Self Portrait for my Birthday

Self Portrait for my Birthday

Most days I feel like this image … it is my favorite self portrait for that very reason.

Am I waving to the person looking in on me? I don’t know.

Am I struggling to break out of my wooden surroundings? I don’t know.

Am I about to be transported into the center of the universe? I don’t know.

And that’s the truth of this image and life… I don’t know.

So much of life is lived under the illusion of control — under the mistaken impression of being able to be understood. But even in the moment, the moment is not always understandable.

As I face down 50 years of walking around on this planet … with three mostly finished college degrees, a genius level IQ and 20 years of entrepreneurship under my belt, you’d think I’d know something.

But here is what I have all that has taught me: I don’t know.

And so another chapter of my life begins. I wonder when I reach the end of my days, what will I know? Let the journey begin …

The Night Life of Guinea Fowl

The Night Life of Guinea Fowl

She’s just a little creepy scary, right?

Prehistoric. Primordial.

She is a Guinea hen.

Guineas are a favorite of mine — much to the chagrin of everyone who lives here. Guineas are all extroverts and this ranch is filled with introverts. Guineas LOVE to talk — loudly and often and especially when there is anything new, odd or intrusive going on around the farm. I can so identify with them! Nothing — I repeat NOTHING — gets past a Guinea.  They have a constant fascination with everything in their world. Again, I can so identify.

In addition to being the loud-mouths of the chicken house, they are comedians and they adore to play. They love to chase each other and the way they run is hilarious to watch because their legs go a hundred miles an hour while their bodies seem to float along. I’ve seen Guineas play for hours, one chasing another and then, within a fraction of a second, the chaser becomes the chasee and the game is on again in a different direction.

A little Guinea trivia for you: Guineas are members of the same family as Turkeys (chickens are in the pheasant family, btw). They come from North Africa where they range wild. They were domesticated by humans in the 1500s and came to our continent with the early settlers. They come in several flavors (no pun intended, although you can eat them)— but the Pearl Guinea is the most common. The hen in the photos is a Pearl. (at least I’m pretty sure that’s a hen Guinea – it’s hard to tell unless they’re talking).

So how did I end up with these photos? The other night when I went down to shut up the chicken house, I took the flashlight inside to check the baby chicks. I flashed it up at the Guineas, who in turn looked down on me in typical Guinea curiosity. The way they watched me was so interesting and the angles of their stares seemed so different from when I get to see them on the ground. Well, not being one to pass up a Kodak moment, I went inside, got the camera and made some Guinea portraits. These were shot with a flashlight as the only light source.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should rename this post to The Nightlife of Bored Country Girls with a Camera.

Click on a photo below to enlarge it.

The Guardian

The Guardian

To most dogs, a chicken is food.

Not to a livestock guardian dog (LGD), however. These unique beings have accepted the covenant of watching over flocks and herds. They are the protectors of what others would kill — of what they, themselves, have been designed by nature and evolution to eat for sustenance.

They will literally die for the life of the beings they have chosen to protect.

Today, the world seems to want to curse farmers for everything and especially how they treat the animals headed to the tables of the world. But farmers are like the LGD, they will lay down their lives for their charges — and many times they do. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Spend a few minutes around a power-take-off (PTO) run farm implement and you’ll see how easy it is to lose an arm or a life.

Just like an LGD, farmers care deeply and instinctually about their livestock. Every farmer I know makes sure their stock is cared for before their own families and definitely before themselves.

Just like Arcanine the LGD in the photo, they watch over their charges, relentlessly dedicated to their survival.