better, not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world where there is suffering caused by inequality.

Most importantly, ask yourself how you can help end poverty. Your work could be political, or it may be humanitarian. It could be as simple as volunteering to help someone improve their literacy skills, or donating to a nonprofit that fights poverty.


Stay in touch with the conversation on Blog Action Day, October 16, with these hashtags:  #BAD2014 #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16

Is no nut butter safe? Arrowhead and MaraNatha Recall.

August 20th, 2014

Peanut butter just doesn’t have a good track record for safety. If you think that sticking with a natural brand keeps you safe, maybe not! The FDA has a full list of recalled nut butters from nSpired Natural Foods.


Who’s on the list of recalled peanut butters and almond butters?

  • Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter
  • MaraNatha Almond Butter
  • MaraNatha Peanut Butter
  • Store brands from Kroger, Whole Foods, Safeway and Trader Joe’s

Check your refrigerator and pantry for the recalled nut butters and throw them away, container and all. For a refund, call 1-800-937-7008, but you may be lucky to get through.

I had one of the recalled MaraNatha Almond Butter products in my refrigerator and couldn’t get through after calling several of the phone numbers listed, so I sent a message to MaraNatha via their contact page.

Did the recalled almond butter make me sick? I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I had a mysterious and very unpleasant vomiting episode a few weeks ago around the time I ate some of the almond butter, but I didn’t go to the doctor. I was the only one who ate some of it, and I haven’t eaten any of it lately, thankfully! I just didn’t make the connect.

Many cases of food poisoning go unreported. Right now, it’s suspected that four illnesses are linked to these recalled products.

I think I’m going to stick with just eating the nuts from now on, or make my own nut butter. How about you?