Painting my way through the alphabet

Emma is one of those goofy weimies you never forget. She was Holly’s dog through and through. They had a mutual admiration society that compared to none. Holly doted on Emma, especially when she reached her senior years and in return Emma gave Holly an unconditional love that was the best.

When Emma’s hind-end got weak, Holly helped her get around… with a wheel chair, with a waist brace and by carrying her when necessary. Emma wanted to please Holly and would let her do whatever she needed to do.

Just before her 14th birthday, Emma was diagnosed with lymphoma. We were all devastated, but Holly’s heart was shattered into a million pieces.

The day came to say goodbye to Emma and as sad as it was, we all did our best to celebrate her. On her very last photo, Holly held her hand over Emma’s heart promising to hold Emma in her own heart for a lifetime.

Emma, the original photo

Portrait of a dachshund

Portrait of  Darby  

Painting my way through the alphabet

Darby and his brother Ozzie have been to Nature’s Pet Wilsonville a couple of times at our mini sessions we’ve held. These two little dachshunds are delightful. Sometimes Darby has to be convinced he wants his portrait taken and when he does, he shines. Both he and Ozzie are stunning, but when Darby graces the camera, it truly is special.

Here is Darby’s original photo.

Two dachshunds

Ozzie and Darby

Hillary, black australorp.  

It’s Monday night and our five-day chick maternity leave is over. We’ve literally been able to watch them grow before our very eyes and they are finally settling down and letting us hold them. Karen and I have taken turns every day going in to hold them, call them by name and ever so gently stroke their heads.

Most of the time they fall asleep in our hands and it feels almost as if they are purring.

The coolest thing ever.

Each one is developing their own personality.

Hillary is bursting with self-confidence. She’s always the first to notice something new. She’s also the biggest of the chicks. As you can see from her photo, her wings are developing nicely and she has the cutest darn little tail feathers. She is perfectly content sleeping on her back in Karen’s hands. And, she is also spending more and more time on the make-shift swing Karen built for their brooder.

Gracie, a mystery bantam but we’re secretly hoping she’s a silkie

Gracie is the tiniest, a petite little chick. She also has a gentle personality. She’s the quickest to settle down and fall asleep in our hands. We are really hoping she will be a silkie. Her eggs will be about a third of the size of the others, but that is OK with us. Her feathers will require a little more care when she moves out to the coop. The coop will be nice and dry but I suspect their run will be more mud than not, especially in the winter.

Her wing feathers sprouted almost over night and they are growing so fast, it’s almost like we could watch them grow.

Blender, a Plymouth barred rock   

Sweet, sweet Blender. She’s the content one. She kinda toddles around with the other chicks scratching in their bedding. Blender loves to be held. She’d stay in our hands all day if she could.

Maude, an olive egger   

Maude is also super sweet and ready for her modeling career. When we did photos this afternoon she worked the catwalk like a pro.

I adore her little tuft of feathers that will soon be tail feathers. She’s almost as big as Hillary. Like Blender, she would be held all day if she could.

Talley, an americauna   

Talley waits to be picked up. Today I just laid my hand down in the brooder and she promptly jumped up on one of my fingers as if she were already roosting. Talley is another one that was born to model.

Her tail feathers are probably the most developed of all the chicks and her wings are just beautiful.

Edie, a mystery bantam, guessing maybe a frizzle   

Edie, Edie, Edie. Her feathers on her wings are all over the place. We are guessing she might be a frizzle chick. Her personality is quirky, just like her feathers. This girl just wants to have fun.

Neither Karen nor I have ever had chickens. I’ve always loved to photograph them. Nobody told us they were pooping machines. Holy smokes! I can’t even count the number of times we have had to change their water.


Timber and the squirrel   

On an average coffee morning out in the barn we can have hundreds of birds fly in and wander through the feeders. We also have a dozen or resident squirrels.

Fortunately Timber and Zip have never bothered with the birds, but the squirrels drive them crazy. This morning the squirrels were particularly suicidal. Yesterday, if Timber hadn’t slipped in the mud, the squirrel would have been a goner. Not something we wanted to witness.

This morning, the squirrels stayed just out of harms way but they drove Timber crazy.

Bantam chick

Gracie, a mystery bantam

Breaking momentarily from our regularly scheduled programming.

Karen and I have been reading and researching backyard chickens for a year now. We’ve been working toward becoming a little more self-sustaining and along with the gardens, a fresh source of eggs felt like a perfect match. Last weekend we drove out to Sweet Home and ordered a custom chicken coop. Yesterday we took maternity leave and brought home six two-day old chicks.

Gracie is teenie tiny and petite. She was our first pick and we named her after one of our blue greyhounds. Because she is a bantam, she is too tiny to sex, we have a 50/50 chance of having a girl. Fingers crossed please.

Black australorp chick

Hillary, a black australorp

Hillary came home a quickly became leader of the flock. She’s our biggest girl and kind of the bossy one. It’s hard for me to imagine her as a solid black bird when she gets fully feathered.

Bigger chickens come with a 90% guarantee that we are getting a pullet (a female).

The problem lies in having roosters within the city limits. Apparently neighbors don’t appreciate the early morning wake-up call.

I’m sure it is no mystery how Hillary got her name. This girl is ready to hit the campaign trail.

Olive egger chick

Maude, the olive egger

We drove out to the hatchery where the chicks were hatched. Pete’s Hatchery was fabulous and the owners were such neat people. We bought our chicks from a local farm store, Champion Feed.

The olive eggers are a cross between the americauna chickens and copper maran chickens. Their claim to fame are the deep olive colored eggs they produce.

Maude was named after Karen’s grandma.

Americauna chick

Talley, an americauna chicken

This little chick loves attention. Karen and I have been going into the brooder we have set up in our second bathroom and holding the chicks every chance we get. This little girl just falls asleep in our hands.

Talley got her name from one of our fawn greyhounds we lost a few years back.

Bantam chick

Edie, another mystery bantam

Karen and I made lists of chicken names. Most of them were actresses in the early 1900s. I was so surprised when all of sudden names of some of our female greyhounds so quickly fit the chicks. It just felt so natural.

Edie was named after one of our first brindle greyhounds.

Barred rock chick

Blender, a barred rock chicken

When we were picking out our chicks our first priority was to pick the best pets. We are looking forward to fresh eggs, don’t get me wrong, but we also wanted pets. Chickens can live anywhere from 8 to 20 years and their egg production is only for a few years. Our second priority was photography. I love photographing chickens and wanted them all to be different.

Blender got her name from our first failed foster greyhound.

Three-day old chicks

The new chicks on the block