Terra Fondriest Photography: Blog http://terrafondriest.com/blog en-us (C) Terra Fondriest Photography terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) Mon, 15 May 2017 10:40:00 GMT Mon, 15 May 2017 10:40:00 GMT http://terrafondriest.com/img/s12/v171/u73474163-o551286910-50.jpg Terra Fondriest Photography: Blog http://terrafondriest.com/blog 120 80 Processing Meat Chickens http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/5/processing-meat-chickens We've been raising meat chickens for 6 years now.  It seems we increase our number of birds each year to feed our growing family.  This year we have 25.  

While I photo document many things in my life, I never have 'clicked' during the meat chicken slaughter day.  Honestly, it's just messy and my camera is fancy...those don't mix.  And I usually just want to get it all done with instead of having to stop and fiddle with my camera.  

Well, this year, Amelia (my 6 year old daughter), has really taken an interest in photography and so Santa gave her a FujiFinePix camera.  We did a '30 Days of Ozark Life' photo project together as a result of Meredith Novario's storytelling class final project...and the process and result was so awesome!  I decided maybe Amelia would want to photo document chicken slaughter day.  She was more than excited to oblige ;)  

 

Here we go (these are her photos!):

Step 1.  The slaughter and plucking.

Gather the chickens from the pen.  I work with 4-5 at a time.  (the scalding water cools off after more than that...and I heat each batch separately.)

Sometimes I use a box to collect them, this year I used a tote since I had burned all the cardboard the day before.  Notice you can't see any other birds in this photo because the rest of them are hiding and squawking for their dear lives in the corner.  After the first batch, they know something's up. 

I bring them over and do it quick as possible.  I will put the actual video at the bottom of the blog.  I actually step on their heads and just pull their body up.  The head comes right off...it's quicker for me than doing it with an ax because I'm not too coordinated with that! 

Then I hold them while they flap their wings from nerves.  I could set them down and watch them flop around, but it seems to break their wings more.  I'm in it for the wings.

I bring them over to the next spot where I have the water heating and the plucker sitting. Between setting them upside down, carrying them and then setting them at the next station...the blood seems to drain.  

I have the water heating in a big pot and need it to be about 145 degrees.  I actually like it a little hotter so that I can stretch it more by adding a little water from the hose. 

Water temp is pretty important.  Too hot and it will cook the chicken a little and make the skin tear when plucking.  Too cool and the feathers won't come out easy. 

Once that water hits the right temp, I pour it into a bucket for dipping the birds.  

Hi.  Adding some hose water to the bucket. 

And then I dip down (making sure to cover the knee). 

And lift up.

And dip again.  And swirl around a little.  This is all just a few seconds....don't want to dip too long!

And lift up.  I test if it's ready to pluck by pulling on a wing feather.  I want it to come out easy, but not too easy. 

It's ready.  Now to the plucker.  We got fancy last year and spent some of our tax return on this nice plucker.  It just makes life easier during this process and is money well spent.  It likes to have two birds in it at a time. 

I turn it on and spray with water at the same time.  It's loud and spins in a circle. 

Voila, less than 30 seconds later I have a plucked bird. 

Sometimes there are a few tail and wing feathers left, but it's not a big deal to pull them out and/or I usually just cut the tail off.   

Then I set the birds down on a feed bag.

While I light the propane stove for another round of scalding water, I also use the butane torch for singeing off the pin feathers...AKA little chicken hairs.  I just go over it quick with the torch. 

Then I cut all the feet off by bending that joint and slicing. 

And I reach in through the neck area and find the crop.  I pull it out gently to get it and the thing it's connected to.  What is that thing called? 

This is what it looks like.  (I also cut the gross tip of the neck off.)

Then I give the birds a final spray wash.

And put them in a big cooler with ice.  This way I am not rushed to do all the end cutting and processing. 

Then Amelia took a break and came in to build stick cabin with bro and grandma while I cleaned up step 1 and got ready for step 2. 

Step 2.  Selfie. 

Step 2a.  Cutting into pieces and packaging.  

I slice the chicken in that little crook on it's back.  Enough to slice through the back bone and get my fingers in there. 

Then I stick my fingers in there and pull it apart. 

Until there are two halves.  Then I can easily pull out the innards and put them in the gut bucket.  I save the gizzards, heart and liver in that silver bowl there for the neighbor who likes to cook them up for his dogs :) 

This is a pic from my phone of a whole chicken that I didn't cut in pieces.  That's just a matter of cutting the opening and pulling everything out.  Xena dog stands by. 

Then after I get everything cut (I put all those pieces in a different cooler), I get out the food saver.  Amelia was done photo documenting at this point and wanted to do the labeling with the Sharpie...so we switched.  She also had chicken blood on her leg here somehow. 

We package them for dinners...so usually 3-4 breasts together.  5 leg thighs together.  All the wings together.  Necks and backs together for soup broth.  You know, whatever works for your family. 

And that's it.

In total this took about 6 hours, but I wasn't working terribly fast and it was just me doing it.  And I only did 13 of the 25 chickens.  I want the others to grow another week.  

If you really want to see the process of killing them, I videoed this group of 4 chickens for a sick friend who was interested ;) ;)  

 

I guess the reason we started raising our own chickens was both out of interest to become more self sustainable and so that we knew where the meat that we were feeding our family was coming from.  I will say it gives all of us more of an appreciation for what we are eating, knowing all the work that went into it and the life of the bird we took.  

As far as saving money?  Well, it doesn't save money compared to regular Tyson chicken.  But, if you compare the per pound price to non-gmo fed, organic chicken (which is how we raise them), it's cheaper to do it this way by quite a bit.  

That's all I can think of to include...write a question or comment below if you'd like. :)

-Terra (and Amelia)

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas chickens family farm meat sustainability http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/5/processing-meat-chickens Mon, 15 May 2017 10:39:54 GMT
March: the free 52 blog http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/4/march-the-free-52-blog Peach tree blooms, then snow and freezing temps....and then tornado weather.  Oh, March.  

I did not freelens much this month, but here is a group of my favorite images out of those I did take.

Thanks for stopping by and please check out Gwen Athman's blog.  I always love the softness and authenticity of her photos.  We seem to live similar chicken and nature loving lives separated by a thousand miles :)

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas childhood dog family freelensing spring http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/4/march-the-free-52-blog Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:23:55 GMT
February: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/3/february-the-free-52-project Well so far, March has come in with a bang.  We've had our second major storm in the last week and now I am working on this blog without power!  So, I won't make this lengthy before my laptop dies...  

February was definitely a mix of warm and cool.  My freelensed photos below are in chronological order, so it's kind of fun to watch the clothing changes on the kids throughout the month.  And this time, I also have a 'cat section' dedicated solely to Gretchen the magnificent.  Let's see if you can 'Meow' when you get there.

petting zoo goats, the moochers.

_____Cat Section____

____End of Cat Section____

climbing fences has become a very popular activity for her these days...

This is Tina Turner, the chicken.  She is the oldest in our flock, at 5-6 years of age.   

Our peach trees started blooming pretty early this spring, a couple weeks early to be exact. 

And then we end with the last day in February, which was about 80 degrees.  This day ushered in our first major storm of the month. 

And those were my favorite freelensed images from February.  Thanks for visiting, meow, and please hop on over to Christine of Greenscapes Photography's blog to continue on the blog circle and check out her beautiful work for the month.

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas cat childhood freelensing http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/3/february-the-free-52-project Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:09:22 GMT
January: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/2/january-the-free-52-project Happy new year from my Photography blog :)  I had taken a couple months off from freelensing, but am now back at it thanks to the motivation of my 'Free 52' group of ladies.  I am here to share some of my favorite freelensed images from the month (in chronological order, of course):

 

A visit to our Buffalo River on a warm morning.

Exploring a bluff shelter with Xena dog and my daughter.

A huge old oak tree our family found while on a hike.

Bullet dog.

My daughter's latest interest in feeding the chickens and making them all her best friends.

And, lastly, another visit down to the river on a warm January afternoon.

And that was January.  Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to look through.  To follow the blog circle, please hop on over to the talented Kristin Anderson's (of Kristin Anderson Photography) blog to see her beauties for the month.

 

-Terra

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas buffaloriver childhood dog family freelensing ozarks http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/2/january-the-free-52-project Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:09:41 GMT
October: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/11/october-the-free-52-project Well, October has not not been busy.  

I think most families and photographers can relate to that!  I've photographed 3 events for Buffalo National River this month to culminate their National Park Service Centennial events for the year, which has kept me sitting at the computer in the early morning hours to edit and process.  I'd rather get up at 3:30am to work than stay up late...that's just how I've always been!  So, I finally switched off my workhorse 24-70mm lens and put on my little 50mm freelenser towards the end of the month.  Here's the few that I captured:

And just a few days ago, I did a family session for some friends and freelensed quite a bit...

 

I feel pretty fortunate when people I know, ask me to do their family pictures.  It's not something I feel super confident in doing yet, that's why I've kept my clients to friends.  Posing people is not my forte, I really just love telling compelling photo stories.  So, I try to combine those two during the picture session.  I feel like I'm practicing on them, but still providing their family with some professional quality images :)

And that's my thoughts on life for this morning.

Please hop on over to April Christopher's (of Little Trees Photography) blog for the month.  I have an extra special place in my heart for her work.  Although we've never met in person, I feel like we share a similar bond for how we live and photograph.  

Thanks for taking the time to stop by :)

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas autumn family freelensing http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/11/october-the-free-52-project Fri, 04 Nov 2016 11:27:58 GMT
September: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/10/september-the-free-52-project The cool mornings of October are upon us.  With that said, here is my freelensing blog post for September:

 

Thanks for taking the time to scroll through this month's freelensed images.  To follow the blog circle, please check out the totally awesomely amazing April Christopher's (of Little Trees Photography) work for the month.

 

 

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) buffaloriver childhood country freelensing woods http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/10/september-the-free-52-project Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:41:05 GMT
August: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/9/august-the-free-52-project Oh August, how you flew by.  Here are my freelensed memories for this month...categorized by days from my '100 days of summer' project.

Day 67

Day 67a

Day 67b

Day 67c

Day 67d

Day 67e

Day 68

Day 68a

Day 69

Day 70

Day 70a

Day 74

Day 74a

Day 75

Day 75a

Day 75b

Day 76

Day 76a

Day 85

Day 87

Day 87a

Day 88

Day 90

Day 95

Day 96

Day 97

Day 97a

 

And that concludes our month of August...and almost my 100 days of summer project.  Thanks for taking the time to look through my lens.  To continue on the freelensing blog circle, please check out Kristin Anderson's amazing work for the month!

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) childhood countrylife freelensing http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/9/august-the-free-52-project Thu, 01 Sep 2016 11:19:31 GMT
July: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/8/july-the-free-52-project Happy beginning of August!  Time for another fun share of this month's freelensed favorites as part of the Free 52 Project with a group of talented lady photographers.  Since I've been organizing my photos in a '100 days of summer' fashion lately, I will just do so here too :).

 

Day 45 (July 11)

Day 48

Day 48

Day 50

Day 50

Day 50

Day 52

Day 55

Day 56

Day 57

Day 58

Day 60

Day 61

Day 61

Day 62

Day 63

And that was our July.  Lots of mud puddle fun, mixed in with turtles...grandparents...zoo trips...and dogs.  Wouldn't have it any other way :)  Please head on over to Christine Wright's (of Greenscapes Photography) blog to continue on the blog circle for the month and check out her gems.

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) countrylife freelensing summer http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/8/july-the-free-52-project Mon, 01 Aug 2016 11:33:53 GMT
June: The free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/7/june-the-free-52-project June has officially felt like Summer.  Hot weather, visits to the river and pool, time in the garden....and chiggers :)  Thanks to the inspiring Sherri Davis (who is an amazing freelensing artist), I began a '100 days of summer' project.  I started day 1 on Saturday, May 28.  Many of my daily favorites have been freelensed images, so I wanted to share some of those here for my June 'Free 52' blog.

Day 6 (June 2)

Day 11

Day 12

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 26

Day 27

Day 29

Day 30

Day 31

 

And that brings us to the end of June.  I am so happy to be part of this freelensing group...I doubt I would have captured all these memories in this way if it weren't for Kristin Anderson and her initiative to get this group together!! <3 

To continue on the blog circle for our Free 52 project, please visit Katie Woodard Photography's page!

 

 

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas childhood country dog family freelensing ozarks http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/7/june-the-free-52-project Sun, 03 Jul 2016 03:13:04 GMT
May: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/6/may-the-free-52-project May has been the month of our tadpole puddles.  We found the gooey strings of toad eggs on the bottom of a mud puddle on our road at the beginning of the month, and by the end, they were hopping away!  Here are a few of my favorite tadpole puddle freelensed images for this month:

 

One day after taking that last photo in the sequence, we could barely find any of our tadpoles left in the puddle, but we did find tiny toads hopping all around on the road!

To continue on this month's Freelensing blog circle, please visit April Christopher's blog (Little Trees Photography).

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) countrylife freelensed freelensing tadpole tadpoles http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/6/may-the-free-52-project Wed, 01 Jun 2016 10:19:21 GMT
April: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/5/april-the-free-52-project Freelensing in April...here's my month at a glance.

(And for those of you new to the word 'freelensing' (like I was a little over a year ago), it's where you unscrew the lens from your camera and then take your photo...giving these photos that blurred look you will see.  I am part of a year long group freelensing project where we are trying to improve our skills with this technique and blog our favs each month.)

 

Out to the woods to mushroom hunt...

Attempting to wash car and then getting held hostage by 2 year old with hose...

Sheep fun with Mary and her little lambs

What's a day without visiting the mud puddles?

Our meat chickens that are now in heaven/the freezer/our bellies.

An awesome paddleboarding clinic put on at Buffalo River by Gabriel Gray.

The Ole standby...swinging.

Back porch with Grandma.

More mushroom hunting...

And an awesome concert at Buffalo River by National Park Radio

To continue on our freelensing group's monthly blog circle, please check out Katie Woodard's work!!

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas dog dogs family forest freelensing ozarks http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/5/april-the-free-52-project Mon, 02 May 2016 03:17:45 GMT
March: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/3/march-the-free-52-project Spring is in full force here in Arkansas, the trees are budding and the noses are dripping.  :)  Throughout the month, I've practiced freelensing with my larger lens (it's a 24-70mm), so there aren't as many light flares as I usually get with my 50mm, but I love how much more of a scene I can incorporate into the photo.  Here we go:

1.  The zoo on a cloudy day (by myself...because there's no way I could walk around freelensing while chasing the 2 kids ha!)

2.  The kids and Spring

(and don't be alarmed here, my daughter had just put this lizard to sleep on his back...he's alive!) 

Thanks for visiting this month!  To continue on the 'free 52 project' blog circle, please check out Tracy Jade Photography's amazing work!!

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas flowers freelensing ozarks spring zoo http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/3/march-the-free-52-project Thu, 31 Mar 2016 10:57:39 GMT
February: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/3/february-the-free-52-project  

Another month has whizzed past us and it's practically Hello Spring time.  With as fast as time flies, I'm happier that I committed to doing this freelensed blog for the next year.  It's forcing me to sit down and analyze my photography more and place these memories into a story, where unfortunately, they would otherwise be sitting in file folders on my computer, slowly to be buried by more photos each month and year.  So, here is a snapshot into our month, all taken using the freelensed technique I am working on.

 

With some colder days to work on window art,

And warmer ones to get the crocuses blooming,

February came with it's beautiful winter sun. 

Lighting up our house after midday naps,

Filtering through the reindeer lichen on a morning hike,

And finding last year's dried wildflowers along our road. 

We just couldn't hide from it's radiance, and didn't want to,

Well, except for Mrs. Brahma.  (Don't worry, we will let you keep your eggs for now)

Another day, brings another sunny afternoon of playing in the house after a nap,

And then, really playing.

A hike to the secret hideout with Xena dog for a bit,

And then ANOTHER beautiful day, time to visit the zoo and it's peacocks. 

Then home to see that the daffodils have opened during the sunny day. 

More adventures on our dirt road, finding fossil rocks,

And home to play in the garden while mom begins getting it ready for spring planting.

While the chickens are out grazing, the dogs get confined to the yard because they are enemies of the poultry. 

Gathering parsley for dinner,

And good swings to top off our day. 

The first rainy afternoon in weeks, time to craft,

And wait for that rain to turn to snow, so we can make our first snow man of the year the next morning.

And walk outside to see the daffodils surrounded by snow and ice. 

After the snow melts and a few days pass, an early morning trip to the Norton Ranch is due, 

While the moon watches from a distance.

As the sun rises, I find the pregnant ladies are out in the calving pasture waiting their turn,

Waiting,

For their little babes to be born.

Which brings a smile to everyone's face :)

(And a little something extra too.)

And the month capped off with more good swings,

And a strawberry cake.

 

Thanks for visiting and sharing in our February.  

To continue on the freelensing blog circle, please visit Kathy Ledbetter's (of KG Ledbetter Photography) blog to see her beautiful work from this month.

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) country dog family freelens home ozarks spring sun winter http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/3/february-the-free-52-project Tue, 01 Mar 2016 12:34:31 GMT
January: the free 52 project http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/2/january-the-free-52-project Freelensing is a technique I first heard about one year ago (give or take) and have been experimenting with ever since.  It's where the photographer takes the lens off their camera and tilts it in angles ever so slightly to create blur, direct focus, tell more of the story you want to emphasize, or leave more up to interpretation and feeling.  It also can create light leaks, which are fun, moody, sometimes unpredictable and reminiscent of film.

This year, I've joined a blogging circle.  We are working on our freelensing technique and then sharing our favorites each month.  I'm excited about this group and looking forward to practicing all year!

 

Here are my January freelensed favorites:

 

The blog circle is filled with awesome photographers, please follow the link to Kristin Anderson Photography's blog to check out her work!

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas freelens freelensing ozarks http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/2/january-the-free-52-project Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:43:31 GMT
In an Ozark Pasture http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2015/10/in-an-ozark-pasture Well, it was back in late March (2015) I took these photos at my friend's ranch...and a few days after that I stated how excited I was to be doing an upcoming blog with some highlights.  Well, 7 months later, here it is :)  Tis the life with 2 young children...focusing on any one thing for longer than 1-2 minutes typically doesn't happen!

 

Disclaimers: No snarky captions, just photos (order is the same they were taken...for the full sunrise effect).  I mixed color/black and white photos.

 

(And...yes, mom, some of them are supposed to be blurry. :)

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by the ole blog, friends and family 

terra

 

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas cattle country cow cows farm horse horses morning ranch http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2015/10/in-an-ozark-pasture Sat, 10 Oct 2015 12:14:38 GMT
Da Bear Chronicles http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/12/da-bear-chronicles What would make a little girl look so sad and worried like this??

 

Well, let me tell you a tale of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears...

Check out the date and time on the bottom of the next two game cam pictures:

 

 

There has been an illusive bear around since we moved into our home about 6 years ago, but this year was different.  There were 3 separate ones that didn't mind showing themselves not only to the game cam at the end of the trail, but sometimes minutes from when we were just there.  Or even better, at our house!

 

This 'big dude' was the culprit at our home:

 

During late August, Tim was out on his 3rd two week wildfire assignment of the summer.  Therefore, I was at home with the kiddies, barking dogs, frightened chickens, and hungry bears.  

 

The first photo in the blog:

     was taken on 8-23.  That's when I realized we had an issue...  We had been keeping the cat and chicken food in that big 'Brute' garbage bin out by our carport.  Well, we found it smashed and empty on the ground.  That explains why the dogs had been going nutso outside the previous few nights.  I set up the game cam in the carport and got the footage of it on 8-24.  Here's another:

 

 

Being the tough gal I always tell myself that I am, I still insisted on going for our evening walks...me and the two kids.  I thought that carrying bear spray would save us all.  Well, watch the next video.

 

The evening of 8-24, we went out for our walk.  I stopped by the carport to fiddle with a few things and the game camera caught it. The bear spray I had put around my waste was not strapped in properly.  I had carried this container many times (like hundreds) but today, the strap had fallen off the top somehow and it was dangling there...an accident waiting to happen.  It's a pretty embarrassing mistake, but I don't want this to happen to anyone else...so I'm sharing this. 

As we walked down the driveway, all of a sudden we heard a loud boom-chhhhhhhhhhhh.  I thought we were getting ambushed by a bear.  I looked down, the bear spray had fallen out, gotten a small pin prick hole in it and was spraying out everywhere at an extremely high pressure.  It sounded like an explosion.

"Run!"  I screamed to Amelia and grabbed her hand.  We got about 4 feet and all wiped out.  Tripping over fear, or rocks, or something...I honestly can't tell you.   

"We have to get up and run!"  I yelled again, grabbing Amelia's hand and flipping her in the air down the driveway.  

"What's happening?!?"  She asks, her face totally void of color.

"I will tell you in a minute, we have to get away from the bear spray."

We made it to the end of the driveway...Henry was wailing, Amelia was crying, my heart was audibly beating.  

I crouched down and told Amelia what happened.

"The bear spray fell out, went off, and we had to run away so that it didn't burn us."

I put Amelia on my shoulders and we walked around the spray that was still going off and through the woods.  The mist had been carried on the wind and we all started coughing from the pepper spray.  We made it back to the house and I realized that Henry and I had taken a direct shot from the spray.  His left side and the backs of my legs were red and searing.  

I was trying to suppress my 'what have I done to my kids' thoughts...

I got my $5-a-half-gallon-organic-whole-milk out and proceeded to wipe Henry down.  He was still screaming, but it was getting less.  

Long story long, we all took a bath, wiped the exposed areas with lots of milk and cried to each other, but we were going to make it.  My legs that took the brunt of it did burn for a good 24 hours though.  But, really, it could have been a LOT worse....the kids legs....our eyes...

I called Tim later that night and started the convo in tears by saying, "Something really bad happened." 

...looking back, that was definitely not the thing to say, but it seemed 'really bad' at the time...as he immediately thought a lot worse things than us having to take a milk bath.

I clarified, regained composure, and told him the story.

And since that night, I've had to tell Amelia the 'bear spray story' 987 times, because, for some reason, she really enjoys hearing it.

Moral of the story.......if you are carrying bear spray in a holster, double and triple check that it's secured properly. 

 

Later that evening...

Like a horror film, I watched out my bedroom window.  The carport light flicked on around 9:00pm.  There was this bear, the size of my car, walking it's big fat self around the carport.  I thought...I should do something.  I opened my window and yelled at it.  Well, it jumped down TOWARDS the house and into the darkness.  My immediate irrational thought, it's mad and coming towards the house to barge in and eat us.  I locked all the doors, because that should hold it off.  ????  I swear.  

The dogs started barking.  The babies woke up crying.  Ahhhh, just another night in the Ozarks!

 

The end.

 

But, not really....because I have lived in a mild state of paranoia ever since.  I suppose it's these kinds of life experiences that shape a person...right?  sure.

 

Here are more bear pics from our game cam at the end of the trail...this is the 'big dude' that visited our house:

                         

 

And, here are photos from a cinnamon bear that came there as well (we had one more different one visit as well, but no good photos of it):

         

 

And, a few other game cam highlights from this year:

                                               

 

Thanks for visiting and sharing this traumatic experience with me.  I can see why people become more conservative as they get older.  the end.

 

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas bear bears country home ozarks wildlife http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/12/da-bear-chronicles Fri, 05 Dec 2014 11:44:43 GMT
Fair Week http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/9/fair-week "Hello!  Hello!  Good morning to you all!"  

a quote from one of my all time favorite movies, Babe.

 

We were channeling Babe a week ago when it was the Northwest Arkansas District fair in Harrison.  Amelia has been waiting MONTHS to go to the 'county fair' as she calls it and the time finally came.  Here's the photo highlights of our fair week!

 

We started the week by stopping at the animal barns during the dairy cow show on Monday evening...  

The feller on the left is the judge.  He has a microphone and talks about how nice the cow's udders are and things of that nature.  

 

The 4H kids put a lot of work into their animals and it shows.  But, sometimes, the cows just don't want to moove for them in the show ring.  C'monnnn buddy!

 

There are different age and breed classes for the dairy cows, here's a youngin':

 

Amelia-bomb.

 

We looked at the pigs that evening too, but I guess I didn't take any photos of them.  I do remember one in particular though and how friendly it was...and how sweet it's eyes were.  Most all of his cohorts were laying on their sides snoozing away, but not that one!

 

We also made our way through the poultry and rabbit barn.  Amelia now wants a rabbit, or 10.  

 

Now, you probably know that we are chicken people.  Or, people with chickens, that is.  But, it's always fun seeing all the different breeds that are out there.  AND, it's even more fun seeing a chicken get a bath.

 

A sweet 4H gal was using baby wipes along with a bowl of water and toothbrush to wash one of her bantam hens.  

 

After the toothbrush bath, she put petroleum jelly on its comb and face, and it was ready to go for the poultry show the next morning.

 

It was a great kick off to our family's week visiting the fair.

 

Next up on our agenda, the parade on Thursday afternoon.

 

All the local bands were great and I loved the uniqueness each one brought.  

 

Now, this wasn't any ordinary parade (as you might guess)...there was a camel.

 

And the One Armed Bandit, riding atop a trailer on his trusty mule, cracking a bullwhip.  'The local police were powerless to stop the bandit!'

 

What amazing talent!  Hiya there, cowboy.

 

And after all the candy had been thrown and horns honked, the horsemen came through town.  Here comes Pistol, leading the Norton family brigade!

 

Hey ya'll.  Get good gas mileage?

 

Parade was done, we went on back to see what was happening at the animal barns.

 

There were cows with fans blowing on them...kids trimming, washing and drying their goats...more rabbits (some getting their nails done)...a fun little petting zoo put on by the local 4h...all the barns were hopping with activity.  I took some close up photos of the 4H kids with their animals, but don't want to go posting their faces to the internet without having gotten permission...so here's the cows with fans.  

 

...and this fun shirt.

 

We return on Saturday for the coveted...Carnival.  Here's a colorful evening photo.

 

The always delish fair food...

 

Amelia's first funnel cake.

 

And her first fair rides (with the confidence of BFF Elliot by her side).

 

All the spinning rides had horns the kids could beep. The motorcycles...beep beeeeeep.

 

...the cars...BEEEEEP.

 

...the tractors...beeeeeeep beeeeeeeeep.

 

What Sarah's doing in the photo below was a common sight around the kiddy rides.

 

I took a little photo walk to give my ears a break and visited the educational building where the artwork, photography, baked goods, wood crafts, etc were judged.  Lots of photos were entered in the fair!

 

Then, I returned to the outside world of chaos to find that the death defying acts had started!

 

This Argentinian performer was flying around in this metal ring doing crazy things.

 

And then there was the globe of death....where 2 motorcycles rode inside at the same time. 

 

A few more rides and we were about spent.

 

But, we couldn't just leave empty handed.  We had to leave with a fish!  What better to end the night with, than dad winning Amelia her first goldfish!

 

What a fun and eventful evening at the crazy carnival!

 

Parking for that night's rodeo had already started.  Here were the traffic directors:

 

I'd say the fair was more than fair...it was purdy awesome!  My favorite part was seeing Amelia's excitement at everything...see below.  My little future 4H-er :)

 

Thanks for stopping by ya'll!  

 

-mama T

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) animal animals arkansas carnival chicken chickens country cow cows fair family kids parade http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/9/fair-week Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:21:58 GMT
Inspirational Thoughts, by Xena http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/8/inspirational-thoughts-by-xena Xena (lab extraordinaire) and I have thought of some inspirational ideas this morning, to accompany the photos we've taken at the pond lately...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you turn away from the pond and look the other way, there are two lichen covered old chairs that a little girl arranged and took a nap on...

words above inspired by the latest National Geographic Your Shot assignment show-me-your-wilderness

 

Hope you all have an inspirational Sunday.

-t

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas black_and_white country dogs inspiration pond water http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/8/inspirational-thoughts-by-xena Sun, 03 Aug 2014 12:30:27 GMT
Summer Highlights http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/7/summer-highlights Photos from our summer thus far, categorized extremely logically, by subject.

 

1.  Photos involving puddles.

 

Dropping an offering to the puddle gods:

 

Two cousins about to create some serious puddle havoc:

 

Two different approaches on how to get wet.

 

This is more like it!

 

Amelia's friend taught her how to do the donkey kick, so now it get's tried everywhere...

 

A girl and her cat.

 

Saving tadpoles from a drying puddle on the road.

 

Dad and Amelia, unbeatable teamwork:

 

2.  Photos involving Tadpoles (and not puddles).

 

We collected 20 of them on June 16th:

 

This was taken on the 17th, and on the 18th the puddle dried.

 

We were down to 6 by the time they sprouted legs (and 4 were finally released into wild...or got accidentally eaten by the chickens...however you want to look at it.)

 

July 5

 

July 7, the release.

 

3.  Random Portraits.

 

Amelia's sweet friend 

 

My cave girl

 

My carefree girl

 

Our family walking down the road in the evening.

 

Xena, after a rain.

 

Tim with grass that he was using as a toothpick.

 

A random dog in the windshield of a minivan in the Walmart parking lot, in the morning.

 

His doggy close up:

 

4.  Photos involving Henry getting or being wet.

 

He's a splash master in the pool.

 

And at the river.

 

It's a hard job, but someone's gotta do it.

 

On a side note, ever try to fit a large river rock in your mouth?  Henry has.

 

5.  Photos involving Xena jumping into Uncle Denny's pond.

 

Bullet's scrappy.  She jumps in after Xena almost has the stick back to shore and tries to steal it.  Amelia prepares to run from the soon to be shaking wet dogs.

 

Mid-air Xena

  

 

To be this excited over a stick...oh, how I love labs.

 

6.  Photos involving Xena, that do not include water, and aren't really considered portraits.

 

Standing on the big moss patch.

 

Hanging on the hammock, horizontally.

 

Hanging on the hammock, vertically.

 

Getting scratched on the ear from neighbor, Will, while on the hammock.

 

Hanging with hen.

 

7.  Photos involving Uncle Denny's waterfall.

 

The cousins on another water adventure.

 

8.  Photos taken during the night.  (Wow, this blog is starting to get long)

 

3:31am, 5s exposure, lit with flashlight.

 

3:09am, 10s exposure, inside the chicken coop with flashlight.  

 

3:09am (different day), 15s exposure on near full moon night.

 

3:35am, 30s exposure.  Cassiopeia (and trees painted with a flashlight).

 

2:53am, 20s exposure on almost full moon night as fog filled the valleys.

 

12:55am, 30s exposure, insert howl.

 

9.  Uncategorized category.

 

Ever see if you could fit in between the storm door and the front door?  Me neither.

 

Giving a leaf to Henry, while moving.

 

Walking amid genuinely, authentically, really real crop circles at Mary and Cd's.

 

Standing by sunflowers.

 

Bubbles on the grass.

 

Praise the rooster.

 

Our ferret-cat.

 

Embracing Summer

 

A sunflower and a dog.

 

Tim teaching his nephew how to skip rocks at the river.

 

Crazy galls made by a Grape Tube Gallmaker.

 

10.  Artsy fartsy photos from our visit to Sod Collier Homestead on the Buffalo River.

 

Through had hewn logs...there was a little girl with golden hair.

 

She stoodeth there, looking out the cracks.

 

And poked through a hole in the floorboards of the old smokehouse with a stick.

 

The mother white oak standeth tall.

 

11.  Lastly, picking huckleberries in our woods.

 

With sunlight filtering through the oak and hickory trees in the morning.

 

Remember this blog about how we burned our forest in the fall of 2012?  

 

Well, a couple years after a burn, the huckleberries are everywhere!

 

Ready to be picked by princesses across the lands.

 

 

Alright....that's it.  that's all I got fer now.

Except this one that never got posted from spring.

 

Hafe a save July everyone!  Adios Amigos!

Thanks for visiting!

It was fun!

 

-T

 
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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) arkansas chicken country dog family fun huckleberry summer sun water woods http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/7/summer-highlights Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:50:39 GMT
Sheep Shearing Day http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/6/sheep-shearing-day Hey ya'll!  2 little kids and a large garden have snatched all my 'spare' photoblogging time recently...I will have to try and share with you some of my favorite photos from this past spring in upcoming blogs.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to take you along on our sheep shearing adventure from this past week...

We had a ma-a-a-arvelously good time.

 

Amelia, Henry, and I arrived at our friend Mary's sheep farm to a flock of woolly mammoths.

 

They were all penned up in the barn so that their fleeces stayed clean and dry before the shearer came.

 

The first victim was the one causing the most commotion in the barn, the naughty ram...Max.

 

"Please watch those sharp cutters near my bum, sir."

 

"I can't look."

 

"My neck wrinkles have been exposed to the world!"

 

"Let's see if the ladies still want me..."

 

"No-Go with the ladies, guess I'll find something to munch on."

 

1 down, 10 more to go.

All different colored coats...

 

 

The shearer made it look easy, but I'm guessing it's quite the opposite.  

Close your eyes and it will be over soon, sheepies.

 

 

He was extremely gentle with the sheep.  I was surprised at how cooperative they were.

 

It was like a salon day for them.

 

 

Put your feet up and enjoy.

 

"Must you take pictures of me in such a vulnerable state?"

 

A few skin nicks are inevitable I'm told (did you know that nick is spelled like that...I was sure there was a silent k involved.) 

 

Check out the range of colors in just one fleece because of weathering.

 

When the shearer was done, Mary clipped their hooves and gave each sheep a de-wormer.

 

Then, she picked up the coveted fleeces...

 

And carried them over to a dry, clean spot.

 

Across the yard.

 

And, that spot just happened to be the deck of her empty pool.

 

In fact, why don't we go up there and lie in the fleeces together?

 

Take a deep breath!

 

And let it all go....ahhhhhh.

 

Mary is so silly!

 

 

And that was our morning of watching sheep shearing.

 

With Mary...

 

And her friend from tap dance, Melinda (who dressed up for the occasion)...

 

The sheared flock can now enjoy themselves more in this warmer weather.

 

 

And, here are the pretty wool socks Mary sent us home with.

 

They were a little big ;)

 

Thanks, Mary, for the jolly holiday!

 

You always know how to spin up some fun.

 

Here's a link to Mary's online store, but it would probably be more fun just to call her if you are interested in any warm woolly products from her sheep 417-257-2307

 

And here's a link to a previous photo blog I did highlighting her sheep.

 

Hope to see you all again soon :)

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terrafondriest@gmail.com (Terra Fondriest Photography) country farm shear sheep sheepshear http://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/6/sheep-shearing-day Sun, 01 Jun 2014 12:45:10 GMT