Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Midnight

I have a new chicken. I got her from a lady in town who rescues ducks. She had some chickens, and all but one got eaten by a fox or something. This one was lonely, so I brought her home to be with all our chickens. I THINK she is a Black Astralorp. I'm not very unique, but with her black feathers with a deep green sheen, I named her Midnight. I can name her, because I can tell her apart!

We also just got my Buff Cochins and some turkeys... but we didn't make a safe enough brooder, and we already lost a bunch. Uh Oh.

Anyhow, here is Midnight and some other critter pics...


Atlas in the grass. I am using a zoom lens, as he is very far from me in this picture. Somehow the zoom gives it a better quality. Or maybe because he isn't in my face trying to sniff the camera.
Speaking of sniffing... Squiggy is sniffing to see if there is anything good in the manger - like oats, or if its just the same old hay...
Sunset on Long Shadow Farm - pups in the foreground coming in for dinner, Mount Meeker and Long's Peek back in the clouds.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trying out our new toy

OK, this is a mish mash of pictures, but I was just trying out my new toy. Larry and I won a new digital camera at my work party last weekend. We had a casino night, and Larry was playing poker. He was doing well, and when they called for the 3rd place prize, he had more than doubled his monopoly money, and we won! It's a nice digital camera - picked out by my boss... whose real passion is photography. So really, it's a good digital camera. Anyhow, I thought I'd give some of the fancy settings a shot - so I tried my hand at some fast action sports, some close ups in the grass, and some night time snow shots... here's what happened.

Yup, Larry is still playing rugby. The cool thing about this camera, is that I can set it to a sports setting, and instead of waiting for each picture to save, I can take continuous photos. I almost always miss the few seconds Larry has the ball, unless he hits a long run. This way, I can catch those juke moves between passes...

Or, the moment he is about to touch a try down.

Or when he comes in for a tackle. Next time, all I have to do is maybe get off my duff and get some closer photos. Just not at Pleasant View. It is ALWAYS windy and miserable at that damn field!

With the "foliage" setting, I can get nice shots in the grass and stuff. It takes a nice clear and crisp shot of critters, and the stuff they are messing about it. Probably would take some amazing photos of flowers... give it a few weeks for them to bloom and I will try again. Schroed was helping me hang laundry. No, actually, he was stalking something. Thankfully, it wasn't the chickens.

Not an exciting photo, but Chickens don't sit well for photo shoots. I just like the clarity of her feathering and the details you can see. My other camera didn't do it this well. I'll have to try some shots of my Americaunas so you can see their coloring, too. Next time!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Silly Dog Pictures

OK, so last weekend I got out the camera and took some pictures of the dogs. I take weird pictures. But you know what? Someday - when all these dogs are gone, for Hobbes at least, I'll be able to go back and look at pictures of him... and his feet, and the back of his head. No one takes pictures of the back of a dog's head. Just me. Anyhow, I caught his paws on this picture-taking occasion.

Anyhow... People have asked for more pictures of Ditka. Here's one. Last weekend, it was 70 degrees outside. A little windy, but very sunny. So Ditka is squinting in the sun and the wind. He would barely open his eyes, it was so bright.

This is Hobbes and Alpine playing in the yard. Alpine stopped to scratch for a moment.
These are Alpine's paws. I was laying on the deck and he was standing right over me. It was easier to look at his paws, then up at his face, cause then I would have had to look in the sun, too.
This is Alpine, again. Staring adoringly out in the pasture, wishing he could go "play" with our sheep. Goliath is galliantly standing on the other side of the fence, making sure Alpine doesn't go anywhere near the sheep.
Ditka is meandering in the yard, look closely, and you'll see our other 3 dogs curled up in the shade. Athena and Grish even let Hobbes hang out in the shade with them!
Here's more of squinty Ditka looking into the wind and sun.
This is Hobbes, also squinting in the wind and the sun. HA HA, he's so funny.
Alpine decided to take a break in the shade - he picked a spot near the water bowl. Smart doggie!
A close up of Grish and Athena in their little shady spot.
And here they are... Hobbes' paws. My silly bear, he wears socks.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

March Picture update




I've decided...I can do better

Larry and I already do a lot for environmental reasons (we think). The other day I decided I can do better. I decided from now on, any time I buy new clothes, linens, anything made of fabric - it's going to be eco-friendly... That means wool, organic cotton, hemp, hopefully fair trade as well. We'll see. I am seeking a pair of jeans right now, and I found a pair -organic cotton and fair trade - but the only size they list is 25... what? I think that's like a negative size 4 in european sizes, so I gotta figure that one out.

Anyhow, if I blow out a pair of biker shorts, I might be hard pressed to try and find a new pair made from hemp, so we'll see how this goes.

I'm way behind the curve here, even Levi's started offering organic cotton jeans in 2006. If they can do it, so can I. I am even more empowered by a sickening article I just read of someone stating whether they would buy eco-friendly clothes or stylish clothes. To each her own, I guess, but she flat out said that fashion comes first. So.... your butt has to look good before you'll do something to protect ANYONE else? NICE. Selfish. Stupid. Here's some data to support organic cotton.... Cotton production takes up something like 10% of the world's agricultural production land, but uses 25% of the world's pesticides. So if I were to buy regular jeans (to make my butt look good) I would be supporting the use of pesticides. That's pretty ironic since we won't even allow them on our own land. So, if I won't use pesticides on my land, I will encourage someone else to use them for the sake of my butt? NO. Not anymore. I'm only one consumer, but I should use my buying power to support practices that are important to me.

I know it's a burden to try and think about all that is going on on this planet. But any little thing you can do will help. Any little thing. Which is why organic clothes, recycled shoe soles, etc. are my next step. Here are some other things I am considering:

Dryer balls. That sounded funny. But they make these little nubby balls to go in your dryer in place of fabric softeners. They supposedly make your clothes softer and help them dry faster. Of course, in the summer, I won't use the dryer at all. As a matter of fact, it was 70 degrees here yesterday. Yes. 70 degrees on March 1. So I took advantage and did 3 loads of laundry and got them all out on the line to dry. Of course, last night it snowed, so if I do any laundry today, it'll go in the dryer.

Washing Machine ball - I found this at Gaiam.com (one of my favorite places to peruse online). These are special balls you put in the washer that allow you to use a fraction of the soap you usually use - thus keeping less chemicals from ending up in the environment. Of course, I use all natural, bio degradable cleaning supplies from Seventh Generation. I use their laundry soap, dish soap, kitchen cleaner, etc. So maybe this isn't a big deal... but it still keeps "Stuff" out of the water.

Composting. Nothing natural goes in the trash. We have a compost bin in the yard and all our food scraps go in it. We also try to buy all organic, natural and fresh produce. The less pre-packaged junk (pre-packaged often has chemical preservatives) we eat, we produce less waste, too! We are also learning to cook more from scratch - we make our own pancake and waffle batters, we make all of our own bread, we are even getting a grain mill to make our own flour! And of course, we "make" our own eggs, chicken and lamb, too.

Solar hot water heating. We are going to put solar panels on the roof to heat our water for all our hot water in the house. This should be easy. We are in Colorado, we get enough sun to do this year round. The trick is that we also want to replace our electric heating system with hydroponic heating. We would have baseboard or vertical wall heating tubes in the room, and they would run the heated water through the rooms to heat them. Our electric bill was out of control in January. So in February we turned the heat OFF. Believe me, I am dying over here. I bury myself in 2 or 3 blankets on the couch to not freeze... but our heating system is awful (radiant CEILING heat. Brilliant.) So hopefully next winter, we'll have a better solution. For today, Larry cut up the tree that blew down last fall and shoved it in the fire place. Well... we aren't burning coal in an electric plant somewhere to heat our house, we are burning wood. Not perfect, but we're trying to get there.