Thursday, February 21, 2013

MY Sheep

My gander/sheep affiliation continues to amuse and amaze me. Three of the ewes and the gander were munching on a hay bale when I came by. The gander immediately came to attention.

He then pointedly strutted out from behind the bale, crossed in front of me to the other side of the yard...

to protect the ewe hanging out with the chickens. I might be willing to attack a lone ewe, but everyone knows I'm not going to mess with a Toulouse gander.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I love seeing these guys when I turn my head.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The day started sunny and bright, and stayed that way. The sun warmed things enough that it felt, and looked, like Spring. It was a glorious break from our usual wet winter weather.

When I went up to the power lines to retrieve my Alpaca, I stopped to enjoy the view. It was apparent that the good weather would be short lived - clouds were advancing from every direction, determined to set the weather right.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Watching the Watcher

This raven

 is avidly watching these guinea fowl.

However, once he dropped to a lower branch the guineas set up an alarm call and raced to the fence to watch him.

One of the weird behaviors of guineas.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strange Companions

My lone gander has adopted my sheep. Instead of hanging with the other Toulous trio, he hangs with the ewes. The five of them browse the woods for berry leaves, nibble on the remaining grass, and steal hay from the horses (often ignoring the hay I put out for them). 

I've been trying to get photos of them for awhile, and finally found an opportunity. These turned out more interesting than I realized, as they show why the sheep hang with the goose - what these very different creatures offer each other. 

Notice in the first shot the ewe seems unaware of my presence - but the goose is already watching. In the following shots, the ewes are looking just where the goose is. He's their early warning system. The sheep, I assume, offer the gander the safety of being in a group.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's a Dog's Life

It's hard to hold up that big head while sitting on guard duty. Why aren't chair backs higher?

This is taken through the window, because when I opened the door I got this: 

It only looks like he's snoozing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

No-Fly Zone

Millie was once again trying to leap out of her field. It took me some time to find the offending flyer - a Great Blue Heron was perched at the top of a fir by the pond near the edge of the property. Good girl, Millie.

Millie has taught Zander well. When the Heron finally left the pond and flew overhead, Zander was the first to threaten sudden death. He did it with his usual youthful enthusiasm - I'm surprised the Heron completely ignored him. Not all livestock guardian dogs look up, or consider aerial predators a threat - it's a specialization.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Art and Science

A show of feather art by Chris Maynard is currently at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia, and today the artist and a biologist gave a talk followed by a reception. I couldn't find the fee, but decided I'd treat myself to this event no matter what the cost. It was free! And so worth the drive to Olympia.

Thor Hanson, author of Feathers, the Evolution of a Natural Miracle, spoke first, and I kept thinking, "Why weren't my college professors this interesting?" This is a man living his dream, loving his subject matter, and eager to share both. I can't wait to read his book - my friend bought me a copy for my birthday. I have had birds and studied feathers most of my life, but I learned so

Chris Maynard is an amazing artist, and like so many of us who work with birds and/or feathers, is enthralled with everything about them, and the creatures who create them. His art is unique, beautiful, loving, and whimsical. It is an homage to birds, and the lovely feathers that cover them.

Some day I will own at least a print of some of his works, although as the woman handling sales commented, now is the time to buy the originals - the price will go up soon.

What a wonderful day.  I went with a dear friend, and we had dinner after (with cheesecake). If you get a chance to see Chris Maynard's work or listen to either Chris or Thor talk, DO IT!

Singing Bird 9 - Pigeon feather and various parrot feathers . 11 by 14 inches