FloBeds Builds World’s Largest Dog Bed

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FloBeds, pioneers in the eco-friendly mattress industry, and a market leader in organic mattresses, will set the Guinness World Record Labor Day Weekend, for the Largest Dog Bed.  The run at the record will take place during Paul Bunyan Days, Fort Bragg’s festival that honors their timber history, the larger-than-life logger, his blue ox, and now Spot, his reversible dog.

Joan, the ‘magic fingers’ behind the big dog bed

FloBeds will make the record-setting dog bed of the same all-natural materials they use in their organic mattresses. That means it will not only be the world’s biggest dog bed, it will also be the most comfortable and most eco-friendly.

A mini dog bed model – wonder if it’s the world’s smallest dog bed?

The dog bed will be 7 ft by 9 ft – that’s bigger than a king size mattress, bigger than the largest FloBed mattress – and ten times bigger than a large-breed dog bed.  The cover will be organic cotton, the pad will be Talalay latex customized for different firmness preferences, just like the beds they make for people.   The dog bed will be built at FloBeds, presented at 6:45 during the 1st Friday kick-off party on Friday Sept 3rd, then moved to the Ugly Dog Contest on Saturday.

The record attempts will be documented with pictures and videos, and certified by the City’s Mayor Doug Hammerstrom in accordance with guidelines provided by the Guinness Book of World Records.

FloBeds  invites staff, friends and family to the reveal; they’re also inviting people who sleep on a FloBeds mattress to bring their dogs and join them for the record setting events.

Asked why he’s building the world’s biggest dog bed, Dave Turner – the man behind FloBeds – explained, “We think it’s the perfect world record for FloBeds and our hometown. We’ve been celebrating a larger-than life logger for more than 70 years, and we were just named #5 on Dog Fancy Magazine’s list of best dog towns in the country.  What makes more sense than setting the record for a really big dog bed?”

They Like Our Pillows Too

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It seems people like our all natural Twice Fluffed Dream Pillows as much as our all natural mattresses. Recently Latex Mattress Reviews recommended them and commented on their great price.

According to Sleep Like the Dead, in an on-line review about customer satisfaction with latex pillows, 88% of actual owners included in their research are satisfied with their latex pillow. They say it’s a good compromise between soft and firm/supportive; holds shape; durable; effective at pain relief; good air flow; won’t clump, shift or develop hollow spots.
Latex pillows have medium firmness, say owners overall. Owners typically describe them as soft to the touch, yet supportive and as being not too soft or too firm. Specifically, 87% of owners say that the firmness is just right, 10% too soft, and 3% too firm.

The vast majority of owners included in their research (91%) said that the pillows provide acceptable to excellent support. They usually commented that the pillow is “springy” and instantly adjust to the movements of the head and neck. Owners did not report any need to fluff or try to return the pillow to its proper loft.

In addition, owners typically said that the product does not go flat and that it holds its shape throughout the night. Those who did not like the support of the latex pillow often said it was because the pillow was too thin or too soft; those people need a Twice Fluffed Dream Pillow.

Heart Burn and your Sleep

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Heartburn

Image of digestive system.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)–the muscle connecting the esophagus with the stomach. Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD. Doctors believe that some people suffer from GERD due to a condition called hiatal hernia. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication or surgery. This fact sheet provides information on GERD-its causes, symptoms, treatment, and long-term complications.


What Is Gastro-
esophageal Reflux?

Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.

Illustration showing the location of the LES between the esophagus and the stomach
Figure 1

In normal digestion, the LES opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus. Figure 1 shows the location of the LES between the esophagus and the stomach.The severity of GERD depends on LES dysfunction as well as the type and amount of fluid brought up from the stomach and the neutralizing effect of saliva.


What Is the Role of Hiatal Hernia?

Some doctors believe a hiatal hernia may weaken the LES and cause reflux. Hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm (diaphragmatic hiatus). The diaphragm is the muscle separating the stomach from the chest. Recent studies show that the opening in the diaphragm acts as an additional sphincter around the lower end of the esophagus. Studies also show that hiatal hernia results in retention of acid and other contents above this opening. These substances can reflux easily into the esophagus.Coughing, vomiting, straining, or sudden physical exertion can cause increased pressure in the abdomen resulting in hiatal hernia. Obesity and pregnancy also contribute to this condition. Many otherwise healthy people age 50 and over have a small hiatal hernia. Although considered a condition of middle age, hiatal hernias affect people of all ages.

Hiatal hernias usually do not require treatment. However, treatment may be necessary if the hernia is in danger of becoming strangulated (twisted in a way that cuts off blood supply, i.e., paraesophageal hernia) or is complicated by severe GERD or esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus). The doctor may perform surgery to reduce the size of the hernia or to prevent strangulation.


What Other Factors Contribute to GERD?

Dietary and lifestyle choices may contribute to GERD. Certain foods and beverages, including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcoholic beverages, may weaken the LES causing reflux and heartburn. Studies show that cigarette smoking relaxes the LES. Obesity and pregnancy can also cause GERD.


What Does Heartburn Feel Like?

Heartburn, also called acid indigestion, is the most common symptom of GERD and usually feels like a burning chest pain beginning behind the breastbone and moving upward to the neck and throat. Many people say it feels like food is coming back into the mouth leaving an acid or bitter taste.The burning, pressure, or pain of heartburn can last as long as 2 hours and is often worse after eating. Lying down or bending over can also result in heartburn. Many people obtain relief by standing upright or by taking an antacid that clears acid out of the esophagus.

Heartburn pain can be mistaken for the pain associated with heart disease or a heart attack, but there are differences. Exercise may aggravate pain resulting from heart disease, and rest may relieve the pain. Heartburn pain is less likely to be associated with physical activity.


How Common Is Heartburn?

More than 60 million American adults experience Gerd and heartburn at least once a month, and about 25 million adults suffer daily from heartburn. Twenty-five percent of pregnant women experience daily heartburn, and more than 50 percent have occasional distress. Recent studies show that GERD in infants and children is more common than previously recognized and may produce recurrent vomiting, coughing and other respiratory problems, or failure to thrive.


What Is the Treatment for GERD?

Doctors recommend lifestyle and dietary changes for most people with GERD. Treatment aims at decreasing the amount of reflux or reducing damage to the lining of the esophagus from refluxed materials.Avoiding foods and beverages that can weaken the LES is recommended. These foods include chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Foods and beverages that can irritate a damaged esophageal lining, such as citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and pepper, should also be avoided.

Decreasing the size of portions at mealtime may also help control symptoms. Eating meals at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime may lessen reflux by allowing the acid in the stomach to decrease and the stomach to empty partially. In addition, being overweight often worsens symptoms. Many overweight people find relief when they lose weight.

Cigarette smoking weakens the LES. Therefore, stopping smoking is important to reduce GERD symptoms.

Elevating the head of the bed on 6-inch blocks or sleeping on a specially designed wedge reduces heartburn by allowing gravity to minimize reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus.

Antacids taken regularly can neutralize acid in the esophagus and stomach and st-op heartburn. Many people find that nonprescription antacids provide temporary or partial relief. An antacid combined with a foaming agent such as alginic acid helps some people. These compounds are believed to form a foam barrier on t-op of the stomach that prevents acid reflux from occuring.

Long-term use of antacids, however, can result in side effects, including diarrhea, altered calcium metabolism (a change in the way the body breaks down and uses calcium), and buildup of magnesium in the body. Too much magnesium can be serious for patients with kidney disease. If antacids are needed for more than 3 weeks, a doctor should be consulted.

For chronic reflux and heartburn, the doctor may prescribe medications to reduce acid in the stomach. These medicines include H2 blockers, which inhibit acid secretion in the stomach. Currently, four H2 blockers are available: cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine. Another type of drug, the proton pump (or acid pump) inhibitor omeprazole inhibits an enzyme (a protein in the acid-producing cells of the stomach) necessary for acid secretion. The acid pump inhibitor lansoprazole is currently under investigation as a new treatment for GERD.

Other approaches to therapy will increase the strength of the LES and quicken emptying of stomach contents with motility drugs that act on the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These drugs include bethanechol and metoclopramide.


Tips To Control Heartburn

  • Avoid foods and beverages that affect LES pressure or irritate the esophagus lining, including fried and fatty foods, peppermint, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, citrus fruit and juices, and tomato products.
  • Lose weight if overweight.
  • St-op smoking.
  • Elevate the head of the bed 6 inches.
  • Avoid lying down 2 to 3 hours after eating.
  • Take an antacid.

What If Symptoms Persist?

People with severe, chronic esophageal reflux or with symptoms not relieved by the treatment described above may need more complete diagnostic evaluation. Doctors use a variety of tests and procedures to examine a patient with chronic heartburn.An upper GI series may be performed during the early phase of testing. This test is a special x-ray that shows the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). While an upper GI series provides limited information about possible reflux, it is used to rule out other diagnoses, such as peptic ulcers.

Endoscopy is an important procedure for individuals with chronic GERD. By placing a small lighted tube with a tiny video camera on the end (endoscope) into the esophagus, the doctor may see inflammation or irritation of the tissue lining the esophagus (esophagitis). If the findings of the endoscopy are abnormal or questionable, biopsy (removing a small sample of tissue) from the lining of the esophagus may be helpful.

The Bernstein test (dripping a mild acid through a tube placed in the mid-esophagus) is often performed as part of a complete evaluation. This test attempts to confirm that the symptoms result from acid in the esophagus. Esophageal manometric studies-pressure measurements of the esophagus-occasionally help identify critically low pressure in the LES or abnormalities in esophageal muscle contraction.

For patients in whom diagnosis is difficult, doctors may measure the acid levels inside the esophagus through pH testing. Testing pH monitors the acidity level of the esophagus and symptoms during meals, activity, and sleep. Newer techniques of long-term pH monitoring are improving diagnostic capability in this area.


Does GERD Require Surgery?

A small number of people with GERD may need surgery because of severe reflux and poor response to medical treatment. Fundoplication is a surgical procedure that increases pressure in the lower esophagus. However, surgery should not be considered until all other measures have been tried.


What Are the Complications of Long-Term GERD?

Sometimes GERD results in serious complications. Esophagitis can occur as a result of too much stomach acid in the esophagus. Esophagitis may cause esophageal bleeding or ulcers. In addition, a narrowing or stricture of the esophagus may occur from chronic scarring. Some people devel-op a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, which is severe damage to the skin-like lining of the esophagus. Doctors believe this condition may be a precursor to esophageal cancer.


Conclusion

Although GERD can limit daily activities and productivity, it is rarely life-threatening. With an understanding of the causes and proper treatment most people will find relief.


Additional Readings

Cramer T. A burning question: When do you need an antacid? FDA Consumer 1992; 26(1): 19-22. This article for consumers provides general information about antacids.Larson DE, Editor-in-chief. Mayo Clinic Family Health Book. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990. This general medical guide includes sections about esophageal reflux and hiatal hernia.

Richter JE. Why does surgery work for GERD? Practical Gastroenterology 1993; XVII(10): 10-18. This article for physicians describes antireflux surgery.

Sutherland JE. Gastroesophageal reflux disease: when antacids aren’t enough. Postgraduate Medicine 1991; 89(7): 45-53. This article for primary care physicians provides guidelines to determine if a patient has reflux disease and offers treatment methods.


National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Public Health Service. Established in 1980, the clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NDDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about digestive diseases.

Publications produced by the clearinghouse are reviewed carefully for scientific accuracy, content, and readability.

This e-text is not copyrighted. The clearinghouse encourages users of this e-pub to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.


NIH Publication No. 94-882
September 1994e-text posted: February 1998
e-text last updated: April 2000

Mt. Shasta Wool

Organic Wool - Comfort and Fire Resistant, Naturally
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Mt. Shasta Wool

The Woolgatherer’s Story:

I began my involment with sheep and wool in western Montana. It was there I met one of my mentors, Mr. Jack Knox, a Scottish immigrant expert in sheep and in training sheep dogs. Jack is famous in both Scotland and the US as a “big hat” competitor in sheep dog competition. A national champion. Anyway, he got me started in this adventure by sorting me out with my first sheep dog. I still rely on him for advice in both raising sheep and training border collies. I bought his wool this year as a component of the blend of fleeces I use in my batting.

patrick with his flock, makeing wool for FloBeds Latex Mattresses
Woolgatherer Patrick with flock and Mt. Shasta in background

After I left Montana and returned to California, I ran a few sheep as a hobby and to keep my hand in as a novice sheep dog handler and trainer. But I quickly began to notice the qualities of the wool that the sheep I raised provided. I was lucky enough to have purchased a flock of corriedale ewes as well as another group of cheviot ewes. I started to read up about fleece and the differing fiber characteristics that various sheep breeds offer. I scoured (washed)my first fleeces myself, learning just what makes up a good scouring job…water temperature, amount of surfactant (detergent), number of rinses, how to restore ph balance in scoured fleece. My first fleeces went to a custom carding mill to be made into both yarn and batting. The results were amazing, such beautiful yarn and resilient batting, I was hooked and wanted to do more with wool, but selling wool and yarn on a hobby basis yields almost nothing other than pride in quality of product (not that that isn’t a reward of its own!). I also wanted more land so that I could raise a larger flock of sheep. The ranch I have now is the outgrowth of both the desire to do more with wool and to keep a larger flock of sheep.

patrick with his sheep dogs, holding baby lamb
Patrick with sheepdogs large and small, lamb in arms

As I grew as a sheep rancher I faced the sorrowful proposition that the wool market in the US could not compete with foreign wool, the prices paid for domestic wool was at a bottom, and many ranchers had stopped paying attention to the quality of the fleece that they produced. I got a lead to a small bedding maker who was looking for a quality fleece to be made in to batting. One thing led to another. I began a relationship with the bedding maker wherein I would source fleece for their use. The idea was that I would purchase the fleece, arrange for it to be scoured and carded into batting.

I soon ran into a cost problem that was insurmountable. During my investigations into the world of wool processing I became aware of a mill that was being shut down by its corporate owners. The entire plant was being put up for auction. I made some calls and found that I could offer a pre-auction bid for select parts of the mill. I began to entertain the idea of purchasing my own carding line and batting production equipment. To that end I hired a mill consultant from Prince Edward Island, Canada to develop a business plan for me. I hired a millwright based in Texas to act as an advisor in analysing the mill that I would bid on. I made an offer on the mill that was being shut down. My bid was the highest entered and I was given very favorable terms resulting in my being able to visit the mill with my consultant and, basically, being able to cherry pick all ancillary equipment and parts consistent with long-term operation of a woolen carding operation. When I tell other millwrights, and mill owners the story of just how extensive a selection I was given in choosing machines and parts the reaction is of surprise that I was given such incredible value for my investment. Such is the luck of the innocent, I suppose.

the wool mill
Wool Picker
another view of wool mill
Wool Carder

Coincident with arranging the purchase and tear down of an existing plant, I began a search in earnest of wool types and breed characteristics in terms of fiber behavior. I became a fanatic, I called wool experts all over the place. I went to wool graders and buttonholed them at wool competitions. I took notes, asked questions over and over again. I collected samples at fleece shows. I arranged an extended visit to Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon/Washington, and there I was taken under the wing of their wool buyer, Mr. David Taft (now retired). He sat me down during a long lunch and gave me an compressed overview of fleece types, problems that wool buyers face with wool growers, geographic differences in wool quality, and then lent me some of the texts he had worked with during his own education in the craft.

As I progressed, I began to make up sample blends of wool on a cottage carder that I purchased. I called wool growers and asked them to sent me samples of their fleece. I scoured that fleece and then blended them in various ratios. Some fleece I found to be unusable in the kind of batt that I wanted to produce. I was looking for a combination of things: Resilience and loft, softness to touch, cleanliness of the fleece when it is shorn (absence of dung…i.e., no belly wool, no hind quarter wool, and low vegetal matter retained in the fleece. I pay a hefty premium for good wool, for instance last year’s commoddity medium grade wool sold for an average of .38 cents LB whereas I paid .60 – 65 cents LB assuring that what I purchased was far cleaner than what other buyers were able to obtain. I also looked at the anount of “whiteness” after scouring various breeds showed, and, very importantly, durability over time in use. I knew that those were the qualities that bedding makers would want. I made 20 experimental blends of batting, and I selected within those samples a range of characteristics that would work. I then began to source that wool. I started finding out about sheep ranchers in the Pacific Northwest using as one of my sources a shearing contractor in central Oregon.

Woolgatherer Patrick with FloBeds Dave
Dave and Patrick Agree to Put Pure Shasta Wool in Every FloBed

As you know, I visit each wool grower that I purchase from. I can tell almost immediately upon arriving at each ranch just what kind of operation I am dealing with. Relative order about the ranch is a quick determination. I ask to look at their flock and can tell quickly what health condition the ewes are in, for healthy ewes = quality fleece. I look at the pasturage and can make a quick assessment of what kind of vegetal matter is likely to be in the fleece. Weedy pastures mean high stems of plant material, which, when they seed out will cause seed heads to become entangled in the fleece. I ask what kind of winter feeding practice is used. Last year I refrained from buying fleece from an organic grower because of his feeding manner, he threw alfalfa over the ewes backs from the bed of a pick-up truck assuring that there would be a heavy vegie load in the fleece. I wish he wouldn’t do that because his fleece is ideal in my blend for making batting. I tend to favor growers who are “green” in their land use practices and don’t overgraze or use herbicides. All of this is time consuming but is not really reflected in my wool prices to you. It’s just the way I like to run my business.

Well, I don’t know if I have helped you with this rambling narrative. I think I’ve touched the high points, though, but if there are more specific questions you want me to respond to let me know. As a parting shot I’ll reiterate a quote from one grower I buy from: “You (Woolgatherer Ranch) are making a big difference in a small way.” He was referring to the top price I pay for wool that is treated right thereby encouraging growers to pay attention to their fleece.

I’ll sign off now.
Sincerely yours,
Patrick

(Patrick Holland died in June of 2004. That year he wrote:

“I’ve kicked a hole in heaven.
I’ve broken the gates of hell.
Tended sheep in mountain pastures
While the western star stood still.”

We’ll miss you Patrick.)

Bryna holds a lamb
Bryna Holds a Wee Babe