Knut Hamsun’s GROWTH OF THE SOIL – A book review

Growth of the SoilGrowth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over the years, I’ve discovered writers who take you into the very heart of Humankind: which means they really took me into the living heart of all of Nature.  First, Charles G D Roberts.  Then Grey Owl.  Farley Mowat.

Adventure writers (most of ’em were writing before I was born) like Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Marsh, Tolkien, Will Henry, Andre Norton…

Later, Henry Williamson.  And Knut Hamsun.

I’ve just re-read Knut Hamsun’s GROWTH OF THE SOIL after maybe fifty years (a brand new shiny copy from Penguin Classics).  And that wonder of working the hard land all came back. Why I took so long to re-read SOIL, I don’t know.  At the same time I discovered Hamsun, I also discovered Edgar Pangborn, but I dip into a few pages of DAVY with wondering regularity.

I don’t remember what led me to first pick up that copy of SOIL.  Not because the author had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920.  Didn’t know then that SOIL had been a favourite of der Führer (if I had, I would have put it back, out of love and respect for my father and all the other War vets I grew up with as a boy).  Didn’t know that he had been praised by Hermann Hesse, Ernest Hemingway and Isaac Bashevis Singer.  In fact, I didn’t know anything about Knut Hamsun.  I’m just glad that I discovered that book when I did.  Took it down from the shelf.  Opened to the first page…

I grew up with forest lands and pastures and horses and barns — helping (and loving it) when I could.  And when I first read Hamsun’s simple words, I was hooked: “A man comes walking north. He carries a sack, the first sack, containing provisions for the road and some implements.  The man is strong and rough-hewn…”

GROWTH OF THE SOIL isn’t about heroic battle, which our pop culture loves.  No – it’s about heroic Work.  Every country boy and girl who grew up watching father and mother working the green lands, and working hard, feels the power of Hamsun’s words.

And is gently shaken by the ending: “She walks slowly about her house, tall and stately, a vestal lighting a fire in the stove. Well and good. Inger has sailed on the high seas and lived in the City, now she is home again. The world is wide, swarming with tiny dots. Inger has swarmed with the rest. She was next to nothing among those living beings, just one…

“Then comes the evening.”

Knut Hamsun’s GROWTH OF THE SOIL isn’t so much about us as it is the story of where we all came from.  Our ancestors.  And about our deepest yearning for a simple and loving Homecoming.

FIVE STARS, all right.

Brian Alan Burhoe


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Marlice van Vuuren – Cheetah Rescuer


Marlice van Vuuren – Cheetah Rescuer


“I knew that my husband-to-be was the right one for me when I introduced him to the baboons on the farm.  Their reaction toward him was friendly and that’s when I knew that he was the one.”  Marlice van Vuuren


As I wrote in my posting Women Pioneers of Animal Rights, women have been the essential founders of the Animal Welfare and Animal Rights movements.  From Englishwoman Mary Tealby, who in 1860, first established the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs in an abandoned stable — and Canadian silent movie star and producer Nell Shipman, who created a sanctuary for over a hundred rescued animals in her beloved “God’s Country” — to more modern activists like Ingrid Newkirk, of PETA fame, and Pamela Anderson — the animal movement continues to grow.

In 2007, conservationist and actress Marlice van Vuuren, with her husband Rudie, opened the N/a’an ku sê’s Charity Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary and in 2008, began their Big Cat rescue service, saving local cheetahs, leopards and lions…

Here, from Peter Horsfield, is a Guest Blog celebrating the life and contributions to the Animal Rights movement of actress Marlice van Vuuren…


Marlice & Rescued Cheetah

Marlice & Rescued Cheetah

Marlice van Vuuren has the looks of a model. Googling her would give you an impression that she was a celebrity first before she became a conservationist.

Further reading belies that notion.  Born in Namibia as Marlice Elrethra van der Merwe, she “grew up surrounded by animals on her parents’ farm.”  Marlice has been a “woman of the wildlife” ever since she was a girl. It’s her love of animals that catapulted her to celebrity status.

Angelina Jolie discovered Marlice’s wildlife sanctuary when filming Beyond Borders in 2002. Angelina fell in love with the place and even gave birth to her own child Shiloh in Namibia.


The Naankuse Foundation was established by Marlice and her husband Rudie van Vuuren in 2006. They focus on:

* A Lifeline Clinic which provides free primary healthcare and an ambulance service to the San community in Epukiro, in rural east Namibia. On average around 3,500 patients are seen each year, 84% of whom are San with 45% being children (a quarter of whom are under 5 years old). This is a vital service for this remote marginalised community.

* The Clever Cubs Pre-primary school which provides education to 11 children and support to a further 16 children who are in mainstream schools in Windhoek. These children are all family members of our employees and largely from the San community.

* Employment on all our sites for the San community.

* A wildlife sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned or injured animals. Where possible we re-release these animals. If release is not possible we provide a loving home for these ambassador animals who help us to teach people about conservation.

* A carnivore research project which provides consultancies to farmers and landowners and advises them on issues of carnivore conflict mitigation. (SOURCE: TFWA)

In 2008, Philip Selkirk discovered Marlice and Rudie’s work. He was taken by Marlice’s personal struggles to achieve what she has now been enjoying as an accomplished individual. The documentary titled Marlice – A Vision For Africa, sensitively tells her captivating story, from tending to her animals at the sanctuary to living a harmonious life with the San Community.

But even with the help from the Jolie-Pitt Foundation and other partners, the couple is still wanting to do so much more. Their school for the San community and the newly acquired vineyard provided the people additional income.

They’re hoping to protect more animals and they are looking into widening their sanctuary so that the wild lions, tigers, hyenas, and cheetahs can freely roam and coexist with them. Indeed, Marlice is a true-blue African.

1. She co-founded the Naankuse Lifeline Clinic with husband Rudie and two other partners.
2. She and her husband started the Naankuse Foundation with the help of donors.
3. Angelina Jolie is an international patron of their sanctuary.
4. She started Naankuse Carnivore Research Project with husband Rudie.
5. She opened Clever Cubs School with husband Rudie through the help of Clabile Trust.
6. She was featured in an ad for Volkswagen with her pet, Lucky.
7. Naankuse received the International Health Promotion Awards (awarded first place in the prestigious Community Health Awards).
8. She worked with Angelina Jolie on the film set Beyond Borders by providing them with vultures from her sanctuary.
9. She is only one of the few white people who can speak the Bushman language fluently.
10. A documentary of her life, Marlice – A Vision For Africa, was released in 2008.

Thanks, Peter.  To read more about extraordinary people, visit Peter’s

And, yes, women continue to be the heart and loving soul of the movement.  Jane Goodall. Doris Day.  Brigitte Bardot.  Laureen Harper.  And so many more…

==>> To Read More About Women Animal Welfare Heroines Past & Present, See Women Pioneers of Animal Rights

Brian Alan Burhoe


Marlice van Vuuren – Cheetah Rescuer

Keywords: Cheetah rescuer, Pamela Anderson, Laureen Harper, Marlice van Vuuren cheetah, Marlice van Vuuren quote, Nell Shipman, Rescued Animals


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Howling with Wolves at the International Wolf Center


Howling with Wolves at the International Wolf Center





Here, along the forested rocky coast of Atlantic Canada, we howl with coyotes.

They yip, hoot and kind-of bark.  But not a real a-whooooo like a wolf.  Our own first dog as a couple — a beloved and much-missed husky mix we named King — could do a better wolf howl, and scare the bejezus out of our neighbours.

But while there’s fun in coyote calling, we’d love someday to howl with real live wolves.  Wolf is the big brother of all canine species — Wolf is the original companion of early Humankind.

Did you know that Anthropologists have believed that we adopted wolf puppies 33,000 to 50,000 years ago?  But it’s looking like the early wolf dog was part of Humankind’s adventure looong before that.  And that THEY adopted us.  Which explains how an upstart species of greedy, self-centered, promiscuous (but also brainy) Primates developed such UN-primate behaviour as pack loyalty and mating for life. [1]

But Wolf no longer prowls our local forests.  Frightened European settlers declared war on the entire species (as a grizzled old war vet I once knew used to say, “There’s nothing more dangerous than a frightened man.”).  The last wolf sighting in Nova Scotia was in the year 1900.

But they do survive — further westward…

Here, from Heidi Hunt, representing Spirit of the Wilderness, is a fascinating, beautifully written guest blog relating her first wolf howling.  Listen!

“Howling With Wolves in Ely, Minnesota” a Guest Blog by Heidi Hunt

Best known as the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Ely is a small town in northeastern Minnesota. It’s also an area rich in wildlife and wildlife adventures for those not so ambitious as to attempt a trip through the Boundary Waters.

I joined a program one May on Wolves, Eagles and Bears (Oh my!) through the International Wolf Center. Over the course of a long weekend, we howled with wolves, sailed a lake in search of eagles and viewed bears in the wild.

The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. It conducts a number of learning programs for adults and children year-round.

Day 1: Our introduction to Wolves

We stayed at Timber Trail Lodge in Ely and met our fellow participants the first night at the White Pine cabin. Jesse, from the International Wolf Center, was our leader, and there were six other participants/wildlife enthusiasts. Most were from Minnesota, although one woman came all the way from Albuquerque.

We had an immediate camaraderie as we all had an interest in wildlife. It was nice to meet a group of people who possessed the same love of wildlife as I do.

We dined together in the common cabin, then had our first lecture on wolves and wolf behavior — specifically how wolves communicate with each other (body language, howling, etc).

Some facts I learned: wolves require about 10.5 square miles of territory each. Packs can average 5-7 wolves, so each pack requires about 50-70 square miles of territory. The alpha wolf is not always the dominant wolf, it can be a respected elder wolf. They hunt bison in Yellowstone, although it can take 8-10 hours to bring one down and kill it. Wolves and coyotes are enemies and hunt the same prey, so in places where wolves proliferate, coyotes do not.

We traveled by bus that evening to howl with the wolves. We went to three places around Ely: a scenic overlook, a dirt road which had some old wolf scat, and a gravel pit.

Someone was nominated to be the lead wolf (who starts the howling), then the rest of us joined in. We howled three times, waited for a response, then howled again three times. We did not get any responses from wolves, which was disappointing, although the experience of wolf howling was still quite exciting.

Day 2: Tracking Wolves

We began day two with radio telemetry, which is tracking wolves that have radio collars. The telemetry consists of a box and a large antenna. One person holds the antenna and moves it around in a 360 degree circle. A second person holds the box and listens for the beep on the specific frequency of the wolf we were tracking.

We went to four different spots to try to track a female wolf in the Moose Lake Wolf Pack. At the third spot, Lookout Point, we got a faint beep, meaning the wolf was within 2 miles, which gave us a thrill. Also at this stop, something smelled funky, like an animal had died there.

Jesse went into the woods and found what was left of a wolf kill — hair & hide from a deer scattered just inside the woods.

Based on the three spots we visited, Jesse tried to triangulate where the wolf might be, then we went to a fourth spot within that area that may have been closer to her signal. That spot had a lot of wolf activity, wolf scat in two spots, plus some animal hair.

Jesse told us that wolves eat the bones of their kill because the marrow is nutritious. They also eat the fur, which helps protect the intestines from the bone fragments. Jesse poked around in the scat to show us all the hair and bone fragments. At that spot, I was the only one who thought she caught a very faint beep.

Eagles & Bears

Although this course was put on by the International Wolf Center, there is other wildlife to learn about in Ely, and this course included a look at eagles and bears in the area.

After tracking wolves, we took a sail on a pontoon on Basswood Lake to look for eagles with Bill, our bird guide. Bill gave us some facts on eagles. For example, a female eagle will copulate with the male eagle when he brings her a stick for her nest.

Nests are worked on from year to year and can weigh two tons and be six feet by six feet. There were three eagles’ nests along this lake, two of which were empty, but the third had an eagle.

You could see its head above the nest, although it was hard to focus on with the boat bobbing and weaving (it was cold, windy and there was a lot of wave activity).

We parked the boat in an area between two islands for shelter and ate lunch. As we were about to leave for shore, the eagle flew from his nest to a tree on the island we were near, paused to be admired, and then flew back to its nest, as if wanting to say goodbye to us.

Then we drove to the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary in nearby Orr. The sanctuary is an area in the middle of some woods where food (nuts, berries, etc) are set out for wild bears to come feed on as they pass through. Around 80 black bears visit the sanctuary each season, according to the facility.

There is a viewing platform for guests to watch bears and their natural behaviors. Vince Shute, for whom the center is named, lived in a cabin on the property and bears would ransack his cabin for food.

He’d shoot them, until one day he shot a bear and two little cubs came out of the woods looking for her. Thereafter, he set up food around his cabin for the bears. He developed a friendship with a bear he named Dusty.

When Shute died in 2000, he was buried next to Dusty. Now the sanctuary continues feeding bears, deer and birds (a lot of colorful birds such as blue jays, and yellow finches can be viewed here).

Nicole, our bear expert, gave us some background on the sanctuary and bear facts as we watched deer and birds feed. Finally, one of the British interns at the facility spotted a baby bear way up in a tree and soon, the mama came near to feed.

Howling with the wolves, a second adventure

That night, three of my classmates and I ventured out on our own to howl with the wolves again. We drove down Lookout Road to Lookout Point, stopping several times to howl. A wolf may have returned our call at the Point. We thought we heard something, or perhaps it was just wishful hoping on our part for a connection with the wolves.

A couple of times we thought it was a wolf responding, but instead it was a loon. Next we drove up a fire road deep into the woods, stopping occasionally to howl. It was dark, eerie and we were all alone with nature. We spotted a nighthawk and ruffed grouse and a small bird with long legs no one could identify. We heard whippoorwills, loons and what could have been a bear.

When we got out of the car at one spot, we heard a small snuffle, which definitely was not a bird. We were all alone out in the middle of nowhere, but not really alone; we could hear, but not see, creatures walking through the woods. It felt very adventurous.

International Wolf Center

On our final day of the program, we spent the morning at the International Wolf Center. There are four ambassador wolves, new pups not yet on display (we could watch them on a monitor) and two retired wolves. The ambassador wolves included Maya & Grizzer (Timber wolves, a female and male) and Malik & Shadow (Arctic wolves, both male, and now retired).

Shadow was the dominant male in the pack, although Grizzer was challenging. The wolves were in a 1.25 acre outside exhibit, but we could only watch them through glass from the inside.

We listened to a lecture on wolf feeding habits, before Jesse dumped a dead deer (roadkill) into the exhibit. I loved to watch the wolves. Maya & Grizzer fed first, which was interesting as Shadow is the dominant male and should have eaten first with Maya (as the dominant and only female).

We were told Shadow doesn’t like to eat with people around watching, although he approached a couple times and Grizzer growled him off and once actually lunged at him as Shadow grabbed a scrap of fur.

Malik just watched pathetically. Maya carried around various leg bones (old and new), peed on her food to make them her own, then buried them.

There were various tug-of-war battles over the carcass. After eating, they all howled (finally!). Then Shadow dragged off the carcass & laid down next to it as if to guard it. Malik at some point snuck in and got some food.

It was a fascinating weekend learning about wolves, bears and eagles in Minnesota.

Heidi Hunt
Spirit of the Wilderness
2030 East Sheridan Street, Ely, MN 55731,
United States
(218) 365-3149

Thanks, Heidi!

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WOLFBLOOD, a Northwestern yarn in the Jack London Tradition, Free to Read ==> CLICK HERE  WOLFBLOOD: A Wild Wolf, A Half-Wild Husky & A Wily Old Trapper


[1] Watching modern political, corporate and cultural leaders and celebrities makes you wonder if much of Humankind is reverting back to Apehood (sans L’esprit du Loup).

==>> To read more about the adoption of wolves by earliest Humankind (or maybe the other way around?), go to DOG INTELLIGENCE – The Most Intelligent Dog Breeds

Howling with Wolves at the International Wolf Center


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Muinej The Bear’s Cub – A Mi’kmaq Bear Story Retold


A First Nations Mi’kmaq Bear Story Retold





Introduction by Brian Alan Burhoe.

Bears have long appeared in folktales and animal stories worldwide.

Especially among Northern Peoples.  Those of us of Northern blood, whether Northern European (Nordic, Germanic, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon) or First Nations of North America, come from cultures that believed that Bearkind was Humankind’s closest blood relative.  Hence, for instance, the numerous stories of bear-human children among the Vikings and Druidic Celts.  Many First Nations have family groups who call themselves the Bear Clan, claiming to have actual bear blood in their veins.

Talking bears and humans adopted and raised by loving mama bears are common story themes.

Here’s my retelling of a local First Nations folktale…


Muinej The Bear’s Cub

In the Old Time, before the coming of foreign seafarers and clamoring machines and civilized greed, when the forests were greener and the trees were bigger, there lived a Mi’kmaq boy named Mikinawk.

Mikinawk never knew his real father who had been killed during a battle with another tribe. Instead, he was raised by a brutal braggart of a man who believed his new wife loved her son more than him. The mother often had to stop her new husband from beating the boy.

But eventually the man seemed to accept the boy and began to speak kindly to him and she secretly shed tears of thankfulness.

The day came when Mikinawk’s stepfather said, “My wife, this is the day little Mikinawk must learn the ways of the forest. I will take him hunting with me.

“But Mikinawk is so young,” she said.

“He will be safe with me. Have I not accepted him as my own? Today, we will only hunt rabbits.”

So she agreed to let them set out in the forest.

On his previous hunt, when he had gone into the rocky hills where other men of the band rarely went, the stepfather had spotted a cave. And an idea had come to him then.

They traveled for what the boy thought was a long time. Even he could identify rabbit droppings and pathways in the grass. But his stepfather kept them moving on.

And then the man whispered, “Listen! I hear voices of other men. I believe they are warriors of the band we once fought. The ones who killed your father.”

“I hear nothing,” whispered Mikinawk.

“I do. Quick! See that cave? Hide in there! I will lay under one of those cedar trees and guard us. Stay in the cave until I call you. Go!”

And so Mikinawk ran into the cave, crawling deep into its darkness.

Laughing, the man followed his stepson, keeping out of sight in the trees. He picked up a birch pole he had cut and hidden on his last trip here. The hill was covered with big boulders left there long ago, say the old story tellers, by ice spirits. He scampered up the hill and stuck the pole behind a boulder and set it rolling down the hill. It fell into place in the cave’s opening, blocking the boy’s way out. Trapping the boy he hated. He shouted out just one word, “Starve!”

But the shaking of the earth had loosened a bigger boulder further up the hill. The stepfather had only time to turn and see the rolling rock when it hit and killed him.

Almost feeling the weight of the rock walls of the cave, Mikinawk bravely fought his loneliness and fear. He listened intently for any sound beyond the great darkness that had swallowed him when the boulder had crashed into place. But he was only six and he wanted his mother, so he eventually let out a big sob.

He was startled by a voice from deeper in the cave.

“Who is there? Who are you?” The voice was not human, but seemed to be of something small and young like him.

“I am Mikinawk. Who are you?”

“I am Nidap. This is my sister Ebit.”

“What animals are you?” he said into the darkness.

“We are bear cubs. What are you?”

“I am a human.”

“Oh!” came two voices filled with fear.

“I am a friend,” said Mikinawk, hiding his own fear. “This is a time for friendship.”

And then there was a crunching noise and sunlight spilled into the cave as the boulder was rolled away.

“Ebit! Nidap!” came a deep growling voice. “What is happening? There is the smell of humans here.”

And Giju’muin, a big mother bear, crawled into the cave. Snuffing noisily, her hot breath poured onto Mikinawk’s face.

“You are dangerous, little human.  I –”

“He said he is a friend,” came another voice, who must have been the sister bear.

Giju’muin thought about this. She had found the body of a man on the hill. Knowing that the humans would blame her for the death if discovered, and kill her and her cubs, she had carried the body and thrown it in the fast flowing river.

“Why are you here, little one?” she asked the boy.

“My stepfather must have done it. He hates me. But my mother loves him. And the men of the village praise him as a mighty warrior.  I don’t know if I can go home.”

Now that there was light in the cave, the two cubs moved toward him and sniffed him. The she-cub asked, “Can he stay with us, Mother?”

The mother bear thought again.  She couldn’t let him return to his people and tell them about her family.  But she didn’t have the heart to kill this helpless little human.

“Perhaps. For now, the blueberries are ripe and we must get to them before the crows and the others eat them all.” So Giju’muin led the two cubs and the boy to the wild blueberry fields.

When they arrived at the fields, the bushes were blue with big juicy berries.  But there were many bears already there.  When those strange bears saw Mikinawk, some screeched “Human!  Run!”  And they scurried away.  Some adults growled mightily and charged at the boy.  Giju’muin put herself in front of the boy and warned them away, saying that she had adopted this human cub and that he would not harm them.

And so Mikinawk was adopted by the bears, who gave him a new name — Muinej.

The cubs were happy with their new brother and Giju’muin taught all three of the young ones the ways of the forest and meadowlands and waterways. Muinej rejoiced in his newfound life, almost forgetting his old life in the village. He loved the stories his mother bear told them. Indeed, he even learned to walk on all four paws at times. He almost came to believe he was a bear.

The next year, he and his brother Nidap thought up a sly plan to get more berries for themselves when they arrived again at the fresh blueberry grounds.  When they saw all the bears happily feeding on the sweet berries, Nidap ran among the bushes with Muinej chasing him.  Nidap began screaming “The humans are attacking.  Run!”  And many of the bears saw them and ran so fast they almost flew like the crows.

They stopped laughing when they saw the anger on Giju’muin’s face.  She growled a warning at them to never do that again.  But there was a hint of a smile from her when she shuffled away.

The brothers, sometimes with their sister’s help, were always up for tricks on other animals.  But never around their mother.  And so time passed happily.

One springtime, she was teaching them how to catch smelt fish in the slower shallows of the river. Sister Ebit had hurt her leg a few days earlier when she had fallen out of a leafing birch tree, although it was healing. So she sat on the river bank. They were eating fresh smelts when Giju’muin lifted her nose to the air. “Humans!” she cried. “Follow me, my children. We must run!”

The boy thought at first that she was playing her own trick on them in punishment for what he and his brother had once done at the blueberry fields.  She had a long memory.

But no.  This was no trick.

They ran for the cave. But sister bear still limped and slowed them down. The mother bear knew what she must do. “There! We will hide under that big cedar tree. Now!”

So they crawled under the low hanging cedar boughs and hid in the sweet-scented shadows.

Footsteps came closer. She knew the hunters had seen them. And followed their tracks in the grass and bushes.

Sadly Giju’muin said, “I am going out to face them. When I am occupying them, Nidap, you must run to the rocky hills and do not slow down. You are big enough now to make your own way in life.  Then you, Muinej, must go out and face them. Plead for your sister’s life. You are human, perhaps they will listen to you.”

And so Giju’muin scrambled out and ran away as fast as she could. The boy heard men’s excited voices. And the twang of hunting bows. The cheers of success. Spoken words he had not heard for what seemed a long time. But recognized.

“Yes, brother,” he said to Nidap. “Run that way. I will speak for our sister. We will all meet again.”

When Nidap ran out, the boy heard the men’s voices again, so he crawled out from under the cedar branches.

“See me!” he shouted to the hunters. Ten men or so stared at the naked boy in surprise.

Beyond them, he saw the body of the mother bear, arrows in her like quills from a giant porcupine. His eyes grew wet, but he had Ebit’s life to save.

“I am Muinej, once called Mikinawk! With me is Ebit, my adopted sister. Spare her!”

“It IS Mikinawk,” said one hunter. The shocked men lowered their bows.

Silently, Muinej and Ebit went over to the body of Giju’muin and shed their tears.

Around a campfire that night, the boy who was known as Mikinawk told his story, as I have just told you.

When they returned to their Mi’kmaq village, there was more weeping as his mother joyfully received him — and his new sister. His mother helped raise Ebit until the young she-bear was ready to return to the forest.

Muinej kept his bear-name.  He became a great hunter. But never killed a bear. And saw that his own people never hunted a she-bear when she had cubs.

He often met up with his brother Nidap and they would laugh and exchange stories of great deeds and greater meals. And when Ebit grew into an adult and had her own cubs, he would visit her and her new family at the base of a hollow tree where they denned and they would relive old times and celebrate the new.

And once a year they would join all the other bears in the wild blueberry fields.



UPDATE:  I want to thank readers who gave such positive feedback.  A common reaction was like that of Tylor Hugley, “Loved the story except mother bear’s death…” @TylorHugley.   Since this is a creative retelling of a fave local story, I considered reworking that plot element.  After all, I had created my own version of the characters.  “Let the Mama Bear live!” I told myself.  It was a sad moment when I realized that I had to keep that central scene to stay true to the source.

The story “Muinej The Bear’s Cub” and accompanying material on this page is copyright © by Brian Alan Burhoe.  You are free to reprint “Muinej The Bear’s Cub” but please credit me.


lone-wolf-storyDid you like this story?




WOLFBLOOD, a Northwestern yarn in the Jack London Tradition, Free to Read ==> CLICK HERE  WOLFBLOOD: A Wild Wolf, A Half-Wild Husky & A Wily Old Trapper



October is Mi’kmaq History Month.

Muinej The Bear’s Cub – A Mi’kmaq Bear Story Retold – A free online short animal story

Keywords: American Indian, a bear story, bear stories, brown bear story, children animal stories, Civilized Bears, Indigenous, kids animal stories, little bear story, Mi’kmaq History Month, native american indian, native americans, short animal stories



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“On you huskies!”  It’s our most iconic Canadian image: a lone Mountie mushing his sled dogs across the savage Northern wilderness.   And not only loving it — but living it with joy.

Our Canadian Mounties were first known for their horses. They marched West in 1874 on proud Eastern stock, each Division on matched colours. Once they reached their destination, they had to purchase local remounts, many of them unbroken broncos. After 1946, they began to breed their own stock, the horses used today for ceremony and the Musical Ride.

But just as essential to the success of the Mounties, have been their dogs…

When the North-West Mounted Police were first assigned to the Yukon and other northern areas, they quickly learned that they would not be patrolling by horseback.

The North Country had few roads. Travel was by river and lake. In the summer, that meant boats and canoes. In the winter, when the rivers were frozen, that meant snowshoes and dog teams.

From the beginning, they adopted the native huskies and malamutes. Without the thick-coated huskies, which would curl up in the deep snow to sleep, the Mounties would never have accomplished their long winter patrols.

The Klondike Gold Rush began in August, 1896, when prospectors Skookum Jim, George Carmack and Tagish Charlie discovered a rich gold-bearing seam on Bonanza Creek in the Yukon Territory. Soon, Dawson City became a roaring boom town at the junction of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers. Thousands of prospectors, land speculators, saloon keepers, gamblers, dance hall girls, bankers and other fortune seekers arrived. The Mounties arrived with them to keep the Queen’s Law.

Their dog teams became an essential tool in keeping that law.

The first dogs that they purchased from local natives were a wild breed, truly “wolf dogs” — the natives deliberately bred their huskies with wolves.

As Constable John B Watson wrote: “Though that young team earned my respect, they kept me on my toes with their temperaments and there were a few times when they scared the hell out of me. I kept them well separated at all times and was particularly careful at feeding times to do it quickly and evenly, for then the wolf shows and etiquette disappears into thin air.

“Their daily ration disappears so rapidly one wonders how they manage to digest it. Their winter ration was half a fish. I’d break a frozen salmon in two and each piece would average two pounds. In summer when they weren’t working, I gave them boiled rice with rendered fat, and an occasional piece of dried salmon.

“Each animal wolfed its food first, and then would try to reach the next one’s ration, but their chains kept them apart. Handling each one gave me a chance to read their moods and I tried not to play favourites. I seldom had to use the whip.”

By 1898, the Force had over a hundred dogs, distributed at Dawson City, Whitehorse, Tagish, Tantalus and other small posts along the trails.

The Mounties added Siberian huskies and Labrador dogs to their teams, these breeds proving to be more easily trained and safer to be around.

By the turn of the 20th Century, patrols were extended well into the Arctic, the Land of the Midnight Sun.

The Northern Patrols of the early years of the century were hard, often heroic journeys of hundreds of miles per trip.

Constable Charles R Thornback wrote: “One of my dogs became sick and dragged along in its harness, hampering the others of its team, and it appeared too ill to continue. It had earlier shown signs of faltering, and there was nothing we could do for it. A bullet in the head was a merciful and immediate end to its suffering. Sorrowfully, I dug a deep hole in the snow, cut a few branches of spruce for its bed and cover, and buried it.

“We were all attached to our dogs. We had worked with them for weeks, calling each by name. They displayed affection and faithfulness; they were obedient and hard working. The loss of a dog was not a small one.”

In 1905, Constable Albert Pedley made the news with his 21-day dogsled trip though the storm-ravaged Canadian winterscape — bringing an insane prisoner safely to Fort Saskatchewan.  The adventure became the basis of many written stories and even a Hollywood movie: The Wild North.

In January of 1911, Inspector Francis J Fitzgerald left Fort McPherson on a patrol that was to end at Dawson City. With the Inspector were Constables Kinney and Taylor and a Sam Carter. They would go in history as the Lost Patrol.

About halfway to Dawson, they seemed to lose the trail and became lost. They attempted to return to McPhereson. Their huskies would not eat the meat of the other dogs that had died. The Mounties fed them with what scraps of dried salmon remained.

Inspector Fitzgerald wrote in his diary: “Just after noon I broke through the ice and had to make a fire, found one foot slightly frozen. Killed another dog tonight; have only five dogs now, can only go a few miles a day…”

A second patrol later found the frozen bodies of Fitzgerald, Kinney, Taylor and Carter.  The surviving huskies had fled the scene, leaving the bodies of the four men untouched.  “The Lost Patrol” entered our cultural mythology.

By the 1920’s, the North was becoming mechanized. The Bush Plane appeared. Later came vehicles that could handle the terrain, especially the snowmobile.

The need for dog teams was gone.

The Force, now renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, still retained a few Northern dogs. But they were kept for sport and public events.  Modern huskies, interbred with southern domesticated and racing dog breeds, are much smaller than the part-wolf dogs of yesteryear.

“On you huskies!” had become a cry of the past.

But the need for all dogs had not ended. In fact, the new Dog Service would soon be a growing department in the Force.  As I wrote in my posting “ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE DOGS: The German Shepherd”, the brave, intelligent, loyal German Shepherd had appeared. In the role of tracker of criminals, lost persons, even explosives and narcotics, the Shepherd would become an essential new member.

==>> And, of course, those days of heroic men and dogs of the Canadian Mounties became celebrated here and around the world — an essential part of Canadian Culture: THE GREAT PULP FICTION MOUNTIES: From Corporal Cameron to Sergeant Preston


Brian Alan Burhoe


lone-wolf-storyDo you love wild animal tales?




WOLFBLOOD, a Northwestern yarn in the Jack London Tradition, FREE to Read ==> CLICK HERE  WOLFBLOOD: A Wild Wolf, A Half-Wild Husky & A Wily Old Trapper





Keywords: dogs, german shepherds, Huskies, North-West-Mounted-Police, on you huskies, RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, police dogs, police dogs breed, police dogs matter, sled dogs, the lost patrol, watch dogs police, wolfblood, wolf dogs, wolfdogs


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“Police Dogs’ Lives Matter Too.”  You’ve probably heard this motto.  It’s a heartfelt sentiment, and one that means a lot to those of us who know that animal family members are just as important as humans.  Animal rights, eh?  There’s a number of laws being proposed to protect dogs used in police work — and to see that criminals who injure and kill Police Service Dogs are tried and sentenced for the offence.  Yes — Service Dog’s Lives Matter Too.

As I wrote in my article “NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE DOGS: Huskies and Other Sled Dogs” — when the days of the legendary dogsled Northern Patrols by our Canadian Mounted Police ended in the early 20th Century, the need for the famous huskies was also gone.

But the Mounties were using dogs for new purposes.

Even in the 19th Century, dogs were used for some search and rescue by the North-West Mounted Police. Bloodhounds and other tracking dogs would be borrowed from local farmers and other folk to help find criminals or lost people.

In the early 1930’s, the Mounties, now renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, created their Special Dog Section.

Author Delbert Young described how it came about: “Sergeant Cawsey owned a particularly clever German Shepherd he called Dale. He had trained Dale to retrieve objects, and also to scent out and locate articles he had hidden. The Sergeant was so proud of his big Shepherd that he used to show the dog, taking him everywhere he went so that soon the sight of Sgt. Cawsey in his patrol car with the handsome dog beside him was a familiar sight. A step further and he was employing the dog to assist him in police work. So successful were the first experiments that the Dog Section was formed with Dale as its first member.

“The case of the Sleepy Car Thief was one of several cases solved by the sensitive nose of Dale. A vehicle had been stolen, driven and then abandoned by the side of the road. Cawsey let Dale sniff the car over, then put him on the trail of the thief who, at the time, was five miles away in his bed. Not for long did the man sleep soundly. Dale tracked him to his very door. Sgt Cawsey rapped sharply. Shortly thereafter, a sleepy-eyed crook found himself in custody.” [1]

The RCMP Dog Section was officially formed in 1935, with Dale and two other dogs, Black Lux and Sultan. In 1937, Commissioner MacBrien, noting the value of police dogs in his official reports, ordered an RCMP training school for dogs and handlers to be established at Calgary.

In 1940, the RCMP won its first case involving dog search evidence.




Today’s RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre is at Innisfail, Alberta.  The training staff comprises of one officer in charge, one staff sergeant program manager, one staff sergeant senior trainer, five sergeant trainers, one acquisition sergeant, two corporal pre-trainers and a support staff of six public service employees.

“Our philosophy always has been one dog, one handler.  So from the moment the team is paired, they stay together until the dog or the handler retires,” explained Sergeant Eric Stebenne, acting senior trainer at Innisfail, in an interview. [2]

“Regular members of the RCMP who are interested in becoming dog-handlers, on top of their regular duties, go out with the local dog handlers — and start raising dogs for us on their own time.  They do it for love and affection.”

Sgt. Stebenne concluded: “Having to retire my previous police dogs was hard.  That would be the most difficult part of this job.  There’s always that one dog that you miss.  Also seeing dogs injured or killed in the line of duty is very difficult.”

The German Shepherds of the Special Dog Section have become renowned for their successes.

Dogs such as…

JOCKO: On the morning of August 31, 1989, a devastating gas explosion rocked a building in Ottawa, creating considerable structural damage. Much of the building still standing was unusable and in danger of collapsing. Although most of the tenants who were in the building at the time of explosion had been safely evacuated, there were still some people trapped inside.

Members of the hastily assembled rescue party searched desperately for trapped survivors, all the time fearing a second explosion.

Constable Joseph Guy Denis Amyot, a Dog Handler at A Division, Ottawa Airport Detachment, was off duty when he heard the news reports of the explosion.  Volunteering his services and those of police service dog Jocko, he entered the building accompanied by Captain Gerard Patry of the Ottawa Fire Department to search the debris for victims trapped beneath the rubble.

Despite the dangers, they searched the most heavily damaged portion of the building for a missing boy.  Jocko sniffed though the dusty rubble, finding the buried boy, who was still alive.

In recognition of his courage and professionalism, Constable J.G.D. Amyot was awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery. Captain G. Patry of the Ottawa Fire Department was awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation to a Civilian for his courage and assistance to Constable Amyot.

BANDIT: Danger is part of life for a police officer, but when Corporal Rick Mosher was called to apprehend an armed suspect, who had fled from a home in George’s River, Cape Breton, he had no idea just what risk he was facing. Nor did he know that he would lose his best friend and partner on that fateful day.

Following the call on the evening of June 25, 2000, Cpl. Mosher and his canine partner, Bandit, caught up with the suspect. Knowing the suspect was armed and possibly dangerous, Mosher gave Bandit the cue to move in to distract and subdue him, which would then allow Mosher to disarm and capture him. As Bandit willingly did his work, he suffered a serious knife wound from a second and unknown weapon the suspect had concealed in his sleeve.

Badly injured, Bandit momentarily retreated, but he leapt into action again when he saw Mosher was about to be attacked.

Unfortunately, he was stabbed a second time. Bandit carried out his subsequent attempt even though the initial knife wound had cut through his shoulder and severed his spinal cord. Bandit’s brave action clearly prevented Mosher from being injured and also provided Mosher with the valuable time needed to draw his weapon and apprehend the suspect. Sadly, the additional knife wounds proved fatal for Bandit.

At the cost of his own life, Bandit’s loyalty and courage saved Cpl. Mosher’s life.

Rick Mosher lost a friend, a partner and a piece of himself on that day. But he and his family are eternally grateful to Bandit.

TRACER: Corporal Joe Arduini of the North Vancouver Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment still gets emotional when he talks about the natural heroism of Tracer, a German Shepherd from the Police Dog Services Unit, in saving his life and the lives of three fellow officers.

On the night of September 26, 2000, Joe Arduini was sent to a “Man with a gun” call along with two other members of the RCMP detachment.  His detachment had received a report of “a man being chased by another man armed with a semi-automatic handgun.”

Constable Christina Hughes and her service dog Tracer were also called in.

When the officers arrived at the scene, they saw, about a block away, a man walking deliberately toward them, carrying what appeared to be a handgun.  Since Cst. Hughes wasn’t in her work uniform and not driving a marked police car, she and Tracer were sent closer to the man’s location.  Hughes informed the other officers that the man was still walking towards them and that he was carrying a semi-automatic pistol.

The three officers immediately moved closer to the male suspect and surrounded him with their service sidearms drawn and instructed him to drop the weapon.  When the gun man refused to drop his lethal weapon, Cst. Hughes sent Tracer in to subdue the suspect.  Following her training, Tracer clamped her jaws on the gun man’s left arm. Ignoring the pain and pressure of the bite, the disturbed male lifted Tracer off her feet into the air.

He then slammed Tracer to the ground and placed the barrel of his gun to Tracer’s head and pulled the trigger.

The gun made a metallic snap.  A misfire.  And Christina Hughes called Tracer back.  The suspect ejected the bad shell and pointed the gun at Cpl. Arduini and the other officers. The suspect was fatally shot by the three officers in self defense.

Tracer’s heroic actions “made it possible for all officers involved to evaluate the mindset of the suspect and enabled them to protect themselves and the community, including a man being pursued by the suspect.”

Cst Christina Hughes Tracer on cover of PETS Magazine

Cst Christina Hughes and Tracer on cover of PETS Magazine [3]

In 2003, Tracer, with her handler Christina, was inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame.

Tracer went on to serve a successful career and earn a happy retirement.

As of this writing, there are 168 police dog teams across Canada.  Most Mounted Police dogs picked for training are males, but Tracer showed that females can make the grade — and more.

The RCMP needs up to 35 replacement dogs every year. Fortunately, most dogs — just like Tracer — live to a richly deserved retirement age (around 8 years of age), and find a family to care for them and to love — and protect — in return.


==>> The story of our RCMP is, of course, our National Epic.  The very heart of Canadian Culture.  Be sure to see THE GREAT PULP FICTION MOUNTIES: From Corporal Cameron to Sergeant Preston 


Brian Alan Burhoe


lone-wolf-storyDo you love wild animal tales?




WOLFBLOOD, a Northwestern yarn in the Jack London Tradition, FREE to Read ==> CLICK HERE  WOLFBLOOD: A Wild Wolf, A Half-Wild Husky & A Wily Old Trapper



[1]  From THE MOUNTIES, Delbert A Young, published in 1968 by Hodder & Stoughton, Toronto and London

[2 a]  “Must Love Dogs: Wannabe Police Canine Handlers Must Jump Through Hoops”
[2 b]  And “On The Job With An RCMP Dog Handler”

[3]  January/February, 2004, issue of PETS Magazine — Exploring the Human-Animal Bond.  Cover photo 0f Tracer and Christina by B Stanley, Canadian Press.


Keywords: animal rights, dogs, german shepherds, k9, k9 dogs, North-West-Mounted-Police, RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, police dogs, police dogs breed, police dogs matter, watch dogs police


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How To Get Free Numerology Reading For This Year


How To Get a Free Numerology Reading for 2017




“What’s in my future for 2017?”

It’s the New Year and we’re asking this question again.

Always had that interest in divination — especially the predictive arts mentioned in the Old Testament.

What’s in our future?

It’s fun to look at the daily horoscope, eh?  We do it.  You do it.  And sometimes — well, it gives us hope.  Not very accurate, but it’s fun — put it that way.

A more revealing way of forecasting the future is Dream Interpretation.  I’ve always had a fascination with the meaning of dreams, especially after a long talk with science fiction and fantasy author/editor Lin Carter at Detroit TriCon ’72.  Lin believed that dreams were the source of the primal motifs of mythology, folk tales and the best fantasy fiction.  I liked Lin (he loved my first published story “Ornithanthropus”, which had a lot of buzz then) and he had a lifetime of fantastical research to reveal.

Carl Jung, too, has been an essential lifelong guide to that discipline.  Dreams tell us a lot about ourselves, our journey and our essential Human connections.  Sometimes they reveal our future, but not that often.  Essentially, dreams are about our journey past, present and sometimes future.  They’re mostly about Now and who we are.

My favourite way of looking at our personal future is Numerology.  A dusty old science that’s gone high-tech.  And gained an avid following.  Don’t know why, but it often seems to get it right.  So…




In the Holy Bible, Numerology is one of only three surviving sciences of Divination sanctified by God. These three were:

(1.) Casting by lot, using a pebble as a method of ascertaining the Divine Will.

(2.) Dream Interpretation, as used by Joseph, Daniel, Jakob and many others…

(3.) Numerology — “Daniel understood by books the number of the years…”

In the Christian Era, Numerologists and Dream Interpreters have grown with the Faith. While the practitioners of other arts (“the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers”) have until recently been shunned, because it was believed their practice attracted dark forces.

Numerology evolved 4000 years ago in the ancient civilizations of Sumar and Egypt.  Modern Numerology as we know it and it is practiced was mainly formulated and established by one man: Pythagoras of Samos, Greece, born 580 years before Christ. He’s been called “the greatest mystical philosopher off all time.” He formulated principles in religion, philosophy, mathematics, music theory and geometry that still affect us.

Well, you remember the Pythagorean Theorem from high school: the sides of a right angle triangle and the hypotenuse…  He saw Creation as “Being built upon the power of numbers.”

And of all his discoveries and teachings, the one that speaks strongest to us today is “the psychic science of Numerology. It’s an ancient science that is suddenly brand new, the latest and hottest thing.”

To the theories given us by Pythagoras, some of the most talented practitioners today have added their own researches. Some have re-introduced elements of it as practiced by the Royal families of Sumer: the belief that numbers are the Language of God, that Numerology — when seasoned with the powers of Faith and Prayer — is “a doorway to recovered happiness and fulfillment.”  A Numerology Calculator can produce a personal chart that will reveal everything from your birth destiny and compatibility with others to your future.

Your questions, whether about a job, romance or about your spiritual journey, are important to you…


Each of us has a specific BIRTH NUMBER and a NAME NUMBER

Your Birth Number is locked in Time. It can’t be changed. It signifies the astronomical influences — especially Solar influences — on your embryonic development and concluding with the vibratory influences existing at the time of your birth. It indicates your individual character-type and your Fate. Like Lady Gaga sang, “Baby, I was born this way.”  It is the number of PREDESTINATION.

Your Name Number is the number of growth, of change. Your name, of course, was given to you for any of a variety of reasons. It may have changed over the years — did you have a baby name, a nickname, change due to marriage or circumstance? Each form is a vibrational expression of your personality. Your name number is the number of change, of DEVELOPMENT.


ONE:  1 is the timeless number of the Sun.  The Source of Life.  Seeking the spotlight — the Sun.  It’s a single-minded vibration, strong and unstoppable.  “A” is the first letter of the alphabet and numerologists like to point out that “A” words like Action, Accomplishment, Aggression, Agility, Ambition, Aspiration and Attraction describe One People.  They can be single-minded, highly successful and — depending on connections with others — can be great leaders or tyrants.

TWO:  2 is the number of Duality. Light and dark. Right and wrong. Traditionally, 2 is the number of the Moon. Like the Moon, “2” people are constantly changing… “You are a very sensitive person. You can be deeply hurt. To protect yourself, you can sometimes wear an armor of toughness. You must learn to use your sensitivity to help others, and therefore yourself. But don’t be afraid to howl at the Moon.”

THREE:  “3 people” are truly blessed. Three is the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Virgin, Mother and Wise Woman. Past, Present and Future. “Three times lucky.” Traditionally, 3 is the number of Mercury. The elusive Winged Messenger of mythology.[1]  The symbol of lightness, speed and freedom. “The Mercurian in you can be brought out if you wish it. You can learn to literally spread your wings and soar above the ordinary world. Free forever!”

FOUR:  4 is the number of steadfastness. Four-square. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Earth, wind, fire and water. The four-gated city is an ancient symbol of the balanced soul. “4” people are determined, honest, reliable and forthright. In tradition, 4 is the number of Jupiter. The great composer Gustav Holst called Jupiter the bringer of Jollity and imagined him as “one of those jolly fat people who enjoy life.”

FIVE:  5 is the number of Adventure. An enthusiastic, curious, restless nature. 5 is the number of Mars. Born with physical drive and energy, an aggressive nature that can enable them to win big at the game of life. Like the medieval Knights Templar, they must balance their fierceness with a spiritual cause. “Apply your heart unto wisdom.”

SIX:  6 is the number of CHRIST. Traditionally, the number of Venus. Beauty, charm, love of music, art and the spiritual. The power to promote friendships and end arguments and discord.  They have a sense of justice, balancing truth and justice.  Six People work best when making life better for others.

SEVEN:  7 is the number of Mysticism. Of the seven prismatic colors. The seven days of the week. “7” people may be meant to follow a spiritual path, or a scholarly, creative and artistic one. The number 7 is associated with the planet Neptune, the Mystic.  For some reason, Seven People are drawn to Numerology more than others, and have a great success at following its directions.

EIGHT:  8 is the number of Success! “Show me the money.” They are born with a strong, forceful nature, intended for worldly conquest. 8 is associated with the planet Saturn. This traditionally has not only influences of thrift and material success, but also adds a scholarly, inquisitive nature. Eight-people will, late in life, suddenly retire from the rat race and seek redemption in spiritual pursuits and helping other spiritually-minded people materially.

NINE:  9 is the number of Power! It’s the number of high energy, great courage and wide influence. Politics and leadership. Nine is associated with the planet Uranus, the Magician. Magic (when used by the Light) is defined as using your imagination and will-power to produce changes in consciousness. You must learn to trust your intuition. Explore.  Psychic flashes can guide you…

Fascinating stuff, eh?  Now you know why we always get our free numerology reading with every New Year.

So, what are Your Numbers?

Interested in finding the best Numerology Calculator for 2017?   What your chart reveals?  Want to know about your true self, your future path, your compatibility with others?




Updated for the new year of 2017.

How To Get Free Numerology Reading For This Year

Keywords: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2017 predictions, compatibility, numerology free, numerology number, numerology birth date, numerology compatibility, Ornithanthropus




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Dog Training Videos: Coming Home to Doggy Destruction


Coming Home to Doggy Destruction – What To Do


Was a time when “dog training” didn’t come up in the average family.  Unless you were teaching a specific working breed how to perform its job — guard dog, hunter or maybe even a wild wolfdog to pull a sled through the wild North Country — most family mutts just caught on.

happy_dog1In times gone by, families were bigger — there was always someone around to show Rover the basics of family behaviour.  Your kids were there; their friends hanging out after school.  Actually, Goldie picked up most things just by participating with family members.

Different today.  Families are smaller.  Most adults are out for the day.  House and apartment dog breeds are more varied, with more needs.

Here, from our fave dog trainer, New Zealander Daniel Abdelnoor (affectionately called Doggy Dan), is a Guest Blog Post on that very subject.  Listen!

Coming Home to Doggy Destruction – What To Do

Bet you’ve heard this before: “We got home and our new puppy had done a complete number on — well, everything!  Holes dug in the garden and the couch, chewed tables, mess and destruction everywhere.”

As Dan says, “Sometimes it’s even worse… you get a notice in your letter box complaining that you have a dog who’s not only destroying the yard but one that’s been barking non-stop every time you leave the house and now you have five days to fix it or face a $300 fine.

“Oh boy! You’ve gotta love your dog.  Strange thing is… very often, as soon as you walk back into the house there is never any barking (in fact you may hardly ever hear your dog bark) and no destruction takes place. It’s like you have a completely different dog when you’re not there…!

“In fact you would be amazed by how many people have no idea that they owned a barking dog because the barking only happened when they were not there. But… the great news is that none of this is a complicated problem to sort out.

“In fact it’s one of the most common and straight forward behavioral issues to sort out. In this post I’m going to quickly explain why it’s occurring and point you to a site where you can easily learn how to stop it, gently and quickly.”


“So why is my dog barking and being so destructive when I leave?” you ask.

It’s like this, Dan explains:  “Imagine that you’re a parent with a two year old child. Your essential job is to care for, look after and protect that child. Now if the child ended up outside the house and you were locked inside unable to get out what would you do? Sit down with a cup of tea and read the paper? I don’t think so… You would be screaming and shouting and doing everything you could to get out of the house…pulling on the doors and the windows.

“Your energy levels would be way up.  You would be stressed. And stress can show itself in many distinct ways… shouting, chewing fingers, excessive drinking or eating, gambling, addictions, the need to keep busy, man.

“Generally when we are stressed we are the opposite of relaxed ! You know where I’m going: your dog is no different. The cause of the problem is simply that your canine thinks that they are the pack leaders in the home and they think that their job is to keep an eye on you and protect you.

“That’s why your dog is stressed when you leave them. They are stuck inside the property unhappy, worried and restless — all their pups have gone! And anything could happen!

“Think about it. You leave for your workplace five days a week, early morning, and leave them at home again and again, imagine what that does to them! They build up of stress…and again, as with humans, that stress can come out in many different ways.

“Some dogs will bark continuously, some will become hyperactive and not settle down, digging holes and being destructive or chewing. The chewing actually releases endorphines which can help calm your dog down, very similar to when humans are stressed and chew chewing gum. The bottom line is that they are stressed, unsettled and they are wandering around all day long, doing stuff… often not stuff that you want because they simply can’t settle.

“They are not bored.  It’s not usually caused primarily by a lack of exercise and your canine does not need more toys or a meaty bone! (In fact this can make the problem much worse!) The real solution is actually so simple, straight forward, logical and not expensive… YOU become the pack leader and then your dog will happily rest at home when you leave.”

So what to do?

The best place to understand how to achieve this is Doggy Dan’s video website: Dan will show you his Five Powerful Principles that he calls the “5 Golden Rules” to ensure that your dog understands that you are the pack leader and are free to come and go as you please.

Your dog can then relax and not worry when you leave the house. Dan’s methods are also very kind and gentle as he understands how to work with the dogs nature and work along side them.

Another big bonus for anyone who is wanting to stop barking when you are not at home is that becoming the Pack Leader will change this too. The site also covers off a number of other contributing factors that you can look into which will ensure that you achieve the results that you are looking for.




Thanks, Dan, for your adept, discerning, decisive doggy directions.


Brian Alan Burhoe

And be sure to read my popular online dog short story…

==>> A WILD WOLF, A HALF-WILD HUSKY, A WILY OLD TRAPPER!   If you want to read my free story in the Jack London & Walt Morey Tradition, Click Here to Read My Popular Online Northwestern WOLFBLOOD! 


Coming Home to Doggy Destruction – What To Do

Keywords: dog barking video, dogs, dog trainer, dog training classes, dog training tips, dog training videos, free dog training videos, free dog videos, k9 dog training, stop barking


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The Alpha Dog: Be Pack Leader Your Dog Wants


The Alpha Dog: Be Pack Leader Your Dog Wants




We’ve got coyotes.

And we’ve got a big German Shepherd.

The coyotes come and go.  They follow the deer who love our old apple trees.  And the rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks who live around here.  And sniff around the beaver pond at one corner of our property.

We always know when the coyotes are back.  Mocha, our GSD, begs to go out and, panting like an old locomotive building up steam, flies like a cannonball to the rabbit trail at the foot of the snowball tree.  That night, we’ll hear the coyotes a’howling in the forest.

With us, Mocha’s as gentle as a kitten.  When we call her in during one of her coyote harangues, she comes in right away — but with a look clearly saying, “Are you stupid?  There’s COYOTES out there!  It’s my job to scare them away!”

But we call her in.  And she obeys.  And lays down with a big sigh.  She knows that we’re the pack leaders.  As stupid as our pro-coyote behavior seems to her, she obeys.  And waits for her next command to Stand On Guard…

We’re being the Alpha Dog Pack Leaders our German Shepherd wants.  Right?

Here, from our fave dog trainer, New Zealander Daniel Abdelnoor (affectionately called Doggy Dan), is a Guest Blog Post on that very subject.  Listen!

Be the Pack Leader Your Dog Wants You To Be

In this post I’m going to reveal two very important facts about your dog…

The first is about whether or not you really need to be the Alpha Dog — Leader of the Pack. And the second is whether the pack leader must be aggressive.

For example, is it necessary to thump your chest, shout and smack your dog to become the alpha dog? The answer to these two questions could change your relationship with your canine companion. Almost instantly, and forever.

Question 1. Do I really need to be the pack leader? Lets examine the facts…

Dog are pack animals. There are leaders and followers. Loyalty is an essential part of their makeup.  A big reason early Humankind took wolf cubs into their families so successfully.  Followers and leaders: you can’t change that. It is simply how dogs work… and it works extremely well.

The pack leaders make the crucial life-and-death decisions and the rest follow. Simple. In the wilderness, dogs are pack animals. They’ve descended from those wolves. And what most people don’t realize is even in your home you form a pack. Sometimes there are other members in the pack, maybe children, more than one dog, even a cat… The fact remains that dogs will view all these beings as members of the pack, and the pack leader in their eyes must make all the big decisions.

In many families, there are dogs who are just too happy to please, tales a-wagging. They simply do as you ask without any questioning. They are easy to train and the owners are convinced that it’s all due to how successful they are as dog trainers.

You may even know people who believe this. They have this amazing, easy, placid dog and you can’t work out how because the owner doesn’t seem to do anything special. In fact you might even be angered that, in comparison, your dog causes you so much grief.

What’s happening?  How can it be this way? Well, allow me to let you into a secret. The fact is this… It usually has nothing to do with how good the owners are.  Some canines are simply much easier to train others. That’s it!

Trust me…if you have an easy dog then you can get away with so much – and many people do.  But if you’ve got a difficult, very smart, driven dog then you have to know fully what you are doing and the messages that you are sending your canine.

It’s much more difficult to train these dogs if you do not know what you are doing. The secret to training these types of dogs is… to ensure that YOU are the pack leader in the home. Only then will they listen to you. And the difference between these easy and difficult dogs has nothing to do with breeds. It’s all about character and personality.

You’ll never be able to tell until they’re in your home. Kind of gripes us, right! But it explains why you are struggling. It’s why you are constantly bribing your dog, battling with them. It’s like trying to swim upstream… the struggle never ends, they never give in, and you’re exhausted. It’s all because in your dog’s mind you are not the pack leader…YET !

But hold on. Here’s the good news… I can help. You see if you are struggling…I can promise you that becoming the pack leader is the first thing you need to do. And I have just discovered a fantastic resource which shows you how to become the pack leader in the most amazing gentle way. But let’s discuss the next point before I tell you where this fantastic solution is…

Question 2. Is the pack leader aggressive in their behavior?

You’ve got to realize that the best pack leaders are calm and consistent. They’re firm but fair.  There is no screaming, no shouting, no hurting, and no need for smacking.  Forget the rolled-up newspaper.  All those things that used to be associated with being the pack leader many years ago are now obsolete.  Old school dog training used to teach that you needed to physically dominate your dog. It involved a lot of force and confrontation with your dog which would often turn ugly.

The best dog training is where people are taught how to actually win their dog’s obedience in a calm and gentle way, so that their dogs accept them as the pack leader through choice, not fear.

This new dog training method is set to revolutionize the way we work with and train our dogs in the home. By learning how our dogs see the world we can then adjust our behavior to communicate clearly to them in a way they understand. It’s crucial that we give them the right messages, rather than simply applying human psychology to a dog.

Lets face it, we would never apply cat psychology to a dog.  Cats are a whole different animal.  So why do we always apply human psychology? We are primates, evolved from the apes, but your dog is a canine evolved from the wolves and there are some subtle but crucial differences!

When you understand your canine’s mind and where they are coming from there is no need for fear or aggression in training… if you are struggling then the chances are that your dog does not see you as the pack leader.



Thanks, Dan, for your clever, cognitive canine counsel.

Brian Alan Burhoe

And be sure to read my popular online dog short story…

Did you like this animals Post?




The heart-touching tale in the Jack London Tradition of a lone Timber Wolf and it’s meeting with a wild Husky dog.  FREE TO READ ==>  WOLFBLOOD: A Wild Wolf, A Half-Wild Husky & A Wily Old Trapper


The Alpha Dog: Be Pack Leader Your Dog Wants




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Global Climate Change Facts: COP21 Climate Change Conference Paris 2015


Global Climate Change Facts From A Conservative Point Of View




COP21 Climate Change Conference Paris & Beyond…


Canada Is Back!”

Now we have hope again.

After the years of Canada’s Greenest Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, when we actually shined on the international stage, we’ve just endured our Dark Decade, when our Sacred Land was completely abandoned to local and international forces of materialistic greed and destruction. [1]

And the destruction has been immense.

Our greatest living animal — the magnificent Polar Bear — struggles in a decreasing habitat that is literally melting under it.

Of course, Canada hasn’t been the only nation to under-participate in saving our living Earth.  We may be the only country to have dropped out of the promised Kyoto Accord, but others have under-performed also.

In fact, we’re all suffering from the massive neglect industrialized nations have given the living world for centuries.  For three hundred years, the ungodly idea of Progress has blundered around the planet, pouring out massive clouds of coal smoke and stupid indifference.

But things CAN change…

Newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that he is “committed to attending the Paris climate conference, and within 90 days, holding a First Ministers meeting to work together on a framework for combating climate change. Central to this would be the creation of national emissions reduction targets.”

After the last few years of record-breaking heat, drought, storms, flooding and forest fires (leading, among other things, to a decrease in food production and rising food prices!) most of the provincial Premiers are asking for new federal environmental laws.

Some folks (including a personal hero of mine, Farley Mowat) have said that it’s all too late.  We’ve messed up.  Eco Collapse.  And some times I feel this way…  [2]

Certainly, if we’re to turn our massive destruction of our environment around, the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris in December is OUR LAST CHANCE!  COP21 must succeed!  Promises must be made there.  And those promises must be kept over the next few years.

There will be fanatical attempts to undermine and even scuttle the COP21 in Paris.  But we must prevail!

Why?  Here, from right-wing environmental entrepreneur Jean Cannon, is a Guest Blog Post backgrounding this critical problem:


What’s all this talk about Climate Change?

I guess we all want to know how much of it’s true and how relevant is it to my business?

In this post, I’ll discuss what has happened, is happening and some of the predictions, so you can assess the importance for yourself. It also discusses the causes of this and includes some discussion of available options.

Global warming is a fact. It’s likely to speed up, with near record growth in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

The recent UK Stern Report warned that if we ignore this we are likely to have an economic impact equivalent to the combined First and Second World Wars plus the Great Depression, and that is without considering millions of people displaced around the world — those increasing numbers of refugees.

To put climate change into perspective, during the last ice age global temperatures were only 5 °C lower than today and much of Canada, Europe and northern Russia was covered in massive ice sheets several kilometers thick.

Weather extremes and greater fluctuations in rainfall and temperatures caused by climate change are liable to change productive landscapes and exacerbate food, water and energy scarcities in a relatively short time span! Particularly worrying is sea-level rise because of the density of coastal populations and the potential for the large-scale displacement of people in Asia.

Climate change will cause health security consequences, since some infectious diseases will become more widespread as the planet heats up.

Rising global temperatures will see more fires, droughts and flooding over the next 200 years, according to climate scientists from the UK’s University of Bristol.

It is predicted that climate change will contribute to destabilizing, unregulated population movements in Asia and the Pacific. While most of population movement is likely to be internal, there will be flow on effects requiring cooperative regional solutions.

Increasingly extreme weather patterns will result in greater death and destruction from natural disasters, and add to the burden on poorer countries and even stretch the coping ability of more developed nations.

For a handful of small, low-lying Pacific nations, climate change is the ultimate security threat, since rising sea-levels will eventually make their countries uninhabitable.

Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases now, researchers predict Eurasia, eastern China, Canada, Central America and Amazonia are at risk of forest loss. Global warming of less than 2 °C would create a 30% probability of deforestation, while more than 3 °C would double the likelihood of loss. (UK research)

Now — About the Causes

There are three main gases that are responsible for causing the Greenhouse Effect. The data for this has been taken from ice cores giving thousands of years of information.

  • Carbon Dioxide CO2
  • Nitrous oxides – often called NOX
  • Methane

All three are increasing exponentially at present. We are now sitting a long way outside the concentrations that have ever occurred in the past and we don’t know what will happen.

Who is to blame for this?

My little bit can’t make all that difference. Twenty-seven per cent of carbon emissions come from homes which means the rest comes from business in some form or other and a large percentage of business involves small to medium enterprises and farms, just like most of us.

Air traffic is currently blamed for about 3.5% of the human activities that cause climate change and is the fastest growing source of emissions. Its share of total CO2 impact is expected to grow to 5% by the year 2050.

A recent report stated that agriculture is responsible for 40% of greenhouse gasses:

  • 70% of total methane
  • 80% of NOX – this comes from biochemical processes in soils. There are large losses of N from fertilizers – between 15 and 50% of N fertilizer goes missing. If you use N fertilizer, you need to improve the efficiency of use.

There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, many in huge tracks of deforested land, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emission of the gas.

There is now five times the historic concentration of fertilizers in the sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia. This causes an increased growth of algae and algae feed Crown of Thorns starfish larvae. The combination of higher temperatures and Crown of Thorns Starfish is seriously threatening the Great Barrier Reef.

Impacts on water

Global warming is expected to intensify the water cycle, with increased risk of floods and droughts. One of the effects of global warming is likely to be changes in the seasonality of river flows in regions where winter precipitation falls as snow. Additionally, rising sea levels will damage the quality of fresh water available from coastal aquifers and wetlands.

Less freshwater is likely to be available in West Africa, Central America, southern Europe, the eastern US and southern Australia. Other regions, particularly tropical Africa and northwest South America, will be at significant risk of excessive runoff as trees are lost, increasing the chances of severe flooding.

We need to preserve our water quality. There are more of us and fresh water is deceasing. Anything discharged into drains ends up in lakes, dams, rivers or the sea. Do any rivers or lakes near your business have algal problems? A wetland can remove up to 90% of sediments, nutrients and bacteria from stormwater.

When we go boating we really enjoy being in the environment but have we thought about the impact we may be having on water quality. Two-stroke engines produced up to 10 times more water pollution than four-stroke. They acidify waterways and release heavy metals from sediments resulting in underwater pollution up to 1000 per cent worse with two-stroke engines.

Food and Our Environment

Food grown on modern mega-agricultural “farms” is responsible for 37% of our greenhouse emissions and transport is 10% concluded a recent environmental study.

The same study suggested that if we reduce our red meat consumption by 150 gm per week it’s equivalent to leaving your car off the road. I had previously heard that transport was 14% but it is certainly a lot less than food and agriculture.

There’s a lot of personal choice here. I seldom eat red meat because I don’t like the taste and I prefer fish and free range poultry.  But that is a personal choice — although both those protein sources are less greenhouse gas emitting.

I’m not advocating vegetarianism because it certainly doesn’t suit my metabolism.  And if we look at our teeth we have evolved to be omnivores or mixed eaters. We don’t have big canines like cats and dogs, but equally we don’t have herbivorous molars like cows and horses. Our nearest relatives certainly eat birds and small mammals when they can as well as leaves, fruit and seeds.

And none of this even begins to address the affects of factory farming on the welfare of the animals. [3]

As food production decreases globally due to climate change, growing and producing food ourselves will become a necessity.  Organic gardening is a growing trend.  It’s all about choices.

Climate Change Effects: What can we do about all of this?

We can think about our buildings and try to reduce energy use there.  84% of property owners, architects and consultants are involved in green development to some degree, but there are still limited choices of green building products, according to the first major survey of attitudes to sustainability.

While governments are seen as having the greatest influence on society’s reaction to climate change, 65% of surveyed people expected the private sector to take the lead in coming years.

Wind power could supply one third of the world’s electricity by 2050 and save 113 billion tones of CO2 emissions, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace.

We can think about our waste

When our waste breaks down in land fills, it generates large amounts of methane gas. Some of the newer landfill sites have been carefully designed to prevent leaching into the water table and to capture the methane gas generated.

In Victoria in 2004-5, 5.4 million tonnes of waste was recycled. This is a seven percent increase from the previous year it showed recycling saved over 78 million gigajoules of energy, 52 GL of water and 4 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses. 55% of the total solid waste stream was recovered.

Germany has become the 18th country to join the international “Methane To Markets Partnership”, an initiative to turn the toxic greenhouse gas in the coal mining, landfill, agricultural, and oil and gas sectors into a clean energy source.

India, which still suffers from massive coal emissions and smog, wants industry to use waste-to-energy technologies to both generate electricity and help address waste disposal challenges in various core industries including pulp and paper industry, breweries, textile mills, rice mills and solvent extraction units.

The paper industry is eminently suited for power co-generation as 75-85% of energy is to heat the process and 15-25% as electrical power. “The large quantity of wastewater generated in pulp and paper industry can be used for generating bio-gas which can be used to produce thermal energy electricity.”

And we can consider using other fuels as well as how far we transport things and whether the transport is efficient.

The biggest initiatives here are alternative fuels such as harnessing solar and wind energy and also using fuels made from plants and other biological sources instead of fossil fuels. This is logical because fossil; fuels are just fossilised forests from the past.

Victoria’s wind farms are saving more than 250,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to an independent study. A typical 2 MW wind turbine reduces greenhouse emissions by about 6,000 tonnes per year, with 1,000 MW of installed wind able to displace around 600 GWh of brown coal generation per annum.

A meat works in Victoria, is investigating the use of animal fat from its abattoir operations for making biodiesel. The potential 10 ML of biodiesel a year would fuel the company’s own transport fleet, with the excess sold on the open market. In Australian biodiesel is being made from canola but sugar would be another good source.

In New Zealand biofuel is being made from algae grown in sewage ponds. This is important because a major obstacle to biodiesel is the fact that the same land used to grow biodiesel crops is also needed to grow food.

Trading carbon is a sensible strategy so that people who do use large amounts of carbon based energy can pay other people who are growing trees.

One of my clients has a forestry project to enable their business to be carbon neutral. At Enviro Action we donate a portion of all our income to Trees for Life to support them growing seedling native trees for farmers and other land owners to plan each year.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger explained that his state, the world’s 12th largest carbon emitter, could become a global leader in greenhouse emissions reduction following agreement on a Cap and Trade System.


Myself, I feel deep concern about the future my grandchildren and their friends face. I think we all need to take the many small steps that may seem to “not make much difference” to try to reduce the overall load on the system.


I use low energy fluorescent bulbs in table lamps instead of the ceiling full of halogen lights in both my home and my office. I chose to live in a well insulated north facing place so that I get winter sun coming under my verandah but no summer sun and I seldom use the air conditioner.

I used heating for only four hours last winter and that was when the ground outside was white with frost. In summer, 40 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) outside translated to 29 ºC (84 °F) inside and I decided I was comfortable as it was under 30 ºC. I drive a duel fuelled car and walk or ride my bike when this is possible.

These are little steps to reduce our foot print and if we all do this in both our businesses and our homes we do have a cumulative effect. We can choose “green power” in most places. In our business we can think carefully about all the impacts we have just discussed and work out how to save green house gas use and remember this also saves us money.

Obviously we also need to take big steps as well and new technologies must also be developed as existing technologies are not adequate to “solve” the problem, but we can reduce the load and the rate of global warming by all taking our small steps and we need to start now.

Helping the environment can be a real win-win.

“It IS easy being Green!”

ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER:  Jean Cannon is a grandmother and deeply committed to helping to improve the legacy we are leaving our children. Jean’s philosophy is that by going green you can make more money. She is both an environmental scientist and a pragmatic business person — an enviro-entrepreneur.

Jean is the author of three books — REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT — IT IS EASY BEING GREEN — GREEN YOUR BUSINESS: THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MANUAL — and is a contributing author to another.  To learn more about Jean Cannon and her important books, go to Jean Cannon, Author.

Thanks, Jean.  – Brian Alan Burhoe


==>> What Is Really Canada’s National Animal?  The Polar Bear!  Want To Know Why?  SEE  CANADA’S NATIONAL ANIMAL – THE POLAR BEAR.


NOTE: The artwork at top of page is by Charles Livingston Bull, illustrating the short story THE SUMMONS OF THE NORTH by Sir Charles G D Roberts.

[1] “Canada’s Greenest Prime Minister Brian Mulroney…”  In 1987, Conservative Prime Minister Mulroney spearheaded the The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer   — signing countries committed to reducing, and eventually completely stopping, production of chemicals such as CFCs that contribute to breaking down the ozone layer.  Remember CFCs — Chlorofluorocarbons?  Our refrigerators, air conditioners and spray cans used to be full of them.

And Remember Acid Rain?  Brian Mulroney began negotiations with President Ronald Reagan in 1986 on the deadly phenomenon.  The Canada-US Acid Rain Treaty was signed by Prime Minister Mulroney and President George H W Bush in 1991.  Our Great Lakes are showing sure signs of recovery.

The legacy of Brian Mulroney, Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush to the environment is a proud one.  And a surprise to many.

And President Richard Nixon’s essential contributions include the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970.

teddy-roosevelt-climate-changeHistorically, the whole concept of Conservation came from the Right, not the Left.  The very word “Ecology” was coined by German traditional conservative landowners who were fighting the massive destruction of their beloved woodlands (valiantly protecting what Wilhelms Riehl called the “mythic darkness of the primordial forest”) and their rich ancestral soil by the new international liberal forces of Progress and coal-fed industrialism.

And President Teddy Roosevelt was warning Americans about “Climate Change” and “Deforestation” way back in 1908, in his prophetic  “Eighth Annual Message to the Senate and House of Representatives” –  See Teddy Roosevelt Called it Climate Change in 1908!

[2] “We have no God-given right to survive forever. We have screwed up so badly in so many ways so obviously that only an utterly stupid species would consider that we have much of a future, as things stand,” Farley Mowat once said.  “In the end, my crusades have accomplished nothing. I haven’t saved the wolf, the whales, the seals, primitive man or the Outport people. All I’ve done is to document the suicidal tendencies of modern man. I’m sure I haven’t altered the course of human events one iota.”

NOTE: I understand Farley’s discouragement when he spoke those words.  But I disagree with him.  Like Grey Owl before him, whose writings and costumed performances had a lot to do with saving the Canadian beaver from extinction, Farley has made a colossal difference.  His NEVER CRY WOLF, for instance, created a passion for saving the wolf that has kept on growing. He planted seeds.  They are still growing.  See my Happy Birthday, Farley Mowat! Tribute to a Hero

[3]  In a recent presentation — “The Effect of Mega-agriculture on the Health of Animals” — Dr Greg Harrison said, “There is broad evidence of the adverse effects of today’s mega-agriculture on all animals. Mega-agriculture includes the use of GMO or genetic modified organisms, glyphosate-ready crops, pesticides and artificial fertilizers. The effects range from behavior and reproductive disorders to immune suppression and cancers. All these issues point to the value of encouraging organic farming and being proactive in preventing these calamities in the first place.”


Global Climate Change Facts: COP21 Climate Change Conference Paris 2015

Keywords: climate change definition, climate change facts, global climate change, global warming, grey owl, mega-agriculture, organic food, organic gardening, polar bears, scienced-based, what is climate




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