Photography and Seeing

It’s been a very good summer for sunflowers. I decided to take photos of the ones that are currently blooming in my garden.

garden and sunflowers


Goldfinches have been dining on the flowers, but I don’t mind. I like how sunflowers are both beautiful and useful. I thought that a full-face image of one that had been pecked at would be interesting.

sunflower and hose


After I downloaded it on my computer I noticed something. The birds aren’t the only ones feasting. I zoomed in.



Photography can separate you from the world. Holding a camera in front of your face becomes an excuse not to interact with those around you. Looking through the view finder can reduce your vision to a small rectangle. I’ve never understood parents who watch their children’s every move from behind a camera because the act of recording sets you apart. But, there’s a flip side to photography. It can help you to see the details. The very act of looking for something to photograph makes you more aware  – of pattern, color, beauty – and sometimes of that tiny camouflaged insect dining away on a sunflower.

A Good Farm Dog

Lily is on patrol. She is keeping the garden free of vermin that gnaw at the butternut squash.

lily on patrol



So far, so good.

butternut squash


Do you have (or had) a good farm dog? Brag about your pup in the comments. There are few things as cheering as a good dog story (and heaven knows, what with what’s on the nightly news we could use some good dog tales.) Don’t hold back on the effusive praise!

A Conversation With Root Simple

It’s just a coincidence that two podcasts they I took part in this month released their episodes the same week. I guess that I have a lot to say about chickens, because there’s almost no overlap in the content of these conversations.

I’ve followed the Root Simple blog for years. Unlike many who promote urban sustainability, the couple behind Root Simple are not didactic. They maintain their ethics, but with a good dose of humor and practicality. Also, they have a few passions that I like hearing about. Erik has delved deeply into bread baking, and Kelly adores cats. (She should never think that there are too many internet cat photos – Kelly, go ahead and post more!) Erik and Kelly keep chickens in urban Los Angeles, and I was delighted to be asked to be a guest on their podcast.

Kelly and Erik have a small urban yard filled with plants appropriate for southern California conditions. I so enjoy reading their blog posts about fruits that I could never grow here (grapefruit!) and their experiments with straw bale vegetable beds. Erik reads my blog and watches the cams to see what rain looks like :) I took this photo this morning, of dew on a brussels sprouts leaf. It’s for you, Erik!


Workshops Rescheduled

It seems as if everyone, at the end of August, is on vacation. So, I have rescheduled the Chicken Keeping Workshop and the Advanced Chicken Keeping Class for Sunday, September 28. The vegetable garden will be winding down, the trees changing colors, and the hens molting – a great time of year to spend a couple of hours learning more about chicken care!

Note the iced tea and baked goods in the photo – homemade cookies are always included in the tuition!


Urban Chicken Podcast

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jen Pitino over at the Urban Chicken Podcast. (Do click on the link and read what she has to say. She writes as well as she interviews!) We had a wide-ranging conversation about chicken keeping and cooking. We also delved into how I got started with hens, why I have those cams in my backyard, and dish about a few things that you might not know about what goes on at HenCam. Tune in!