Begin again   

Earlier this week I caught wind of photography challenge that intrigued me. Brook Shaden is probably one of my favorite creative photo artists and just in the nick of time, I was able to sign up for her 15 day creative challenge from her site Promoting Passion. She does many self-portraits, something I have avoided like the plague, but what the heck, I can do this for 15 days.

Mostly I hope to get back in the habit of blogging again. I’ve been busy, my camera is never far from my side, I just haven’t been posting.

Each day has a theme and a challenge.

Day one The theme is Rebirth and the challenge is Use an enclosed space.

Our pond lilies were blooming again and because in Egyptian mythology the pond lily or lotus is a symbol for rebirth, I took that as a sign that timing is everything.

I’m seriously hoping that by climbing out of that pond lily, I can kickstart my blogging and posting again.

Portrait of a red/white pittie

Portrait of Junior

Painting my way through the alphabet

I met Junior about a year and a half ago. He’s a bit of a kindred spirit for me. Junior and our greyhound Pete were diagnosed with cancer at about the same time. Different cancers and we each took a different path in hopes of beating the evil cancer monster at it’s own game. They removed Junior’s lump at his wrist and put him on oral chemo drugs, Junior did pretty well. They have given Junior best of quality times. He goes on adventures and gets a full dose of extra love every day.

A few weeks ago I read that the cancer is coming back with vengeance. My heart broke just a little more for both Alan and Junior.

When we first met, Alan said Junior was his baby, the love of his life. Junior is gentle with an old soul. When I look in his eyes, he looks right back at Alan saying nothing more, nothing less but “I love you with all of my heart, forever.”

I wish everyone could know the love of boy like this. We would all be in a much better place.

Here is the original portrait I took in January 2016.

Junior, the original portrait

Dearest Alan, I send you, Mrs. Alan and Junior my warmest loving wishes, gentle hugs and good thoughts.

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.