Sunday 30 December 2012

Hello 2013!

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Critters

 Boxing Day Bunnies and Hens.  The rabbits prefer the colder weather, they don't do well in the heat.  The chickens, well they love a good warm patch of sunlight.  Sorry ladies, snow in the forecast tonight, I better plug in the water heater and throw a little more hay in the coop and extra rations in the feeder to help warm them up.

Saturday 22 December 2012

My Beautiful Boy

Cutter, who just gets better with age

Monday 17 December 2012

Holiday Wishes

I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful, happy, safe Holiday Season.  It's a time to take a breath from our busy lives and relish time with those we care for.  I hope that includes a wonderful Schnauzer buddy.  Take care and see you in 2013!

Friday 14 December 2012

Texture-before and after

Photoshop textured image

Raw image off camers

Photos showing the image off the camera and after a quick addition of texture in Photoshop

A chicken portrait

The handsome Blanche.  Love the beak on the Plymouth hens, reminds me of polished wood.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Reviewing our first year with chickens

I have twelve gorgeous hens, they were born in April 2012, two days later I picked them up and moved them into our spare bedroom for the first few weeks.  Mick constructed our amazing hen house and run.  I had a wonderful time watching them this summer as they explored and scratched, ate up garden leftovers, devoured bugs, worms, grubs, snails, slugs...even a field mouse.  We waited in anticipation for the first eggs to appear, we waited and waited, and then September 7th it happened, our first egg.  Production started slowly, but the girls are hard workers and by the end of October we were getting anywhere from 6-10 eggs daily.

December eggs
Egg production is controlled by many different things, age of the hens, their health, moulting and one of the largest factors is the amount of daylight, you see, chickens are seasonal creatures, we are all seasonal beings in truth.  As the days get shorter nature tells them to slow down laying and take a break over the cold, dark months to direct their energy at keeping themselves warm until next Spring.  The constant stress of producing endless eggs will shorten the lifespan of a hen.  Those eggs you pick up at the grocery stores are from hens that are kept indoors with almost constant artificial light to force the girls into a state of continual laying...until...they...just...wear....themselves...out.  With intensively raised chickens this takes about 18 months when the hens are sent for slaughter and manufactured into all manner of things that don't really resemble a chicken at all.

My ladies have slowed down a bit in December, the daily number of eggs currently is 6-8 I expect that will slow down still more over the next month before picking back up in April.  I have heritage chickens, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Orpingtons and Columbian Wyandotte hens, they are multi-purpose birds developed by small farms for decent egg production and as a nice plump bird for the table.  It does mean my egg production is not as high as the egg laying crosses, but in return they are gorgeous, funny and healthy.
We share our eggs with friends and family, but mostly, we enjoy them, any extras are cracked on the dogs dinner, lucky hounds.  We have eaten our eggs poached, fried, scrambled, baked and made omelette's,  lovely sauces, quiche, Yorkshire pudding, dutch baby, pancakes and yesterday I tried my hand at a sweet custard.
This gorgeous creation is my own Maple Baked Custard, delicious, trust me, I will be making this again

The whole experience with chicken keeping has been incredible, I can't believe I have lived in the country for almost 20 years before adding chickens to our yard.  I find myself gazing over the websites of poultry breeders contemplating adding a couple more breeds in the Spring, or, perhaps a trio of geese?

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Textures and mood

continuing with adding texture day two

Monday 10 December 2012

Playing with Photoshop

I have been working on my Photoshop skills, this week it is adding texture to photos, more to come later this week.

Another Goodbye

Bailey - August 24th 1998 - December 8th 2012

Bailey's family said goodbye to their girl on Saturday, I know the decision was both difficult and kind.  What a blessing that we can make the passing easier for our companions, but, nothing really prepares us for dealing with the burden of that decision.  This is something I have dealt with far too often in my life with dogs, and one I know I will be dealing with over the next couple of years.

Bailey's blood is behind many of our Dinsdale Standard Schnauzers, she produced three wonderful litters giving us Rosie, Cutter & Hope and Fiddle, these four dogs have gone onto produce many beautiful and influential Schnauzers.  Her progeny have been American and Canadian Champions, Specialty winners and Best in Show Champions.  Too many titles in obedience, agility to keep track of along with therapy dogs and titles of Canine Good Citizens & Neighbour.

Thank you Bailey for being a wonderful representative of the Standard Schnauzer Breed, but mostly for all the great pups that have followed you in becoming the best family pet possible.  Well done Bailey, well done girl.

More photos of Bailey have been posted on our Face Book page

Tuesday 4 December 2012

A wolf in sheeps clothing??

I find the chickens immensely relaxing and funny to watch.  I can sit for ages enjoying their antics, it's like my own Comedy Show.  While I find it relaxing, I think it has the opposite affect on the dogs.  Hope quivers with excitement, Fiddle works hard to ignore them, Cyrus loves to leap in front of the run fence to see if they will flutter off, Hexe is obsessed with going to see them, funny enough they seem to spook her a little, she quickly trots back looking over her shoulder to see if they are following her.  Mersey is still certain they are intruders that she must bristle her hackles at and give a low gruff woof if they show too much interest in her. 

I love to watch videos of farm dogs mingling with the livestock, seemingly at peace with them, obviously I have never seen such a farm video with a Standard Schnauzer playing this role.  Wait, Fiddle would be happy to 'play' the part, however I am no fool, I know the moment I am distracted there would be once less chicken in the coop. 

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