A Collection and a Status Report


I've been sick with one of the worst colds I have ever had this past week. The days passed slowly. Within minutes in the garden I was so hot I could not see straight or even stay focused on the tasks before me. So I limited each visit to one specific chore, like just collecting japanese and flea beetles.
I walk around with a jar of soap and water and push the beetles into it where they drown. In a few days, their decomposing bodies produce a most unpleasant scent that works very well to keep other beetles away. I learned this trick when, on my first year of food gardening, I bought a japanese beetle trap that used sex pheromones to attract beetles to the bag and theoretically away from plants. But what actually happened was I had more beetles than ever on my plants, even though I located the bag far from the garden as the instructions stated. On the box of the japanese beetle trap it said to be sure to change the bag after it rained because the bodies would decompose, stink, and render the product useless. When I read that, I knew what to do. The smell of death repels the beetle better than the scent of sex attracts.

The drought seems to have given way to a pattern of daily afternoon showers. All manner of fungi have sprung up on the rotting logs and in the springy damp mosses of the forest. I've noticed how much better the garden does with real rain than it does with being watered with the sprinkler, no matter how thoroughly. I have a garden toad that lives under the log of the second row bed with the asparagus, although I could not find him today. I was glad when I discovered him as I have been worried when I had not found even one salamander this season, though I have seen many snakes swimming in the creek this summer.

Yesterday, I finally threw in the towel and went to the walk in clinic and got a shot of steroids and some antibiotics and some codeine laced cough syrup. Im a little better now, still very hoarse, but in a day or two will probably have the essential raspy voice for a good outing at the country music karaoke at Donald Rays Brother's Place (no joke, that is the name of the bar) up in Copperhill TN. I have accomplished very little this past week, and it makes me feel as if the world is passing me by. 

Easter has been broody and creating havoc within the flock. She will not allow any other hen into the nest and so who knows where the eggs are. If any eggs are laid in the nest, Easter sits on them and when I come to take them she screetches at me, puffs up like a turkey, and when I toss her down she comes over and gives me a good dose of the "flying foot". I take her and immerse her in the creek where only her head is above water and hold her down for about 5 minutes to drop her body temp. It works for a little while but sure enough I find her back in the coop on the nest. This has been going on for days, and I am over it. Easter is in jail now. A pen with no comforts whatsoever. no shavings at all. just newspaper laid flat and no way to cuddle up or nest. I am unmoved by her mournful peeps and trills, however, I am trying to locate some fertilized bantam eggs for her to hatch. She wants to be a mother so badly I am willing to give it a shot even though it is no small feat to travel with 4 hens and 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I can't imagine adding one more creature to this equation

Speaking of Ridgebacks, It was a lucky break for me that a rat has taken up residence in my barn. I call the rat "the babysitter". I have been able to nap some with this cold without worrying about where the dogs are thanks to the babysitter. This rat keeps the dogs busy for hours, no exaggeration, at a time. Eventually I will have to trap and kill this poor creature, but I swear, I have actually become fond of him. Its funny as hell to watch him toy with the dogs. I made a little video of it -very hard to do because I have to try and shoot while using a long piece of trim to motivate the rat. The sound of the dogs voices in slo-mo make me laugh every time. I need to sample those sound effects for future video work.

Thanks to everyone for your support regarding the Frida Kahlo challenge sponsored by Bohemia Beer. I did not win a prize, but I did receive an email yesterday inquiring about buying the painting for the Bohemia collection. I have given them a price and we shall see. If they agree, the day I spent on that project will have been well worth it.

As Per Trolls request in comments, here are the winners of the Frida Kahlo Challenge:

first place: Ernesto Cammacho

second place: Elizabeth Ortiz

third place: Jose Luis Padilla

you can see all the entries here


  1. Arggghhhh. Where are the winners posted online? Where are they going to put your painting if you sell it to them? Please tell me you didn't tell THEM it only took an hour to paint? Have you started the other projects? Am I going to get my usual finder's fee if they buy it?

    An Enquiringish mind.

  2. Troll: i am going to post the winners here. If they by the painting, it will hang at Brand Corporate. The person that sent the email said mine was one of her favorites. NO i didnt tell them i only spent a day on it. I am not going to do the powerline project because a. i am freaking SICK and cant do anything well and b. you did not send me your prospectus for the illustrations. im not good a rendering real people. I looked at the russell simmons thing...i dont know. Im thinking it over. You made a good call on the Frida challenge and if they buy this painting I will reward you in some magnificent way.

  3. 1) I love the photographs, they are very good.

    2) I have enormous sympathy for Easter in her misery and for you having to deal with a miserable Easter.

    3) Good that you went to the docs; suggest you pass your video camera to a friend when you take your whiskey voice to the karaoke stage.

    4) Wow the Kahlo challenge winners are a surprise. I can't say I love them. To my eye, #2 needs a refresher course in anatomy . My favorite was #3 incorporating the beer into Frida's headdress.

    I bet they buy yours and once that happens, do tell what reward is Trolls!

  4. I loved your Frida Kahlo painting mucho. What a delightful fancy. By far, much better than those p/c winners. If Bohemia won't buy it, let us know...if you let to highest bidder, I'll bet you make it a really good day's work. YAZZYBEL

  5. fish: one thing i am absolutely clear on, is there will be NO videos of my karaoke outings. ever. Thanks about the photos -how are you coming along on Pam's assignment for stop action? I have a few. Easter. what a pill that bird is. Vera is my favorite. she is quiet, reliable and a great traveler. she isnt fussy like the others. I will probably only get barred rocks the next round. wont be as colorful, but it will be quieter. They dont like confinement though.

    as to the Frida challenge, I picked the 3rd place winner for the first prize. Conceptually, it was my favorite. There were a few comments sort of trash talking the use of auto-cad and photoshop but so what? I can see #1 wrapped as a six pack bottle jacket and it is very mexican muralist so that win did not surprise me. as for #2 - i did not like this piece much - too much of one color although Bohemia gave out some strict parameters on color and she hit it. I saw lots of Fridas in the paintings - i kept mine minimal and chose to render the art in her style -or no, my style but her vocabulary. Im pleased with it and hope Bohemia buys it.

    nothing to say about the rat? boo.

  6. yazzybel: oh you noticed that. Well, it is fitting considering how nationalistic Frida was. The only yanqui she liked was Trotsky. I didnt think this painting was viable in an auction setting, lets face it, how many people will bid on a painting of a Bohemia beer bottle? I really want Bohemia to have it, it was a fun contest, and i think they did a nice job of showcasing all the work. I would like to be able to list them on my client list. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  7. That video is like The Blair Witch Project! bwahahahahahaha.

    You know how sad I am that you're sick, but I'll say it again; you have a big job taking care of your place and being sick is miserable. I'm sorry.

    EASTER! What brought this on? I love the picture of her in the creek, remembering the line "mad as a wet chicken"? and hoping she passes through this quickly; for both of you.

    REST REST REST. You have a summit to attend in just over ten days. xoxoxo

  8. Excellent camera work.

    Perhaps Easter feels her biological clock ticking?

    Us kids used to take the dogs out to grandparents barn, the ones with the Barred Rocks, and chase rats. Turn over a hay bale and the action started!

    Take care.

  9. Cool. I don't remember Russell Simmons contest. Thanks for posting. Hope you feel better and get gigs out of this. Pretty sure "Bohemia" actually has a Dutch mega-corp parent company. So, maybe they'll put it in Mexico and Holland and the Dutch will like yours even more.

    I thought the winner was quite good but they probably had a bit of a predisposition to give it to a Latin artist. And I've seen that basic scenario (future rebels reading a book) hundreds of times. Yours was more originalish.

  10. boxer: it is like blair witch -a stupid movie that made a ton of money on hype! Trust me, i am all about getting well. im not joking when i say this is the worst cold ever. Im freebasing my codeine laced cough syrup now. grherhahhaha. I will be well and ready for the summit. Maybe we can assist in putting out fires!?

    xl: im actually a little bit worried they may catch the rat and then what? the rat could bite them and hurt 'em/ the rat will jump down lower now and then and then when the dogs get there jump back up. But Koby is very fast and the rat could miscalculate....I love your texas stories!

    troll: the russell simmons thing was the facebook contest you said to not let that throw me off -but it is a popularity contest involving pestering friends to vote for you. I hate those. Get some real judges and I iwll give it a shot. did you abandon your plans for the powerline contest?

    the winner was a no-brainer it had all the ingredients that Bohemia would love. youre prolly right about the dutch owning it but it was orginally brewed in mexico at the cerveceria i titled in the flying banner. Mine was indeed orgininalish but had many Fridaesque elements. thanks a million trolly. xo

  11. I always love the nature photo closeups that you take. I love the fungi and the mountain laurel has been blooming. I also took pics of that. The photo of Easter by the creeks is a hoot! Where's her rooster?
    Too bad you need to get rid of the babysitter .. although I do conpletly understand.
    Let me know if they purchase your painting. Perhaps I will 'like' them again if they do. At least I might try their beer .. :-)

  12. I think I prefer your version to these three. I like the color on yours, it is "high." The colors on these three are very "sober." Your colors remind of Gauguin-Kahlo-Julie Taymor. Celebratory. But I guess they wanted a sombre note. Great effort, but it is very tough for an imaginative type to satisfy a corporate marketing executive's vision, I think. It seems to me that the discipline of guessing what Joe Sixpack will respond to best is very difficult for an artist's mentality, which wants to jump out of the rut, whereas the marketer wants to create rut and then guide that rut to the bank.

  13. I look at a lot of these things so I'm not apt to remember much. But, if I said "PUBLIC VOTE" doesn't matter much or at all, then that's what it was. And if I said NOT FACEBOOK, then there must be a way to enter without dealing with that crap.

    here's a new one...NOT FACEBOOK... Public Voting DOES NOT MATTER MUCH...


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  15. First: Love the photos in yore collection, but whar's the correspondin' fashion shots?

    About Easter--Soup is not a bad way fer a chicken to say good bye.

    The film? now think If the premise of Ratatouille is a million dollar spoof, why not the dawgs an' rat spoof??

    On Frida Art, I does see why they give it to #1--but it is SO hackneyed. That artist realized to make the BEER the main character--but Frida is to obscure. The main thang is a days work may git ya a sale an the client list pump up--not bad.

    Sorry li'l pup youse not well. Glad ya think youse on the mend so ya can travel--'cause I did sneak into Moi's Haiku prize box a li'l somethin' to insure you summiteers have a sticky pillow fight.

    BTW, Aunty will be at Donald Rays Brother's Place this weekend. Been needin' to replenish mah stash of Piggly Wiggly shirts. I did mention, right? That down toward Americus the Piggly Wiggly doan have them shirts--Jes' an FYI.

  16. Love your photo shoot but sure sorry you've been under the weather, and having *chicken problems*.... ;-)
    Life in the country is never dull, to say the least.
    Take it easy and try and get a bit of rest; oh that I should talk as pollen season has hit full bore here!
    BTW~~Loved your Frida!


  17. "a little bit worried they may catch the rat and then what? the rat could bite them and hurt 'em"

    In my experience there is nothing to worry about. The doggies will dispatch the rat very quickly and safely. Probably even more so since yours are bred hunters.

    If you knock the rat off the wall with a pole down to floor level, the doggies will stun and kill it with a quick shake. Just saying.

  18. lovely photos. and that video, it does remind me of the Blair Witch Project. Feel better .... xoxo

  19. foamy: that looks like a mountain laurel but its a rhododendron. The laurels have a five point bloom that starts like a puffy little balloon. We had to get rid of the rooster because when the chickens are in atlanta the neighbors can hear them and V was worried DUsty (the roo) would get all the hens kicked out. He said our household could only support one cock. hee hee.

    brian: in the Bohemia contest rules they said they wanted the colors to reflect the bottle and the labeling. I tried to accomplish that by staining my wood - not only did that add to the richness (old cantina i was going for) but I was short on time as I began this piece the day it was due. Thanks for your vote of confidence!

    troll: no it says in the rules the winner is selected by the general public. I aint got no general public. those people on facebook with 3000 friends do. gah!
    what was your japanesey powerline idea?

    aunty: LOL that would be the smallest batch of chicken soup you ever heard of. stringy too i bet that hen is 3.5 years old now. I HAVE to get better for the summit. it is the only fun thing i have planned for the summer. And i cant wait to see what you sent. its not maurices is it? grrrrrrherherhahaha
    whatchoo tawken bout? I dig the pig?

    anne husky: it was dull this week. I couldnt do anything i would get all tired. Now I am actually in the studio trying to paint. I have a class I teach on wednesdays that i gotta prep too. so - its getting better. the chicken drama though - its OLD. real old. thanks for stopping by.

    xl: good to know! I was afraid they might get plague or something from biting into a rat. but that rat is quite healthy looking -nice fur an' all. Ive seen Koby thrash a squirrel -you know, youre right. I was a quick death.

    faery: that is a fine compliment coming from you. thanks a million. The meds are kicking in - my voice is coming back.

  20. On the photography assignment:
    I took an awesome photo of a great blue heron bringing in the groceries to the not quite fledged, BIG babies in the nest in the top of a dead tree on an island in the middle of the lake. And guess what .... I cannot get the damn thing to upload.

    I need to spend time with the technology not just the images.

    Ummmmmmmm, about the baby sitter, it is like the scene from Lady and the Tramp without the Disney art and music. Really though, the video I want to hear/see is the whiskey voiced, frida lovin, chicken lady.

    It might be nature, but I just nursed my spaniel dog through a near death experience because he got his mouth on a field mouse killed by a feral cat and left in our yard. Really bad, I almost started the shoveling but thought it would be bad karma. He is a lot smaller than your dogs but that was one horribly ill dog. He could not stand without assistance or drink water on his own. He is fine now, back to zooming around and turning joy circles.

    You might find out the hard way codeine can kick your ass and you already sound sick enough.

  21. fish: no! that scares me. I will probably trap that rat then. The codeine is okay. Th syrup seems to be doing its job and I feel like its clearing up. Glad that today was overcast because when it was hot, it was rough. SO glad your spaniel is better. Joy circles? I love that.

  22. Sorry to hear you’ve been under weather, but glad you are on the mend. Hoping you’ll be good as new by the summit.

    Your photos are such a treat! Sorry to hear you did not win the Bohemia challenge – I much preferred your piece to the top three – but it would be swell if they bought your entry!

    Take care, rest up that voice, and thanks for the update!

    xoxo, eggy

  23. Codeine = my favorite drug of choice. So sorry you have been sick! I thought you had been quiet lately! The photos are wonderful and I love that you got a pic of Easter after her "bath". I think she needs to meet STerling. They can annoy each other instead of us, eh? Haven't watched your video yet, will pull it up tomorrow and have a view.

  24. P.S., I liked your Bohemia concept much better than the #3, which is most similar. I did really like the #1, but it is an entirely different take on the theme.

    And try a supplement called Adrenal Xtra or something with ashwaganda in it ... it will help your cold drain away.

  25. @ PamOKC,
    I ain't got a camera wif' shutter speed control, so I'se missin' out on yore classes--but can ya do a class on supplements? That I can do! I need a supplement that restores brain cells, shrinks fat cells, an' speeds up mah speed. Fer starters.

    Chick 9, I'se tawken Diggin' the Pig', santerin' into DRBP, an NO, it ain't Maurices.

  26. Maddie or Ivan have thus far this year killed:

    One squirrel
    One chipmunk
    Two desert rat like things

    The black cat that's been hanging out by the compost bin would have been included on the list if Ivan wasn't so slow now. Which is good on the one hand, because cats are the most difficult of all for me to chuck over onto the neighbor's property. Bad on the other because they kill my songbirds.

    You'll be fine once we get to you to altitude and pump you full of tequila and desert air :o)

  27. Thanks dearest chickory for your lovely comment over at my blog.
    Sorry to hear that you are so sick, I do hope that you will be well again soon; I hate being sick it's a waste of good time when you want to be doing things ... but do take it easy so that you can heal.
    I love the photos, I was wondering why Easter was so wet, I guess cooling her down takes the broodiness away; I hope the fertilised eggs help.
    The rhododendron is so beautiful and Koby looks very cute standing there in the stream.
    I cannot understand why that painting earned first prize, for one thing you can hardly see the name of the beer. I am pleased to hear that they are going to buy your painting, it should have won.
    The rat is cute also and caused quite a commotion with the dogs.
    Get well soon sweet girl!
    Love, Dianne.
    xoxoxo ♡

  28. Hi Eggy: it seems i make progress and then wake up sick again. I do not want to be like this next week! Im trying to not do much but it boring. I have to teach my class tonight so I can get paid. arrrrrrrrgh. thanks for the get well wishes. wish i had something good to eat.

    Pam: thanks for the supplement tip! Easter. that damn bird. SHe was in jail two days and I let her out and she went right back to the nest. driving me crazy. I would get eggs for her to hatch 'cept i am leaving town. i have to break this broody before I hand her off to Val. Thanks about the Bohemia entry - it was somewhat similar to the #3 winner -cept mine really isnt about Frida -its about how Frida painted and her approval from her heavenly perch.

    aunty: grrrherhahahaha. good idea. great idea. you know, "nephew's" cousin, a.k.a. "the firestarter" is the bouncer there. Turns out that Donald Rays brother is yet another uncle. GRRRRHERHERHEHR welcome to the edge of tennessee.

    Moi: get the little cazadores. I cant hardly drank at all anymore. Theres some good things to slow Ivan. Im pretty sure that Trout killed a stray cat back in march. I cant believe a cat would come up on this place! Moi, I am counting on being fine. I HAVE to be fine. woooooooo heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Moi's place!

  29. dianne: they didnt buy the painting (yet). They wrote and inquired about doing so and asked for a price. I gave them one (a bargain!) and now i wait to hear back. Thas ol' trouter in the creek - i took a break from photographing Koby since shes so pretty I didnt wanna give Trout a complex. Glad you liked the photos...I should have put in some yellows for you. What was I thinking? gah. xoxox

  30. Ha! I thought there were fireworks going during the rat video shoot but now that I know it's the dogs, that is hilarious!


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