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A new batch of “Basin and Range Rings” with landscape jaspers and sterling silver, baptized in sagebrush in the holy of holies I call home.

Thank God for the work of my hands.  I have been traveling so much over the past two months that I have suffered a sense of total discombobulation.  Sitting down to work in my studio is one of the things that stitches my spirit to my bones.  I am currently slated for 2 full weeks of studio work!  Let’s see what I can create in that time frame before I hit the road again.

I’m planning on listing these rings in my shop on Friday at 8PM (mountain time).

UPDATE: I had to postpone this shop update due to WIFI failure.  These rings will be listed in my shop on May 8 at 8PM (Mountain Time Zone).

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/05/04/12819/

7I9A3728 7I9A3740 7I9A3749 7I9A3755 7I9A37717I9A37837I9A3895 7I9A3905 7I9A3926 7I9A3947 7I9A3952 7I9A3954 7I9A3959 7I9A3968 7I9A3978 7I9A3980 7I9A3999 7I9A4003Sheep season arrived on the Snake River about one month ago.  Watching the shepherds, sheep dogs and Pyrenees dogs work the flocks up and down the mesas is a sight to behold.  I cannot express how much respect and admiration I have for working dogs.  They have incredible instincts.  Sometimes I wonder about who founded working dog breeds.  Do you ever wonder about that?  For example, who the heck decided to selectively breed the dachshund — a ferocious, weasel-shaped dog with great scenting capability for badger hunting?  I know I could google the answer to this question but sometimes I prefer to let my imagination go a little wild.  This is to say, I think all dogs are wonderful and mutts are marvelous and adopting homeless animals is noble and beautiful but there’s also something to be said for being partnered with a specific working breed.  The working dog breeds are made of magic stuff!  They have the instincts and skills to do a certain job in partnership with humans and they do that job well and with passion.  They don’t quit.  It’s inspiring to watch.

Springtime is sighing all along the river these days.  I’ve been traveling for work for a couple weeks and while the photography gigs have been great and challenging, I have lightly regretted being away from the farm while things are blooming and our critters are growing.  You’re not going to believe how gigantic the ducks have become.  One of our little turkeys has started to display and prance about the turkey brooder (it’s so macho).  The kittens are getting rambunctious.  And while everything has been growing and blooming, we’ve had some tremendous visits with friends, dinners with neighbors and marvelous sunsets on the tails of stormy squalls.  What a beautiful time of year.

I hope it’s gorgeous where you are.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/04/30/12805/

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http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/04/16/12772/

Open Eyes

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Quacklings

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I’ve wanted a flock of laying ducks for YEARS.  Supposedly, they are gentler on a yard and garden area — chickens tend to really disturb their free range areas since they dig for bugs and dirt-bathe on a regular basis — but I’ve also read that ducks lay larger and creamier eggs than chickens do.  How delicious does that sound?  We have a great duck habitat here at the farm with a really beautiful, deep pond that’s crowned with an enormous weeping willow (which we call Grandmother Willow).  I can’t wait to watch them waddle and paddle about our property.  They’re going to thrive here.

What stopped me from having laying ducks in Pocatello was a wildly omnipotent next door neighbor who had peculiar animal care habits.  She made it her day job to monitor how everyone on the street was tending to their pets and animals and reported everyone in the neighborhood to the police at some time or another for “animal cruelty and animal abuse” — it was never warranted.  She also trespassed in our yards to tend to our animals while we were away from our properties (on trips to the grocery store or jaunts to different states or countries).  She poisoned plants in my yard that she didn’t like.  She threw loaves of bread over the fence between our properties because she didn’t think I was feeding my dogs enough food.  The list of weirdness goes on and on and to be frank, one of the reasons we sold our property in Pocatello was simply to get away from her.  As some of you know, we were very fortunate to privately sell that property to good friends of ours and they’re now having to deal with the same neighbor issues.

This neighbor also had the habit of buying chicks every spring, or new chihuahua-mix puppies, or kittens, or button quail and she’d have them for a while and then they would mysteriously disappear and be replaced with some new baby critter.  I don’t know what she was doing with them, maybe she was drowning them in her bathtub or simply putting them in her dumpster?  She’d also come over and ask Robert to dispatch the animals she was through with, even if they weren’t sick or injured or suffering.  She’d simply get tired of tending them and want someone to kill them for her.  She once asked Robert to take her sick, blind chihuahua somewhere and shoot it because she didn’t want to pay the vet to euthanize it!  I was horrified on a regular basis.

This is all to say, I was afraid to get a batch of laying ducks while living in Pocatello because I knew this neighbor would find them adorable and get some for herself and then ask Robert to kill them in the fall once they were full grown and she no longer liked them or had the patience to care for them.  I loved our little Pocatello farm house with its incredibly prolific yard and its immediate access to the City Creek trail system but I tell you what, I felt a sort of spiritual oppression while we lived in Pocatello.

Anyway, what I’ve noticed so far about ducklings is they are very active, taking only short sleeps every now and again, they consume a shocking amount of water and I’d describe them (no matter the breed) as eccentric!  They’re hilarious!  Our flock now has 3 runners, 1 Swedish black, 1 pekin and 1 khaki campbell — a beautiful assortment.  The pekin and the khaki campbell are straight run (unsexed) so I’m hoping that one of them is a drake.  We’ll be able to tell as their feathers come in.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that one of those quackers has curly tail feathers!

I have to go to Colorado for work this weekend and I’m excited to go but I’ll be so sad to miss a few days with our baby critters.  They’re already such a part of me.

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