Saturday, July 30, 2005

Masked Men

I finally went and saw Batman Begins today! Awesome. And then this evening I watched Phantom of the Opera. Two movies about masked men in capes--what were the odds of that happening? Now I will probably have some funky dream about Batman swooping down from chandeliers and singing opera... Could be interesting. ;-)

I did some work on an etching today, which is coming along really nicely. I hadn't worked on it for quite some time (once I missed a particular show deadline, there didn't seem to be much point in hurrying). I am not sure yet when I'll print the edition, but probably some time this summer. I'm drawing Spangled Cornish now for the Standard, which is just an enormously difficult color because it is so complex and detailed!

Random pics for today:

Olin on the hammock, as seen from below (he goes on the hammock all by himself!)

Now I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a "bug person." No trips to the rain forest for me, I don't care too much for bugs (there are those I like, but as a general rule--ugh). But while cleaning out the ducks' waterer this evening I found a type of scarab beetle in there, still alive. I see these things around all the time in the garden, they eat leaves and things. They are huge, at least an inch long, metallic iridescent green, and their wings buzz so loud it scares the bejeebers out of me when they are around. So I'm not a big fan of them, but from an artistic standpoint, their colors are amazing. While this one was still soggy enough to be incapacitated, I took a few photos. Of course then it dried off and flew away right in front of me and I darn near had a heart attack. So if you're not a bug person these might gross you out...

Friday, July 29, 2005

"The Fancy"

How it all began: On July 29, 1987, I got my first pair of fancy chickens--a pair of Spangled Old English Game Bantams. I named them "Wilson" and "July" and I was hooked! And so began what is now 18 years of chicken-craziness. That's more than 2/3 of my life! Not only do I enjoy the birds, but being a part of "the fancy" has introduced me to the absolute most wonderful people in the world, the poultry people. :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Boys

A small trickle of water from the drip irrigation + Mallards = MUD!!! They are so easily entertained. :-)

Cuckoo Cuckoo!!

I debated trying to keep it secret, but then I figured the sooner I "went public" with it the sooner I could start complaining about whatever problems come up. :-) Sooo...the new color I am working on is Cuckoo Rosecombs. This was a late-in-the-season experiment, so I won't end up with many of them to work with. There are two more batches due to hatch. This wasn't a color I had really considered working with, and contrary to what some people will think this was NOT inspired by the exorbitantly priced trio that sold on line. It maybe did sort of get the train of thought onto the tracks though. A friend of mine has a flock of Bantam Dominiques, so I borrowed a couple of them and bred them to Black Rosecombs. It's not every day that Cuckoo birds that already have rose combs are available, so I figured I'd better take the opportunity. I don't know how many years this project will take.

(above) These are the chicks from the first batch. They are 3.5 weeks old. The one on the right is from a RC hen x Dom male. The other two are most likely purebred Dom, though I am not sure yet.

(above) These are the chicks from batch 2, which is a very strange little group. They are all from the Dom females X RC male. The one in the back is cuckoo. The second from the left is a "normal" black like what I see in purebred RCs. The two dark blacks are darker than what I ever get out of the RCs. And the other one is a Brassy Back, which I just can't figure out at all. People say the Brassy Back color originated as a sport from Black, so maybe it's just a sport?? Who knows. Batch 3 is due this weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


It was 6 years ago, on the 23rd of this month, that Thunder died. She was my first horse, my friend, and losing her was the saddest day of my life. We had such great times together in the 7 years that she was a part of my life. In some ways it seems like so much longer ago than 6 years, yet the memories of that day are still so painfully etched into my mind that it doesn't feel like it's been that long at all. It took a long time before I could be happy when remembering her--the sadness of her final day completely overshadowed the joy of all the years. I smile when I think of her now though, and all the silly things she did, her snooty attitude...

Sometimes I have to wonder how much of life is due to fate, do things really happen for a reason? I've always wondered what would have happened if she hadn't died that summer. She would be 30 now. I wouldn't have bought Gwen. If I didn't have Gwen, I probably wouldn't have adopted Shylah. I never would have even thought this six years ago, but I think that things turn out the way they are for a reason. When a friend leaves, and leaves an empty spot in your heart, it means someone else will come along to fill it up. I miss her though. I always will.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Above the Clouds

Short post today, I'm tired.

As much as I don't really care for airline travel (I think it's just all the crowds and hassle) there is something really cool about flying. I think it's fascinating to see how the terrain changes, and it's just so neat to be up above the clouds (or haze and smog, after all it's a zillion degrees). When I was a kid I used to think it looked like a big quilt. It still amazes me that airplanes actually fly though. I know, I know, it's physics or something...

I am so ready for this stupid heat to end! I hate summer weather here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cooper's hawks and women's fashions

No, the two are not related, they are just the two things on my mind. I almost lost my nearly-blind BBRed hen to a Cooper's hawk this evening. "Catty" has bad cataracts (hence her name, I know, how weird) and can only see in certain directions--behind and above is not one of those directions. So I was heading in after collecting eggs, and I heard a bunch of squawking and out of the corner of my eye saw what looked like two birds "tumbling" across the driveway. Immediately I knew what was going on, so I ran out there with the dogs close at my heels. The hawk was perched on top of a roll of fencing, and Catty had scrambled inside the roll. I went straight for the hawk, and when the dogs saw me going after it, they went after it too and barked while it flew off. Good for them, I want them to learn I don't like hawks around the birds (the dogs hate pigeons too, and will chase them). Catty is fine, other than some emotional bruising. I couldn't find a scratch on her, but she was pretty shook up. Poor girl, she's unfortunately an easy target. Kids love that bird, she is so easy to catch (of course, she can't see much!) and she's really docile when caught. Seems like EVERY summer there is a very brazen juvenile Cooper's hawk that hangs out and harasses the birds. Can't be the same one, it's a juvenile every year! Arg. I am not a hawk-hater, don't get me wrong. I would never harm one. I have a lot of respect and admiration for birds of prey, and everybody has to eat. I just don't like it when they choose my birds as their potential meals! 99% of my birds are cooped up, so it's not usually an issue. Maybe it will go away.

The other thing on my mind tonight is the current state of women's fashions. I had to go to the mall today to attempt to find something to wear to a family reunion thing this weekend, and holy moley there is a lot of ugly stuff out there. Not just ugly, but totally unflattering. How do people bend over in those short skirts??? How do people cram their feet into those pointy shoes? There are some really cute looking shirts, but geez they are not flattering! Unless of course someone fits into a size small...but hey, that's not me. One would think that clothing designers would realize that someone who doesn't wear the little bitty sizes might not look really hot in a skin-tight shirt...right? Yeesh. So I think instead of trying to look nice this weekend we should have a "wear the ugliest thing you can find at the mall" party. For me, it would be the orange/black/brown/white broomstick skirt (think calico cat), a lime green velour and lace halter top so low cut that it would leave NOTHING to the imagination (I am assuming one is supposed to wear something under those?? Or do you just not bend over? Gosh if you wore that with a little butt-bearing skirt you couldn't even walk safely!) and of course to finish the outfit it would have to be the rainbow-sequined pointy-toed high heel shoes. Oh yeah, I'd be hot stuff...sheesh. Shopping is bad for self-esteem.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Where the magic happens?

People often ask me where I work. I think they imagine I must have some grandiose studio. I don't, and in fact I get major studio-envy when I see people who do (they can spread stuff all over the place!). My studio is located in a corner of the front room. I have a drafting table, chair, some storage space, shelves, etc. I am working on refinishing another set of shelves for flat-files but that's a work in progress. To the right of my table is a very nice piano that nobody ever plays, so I stash stuff on top of there too, and often prop up artwork on it so I can sit at my table and see artwork from somewhere other than 12 inches away from the surface (have to get a different perspective on things sometimes). I am supposed to keep it pretty tidy but that really only happens when we are hosting poultry meetings or parties. Around art show times, it looks like a tornado has gone through.

Here's a pic I took this afternoon right before starting work on revising the Large Old English sketches. Hee hee, you can see some of the completed work on the piano. I think it's small enough there that I won't get hollered at for posting it on line! :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mottled Cornish

I finished the Mottled Cornish drawings today! Second time is a charm I guess. The first go-round didn't work too well because I made a stupid mistake. Though I'd have to say it was pretty stupid for this stupid mistake to have even been possible. There are two "standards" in the US poultry world--the APA's Standard of Perfection, and the ABA's Bantam Standard. One would think that the basic color description for Mottled would be the same in either book (after all, a judge at a show will reference both books, how can it be that one is wrong and one is right when they are describing the same bird??) Anyway, I digress. Bottom line is the books are not the same! These drawings turned out pretty cool though. I really can't wait to post all these drawings on line...*sigh*

I am trying to figure out how to post pictures in this blog. Supposedly there is supposed to be this nifty little "post pictures" button here at the top of the editing screen but I'll be darned if it's not there. I guess I either have the wrong kind of account or maybe it doesn't work for Macs or something. So...hmm, other options...something about HTML...let's see if I can figure this out.

Olin, the king of relaxation

Woo wee, I made it work! That's Olin, he sure knows how to relax and he's so darn cute I can't resist taking pictures. Next I am going to have to figure out how to make links. Here is something funny I made the other day:

Play it on "fast" speed!

Monday, July 18, 2005

my first "real" post

Well, I am just about ready to send out my enormous email update, which means people will know about this blog, and with any luck might remember to read it from time to time. :-) Somehow it seems strange to be doing this, I mean I don't really feel like I know a whole heck of a lot about the blogging phenomenon and certainly didn't intend to jump on the bandwagon, but aspects of it started to seem...appealing? Reasonable? Like something I actually wanted to do...a place to ramble. I don't quite know where this will lead, it's just an outlet, a place for me to write the day to day stuff that makes life interesting.

I hope it's fun, and I hope it's enjoyed.

Here goes! :-)

ps--I just spell-checked this posting, and I'm highly amused that it didn't recognize "blog" or "blogging." HELLO?!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

need to start this thing soon

Probably nobody has ventured in here yet since nobody knows about it. I need to send out one of my massive email update thingys before I really get into this, so that people will know it's here! (then again, that's mildly scary). This blog thing feels like a big commitment, but I think I'll handle it better than the email updates, since obviously I've been a bit lax on those (almost two years now since I've sent one..ugh). Here's hoping I can come up with good things to write about, that I can keep it updated, and that I'm not so terribly boring that nobody will read it!