Bites at Animal Planet

Behind the Scenes

2 Feb

Behind the Scenes: Treehouse "Z"

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Photo courtesy of Tory Jones

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about Treehouse "Z" inside this blog post!

Stella and Charlie Kouns have built a retreat called Butterfly Farm near Canton, North Carolina. Since 2011, Butterfly Farm has been growing into a small, 21-acre sanctuary for all life that either lives or journeys here.

Pete had a very short window to build a small treehouse for Stella and Charlie, in fact only 9 days!  It was meant to be a space of meditation and relaxation for them selves, friends, family and other artistic souls to set intention.

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26 Jan

Behind the Scenes: Rustic English Re-Tree-t

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Rustic English Re-Tree-t inside this blog post!

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Alan and Gwen Gardner live on their homestead on Snow White Field Road in Waxhaw, North Carolina that is called appropriately enough Storybook Farm.

They raise goats and have donkeys and chickens and very cute corgis. They wanted an interior that would feel like an English Country Cottage: rustic, but oh-so-shabby chic.

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20 Jan

Behind the Scenes: Texas-Sized Treehouse

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Texas-Sized Treehouse inside this blog post!

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Marc and Ann Laird have a sweet piece of land on the Frio River in Leakey, Texas, that’s Texas hill country and really, really beautiful. Pete built them a very large treehouse using 11 cypress trees on the river, with the longest bridge they have done yet.

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It’s located on what used to be the land of the Lipan Apache Nation and there are still arrowheads and pottery shards to be found, the Lairds are proud of the native heritage, so that became one of the design motifs for the build, starting with a teepee from Reliable Tent, which has its own platform deck. I dressed the interior with a sheepskin rug and pillows from Auskin and placed a totem and campstools on the outside.

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13 Jan

That's the Spirit: Wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon

Enjoy the first of this weekly column by founder and CEO of Alaska Distillery, Toby Foster. Each week he'll pick one of the distillery's delicious Alaskan flavors, describe how it came to be, and how to best enjoy it!

Be sure to watch new episodes of Alaska Proof every Thursday at 9/8c to learn more about how they make these unique spirits!

Toby & Salmon Guys
Courtesy of Toby Foster

Why We Picked This Flavor: It is a sad thing that entire generations will know salmon as this pasty, textureless, somewhat slimy, funky-colored meat that has been created by farming Atlantic salmon. Just like a Yorkshire Terrier is a far cry from an Arctic Tundra wolf, the genetics and environment of these Frankenfish have created an animal that is but a shadow of its wild cousin.

Just like how free-range cows make better milk, you can easily taste the difference between the two salmon types, and there is no comparison. Copper River Wild Sockeye Salmon are a 10 out of 10. Farmed Atlantic, not so much.

What We Expected: In Alaska, you say smoked salmon and no one imagines the cold smoked lox city folks eat with cream cheese and bagels. Salmon here is cut into strips and hot smoked after being cured in a brine or allowed to dry in the sun and wind. It is a tasty, chewy meat with a distinctive flavor--kinda, sorta, but not really like beef jerky. The really good brine recipes are coveted secrets handed down for generations. There are a hundred different ways to prepare it, but usually you just eat it plain because it is that delicious.

We thought that mixing the savory Smoked Copper River Sockeye salmon with the smooth flavor of our vodka would create a spirit that would be a welcome relief from the tinned, sickly sweet cupcake flavors that have been making the rounds. It’s the kind of flavor that is satisfying: an entree, not a dessert.

What Actually Happened: Perfecting this flavor didn’t come easily, it took 47 tries to come up with our current mix.

Smoked Salmon Vodka Bottle Pic

Results: Our Sockeye Smoked Salmon Vodka is consistently one of our best sellers, and has a strong international following.

Possible Mixers/Drink Ideas: The taste is unique, and not at all what most people expect. If you come from a culture where fish is a staple, you are going to want to sip it straight. It’s what you drink sitting on the porch of the lake house during winter solstice, watching the Northern Lights dance over the expanse of frozen water, and reflecting on how blessed you are.

Another way to enjoy it is inside the Mother of all Bloody Marys. It is life-changing. You will find Jesus at the end of that straw. Here’s how to make it:

Inside Scoop: There are a number of short films that feature our Sockeye Smoked Salmon Vodka. You can view them on our YouTube channel!

Make sure to watch the series premiere of Alaska Proof tomorrow at 9/8c!

26 Nov

Manny the Frenchie Makes Most Adorable Visit to Sick Fan

It's no secret that Manny the Frenchie is an internet sensation. His Instagram is inching closer and closer to hitting one million followers, a mark hit some time ago on his massively popular Facebook page. Not to mention, he's quite the avid Puppy Bowl fan. However, it's not just about the glitz and glam of stardom for the precious pooch. 

Recently, Manny traveled to Louisiana to bring a smile and a sloppy wet kiss to the face of a true survivor. Joycelun, one of Manny's biggest fans, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and had no idea her favorite pup was coming to visit. Check out the incredible surprise below: 

Bites @ Animal Planet had the opportunity to chat with Manny about his travels and what it meant to bring some joy to Joycelun. 

Bites: What made the email about Jocyelun stick out in your inbox? Was there ever any hesitation in making this surprise happen for her?  

Manny: We receive a couple hundred emails like this every month and although I wish I could help every single human and animal that emails me, unfortunately I can't. This particular email stood out because it was regarding a disease that affects only humans and not animals. Katie showed us how much Joycelun loved looking at my pics and how much I help cheer her up when she is in pain. After learning more about Cystic Fibrosis and what Joycelun has endured her whole life, there was no hesitation to visit her.  My mommy and daddy decided that instead of a regular visit, we wanted to surprise her and capture her reaction. 

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2 Oct

Behind the Scenes: Home Tree Home

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Home Tree Home Treehouse inside this blog post!

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A breathtaking spot was chosen for Susan’s retirement on the Oregon coast in Neskowin. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from an enormous Sitka spruce tree (Picea sitchenis), Pete designed the most spectacular hexagonal tree home.

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28 Sep

Cat Knows Exactly How to Control Dog While Their Parents are Away

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from thedodo.com)

Dogs drool and cats rule — quite literally, in this case.

Proud pet owners Devon Meadows and his wife have been trying to train their little dog, Chazz, to not be so loud and yappy while they are out of the house, but it turns out they aren't the only ones with that goal in mind. Their cat, Greyscale, is apparently also a fan of peace and quiet.

The Meadows recently captured a rather comical little scene on their home monitoring camera system, taken after they'd both left for work, showing how Greyscale teaches the dog to just chill out already.

Chazz clearly gets the message.

Sometimes the roles are reversed. Watch as Jackson Galaxy tries to help a cat that is terrified of the tiny family dog!

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4 Sep

Cats Get Their Own Street View in Japan

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from thedodo.com)

Try looking at the world from someone else's perspective, such as a cat walking on a street.

Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan is making that goal much easier with the launch of its new online project: Cat Street View.

Website visitors are immediately welcomed with a beautiful video of local cats, scored by a gentle piano accompaniment, which one can only imagine is being played by the most delicate of furry paws.

From there, it's cats galore. 

With a paw in lieu of a cursor, you can lead yourself around the streets of this Japanese prefecture, better-known for its capital city of the same name. From there, you'll find plenty of cats on ground level.

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1 Sep

Behind the Scenes: Magical Party Pad Treehouse

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Magical Party Pad Treehouse inside this blog post!

Rhonda and Roxy are sisters who share a family home in the Platte River Valley near Omaha, Neb.  Although Rhonda and her husband live in Florida, they visit often and wanted an adult party clubhouse.  Pete stepped up his game and delivered a fantasy castle treehouse on the back of their property, which included a copper capped turret.

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The sisters love their martinis and cocktail time, so a heavily outfitted bar was a starting point, things are kept cool with a wine frig from Haier.

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28 Aug

Behind the Scenes: Sunrise Day Camp Clubhouse

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Sunrise Day Camp Clubhouse inside this blog post!

Sunrise Day Camp could only be described as a labor of love. Being able to give a very special gift to the campers was a wonderful way to start the summer. Pete designed a beautiful large oval gazebo-like treehouse and I got to work to make this indoor/outdoor space colorful and comfortable for our campers.

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Inside, Lindahl Woodcrafts sent me wooden cut outs of woodland birds and leaves, which I had some early campers at the hospital decorate to hang from the rafters. Also hanging were some mobiles and chimes from Woodstock chimes to add a musical touch to the breeze.  Speaking of music I stocked up on instruments like kazoos, ukuleles, wash boards, drums, tambourines, and of course a trumpet from BMG to call reverie.

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