Thursday, January 31, 2008

blah blah

There isn't all that much excitement right now but I tend to feel somewhat guilty if I don't write stuff, because then it's like people are checking in on me for nothing.

I finished my stupid sales tax forms on time. I guess I can procrastinate a little bit til the really horrendous ones are due in April...

I ordered a desk for my microscope. It won't be here for two weeks. It's bigger than I had in mind (the guy at the store said it would be much sturdier than the one I had in mind though, plus it was about $100 cheaper, woo hoo!) I need to bust out my map I made in InDesign of the front room/studio area and figure out ahead of time where the heck all this stuff is going to go. I think something will get banished. Maybe the easel will just be folded up most of the time. If things go how I want them to go then I do anticipate doing fewer paintings (that'll make a few people sad). I'm having a bit of a problem with the scope right now anyway. I won't get into detail but hopefully this will get resolved soon, one way or another! I really don't want to scrim next door anymore, but I might just to finish up the dog portrait...we'll see. There's quite a lot of stuff I need to do.

I've been sewing like mad working on the costumes for Rakkasah for "A" and I. They are gorgeous, if I can toot my own horn. You should come see us just to ogle the outfits I'm making, if nothing else!

I have two poultry shows this month.

Oh! And the big computer is back. Yay! It seems so huge! Hopefully at some point I will catch up on emails...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reno, casino, and a Greyhound bus

Wow. What a weekend it was. :-)

So by the end of last week it was looking like attempting to drive to Reno would be a really bad idea. When I had first thought to do this the forecast was for a sunny weekend, so I figured I'd drive up in the morning and drive home that night. Then I thought maybe night would be bad because of ice so I figured I'd just stay over. And then the forecast was calling for snow and wind and all that crap so it became pretty clear that my old car and me with no snow experience would be a REALLY bad idea. I couldn't find anyone else to con into going. The train took too darn long to get there. So the only option left was the bus. This made me nervous but by golly I HAD TO get to Reno. So I checked the weather and the road conditions, bought bus tickets (cheaper than driving, woo hoo!) and made a reservation at the Silver Legacy (cheap yay!).

I was dog-sitting out of town this weekend, so I had to get up at 5am Sunday to leave there and come back home so Mom could take me to the bus station down town (leaving a car there is a baaaad idea). Got there at 8, and there were hardly any people in line to go to Reno. I'd expected a nearly empty bus (after all who else would be crazy enough to go to Reno in that sort of weather!) but was dismayed to find the bus already almost full from people at earlier stops. Durn. I sat by someone who seemed quiet and normal, but unfortunately she left in Roseville. And just when it was looking like I might get a whole row to myself, this little tiny old lady with way too much makeup and biggest hairsprayed teased hair I have ever seen came and asked if she could sit there. So she tossed her duffle bag on the seat, and sat on it (so looking in the mirror she was suddenly a good 8 inches taller than me!). She then proceeded to remove a jacket, a vest, a sweater, and another vest, all the while elbowing me and getting her stuff all over me. And she did not sit still, she shuffled around the whole trip and bumped into me constantly, and also sighed LOUDLY approximately every 5 minutes. OMG. By the time I got to Reno my head was throbbing and I was pretty grumpy. Note to self, get a dang ipod! I read a book almost the whole trip but it sure would have been nice to drown people out.

It was snowy in the mountains, chains were required. Boy was I glad I wasn't trying to drive in that.

We rolled into Reno about a half hour late. I was thrilled to find that the bus dropped off at Circus Circus, so all I had to do was walk across the street to get to the Silver Legacy. I walked into a room filled with blinky noisy casino stuff and was pretty much instantly lost. I was lost most of the time I was there, that place is HUGE with so much stuff in it! I eventually found the lobby and got my room. On the 18th floor! Wow, somehow I felt so high class being way up there. :-) The room was quite nice. I snarfed down some lunch, got hold of my engraver friends, and headed down to the show.

WOW pretty much sums it up. It was a firearms and engraving show, so there were a lot of guns but a lot of other types of engraving too, and people who make gun stocks and other parts. Really neat. And so different than an art show. I'm used to seeing booths, but at this type of show people rent a table, and just have a few items out on the table. It looked really classy. I visited with B.H. and K.H. for a little bit (B.H. won the "Best Engraved Handgun" award. Awesome!) And then I just wandered around. I really only caught the tail end of the show, about the last two and a half hours. I introduced myself to everyone whose name I recognized (from the online forums where I post my scrim work) and showed my work to a lot of people. It was fantastic. I got really positive feedback, and people were impressed at how short a time I've been doing this. I asked lots of questions and was told several times that YES there is definitely a market for what I'm doing, particularly in the custom knife market, and that I definitely have what it takes to make it. I met people from all over the world, and some really really really well known people whose work I have admired. It was awesome. Probably the most common question/suggestion I got was people asking if I was going to learn to engrave metal. A lot of people said I'd be a natural at it. Well... I can see that happening some day down the road, but right now it's too much of an investment. What I want right now is to get really good at scrimshaw and be known for that. I can totally see learning to engrave eventually though. :-)

It was such a nice bunch of people, I really felt quite "at home" and welcomed there. I want to be a part of that group, I want to see those people again. I have every intention of being an exhibitor there next year. (you chicken people are thinking "but that conflicts with PPBA." Yes, it does. And I'm totally fine with that!) :-) At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, I think the engraving world is exactly where I'm supposed to be. (of course I'll still do other art!)

It ended way too soon, and everyone packed up the pretty things and left. I had dinner with B.H. and K.H. and had a really nice time catching up with them, it's been over a year since I've seen them (they used to live around here, I used to see them a lot). We'd heard that people were gathering downstairs that evening but didn't find anyone there right after dinner so we went to the bar and indulged for a while until the second hand smoke became totally unbearable (it seems SO weird for people to be smoking indoors.) Then we headed downstairs again and found a group of engravers having a musical jam session. There are some darn good musicians in that group! That was really a lot of fun.

I headed back upstairs around 10 but was so excited about the show and hopefully being in it and all this engraving and scrim stuff I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted, I know it was well after midnight before I finally drifted off. And then the people next door turned on their television really loud at 5am. I hadn't planned on getting up til 7, but I had a hard time sleeping through it... Ugh I was a zombie that morning. There were a couple of seminars I attended yesterday morning, including one that showed some engraving techniques for creating realistic images. Fascinating to see that done in metal. I am eager to try some of those techniques in scrim. I still feel like I am doing a lot of experimenting. Different materials, different techniques. There's a lot to try!

K.H. took me to the bus station at 11:30, and I headed home and hour later. The weather was horrible going over Donner pass, a lot worse than on Sunday. It was gorgeous before we got there though. I don't have much experience with snow and it seems like it would be really inconvenient, not to mention cold, but gosh darn it's pretty. I wish I could have gotten some scenery photos, just for reference, but the windows on the bus were so grungy I couldn't get anything good. Too bad!

It's scheduled to be a three hour drive but it took over four. The people sitting around me were really scary. Every other word was a four-letter word, and they were talking about jail time and all kinds of things I'd rather not repeat. I buried my nose in my book and hoped I wouldn't get killed on the way home. Thankfully I survived. I can't say I really enjoyed the bus experience. But on the bright side it was really cheap, and it's good to know that should I ever NEED to get some place again (like Reno, next year, how will I get there if it's snowing??) it IS an option.

It was good to get home. :-)

So I'm just thrilled to pieces that I went, and how things went when I was there. I may have more news later about something that happened but I want to see if it pans out or not first.

Here's the really super exciting news, that I haven't talked about for fear of jinxing it. I have a microscope!!! :-) It arrived this weekend. I don't yet have a desk for it, and I'll need to move the furniture around to make space for it, but I have a microscope!!!! My eternal gratitude goes out to the extraordinary Steve Lindsay for his help with this microscope adventure. :-)

I will get that set up as soon as I can, but my plan right now is to staple my butt to the chair and get those $#%^&@ taxes done! They're due on Thursday. Bleh!

Monday, January 28, 2008

an ordeal but SO worth it!

I am absolutely exhausted. I had delusions of writing a long blog tonight but I'm not going to stay awake long enough. Here's the condensed version, on which I will expand in great detail at a later date (hopefully tomorrow).

I took the greyhound bus to Reno yesterday morning.
That's an experience in itself. I feel like I need to be disinfected.
The gun/engraving show was fantastic.
I met super duper wonderful important inspiring people.
They liked my stuff. A lot. :-)
I am SO glad that I went.
I fully intend to be an exhibitor there next year.
I think I was meant to do this.
Woo hoo!
Got home late this afternoon. SO tired. More later.


Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25 work in progress

Yes, one really does have to be crazy to want to do this for a living. ;-)

Part of the area under her jaw is incised but not yet inked...

It won't be done on the schedule I'd hoped for, and right now I am pretty much just keeping an eye on road conditions...wait and see...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24 work in progress

La la la....

Does anybody (*who I know already in person and am friends with, stalker types need not apply*) want to go to Reno? The forecast is looking like SNOW, and I'm desperate to get there. Meeting the people who will be there could be a HUGE help to my career. I don't trust my car to make this trip in this sort of weather. Does anyone with 4-wheel drive and/or snow driving experience want to go? Either day this weekend. Day trip or overnight. I will pay for gas and maybe more (ask me). Let me know ASAP if anyone is up for this! You'd be welcome to come to the engraving show but keep in mind there is zero obligation to hang out with me at all so you could go play in Reno all day while I meet influential people. I have to get there...have to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 23 work in progress

I am not sure I can finish this by the end of the day Saturday. I'd actually hoped to get about twice as much done today as I did but the dark areas take SOOOOOO long. :-0 Done or not though if I can make the trip it's going with me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22 work in progress and other pics

Having drawn almost this exact same image in graphite a few months ago, it's really interesting to compare them. This is SO much harder! And it's going to take longer for sure. But, I think I'm going to prove what I aim to prove with this piece. Cross all your fingers and toes that the weather gets better by this weekend. I am a little worried about the drive to Reno....never driven in snow before but I *really* want to go!!! Eek!

It was a super busy day. I started the icky taxes this morning then did scrim ALL afternoon til it got dark and then worked on sewing tonight (along with rotting my brain and watching half of American Idol).

I was surprised to find the yard full of turkeys when I came back over here during one of two breaks this afternoon (once for hot tea and once to put on another pair of socks because I could no longer feel my toes, they went numb from cold). Not that turkeys are unusual, it just startled me to look out the window at them. It was too dark today (rained all day) to get good photos.

The dogs normally ignore them, so I was super shocked today when arthritic deaf Jessie leapt out of bed and ran after them and darn near caught one. I know this photo sucks but the black blob is Jessie and the other blob with a red head is a turkey. Wow! I don't like the turkeys coming up in the yard around my birds anyway so I'm okay with them being chased out (usually it's me doing the chasing). I am glad she didn't catch it though, that would have been awkward.

My cute soggy horses, Gwen (with the white blaze) and Shylah (with the fantastic hairdo):

What is it with cats wanting to sit on whatever I'm working on? Here is Olin "helping" me sew outfit parts.

Monday, January 21, 2008


My overwhelming impression of today is this: cold. Or perhaps "OMG so cold, I darn near froze my... coins off!" The performance today was interesting. Not a huge crowd but they seemed to enjoy it. Unfortunately it was running quite late. I'm not sure what time we actually got on stage (outdoors!) but we all stood huddled up like those penguins braving an Antarctic winter while waiting our turn.

"A" and I did two dances. There were five total, but two were solos and the other is one we don't know. Other than the weather it was fun, and afterwards we went out for ice cream (on a cold day, yeah, I know...) at Cold Stone, and that was fun just to sit around and shoot the breeze and get to know people better. There were only six of us in the performance today.

Here are a couple pics my mom took before we left here. I do have permission from "A" to post these but she wants her name to stay anonymous so if you know who she is please don't put her name in the comments. (I'm on the right, in case you didn't already know that).

No scrimshaw today. Back to it tomorrow, plus I had better start my stupid sales taxes. Icky!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January 20 work in progress

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

I spent a long time on that today, and my back is definitely feeling it. Toward the end of my hours over there today I decided to try a different chair. I think it'll help a little but not much, the desk is so darn low I can't scoot far enough up to the scope so I have to lean way over, and that hurts. It's been so cold in there the last few days (even with the heater blowing on me to keep the eyepieces from fogging up) that my hands have been just miserably cold. I tend to have cold hands anyway (as in "gah! don't touch me with those icicle fingers!" type of cold) but it gets downright painful, so I dug up some old pink cotton gloves from the back of my dresser and chopped the fingertips off so I can still grip the tools and ink the scrim but it's a big improvement. And fashionable too... ;-)

I also started sewing my Raks costume this evening. I made a pair of red satin harem pants. They are... very red. And very shiny. Lol! I can't wait to get the whole outfit done, it's going to look great. And my sewing skills are really improving!

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Happy Birthday JMB. I can't recall your email addy (it's on the other computer) so I am hoping you see this here. Sorry I'm so bad about emailing... :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January 19 work in progress

Woo wee. I need to put in a lot of hours between now and next weekend if I'm going to pull this off. And I have to do my #$%& business sales tax forms next week. Ugh, barf, hack...

Friday, January 18, 2008

scrimshaw experiments

I spent a good chunk of the day at the scope today and learned some interesting new things. The pic I'll post later on in here is a "work in progress" thing, so obviously none of it is done, I was mostly working on outlining images today, and even just that takes ages! My thoughts on various surfaces:

(pre-ban) elephant ivory: Great surface to work on and looks classy. Available sizes: anything from tiny pendants to whole tusks. Costly in large pieces. Limited supply. Some people have moral issues with it. Would I use it again? Absolutely yes.

tagua nut: Well, it comes in some interesting colors. Environmentally friendly. Very strange surface quality. Tiny pores even when polished glassy smooth, so it does pick up some excess ink. Slices are often cracked in the middle and I don't care much for how it looks. Available sizes: slices for pendants, or whole nuts for art object. Would I use it again: No, unless a customer absolutely insists it's what they want. I will attempt to finish the whale image I started.

antler: Fibrous surface cannot be polished glassy smooth, so it picks up a lot of extra ink. Would be okay for "pictogram" type images or symbols, as it has a very primitive look to it, but totally unsuited for detailed work. Available sizes: I have a few 1.5" antler tips. Would I use again? Maybe for certain things but generally no (sorry B, it would have been cool). I will attempt to finish the lizard image I started.

Corian: I feared this would look plasticy and cheap, but was pleased to handle it and find it feels rather like polished stone. Scrims beautifully, though harder surface than ivory (on the bright side, harder to accidentally scratch with a fingernail). Available sizes: 2x2" tiles, maybe also 4x4" tiles. Not good for jewelry (too big, too heavy) but would be nice in shadowbox frame or on small easel. Would I use again? Most definitely.

Paper micarta: am expecting to receive some soon, can't wait to try it!

Other ivories (mammoth, hippo, wild boar): have not yet tried but want to.

So here's what I worked on today. The big square piece is Corian, the pointy thing is antler, and the blue thing is dyed tagua nut. All WIPs, none done. (Hope to finish the dog by next weekend) ;-)

In other news I went out for dinner at Chinese restaurant tonight and my fortune was: "Do not kiss an elephant on the lips today." Okaaaay, yeah. Good thing, I was just about to do that. (rolls eyes). Maybe it's a metaphor?

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I had all this stuff I wanted to talk about earlier, but right now I feel like I'll be lucky to remember half of it.

I am not feeling entirely confident about the upcoming performance on Monday, but as with last month's banquet thing, I think this is pretty casual. I could have used more rehearsal. I have never done the intro, I don't know the exit. I'll be doing two dances. I'm not even sure how many there will be total. Four? Whatever the music plays, I guess! Perhaps I'm going to have to learn how to do improv. ;-) I was going to email all my local friends and tell them to get their butts out there and see me but since I'm on webmail at the moment I sadly don't have access to my email addys unless I happen to have it memorized or someone has emailed me in the last two days. Sooo.... I couldn't really pass the word along too well.

Mark your calendars though, because the BIG deal performance that you don't want to miss, with the new outfits and a new routine is:

Rakkasah West
troupe is "Arabian Jewels with Raks Padawan"
we are performing at 8pm on Saturday March 15th (for 15 minutes)
on the East Stage at the fairgrounds in Vallejo
this is one not to miss!!!

Though if you are local by all means come on down to Stockton on Monday and say hi.

I had in mind to go work on three new scrim projects today but sadly was unable to use the scope today. Reason 472 why I can't wait to get my own. Hopefully they'll be home tomorrow! I AM working on that horse portrait (still! JC I swear I will finish it!) but I keep forgetting to photograph it in the mornings, and it's such a dark colored image I can't get a good photo at night.

The computer should be back in about a week. Yay!

My cruise control has stopped working again. The cruise control and I have had sort of an on-again-off-again relationship over the last 13 years. As in sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Like for months or even years at a time it won't work. Psh no I am not going to get it fixed. I can live without it. I'll bet at least a third of the time I've had that car the cruise control hasn't worked. Heck, maybe even half.

I'm going to Reno, baby! Woo hoo! I'm super excited. I will be visiting the "Guns and Reno" show. A super talented friend of mine is one of the exhibitors there, and I am also looking forward to meeting a whole bunch of people with whom I have communicated on line about scrimshaw and engraving and whatnot. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and making some contacts. I should probably bring some samples of my work, maybe I'll wear the dragon necklace. Would it be overkill to walk around in my "Katherine Plumer Fine Art" sweatshirt? Hmm. I tried to rustle up some friends to make the drive with me but nobody wanted to go, so, once again, it's all me. Looks like the weather will be fine though.

I thought I had one other thing to talk about but it must not be that important. Off I go!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

upcoming dance performance!! and other stuff...

Okay, first things first, I *finally* got the info on this one today. Sorry for the short notice. I will be in a bellydance performance with the troupe:

"Snow Storm"
Monday January 21st
Weber Point Event Center
Stockton, CA
admission is a gently used coat or a canned food item

I don't have any idea what my participation will be. Probably going to be in two dances, I'm assuming, since that's all I know right now... But, one way or another, I'll be there, so come on out and say hi.

"A" and I went to the fabric store today and did some on line ordering to start assembling our outfits for Rakkasah. Evidently we are the first students to be designing our own outfits, which I think makes us officially awesome. I am SO excited to work on that, we got some seriously gorgeous stuff today. The outfits will be black and red, and we'll match each other but not the troupe members (since we are "Padawans" right now). Whee!

The big computer is unplugged until further notice. Thank goodness for the laptop, I know from past experience I don't handle lack of email very well. ;-) Of course now that I don't have access to the big computer I think of all sorts of things I need to do on there. Such is life, hopefully the repair will not take too long.

I am accumulating all sorts of "alternative" materials for scrimshaw, because I do realize that there are people out there who are not comfortable with the idea of ivory, even though the ivory is all stuff that has been around since before 1972. I ordered some antler tips on line and just got those the other day. I am concerned they will not be the right sort of surface (too porous) but I'm willing to try. I also polished one of the blue tagua nuts (for a whale image) and have ordered a piece of paper micarta ("fake ivory" commonly used on knife handles), and today I got some totally neat 2x2" Corian tiles. If that turns out to be a nice surface those will be a LOT of fun to work with, and I've been wanting to make something bigger than the little pendants! I've been given a challenge. Can I scrim as well as I drew Jessie? I hope to prove that I can. :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

uh oh

The computer has randomly started to shut itself off. No warning, doesn't seem to be related to anything, just *pop* and it's off. It's happened three times in the last week. Methinks this is not good. (ARG I HATE COMPUTER PROBLEMS!!!!) So I am backing up my crucial stuff and will call the repair place tomorrow and see what they make of it, and I'm sure I'll have to take it in. Of course it's now out of warranty, as of November. Crap. I should still be able to do email, I'll change everything to go through webmail and will use the laptop.

Did I mention I hate computer problems?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Well, that didn't go quite as I had hoped....

It's been a busy last few days. I took 15 birds (plus 5 sale birds) and the art booth setup down to the fairgrounds on Friday afternoon and got that all set up, and then came back home that night since it's not all that far away.

I left here at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday (ugh!) and drove down there for a very hectic day. After getting my birds are tidied up and selling a few birds over in the other room, I finally got my art booth all set up and spent much of the day sitting there. As always the downside is I don't get to see *anything* else. I barely saw the birds, and if people don't stop by the booth then I barely see them either. And it's one of those shows where everyone always has a million things to do, so once again I'm left with this feeling of barely seeing some people I would have liked to talk to more. That's just how it goes I guess.

Sales went pretty well, and between the art and chicken sales I did quite well.

The booth, with the "two corner" setup. I like this arrangement, it's like the abbreviated version of the full 10x10 three sided setup (which is WAY too much to deal with at a show like this one).

As for the judging of the birds, on the other hand, well that's another story.

Let me first say I'm not a sore loser. I don't mind being beaten by a worthy opponent. But I have a big problem being beaten by a bird that does not deserve it. The best of breed cockerel (NOT mine) had white in his face. It would have to be "positive enamel white" to be a disqualification, and maybe it wasn't quite white enough to be a DQ, but there is no way in heck that a bird with a defect that serious should have taken the breed award. And reserve of breed went to another cockerel (NOT mine) with slightly less white in his face, and a severely folded ear lobe. I don't say this often but I'm going to say it now. WTF?????? That's just wrong, and it pisses me off. Neither of those cockerels would last a minute around here, I would not tolerate either of those faults. My black cockerels did not place higher because they are a bit low tailed. That's a big improvement over white-faced though. The judge evidently liked one of my BBRed males (same one who did well last weekend) but because they are only standard in the ABA and not the APA he would not consider him for a breed award. Some judges just won't do that, and it bugs me, because as long as the poultry show is sanctioned by both organizations, even if a color is only recognized by one or the other, it CAN win. A color that's not recognized by either (like my brassies or blue brassies) cannot win.

So to sum it up I'm really peeved about how that went. Grrrrr. Here are some pics:

One of my Blue Brassy Back pullets:

My BBRed male that everyone likes (me too, other than the red in his tail):

The bird that won the class. This is a bad photo but the only one I got in focus. I know the flash has washed him out but that white spot above his ear lobe, that's white on his face and is a serious serious serious fault!!!

My black pullet that didn't place. She looks great in this photo!

At least I had fun visiting with friends and did well with the art. The banquet was nice, and once again our table won obscene amounts of wine in the raffle. Oh, there was much talk this weekend about last weekend's "entertainment" and lots of photos passed around (at the banquet, cripes!) and lots of "I had no idea you did that." Tee hee! No chicken parties this time around, so I invited CS and DW over (I stayed down there in a hotel last night) and we sat around and yacked til midnight which was great.

Needless to say it was hard getting up this morning, and I'll admit I zonked out for a few hours when I got home.

So.. onward I guess. Not much I can do about it.

No shows for about a month...

Friday, January 11, 2008

the big chicken show

It's this weekend, the big show down at the fairgrounds in Stockton. Sorry for the late notice. I'll have the art booth up from about 10am til 3pm. I have 15 birds in the show. Cross your fingers and hope they win something! It's a stressful weekend but in an entirely different way than last weekend! ;-)

I'll tell you Sunday how it went.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Wow, so I spent almost six hours out sorting birds today, which is way longer than I anticipated but that's kinda always how it goes. I handled every single bird I own, which means judging them, trimming toenails, and spraying for mites. Plus just having to catch and move them all takes a long time! This is normally something I would do a few months from now when I set up the breeding pens, but for several reasons I feel the need to simplify my life a little, and this is one area I can pretty easily do that, by getting rid of a lot of birds and really thinning the flock. The numbers surprise me, sometimes in terms of what I'm keeping, and sometimes in terms of what I'm selling.

Not all keepers are show birds. In fact most are not, they are the breeding stock that produces the show birds (which usually just means they are "retired" show birds). Not all show birds will end up being breeding stock. Not all keepers will end up sticking around. For example, there are several BBRed males that are in "wait and see" mode. They did not feather out right, but because I have NO idea if this is genetic or environmental (I do see it in other varieties) and they are superior color to the ones that DID feather out, I'm willing to see how they molt next summer/fall. I will no longer use cockerels (males less than a year old) for breeding stock, I need to wait and see how they feather out in their second year, because they really can change a lot. Females don't change that much.

The birds that are going to auction are not good enough that I want to keep them around as breeding stock, therefore they are not available for sale as such. Which isn't to say someone can't nab them at auction, but if someone is foolish enough to do that, well that's their business.

So here's how it worked out. Counting the new pair that I bought last weekend:

Black Rosecombs:
keeping: 5 males, 10 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 6 females

Black Breasted Red Rosecombs:
keeping: 9 males, 7 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 10 females

Brassy Back Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 3 females
for sale: 2 males, 3 females
cull: 1 male, 2 females

Blue Brassy Back Rosecombs:
keeping: 0 males, 4 females
for sale: 0 males, 2 females
cull: 0 males, 5 females

Black Red (cross-variety) Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 0 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 2 females

Golden Duckwing (in progress) Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 1 female
for sale: none
cull: none

keeping: none
for sale: 1 Single Comb BBRed male, 1 Single Comb BBRed female
cull: 1 Birchen(ish) male

Total Keeping: 17 males, 25 females = 42 birds total (OMG I haven't had this few birds since I don't know when!)
Total Good Birds For Sale: 3 males, 6 females = 9 birds total
Total Culls Going To Auction: 5 males, 25 females = 30 birds total

Crap, I just cut the flock in half! It's good though, this feels like the right thing to do. I remember years ago I had 25 BBRed females, and if I didn't keep 10 Black females per year I felt terrible about it. Well, I'd like to still be getting that number of good Black birds (hence the outcross now) but I'm really cracking down on quality in the BBReds and Brassies/Blue Brassies, so if the birds aren't darn good why keep using them to produce more birds?

It's kinda scary to be doing this, but hopefully it means the birds I hatch this year will be better quality.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

new dashboard decor

This won't make sense to all but two people. :-)

Thanks guys, it's a perfect fit!

Uh oh, I think they're in love! I'll have to make sure to keep these separated!

Dang, someone needs to dust my car....

Sunday, January 06, 2008

what a weekend

I barely slept Thursday night, the wind and rain started up during the middle of the night and made so much noise that I woke up many times and stayed awake worrying about what was blowing away or falling over. The damage was pretty minor in the morning, just some branches down and the chicken house doors blown open on one coop (ripped the latches right off!). The rain and wind kept up all day and for a while I was out there slogging around (evidently rain pants have a "shelf life." Mine have apparently expired, brrr!) tying leaning trees to the fence, tying the chicken house doors shut, putting up extra panels to block the holes where the fence had blown down, etc. Wild weather. I had to leave by 2pm if I was going to make it down to Hollister before dark. I kept hoping the weather would clear but I finally just decided to go. It wasn't as bad a drive as I had thought it could be. The wind was a lot better, so the first hour and a half of the trip down I-5 was just steady rain, and I saw a LOT of accidents, including a big rig sideways blocking all the northbound lanes. I was glad I was going south. 152 was a little scary, it was very windy and rainy going over the pass, and there was a lot of water flowing across the road in some areas. Note to self, do not apply brakes when going through water downhill on a curve. Nothing like a little hydroplaning! Whee! :-0 I drove my car this weekend, and as strange as this is it's running really well lately. I know the belt can't have anything to do with the transmission, but the transmission seems way better ever since the belt and pulley got replaced. Whatever...

I got to Hollister a little before 5pm and found the show room pretty empty. It was looking like a lot of people wouldn't show up, but I think by Saturday morning most of them did. I took 12 birds. Numbers seemed to be down a bit this year. I got the birds cooped in, fed, and watered, and had some dinner at the show hall with a small group of friends, then headed back to my hotel room and got into jammies and watched TV for a while until D.W. finally arrived and came over for drinks and chit chat.

Barely slept Friday night (can't sleep in hotels, ugh!) and got up early Saturday morning. I got my birds cleaned up as best I could, and to my dismay discovered that one of my black pullets had molted most of her neck feathers overnight. Cripes! What is up with that?! My pullets are molting neck feathers right now, but I was relieved to hear it's not just my crazy birds doing that.

I spent the day talking to people and looking at birds, and sometimes sitting there by myself wondering where the heck a couple of my friends disappeared to because I really wanted to talk to them and barely got the chance. Hmpf! I also bought a pair of birds. What? Yeah, I haven't bought birds for about ten years (except that Silver Duckwing Old English rooster a couple years ago). I saw this pair of Black Rosecombs in the sale pens and even though they are past their show prime they looked like really nice birds. I asked the owner what bloodline they are from, and they are from a line that I was thinking about buying and having shipped in, so basically I saved a pile of money not getting birds shipped in. Score! I wasn't expecting to buy anything there but I think it was a wise decision, since I do need to outcross my flock.

I was pleasantly suprised to see that one of Black Breasted Red males took Best of Breed, and even more surprised that one of the BBRed females won Reserve of Breed (I had the only Rosecombs there, but this isn't saying much for my blacks I think, lol!) I was REALLY surprised when that BBRed male went on to win the RCCL class. This is the sort of thing that makes ripples and upsets people, because a "colored" Rosecomb is not one that people tend to expect much out of. But I like to prove them wrong, and this show seems to be the place to do it. Last year I had Reserve RCCL with one, and two years ago I won Reserve Grand Champion with one. Woo hoo!

They finished up the judging late Saturday afternoon, since some people had to head home because of flooding. There was no way in heck I was going to leave that night, besides... I had plans.... ;-)

Months ago when I was talking to L.R. about bellydancing, she asked if I would be willing to do a little something for J.R.'s 70th birthday party this weekend. I had to think about that a bit, since it meant doing a solo performance (C.S. and I put on a very small "private party" show there last year, our debut...) I agreed to do it.

So after a very nerve-wracked dinner with D.W. I headed back to my room and spent an hour and a half getting dressed. It's amazing how long it takes to do costume, hair, and makeup, and by the time I finished getting ready I was so nervous and scared I was shaking. It's so much easier to do that with a group of people! I really should have had someone hang out with me just for moral support when I was getting ready, I was a wreck. W.L. came over shortly before the party and took some photos with my camera. He has a bunch more on his camera but I probably won't get those til next weekend. I hope there are some good ones!

The worst part has to be the last five or so minutes before the performance, sitting there alone in my room so nervous I was afraid my dinner wasn't going to stay put. And then it was time to go, time to just tell myself it'll be okay... So I called over and said I was on my way and out the door I went....

The first part of the intro song played while I waited outside the door, and then when I heard my "walk in music" start I pushed the door open and stepped inside and seriously I could have just croaked I was so scared. I could see that the room wasn't set up quite as I had planned, so I was going to have to dance in the middle, meaning there would be people behind me. Oh well, I figured that was their problem, they could have moved.

The dance itself is really all a blur. I was scared, and I was trying to see who all was there but also sort of afraid to see who all was there. There were about 20 people there. The really good news is that I didn't screw up at all! I was afraid I was going to miss a step but I didn't. The only problem at all was my sleeve got hung up for a second on my belt, but I got it loose pretty quick. I could tell that some people were really enjoying it, and some looked uncomfortable. Maybe because it's me and seeing me do that was kind of shocking? Whatever. Nobody got up and left, which was good! It was way too "close quarters." It would have been nice to have more distance between me and everyone else, but there wasn't anything I could do about that. So it was a five minute slow song and a 1.5 minute fast song, and then I bowed and left and went back to my room and congratulated myself for surviving, touched up my makeup, had a glass of water, wrapped myself up in my veil and headed back over to visit with everyone. Several people got photos with me, and W.L. took a bunch of photos during the performance, but I don't have those yet.

So over all I'd say it went really well, my very first solo! It shocked some people, several of them said they were just totally blown away that it was ME doing all that. I think that's part of the appeal. And several people said they'd never look at me quite the same way again. ;-) I guess that's okay... You know, it's very empowering. :-)

In all the excitement last night I forgot to set my alarm, so despite my plans to get out of bed at 7 and be at the show hall at 8, I woke up at 8:15 and a said a string of expletives when I looked at the clock. I was SO glad I mostly packed up last night, because I'd thought about doing that this morning instead. Ugh. I threw some clothes on and brushed my hair and got over there at 8:40, and more than one person told me I looked like hell. Yeah, I pretty much do first thing in the morning... Plus I had slept really poorly again.

So I packed up the birds, hugged everyone goodbye, had a totally uneventful and pleasant drive home in the sunny weather, unloaded birds, had lunch, sat down on my bed, and promptly fell asleep for a few hours.

I definitely won't be doing that at every show. Next weekend I'll have the art booth there, that's quite enough to deal with!

Here are a couple of pics from last night that were on my camera. (I made a lot of the costume myself, including the veil). I love veils!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

hmm, 2008

I haven't been doing any art in the last little while (well, except tonight I started the layout for a new piece) and it's been sort of nice but I'm at the point now where I REALLY want to get back to making stuff. That's good! :-)

There really isn't much of anything exciting to report.

The first big storm of the year is supposed to roll in during the wee hours tonight. Several inches of rain, 60mph winds, flooding, etc. Ugh. Today I put away/tarped/tied down everything I could, and put a rain sheet on Gwen since she seems to get cold sometimes (not Shylah, but she's a lot fuzzier anyway).

I hung all the dog paintings and a few horse paintings in a coffee shop in town today. Oh crud, I need to update my website! I'll go do that now.

Wish me luck this weekend. :-)