Aug
2009

We have named the girls…

It didn’t take long to get the girls named.

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Orpington – The buff coloured girl in the front is Polly (dad named her). She is 8 days old. And she is getting some serious feathers coming in. She is very observant of us and looks intently at us when we come near the brooder. She may be the protector of the group later on.

Rhode Island Red – The red girl in the back is Lucy (mum named her). She’s definitely the youngest of the flock. We think she’s 2 or 3 days old. And Robert thinks she’ll be a mama’s girl.

Australorp – The black girl in the back is Petunia (Petty for short). She is a little lover. She’s small. She’s 4 days old.

Ameraucana – The girl with the black stripe pecking in the sawdust is Antoinette (Netty for short). She loves to cuddle. We hold her in a cloth (to keep her warm) and she snuggles right down and sleeps.  And she is quite the nester. She is all ready making nests for herself throughout the brooder. She’s 4 days old.

Brown-legged Leghorn – The brown girl on the left with the multi-coloured wing is Miss Priss. She is the feistiest of the girls. She is all ready pecking at the others’ beaks. But she’s small – maybe that will help. She’s 4 days old.

Brown-legged Leghorn – The brown girl under Polly’s butt is Esther. She is settling in really quickly, but doesn’t have a distinct personality – yet. She’s 4 days old.

They’re chirping up a storm right now. Just chatting. Nothing major. It’s nice to hear them sing and chat all day. Quite the relaxing sound. We have the garage door open between the house and the garage so we can hear them and they can hear us. Chitty chat. Chitty chat.

Aug
2009

Bringing Home the Girls…

We went chicken shopping today and brought home 6 girls – well, we hope they’re girls. They were sexed, but there’s a 5 – 10% chance they might be boys.

So, we bought a brooder pen, light, food, etc., and brought them home.

We have 2 brown-legged Leghorns, 1 Ameraucana, 1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Australorp, and 1 Buff Orpington. All of the girls are 3 days old except for the Buff Orpington. She is 1 week old.

I introduce you to the girls:

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The store where we found the girls: the Urban Farm Store in Portland.

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In the “pastry” box. Looked like we were bringing home cake – except for the cheeping.

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Their home for a few weeks. They huddled together for a few minutes – then they discovered the water and the food. That was the end of that.

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A closer view of the girls. The red girl is the Rhode Island Red, the blonde girl is the Buff Orpington, the black girl is the Australorp, the brown one under the Orpington and the girl to the left are the 2 Leghorns, and the girl pecking on the ground (with the brown stripe) is the Ameraucana. The Rhode Island Red was named Lucy by my mother (she does look like a Lucy – my mother also named my car, so mum’s good at this stuff) and Dad named the Orpington Polly. She is going to be huge (10 pounds) and puffy. And quite the egg-layer, too.

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The hubby holding the two Leghorns. They are all ready pretty aggressive, so we are trying to extra-socialize them and give the other girls a break. We are handling each of the chicks often. And they are doing fine.

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Even Mora doesn’t care. She’s curious – and a little excited. But for the most part, she is way okay with the new additions.

Right now, as I type this up, I can hear the girls in the garage chirping away. It’s a nice sound.

Until later…

Aug
2009

Our Local County Fair

Hi all.

I know. I know. I haven’t been around for a while. I had a super bad migraine thingy that lasted most of last week. And then the hubby and I decided to go to our local county fair yesterday, which just plum wore us out.

We had a nice time at the fair. We ALWAYS go see the animals – cows, pigs, chickens, etc. And that’s where we spent the majority of our time. We were there for about 3 hours – and we don’t go on the rides. BBBAAAAAAAARRRRRRRFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!

Anyway, here are a few photos:

A duct tape dress that a 4-H fiber arts student presented

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A little buddy of mine. He was crying and crying and crying because he was alone in the pen (his buddies, siblings were in the show pen at the time). So, I spent about 1/2 hour with him, just talking and petting. He had the BEST eye contact of any goat that I’d ever seen.

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3-week old piglets. Mama was just a few feet away getting some rest.

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Me negotiating with a llama to not spit on me.

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We did a little chicken investigation. We decided on Bantams – Rhode Island Red or Americauna. But we looked at all of the breeds carefully. And they check us out, too.

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And sometimes, you have to check out the competition.

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One little goofer just wanted his freedom. A woman caught him a few minutes later. He jumped on a mustang (the car, not the horse) and she whipped him out of free air.

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We had a great time.

So, now, today, we are off to the chicken store.  Yup, we’re getting chickens. They have 3 day old chicks at the store and we’re gonna go check it out.

See my updates coming up…

Aug
2009

If summer won’t come to me…

I went out with my aunt and my mother yesterday for a day of yummy food and beautification.

I’ve been complaining and moaning and groaning about our lack of summer here in the Pacific Northwest, so I thought I would try to “summer-fy” myself in one way or another. So, I decided to do my toenails in a fun color. But I couldn’t decided between bright green or bright orange. So, the nail technician said “let’s do both.” And we did.

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Girlfriend needs a tan, eh?

So, how are your summers going?

Aug
2009

Book Review: Take Joy, A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft

I borrowed Jane Yolen’s Take Joy, A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft from the local library and it sat on my coffee table for nearly three weeks. I never really thought about it, but took comfort in the “take joy” part of the title. Yes, I have been taking joy in my writing process. But some days, it’s a struggle.

I found myself in one of those struggle-places yesterday, so I thought I would crack open the book and partake in Yolen’s advice.

Much to my chagrin, I didn’t make it past page 51. I wasn’t feeling the joy.

There are pieces of really good advice: a quote from Louis Pasteur (“Chance favors the mind that is prepared”), listings of publications to read in order to keep a finger on the pulse of publishing (Publisher’s Lunch was new to me), and open and honest advice about the business of publishing (“trust me, it’s just business”).

But for all of these good points, I found Yolen’s book full of snide comments and through-the-back-door critiques which didn’t offer “joy” to me as a hopeful author.

Some examples:

Kalliope

In a discussion about Kalliope and how stories can bring joy or “hurt your ears,” Yolen offers harsh critiques of Love You Forever, The Giving Tree, Hannibal, Ludlum thrillers, psychological self-help books, New Age (which she references as “woo woo” or “newage to rhyme with sewage”), and romance novels.

Don’t get me wrong, but her points about the first two books gave me pause to rethink how I look at children’s books and the messages that they offer (a feminist critique). And I was in perfect agreement with her about her critique of Hannibal (unbelievable ending).

But is the proper venue in a book that offers writers the promise of finding joy in their writing?

Metaphors

On page 51, Yolen offers a story about a letter she received from a child who read her book Owl Moon. In this section of the book, she is discussing the use of metaphors in stories.

“Of course, I once got a letter from a child who wrote, “I love the meddlefurs [metaphors] in Owl Moon.” … I think the meddler in this case was the teacher. Besides, Owl Moon mostly has similes, not metaphors. We must be ever pedagogically correct.”

In an otherwise lovely discussion about metaphors, the use of metaphors, and examples of metaphors, Yolen has to throw in this snide comment, which only detracts from the point she is making about metaphors.

Facile

So, I lied a little bit above. I ended up glancing through the book in case I could find something that could entice me to read more of the book. What did I find? More snide comments and opinions:

On pages 71 – 72, in a section entitled Be Care of Being Facile, Yolen offers a best-advice comment from an editor “do not be beguiled by your own facility.” Nice advice – in an appropriate place and to the appropriate person, in my opinion.

Yolen then gives examples of writers who are facile (including herself in a final exam example). She calls the concept “party tricks.” She lists two very popular authors, Barbara Cartland and R.L. Stine (the Goosebump series) and notes “interchangeable sets of ciphers acting out a plot-by-the-numbers. Party tricks.” I think her point could have been made without stabbing at other authors.

In each of these examples of my displeasure, I do agree that there are appropriate places for these comments and critiques.

But not in a book that promises us that it will help us “take joy” and offer us a “guide to loving the craft.”

This is the kind of book that I would have purchased (used, most likely) based upon the title. But I am glad that I didn’t. It didn’t offer me what it promised. Instead, I’d like to offer a different title for your consideration: “Taking the Joy Out Of Writing”.

I was very disappointed.