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


hound terrier mix


Painting my way through the alphabet

Cooper has played with me in front of the camera a couple of times. I really love this little guy.

He’s another little dog that only has eyes for his momma. We did a session last fall and of course it fell on the one of the rainiest days around. We laughed about it and said, “well, we live in Oregon” and off we through the park. Except for his whiskers, Cooper actually stayed pretty dry.

I went home drenched to the bone, but we had such a good time. Cooper was accompanied by his brother Diesel and his new sister Mabel.

Cooper and Mabel.  

Here is the original photo.

Boston terrier


Painting my way through the alphabet

Buddy is one of the those dogs that will stay with me for a lifetime. He was a boy that loved his human more than life itself and it showed every minute that they were together.

Buddy came to a couple of my mini sessions that I did at Nature’s Pet Market Wilsonville. He did his best to please his people for a portrait.

We did a custom session with Buddy shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was such a trooper as we walked around the park together. If I didn’t know, I would have never guessed that Buddy was sick.

Buddy was loved by his family beyond compare and they loved him just the same. We should all be so lucky to know that kind of love.

I have no doubt this little guy is missed every single day.

Boston terrier

Original portrait of Buddy


Chocolate lab


Painting my way through the alphabet—A

Her muzzle is turning a bit snowy, but this girl still loves her tennis balls. This is one of our grand dogs, Autzen. She was down for a romp on the acre a few weeks ago. The grass was wet and messy, but the dogs didn’t seem to care. They chased the tennis balls until they almost couldn’t walk any more.

I got a wild hair to paint my way through the alphabet. I figured this would be the best way possible to really get a feel for painting many breeds, colors and coats. How fortuitous that a grand dog started the project.

There are a couple of letters that I don’t have covered and I’ll be doing a model call to find those dogs to photograph and ultimately paint.

Autzen and Maverick   

Here is the original photo.

Portrait of a borzoi


It has rained so much here that even Oregon doesn’t know what to do with all of the rain. We have standing water everywhere with more rain to come tomorrow.

When you can’t do a whole lot outside, what better way to spend your time than paint the dogs.

I took this photo of Zip last summer when the gardens were green and growing. I loved his expression, it is so him. So, in the downpour, I brought a portrait I loved back into Photoshop and started painting him.

Come on back spring and summer, we are ready for you.