Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, October 6, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, October 6, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


Sisters and best friends, Sally and Connie came in together 
and their perfect home will keep them together. These 
gorgeous fluffy girls are 11 years young and will be happy 
to be given soft beds in a sunny spot and to receive gentle 
pets, especially massages of ears and head. Both have 
calm peaceful temperaments that will reward attention 
with soft purrs. Sometimes Sally and Connie will stretch 
out in their individual beds, but they also often will want 
to share one bed and snuggle together. The girls curl up 
and it’s hard to tell who is who. They both have stunning 
tortoiseshell coats of black with orange highlights and 
look very similar. Sally can be identified by a dramatic 
blaze of orange on her face and she’s a tad bit larger than 
Connie. Both Sally and Connie enjoy the brushing of 
their silky long coats. Neither show much interest in toys 
or flying teasers. But that might change when they have 
their own homes to explore and with family they know. 
Sally and Connie will add beauty and harmony to any 
home. Sally and Connie’s adoption fee is $99 each, which 
includes spay surgery, a microchip, first vaccinations and 
a free wellness check-up at a participating veterinarian. 
Both sweet cats also qualify for the “Senior for Senior” 
discount adoption program. Feel free to call us at (626) 
286-1159 for more information. They currently reside 
at the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society located at 851 
E. Grand Avenue in San Gabriel which is located off San 
Gabriel Blvd, north of Mission and south of Las Tunas 
Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet and Greet’, please stop by any 
time from 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday.


Back when I first had my bloodhound, Tatertotts, I 
remember the vet telling me to watch out for foxtails 
during the dry months that follow the more or less 
‘wet’ months in southern California. I had never 
heard of a foxtail, perhaps because I grew up in the 
South where the grass rarely dries out, so I had to go 
home and look it up.

 Named for their uncanny resemblance to the tail of 
a fox, the foxtails I am talking about are seed clusters 
that come from what is commonly known as foxtail 
grass. There are various types of foxtail grass, several 
of which prevail in the western part of the United 
States. Like most seeds, foxtail seeds ride the wind 
and they have awns designed to burrow the seed into 
the ground, so needless to say foxtail grass grows just 
about anywhere it lands in our region.

 During the dry, hot summer season, the seeds that 
emerge and fan out of a cluster from the tall stems 
of foxtail grass are needle-thin and razor sharp. 
Somewhat like a fish hook, the awns of these seeds 
are barbed. They feel smooth to the touch when 
rubbed upward from the stem, and thorny or pokey 
when rubbed downward. Also, much like a fish hook, 
because of their biological properties, when foxtails 
poke their way into a soft surface such as skin, they 
can be very painful and nearly impossible to pull out.

 The vet’s concern with my bloodhound sniffing 
around in the local hillside and fields was that she 
would likely get a foxtail seed stuck in her enormous 
nose, in which case she would sneeze repeatedly in 
a futile effort to get it out. Then, when the foxtail 
seed refused to budge, Tater would likely continue to 
sneeze relentlessly, possibly resulting in cardiac arrest. 
I could hardly believe what the vet was telling me. My 
dog could actually die from sniffing in the grass?

 Indeed it is true, and I later came to learn it is 
actually quite common. Further, those foxy foxtails 
not only pose a serious health threat to our furry 
friends‘ nostrils, they also present a major medical 
concern by simply coming into contact with the 
surface of their skin. The paws and ears are also major 
at-risk areas for the potential invasion of a foxy foxtail.

 The issue of foxtails on a dog’s skin becomes 
particularly precarious for those sporting thick, fluffy 
coats. If a seed is picked up by a dog’s fur and not 
promptly removed, it can burrow down beneath the 
lighter top coat of a fluffy dog and hide in the thicker 
undercoat, just above the surface of the skin.

 Over time, as the dog goes about his daily routine 
of running, rolling around and lounging, the foxy 
little foxtail takes the opportunity to burrow deeper 
beneath the dog’s undercoat and ultimately under the 
epidermis where it will have to be surgically removed. 
If not removed surgically, the relentless barbed seed 
will remain in place and irritate the dog’s tender 
dermis until it causes a major infection.

 A foxtail can also find it’s way into the internal 
organs or digestive system of a precious pet, and 
because the tenacious tail of the seed is not broken 
down by the metabolic process, it can become a 
serious medical emergency for an unwitting dog and 
it’s owner. If the foxtail probes it’s way through the 
wall of the digestive tract or into the soft tissue of a 
major organ, infection is inevitable and potentially 

 Clearly, no one wants their beloved four-legged 
friend to be at risk due to foxtail grass. So, the best 
practice for those of us who love our pets like family, 
is to avoid coming into contact altogether, if at all 
possible. Back when my vet warned me about the 
possibility of Tater having a heart attack after sniffing 
in a seed, I immediately removed all of the foxtail 
grass from my yard and I continued to dig it out as 
soon as I saw it growing back in.

 It can be a challenge to deter a weed that is 
extremely prolific and mobile in our area, but if one 
is dedicated and tenacious about performing the task 
of repeated removal before the grass has a chance to 
grow and eventually dry out, it can be done. And I’m 
sure you’ll agree the work is well worth the result if it 
means preventing the risk of a health hazard for your 
beloved, four-legged friend.


Yes, imagine 
waiting 8 for a true 
home! We’ve had 
him since he was 
a baby. Scout is a 
gentle and sweet 
boy, beautifully 
all shiny black. 
Scout’s a bit shy at 
first until he gets to know you, but after that he will 
love to be next to you and be petted or get a tummy 
rub, and tell you about his day. He gets along well 
with other cats, but especially relates to kittens. 
Please find a way to welcome this sweet, soulful 
spirit into your loving home. He will come healthy, 
current on vaccines, neutered, and microchipped. 
See more pictures, adoption info at http://www.

Good news: Charlotte & Parker, Willow & Gus,& 
Cricket have been adopted.



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




Learning about Wild Foods is an essential survival skill


If the good Lord ever intended 
me to travel as much as I 
have been traveling, I'm sure 
He would have given me wings. I like the idea of 
traveling; it is the actual traveling that gets me. The 
only good thing about traveling is that home looks 
so good from so far away.

 Several years ago, I received an invitation to 
speak at a conference. It sounded like a great idea 
at the time. I have been there before and have had a 
wonderful time. The thing about this trip was it was 
the same week my son and daughter-in-law were 
expecting their fifth baby, which would have been 
our ninth grandchild. Whether it is the first or the 
ninth grandchild makes no difference whatsoever 
to those creatures called grandmothers.

 When the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
learned of my plans and that the conference I would 
be speaking at was in close proximity to the ninth 
grandchild, which was the end of the story. Plans 
for "our" travel began. According to her, I could 
drop her off at my son's house and continue to my 

 My wife loves it when her plan comes together.

 I am not exactly sure how you plan the birth date 
of a child, but my wife was keeping close contact to 
make sure it would happen when she wanted it to 
happen. Grandmothers are like that. According to 
her, the baby was to be born at such a time that she 
could go and spend the entire week with the new 
baby. I do not know how grandmothers do it, but 
they have a secret power unbeknownst to us on the 
male side of the ledger.

 As the time approached for our departure and the 
imminent birth, my wife became a little nervous.

 "What if we get there and the baby isn't born yet?"

 As if, I knew the answer to that question. Why is 
it wives have the innate ability to ask questions that 
no husband in his right mind or in any mind, for 
that matter, could answer?

 "I will not leave their home if the baby isn't born 

 Although it sounded like a threat, it was a plan 
I could work with, but I kept that information to 

 The day before we were scheduled to leave, the 
blessed event happened. My wife's ninth grandchild 
entered this world and that made everything all 
right. It was my ninth grandchild too, but nobody 
paid me any mind. If the truth were known, I was 
the one paying. I paid for the whole trip.

 It turned out to be a little girl, which was a 
surprise to everyone. Therefore, Grandmother had 
to do some last-minute shopping. I paid for that 
too; in more ways than I can count here.

 The two days driving to the scene of the blessed 
event were filled with nonstop chatter about the 
new granddaughter. I nodded my head a lot and 
judiciously filtered in an occasion “aha." I do not 
know who this new granddaughter thinks she 
is but I do know who the grandmother thinks 
the granddaughter is. Maybe that is all that really 

 Although we never met this new addition to 
the family, my wife seemed to know everything 
about her. I have often wondered how mothers and 
grandmothers know so much about their offspring. 
I often get their names mixed up.

 I dropped the newly crowned grandmother at my 
son's house and proceeded to my conference. I like 
speaking at conferences, primarily because people 
pay to hear me talk, and they actually want to hear 
what I have to say.

 My cell phone was all a flutter because almost 
every hour I got an update on what this new 
grandchild was all about. According to the reports 
I received, this was the most beautiful, the most 
wonderful, the most extraordinary grandchild ever 
born on planet earth.

 I agreed, because, well, look at her grandfather.

 My conference was over and I headed back to 
the difficult job of prying the grandmother loose 
from her ninth grandchild. It took some doing, but 
I accomplished it and we were on the road again.

 On the trip home, we, and I say "we" rather loosely, 
were planning a return trip to see the grandchild.

 I, weary from traveling, was planning how 
wonderful it would be to get home, sit in my chair, 
eat at my table and sleep in my bed. Traveling 
is wonderful, especially if you are going to see a 
granddaughter, but the most delicious aspect of 
traveling is heading home.

 As my wife glowed over the recent granddaughter 
and rehearsed in my weary ears the extraordinary 
attributes of this latest addition to our family, I was 
thinking about home. When people say that home is 
where the heart is, I am thinking of other body parts. 
There is no reclining chair quite like the reclining 
chair awaiting me at home. I must say that my 
posterior has grown weary of all these foreign seats.

 As we traveled weary mile after weary mile a 
verse of Scripture seemed to rest in my head. "In my 
Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, 
I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for 
you.” (John 14:2).

 I really will not get home until I go to the Father's 
House, where He has a place prepared especially for 

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. 
Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

[Nyerges is an educator and 
author. His web site is www.

 On Thursday, September 27, Mia Wasilevich 
spoke at the monthly Sierra Madre CERT meeting 
on how to recognize and use wild foods, based on 
her recent book.

 Mia Wasilevich is a chef, photographer, and 
naturalist who has learned to combine wild foods 
with her love of cooking. She is the author of a 
cookbook focusing on invasive and naturalized 
weeds entitled Ugly Little Greens (Page Street 
Publishing 2017). 


 As a young child, Mia traveled to many countries, 
including Central and South America, Australia, 
New Zealand and Europe. It became evident to 
her that what Americans consider "weeds" or wild 
plants are often regarded as food in many parts of 
the world. 

 Mia noticed that weeds and invasive plants make 
an appearance as food in many cultures.

 Mia began to wonder why this art of wildcrafting 
had faded from our own culture, except for in a few 
vintage cookbooks. Eventually, she met a prolific 
set of teachers, foragers, and “foodies” in the Los 
Angeles area and it inspired her to use weeds in 
everyday cooking. She calls these "everyday 
weeds" which she attempts to make into recipes as 
interesting as possible, while keeping it simple. 

 In the event of an emergency that might affect 
Sierra Madre, Mia shared how to recognize many 
of the very common wild foods and weeds that 
actually grow all over town. Though Mia’s emphasis 
was how to make tasty and nutritious foods from 
plants that are typically pulled up or poisoned, the 
members of CERT realized that stores might empty 
quickly after an emergency. It is not an uncommon 
scenario for most commercial enterprises to cease 
entirely for a period of time after an emergency. In 
many cases, the few remaining stores get looted.

 CERT training encourages citizens to store a few 
weeks of food, ideally foods that do not require 
refrigeration for storage, because electricity might 
be out. This means that dried and canned foods are 
ideal, as well as plants from the vegetable garden.

 During her talk, Mia pointed out that the recent 
drought has taken its toll on local wild plants life, 
but that edible weeds are likely still growing in many 
backyards. She also emphasized the importance of 
learning a half-dozen or so common weeds, all of 
which are from Europe, and are typically regarded 
as invasive weeds. In other words, if you leave the 
native plants alone and simply clip from European 
weeds, no one will mind! The very common edible 
weeds are found in the local parks, backyards, 
foothills, and along streams. 

 The plants that Mia emphasized were common 
mallow, lambs’ quarter, nettles, chickweed, 
dandelion, nasturtium, and prickly pear 
cactus. Each of these are common in the spring, 
widespread, easy to recognize and easy to include 
in most dishes.

 Because botany is a science that require a certain 
degree of focused study, Mia pointed out the 
possible look-alike plants in each case.

 Mallow is used in soups and salads, and has a 
round leaf, similar to a geranium leaf. Lamb’s quarter 
is related to spinach and quinoa, and the leaves are 
used just like you’d use spinach; also the seeds add 
protein to soups and bread batter. Stinging nettles, 
widely despised, are in fact nutritious for soup and 

 Watch this column for details about each of these 
plants in the coming months.


 The Sierra Madre CERT (Civilian Emergency 
Response Training) meetings are held monthly in 
Sierra Madre, and they give you an opportunity 
to meet like-minded neighbors who are also 
concerned about how to deal with emergencies.

 Meetings are typically the 4th Thursday of each 
month, in the Hart Building in Memorial park. You 
can learn more about Sierra Madre CERT group by 
checking them out on Facebook, or their web page 
at CERT means 
Civilian Emergency Response Training, so you can 
learn what to do in emergencies. The training is 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: