Captured Moments – SoCo the cat

Good morning

There is a mostly feral cat that lives at a house we have been working on.  The owners moved and left him and he has never quite trusted again.  He cannot be picked up and rarely touched.   He is wily and will not enter a container of any form no matter how hungry.  We make sure he has food and we think there are others in the neighborhood that do as well.   I was able to sit very still and he came close to me, even put a nose to the camera.  If I moved towards him at all, he ran away.  He was content to have me in his yard space, but no touching.  

He has been named SoCo for the area he lives in.   He is watching me from across the yard.

Approaching with caution

Hey, what is this thing?

Sharing space and a big yawn after eating. (Collage made with Ribbet)

Captured Moments – Fall color

Yesterday was the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere.   Here in central Texas, we do not have the stereotypical fall colors unless we have cool wet weather.  I went back and looked through some photos from previous years and found September fall color.  Grasses and a few from trees and vines.  🙂  Hey, I will take what fall color I can get.

 

(below) Leaves with oil painting effect.

 

Captured Moments – Raising chickens part three

Good morning,

Part three is a reissue with some additional information.  After our losses we decided we needed a better coop.  It started like this:

 

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Now for the cute and fluffy part of the post, then there will be more photos of the new coop and run after.  

We purchased twelve, three-day-old chicks on March 09, 2016.  They are red sex links.  Click here for more on this breed of chicken The Lowdown on Red Sex Links

Here they are at six days old.

What are you looking at? Red Sex Link chicks 6 days old.

What are you looking at?
Red Sex Link chicks 6 days old.

 

Red Sex Link Chicks at 15 days old.

Red Sex Link Chicks at 15 days old. They are getting feathers!

 

Red Sex Link Chicks Approximately twenty days old. They are now getting some color to their feathers, more red is showing and they have sparse tail feathers.

Red Sex Link Chicks Approximately twenty days old. They are now getting some color to their feathers, more red is showing and they have sparse tail feathers.

This is a good link for beginners to learn about raising chickens Backyard Chicken.com Frequently asked questions of raising chickens

We have raised chickens before.  We started while living in town. Truly a backyard chicken venture.  Then we moved to a place with some land and allowed the chickens to free range.  They loved it!  We loved that they kept the insect population under control.   We made sure we closed everything up at night and all went well for the first two years.  Then hens started to go missing.   We finally discovered that a fox and her kits had taken up residence close to the house in a rock pile (go figure).  She and her kits were well fed but we lost all of our hens.  She attacked during the day while the hens free ranged.   We also lost the rooster to a different predator that came in the evening before we had the coop closed up.  We have since built a new coop with some added safety features and hopefully these chicks will live long happy lives.

The new coop is ready to go and has a large run.  These babies will not go outside (except for field trips)  until they are fully feathered out and the temperatures stay above 65 degrees.  We have an automatic door now that opens at dawn (or a little after) and closes at dusk.  We hope that this will prevent the door from being left open after the hens have put themselves to bed if we are not home.  The plan is to not allow the hens to free range unless we are home.  We know that we have fox, raccoon and opossums in the area (in the yard some nights).

Side view of new coop and run

Side view of new coop and run

Looking from roosting area to front of run

Looking from roosting area to front of run

Looking from front of run to roosting box

Looking from front of run to roosting box

Automatic door

Automatic door

Chicks on their first field trip outside – 22 days old

 

Chicks in the bluebonnets

We still need to build the nest boxes and set up the feed and water for the new coop.  there are so many ways to set this up and I just haven’t made up my mind which system I want to try.

I would love to hear any suggestions on nest boxes, feed or water systems you may have tried.

Additional thoughts 9-22-2017

We wish we would have made the coop just a little bigger.  It would have allowed for additional chickens to be added if we wanted.  As it is, twelve large chickens is about max depending on personality of the chicken.   This breed tends to get bored and peck one another and pull feathers.  The run is great, but they need to free range or, once again, the pecking starts and the egg laying goes down.  This breed has been the most reliable layers we have ever had.  They have only slowed laying when “cooped” up for long periods, but other than that, they have continuously provided eggs 365 days a year for over two years now.  Because they need to free range, we have lost a few to predators.  Scarily enough, one of these events was while I was out in the yard with them.  We had a very fast fox  grab a hen when I went into the garden shed to get a tool.  It was kind of unnerving to know we were being watched that closely while working in the yard.  Overall the new coop has been great.  The automatic door by Chickendoors.com has worked flawlessly and the chickens are great about getting in the coop before the door closes for the night (now).  We had to manually open it a few times for the stragglers until they figured it out.  

 

 

 

Dragon Thursday – The art of Tim Stampton

Good morning,

I have awesome friends.  They remember my love of dragons and send me ideas and links they see and sometimes send me dragons.  Well, dragon art.  I am perfectly okay if they want to send me dragons too.  Just in case they are reading this and come across a real dragon. 🙂

My friend Marzie from Florida, recently went to Helsinki, Finland for World Con 2017   She met a man from Ireland named Tim Stampton.   She was able to visit with him a bit and thought he was very nice and had a great background in Folktales.  I think it’s great how people from all over the world meet for an event, share common interests, learn about one another and most of the time, come away feeling pretty happy to have shared the experience. 

She also bought this book:  

From his website:

Tim Stampton is an artist, illustrator and printmaker based in the northern part of Ireland. He produces wood engravings, woodcuts and watercolours which he has exhibited internationally. Tim collaborates with authors and has illustrated many books from Irish folklore to children’s stories.

He had some prints for sale and when she saw the one posted below, she said she had to get it for me.  (Big hugs and love, Marzie.  Thank you!)  She also said that he’s writing a children’s book about a dragon who ends up hiring the little boy to read to him.  I am looking forward to seeing it published.

A close up of the print.

To learn more about Tim Stampton click the links below

Tim Stampton

Ballagh Studio – tumblr

Creative Inishowen

To visit Marzie’s blog

Marzie’s Reads

You can also find her here onFacebook

Captured Moments – moving at a snails pace

Good morning

I am having a hard time keeping my momentum going today.  I was sitting drinking my second cup of coffee, looking through photos and came across this snail photo.   It was taken after it had rained.  The house we lived in at the time had a very healthy snail population and it was common to see their silvery trails along the sidewalks in the morning.

I started playing around with the photo in Topaz Studio (procrastinating), and thought that the snail and I had something in common.  Moving slowly, although I think it would have beaten me today. This may be a three or four cup of coffee morning. 😉

This filter reminds me of some of the photos that came from an old Brownie camera I used in high school.  It must have had a leak in the seal or a crack and I would get a rainbow  or light leak effect on my photos. The filter is named Low fidelity in Topaz Studio.

This filter gives it a gritty feel, more texture and I like the blue hint on the head. It is called wfcSoft2  in Topaz Studio.

Captured Moments – Phidippus audax (Spider)

Good morning!

I was cutting basil in the garden the other morning and had not brought a basket  with me, so I carried the armload of fragrant herbs into the kitchen clutched to my chest so as not to drop any.  I then washed it in the sink.  Much to my surprise, when the water drained there was a small black spider sitting in the bottom of the sink, looking rather put out.   I know it as a fuzzy jumping spider. It’s official name is Phidippus audax.  They are common around here and I love their colorful,  iridescent  chelicerae (mouth parts), which are a lovely teal green on this young spider.  I read that the marking may be orange tinted in juveniles (wiki). The ones I usually see have white markings.

I brought him to the garden and he clung to the flower petal for a few seconds.  You can see the orange tinted spots.

It didn’t take long to recover.  It turned to face me, then quickly disappeared under the flowers.  I wish I had been quicker with the camera and he less traumatized.  I love the color of the chelicerae in the photo below.  

 

There are some wonderful macro photos online that are more clear than mine if you want to see more of this cute spider close up.  

 

Coffee Monday – When you really need that cup of coffee in the morning.

Good morning.

I am one of those people that grew up in a coffee drinking household.  A fresh pot of coffee with breakfast, another with lunch and one for after dinner (or supper as it was called in our house).  If a guest dropped by, that required a fresh pot. The aroma of coffee was one I took for granted, but when I smell freshly brewed coffee, it brings back fond memories of my grandparents.

As a child, I remember my grandmother using a percolator to brew our coffee.   It was a white pot with blue flowers sitting on the stove top.  It was made by Corning and was the Blue Cornflower series. 

We eventually moved up to an electric percolator in the same series.  Then over the years we had various other models.  As an adult I collected several percolators, but the only one I have kept is this  Vintage Proctor-Silex percolator to the rescue!

Eventually they bought a drip coffee maker, but there was always an old reliable percolator stashed in the pantry, just in case.

My grandpa had his own method.  He called it cowboy coffee.  He would take a sauce pan, add water and coffee and bring it to a boil on the stove.  He said it was the best way to make coffee.    He grew up during the great depression and spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and camping along the Llano river.   He had fond memories of those times even though the hunting and fishing were done out of necessity, not for sport.  

I looked for videos on making cowboy coffee.  The one I am sharing is not in a sauce pan on the stove but I think my grandpa would have enjoyed it. Cowboy Kent Rollins