Monday, January 30, 2006

Crazy weekend, and the secret lives of chicken people.

I think I've recovered from the weekend. I didn't get up til quite late today, and I napped for three hours when I got home yesterday, so all that certainly ought to put me on the road to recovery. In case you've forgotten, I was at the PPBA show in Stockton over the weekend, and I had a blast.

I've never shown as many birds as I did this weekend. I ended up taking 29 of them (was going to be more but some of them started to molt...random..). It took an hour and a half for me to load everything into the car here, and an hour and a half to unload them all into the cages at the show. I also had the art booth to contend with, so all in all it took me almost 4 hours to unload the car Friday afternoon and get the birds all cooped and fed. There were somewhere around 3000 birds entered, which is huge for a show in CA (shows used to be much larger, but the Newcastle problem really cut things back a few years ago). The Rosecomb class was VERY impressive, with breeders here from all over the US. Strangely though, I never did get around to counting all the Rosecombs... There were a lot, and there were 6 colors represented.

I think I got over to the hotel around 8, and I called up D.W., who I had talked to on line but never met in person. We yacked for a hour or so and then headed down to the lobby, where I wasn't yet feeling quite brave enough to indulge in a beverage, but sat around and yacked some more with various chicken people, and then finally A.R. showed up around 11something and I headed off to bed....

Where I tossed and turned for hours and hours and hours, thinking about all the stuff I had to set up and clean up and fix up Saturday morning, and the more I thought about trying NOT to think about it, the more I ended up thinking about it. The last time I saw the clock, out the corner of my eye, the number in front was a 2, so when the alarm went off at 5:45, I wasn't exactly thrilled (have I mentioned I'm not a morning person? I am NOT a morning person!).

A.R. and I got over to the fairgrounds around 7. She headed off to be drooled upon by game fowl guys all day (ha ha! Such tales to tell!) and I got to work cleaning up the birds, which took about an hour and a half (that seems to be the magic number over the weekend). Exhibitors like to think that we have things all figured out before the judge ever gets around to judging the class. I never even had time to carefully look at all the Rosecombs (this weekend was INSANE) but the "big time" guys were sure I had the class whooped. Well, unfortunately the judge didn't see things that way. I got Reserve of Breed with my hotshot pullet (now aptly named "Diva" by P.A.) but the cockerel that everyone thought would win didn't do much of anything, and the bird who got Reserve of Show last time around placed second. Go figure. You never know about these things. Although the standards by which they are judged do not change, the ways that one person interprets them do, so you could have five judges pick the winners and you might get five different birds up on top. I have a great deal of respect for judges, and I would not want to be in their shoes, but the outcome of not only the breed but the whole RCCL class surprised me, and I certainly didn't see what the judge saw (nor did a lot of other people). You just never know. But that's fine, winning is never something I count it, it's just a nice thing when it happens. :-)

Anyway, I set up the art booth starting a little after 9, and it seems to me it took, you guessed it, about an hour and a half to set up. GOLLY that's a lot of work, but it turns out looking nice. I often wonder if it's really worth it to do that, it's such a stressful thing to deal with, but it does pay for the whole show and then some, so in that respect it's definitely worth doing every year. Business went pretty well, I sold a couple tiles, some mugs, one original painting (a dog, go figure), and lots of cards. Once again, thank goodness for note cards. Many people dropped by just to visit and see what I've been working on, and look at the Standard drawings, and that was sooooo nice to get some compliments on those, since for the most part the only people who have seen them are the standard committee. It really makes me excited about being done with them, some day... :-) Plus it was just cool to meet a bunch of new people, some of whom I had emailed before about various things, or who came up to me all excited and told me that they'd seen the website and it was so nice to see everything in person, etc.

The art booth:

It sure didn't seem like long before it was late afternoon, and time to take all the art stuff down. I couldn't believe how the day flew past. I'd hoped to sell a lot more of the tiles. I think the "problem" with selling stuff at a show like this, is that people don't have time to come over and look. So many people are running around insanely busy just trying to catch up with things that they just aren't even aware that I'm in there wheeling and dealing. So I have a whole slew of tiles left, which will be going up on my website soon, and maybe onto eggbid or something...we'll see.

That evening was the banquet, which is a traditional part of CA poultry shows. Most people go to them. They raffle off wine, let the judges talk about the classes they judged, present a couple of non bird related awards, and mostly we stuff ourselves and talk about poultry. I stayed after the banquet for the APA and ABA business meetings, looking forward to hearing the decisions the SOP committee had made about a couple of the revisions, but as luck would have it I had stepped out of the room for just a moment when that stuff was discussed (impeccable timing, as always), though it sounds like I didn't miss anything anyway because I don't think they actually decided anything. Sooo...yeah, hopefully they do at some point.

I was getting pretty tired by that point, having gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. I think I got back to the motel around 9ish, and went down to the lounge with D.W. and A.R. I was talked into indulging that evening, and had a Lemon Drop. I have no idea what is in a Lemon Drop, but it was pretty good. I would not have wanted to be in the bar alone though, yikes. Not that it was a bad place (though there was some bad karaoke and bad dancing and bad outfits...not that I'm one to talk) but I felt a little, um, scrutinized. Must have been the shirt. ;-) (D, I'll bet some people are wondering about us now...ha ha haha!) I need to be better about taking pics of people. I'm horrible about that, I think it's because I don't especially like my picture taken, but it's kind of stupid how few pictures I have of my friends, or me with friends.

I don't normally stay in town for this show, since it's practically local, but I didn't want to miss out anything this year, and staying down there definitely proved to be a whole bunch of fun (really a nice place too, I liked it). We sat around the lobby for a while and talked to various people, and I drooled over H.M. and got increasingly fuzzy feeling in my head. A large group of people left and went upstairs, and one of the guys made a point to stop and invite me up there. Hmmmm. We stayed down there for maybe another 45 minutes or so, and I was about ready to just curl up on the couch and go to sleep, but after several attempts I convinced A.R. that we needed to at least make a brief appearance up in the "party room" just for good measure, or something like that, we finally got up and went up there. I was so tired I could hardly walk straight, but it seemed like a good plan. D.W. went off to his own room. I think it was around 11something. We went up and listened at the door, trying to figure out 1) if we had the right room 2) if the party was still on 3) if we knew anyone. We heard some familiar voices, but I was on the verge of chickening out, when A.R. knocked. Ack! Oh man, we were committed to it now. D.A. answered the door and invited us in, and we stepped into a room full of....MEN. Hoo boy, I was thinking "what in the world have I gotten myself into?" Everyone turned around and looked and I sort of wanted to croak (you know the scenes in Madagascar where the lion looks at things and sees steaks? I felt like steak), but we walked in and over to the adjoining room where we found... A WOMAN! YAY!!! Whew, suddenly felt much more at ease, so we sat around and talked to C.S. and the guys until everyone finally drifted out around 1:30 or so. That was fun, I would say probably the best chicken party I've been to. I hit the sheets around 2 and was out cold.

Sunday mornings at the poultry show means time to judge the Best in Show. I got over there pretty early to try to get some good pics, but even at that I didn't manage to see all the birds, and apparently I'd forgotten to charge my extra camera battery, so I didn't get enough pics as I had wanted, and they are for the most part not very good, I was in a hurry and didn't open cage doors so I got the cage in focus but the bird blurry. Darn it!! :-( The Best in Show judging was a pretty grand production this year. I don't know the whole story but Animal Planet was there filming stuff (some guy filmed me grooming a bird on Saturday, right when the bird pecked my hand really hard...great...). Anyway, the actor Fred Willard was there, and he got to announce the winner, which was a Modern Game Bantam female. Cute little bird, and such an honor for the winners to receive Best in Show at such a large show.

After that it's the insanity of coop out, which means boxing up the birds and loading up the cars, and it's a madhouse of activity, everyone trying to get out as soon as they can. It took me, you guessed it, an hour and a half to get all the birds loaded.

Between the art and chicken sales, it was quite a good weekend, and I absolutely had a blast down there seeing everyone. It went so fast though, I'm kind of sad that it's over. I don't show that many birds or take the art stuff to any other shows, so while the PPBA show is really a work/business weekend for me, the others are MUCH more kick back and relaxing, and I'm really looking forward to going to the next show and doing absolutely nothing. :-)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth, thank you even more to everyone who spent money. :-)!! It was great to meet new people, and I am definitely planning to stay in town again next year. ;-) Congratulations to the winners, and let's do it again!!

Should have brought this to the party, ha haha!!! (wink!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sometimes I hate roosters.

I probably brought this on myself by being oh so complimentary about Rosecombs the other evening when chatting with A.R. I mentioned how compared to other breeds they are relatively non-aggressive, and not prone to doing stupid things like deciding that they want to kill each other, after having lived with each other forever.

So I went out to feed this afternoon and what did I see peering down at me from the roosts of the conditioning coop? Two bloody roosters... Arg! The DAY BEFORE THE BIGGEST SHOW and they have to pull a stupid stunt like that. They have lived with each other forever. I house my roosters in pairs, because they always get along so well. Stupid roosters!

I will still take them to the show, I need to try to sell them.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Getting there!

Hoo wee, it's been some long crazy days of chicken and art prep. The birds are all done, as of a couple days ago, except I know I'll have to do some spot cleaning on Friday. The art stuff is coming along. I got a little crazy and made 4 more tiles (why leave leftovers undrawn??). I also scanned them all tonight, which took about an hour, so after the show I will get them up on the website and will be offering any unsold ones on the site (this might take a while, things are crazy lately).. I framed two new pieces today. Well, not new pieces exactly, old work that is newly framed, and wow they look classy! I'm quite happy with how the Silver Phoenix litho turned out. I hope everybody's in a spending mood this weekend! :-)

So come on out to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds this weekend (Stockton, CA) and see the birds, and the art!

In other news, Fuzzby's eye looks normal again. She was quite freakish with that weird eye.

Starting February 1st I will have artwork hanging at Original Pete's, the pizza place at Sheldon and Bruceville in Elk Grove, across the parking lot from the theater. More detail later...

I hope I'm not forgetting anything...for this weekend, that is.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Uh oh, that can't be good.

I think Fuzzby had a stroke or something. She came back inside from a brief jaunt to the outdoors (nature called, I assume) and she sat down on the floor and looked up at me and WHOA that's not right! Her left pupil is not the correct shape anymore, and no longer responds to light (as you can see her right eye did with the camera flash). Mom said she may have had a stroke, or some kind of neurological problem. She doesn't act as though she can't see, so I don't know if she's blind in that eye or not. She doesn't act any different at all, she seems to be functioning normally and the same as always. She's almost 18 years old, and has been acting increasingly senile in recent months. She's just as horrid as ever though... Gotta love her anyway, she may be a horrible cat but she's my horrible cat. I guess it's just a wait and see thing now...

I washed 8 more birds today.

I was going to use my woodburning pen on some stuff, but I can't find it. I haven't used it for years, but it always was in the lower drawer of my art cabinet thing with all the carving stuff, so danged if I know where it went..or where I put it. I checked all the usual odd spots I tend to stash things, but it's nowhere to be found. Dang it! So I ended up carving the design instead (my logo, onto a decorative wooden cutting board) and then I tried to just stain the carved lines with wood stain, but the wood was so soft that it totally bled everywhere, so I stained the whole thing, and the logo isn't very visible. Would have been much better if I could have burned it. That's going to drive me nuts now...where the heck did I put that pen??

Less than a week til PPBA!!! I'm just ridiculously excited.

edit 10:11pm January 23rd: Mom showed the pic of Fuzzby to her neurologist buddy at work, and the theory is that since Fuzzby can still move her eyeball, it's more likely a "vascular accident" than anything neurological, and she can likely still see, and it may get better. So that's good.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Eighteen down...

I have washed 18 chickens in the last two days. Actually, technically not, because 4 of them were still clean from last time around. But still, they count toward the final tally. At this rate I may actually finish on Monday, that would be nice! Of course there will be a lot of touchup work to do on Friday...

I've been looking at the BBRed cockerels and trying to figure out which ones to keep for breeding pens this (will be hopefully selling the rest next weekend.) It's so tough, none of them is perfect. Some have better type but poor color, some have better color but poor type. I'm sort of feeling like I need to keep the ones with the best type, since "type makes the breed and color makes the variety, and type always must come first." I do get pretty hung up on color though, since it's darn near impossible to get it right. So when I have a bird with proper neck color, it's almost easy to overlook that his tail feathers aren't long enough, or he has red spots on his chest (should be solid black). Maybe I should just eeny meeny miney moe them...

I finished up drawing for the night last night at 12:15 and then headed off to bed. Olin was asleep on my bed, and I was feeling generous so I decided I'd let him sleep inside (knowing it meant I'd have to get up around 5 to let him out... but I always have faith in my ability to go back to sleep. If I've never mentioned that I'm not a morning person, I am NOT a morning person). Anyway, around 12:45 he left my room, and about 5 minutes later I heard it--the Sound of Impending Doom. When you hear it, it's too late. I launched out of bed in movie-like slow motion, the voice in my head shouting "noooooooooooo!!!!!!" But it was too late. Four, count em four piles of cat barf in the hallway. Do cats ever barf on linoleum? He could have walked just a foot and a half down the hallway and had a vast expanse of easily cleanable floor in the laundry room, but no... I had to be out there in my pj's scrubbing cat puke out of the carpet at 12:45am. I love my cats, but I hate cat puke.

So then this morning I stumbled out to the kitchen (was it early? Nooo, just takes me a while to wake up!) and what did I encounter? No, thankfully not more cat puke, but a very substantial trail of ants traipsing across the kitchen floor from the grate under to oven, to the cat food dishes. Gross. I was pretty sure I could hear them all gleefully singing the "hi ho hi ho" song as they went off to work, but those were not the words going through my head. I blasted some ant poison around the room and wiped up all the little carcasses. There are always strays though, running around the floor in a "oh crap oh crap!" panic. I'm not a big fan of ants.

In other news, those drawings I said I was going to finish the other night are more or less done, I just need to sign them and make sure I don't need to tweak anything. I've noticed that my drawing style has actually changed a fair amount between now and the start of the Standard project. Evolution, I guess. I think it's improved, but I'm noticing that just the way I handle the materials is different, things like more frequent use of graphite to "outline" things. This pair of illustrations are white birds. I think white is the most difficult color to draw, trying to get the shadows believable. With other colors, the drawing it much more saturated and the lines are pretty sharp, but white tends to look soft and blurry, so without even really thinking about it I've been putting a bit of a line around certain edges. I think it looks good. Dang I can't wait to show all those drawings on my website!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And so begins the marathon...

I figure that counting the birds I am taking for sale, I will end up hauling 40 birds to the show next weekend. That means I have to wash 40 chickens between now and the middle of next week. The plan is to do 8 per day, starting tomorrow. Wheeeeee. Oh geez, I'd better find some big boxes for the big-tailed males. That might require a trip to the barn loft, aka Land of Big Hairy Spiders. Ewww.

I think I have all the art stuff created that I'm going to least mostly. I was thinking if I have time I'd make a few more tiles (same breeds, same images as what I've used before, just making "extras" of certain breeds...each one will look unique though, I couldn't make two the same if I tried!) I still need to do labeling, pricing, packing, etc. I did make some pretty cool "maps" in InDesign as to where to hang all my stuff on the panel walls. I started making these maps prior to DHC last year, and wow it sure helps! Otherwise I'd take all this framed stuff, and have to figure out where to hang it all when I got there! Yeah, ok, so I'm kind of a dork...

Anyway, there's really nothing exciting going on at the moment, it seems like life is just a mass of prep work for next weekend. I am sooo close to finishing another pair of chicken illustrations. If I stay up really super late I might pull it off tonight, but I'm not sure I'll manage that. I don't want to end up cutting corners. But, I'll see what I can do! Gotta go draw!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The new guy

I got a new bird over the weekend, I forgot to mention that in my previous post (guess I was sort of distracted by other things!!). He is a Silver Duckwing Old English Game Bantam. I used to raise Old English but haven't had one around for...oh, 8 years I think, so it's kind of fun to have one again. He seems so tiny!!! He's a feisty little guy but relatively tame. Any guesses as to why he is here? :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! (I am still in shock).

Well, as you may know, I went to Hollister this weekend for a poultry show. I took 11 birds down there, with pretty high hopes for one particular Black Rosecomb pullet. The vinyl cage liners worked out well, and nobody munched any tail feathers this weekend.

I ended up clerking all day Saturday (follow the judge around with a clipboard and write down all the placings and awards, it's interesting sometimes, dreadfully boring sometimes, and really quite tiring to be standing all day). So anyway, I was trying to sneak a peek over at the RCCL class while clerking for the Featherleg class, and from where I was standing in the building a few rows away, I couldn't read the coop tags all that well, but I could see that my fabulous pullet only placed 2nd, having been beaten by one of her sisters. Okay, so that's fine, and it looked to me like the winning pullet's coop tag said "BB" which means "Best of Breed." When I got a little farther down the aisle with the clerking job, I could see that the tag actually said "RB" which means "Reserve of Breed" (second best). Well no problem, I had a couple males in the show too, and they were caged a few rows to my left where I couldn't see them, so I figured that Best of Breed went to one of the Black males. The other clerk took the Reserve female up to Champion Row so that the judge could pick the Best and Reserve of Class, and I didn't think too much more about it...

But then as I worked my way farther down the aisle, I could see that one of my BBRed males was not in his cage, and I got pretty worried. I couldn't leave what I was doing, so I asked a friend to scout around see if he saw my BBRed somewhere (thought maybe he'd been taken for a photo or something, since they are interesting birds). He came back and said "he's on Champion row with the other RCCL birds." Hmmm, this just wasn't clicking for me. I then thought I must have read the Black female's coop tag wrong, it must really have said "BB" and so maybe the BBRed male got "RB." That made sense, so I didn't worry about it.

So, eventually I finished up clerking for the Featherleg class, and wandered over to the Champion Row, and a few minutes later the other clerk (for the other judge, who had judged the RCCL Class) came by and said to me "you got Best with the BBRed and Reserve with the Black." I think my super intelligent response was something along the lines of "huh?" How could that be? Was he talking about Best of Breed? Okay, maybe he meant Best of Breed, it could happen...

I was still just not quite believing all this, so I went back to the original cages and read the coop tags. "Reserve RCCL" (Reserve of Class) on the Black pullet. Huh. I walked over to the BBRed cockerel, and saw "Best RCCL" (Best of Class). Holy crap!!! Oh my word! Good golly! I read it a few more times just to be sure. Yup!!! That's huge, absolutely an amazing thing. I have gotten Rerserve of Breed before, but NEVER a Class award, so I was totally beside myself. It was a pretty good size class, and most definitely competitive!!

As the infomercials say though "But Wait!" The story doesn't end there.

Champion Row gets judged Sunday morning. So my two birds were up there, and I put a little effort into smoothing out feathers and making the BBRed male look as good as possible, though I pretty well knew that a BBRed Rosecomb (come on now, we're talking about one of those "odd color" birds) really could not compete with the other birds up there, and there were sure some beauties.

It's nervewracking to watch, even though knew I didn't have anything to be nervous about. But they kept going back to the Rosecomb and looking at him again. They even pulled out a Bantam Standard book and read through that (BBRed is standard only in the American Bantam Association, not the American Poultry Association). So by this time I'm thinking "oh my stars, they are actually considering this bird" and was just about to keel over from the mere thought of it. I mean, they were putting some serious thought into this!

And then one of the show superintendants stepped up to annouce the winners... "Best Large Fowl...Aseel, Reserve Large Fowl...Hamburg, Best Bantam...Old English Game, Reserve Bantam...Rosecomb." Aaaaaaaaaaaa, oh my gosh!!!! I think my eyes probably just about bugged out of my head, and the man continued on "Best in Show....Old English Game, Reserve of Show...Rosecomb."

OH. MY. GOSH!!!!

My jaw dropped, I was speechless, people were shaking my hand and everybody was hugging me. I was just absolutely shocked.

It is a big deal to win an award like that no matter what you are showing. It's very prestigious to win, it's very competitive, and in the past I have had some big wins (Best in Show, and others) with Black Rosecombs. But for this to go to a BBRed Rosecomb, I can't even begin to explain how much that means.... I started making BBRed Rosecombs "from scratch" (Black RC X BBRed Old English) in 1993. After 13 years of breeding, culling, cursing, and loving this color, a MAJOR win has now happened. All that work is so worth it. They are competitive. I am thrilled to pieces. This just means the world to me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cross your fingers!

So I was ready to finish up washing birds this morning, and went out to the coop to gather up the 4 black pullets. There is one in particular out there that is just really outstanding, but I'd decided that I would wait and have her make her "show debut" at PPBA, rather than taking her with me this weekend. That's just out of concern, I don't want her to get scuffed up or damage any feathers before "the big one." So I was looking at the other black pullets, choosing which 4 I thought were best, and suddenly the gorgeous pullet hopped up onto the perch right in front of my face, and I swear she looked me right in the eyes, and if a chicken could convey "excuse me, but you ARE taking me to the show this weekend" that exactly what she said. So yeah, she's going. They don't normally do that to me, so I really can't ignore that. She is traveling alone in a large box, going into a vinyl-lined cage, and moving into her own suite at the conditioning coop when she gets home so that she stays pristine for PPBA. I need to name her, this is a special bird....hmmmm............

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I feel like I've been slacking at blogging.

January is one of those months that is very frazzling. That's probably not a word, but that's okay.

I'm doing major preparation already for the art booth at PPBA, and I can't believe I'm doing this already. Means I'm procrastinating on other things (what, business taxes? oooh) but on the bright side I have quite a lot of things ready to sell now. There's still the matter of getting it all organized, labeled, and packed, but that's what the day before the show is for, right?? I'm really quite happy with how the tiles turned out, and I think I may even like them better than the full-color ones I did last year. I bought some nice little frames at Michaels last week (they were on sale) and I was thinking tonight about what I could use them for, like maybe I should do some drawings on paper or something, but then I decided I have taken some really pretty closeups of feathers, so I think I'll get a couple of those photos developed and frame them, and then have them in the art booth. My feather photo card has been pretty popular, so perhaps feather photos themselves might have an audience!

I washed eight chickens today for the Hollister show this weekend, and have four more to wash tomorrow. I went to a plastic supply store in Sacramento yesterday (my word, was that just yesterday??) and bought a couple yards of clear vinyl sheeting (think grandma's table cloth cover). I cut that down to size, and with a couple of small clips it makes a darn good tail-protector for the bantam cages that are used at shows (since invariably my best pullet takes great delight in poking her tail through the wire so it's not only messed up at the show, but quite often permanently damaged). Arg, I hate that. I don't know if there's any way to get them not to do that. Some of them don't, it's like some are very conscious of their own space, and some really aren't. And it almost never happens with the non-black birds. I'm not sure if they just don't do it, or if they are harder feathered and not affected. Whatever the case, I have enough to line all the cages for the black pullets now, and at the risk of looking like I'm trying to set up some kind of biohazard containment area with all this plastic sheeting, it may just solve the problem. Plus it was about 1/5 the cost of getting the same amount of plexiglas. Money talks!

And on a completely unrelated topic... I think whatever natural or unnatural force creates crop-circles is also responsible for the snarls that happen in horses' manes. Shylah had a real whopper of a tangle in there that I finally combed out today (broke 3 teeth on the comb! Okay, so it's a plastic comb that's at least 20 years old...but hey...). It's not like it just gets tangled. Hey, I know about tangles, my hair is rather long... but horse hair does these intricate things where it wraps around and gets little strands intertwined, and I just can't figure out how that happens. I mean, it looks like someone weaves it into this knot, I wouldn't be surprised to find Celtic knots in there (and no doubt some gripping beasts! Oops, sorry, art history joke.)

Okay, that's probably about enough of my long-windedness for today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sneak Peek

Okay, I know you're all just drooling in anticipation, so I'm going to go ahead and show you the new tiles. I did 24 of them, and I think I'll end there, it seems like a good number. There is no rhyme or reason to the breeds selected other than I happened to have some good reference pics.

These are not intended to be "standard-like" drawings, meaning I made no attempt to make them "perfect" birds...they are drawings of real birds that I have photographed. Each one is almost 4x4 inches, ink on marble tile. They will all be for sale at the PPBA show in Stockton at the end of the month. Price will be higher than last year...

Saturday, January 07, 2006


That's how many birds I have entered in the APA/ABA National show at the end of this month in Stockton--thirty-five. That is my new record for the most birds I've entered (before that I think it was 24). It is going to be INSANE. But so cool! That's going to be a huge class of Rosecombs! :-)

Thursday, January 05, 2006


I have had a request for updated pics of the Cuckoo RC project, so I took advantage of the sunny day to shoot some pics. All that rain washed the mud off the birds! :-) I'll post the pics at the end.

I've been busy, as usual. Seem to be back in the swing of things with Standard drawings, but also trying to look ahead and get stuff done for shows and life-after-Standard.

I got a Wacom tablet for Christmas, and I've had loads of fun playing (I mean working!) with that. Such a cool thing, and it's going to come in SOOO handy for digitally editing artwork--beats the heck out of trying to draw with the mouse!

I know this is slightly advance notice, but I'll be showing my artwork in a local coffee shop in November/December 2006. And I think I'll have artwork in a local doctor's office in July and August. More details in a few months... :-)

Ok, now the Cuckoopix (sounds like something Kellogg's would make, doesn't it?)

I know this will look like a whole lot of birds, but there are 3 Cuckoo cockerels, 2 Crele cockerels, 5 (I think) Cuckoo pullets, 3 Black pullets, and 1 Crele pullet. As a reminder, these are Dominique X Rosecomb. The cuckoos are from Black RCs, the Creles are from BBRed RCs. The plan is to make Cuckoo RCs. The Creles were an experiment. They have all turned out MUCH better than I anticipated. :-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Number One Hundred!

This is my 100th post to my blog! How exciting. The only suggestion I got on how to celebrate the occasion was pretty weird... so BM, this one's for you:

I got back into chicken drawing mode by working on a couple things to sell at PPBA. Standard work will recommence tomorrow. As I said I'd had pretty good success with the hand-colored tiles, but they just take so darn long I wanted to investigate other alternatives. I was thinking perhaps doing small sketchy graphite drawings, but if I did them on paper I'd really have to frame them, and I hate to invest in a bunch of frames. Even the cheap ones add up, plus I'm sort of insistent on having things nicely framed anyway. So I think I'll go with tiles, but I needed to really decrease the time investment. I did a graphite sketch on one, and it looked okay but just didn't stand out much. I washed it off (I know at least one of you is horrified by that), and redid it in ink. MUCH better. I had four tiles left from last year so I drew all those, and will buy more tiles soon. It took 1/4 the time of doing the colored pencil tiles, and looks pretty cool. I'm not sure if I will post pics before the show, or wait til afterwards. Hmmmm.

We got over an inch of rain today. The yard was just full of standing water, so it dawned me as I was squishing around out there in the rain today that perhaps the dry well drains weren't doing their jobs. Sure enough, they were totally clogged with leaves on the drain covers. I cleaned the leaves off, and it was so weird... the circle of grass over where the dry well itself is started to bubble. (The dry well is a 40' deep (I think) hole filled with rocks, and grass over the top so it blends in with the rest of the yard). It was just so strange, this ~3' circle of grass with oodles of little bubble streams coming up. I guess the water was displacing the air from the drains! Then I slogged out through the corrals to the creek and shoveled out the drainage ditches, they were all filled in with grass, fallen branches, etc. That made a huge difference, so hopefully the water will recede out of the corrals quicker now. I feel sorry for the horses, but there's not much I can do about it.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Gap in the Skyline

This weather The water has receded off the roads in the immediate area. We lost our biggest tree in the front yard. "Big" is relative term, and other people might call it a not-so-big tree, but it was the tallest in the yard... I did not see it fall. I was in the front room putting chairs away after today's annual shindig. All was well. The wind was ferocious... I took an armload of chairs back to the guest room closet, walked back to the front room, happened to look out the window, and something seemed amiss. Part of the front fence had fallen down earlier, but I saw another part fallen over, with something sticking through onto our side, and I thought "whoa, that's weird, some sort of big log sticking through from the neighbor's side." And then it dawned on me that the "big log" was actually the uprooted (well, more like snapped off just below ground level) trunk of our tree, which had fallen on top of the (now broken) fence, and into the neighbor's front yard. So that's going to change the view out the front window...

We've had some impressive weather here, but this is absolutely NOTHING compared to conditions elsewhere in the state...flooding, power outages, etc. I got some pretty impressive flood pics from a friend in Antioch, and read another friend's blog about massive power outages and falling trees up in Humboldt county. I know there are many many areas having major problems. :-(

Wild weather.