Book Review: The Photo Ark


The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals by Joel Satore

Copyright 2017

Joel Satore has been a renowned photographer for National Geographic (and other publications) for several decades. He spent 25 years accumulated thousands upon thousands of photos of living creatures—mammals, birds, reptiles, sea life, insects. Many of the animals are endangered or threatened. This book of incredible images is stunning; Satore shot the pictures in zoos and wildlife centers around the globe. The foreword is by Harrison Ford, who I never realized was an avid conservationist.

Besides the lush images, the text provides a lot about the status of many species and celebrates some of the “unsung heroes” who are devoting themselves to preserving special animals. I also learned about the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which analyzes animal and plant species to determine their risk of extinction. Their labels include: EX – extinct, EW – extinct in the wild, CR – critically endangered, EN – endangered, VU – vulnerable, NT – near threatened. So many species especially on islands are extinct, nearly extinct, or critically endangered due to human activities of destroying habitats and/or introducing non-native species that kill off the existing animal.

This book belongs in every library and school.


Recipe: Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Hey, throw in some veggie and chocolate becomes healthy!

1 box mix dark chocolate cake
1 to 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cooking oil (not olive oil)
1 cup shredded zucchini (be sure to peel first)

Combine all ingredients, mix well for 2 minutes. Pour into greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees (or whatever cake mix box says) for 50 to 60 minutes; test with toothpick to ensure doneness. Cool in pan for 255 minutes, then remove. Frost with cream cheese frosting or whatever your favorite frosting. I like to just drizzle chocolate/confectioner sugar frosting on top.

Recipe: Tortellini & Chicken Soup

Okay, it snowed here today. Last night dropped to 20 degrees, tonight’s low is predicted 19 degrees. Cold weather always makes me think of hearty soups and comfort foods. So I’ll be posting favorite recipes over the next couple of weeks!

Mmm, hot, filling, delicious Tortellini & Chicken Soup. This gets made in a slow cooker (you know, Crock Pot tm).

(You can adjust ingredients to taste. I like a lot of pepper and garlic.)

1 pound ground chicken, browned OR 1 pound cooked chicken breast, diced small
1 onion, chopped small
2 large carrots, chopped
1 T. celery powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. chicken bouillon powder (low salt)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I use low sodium)
1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved and mixed in 1/4 cup hot water
36 ounces evaporated milk (full fat) or half-and-half
12-ounce package three-cheese tortellini
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup milk

1. Place ingredients from chicken through chicken broth in large slow cooker. Cover and cook: High for 4 hours, or Low for 7 hours.

2. Uncover; use large spoon to skim off any fat sitting on top of soup (discard fat). Stir in the cornstarch mixture and the evaporated milk. Add the tortellini. Mix well.

3. Cover again and cook on High for 45 minutes, until soup has thickened and the tortellini is soft.

4. Add the spinach, pressing the leaves to submerge them in the soup. Cover again on High for further 5 to 10 minutes, until spinach is wilted.

5. Pour in the milk slowly to reach your desired thickness and consistency. Taste test; season with additional salt or pepper only if needed.

Eat while HOT. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated on stove, being careful to not have tortellini turn to mush.

Seems like my most popular posts are those that feature the pups. My three adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

Seren started Rally obedience class last week, tonight is the second class. Last week he was a wild child — bouncing off the walls, barking, wanting to jump at and play with the other dogs. But once in the ring practicing the commands, he was great. Hmm, could it be because there are food treats involved in doing as told? 😉 Anyway, he may turn out to be my first Rally little champ, if he continues to do well enough to eventually compete.

Seren 0917

But he does not like being kept on leash on the porch, when he wants to run and play.


The three darlings: Seren, Fancy and Faolan (on couch in den).


Aah, Aquarium

I’d been thinking about having an aquarium in my home office, I find them stress-reducing. But not in the budget. Then I started going through stuff, planning a yard sale for next spring. And lo and behold, there was the 10-gallon tank, complete with filter and heater, that hasn’t been used since we moved 13 years ago. So yes, it still cost a small bit to buy fish and fish food and various stuff, but much less than buying the equipment itself. I already had the rocks and plants. Colorful inexpensive small fishies and a few snails. I really want more snails.



And then, the smaller plastic (not as nice as but much cheaper than glass) tank was 75% off at Petsmart. So now three angelfish inhabit that, along with some porcelain fish I had packed away.



Ah, relaxation.

Fun Word Facts

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

“Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand and “lollipop” with the right.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet.

The words racecar, kayak and level are palindromes—they are spelled the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.

There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: abstemious and facetious.

“Typewriter” is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the typewriter keyboard.

Letter Quiz Fun

(No cheating by looking down at the answers first!)

What English word contains:

  1. All five vowels and the letter Y [2 words]
  2. The vowels a-e-i-o-u once and only once, in alphabetical order [2 words]
  3. The vowels a-e-i-o-u once and only once, in reverse alphabetical order [3 words]
  4. Sixteen letters, but only one vowel is used (repeatedly)
  5. Nine letters but only one vowel
  6. Seven letters but no vowel
  7. The letter “i” seven times
  8. Three sets of twin letters, all together


  1. unquestionably, revolutionary; 2. abstemious, facetious; 3. uncomplimentary, unnoticeably, subcontinental; 4. strengthlessness; 5. strengths; 6. rhythms; 7. indivisibilities; 8. bookkeeper