How we raise our Bolos


   This is a "Happy Birthday Stew" cooked for our dams when they whelp a litter of puppies. It is a symbol of    celebration, cooked with an organic chicken to contribute lots of calcium and other minerals to the bonebroth. All of us, Bolos and humans alike, share in the bounty.


I am a nutritional anthropologist with a background in the study of traditional cultures. I worked and lived with the Maya, researching their hearthrites and ceremonies. My intention was to learn what changes had transpired in the local population when post-Conquest Spaniards introduced new foodways. To bring my research up to the present I needed to include the impact of Western Civilization. Unfortunately, even this ancient community had trekked through the forest to discover sugar, white flour and vegetable oil in far-away markets. Returning with their cache of modern food, they introduced the medical problems that accompany the industrialized world.

Jimmy and I are convinced that the benefits of a diet replete with the foodstuffs a farm or homestead can provide the healthiest way of eating. A cooking pot filled with ripe produce from the garden and meat from the pasture or hunt is a healthy ideal. We do our best to provide a natural diet without additives or synthetics, not only for ourselves, but for our Bolognese. Because we own a small ranch we have access to meat from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. Fed a diet of sweet green grass, the meat of our water buffaloes and pigs is rich in healthy fatty acids. Beautiful eggs with marigold hued yolks are a gift from our chickens and ducks. A herd of dairy goats provides a plentiful supply of raw milk for making yogurt, kefir and cheese. These beautiful dairy products are overflowing with healthy enzymes, vitamins and minerals. When preparing cheese, we keep the temperature below 100 degrees to preserve the nutrients that are destroyed by heat.

We cook a big pot of stew or provide raw meat on a daily basis for our Bolognese. A small bowl of kefir is always available. A few sips provide potent probiotics to ward off infection and keep the intestines running smoothly. A bowl of raw milk or a handful of cheese makes a delicious breakfast for the Bolo and is a favorite they devour with enthusiasm. Another early morning tidbit is a small sliver of whole grain bread. Our kitchen has a grain grinder and the loaves that come from our oven are made from freshly ground grains. When I slice the bread for Jimmy’s morning toast, the Bolos gather around to snag their additional breakfast treat. Because the offering is baked from organic grains, ranch-fresh eggs and coconut oil, it makes a nutritious nibble to add variety to their basic diet. It is one of their favorite things.

The bulk of our dogs’ nutrition is provided by a Hearty Bolo Stew. The concoction usually consists of cooked rice, meat with bone attached, sweet potatoes and something green . . . such as  spinach, cabbage or kale. We use many variations to keep things from tasting the same every day. A handful of dried fruit cooked into the rice adds just a touch of sweetness (no raisins, of course). One of their favorite additives is chopped dried apricots. Any vegetable trimmings from the leftover lettuce, tomatoes, and radishes get tossed into the pot for added  nutrition. All of those parsley stems and other fragrant herbs such as oregano and mint bring a touch of vibrant green and lots of good flavor to the stewpot. A small handful of turmeric goes in to add its anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as a subtle golden color. In order to extract the calcium and other minerals from the bone into the stew broth, I add a small amount of acid. Acid can come from either a bit of vinegar or a touch of wine. The alcohol in the wine, of course, will disappear during a long slow simmer on the cook fv
 op. After the Bolo stew is ready, I add some grated carrot and chopped or grated fresh fruit, such as an apple or pear. These raw ingredients add additional nutrients and a supply of essential enzymes.

Another dietary staple that we consider essential is a rich bone broth that we prepare from whatever bones are left over from our own table. They go into a large pot along with garlic, celery, carrots, and any scraps of vegetables that happen to be in the refrigerator. The broth may be flavored with turmeric and other herbs from the garden and a touch of acid, as noted in the paragraph above, to coax the minerals out of the bones and into the broth. After the mixture has slow cooked for at least 2 hours it is strained into another casserole and used to prepare rice and other grains. Occasionally I serve it to the Bolos as a simple liquid soup. They love it and never leave a single drop behind.

Organic kibble is offered free choice, a handy “snack” to enjoy whenever they choose. Because the Bolos are accustomed to having kibble in a bowl, it is something they have a familiarity with . . . a benefit that is essential in the case of travel or emergency.

Several times a week we also provide eggs for our Bolognese, either cooked in coconut oil or butter or whipped raw into their milk. Sometimes the egg mixture is stirred into the Hearty Bolo Stew.

Two or three times a week we offer a big meaty bone for the Bolos to gnaw upon. Eventually the bone is worn down, the chewing instinct is assuaged and lots of beneficial calcium is consumed.

A diet consisting of 100% all raw foods is gaining many advocates and devotees. There are also a number of people who feel that any kind of raw food, whether meat, milk or egg is unacceptable. Obviously, there is still a lot of variation and controversy in the dietary recommendations for people, as well as animals. The path we choose to follow has worked well for us. Our animals are healthy and have no problems with overeating. Perhaps having food available at all times contributes to the idea that there will be no scarcity . . . and therefore, our dogs consume only the amount that they need for optimal nutrition.

Those who are interested in providing a healthy diet for their animals can find tips and information on www.westonaprice.com. Dr. Price was a dentist who traveled the globe in the early decades of the 20th century to study traditional cultures and their diets. He revisited these populations throughout the decades and documented the deteriorating  physical changes brought about by the Standard American Diet. The importation of white flour, sugar, and vegetable oil wreaked havoc on the health of these populations. We try to follow the suggestions of Dr. Weston A. Price when it comes to preparing food for our own table, as well as for our Bolognese.

Two trays of food ready to be presented to our Bolos. Moxie inspects the menu and approves. She can have some, as well, if she chooses.

                                                                  Good to the last drop


                                                                                                                        I love Waterbuffalo bones  

                                                                                           Lots of eggs from our pastured ducks and chickens

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