Plymouth Barred Rock Rooster

90% chance.

When you stand over the bin of chicks at the farm stores, the sign above it says you have a 90% chance of having a pullet. Most of the time that’s really good odds and totally worth the gamble.

We brought our day old chicks home and held them and loved them, told them stories, marveled at how they grew and counted our eggs before they were laid.

Blender, a Plymouth barred rock.

On all of the Facebook pages you read about how to tell if you have a pullet or cockerel and you are just sure, absolutely positive beyond a doubt that you have eggs on the way.

Plymouth Barred Rock Rooster

The 10% alarm clock

And then, you know for sure when the alarm clock sounds. There ain’t gonna be any eggs and the neighbors are gonna be irritated.

Karen and I are early birds. Sleeping in is 6:05 am every morning. I loved the sound of the rooster in the early hours. Sadly, we live in city limits and there are rules. No roosters.

I’m all about stretching and bending and pulling and pushing the rules, but I am also aware at how hard our city worked to allow backyard chickens. At the first complaint, we knew we had to do something.

Plymouth Barred Rock Rooster

Portrait of a rooster.

We brought him in at night. He is a great protector of his ladies and taking him away felt terrible. He complied however, nestled in a dog kennel in the extra bedroom he slept soundly through the night and in the morning when the alarm clock sounded, I would smile and snooze for a few more minutes.

Boss bird.

Just before work I’d carry his fluffy butt back out to the coop. That’s where it got a little challenging. Instead of greeting his ladies with happiness he’d chase them around the coop making them quite unhappy. He needed to establish his dominance with his harem and he wasn’t happy until he pecked at every one of them.

Portrait of a rooster

Mr. Beautiful.

Decisions had to be made. Fortunately Karen has a co-worker that has about 55 acres where they free-range chickens. Blender is on his way to the farm tomorrow.

Our hearts are broken. We really didn’t want to give him up but we really feel we had a choice.

Flying the coop

Happy trails little buddy.


Anna’s hummingbird.  

I really haven’t been missing from action, just missing from the computer.

Spring fever is going strong at our house right now. The veggies are almost ready to go in the ground and now it’s time to start working on some color.

The wild birds are delightful, although the hummers have warned me they are going to move on to more flowery pastures if I don’t get their flowers going. Fortunately all of the runner beans are in place and they should be running up their poles any day now.

Painting of an American Staffordshire Terrier

Portrait of Ida

Painting my way through the alphabet one dog at a time

I still painting my way through the alphabet. I got a little way-laid with all of the work revamping the gardens. It’s felt good scratching around in the dirt and in a few months, the rewards will be plenty. We’re pretty excited.

Ida has always been one of my favorite dogs. I first photographed her as a three-month old pup and this little girl charmed the socks off of me. Ida is just one of those really happy dogs. She’s also one those really perfect dogs. She could come home with me any day.

Ida was all decked out for her photo with Santa Paws and we took a few of her alone. She looks quite Devine all decked out for the holidays.


Here is her original photo.

Painting of two borzoi

Glory and Sage

Bird Dogs, fifth in a series

Karen and I have spent the last month or so revamping the gardens. It’s been an amazing amount of work, but also extremely gratifying.

We had five cubic yards of premium garden soil delivered and three cubic yards of sand. All of that is great, but since the ground was so darn wet, it had to be dropped in our driveway. All of the garden stuff is happening on the other opposite side of the acre. We’ve shoveled and hauled at least a million wheel barrows back there.

My camera has remained by my side the entire time, but I’ve lost more moments of our own dogs than I like to admit.

We’re starting to see a few of the spring migrating birds appeared they are delightful.

The greenhouse is coming alive with the starters we’ve planted and Karen is ready to start a new journey with her “straw bale” garden.

I want to be more faithful to the blog, but I have to admit, it’s hard to be in front of the computer when the birds are calling me back outside.

Don’t forget the chickens. They are getting more and more beautiful every day. They’re starting to get their big girl clucks and lose the baby chirps. I am longing for just two more, but so far Karen has not fallen for my pleading ways.

Scrub jay with peanut

Enjoying a sun shower   

Who needs Netflix when you have jays at the peanut feeder?

Our first day of spring brakation was a mix of rain, wind and sun. A completely normal Oregon weather day. Our morning cup of coffee in the barn was the best. The flickers, hummingbirds and even the elusive spotted towhee joined us. We went our separate ways for the Friday funday errands and returned to the barn this afternoon for more coffee, more bird activity and a couple of delightful sun showers.

The jays are always amusing. We probably have five or six that line up in a flight pattern one at a time to take turns dining and dashing with the peanuts. The first one of the days alerts every jay in the neighborhood that we finally put out more peanuts.

This guy was particularly amusing. He always hung upside down to get his peanuts from the bottom of the ring.

We had the barn built where it would be best for photos not know that it would become our little bistro. In the afternoons the birds are always backlit. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The plum tree is beginning to fill in quite nicely behind the feeders.