So You Think You’re A Big Chicken Now?

Yesterday we were at a USDAA trial that was held up here in Canada and someone mentioned that Fae always looks much larger in photos than she does in person, because there’s often nothing (such as a banana) for scale in photos.  So here’s Fae next to a chicken; if you know anything about chickens, then now you know how small Fae really is.

Though she be but tiny, she also be a Great Big Beeyotch.  Pound for pound, she’s a hard ass.  She’ll take on a rooster, if she thinks the rooster needs to learn a lesson.  Not that the rooster ever learns his lessons; so far he has successfully beaten up me, Auntie Michelle, and my landlord.  He really is not a very nice bird at all!

But he has not beaten up Terrence, my Personal Body Guard Turkey.  Terrence will beat up the rooster if the rooster tries to beat me up and Terrence is close enough to get involved.  I really, really like my turkey a lot.

He (with the help of his lady turkeys) made me seven baby turkeys who are right now in the a brooder on top of the washing machine.  Although one has gibbled feet, so I’m not sure he/she is going to make it … but dang, are they ever the cutest!!  I tried to get some photos, but shooting from above next to a red heat lamp just makes for lame photos.  I’m going to try and shoot them under studio lights in the next week while they are still itty bitty.  And cute.  Did I mention they were cute?  They’re almost as cute as HARVEY MY GOAT.

LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE FACE!!!

I love him so much!!  Michelle and I took turns bottle feeding him today.

He’s a big fan of feeding time!

Michelle’s mom is going to make him some fancy collars.  And I’m going to give him a bath because I think he needs to smell better, and not leave dirt on my hands after I pet him.  And I pet him a lot … after milk time, he climbed into my lap like a little dog and fell asleep having a cuddle.  I’m all a-swooning for my goaty baby!

This newborn goat was also cute:

And very tiny, like the size of Fae (see chicken above for scale).  But she is not Harvey, so she is not as cute.

Harvey isn’t allowed to come home until he drinks water from a bucket, which he is so far refusing to do.  Also he needs to be banded so his, umm, manly bits don’t come with him.  My landlord offered to grab the band and let me do it, but I don’t want Harvey to have to go into therapy because his mommy made his nuts fall off.

This is the cow that sometimes comes into my yard.  Frankly, she scares the shit out of me.  She’s just too damn big.  And she looks pissed off all the time.

We had a really nice, chill day just hanging around the farm with the dogs.  Addy did some gardening.

While Wootie did perimeter patrol for potential threats (and judging from the look of him, may have snuck out back to smoke a joint).

And TWooie took first watch.  And he took it seriously.

If the yard was fully secured in terms of fence, I think the WooTWoo would like nothing better than to spend their days out there just keeping an eye on things.  They are great little farm dogs, for their size, and they love just hanging out and surveying their property.  But the yard is not quite securely fenced, as evidenced by this pointy little face staring at me from the WRONG side of the driveway gate:

So clearly, beefing up the fencing needs to move up the priority “to do” list.  I also really need some ideas for making the front fence some kind of privacy fence, because it’s hard to enjoy the yard with the dogs when they ALL make a beeline for the fence line, barking their fool heads off, every time someone walks by.  We are quite near a popular (on leash) park with horse trails, so there are a fair number of people walking or riding by on nice days.  I was thinking of buying planks a couple at a time, whenever I have an extra couple of bucks to throw at it, until I have amassed enough of them to build horizontal slats from post to post with a very minimal gap in them, so people can’t see the dogs and the dogs can’t see people.  I just don’t want them pissing anyone off, because I have a lot of dogs, and all of them are loud.  Any other suggestions?  I probably have a couple hundred feet to do, so it will take me a long while to buy enough planks.

Dexter does not rush the fence.  Especially when he’s getting Auntie Michelle cuddles.

He likes those so much his feet don’t even touch the ground!

Except when he’s doing his impression of an ottoman.

Piper remains … slightly senile

Peetie remains annoying.

And Winter is sitting at the foot of the washing machine, staring at the brooder and wishing baby turkeys would fall into his mouth.

Happy Easter ya’ll!

I, TWooie, Do Solemnly Swear

That I will beat up The Food Lady’s landlord’s dog again at the first opportunity to do so.

Naughty TWooie!!  My landlord has a very sweet and amiable yellow Lab named Mia.  Sometimes Mia comes along when the landlord visits to do repairs or whatever.  Last week he and Mia stopped by to bring the pressure washer to try and clean up the DOGAWFUL MESS a turkey made when she got on my porch and managed to open a can of white ceiling paint, knock it over, and then tread through it all over the porch.  Although TWooie has been doing *surprisingly* well on our hikes and hasn’t objected to any of the client dogs who come along, he has a different view of dogs on HIS turf, and he Does Not Want Mia on his lawn.  He was actually doing okay – some growling and air snapping at her from a respectable and safe distance behind my knees – but when Mia and the landlord went to leave through the gate, TWooie must have figured all his bluff and noise had worked, because he went in for the hair pull (in a previous life, TWooie was an 11 year old girl) and Mia objected, and the dog fight was on!

As neither of them really had their heart in it (after all, TWooie is 98% posturing and only 2% malice) nobody got hurt, but it was quite the epic battle.  We* (*I) felt bad, so we* (*I) went to the doggie bakery and bought Mia a little heart shaped cake that said “sorry” on it to give to Mia when we got back from our hike.  And it was very easy to give to Mia, since she and the landlord were once again on our lawn doing stuff when we returned, so I assume the landlord wasn’t too upset about the whole thing.

But can we talk for a moment about my turkey with superturkey strength?  How does a turkey open a can of paint?  And WHY?  I really don’t get turkeys.  I have two lady turkeys right now sitting on a dozen eggs between them, but will they nest inside the barn?  No no, they must lay their eggs and sit on them outside, behind the barn, under some old dead blackberry thornies, where they are guaranteed to get pissed on when the weather is bad, all night long.  Last night I went out in the pitch black and downpour with a piece of plywood and made them a shelter so they didn’t drown.  And then at first light they promptly abandon their eggs to run around squawking and eating all day.  I don’t have high hopes for those eggs hatching.

But I do have high hopes for the ones in my incubator hatching!  They are due in one week, and I candled them two days ago and found 13 turkey embryos bouncing around in their shells like teenage gymnasts.  Very exciting stuff!

I spent last weekend, about 10 hours a day, painting.  I painted until my arms felt like they were going to fall off, and I could no longer feel my hands.  I took care of the hideous, no good, very bad psychedelic room, which required two coats of primer and two coats of paint (and I swear, in the right light, I can STILL see the outlines of the hideous pattern!).  But now it’s done, as is the dog room (kinda).

 

The dog room needed a new floor, so I bought and and laid lino against pee errors (also known around here as “Gemma, Piper and Addy piss wherever they want to”) and painted, and installed new baseboards.

And psychedelic room is now a nice relaxing shade of pale blue-grey, and not an assault on the visual and aesthetic senses!

I also painted my bedroom, and I still don’t care if you hate pink or not; I like it, and I like how it turned out.  Especially as the bedroom used to be a horrible colour that looked like a cross between pea soup and cat vomit.

As I had repainted the bathroom a couple of weekends before that:

This leaves me with just three rooms to go; living room, office and kitchen.  Starting to see the light at the end of the renovation tunnel!  The living room will be an aubergine shade, if I can find a paint store that carries it and/or can replicate it:

and will also need white baseboards installed.  The kitchen is going to be a nice shade of apple green, and I haven’t decided what do with my office yet.  It also needs flooring, as it’s just subfloor at the moment (don’t ask me why, I really could not tell you the mysteries of Which Rooms Deserved Real Floors And Which Did Not according to the previous tenant).  I also picked up an extremely inexpensive table and chairs for the dining room.  The table top needs to be refinished, so that’s also on my list of things to do.

But as I say, I took this weekend off from painting.  Although it is sunny today, and I am itching to start fencing, because a couple days ago we arrived home to find two cows in the yard.  I did not see them initially.  This may seem weird to you, that I would not notice cattle on my lawn, and I admit it’s weird to me too, but that’s what happened.  And I let the dogs out of the van, and they DID see the cows, and exactly what you think would happen when dogs see cows for the first time happened, and it was CHAOS.  So I really need to make sure that cows and goats are one side of the fence and my acorn-brained dogs are on the other at all times.  Because Fae thinks she can *take* a longhorn cow protecting her 500lb calf, and I don’t think that’s how I want Fae to depart this mortal coil.

Anyway, since the photo studio room was painted, I was eager to try it out.  So yesterday I limited myself to just a couple of errands (I took garbage to the dump, since we don’t have garbage pick up out here in the middle of nowhere, and I picked up two lady ducks for my new Pekin drake Howard – Howard was a stray duck rescued by a friend who then passed him on to me.  And apparently ducks are racist, because my India Runners staunchly refused to make friends with Howard, and Howard was sad.  But I found a nearby duck farmer who provided me with two Lady Howards, so now he has his own little harem and everyone is happy again) and then I rigged up holders for my backdrops, set up my lights, and gave the studio a test run!

(for those of you who saw the original of this on Facebook yesterday – yes, Photoshop and I fixed “Winter’s Wonderland” that was advertising its presence very PINKLY!)

I’m lucky that the vast majority of my dogs like being photographed in studio and fall all over themselves volunteering to be the model.

Even Addy, who basically does NOTHING I ask her to do, ever, likes posing for the camera.  I suspect it’s just a combination of her loving being the center of attention, and cookies.  But whatever her motivation, she is simply adorable to photograph under studio lights.

Look at her adorable face!

And see all those tiny little white hairs sticking up on top of her head?  They are “sticking up” because the rest of the top of her head is bald!  Totally naked!  She suffers from Dilute Colour Alopecia, so she loses patches of her blue hairs on random spots on her body.  Usually it grows back in with coat change, but this time her head remains bald.  So when photographing Addy, it’s all about angles.  Otherwise, her naked head is very obvious.  See?  (btw, this is her checking to see if Wootie ate her modeling paycheque and if there’s any chance of getting it back before it slides down his gullet.  Wootie, OTOH, just views this as an opportunity to make out with a hot, slender woman  … even if she is balding).

Head shots are kinda my favourite, and I think Fae Fae won the session with this one:

It’s those big, big, round brown eyes and the wispy ears combination that does it, I think.

Although Dexter can give her a run for her money when it comes to, erm, “unique” head shots.

I messed with Piper’s photo a little too much in post, but I’m sharing it anyway because her expression kills me.  It’s so classically  Old “Who Am I?  What’s Happening?  Yay Anyway!” Dog.

She’s doing pretty good, my old lady dog is.  She has more cognitive issues than Tweed did at her age, but I kind of expected that because she was always a “live hard” kind of dog, whereas Tweed was a lot more laid back.  She is mostly deaf now, and I have to really keep an eye on her during hikes because it’s easy for her to march off in the wrong direction – she is very determined, and if I lose sight of her she can’t hear me calling her.  She has trouble with some of the paths if they are steep, or there are logs in her way, so she will head off to find a way around the obstacles, which sometimes leads to her just going somewhere else altogether, and then me running all over the forest trying to find her!  Sometimes, when she thinks she has had enough, she will simply turn around and start matching back in the direction of the car.  She’s tough as nails, bad knees and all.

And Wootie.  How can anyone not love The Woo?  I still can’t believe he’s almost 12.  He is such a perpetual puppy.

Whereas TWooie is just a perpetual weirdo.

And Peetie remains a perpetual PEST.  I have never had such an irritating dog.  Miss “No Drive” has no off switch and frequently has to be put in her crate to give everyone some down time, otherwise she’s hitting napping dogs with rope toys to make them mad, or bothering the cats, or standing on the arm of my chair and barking in my ear.  I don’t know what I did to transform her so completely, but I wish I could undo it!!

However, I will give her this – yesterday afternoon the landlord’s goats were grazing in the field right behind my yard, so I couldn’t take the dogs out to play ( I could only imagine the Cow Scenario played out again, but this time X 35) so instead I took them out for short walks two at a time to property meet the horses next door through the fence.  There was only one in the paddock, and he really wants to meet my dogs.  But Every Single One of my dogs was an asshole to the horse – Mad Teeth(tm), growling, lunging and barking … except Peetie, who was super keen to make friends and poked her head through the page wire and sniffed noses with the horse and licked his nostrils.

She’s very friendly, so I haven’t throttled her with my bare hands.  Yet.

So anyway, now I have a fully functioning in-house studio and I can start taking clients!  It’s super exciting, I have dreamed of this opportunity for a long time :)

Now it’s time to get out there and start working on the fence while the good weather holds, and prevent the Great Goat Slaughter of 2017.  Also, I want to get the fencing up so I can rearrange the poultry’s living quarters, so I can then bring MY goats home.  GOATS!  Also so excited :)

Hello, My Name Is The Food Lady

And I inhale paint fumes.

No, not because this is THE SCANDAL you’ve all been waiting for these past 11 years of blogging, but because I spent the day starting to finally fix up this old new house o’mine.  I’ve been here nearly three weeks, but as I work, like, 10 or more hours a day, there’s not been a lot of time to do stuff. And also, first it needed to be cleaned.  If ever I meet the old tenant of this house, I am going to offer her my condolences on being allergic to cleaning products, sponges, cloths and scrubbing implements, because there is NO other reason for a house to be this gross.  I have found dirt caked into places I did not know dirt could even find.  It’s almost remarkable.  I am the first to admit that my fastidiousness only extends to things I can see and I cannot guarantee that anything is sparkling behind furniture or appliances I can’t move easily, like my stove (actually I can guarantee that it ISN’T), but dear doG in heaven, how do you get dirt INSIDE your medicine cabinet?

We are on well water here too, and the water is hard, and very high in iron.  My landlord installed a very expensive filtration system on both houses when he bought the place, but former tenant failed to maintain her system (it’s, umm, super easy to maintain incidentally) so it no longer works.  The water smells like it tastes when you bite your lip.  It also stains everything it sits in.  The other morning I was waiting for my toast and *idly* took an SOS pad to the kitchen sink because the entire thing was stained orange.  I assumed I was fighting a losing battle but guess what – 5 minutes later I had a stainless steel coloured sink again.  The bathtub is another story – it’s coming off, slowly, but I am using SOS pads at an alarming rate (and WTF does CLR even do?  Not clean rust off your bathtub, that’s for sure!).  Seriously – had she taken 5 minutes even once a week to give it a quick pass with an SOS pad, it would not be taking me days and days to try and make the bathtub not look like someone murdered pennies in it.  Ugh.

So I woke up this morning and had a lie-in because I was feeling sorry for myself.  I knew starting a new business would be tough, but I guess I didn’t know how tough.  Once I land a client they absolutely love me and their dogs do as well, but I need more of them; I’m not making enough money to survive yet.  I work from 7AM – noonish for my other job, which I can fortunately do from home, but it doesn’t pay very well.  Then I leave around 12:30 and walk dogs, and get home around 5:30PM, if traffic and such favours me.  The nice part of not having many clients yet is that all or almost all of my dogs can come with me, so I don’t need to then exercise dogs when I get home, but the downside is that between gas and bridge tolls, I’m earning almost nothing.  I know it will come – I have a full time client, and one part time client that is going full time soon, and one sporadic part time client.  Not enough yet.  I advertise online wherever I can, and I know it will take time, but at the end of the day, it’s just not enough yet.

My landlord is great and basically will pay for anything I want to do, as long as he himself doesn’t have to do the work as he has own very large farm to run and take care of.  So that’s fine, I buy what I need and take it off the rent.  But my morning job covers my rent, car insurance and car payments and that’s it, so if I spend too much money on stuff before the end of the month, one of those car payments or whatever will bounce.  So that’s frustrating.  I also still have not gotten my security deposit back from my previous landlord, which is supposed to be my hydro payment because I have no other spare money.  I’m living on tomato soup and toast at the moment and I count every penny before I spend it.  It’s kinda of exhausting.  Nope, it’s super exhausting actually, and sometimes it’s so scary I can’t sleep at night.

So anyway, I lay in bed this morning feeling sad, and decided that laying around feeling sad wasn’t going to change anything, so I got out of bed and went for a short drive and dropped business cards off at all the local pet related businesses in the area.  And I picked up some primer and got to work in the bathroom.  Because the bathroom was green.  And I don’t mean a happy apple green, I mean an institutional green like it’s the 1940s and my house is a hospital for mental patients and the nation is at war and there’s no money for nice coloured paint for a class of society we want to pretend is invisible anyway.  It was mental hospital green and DIRTY.  And for some reason, full of nail holes and screw holes.  So I filled them all in, and primed the hell out of it.  Note: “Second coat in just 1 hour!” is LIES DAMN LIES.  It’s bed time and it’s still wet.  But now that the bathroom is white(ish) it looks about 3 times bigger than it did this morning.  It’s going to look pretty okay when it’s painted a) white and b) not with flat paint.  And I am just going to assume that all of the other rooms are going to look bigger when painted too, because most them are ALSO green of some kind, or else some really depressing bargain-bin beige, or – like the room that is going to become my photo studio – an acid trip of insane psychedelic swirls (not.even.kidding).  Oh primer, we are going to become very good friends for a long time, I think.

Whilst waiting (futilely as it turned out) for the primer to dry in the bathroom so I could apply a second coat, I decided to paint the dog room.  But first I had to prime the door, because all the doors in the place are ALSO filthy.  And the dog room walls were covered in what looks suspiciously like snot, so they needed to be cleaned.  And then I started painting with a can of orange paint that is supposed to be terracotta with a kick, but looked alarmingly like a pumpkin on ecstasy at a rave when I first slapped it on. I’m hoping it calms the fuck down when it dries!  I did two walls and then decided I was just plain old done with painting for the day, because it was almost dinner time.  And I grabbed my camera and took the dogs outside in the sun.  And this is where you come in :)

“Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.”

(and yes, I recycled that from my personal facebook page, so here’s my preemptive shut UP to my FB friends)

We started out playing ball in my front field, but that field is ringed with old blackberry bushes (although they are not bushy, just huge tangles of dead and thorniness) but RABBITS hang out in the thorny and RABBITS cause Spring to go berserk.  Even the thought, hint or suspicion of RABBITS cause her to go berserk.

And when Springs goes berserk, all the other bastardogs lose their collective minds and then this happens:

And when that happens, it cannot happen quietly.  It has to be accompanied by as much barking as possible, as well as the ungodly sounds of Wootie barkscreaming.  And since we live next door to, and share a fence with lots of these:

And those are guarded by a couple of – okay I don’t have a photo of them, but let’s just say REALLY BIG DOGS.  And I don’t want my new neighbours to hate me right out of the gate.  So I have to put a stop to the RABBIT insanity as soon as it starts.  So we moved to the pasture between my house and my landlord’s house to play.  Because the turkey won’t let us play in my actual yard.  Ever since we moved here, the turkey and the roosters have become crazy territorial.  They don’t f*ck with me, because I schooled them from the get go (with a shovel), but last weekend Tyrone the rooster attacked my friend Michelle!  It was a cheap ass sneak attack from behind too, the asshole.

Anyway, Terrence the turkey scares the little dogs, and also Dexter.  Because Dexter’s body is large, but his brain is little.

So we just decided to play in the field.  It has a couple of little ponds that my ducks were not using at the moment, and kindly let the dogs splash around in it.

And they raced up and down the hill, because the pasture is … well, pastoral and full of gently rolling hills and other The Sound Of Music shit.

(last weekend my landlord took me and Michelle on a tour of the rest of the 18 acres.  Dudes, there’s a LAKE at the back, like a trout lake. where my dogs can swim!  And there are cows.  And I met my baby goats.  This one many of you have seen already; I named him Harvey.  He thought my coffee cup was his milk bottle and he was REAL happy to meet me as a result.  So I named him Harvey Milk)

harvey

Anyhoo.  There was much gallumping and gleeful running around after frisbees and toys to be done, border collie style.

Look at this ole lady dog!  14.5, still tough as nails.  She comes hiking almost every day, and though she has to be lifted over logs, and  she goes up hills sideways because neither her front end nor her back end has the power to propel her up an incline, she’s determined to do it!

And still the non-border collies found tangles of thorniness to hunt RABBITS in.

They didn’t find any RABBITS though, so at least they came back when I called them.

I really have to get on the fencing and keep them from reaching that side of the field though, because it borders a path that lots of horse riders use, and as my dogs are both OBNOXIOUS and not used to horses, they tend to race over en masses and scare the bejesus out of the horses and riders both.  I really don’t want to inadvertently kill some horse rider when it gets chucked off its 1000 lb mount, so I am double fencing, so they can’t reach that fence.  Also, I want the poultry to live between those two fences, as when they are in my yard they take disgusting liberties like pooping in my porch.  And a while ago I had my kitchen door open while I was doing stuff and came into the house to get something and found like 7 chickens IN MY LIVING ROOM.  Impertinent assholes.

Anyway, that was our first real playtime on the property and I think everyone had fun, because they are all now passed out cold, about 80% of them in my office here with me now.  Piper favours the closet, while Dexter and Gemma argue over the bed under my desk (Gemma usually wins because she can’t hear or see Dexter’s ugly faces and sounds, and he’s all teeth and no trousers that one).

I think I like it here.  I think the dogs do too :)

I will like it just a teensy bit better when the wood stove finally goes in though, because when it’s cold outside, it’s COLD in here.  When the temperature drops, I can see my breath in my house.

I will also like it a little better when I can afford it.  So please, be sure to tell your friends about The Walking Dog so I can round up some more clients to walk.  We walk in some really amazing places with tons of stuff to explore, rivers to splash through, logs to leap over and stuff.  The dogs are so pooped when they get home.  It’s really awesome!  They just love it, and so do I … and I really want to keep doing it!  Even if some weirdo sent me a huge long email in response to one of CL ads that accused me and all dogwalkers of destroying wildlife habitat (I don’t EVER take dogs to areas where there is wildlife habitat risk!) and wrapped up her insane rant by suggesting I should want to kill myself for being such a horrible person.  Like, wow.  Whacko.

Also, you can really help me out by booking a photo shoot, or purchasing a print or two from me.  I have a few 18X24 prints ready to go already – if you’re interested in seeing them, contact me and I’ll send photos.  if there’s anything I’ve photographed that you’d like to have a print of, please let me know and I can make that happen too.  Soon I hope to have my photo studio IN MY HOUSE ready to roll, and can do studio sessions right here at home, which saves you the cost of me renting studio space.

Hopefully tomorrow that blasted primer will be dry enough to apply the second coat, and I can finish painting the dog room, and then get rid of the acid trip in the photo studio room.  *shudder*

Then Monday it’s back to work.  I have all three clients to walk on Monday, so TWooie gets to stay home because otherwise he beats up the 100lb Lab.  Because TWooie is small, but his ego is enormous.

Much love to you all from our slowly-being-improved stixier house in the stix (now with RABBITS)