Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Recipe Time!

Today, lacking exciting news, I give you a recipe for a dessert that is easy and very versatile. I made some using strawberries today and it was quite wonderful and went over well at the potluck I attended this evening.

[Insert fruit name here] Kuchen
(can be made with probably any fruit, so far I've used blackberries, apricots, and strawberries. Use your imagination, go wild!)

Bottom Layer:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter/margarine, very soft
3 eggs

Middle Layer:
4 cups fruit (if it's big, slice it, if it's small like blackberries, don't slice it)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

Top Layer:
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
~1/2 cup butter/margarine

1) For middle layer:
Combine flour and sugar. Pour over fruit, mix a bit, and let stand while working on step 2.

2) For bottom layer:
Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add butter and eggs. Work together lightly until it forms a dough (kitchenaid mixer works well but don't overmix it. You can also use your hands.) Press dough against bottom and slightly up sides of an ungreased 9x13" pan.

3) For top layer:
Sift together sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until the size of peas.

4) Pour fruit (middle layer) over bottom layer, spread evenly.

5) Spoon on top layer evenly over fruit.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (varies depending what kind of fruit you use) or until top begins to look "crusty" and brown. Cool and serve.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sad News

This certainly has been the worst year ever for the barn swallows. "Itchy" died this morning. :-( After losing two broods it's hard to imagine the parents would try again, but we'll see.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Ok, word is the assembly bill wasn't voted either way, it's going to be re-written (some disagreement over what things mean, apparently) and re-heard in August. I will be there! Let's get more people there! Not just poultry people, but all critter people. And lots of kids!

In other news..

Bad news on the barn swallows. Yesterday one of the babies was on the ground under the nest (nowhere near fledging age). While putting it back in, I realized this was the absolute worst case of mite infestation that I have EVER seen. It was absolutely disgusting, and the whole wall area around the nest was crawling with mites too. *ugh* So, I made up a little tub of pyrethrin-shampoo bath water, took the baby back out of the nest, washed it (sooooo many mites, ewwwww!) dried it (still so many mites, eww!) and powdered it VERY thoroughly with mite dust. No more mites, yay!

I can't actually see into the nest because it's so close to the ceiling so I held a mirror up there and looked in, and there were two more babies. Unfortunately, both were dead, though they obviously hadn't been dead for long. I suspect they died of blood loss from the mites, and I'm sure that's the reason the one live baby bailed out. So I sprayed the walls and ceiling with mite spray, and dumped some powder into the nest itself. The live baby, now named "Itchy" was pretty weak. I gave it some water, and put it back in the nest. The adult swallows were around, but wouldn't come right up to the nest, and did not feed Itchy (who seemed to be too weak to respond to the adults).

By nightfall, the adults had not been around for several hours, so I brought Itchy in the house and fed it a moth and a grasshopper (perhaps not ideal but it was all I could find!). I fed it two more grasshoppers this morning, and then figured I'd try putting it back in the nest. When I returned after several hours away, the adults were coming to the nest quite regularly, and Itchy was up and loudly begging for food. Though I never actually saw them feeding it, I'm sure they must have been. The adults are not out there tonight though and that does concern me a bit. I feel really bad that two babies died, but there's no way I could have known that if Itchy hadn't jumped out. Keep your fingers crossed for Itchy, and I will keep you posted.

In other news...

Had another fantastic riding session with E and Shylah tonight. Shylah is getting more responsive to rein and leg, and she's walking/trotting off the lunge line now. Last time I'd had her do one lap each direction at a trot, so today I asked for more (I'm still the one on the ground, E is riding). Shylah had no problem going forward but she seemed a bit hesitant somehow, put her head way up, just didn't look like she was moving nicely. Later in the lesson E trotted off the lunge line and Shylah was SO much better, she appeared much more balanced and confident, didn't stick her head up, etc. Even did a few canter steps though that was unplanned! :-) (Shylah tries hard to please, sometimes when you ask her to do something she does a little more than you want!)

Arrrg! @#$%^*&!!!!

That did not as planned. I won't be able to tell you the outcome of the assembly bill hearing (I don't even know if they decide that today) because I didn't go. I would have. I tried. I got there but not on time. I left with plenty of time to spare but there was a huge traffic accident and 99 and 50 were both backed up (stopped) for several miles, so by the time I finally got downtown, it was too late. I should have left a lot earlier, but I certainly wasn't anticipating anything like that.

So I am sorry, I feel really bad about this and I feel like I let people down. If anyone was able to attend please let me know what happened! :-(

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oppose AB 2862

Assembly bill AB 2862 goes before committee Monday June 26th in room 3191 at the Capitol in Sacramento. Attendees must be gathered by noon.

Among numerous other restrictions, this bill would make anyone selling a companion animal (I do believe this is all-inclusive: poultry, horses, etc) into a "pet shop" and require the seller to have a business license as such. However, pet shop business licenses are available only in commercially zoned areas, which would eliminate anyone living in a residential or agricultural area. There is no exemption for youth programs such as 4-H, Grange, and FFA. This bill, if passed, would be detrimental to those of us who are in the livestock and pet industry.

I plan to attend the hearing on Monday. If you are not able to attend but would like to support the opposition, please visit or any of the other many sites distributing this form. We need your help, NO ON AB 2862!!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Barn Swallow posting from me too!

Fellow blog-writer A.R. posted barn swallow pics the other day, so here are mine (just took them right now). Every year we have barn swallows that nest by the front door. The first year we moved here they hatched three broods of 4 chicks each, which was amazing. I don't know if the same birds come back or if it's the babies that come back, but a pair always shows up and uses the same nest (or makes a new one if the old one is falling apart). They seem to get more and more dysfunctional every year though, and I think two years ago there were no babies at all. They started putting feathers into the old nest, then built a new nest on the other side of the door, and then at night the male would be perched on the edge of one nest and the female would be perched on the edge of the other. I guess they got divorced that year.

They showed up a couple weeks later than usual this year (usually they arrive right around March 17th) and seemed to start nesting pretty late. They had a couple eggs in there but something (the stupid little house sparrows I would guess) stole the feathers that lined the swallow nest, and when they yanked the feathers out they yanked the swallow eggs out too, and I found them smashed on the sidewalk underneath. Very sad.

But they started over again. They started making a new nest, but then abandoned that and just reinforced the old one with some new mud, added new feathers, and I think there are two babies now. I thought there was just one but today I saw two (normally they have 4, I've even seen one batch of 5, which was pretty cozy!)

Oh, and they are not aggressive at all toward people, though a lot of people seem to report being dive-bombed by swallows. These ones will dive-bomb cats or other birds, but they just seem curious about people. They will flutter around but just seem watchful and interested.

It's 109 degrees, the adult bird is panting.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

late night visitors

My "studio" is in a bay window area of the house, so the edge of my table is only about 8 inches from the window. The light is often on late at night, since that's one of my prime work times. The light attracts a lot of bugs to the window, and the bugs attract a lot of tree frogs. They are hugely entertaining to watch when they are hunting bugs. The best tactic seems to be to just sit still and wait for bugs to walk past (bugs apparently aren't very smart). Some frogs "stalk" their prey more than others. Sometimes they seem to overestimate their abilities, I've often seem them take a rather large leap to try to get a bug. Of course when on the ground this may work, but being on a vertical surface gravity tends to take over and they fall off into the juniper bush below, little limbs flailing on the way down. I wonder if the other frogs laugh when that happens.

I took a picture of one of them. They are generally 3/4" to 1" long from nose to butt. Most are brownish in color, sometimes a bit striped and sometimes solid colored, though they also come in shades of gray, pale green, metallic gold, and metallic copper. From underneath though they all look the same! The reflection is from my light.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


...And the living is... HOT! Ugh! I'm not a big fan of hot weather, to make an understatement. I think it's supposed to get worse over the weekend too. Whoopee..... :-(

No horse riding news today, E called and said she wasn't feeling well, and since it was a million degrees anyway I decided to skip it. Instead I went over to W.T.'s and met her new filly "Sugar" who is 1 day old. So cute! She was sleeping while I was over there, with her nose mashed against the floor.

I was going to take a picture of Sampson too, he's actually turned out rather handsome, but he was way out in the pasture.

I got the new fly sheets today. I pity the horses for having to now wear plaid but I think they'll work. I am going to get some velcro and redo the belly strap though, I still think it's pretty stupidly constructed.

I ordered frames this morning for two of the Standard drawings. They are not a matched set (it's too females, same breed but different varieties) but since they are going to the same person I tried to frame them quite similarly, and similar to some of my other artwork that this buyer already owns. Since I've seen the location where he's going to hang them, I felt pretty confident picking out frames, and went a little more bold with color than I normally would if I don't know a buyer all that well. I generally will keep frame and mat colors fairly neutral but I went with some bold color this time and I think it's going to work out really well.

How do you hold your pencil?

I hadn't ever given much thought to the way I hold a pencil but it's been brought to my attention by at least one person that I might hold my pencil funny. Am I weird or is the rest of the world? (yes, that's how I hold it when writing too. And I know someone's going to ask... that's a little short indigo pencil with a pencil extender on it).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

this and that, blah blah

Another crazy day. I spent the first 6.5 hours of my day delivering the 1-week-old Mallards to their new owner, who lives several hours away (yeesh, the things I do!) It is soooo nice to get those little stinkers out of here, I was having to clean their brooder every day. I think several hundred chicks are less work than 10 ducklings!

It was 100 degrees when I got back home, ugh. I made the rounds to check the critters, crashed on the couch for a half hour (driving wipes me out), then busted out some caffeine and put in a couple hours drawing. A.C. and crew came over this evening to pick up three 8-week old Rosecomb pullets (1 BBRed with bad comb, 1 too-dark Brassy Back, and 1 green-legged Blue Brassy Back). I do believe these are going to turn into some extremely spoiled pets! :-)

E.H. came over after that and we had a FANTASTIC riding lesson. I suppose this must be about the same as when parents think their kids are brilliant, but I think my horse is brilliant. She had been fine with me riding her but she didn't understand what I wanted as far as forward movement. So today E rode and I worked Shylah from the ground. I'm pretty sure the light bulb came on, by the end she was responding quite well to E's cues and I didn't have to do much encouragement from the ground. Shylah was super lazy today though. She did so well walking around we decided to go ahead and try a trot. I had E go ahead and cue her to trot, and when Shylah looked at me like "uh, do WHAT?" I cued her from the ground and she immediately took off at a trot. No bucking, no acting stupid. She was completely awesome, and E says she has a really smooth trot. So I think we'll keep working with walk/trot and direction changes for a while, then canter, and somewhere in there some yielding, backing, etc. What fun! We'll do it again tomorrow! (unless it's too hot) :-)

Tomorrow I will be ordering frames for a couple of the Standard drawings. I really like framing, it seems to be a good way to "finish" the artwork, and if done right it makes the artwork look even better! I have some interesting ideas for the two I'm framing tomorrow. What a tease, I can't even show them to you! ;-)

I'm really tired.

Monday, June 19, 2006

An Interesting Monday

Today was eventful, the sort of day that breaks up what can otherwise become pretty monotonous. The downside is that I didn't manage to put much time into actual work.

Several years ago, when Exotic Newcastle Disease was threatening California's poultry, the CDFA came out here and videotaped a public service announcement about it, starring one of my birds (a single comb Brown Red Rosecomb). I never actually saw it on the air, I think it got more air time in Southern CA. If you saw it though, that was my bird...

Anyway, back in April they called again and asked if they could come out here and film one about Bird Flu. I said yes, and then when I didn't hear from them for a couple months I gave up.

Friday they called again and asked if they could come out and shoot the PSA on Monday (today). I agreed to it, and proceeded to tame a bird in record time. I didn't have any particularly friendly birds, so I brought "Pablo" a BBRed Rosecomb into the house and he lived in the kitchen over the weekend, and sat on a portable perch in here when I was working on art, and pretty much spent as much time with me as possible.

And it worked. He was great today, very well behaved. He perched on the front fence while the spokeswoman stood next to him and said the 30-second Bird Flu stuff. I was very pleased to hear that it wasn't a "panic, panic, we're all going to die" message, as seems to be common in some circles, but instead was very practical, gave a hotline phone number for reporting problems, urged people to be vigilant, and not to handle sick or dead birds. So really more or less the same speil that was said about END, and West Nile. Anyway, so they showed up a little after 10 and were here til a little after noon shooting the PSA in English and Spanish. Everybody loved Pablo. So be on the lookout for this thing to air eventually!

Anyway, then I went off and did a photo shoot at the saddle shop, came back and worked a bit, moved some birds around and moved a bunch of youngsters outside, sat around and yacked about horses with E.H. for a long time, and the next thing I knew it was late and here I am.

I had a TERRIBLE hatch today, I think there must have been a temperature problem that I didn't know about. I candled them before I moved them to the hatcher and almost half were dead. :-O That's very abnormal, so I'm not sure what the issue was. *sigh*

Shylah is going to get a real riding lesson tomorrow, a two-person operation. Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pictures of Shylah

Now if only I was as cute as my horse. ;-)

Many thanks to J.J. for photographing tonight's training/riding session! :-)


"Back up":


Okay, she doesn't look nearly as small as I had feared:

Awww, such a pretty horse.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two hundred!

Wow, this is my two hundredth post. I think this blog has been on line for about a year now (too lazy to check)... so two hundred postings in one year, I guess that's not unreasonable.

None of the other blogs I read (all two of them) have been updated in the last couple days so I guess I'll have to update my own, it'll give me something new to read. ;-)

It's really really really stinkin hot again. For a couple days it was sooo nice, it only got into the 70s during the day, and I even got sprinkled on the other night when I first rode Shylah. Woo, it's summer time now, yuck! Oh, and the swimming pool liner sprung a leak. Great...

I gave the horses (and me) the day off today, but I rode Shylah again last night. I encouraged some forward motion out of her. She tries hard but it's obvious she really doesn't understand what I want. But she didn't do anything bad whatsoever, and she certainly has no objections to me being in the saddle (of course this may change when she has to move quicker than a walk, we'll see). I need to get E.H. to come over and ride while I do groundwork, but our schedules haven't worked out just yet. Maybe next week...

The search continues for good fly sheets for the horses. For one thing it's hard to find ones that have a belly strap, and for my horses that's the most crucial part since they both get irritation on their bellies. The sheets that do have belly straps have buckles on the side of the sheet, and the horses rub on the fence and rip the buckles off (not good for the fence either but that's not my immediate concern). So... I thought I'd finally found a good one, but they ended up too large (it says right on there "these run large, order one size smaller" but did the company I bought them from say anything about sizing on their website? No, of course not! I reordered smaller sizes today so maybe that will work out. The belly strap on these hooks onto dee rings that are on the bottom edge of the blanket, and that's all fine and good because then there aren't straps and buckles to rip off, but it hangs like 8 inches below the belly! Grrrrr. I'm hoping the smaller sizes will fix this. Or perhaps I can sew on some dee rings a bit higher up. What a pain.

Patrick has really settled in a lot lately, he doesn't neigh much, he's MUCH calmer. He still cribs, but I think he'd need a 12-step program (or a shock collar) to get over that habit.

I think next week will be my last week of selling eggs on line. It's gone really well, and I think I could continue to sell them, but the problem is the birds are stopping egg production in a rather drastic way (lots of birds starting to molt already, hens very determined to go broody, etc). The Blacks are still laying a lot of eggs, maybe I can still keep a couple of those breeding pens together, but the ones that get the most bids are the colorful birds, and they lay the most eggs early in the season (the Blacks are very poor layers early on but then go into full force in May and June). I am taking about half of the oldest batch of chicks to auction bright and (way too) early Sunday morning. Another batch is due to hatch Monday. Where am I going to put all these things?? The auction people will get to know me quite well this summer! Oh geez, I am going to have an tremendous amount to take to the mid July sale...

I made a strawberry cheesecake today. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sometimes if you look too closely you miss it

So I was chatting with A.R. and she asked me about my Silver Duckwings. As she said, referencing one of the pictures "what the heck is the blue one?" And it was like CLICK, holy moley, what ARE those blue ones? I've noted all along how amazingly similar they are to the Blue Brassy Backs, but never did I stop and realize they are NOT Silver Duckwings, but perhaps Blue Silver Duckwings!?!? How did I not make that connection? I think I just got so caught up in them being NOT Birchen that I didn't even realize it! Sometimes I feel really stupid. And for that matter how the heck did they end up blue anyway!?!? Silver Duckwing X Black = ???

According to Clinton Anderson, a horse is only being ridden if the rider's knees are not together. :-) So I've spent a lot of time "not riding" Shylah (lay across her back, stand up in stirrups, etc.). She's so good, she's so accepting.

I couldn't resist, so this evening, by that definition, I rode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes that's very exciting!!) I stood up in the stirrup, she just stood there (like always), so I took a deep breath, swung over, and sat down. That's the first time I've sat on her (one knee on each side!) where I have NOT had a hold of the fence at the same time! ;-) And... she just stood there. I flexed her neck around a couple times, got off, got back on, flexed her again, got off, and ended the lesson there (and took her out in the field next door for some grazing!). So I didn't make her go anywhere, but hey, that's a start! I was the only one around and I figured I'd better not do anything TOO stupid.

I'll end with a cute pic. I'm hatching mallards for a friend. Ducks drive me crazy when they are older but right now they are just soooooooo cute! This is the best age to have them, I'll be happy to get rid of them in a couple days!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Busy weekend

It was another one of those insane weekends, I don't even think I've recovered from Horse Expo yet... We hosted a poultry show planning meeting here Sunday morning, so I spent much of Saturday cleaning and getting ready for that, and then was at a graduation party til late (it's mildly disturbing that people I "will always think of as a little kid" are now graduating from college...)

The meeting on Sunday was good. They really are a lot of work to prepare for (the officers and members are very keen on having meetings almost every meeting now except the Christmas one!) but it is nice to see people, especially this time of year when there aren't any shows. It's almost time to start thinking about the fall shows, have to be careful not to crowd the young birds. I may try to go to auction soon. The oldest youngsters are still small but I need the extra space and I think I could find a lot to get rid of!

Shylah is doing GREAT with her training, she's just an awesome horse. I saddled her up today and worked on stepping up in the stirrup (as in, step up and stand in the stirrup but don't swing over and sit down). It's SO tempting to just swing over and ride but I should be proper and actually wear a helmet and enlist some help when I do that... She was great though, took a couple steps the first time but then just stood very quietly. I really need to get some photos of some of this stuff! Hard to do when I'm the one on the end of the lead rope! (JJ want to take pics some time?) Riding-training should progress more rapidly now that I will have an extra set of hands around, since E.H. is out of school now and willing to lend a hand. I will probably have her be the first real rider. I may sit up there a time or two beforehand but since I've been the one doing the groundwork I think I ought to stay on the ground while Shylah makes the first transitions from on-the-ground-training to in-the-saddle-training. It is ridiculously easy to get up in the saddle, she's so darn short it's no effort at all, almost seems like cheating!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Horsey Overload

I spent the day today at Horse Expo with J.C. Horse Expo takes place all weekend at Cal Expo in Sacramento. I think I'm overloaded with horse things for the weekend! It was fun, but my feet are sore! I didn't even spend much money (primarily because I'd forgotten to measure Shylah's blanket size so I couldn't get her a fly sheet, and they were more expensive than ordering from a catalog anyway!). I did take 187 photographs (good thing I've converted to digital!). 46 went straight to the trash can because they were blurry or not within the frame. I take photos to use as references for artwork, I don't generally take photos to stand on their own (unless I'm hired to do so!), but every now and then one turns out pretty good. Most are mediocre but a few stand out. This is the best one:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Batch 7 chicks

Sometimes, I just have to roll my eyes and say "oh well" (you'll see...)

T: Brassy male & Blue Brassy male X Brassy, Blue Brassy, BBB Splash hens= 3 Brassy, 1 Blue Brassy, 1 BBB Splash
T4: F1 Cuckoo male X F1 Cuckoo females= 1 Black, 6 Cuckoo, 2 Single Combed Cuckoo (arg, the best colored ones of course!)
T5: F1 Cuckoo male X F1 Cuckoo females= 5 Black, 2 Cuckoo, 1 Single Combed Crele-ish (huh?)
T6: Silver Duckwing OE X Black females= 1 Brassy Back, 2 Black (maybe will end up Birchen??)
N3: Black X Black= 2 Black
N4: Black X Black= 6 Black
N5: Black X Black= 6 Black

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

no more!

I put the last batch of eggs in the incubator today. That's it! No more! I have way too many! I just needed a few more from the Silver Duckwing experiment, so that's all I set today.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Cuckoos and Creles, and decided... I don't know what to do. The Cuckoos really aren't the right color. Of the ~34 Cuckoo colored chicks I hatched, there are 2 pullets (I expected this low number) and all but maybe one are two (of cockerels and pullets) are WAY too dark or WAY too washed out (or both!) So I'm looking at narrowing this down to one or two cockerels, maybe the pullets if they turn out good (doubt it) and one of last year's hens. I don't have particularly high expectations. Then there's the question of whether to use the Black offspring from the Cuckoo breedings (as in, breed those to Cuckoo birds). They should be carrying the genes for Cuckoo, I think.. dang, I get so mixed up.

I don't think the Creles are going to work out. Some of the pullets may have half decent body color but nothing out there has wing or tail barring. I think I would need to have really well marked barred/cuckoo Rosecombs before working on them, because now with them being only partbred, I'm dealing with poor type AND poor color all in one package. I never had high hopes for that, I'd only started it because the BBRed hens were laying and the Black hens weren't. :-)

I think the Silver Duckwings have potential though, especially with two pullets already being the right color. Hmm, what to do next year...

Anybody want some pet chickens? OMG I so need to go to auction! They may not be big enough for the next one though so I might have to wait til mid July. Ugh!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pictures today

I took some pics of the oldest chicks today.

One of the very few "Cuckoo" pullets, she's from the F1 Cuckoo male X Black RC female. She was sort of brassy back colored when she hatched, and now she's this...strange somewhat barred color. Not a keeper, but interesting.

Most of the oldest batch, these are 7 weeks old now.

One of the "Crele" cockerels. I think they are all going to be too dark and poorly marked, though I'm not sure if these aren't what's considered an "intermediate" color and they may need to be bred Crele X Crele to get it right, I just don't know. It's hard to know at this point whether any of the new colors will work out or not.

A couple of the Cuckoo cockerels, most of which are REALLY poorly marked, either too dark or too washed out. This will be a challenge...

An afternoon siesta. These guys are about 6 weeks old (they are grouped more by size rather than age, some varieties are larger than others).

The pullet in the front is one of the Silver Duckwing X Black offspring. I had expected birchen colored chicks, so I'm quite surprised to see she's actually Silver Duckwing (close, anyway). There are two of them. One hatched out of an egg I'd marked as brassy back but I must have mismarked it.

They are so curious at this age. It's not a particularly pretty age, they are sort of gangly and awkward, but it's a great age to work with them.

One of the Crele pullets. The pullets seem to have more potential than the cockerels. This one isn't as well marked as one of the older ones but this was the only one I could get a pic of today.

Another view of a Silver Duckwing, they are really cute birds!

GREEN LEGS?!?!?! This is the new thing-that-will-drive-me-insane. Maybe even more so than the inverted spikes. I don't know where on earth the genes for green legs came from, but I'm getting a hoard of green-legged Brassies and Blue Brassies, and it seems to get worse every year. I thought green legs needed a yellow-legged bird in the ancestry, and there isn't anything like that in this strain. So... I don't know. I seem to recall years ago that a lot of them went through this phase of having slightly greenish legs, but matured to the proper slate color. I think just using those birds in the breeding pens has increased the incidence of green legs. I guess I'm going to really have to crack down on culling this out.

At first glance the Silver Duckwings and the Blue Brassy pullets look almost identical. The pink legs really set the Silvers apart though!

This is what Patrick does for most of the day. "GULP!"

Today is Shylah's 3rd birthday. My how time flies!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Interesting Things

Keywords from the month of May:

video of chicken wrangling (I haven't seen it, sounds cool)
silver phoenix horse (Interesting combination, "silver phoenix" is a chicken!)
how long does chicken stay preserved in the fridge (Depends how often you feed it. Oh, just kidding...)
how to make a chicken wire purse (Aren't you afraid your lipstick will fall out?)
wire fetish purse (What?!)
females call me (Um, congratulations?)
olin yeow (Ha ha, what? Olin is my cat, but sometimes he says that when the other cat plays too rough!)
homeade chicken coupe (I recommend Spelling 101, yowza)
what are white ducks called ("Fred") ;-)

It is tree frog season for sure, I've been finding them in the house. I just caught one crawling up the living room wall (Olin thought this was quite fascinating) and last week I found one hopping down the hallway while I was brushing my teeth.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

nothing in particular

I guess I just figure as long as I'm still up and in the room I ought to write something more interesting than just a bunch of chick numbers.

I was asked the other day if I think my drawing style has improved with all the time I've been spending on the chicken illustrations. I would say yes, I think it has improved, and it has certainly changed. It's not so much that I'm doing things better (well, sometimes!) but I'm doing things differently. I have certain color combinations pretty well memorized now, so there's no hesitancy of "how do I make this particular color." I'm finding that even if it's not exactly the same as something I've already done I've gotten a lot more comfortable with colors in general and I can pretty well figure out what to layer (and in what order) to achieve a particular result.

I would bore you to tears if I had a web cam of me doing art. It's not like watching a real energetic painter make grand sweeping motions across a spacious canvas... it's little itty bitty teeny movements, mostly my fingers, sometimes my wrist, rarely my elbow, layers and layers of color over the same area of the drawing. I like to draw when I am at art shows (like Draft Horse Classic). It used to be kind of creep me out to have people watching but I've gotten used to it. I always think I must be about as exciting as watching the grass grow, but I've been told it's almost sort of hypnotic. Weird.

Speaking of weird, how about the horses... Gwen has mellowed out a little, but she still won't let Shylah and Patrick in close proximity. If they are all out in the pasture she'll be a reasonable distance away and not seem concerned, but if they get too close Gwen goes into attack mode. Patrick, however, has lost his pasture privileges and is now confined to the corrals again. He cribs (google this if you need more info, basically they grab hold of the fence or anything else with their teeth, pull back, flex their neck, and suck in air. I guess they get sort of a "high" from it...weird). Anyway, he's a real cribbing junkie. E.H. told me that he was, so I knew this when he came here. He did it in the corrals, but then for a couple days he stopped when I put him out on pasture. Well, that didn't last too long, so now while the girl horses go off and do normal horsey things like graze, eat mulberries under the tree, snooze in the shade, roll in the dirt, etc), Patrick spends probably 75% of his day cribbing. That's rough on the wood fence, he pulls hard and those boards can't take that sort of abuse, and it also just irritates the crap out of me to hear him out there going "GULP!" all day. So, no more pasture for him. If he's going to stand around and suck on the fence all day he's going to have to be in the pipe-fenced area where he can't do any damage. I do put Shylah in with him at night, partly because she's morphed into an enormous lard-bucket, but also because they get along and her being there shuts him up, because otherwise he neighs ALL NIGHT. I'm now referring to him as the neurotic freakazoid horse. He absolutely can't be alone. He will spend the whole day in the corral alone, pacing the fenceline the whole time, and work himself into quite a sweat. He's just not my kind of horse, and will definitely be going home by the end of his two months here. He's not a bad horse, he just has "issues." His owner gets just as irritated with him as I do!

The chicks are a couple Cuckoos out so far.

Bed time.

Batch 6 chicks

T: Brassy male & Blue Brassy male X Brassy, Blue Brassy, BBB Splash females= 5 Brassy Back, 4 Blue Brassy Back, 3 Blue Brassy Splash
01: BBRed X BBRed= 3 BBRed
02: BBRed X BBRed= 5 BBRed
B: BBRed male X Brown Red females= 1 Brown Red
T7: Brown Red male X BBRed females= 1 BBRed, 1 Brown Red
N4: Black X Black= 1 Black
N5: Black X Black= 1 Brassy Back, 10 Black (wow!)

I have one batch due out tomorrow, one more HUGE batch (what was I thinking?!) due June 19, and I may set one more batch of Silvers depending what hatches tomorrow. TOO MANY DANG CHICKS!!! :-)

Batch 5 chicks

T: Brassy male & Blue Brassy male X Brassy, Blue Brassy, BBB Splash females= 2 Brassy Back, 5 Blue Brassy Back
01: BBRed X BBRed= 3 BBRed
02: BBRed X BBRed= 4 BBRed
T7: Brown Red male X BBRed females= 3 BBRed, 3 Brown Red
N4: Black X Black= 1 Brassy Back
N5: Black X Black= 4 Black

Batch 4 chicks

I didn't keep this updated while the computer was down, so now I'll catch up.

T: Brassy male & Blue Brassy male X Brassy, Blue Brassy, BBB Splash females= 4 Brassy Back, 4 Blue Brassy Back
01: BBRed X BBRed= 2 BBRed
02: BBRed X BBRed= 3 BBRed
B: BBRed male X Brown Red females= 4 BBRed, 1 Brown Red
T1: BBRed male X F1 Crele female= 3 BBRed, 1 Crele
T2: F1 Crele male X BBRed females= 2 BBRed, 2 Crele
T3: F2 Cuckoo male X Black female= 1 Black, 2 Cuckoo
T4: Black male X F1 Cuckoo females= 3 Black, 4 Cuckoo
T5: Black male X F1 Cuckoo females= 6 Black, 6 Cuckoo
T7: Brown Red male X BBRed females= 3 BBRed
N4: Black X Black= 3 Black
N5: Black X Black= 2 Black