Pugster OSKAR

Our pug Oskar now has his own site on facebook.  To follow him just type in Pugster Oskar on facebook search.


Alzheimer is a form of dementia and is the 6th leading cause of death in the world. And it is the biggest epidemic in the United States and I am sure Canada is not far behind. It is documented that there is a new case of dementia every minute in the USA and every 4 seconds in the world. Dementia affects everyone, the person with it, their family and friends. Caregivers are affected, having issues when overwhelmed. There is very little funding for finding a cure for this debilitating disease. Alzheimers is one of the top 10 diseases in the world and has no survivors. In the USA there are 5,000,000 people with the disease. Florida alone has 500,000 people in the 60+ range with and added 750,000 in the next 15 years. Just a few figures:

Cancer has $5 billion spent annually in research, HIV has $3 billion spent a year and Heart Disease has $2 billion spent a year whereas Alzheimer has no where near that amount. Billions of dollars are needed to fund research in order to find a cure for this disease. Costs for care exceed the cost of Cancer and heart disease and nothing can stop the progress of the disease.

Dementia/Alzheimer is a degenerating brain disease that destroys brain function until it takes all capabilities including breathing, swallowing, feeding self and moving around. Most people are over 65 when it starts. Victims become a shell of their former selves. Symptoms are repeated questions, over and over, leaving the house, OCD habits, and later accusing family of stealing and attacking family members. Everyday in the newspapers and on the news you hear of the search for someone who has wandered away from home and the final story is not always happy.   Caregivers deal with guilt, frustration, physical tiredness and abuse. There are not enough facilities to care for Alzheimer patients, and the costs are upward $4000-$6000 a month.

For more information go to pbs.org/everyminutecounts for more information. This information was obtained from the pbs show – Every Minute Counts. There are not many solutions other than a care home or weekly assistance to give the caregivers a break. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a cure was found in the next few years, it would definitely ease the burden on health insurance and health care, as well, as improve the lives of those involved. If you have the opportunity to donate to a cause, please choose Alzheimer!!  WE NEED MORE AWARENESS OF THIS TERRIBLE DISEASE.
















I planted a new plant last year, a passion fruit, nothing has come of it yet but anticipating some fruit next year.  The passion fruit is a strange but very tasty food.  It is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.One fruit contains about 17 calories.  About 25% of the fruit is fiber and helps remove cholesterol from the body.  Passion fruit has lots of vitamin C and consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.  Also rich in Vitamin A, essential for good eyesight.  Potassium is another ingredient and helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.  The fruit is a very good source of minerals. Iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.  When picking the fruit or buying in the supermarket,  keep them in a basket and place in cool dark place and they stay well for 1-2 days. Ripe fruits may be kept inside the refrigerator for up to one week.   Passion fruit freezes well. Simply scoop the pulp into a bowl, add a little sugar, and freeze.   Fruits with wrinkle surface are actually more flavorful and rich in sugar.  To eat a fresh passion fruit, cut it in half carefully and scoop out the yummy interior with a spoon!  You can put some passion fruit in your salad for a crunchy effect.  Also great in yogurt and as a topping on cakes desserts.  

Passion fruit is native to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay but they can be found around the world.  

There can be some side affects with passion fruit.  The sedative property of passion fruit can lead to intervention with drugs. If you are already administered medicines for depression and anxiety, then consult your doctor about the permissible dosage of this fruit.   For similar reasons, excessive alcohol and passion fruit should be avoided. They can make your reflexes extremely sluggish even if temporarily.  Aspirin should not be taken with Passion fruit as it can enhance the effect of this medicine which can dilute the blood excessively.

Here is a link to Passion Fruit Cheesecake, when you make it save me a piece!!   http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/passion-fruit-cheesecake-recipe.html












Well I tried something new today,  we got some moringa seeds pods from a friend and we cooked them today, tastes like asparagus!  I have a small moringa tree which is in bloom, but no seed pods yet.  Theseed pods are huge and hard for the tree to hold up!  Moringa has been called a super food with so many benefits and uses!  

Moringa leaf has many uses including natural source of nutrition and energy booster.  It is a sleep aid and helps lower blood pressure.  Moringa leaves has 7 times the vitamin C as an orange,  4 times the calcium of milk,  4 times the vitamin A of carrots,  3 times the potassium of bananas and 2 times the protein of yogurt.

The juice from the leaves has a stabilizing effect on blood pressure and is believed to control glucose levels in diabetes.   Leaves and buds can be rubbed on the temples for headaches.   Leaf juice can be used as an antiseptic.  Leaves are used for fevers, eye and ear infections and bronchitis.  The leaf is able to kill intestinal worms.    Moringa originated in India and it can be grown cheaply and easily.  The leaves retain lots of vitamins and minerals when dried and moringa is used in India and Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition.   The immature green pods are eaten like green beans, the seeds can be removed from mature pods, cooked like peas or roasted like nuts.   The leaves can be used in salads, are cooked and used like spinach, and they are also dried and powdered for use as a condiment.  

So give them a try, you might even like them and get the benefits they afford.

Since there are so many uses for the moringa, you can find more complete data at: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins supplements/ingredientmono-1242-moringa.aspx?activeingredientid=1242













Cayenne pepper is a member of the Capsicum family. The red or green chili pepper are used to add spicy flavor to foods . Cayenne contains vitamins E, C, K, carotenoids and the complete B complex. It is a source of calcium, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.

The health benefits of the Cayenne pepper are:

Improves blood circulation, stimulating the blood making sure the vitamins and minerals are properly delivered to all areas and ensures the waste is expelled. Research proves that taking cayenne extract can assist in preventing the formation of blood clots. Triglyceride levels are also reduced. Applying cayenne pepper causes irritation in the applied area, thus helping to distract the nerves from joint pains due to arthritis. A diet with cayenne pepper helps to avoid stomach aches, gas, and cramps. Also it stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva. As it stimulates secretions it helps clear mucus from the sinuses. Tea mixed with cayenne pepper is believed to be good for treating conditions of cold and flu. Smelling cayenne helps to cure headaches. Cayenne pepper is a source of beta-carotene, which helps reduce asthma symptoms.
When added to food it helps you lose weight with proper digestion. It also reduces excess appetite due to inefficient absorption of nutrients. The beta-carotene found in cayenne pepper works as a good antioxidant that prevents or repairs the damage caused by free radicals. So it helps prevents atherosclerosis and colon cancer.

We should be careful using too much cayenne because of burning sensations in your stomach, but it has numerous benefits that should be taken into consideration.  Just taking it daily, even at the very least one warm glass of 1/4th a teaspoon is certainly going to give you tremendous benefits. Side effects also include sweating, flushing and runny nose.  It is unsafe to take orally in large doses or for long periods of time, and in rare cases can lease to more serious side effects like liver or kidney damage.  Everything in moderation is a good motto.












Pugs originated in China (BC 206 to AD 200). The Emperors of China prized the pug and treated them royally. Pugs came to Europe in the 1600s when China started trading with Europe. Pugs were brought to North America after the civil war.

You might say they are a lot of dog in a small space. Pugs cant help but make you smile at their funny face, shoved in nose, wrinkles and big eyes. Pugs can be playful but also very dignified. They weigh between 15 and 20 pounds depending on if they are overweight. They tend to be from 10 – 14 inches at the shoulder. Pugs have a short coat with a tendency to shed. They are one person owners, and I mean they own their person, anyone else is just there to make their life comfortable (meaning me). They like to eat and protect their food so pugs tend toward being overweight unless they get a fair amount of exercise, and they love going for walks, especially to the beach where they can chase crabs and birds, or even a stick. And they don’t ever want to quit.
They come in a few colors, fawn color being the most often seen, but also black, brindle and a rare few white. They have a curled up tail, and they under jaw usually extends a bit further than the top of their mouth. They are smart dog and can learn new things if they are willing! They are good watch dogs, hearing every little sound, even a leaf falling off a tree. Pugs wheeze, snort, snuffle, grunt and snore loudly! When they drink water they tend to slobber water all over.

So I don’t know if this makes you want a pug for a dog, but once you have one you will be endeared to it!  These are pictures of our pug, Oskar.


















The root vegetable that has lots of medicinal properties and will aid in treatment of many ailments is the lowly beet. The beet is an ancient prehistoric food that grew in North Africa, Asia and Europe. It has strong anti-cancer properties and anti-inflammatory agents to support heart health. Some of the important properties of beets are, B1, B2, B12, C, Copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and iodine. Beets improve blood flow, regulate cholesterol levels,and are good for a healthy liver, protecting against liver diseases. Beets fight anemia and detoxify the body, slow down aging and protect blood vessels. They are good for digestion because they are high in antioxidants, cellulose and pectin. Beets are excellent for athletes boosting stamina and endurance during a workout. Beets have a high sugar content therefore should be eaten in moderation.

Beets can be eaten raw, juiced or cooked. The leaves have a high content of potassium, and with the elimination of sodium can lower the risk of heart diseases and strokes by 21%. Also beet greens ward off Osteoporosis, fights Alzheimers and strengthens your immune system.

So there you see, you must add some beets to your diet. I love them just boiled and sliced, or with a little vinegar. A great recipe that is fairly common with the use of beets is Borscht:

1 quart of organic, homemade broth (preferably beef )
1 tbsp butter
3 – 4 medium size beets – thinly sliced or grated
1 thinly sliced or grated onion
1 cup of shredded red cabbage
1/8 cup minced parsley
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Sour Cream (optional)
Over medium low heat, melt butter in a medium size soup pot.
Add onions and beets and cook until soft – about 7 or 8 minutes.
Add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in broth.
Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add fresh cabbage, parsley, nutmeg, and sherry. Simmer for a couple minutes more, season with additional salt and pepper and serve with a  dollop of  sour cream if you like.

Everything (almost) you need to know about Scorpions

Image result for scorpions animalImage result for scorpions animalImage result for scorpions animal baby







The reason for this topic is because we encountered two scorpions in our yard in one day, although they were dead, it is a bit freaky to find them here, although not uncommon.

There are about 2000 different species of scorpions, and they are found on all the continents except for Antarctica. They are closely related to spiders, mites and ticks. Only 30 – 40 of these species are known to be capable of killing a person with their venom. They have 8 legs and are easily recognized by their curved tail with the stinger on the end of it. The size ranges from .3 inches to 9 inches. The history of scorpions goes back before the age of dinosaurs and their appearance hasn’t changed much over the years, but they are now half the size of their ancestors. Yikes!! Their sting is painful and medical care may be required. Scorpions are nocturnal spending the day in a cool underground space. Scorpions are susceptible to being killed by birds, lizards, mice, opossums and rats. But Scorpions are capable of killing small lizard and mice. They typically eat insects but can slow their metabolism to where they can live on one insect for a year.

In reproduction the young are born one at a time after hatching and expelling its embryonic membrane. The brood is carried on its mothers back until they have one moult The size of the litter depends on the species and environmental factors. They can range from 2 to over 100, but the average litter is about 8.

To prevent being stung, work with leather gloves, wear long sleeves and pants, shake out clothing and shoes before putting them on. If you have a severe alleric reaction you should carry an Epipen and wear a medical id bracelet.
If you are stung by a scorpion you should see a doctor who will give you a strong antivenom medication. It is extremely painful and there are several symptoms including slurred speech, increased salivation, vomiting, shortness of breath, loss of muscle control, etc.
About 250,000 people in Mexico are stung by scorpions each year. Several dozen people die each year, and there are more than 200 different species in Mexico and 8 of them are considered a significant health risk. In the state of Jalisco the most common Scorpion is of the genus, Centruroides. The adult can be up to 3 1/2 inches long and of an opaque color.

Benefits of Kumquats













I bought a kumquat tree the other day, it already has some fruit on it, so this is a new experience for me. These trees were brought to Europe from China in the middle of the 19th century. The kumquat tastes like an orange but you can eat the whole fruit including the peel. A kumquat tree is slow growing and doesnt grow very tall, the branches are light green, some may have spines on the branches. The flower is five parted with white petals. The tree can produce several hundred small orange colored fruits in the winter. If you open one up it looks like orange sections. There are 1 -2 seeds and are generally not eaten. There are several varieties of kumquats.

Some of the benefits of this grape size fruit are:
100 grams provides only 70 calories, but are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. The peel is rich in essential oils, anti-oxidants and fiber. The fresh fruit contains adequate levels of vitamin A, C and E. Kumquats are a small source of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. When buying the fruit be sure the skin is firm, smooth and bright orange color with the attached stem. They can be stored at room temperature for 3 – 4 days and in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. You can enjoy kumquats fresh, candied, added into a salad and as a garnish.














The neem tree started in India and is spread around the world now.  It is highly regarded in India as a medicinal plant.  All parts of the neem plant can be used, although the seeds, bark and leaves are most commonly used.  The seeds are made up of at least 50% oil.  Neem oil is widely used as an insecticides, especially to organic farmers.  Neem can be used as bug repellent, much safer than DEET.  The oil has many uses, for one, it is used in  making soaps, shampoo, lotions and creams.

The seeds contain the highest concentration of active substances in the neem plant.  BUT the seed oil can be toxic and shouldn’t be taken internally.

The leaves of the neem tree contains less active ingredients than the seeds and the leaves are available year round as the tree is an evergreen.  Its easy to make your own home remedies from the leaves.


Leaf pastes and extracts are used in skin care products, hair oils, in neem toothpaste and mouth washs.

Many people chew the leaves, take capsules of dried leaf, or drink the bitter tea. The leaves cleanse the blood, help ulcers,  support the liver, and strengthen the immune system.   These are some of the most popular uses.  Neem is a very powerful herb and you should consult a herbalist or natureopath before using, and it should not be taken internally for long periods of time.

But topical use of  neem leaf extracts is safe and used as a skin care works very well.  It is effective to treat warts, cold sores, inflammation, eliminate bacterial and fungal infections.  It moisturizes skin and can even lighten scars.

The bark of the neem tree is not as widely used because it is more difficult to use.  It is difficult to extract ingredients because it is dry and hard.  One of the uses of the bark is for gum disease.  The active ingredients of the bark is used for an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.  Neem bark leaves contain Polysaccharides and liomnoids which are beneficial for alleviating cancer and tumor cells.

Other parts of the neem plant can be used for various things.  For example the twigs are good for chewing and were used in India like a toothbrush to prevent cavities and gum disease.  The pulp that is left after extracting the oil from the seeds is recommended for use as fertilizer.  The flower smells like honey and the bees love the neem flowers and neem honey is made.  The flower oil is used in aromatherapy and has a calming effect.

Other uses:  the wood is considered an important source of firewood in some areas of Africa because of its rapid growth and it grows well with little water in poor soil.  Another use is the neem tree being used for much, it can bring back acid soils to neutral and it improves the water holding capacity and nutritional value of the soil.

Finally, before using neem, you should research it and here is a link that gives you a lot of information on its uses and interactions with other medicinal properties: