The great protector

Sunday selfie number seven.

This one has been floating around in my head for a really long time. When Karen and I first came up with, the chickens were all going through a molt. Trust me when I say that molting chickens are almost as good as naked chickens.

So we waited. And then, we had to make sure we ate our Wheaties for breakfast.

We brought the chickens into the studio two at a time.

The six-armed goddess

Left to right
Ellie (brahma), Maude (olive egger), Edie (frizzle), Gracie (silkie), Talley (easter egger),
Hillary (black australorp), Millie ( brahma), Betty (rescue hen)

This is actually a remake of an image I did a couple of years ago.

Maude, Talley, Gracie, Hillary, Edie

This was always one of my favorites and our flock has grown since then. We’re quite lucky that our birds are so tame. They frequently let us photograph them and are always quite amenable to doing what we ask of them knowing that we will never put them in any sort of danger.

Who is the six-armed goddess?

Kali is a Hindu goddess.

In spite of her seemingly terrible form, Kali Ma is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe. And because of her terrible form, she is also often seen as a great protector.

I guess her description fits, especially when it comes to animals.

Behind the scenes

After setting up the lighting, I realized that there is just never enough room. I would be spending more time editing out the background than I wanted. In hind sight, I would have done something different with the lighting, but by the end of the project I was quite please with how the image turned out.

Wardrobe is always a problem, my goal for Selfie Sundays is to spend zero or to as little as possible money. As I was going to sleep, the Equality t-shirt really resonated with me. We have all different types of birds, all colors of feathers and they all get along.

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Come here my little pretty

I discovered last year that not only do I cherish photographing pets more than anything… I really love photographing pets with their people. 

I also enjoy doing personal projects. Photography just for the love of photography. This my friends takes me on new journey for 2019.

My rules for the Sunday Selfie project are pretty simple. 1. They have to include an animal with me and 2. They somehow have to tell a story from our day-to-day life.

Phone a friend. I thought I would add in a little twist, send out a quick request from my three most trusted sources… east coast kid, west coast kid, partner in crime and ask them for the first two words that cross their mind when I decide what they are.

This week the east coast kid shot back an answer almost immediately. “Purple Jericho.” Right, Jericho lives on the east coast with her and it’s not exactly an easy road trip to make it happen.

Time to put the thinking cap on.

Purple Jericho or afternoon snack

Jericho, Timber, Zip, Glory and Sage

Just a quick disclosure, Zip would probably be OK with the little, Sage might be but Glory and Timber, not so much.

I don’t wear red and purple, so the wardrobe was challenging. However, in the back of my closet hung a vintage Nike sweatshirt that is about 20 years old. Score! And it still fits. Double score. Jericho is an Italian greyhound, the teeny tiny version of a greyhound. The borzoi are not the largest of the sighthound, but they are pretty darn big. Even our greyhounds are dwarfed by the boys.

Way back when, I had a pair of Italian greyhounds. They were the original gateway drug to greyhounds which became the gateway drug to borzoi. Jericho is a second generation IG. I adore our big dogs.

Having the big and the small together seemed to make sense, although I can almost guarantee I would have been sitting on my ass with my arms pulled out of my sockets. I have no doubt though that my little grand dog would have caught their attention just like that.

Behind the scenes

We’ve been blessed with a cold snap (enter pure, unadulterated sarcasm) and the snow they forecast was nonexistent. The light was so perfect and despite the 30° temps, my shutter buddy and I powered through this weeks selfie. There are still skiffs of snow on the ground.

I admit that I don’t train our dogs. For the most part they are just good dogs and will usually do what I ask of them. Timber laying down was just a bonus round.

Sage and Glory

I started with this as my base image.

Timber and Zip

Before I knew it, the sun was cruising around the cedar trees and we suddenly had to work a whole lot faster. Timber grew bored with the Sunday Selfie game, but in the end, it worked.


I took this of Jericho in April 2016. So glad I had the opportunity before they moved to New York City to get a couple of photos of them.

I look back at the photos from just three years ago and I’m amazed at how much our acre has changed. That view has changed completely.

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Snow day!

I grew up in Montana and Wyoming, Karen is from Boston and Maine. We both know snow. Lots of snow.

We don’t get much snow here in the Willamette Valley and when we do get it, it’s magical.

Frank, patron saint of all who wander here

St. Francis remained blanketed for most of the day, but he did a good job of watching out for all of the critters, keeping them safe from the cold and snow.


I could hardly contain myself when I realized we had snow. Last night when I checked the forecast, it was just supposed to be cloudy and cold. We had enough snow to blanket the entire acre and it truly was lovely.

The resident flicker

The flickers are probably my favorite winter bird. They are a little shy and they hate the starlings, but they still patiently wait amongst the branches for their turn at the suet feeders.

Winter hummingbirds

This little lady joins us for coffee in the barn almost every day. The bamboo she sits on is just outside the barn window.

Peebe and Jai ready to come out of their hut

The goats have never seen snow before. They were pretty darn cute. Peebe took a flying leap off of their patio and then scrambled back into the hut.


He really wasn’t sure what was going on.


Of course, he is such a munch mouth, he can be paid to do anything.


When we let them out on the acre, they both made a beeline for the cedar trees. The trees are a favorite for winter foraging. It was pretty funny when Peebe caused a mini avalanche pulling down the branches.


Jai had his own mini avalanche when he started munching on the bamboo. Ahem! Not the bamboo buddy.


It was awesome when they started to romp out in the open. That alone could have been entertaining for hours.

Jai and Peebe

They play like this all the time.

Jai and Peebe

Peebe is the bigger of the two. Jai is about three weeks older. Same dad, different moms.

The brahma mamas, Ellie and Millie

The chickens took even longer to warm up to the idea of snow. The brahmas mamas were the first to brave it.


Talley came next. She found a great place to peck and yelled at Ellie when she came to close.


The greyhounds have been around long enough to know what kinda fun snow is. Fergie raced around the acre many times.


Cinderella will be 13 next month. Fun fact about Cinderella. Karen flew down to Florida so she could fly back with Cinderella when she retired. Cinderella almost didn’t get to fly back to Oregon because we had a huge weather system come through. It was just barely 20° when the plane landed. The roads were crazy icy and it stayed cold for a couple of weeks.


Borzoi originated in Russia, so they are nicely dressed for this weather and Sage and Glory were thrilled to play in the snow.


They ran for hours.

Sage and Glory

And played for hours.


Timber and Zip enjoyed it for a few minutes.


But mostly, they laid in the barn on a cushion where it was still a little warm from the propane heater.

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My future is fluffy

It’s a new month and Sunday Selfie number five. I still hate being in front of the camera, that hasn’t changed. My shutter buddy Karen is working overtime to make sure that all of my ducks are in a row when she snaps the shutter. I could not do this without her.

My rules for the Sunday Selfie project are pretty simple. 1. They have to include an animal with me and 2. They somehow have to tell a story from our day-to-day life.

When Saturday rolled around, I was at a loss for what I was going to do. So, I phoned a friend for help. Or, using current technology I texted my daughter Holly and told her to give me the first word and color that popped into her head.

Pink and sassy

Gracie, the fortune teller

I’m fascinated by fortune tellers, palm readers, numerology, astrology and on and on. I don’t put much stock in them because I do believe that every step forward and backward was supposed to happen.

I don’t see my future as either clear or cloudy, but filled with days in the garden and pets. Lots and lots of pets.

Sometimes, we do things on a whim… take the goats for example. We met our first Nigerian Dwarf goats on a Sunday. I came home, opened up Craigslist and I found kids that were almost ready to go. We met and paid for them the following Sunday. Then we came home to start our learning curve about goats and what we had to have to keep them. Best decision ever. I call them our happy pills.

The chickens were a process that took more than a year. We researched, we studied, we talked. And then we worried like mother hens when we brought the day-old chicks home. Check off another one in the column “best decision ever.” I’ll do without before I buy eggs in a store ever again. Now the chickens could be happy pills too, but instead I like to call them our pets with benefits.

Now the baby borzoi were a combo process. When our breeder in Florida approached us, we said of course we want a puppy without thinking through everything. Then, we spent the next five months planning to drive from Salem, OR to Plant City, FL. Every I was dotted and every T crossed. 7,000 miles without a hitch and two delightful borzoi puppies.

I sincerely hope I never have to drive I-10 across Texas again. Even with the fastest speed limits, it was the longest stretch of highway I have ever driven.

To date every whim and thought out process has been perfect. Almost like it had a grand plan from the beginning.

Behind the scenes

Pink and sassy. It felt like a challenge. 99% of the time I wear black. Ever so glad to have my favorite shade of pink, salmon pink, in the drawer. Sassy had to be Gracie. Gracie is our little silkie that was named after one of our favorite greyhounds.

Gracie is the smallest bird in the coop and she’s the one that rules the roost. She’s the sassiest little bird and all of the other girls just step aside and let her have her way.

It took us an annoyingly long time to figure out the lighting. Once we got it dialed in though, we brought Gracie in from the coop and we were done in minutes.

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A mother’s love

Daria and Apple

I was stalking Facebook one night and saw that a friend was kidding. I wanted to meet the young baby goats more than anything, but even more than that, I wanted to photograph them.

I had just celebrated another birthday and in my mind, seeing baby goats would make it the best birthday ever. I was over the moon when they said sure.

Brand spanking new kid on the block

Just as we got there a mama was in labor. Little Apple was learning the song of her people the minute she took her first breath.

Mama Daria, attentive mom extraordinaire

I sat there in amazement watching as a kid was born. It was so beautiful. I was torn between just watching in respect, dying to take photos and turning away to give mama some privacy. So I just watched. I’m so impressed by the animal instinct. Mama knew exactly what to do. She gave her a quick bath and watched as her baby tried to take her first steps gently nudging her if needed.

It took Apple 7 minutes to start getting on her feet.

Where is my breakfast?

Mama gently nudged her baby around to get her moving and Apple knew exactly what was expected of her.

Next task was to find the breakfast bar. Mama seemed to employ two methods in one here. She’d move her teats close to Apple and as soon as Apple would start closing in, Mama would move just so Apple would start walking more. Never fear, Apple got her early dose of mama magic.

Lil’ Apple meeting her human friend

Watching Apple and her mama for the first hour of her life was indescribably amazing. I have no other words for it, but it will definitely go down as one of my best days ever.

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