Terra Fondriest: Blog https://terrafondriest.com/blog en-us (C) Terra Fondriest (Terra Fondriest) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:17:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:17:00 GMT https://terrafondriest.com/img/s/v-12/u241123204-o551286910-50.jpg Terra Fondriest: Blog https://terrafondriest.com/blog 120 83 Processing Meat Chickens https://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)

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas chickens family farm meat sustainability https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/5/processing-meat-chickens Mon, 15 May 2017 10:39:54 GMT
March: the free 52 blog https://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 :)

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas childhood dog family freelensing spring https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/4/march-the-free-52-blog Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:23:55 GMT
February: the free 52 project https://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.

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas cat childhood freelensing https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/3/february-the-free-52-project Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:09:22 GMT
January: the free 52 project https://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 Fondriest) arkansas buffaloriver childhood dog family freelensing ozarks https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2017/2/january-the-free-52-project Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:09:41 GMT
October: the free 52 project https://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 :)

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas autumn family freelensing https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/11/october-the-free-52-project Fri, 04 Nov 2016 11:27:58 GMT
September: the free 52 project https://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.



(Terra Fondriest) buffaloriver childhood country freelensing woods https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/10/september-the-free-52-project Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:41:05 GMT
August: the free 52 project https://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!

(Terra Fondriest) childhood countrylife freelensing https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/9/august-the-free-52-project Thu, 01 Sep 2016 11:19:31 GMT
July: the free 52 project https://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.

(Terra Fondriest) countrylife freelensing summer https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/8/july-the-free-52-project Mon, 01 Aug 2016 11:33:53 GMT
June: The free 52 project https://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!



(Terra Fondriest) arkansas childhood country dog family freelensing ozarks https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/7/june-the-free-52-project Sun, 03 Jul 2016 03:13:04 GMT
May: the free 52 project https://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).

(Terra Fondriest) countrylife freelensed freelensing tadpole tadpoles https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/6/may-the-free-52-project Wed, 01 Jun 2016 10:19:21 GMT
April: the free 52 project https://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!!

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas dog dogs family forest freelensing ozarks https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/5/april-the-free-52-project Mon, 02 May 2016 03:17:45 GMT
March: the free 52 project https://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!!

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


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.

(Terra Fondriest) country dog family freelens home ozarks spring sun winter https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/3/february-the-free-52-project Tue, 01 Mar 2016 12:34:31 GMT
January: the free 52 project https://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!

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas freelens freelensing ozarks https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2016/2/january-the-free-52-project Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:43:31 GMT
In an Ozark Pasture https://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 Fondriest) arkansas cattle country cow cows farm horse horses morning ranch https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2015/10/in-an-ozark-pasture Sat, 10 Oct 2015 12:14:38 GMT
Da Bear Chronicles https://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.


(Terra Fondriest) arkansas bear bears country home ozarks wildlife https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/12/da-bear-chronicles Fri, 05 Dec 2014 11:44:43 GMT
Fair Week https://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':




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

(Terra Fondriest) animal animals arkansas carnival chicken chickens country cow cows fair family kids parade https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/9/fair-week Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:21:58 GMT
Inspirational Thoughts, by Xena https://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.


(Terra Fondriest) arkansas black_and_white country dogs inspiration pond water https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/8/inspirational-thoughts-by-xena Sun, 03 Aug 2014 12:30:27 GMT
Summer Highlights https://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!



(Terra Fondriest) arkansas chicken country dog family fun huckleberry summer sun water woods https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/7/summer-highlights Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:50:39 GMT
Sheep Shearing Day https://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 :)

(Terra Fondriest) country farm shear sheep sheepshear https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/6/sheep-shearing-day Sun, 01 Jun 2014 12:45:10 GMT
Where you been? https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/3/where-you-been I would like to tell you that we've been overseas on a month long African safari...with only an all-terrain wagon, an extra large diaper bag, and a green lunch bag to our names...

But, I'm not sure you would believe that. 


Or, I could say that we started a traveling petting zoo, visiting schools all across the south.  It features a freakish donkey.


Just close your eyes while feeding him so that when he bites your finger off, you don't have the image of it in your mind for the rest of your life.

But that's just ridiculous.  

So, here it is.  The truth.


We started a commercial Koi business. 


We desired only the most beautiful, authentic color patterns, so we traveled through every small village in Japan, seeking out nishikigoi.  


Okay, sorry.  I lied.


It was a commercial chicken business.


Specializing in love and tenderness shown to each chicken from birth...


To adulthood.



A commercial cattle ranch?


Even the cows are starting not to believe me.  


A professional Asian lady-beetle interior decorating business?


Really?  This is getting old, mom.


Just tell them.




We've been here.  (no yolk)


At home.




Organizing our toy horses.


Torturing our new baby chicks.


Forging through our (hopefully) last snowy morning.


Sometimes staring off into nothingness...


Having a few dreary days... 


But, mostly sunny ones...


Watching the fires from our porch...


And visiting the sad monkeys at the zoo.


Funny how time flies by.


When you're having fun.


Glad to see you all again.  



(Terra Fondriest) arkansas chicken chickens child country cow dog family fire silly zoo https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/3/where-you-been Sun, 23 Mar 2014 10:56:06 GMT
Monday Morning Chucklers https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/monday-morning-chucklers Who doesn't like a picture that makes them look twice, and maybe even crack a smile?  The following photos do that to me...thought I would share on this Monday morning....


Learning how to eat cucumbers from your silly neighbor


Every kitten should be smiling!


"Amelia, we don't have dance parties on benches."




A cow with perfectly arched eyebrows...


UPS dropping off a package this past week...


Sylvia, you're really funny when you drink water.


Hi, goofy Boulder!


Mom!!  The chickens are trying to invade the house!  (there's even a tear falling...)


Going a little loony on chicken butchering day...


He's in the teething phase where everything close by gets brought to his mouth...and then this just happened...


A lizard on the front door...jaw droppingly exciting.


Can't a girl get any privacy around here?


Teaching your dog to lead your horse...and then having it trip you...


The face off.


The dreaded wet dog shake!


Xena's under there...


A real live peep show.


A windy day + Tina Turner


Just hangin' out last week...



(Terra Fondriest) arkansas chicken child country funny silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/monday-morning-chucklers Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:27:56 GMT
Extreme Puddle Jumping https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/extreme-puddle-jumping I know we're a little ahead of most of you in the melting-of-the-snow department, so I thought I could pass on an idea of what you might do when the great melt of 2014 begins in your neck of the woods...to really show winter what you thought of it.


Step 1.  Put on your snow boots one last time and take a running start towards an extremely large puddle of melt.


Step 2.  and Land.


Step 3.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your heart's content.


Think about the polar vortex and how it's done you wrong this winter.


Put all you've got into the ascent...


Then, go ahead and stomp on it's remains.


It might make you feel better about the past few months.

(Terra Fondriest) child jumps puddle silly snow water winter https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/extreme-puddle-jumping Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:32:02 GMT
A winter afternoon, captured with film https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/a-winter-afternoon-captured-with-film Remember film?  I miss it.  The last time I had used it was 2010.  

Therefore, my proactive self got my Canon AE-1 cleaned and re-foamed at Lawrence Photo and Video in Springfield, MO.  

And then, my forgetful self proceeded to come home with no film.  

However, my wasteful self still had about 5 rolls in my camera bag that were expired in 2012.  

And, my cheap self thought...surely I could still use that.  

So, I did.  

And, even though the black and white film turned out greenish-y (which it usually does anyway) and the color film turned out yellow-y, it still worked.


...I wanted to capture a few memories of our current life here in film...so here's my black and white roll of 24 from an afternoon and evening a few weeks ago.


"An Ozark afternoon"


"Playin' with the old rootball"


"Releasing the chickens part I"


"Releasing the chickens part II"


"Crossing the road..."


"Standing out"


"Happy to be swingin'"


"Look, no hands!"


"Dinner potential"


"Fences save lives part I"


"Fences save lives part II"


"Playin in the dirt"


"In the garden with a cat"


"Powerline bullet"


"How much is that doggy in the dirty window"


"One, singular chicken"


"Cleaning in advance" 


"The driveway scene"


"Goldilocks and grasses"


"I'm a rooster, hear me crow"


"A rooster and the shadow of a girl...in a swing"


"A black and white sunset...that doesn't make any sense"


"Fun on the big oak burl"


"The real chicken dance"


color film encore:

Gretchen's other, other hiding place...tim's spare truck tire.




"I smell a gretchen..."


the end.



(Terra Fondriest) arkansas blackandwhite camera cat chicken chickens dog dogs film ozarks https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/2/a-winter-afternoon-captured-with-film Sun, 02 Feb 2014 21:35:55 GMT
Dogs Eating Chips. https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/dogs-eating-chips


Because I'm going crazy...


Because I need Amelia to want to watch another video besides 'What Does the Fox Say'...


Because I really do think it's funny when dogs eat chips...


We made this short (and extremely enlightening) video this afternoon....


"Dogs Eating Chips"



I will attempt to get a grip on myself before next week's blog. 


But until then, if you haven't seen this horrible (-ly addicting) video....you might want to watch this too:   what does the fox say?

(Terra Fondriest) chip dog dogs eating food silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/dogs-eating-chips Sat, 25 Jan 2014 21:55:37 GMT
Cattle Loading Day https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/cattle-loading-day Guest blog post by Rachel Norton,

with photos by Terra.

Hi!  I'm Rachel. You might recognize me from my pony tail...  

This week I've been asked by Xena, the spokesdog, to do a special guest blog on cows. 

...I'm pretty sure it came to her while she was chowing down on beef flavored Alpo. 


Had any beef lately?  You know, a steak? Maybe a big juicy burger?  YUMMY!  While you were chowing down on that burger, did you ever wonder where it might have come from?  Well, here's the 'beef' on beef!


It all starts on the farm. 


Calves are raised, or purchased, and brought to the farm.  Some calves are purchased at the average weight of 350 pounds, some are bought at larger sizes along the way. 

My husband, Will, works with the prospective buyers and their representatives to sell the calves on a futures contract. A contract starts with a representative coming out to video the calves.  They all get their 15 seconds of fame!  It is then shown at a video auction, where bidders bid on the group of calves.  What buyers are willing to pay is based on breed, location and quality.

Once the bidding ends and both parties are satisfied, a contract is drafted.  The contract includes the final price, when the buyer wants the calves delivered, and at what average weight.


Then, after months of raising the calves and watching them grow...


It finally becomes time to ship them to their next home.  


I might have forgotten to mention that this day comes with much anticipation and work!


It also becomes a family affair.


Even the dogs have a job to do!



The morning that the truck is coming, we start moving the cattle towards the corral and loading chute.

It can be a challenging task...sometimes the drive starts out with who's chasing who. 

"Are you gunna feed us?"


Once they start moving though, the race is on!!


"First one to the trough gets all the corn!!"

...normal cow trash talk...you get used to it.


"Guess what?  I hear there's an all you can eat corn buffet!  I LOVE corn!" 


Move along, you bovines.


Where will the cows be heading? 


Most of the time, the smaller calves head to wheat pastures out west, and bigger calves head to feedlots closer to corn country.


...the last sweep of the field.  It's all in a cow dog's day of work.


Go across the field and turn left at the corner. 

Your other left!! 

There ya go.


Through the gate to be counted...



"I get the front seat!!" 

...they are so competitive....corn, front seats...bovines.


"Just ask for directions, I'm starving!!"


"Found it!!"  


"Thank goodness, I love a snack before a road trip."


"I hear they've stopped serving 'en route' snacks these days."


All first class passengers may now come to the corral to begin loading.

Rules for the truck:  No pushing and have your boarding pass out.


Once at the corral, the calves are loaded in certain number allotments.  The trailer has two levels and is divided into multiple compartments, each one of varying size.  Compartments can hold 5-30 calves. 

The size of the calves determines how many can fit in each compartment.

The driver usually calls the shots on how many he needs to fill a compartment, making the ride as comfortable and safe as possible for the calves. 


This is where calves come up into the trailer.  It may look dirty, but all that poo helps provide traction.  



...clean metal is slick.


The calves sometimes need a little extra encouragement.  

That's Will on the left, he thought he wouldn't get his picture taken. Ha!



Up and in!



Occasionally, there's one renegade that thinks it can hide out and miss the boarding call.  It's my job to be sure they are all accounted for at the corral.



Just waiting on the last few to load up and head out!


Once all the calves are loaded, the semi heads to the truck stop to be weighed with all the calves on board. We then receive a check based on the contract price per pound. 

Then, it's time to relax and visit for a few minutes.

You know, put your feet up.


The dogs even get a break.


Being a cow dog is a dirty job, but it's a lot of fun. 


Horses too!



You always hear about birds aiming for people...this was a close call. 

Only near miss we had all day.


  Cattle farming is our way of life.  We strive to give the cattle a stress free environment, with full feed bunks, clean water and dry places to bed down in bad weather.  We use a vaccination program to maintain a healthy herd and eliminate the possible use of antibiotics.  It's very similar to the vaccinations humans get to prevent certain illnesses.  


Here's my signature shot.  Do I look better on a John Deere or a Twinkie? 



Thanks for reading my guest blog!  You now have the 'beef' on beef!  If Xena approves, maybe I'll be invited back. If not, I might could bribe her with a bone.

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas cattle country cow cows family horse ranch https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/cattle-loading-day Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:28:59 GMT
Los Caballos de Hielo https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/los-caballos-de-hielo Adapted from the Jose Alfredo Jimenez song 'Caballo Blanco'...


Este es el corrido


de los caballos de hielo


que en un dia domingo


triste arrancara.


Iban con la mira


de llegar mas al sur


habiendo salido


de San Jose,  Arkansas.


Su noble jinete


le quito la rienda,


le quito la silla


y se fue a puro pelo.


Gracias por tu ayuda, Nancita (mi media naranja)!

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas country horse horses snow song winter https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2014/1/los-caballos-de-hielo Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:46:25 GMT
Surreal Skies https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/surreal-skies We are fortunate to have an amazing view of winter sunsets from our porch.  I can remember a few evenings that were extraordinarily beautiful, but nothing as colorful as the show we had last night.  Scroll down and experience a 15 minute span of changing beauty...


5:13pm (it starts out looking like just a 'nice' sunset, nothing too special yet)



5:16pm (there were so many cloud patterns reflecting the gold)


We had some good friends staying over...so I tried a few silhouette shots.


This one's got potential as a cover for a 1980s love ballad montage...


...'It Was the Winter of 2013' (the sequel to the Summer of '69)


5:19pm (getting some good purple tones now)


5:19 (zooming into the golds and purples...)


5:22pm (and then pinks...)


5:23pm (...then...in the span of 1 minute...it just got plain re-donkulous (as the kids say))


Karina was snapping photos too...


5:24pm (starting to break up...)


5:26pm (three rays peaked out through the pink waves of cloud)


5:27pm (the blue sky starts to peak through)


We all couldn't believe it...what a surreal sky.


And then it was time for dinner...so the fading sunset got trumped.

Mmmm...homemade curry...I can still taste it.

Double Wowza!


(Terra Fondriest) arkansas evening friends sky sun sunset https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/surreal-skies Sun, 29 Dec 2013 18:11:11 GMT
Toddler Photography https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/toddler-photography I was all prepared to write a post about the pretty sunsets we have here in the winter...

...AND, let you know that I put together a 'winter slideshow' for my homepage.  It's filled with photos of winter sunsets and rural Ozarks life in December...and set to Silent Night (so turn on your speakers).


BUT, something trumped that post:


We had a toddler Christmas party here yesterday.

And while I wouldn't recommend that anyone who wants to remain sane to do such a thing, we all had a pretty fun time!


Well, everyone except the cheeseburger...he wasn't welcome.  


And, as you saw in the first photo, the kids got a big kick out of taking pictures with Amelia's camera.


And, I got to enjoy looking at their pictures after the party!


So, I thought I would share a few of the highlights here...

These two photos (above and below) were taken by Elliot.


And the following was taken by Brandon, an up and coming food photographer.


We caught him doing a close-up on a piece of broccoli!


And even though the camera doesn't fair well for closeups...


It was a fun thing to see...what a creative little man!


Here's his shot of the table (and me in the background getting his picture).


And, here's his mom, Dee.


What a group.


The party was topped off with some delectable cupcakes by mama Sarah.  (the licorice bows fell apart, but they were still works of art)


Tis' the season!


(Terra Fondriest) christmas food kid party photo photographer sun sunset toddler https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/toddler-photography Sun, 15 Dec 2013 13:12:25 GMT
Silly Christmas Cards https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/silly-christmas-cards Ho! Ho! Ho! (and a bottle of rum?)

We got snow here in Arkansas!






Grab your Christmas potato and slap yo mama!




Moving on to the synopsis....It snowed.  We've been excited about it.  I've taken some pictures.  We've also been cooped up as a family for 4 days.  Silly Christmas card ideas were created.  I'm sharing them with you.  Here we go.


Making good* use of a broken Christmas ornament:


Introducing Tina Turner's first Christmas cover (thanks Aunt Judy for naming our chicken):


A chicken spoofing Jingle Bells?  Why not.


Gretchen, the wild snow cat.


If you aren't familiar with the ways of cats...please just scroll past the next mildly offensive photo.


Xena being Xena.  

(she has a plant in her mouth that she ripped out by it's roots due to her excitement over the weather.)


And a classic...because every card collection still needs an option to send to Grandma.


--End of Prized Collection--


Needless to say, we are likely to become millionaires off this collection.  It's always fun summoning one's inner silly.

I would have to say my favorite is the Santa leg...but then again...I'm not really right in the head.

We've had so much fun in the snow, and it's probably going to be around for several more days (insert YAY!)


Meowy Christmas Season everyone!  Remember to watch Nester the Christmas Donkey.





(Terra Fondriest) animals cards cat chicken christmas dog silly snow winter https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/12/silly-christmas-cards Sun, 08 Dec 2013 12:28:17 GMT
Raising Dogs and Toddlers https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/raising-dogs-and-toddlers Before having a child, I thought that raising one would be pretty similar to raising a dog.  

Well, besides the fact that dogs shed way more, I was TOTALLY right.

Here's the photographic evidence...in list format:


1)  Their puppy dog eyes are killer...and they never hesitate to use them.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


2)  Spontaneity is their middle name.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


3)  They get hours of entertainment out of small things (that are typically free of cost).

Exhibits Dog and Toddler A.


Exhibits Dog and Toddler B.


4)  They have no proper-ness filters.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


5)  They know how to relax in the sun after a day of work and play.

Exhibits Dog and Toddler.



6)  Their 'not guilty' faces are sub-par.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


7)  The 'big' bed is a highly coveted location.

Exhibits Dog and Toddler.


8)  Sharing does not come easily.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


9)  Curiosity wins out more often than not.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


10)  They live for the creation of chaos...and then revel in it.

Exhibits Dog and Toddler.


11)  They are tolerant of each other...

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Dog.  (OK...maybe this one is a bit more one-sided...)


12)  They long to play outside.

Exhibits Dog and Toddler.


13)  Table scraps and crumbs are no match for them.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


14)  They are totally oblivious at times.

Exhibit Dog.


Exhibit Toddler.


15)  They know how to make others happy.

Exhibits Dog, Toddler, and Mom.

(Terra Fondriest) child country dog family list silly toddler https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/raising-dogs-and-toddlers Sun, 24 Nov 2013 13:23:30 GMT
2013 Game Camera Highlights https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/2013-game-camera-highlights We take a break from our regular photo blogging to bring you a glimpse of some Arkansas wildlife via our game camera.


I'll start with the least exciting...and graduate from there.


Visitor #1 Dillon the Armadillo





Visitor #2 Roscoe the Raccoon (and co.)





Visitor #3 Foxy la Fox





Visitor #4 Random Dogs

who seem to visit every day (and are lucky we are dog lovers).


Visitor #5 Wildy the Coyote





Visitor #6 The Does







This was kind of a fun one...



And a sweet one...



Visitor #7 Bob the Bobcat...on the move







Visitor #8 The Bucks (smallest to largest)

spike 1


spike 2



the middle classers...









the prized oddball





and...the elusive monster buck.  (and for those of you up in corn country that are thinking this is a small buck...you need to understand the size scale is quite smaller here...we've had to adjust.)





perfectly symmetrical...



with a wide spread.



Visitor #9 Leaf Collecting Child



Visitor #10 Yogi the Bear-a







And that concludes our game cam highlights thus far this fall.


For extra credit, feel free to scroll down and take the SCAT ID CHALLENGE!

(that means there are pictures of animal POOP following...you've been warned, mom.)



(Toddler shoe for size)









Here are the answers:

1.  Bear    2.  Bobcat    3.  Deer    4.  Coyote


And I'll leave you with the 'final shot' (no pun intended...or maybe it was)...Tim's buck from last weekend


Happy hunting season ya'll.

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas bear bobcat country coyote deer dog forest fox hunt nature wildlife woods https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/2013-game-camera-highlights Sat, 16 Nov 2013 20:40:43 GMT
Fall Photo Montage https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/fall-photo-montage Peak color has just passed us here in the Ozarks, so I thought a celebration of it's magnificent colors was in order...

Here are my fall foto favorites:


The Buffalo River (Cash Bend).


Windy Days.


Our road.


How much is that stickbug on the window?  The one with the scraggily legs.


Baling Hay...the old skool way.

(these photos were taken at the fall Rusty Wheels show...here's a blog I did highlighting the spring show)


Abstract leaf smear art (using a longer shutter speed).


Swirly Leaf Abstract. (longer shutter speed and camera twist)


Ladybug Invasion.


Turquoise River Water.


The Downward Dog.


The Sidekick.


Stick Wars.




Husband-in-Tree-Abstract (another shutter speed thing...in combo with him being in his deer stand)


Dogwood (the tree and the flower).


The Hills are Alive.


Windblown Toddler Hair.


Sunlit Bluffs.


Leaf Stripe Abstract.


And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (or a stickbug in front of a bunch of trees).


Happy Fall Ya'll!

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas autumn buffalo country dog fall forest hills leaf leaves river woods https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/11/fall-photo-montage Mon, 04 Nov 2013 22:11:23 GMT
An Ozark Bedtime Story https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/an-ozark-bedtime-story What to do with my random pish-posh of photos taken over the last couple weeks...create a dreamy Ozark bedtime story?  

Let's see what we can do...


Once upon a time, there was a ferocious cat.


A crazy dog.


A silly mutt.


A brave (and ugly) black chicken.


And an extremely insightful toddler.


They all lived on a farm together in the Ozarks.


Exploring something new together each day.


And always reassuring one another of life's uncertainties.


They stuck together like glue.


And lived off the land by eating ripe persimmons.


And fresh eggs.


They always left time to enjoy water sports, such as sprinkler running.


And pond jumping.


They lived a grand life.


Full of rainbows.


Beautiful sunsets.


And wild unicorns.


It was a real life storybook.  


And everyone always went to bed when they were told.  


Good night. (yawn)


And sweet dreams.


Oops.  I mean, and sweet dreams.

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas cat chicken country dog horse silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/an-ozark-bedtime-story Sun, 20 Oct 2013 14:00:42 GMT
Xena's Worldwide Fame. https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/xenas-worldwide-fame Over the past week, Xena (the official Downward Dog Photography spokesdog) has managed to achieve worldwide fame.  I knew it would happen one of these days...it was really just a question of when. :)


I'm speaking about her accomplishments with National Geographic.  She won 1 of 5 spots in a 'dogs' assignment where there were over 2,500 other entries.  She was also featured as one of the photo editor's picks for the 'daily dozen' highlighted pictures on Nat Geo for Tuesday, October 8th.


Here's the Nat Geo blog where her and her 'devoted story' is highlighted:




And just to prove her doggie devotion, here is a photo from last week:


The picture I had entered in the assignment was from a couple years ago, so I thought I would revisit that moment in time with this blog. 


The camera I was using is like a tank, and many of you 40+ers may have had one!  This particular Canon AE-1 was my dad's, and I was still using his original (super sweet and stylish) 1970s camera bag.  (note how it is still fully in tact with zippers working...try finding something that well made now!).


Tim and I had decided to take a February trip to the Mt. Magazine area in Arkansas (we mostly hiked in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest).  


(Tim was going through a creepy man mustache phase...please don't hold that against him.)


So there we were, hiking along a forest trail...crossing creeks, having dorky tree id arguments, watching Xena run around like a ninny...


When all of a sudden, it started to snow.  

Not tiny little girly flurries, but big fat flakes of white silence.  

(I was into setting the timer a lot, so here we are again after the snow started).


Then, we happened upon a pond in the forest, along the trail.


I, of course, got all sorts of excited with my camera and started snapping pictures.


In all directions...


What were Tim and Xena doing?  See if you can spot them on the other side.


I remember having to change the film in my camera and shielding the camera from the snow so that those huge flakes didn't get inside as I pulled out my first roll and put in another...pressing the shutter a few times to advance the film.  

By that time, Xena had decided to come around to my side of the pond and step into the water.


She crept out ever-so-slowly, mimicking the quiet snowfall around us (this is her now famous shot).


And when she got out there far enough...she turned around and decided to run back!


And then shake off.


Leaving the pond to it's stillness once again.


I remember really hoping that these pictures would turn out, because it was such a magical little moment in time.  And, I guess it was meant to be, because most of them did.  Those big fat snowflakes that snuck through my shield during film changing time didn't hurt a thing.


We had an amazing trip, and the snowy pond was definitely one of the highlights.


So, this week, we celebrated by walking down the road to our neighbor's pond for some doggie fetch (we do this every week, I'll just call it our celebratory walk for dramatic effect).  Xena swims out and brings the stick back, and Bullet attacks her when she is close to shore.  Never a dull moment!


Congrats Xena!  Now, back to work (do you ever speak to yourself through your dog?)


(Terra Fondriest) arkansas dog dogs forest pond snow water winter xena https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/xenas-worldwide-fame Sat, 12 Oct 2013 13:26:11 GMT
Our Baby Bumblebees https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/our-baby-bumblebees With winter approaching, the bumblebees are out in full force, stocking up on pollen from our garden.  


They've been filling the pollen pockets on their legs from our marigolds,




and basil plants.  


A person can get hypnotized watching the flurry of buzzing beetween flowers.


I enjoy photographing them on the marigolds the best, beecause of the beeautiful colors.


See how I'm not pollen your leg on that one?


I plant marigold seeds throughout my vegetable garden in the spring to help ward off pests and invite pollinators, I'm not just winging it.


A vegetable gardener should not beetray the bumbles.


And since we're talking about bumblebees, Amelia thought she would sing a song for you...turn on your speakers and press play for a brief intermission!


So many reasons to bee inspired this fall...


beelieve it or not.


Well, I better bee off beefore I hurt myself on this Saturday afternoon.


Feel free to share your best bee puns below...but please...no buzz kills.

(Terra Fondriest) bee bumblebee buzz color country fall flower flowers marigold marigolds pollen silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/10/our-baby-bumblebees Sat, 05 Oct 2013 21:47:33 GMT
Mr. Belvedere and Co. https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/9/mr-belvedere-and-co On my drive to Boulder's photo shoot last weekend, I made a few stops and snapped a handful of morning cow photos.


Some of birds....


Sitting on a fenceline...


Getting startled...


Flying in a circle...


And landing back on their fence.


Some of the classic 'cow in a foggy pasture'...


Nestled in the Ozark hills...


Behind drippy, dew covered fencelines.


And some...of Mr. Belvedere...


The holstein cow that lives on a meat cattle ranch...


Who is physically altered/re-routed (evidence in this photo....)


...and this one....


To be of use on a meat cattle ranch.


He's a gomer bull.  Which means that he is able to let the rancher know when his heifers are in heat without actually doing anything about it himself.  How, you ask?  His manliness has been re-routed...sidewindered...rendering him incapable of the act (see example photos above).  Why, you ask?  Well, many ranchers artificially inseminate (AI) their cows from prime bulls to improve their herd genetics, and this is one method that shows when the females would be ready to receive an AI.  Why, you ask, did you feel the need to tell me this?  In case you are on Jeopardy and the category is 'Ranching'.  Or possibly, something to discuss at the lunch table at work?  In case you need further explanation, check out this article:




Happy Labor Day!


-Mr. Belvedere and Co.


(Terra Fondriest) bull country cow farm fog foggy morning pasture ranch https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/9/mr-belvedere-and-co Mon, 02 Sep 2013 04:57:05 GMT
Meet Boulder https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/meet-boulder Oh, hello over there!  My name is Boulder.  And this is my mom, Lovie.


We were adopted from the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Weld County, CO and brought here to the Ozarks earlier this summer by my other mom, Rachel (here she is below, riding Twinkie).


I sometimes follow her around like I do my horse mom.


I was born while in foster care in Colorado and took the long ride here when I was only a couple months old.


If it wasn't for the friendly and caring people from the animal sanctuary, who knows where my mom and I would be now, what condition we would be in, or if I would even be alive!


I've made a lot of friends since arriving here on the Norton ranch.


That's Pistol on the left, and Badger on the right.


Pistol's pretty silly, we get along good.  He is trying to teach me the ins-and-outs of photobombing...


I talk to Pistol and Badger all the time...and for that matter, pretty much anyone else who passes by...


There are times when I feel like maybe they get annoyed with all my talking...


But, for the most part, no one seems to mind much.  (This is my extra silly face)...


My mom is always telling others to keep away from me for some reason, but I like to socialize!


She's a tough cookie.


You can see it in her eye...


For the most part, she still thinks I am an angel.  


Which, of course, I am.


Most of the time...


Lately, it's been really foggy here in the mornings.


Almost picture perfect you could say...


Then, the sun comes up and starts to make the fog go away.


We (Rachel and I),  like to run around a little while it's still cool out.


A lot of times my mom just eats when I run around.


She always seems to know where I'm at though, I'm not sure how she does it.


After the sun comes up higher in the sky, we start to brace for the day.


It gets hot here in Arkansas!


Here we are a little later when the temps have reached the 90s...


I'm learning to be tough, just like my mom.


Well, I better be off, but it sure was nice getting to know you!


I'm glad you let me do most of the talking, because as you now know, that's one of my specialties...


In case you want to learn more about the animal sanctuary that helped me get to where I am today, check out their great website:


They not only help animals, but youth as well.  Thanks Denkai for all your hard work!




*Note from Terra (Boulder's interpreter)-I've placed many of these pictures in my Horses gallery and I will donate half of any proceeds from them to the Denkai Animal Sanctuary.

(Terra Fondriest) country foal horse horses pretty ranch ride silly sunrise https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/meet-boulder Mon, 26 Aug 2013 04:39:07 GMT
Newsflash: Giant Stag Beetle Attacks Darbie the Barbie https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/newsflash-giant-stag-beetle-attacks-darbie-the-barbie While opening the chicken coop door tonight, I noticed this freakishly large beetle staking claim to the lower portion...


"Ahhh!" I yelped.  It was a giant stag beetle!    

Amelia and I decided it would be best for us to take it into custody.  We even gave him his very own rock:


And, just to see what those pinchers could do, we poked it with a stick...and they clamped down.  Those suckers weren't just for show...


Then, we decided it would be best to take him for a ride down to the garbage bin at the end of the road, since that was next on the evening's entertainment docket...

He was offered the best view in the house, but ended up in a ziploc bag due to his ill cooperation with staying put. 


After arriving back at the house, we thought he might want to go for a horseback ride.


Climb on, mister.


He was a natural...


Meanwhile, the sun was setting, so we let the stag catch it.


He grabbed it and swallowed it whole, quite aggressively.  It really wasn't suitable for all viewers, so we won't include those photos.


The sun is no match for our stag.


And really, why just let it rest there?  

We brought him inside to see what Darbie the Barbie thought of ole' stag.

She was having a nice evening camping on the dinner table...Zzzzz...just snoozin' in her tent...and here he comes.


Followed by backup...


She has no idea what's coming.


Darbie popped up out of her sleeping bag, "Help me!  Help me!" she cries..."It's on my arm!"


Little did Darbie know, her nightmare was just beginning! 


He liked her pretty blue eyes so much he ate one. 


Wow, it was getting good, who needs TV when you have a stag beetle.


And then Darbie fainted.  Boooor-ing.


We finally decided to let him go back by the chicken coop, hoping he will think it was all a bad dream.


And that was the end of our Saturday night fun.

(Terra Fondriest) arkansas barbie beetle bug ozarks silly sun https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/newsflash-giant-stag-beetle-attacks-darbie-the-barbie Sun, 11 Aug 2013 05:15:07 GMT
Naked Neck Chickens: An Interview with Sylvia https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/naked-neck-chickens-an-interview-with-sylvia I am officially dubbing

August 3, 2013:

Naked Neck Chicken Appreciation Day.


As we are raising another flock of 3 different chicken breeds this summer to add to our egg layer stock, I am reminded on a daily basis how amazing the naked neck chicken breed is.  In order to emphasize and explain my admiration of this breed, I've interviewed one of our most friendly, yet humble, chickens from the new flock....Miss Sylvia Fondriest.


Downward Dog Photography (DDP):  Sylvia, welcome to the show.

Sylvia (S):  "Why Cluck-ank-you"


DDP:  Miss Fondriest, are you aware that you are considered a rare heritage breed in North America?

S:  "Hmmm, well, bawwwwk, I haven't heard of too many flocks of my kind around the area, so I guess I may have figured we were a little special."


DDP: Yes, you are very special.  Of all the new birds, you have been the most inquisitive and friendly from day 1.  In fact, all 5 of you have consistently stood out as the most amiable chickens we have on the farm.

S:  "Well, my mom always said, "Sylvia, don't peck the hand that feeds you."


DDP:  Your ancestors actually came from Transylvania.  Your breed has traveled quite the distance to this small Ozarks farm.

S:  Cluck, cluck, I'm glad I'm not being raised in that country, my neck might be very susceptible to vampires.

DDP:  Ha, ha.  I see that you have quite the sense of humor for such a young chicken.


DDP:  Now, let's get down to some nitty gritty.  Are you aware that many folks out there may not think of you as an attractive bird due to the lack of feathers on your neck?

S:  Well, to those specific-c-c-cluckkkk individuals, I might mention that we are more of a practical bird.  We can tolerate the heat much better than most because we aren't dressed with as many feathers.

DDP:  That sure does make sense to me.


S:  What?


S:  Sorry, I couldn't hear you.  Blackie was squawking at me about something...


DDP:  I said that you sure make some good sense. 

          Now, one of things I've been most impressed with, is your friendliness towards children.


S:  Oh, we adore children.  They are the ones that will carry our breed on.  It's imperative that we show them how much fun we can have together.


DDP:  Well, that excellent attitude sure is evident in your everyday behavior.



DDP:  Another great quality I've noticed about your breed is how well naked neck chickens forage compared to other breeds.  Do you find yourself instinctively wanting to hunt rather than be fed from the feeder?

S:  Oh, I can't say how much I looked forward to the day where we could roam the yard and eat grasshoppers to our stomach's content.  The feeder holds us over, but we LIVE for bugs!


S:  Thanks for giving us caterpillars and worms when you found them.

DDP:  My pleasure.


DDP:  Do you feel as though your excellence in foraging directly affects the quality of your breed's eggs?

S:  Squ-squa-squawwwk.  Well, of course.  Egg production and quality is another thing we pride ourselves on.  Take a look at the following picture of 4 different eggs.  Can you guess which one is from a naked neck chicken?


DDP:  Well, off hand, I would have to say the egg on the far right.

S:  And, why would you say that?

DDP:  Because it appears to be the darkest in color, most likely due to all the extra vitamins you receive from foraging so well.

S:  Good answer, you would be correct.


DDP:  Even though you really excel in so many areas 'chicken', you remain humble and modest.  Your breed rarely gets attention.  Is there anything you plan on doing to market your name so more people know about you?

S:  I can honestly say that while we don't boast to our fellow chickens about our friendly attitude, excellence at foraging and extremely high egg quality, we hope that some of this may rub off on them.


S:  And we really appreciate you noticing the little extra we put on the table, and sharing this with others.  It is by word of mouth that our breed will flourish.


DDP:  Well, I can't thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to answer a few questions for us.  We look forward to your company and that of your breed for years to come.  

S:  Thank you, it's been my pleasure.


If you would like to check out more naked neck chicken photos from the past, take a look at the silly photo-animated video from a previous blog: superfreaky-friday or the tutorial by a 2-year old on photographing-chickens.

(Terra Fondriest) chicken country interview naked neck chicken silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/8/naked-neck-chickens-an-interview-with-sylvia Sat, 03 Aug 2013 21:40:18 GMT
Wildfire Randoms https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/6/wildfire-randoms In preparation for that last blog about putting-out-wildfires, I had uploaded a bunch of wildfire pictures, but only used a few of them. 

Since I haven't really taken any pictures for the last couple weeks, I've decided to just share a few more of those photos this week.

And BTW, Tim's still in CO.  He's been on the Wild Rose fire for the last few days...running into old friends left and right...that's one of the fun things about going out on these large fires, you are bound to know other people there from some other time in your life!


Like, the daughter you thought you had waiting for you back at home...


She's really been the fire's safety officer for the last week.

"Make sure your helmets are on with the chinstrap before boarding the helicopter."


"Don't stand too close to that fire, it looks hot!"


"Ahem, ahem, a little smoke is good for the lungs." 


(Those were from last year's father's day gift :) and and little side story on that...when I had picked up these prints from Walmart to frame for Tim, the worker had them flagged, as it must have been discussed as a possible child safety threat that I would have my 1 year old this close to a fire.  I had to assure her that they were photoshopped.)

The second photo of Amelia was superimposed on the following picture.  

This is Maurice, one of the hardest workers I've ever had the honor to work with.


The next few are from a fire in the Boundary Waters of MN/Canada  








Fires from the the south/southwest...











West and northwest...













And here, just a few random photos from the Bob Marshall wilderness (in MT), and the aftermath of previous fires...

Check out all the dead trees that have to get cleared to keep the trails open (and these are the tiny ones).


Using cross-cut saws...


Riding, hiking, and leading your packstring through these burned areas can be pretty scary on windy days as the burned dead trees are toppling over left and right.


Wouldn't it have been interesting to have manned a fire tower by yourself in the middle of the wilderness for an entire summer?


That's mud lake lookout tower, the last remaining original fire tower in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (23 miles in)...if you make it there, sign the guestbook and read some of the diaries of the original lookouts.


Alright, I will try and post some new pictures one of these days :)  It's always fun to bring out the oldies though.  

Over and out.


(Terra Fondriest) bob marshall crew fire forest helicopter minnesota plane west wildfire https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/6/wildfire-randoms Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:56:25 GMT
Putting Out Wildfires https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/6/putting-out-wildfires Well, fire season has definitely started, and with that the hubby is headed to Colorado.


To be a part of a 20 person hand crew that will be utilized to fight fires.


And, I thought that since I have some experience (and photos, of course), I could share with you a bit about wildland firefighting, and how the firefighters go about putting the fires out or 'containing them'.  


Let's start with an example map.  I stole this one off of the inciweb site today...it's for the Silver Fire, which is ablaze in NM right now.

The red line is the uncontrolled fire edge.


I can look this fire up on the nifc (National Interagency Coordination Center)'s website and find that there are 12 crews, 14 engines, and 5 helicopters assigned to the fire.  Now, what are all those resources doing to actually put this fire out?

I'll attempt to cover the main tactics they are using.


Indirect Line

Take a look at the map (notice that it covers a pretty large area) and that the actual uncontrolled fire edge is really 'finger-y'...


Since the fire has so many fingers,  it appears that crews will mostly be backing off from the fire's edge, and using the tactic of 'indirect line' in order to contain the fire in a more controlled way.  The dotted lines are 'planned fire line' the solid is 'completed line', the thin line is 'hand line' and the x'ed lines are 'dozer line'.

The type of line (whether hand, dozer, or road) is going to depend on the terrain and accessibility (along with the pre-existence of roads/creeks/rivers that could also be used).

(To clarify...'Line' means that all the fuel is removed-from trees down to bare dirt)

Here's a 20 person hand crew heading to work for the day.


As far as indirect line is concerned, hand crews are sent in to either put in handline to burn off of...


Or to prep line that is already there (road/trail) or has been put in by a dozer.  The line needs to be prepped before a burn out operation so that it's as low of an escape risk as possible.  Notice in the above and below photos of 'burn out operations' that many of the lower 'ladder' fuels (branches) have been removed on the trees in hopes that the trees won't start to torch and spot fire over the line.  There is also little to no large dead trees left on the burn side.

Here is an example of using a road as line (I'm standing on the road, you just can't see it)


Sometimes burn-out operations are done during the night so that the fire behavior is as low as possible.


A lot of times, crews put line in and then have to wait in order to start their burn out operations (due to either weather, the coordination between other on going burn-out's, tactical changes, etc.)


In order to burn-out the area between your line and the actual fire, firefighters use drip torches to light the fire (this was from a prescribed burn, but it shows a drip torch in action).  (photo by Steve Schumaker)


Then, behind the lighters (there are usually about 3 lighters give or take...one on the line and two interior), there are all the holding resources.  This consists of the rest of the crewmembers, possibly additional crews, and engines.  The holders all keep an eye to the opposite side of the line, 'the green', to watch for spot fires...then try to put them out with tools if they occur.


Here I am during a holding/lighting operation (eyes to the green).  (Photo by Blake Creagan)  You can see the road we are holding appears to have been widened out with heavy equipment.


Sometimes retardant is dropped in order to slow the incoming fire down so that the burn-out has a higher chance of being successful, and is safer for the crews working in it's path.


Helicopters are also utilized to hit 'hot spots' along the coming front.


Burn-out operations have the potential to be or become tense situations based on how close the main fire is to your line, what the weather is doing, and if the burn-out is causing a lot of spots.


All in all, it's probably the most used tactic to attack these large finger-y fires.


Direct Line

Hopefully that gave you an idea of the indirect line tactic.  Depending on if the fire is backing and/or the weather is cooperating...


A crew may be able to put in line directly along the fire's edge.  This is also called 'hot line' for obvious reasons.


The sawyers go first, clearing brush, limbs, trees.  Then the rest of the crew comes through with hand tools, digging down to bare dirt to remove the fuel from the fire.  I don't really have photos of this...so just picture everyone working really hard, and it's hot.  And hopefully, after you have your line in, the fire looks something like this:


Helicopters and tankers are also very helpful during the use of this line tactic, as they can cool off hotter areas for the incoming crew(s).





Direct line can be considered less dangerous in certain circumstances, as you know exactly where the fire is because you are following the edge.


As opposed to indirect line, where the fire has more of a potential to run at you (based on where you are).

That's why crew's always post lookouts, a person that can see both the crew's location and the main fire.




Sometimes, parts of a fire's edge have just plain burned out (naturally).  In this case, crews come in and cold-trail the edge and grid out interior at least 100ft in order to feel and smell for remaining heat.  (This isn't a good photo example, but hopefully you get my drift).  When they find heat (usually in stump holes) they put it out using hand tools and dirt (and if there's a water source nearby-backpack water pumps).



After all is said and done-lines are in and secure, burn-outs are complete...the daunting task of mop-up begins.  This is similar to cold trailing and is done along the entire fire edge.


Firefighters grid out 50' then 100', on all the way to 600' sometimes.  This can go on for days.  They use their tools and dirt to smother the coals and heat until it's gone.


And if you are lucky, water may be available...you just may have to hike in (and out) 1000 ft or 2000ft of hose and drag it through who knows what...but it's worth it.


Here, you can see the main trunk line, and then my smaller hose that Y's off of it.


The water can usually be sourced back to either Engines or portable water troughs with firefighters working pumps out of it.  The water troughs are filled up with either water tenders or helicopter bucket drops depending on their location.

Sometimes helicopters are assigned to mop-up operations and you can direct them to your larger hotspots using signal mirrors:


Or bright orange reflective strips, flagging attached to your tool, and/or guided navigation through radio.


A little water can go a long way and really shorten the time it takes to put out a fire (or coals) with dirt.


At the end of the day, everyone gets together for an AAR (after action review) to discuss the what-went-well/bad etc's for the day.


And then you eat and pass out in your sleeping bag till the next morning.

This was a quick and dirty explanation, of course there's a lot more that goes into it (especially when structures are involved), but this is the basic framework for how these large wildfires are put out.

(Terra Fondriest) crew fire fires forest mountain west wildfire https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/6/putting-out-wildfires Sat, 15 Jun 2013 05:30:28 GMT
Photographing Chickens: A Tutorial by Amelia https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/2/photographing-chickens-a-tutorial-by-amelia  

Amelia has become quite interested in taking photos lately...

So interested, that she wanted to write a little tutorial about photographing chickens to share with everyone.

She asks that you please follow along as she explains the ins-and-outs.


Photographing Chickens

by Amelia Fondriest


Let's start from the very beginning, a very good place to start. (name that movie)

First, you must befriend the chickens...explain to them what a camera is...and that it means no harm...(meanwhile, get your settings correct on the camera).



As the chickens begin to show interest and cooperation, start directing them to where the lighting is best for your shots.



Next, you must act quickly, as chickens are flighty animals and likely to lose their trust in you rather quickly.  Start photographing.



To ensure that every angle is captured, make sure you turn your camera upside down and inside out.



It's fun to find all the details of the majestic chicken.  

(see how you can practically look up the rooster's nose in the next picture?  That's what we're going for here folks.)



Keep the camera up to your eye so that you don't miss a thing.



If I had put it down, I might not have captured the blinking rooster.  Eye on the ball here ladies and gentlemen.



Make sure you continually encourage the chickens, letting them know they are doing great, and that you are very appreciative of their cooperation.



Then, snap a few different angles.



Let them have a breather every now and then, so that they stay happy with you.



Take the breather to stop and think about your next move.  (then continue your shoot)



One common issue worth mentioning:

Some chickens may think that they are better than others and try to step in front of the camera.

My advice:

Just let them have their moment of glory, there's no use fighting it.  Go ahead and take their picture too, you'll end up getting more cooperation out of the flock as a whole, yielding better overall photos.  (see example below)



Also, remember that it's very important to never let them look down on you.  You are a comrade, not part of the flock.  



Now, the hard part is deciding when enough is enough.  I always find it difficult to cut myself off from taking pictures, thinking I can get just one more.  But, you just have to stop yourself, and walk away.  It's not always easy.  



You just have to remember that there are always opportunities to take more photos elsewhere.



I appreciate you taking the time to read my 'Photographing Chickens' tutorial.  

It's always fun sharing my eggs-periences with you.




(Terra Fondriest) chicken chickens child country photographing photography picture rooster silly sun https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/2/photographing-chickens-a-tutorial-by-amelia Sat, 23 Feb 2013 15:04:47 GMT
Mary's Little Lambs https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/1/marys-little-lambs  




To Your Breed

Your Fleece

Your Clan Be True

Sheep Be True





I can still recite that by heart from watching BABE a million times as a youngster!  Never heard of it?  Here's the real version:



Where I'm going with this is...we visited my friend Mary yesterday in Missouri.

I'm sure you've heard of her...she's the one with the little lambs.



You may remember me mentioning her in a previous blog:


Where I showed her spinning wool...but this time we got to visit the source.




The Sheepies! (as Amelia would say)



Mary's Friends, as she calls them.



And they were friendly...



And soft...



And happy...



And silly...



Kind of like Mary!



Amelia thought it was fun to run over to them...



...however, the sheep didn't agree so much...



Bummer.  She went back to pet ole' faithful...the dog. 



And I snapped a few more photos of the beautiful sheep...







And cute little lambs...





We even put a 'Lamb Cam' on one little guy...see it here on his neck?



Here's a little bit of footage from it:



A little bouncy and erratic...but hey...it was a lamb cam!


Mary showed us her spinning wheel...



And some of the pretty yarn she's spun...



And dyed...



And she showed us her loom...



Where she makes rugs like this one we have at our house made with old t-shirts:



And here are a couple pairs of socks made from her 'friend's' wool...



They are warm and cozy!



It's not too often that a person can see an animal-to-product process all done at one location (and with happy animals)!



What a fun day we had with Mary and her Little Lambs!



Here is her facebook page in case you'd like to bother her about anything such as socks, hats, rugs, or your latest life crisis...






(I love Missouri's county road naming system)



(and little fuzzy lambs.)


ps.  Here's a LINK to a later photo blog about sheep shearing day at Mary's!

(Terra Fondriest) Missouri baa country dog ewe farm friend lamb mary ram sheep silly https://terrafondriest.com/blog/2013/1/marys-little-lambs Mon, 21 Jan 2013 22:56:06 GMT