Month: May 2015

New Photo Project

I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately that I have been working on a new photography lighting project, and today I want to share the first sample from the completed project.  The lighting is based somewhat on Kinoflo lights, which are a brand that are used for professional headshot photography.  I love the soft light the Kinoflos provide, but I don’t appreciate the expense (thousands of dollars).  So I decided to make my own.  This headshot is a sample from the completed project:

Headshot Sample

Headshot Sample

I really like the triangle catchlights in the eyes, but I may be alone in that.  I do wonder if I need to tone them down a bit.  Anyhow, overall I am very pleased with the project, and looking forward to using the lighting more.

The Chicken Chronicles

Well, I meant to post this last week, but for some reason I forgot about it.  So, you will get last week’s post and an update to last week’s post.  🙂

Another week, another chicken problem. It seems Red has hurt her leg somehow. Red, by the way, is any one of the Rhode Island Reds, as we cannot really tell them apart. Anyhow, we have had to separate her to keep the others from picking on her, and to keep her from trying to go up and down the stairs in the coop. We’re also giving her half a baby aspirin at least two times a day. Right now she is avoiding standing on that foot, but I cannot see anything wrong with it. That leads me to believe she might have sprained it somehow.

 In other chicken news, we built a small coop for the babies (the Welsummers) so they can start staying outside all the time. The silly girls wouldn’t go into it the first night though, acting like young kids the first time they try to camp out. 😀 We finally decided to bring them in after listening to crying for an hour. Maybe they will get used to it decide to sleep in it. It won’t be long until it is time to integrate them with the rest of the girls.

 We had a good week of laying both weeks, including one day where all of the older birds laid eggs – that hasn’t happened often at all.

This week’s update: Red is doing much better.  She is now back in the coop with her sisters, and while she is still favoring her leg, she is much, much better.

Since last week, we have put ankle bracelets on three of the Rhode Island Reds, and amazingly we can now see who rules the roost!  There is one of them, tentatively named Pink (because of the pink bracelet) who is obviously at the top of the pecking order, and it seems Blue (you guessed it, a blue bracelet) who seems to be #2).  The Easter Eggers seem to not really care either way, but they do recognize Pink’s authority.  It’s funny how we could never notice that without some identifier of who was who.

The most exciting news this week, and a far change from what I expected given the update above, is that the babies, the Welsummers, ran into the big girls’ coop one day when they were out running around, and they showed no interest in coming back out.  The older ladies are picking on them some, but they seem to be holding their own, so this is where they will stay.  🙂

Happenings Around the Homestead

Work and a special photography project I have been working on have kept me busy enough lately that there hasn’t been too much activity from me around the homestead outside of the chickens (more on that tomorrow), but some things of note have happened.

  1. Cicadas!  Wow, these things came out in force this past week!  I don’t ever recall seeing so many that they were on car tires, grass blades, small plants, and anything else they could latch onto.  Wow, this is a bumper crop this year.  😀
  2. Sweet Potatoes – despite not putting much of a garden out this year, I am putting out sweet potato slips.  They arrive this past week, and I neglected to get them out over the weekend.  I’ll try to do that Tuesday of this week.  This year I have purple, white, and orange.  Hopefully some will grow this time.
  3. Volunteers – Again, despite not putting out a garden this year, the leftover seeds in the compost had a different idea.  We have at least three volunteer tomatoes growing that we will let continue to grow.
  4. Grass – We have a buch of grass peeking its head through our new woodchip covering on our garden.  Time to move the chicken pen to let them take care of it.

Finally, I ran across a good article about Ten Things We Can Learn From Old Homesteads.  I really liked this list.  Is there anything you would add?

Metal Wizardry

Stop. Take ten minutes and watch this video. Wow. My mind struggles to understand this even after seeing it.

Simple as Riding a Bike

Riding a bike is simple, right?  Not so fast, hotshot!  It seems it is far more complicated than we think, and there is a lot we can learn from that.  Check this out:

The Chicken Chronicles

As I mentioned yesterday, the chickens are earning their keep this time of year as they are becoming the fertilization factory.  The portable coop is helping with this tremedously.  Next I need to get the next phase of the project done which will allow them to run about in other spots in the garden more freely, yet with protection.  I can’t wait to share more on this.

The babies, the Welsummers, are doing very well, though I cannot wait to get them in with their sisters.  They are still too small to intermix them without supervision though, as the other hens will have some motivation to show them who is boss.  That is, to establish the pecking order.  I am writing this part of this on Sunday, and today we plan to let them all out to play together in the yard to see how it goes. Update: we let them out to play together with the older hens, and overall it went very well, though one of the Reds was taking every opportunity she could take to peck at one of the Welsummer’s heads. SIGH.

Egg laying is still not showing an impact from the loss of a bird, so I am thinking she might not have been laying a lot of eggs. We are still getting 51 eggs per week, or 5.67 eggs per week per bird.  Not bad.  This year we havn’t given as many away because are going through them like crazy in our house.  I guess everyone is enjoying the fresh eggs.

Happenings Around the Homestead

How I love this time of year!  The weather has just been amazing!  The plants are coming out everywhere – I love it!

One of the biggest pieces of news around the homestead this week is the number of apples on the apple trees!  I cannot believe this!  We have had these trees since we moved in here, and while they have made one or two apples a year, it has been truly pathetic.  This year, as you may remember, I pruned them heavily.  I can’t say that made all the difference, but I have to believe it made the bulk of the difference.  There seems to be hundreds of tiny apples now growing on the trees.  Check it out:

Growing Apples

Growing Apples

The other big news of the year is my almost-firm decision that I am not going to put out a full garden this year.  I have decided that there is wisdom in letting your soil rest periodically, and with us having just converted to a new type of gardening, this is a fine year to let it rest.  I have already ordered some plants, and I have already planted some things, so anything that grows from that will be permitted to grow, but we aren’t going to do anything else.  Basically, this means we will have garlic, some greens, some popcorn, and sweet potatoes.  The rest will be left to rest.  (I sure hope we can find someone with plenty of fresh tomatoes this year!)

One of the nice things happening in the garden right now is the portable chicken coop is allowing our chickens to fertilize the garden like mad.  😀  We are moving it around the garden regularly, and they are not only eating any grass that remains there, but they are stirring it up, fertilizing it, and helping to prepare it for next year.