Questions and Answers – February 2014 Edition

It’s snowing again… another four or five inches and more coming down… at least it’s warmer!  Let’s do this!

Marilyn: Going back to my question of a couple days ago, I am wondering what kinds
of gear is “standard” when you are spending a whole day “in the saddle” –

Hmmm.  A little variation depending on the time of year, but let’s see… I have my little front horn bags to pack stuff in most of the time, so I can take a fair amount.  Water bottle (usually half frozen to keep it cool longer!), collapsible dog bowl (depending on where we’re riding and how much water there might be along the way (sometimes a water bottle for dogs too!), camera for sure!, I try to keep a bandana in there (useful for so many things), a string of baling twine (ditto).  Now in my pockets I have kleenex (gotta have), some hard candy, chapstick, pocket knife, fire starter/lighter, and a silk neck scarf and gloves.  I may throw in a granola bar or two, or dried fruit, whatever I might have… just in case!  I dress in layers so to be prepared… and that’s about it.  I try not to overload, but I figure I might as well pack some food… some days are Really Long!  The guys don’t take anything, though they don’t refuse my offer of granola bars sometimes either!

Liza: Does Lucas still go to school to help kids read?

No.  We did it for two years.  The superintendent down here has asked me other times to return, but that’s easy for him to say.  Teachers have to make time for us, and they just never got around to it that third year and so I let our certification lapse.  It really is too bad, because we both enjoyed it.  I checked with the hospital (no way), and the rest homes let dogs visit their owners on occasion anyway.

Judy: Question… what method do you use to keep your chickens warm in winter and do they go outside in the pen during the day time even in the snow?

I use a single heat lamp in their coop.  I leave it on constantly in this extreme cold.  I do let them out, or at least open the door, and if the sun is out, they will come out and peck around.  They’re not crazy about walking through snow, but if it melts back a bit and they can get to dirt, they’ll be out there scratching around.  We’ve now a foot and more of snow on the ground, except where Vernon’s bladed or there’s ruts, so they don’t travel far.  They’re still free range chickens, but they’re fair weather free range chickens!

GD: Did I somehow miss the story about that adorably little calf? What was it?

That was last spring… probably March!  He was just chilled down from being born in a storm, and we had him inside to warm up.  I’m designing my downstairs bathroom with calves like him in mind…

Meadow Lark: You have 2 sons that work on your property and I’ve only read about 2 homes. Do your sons and their families share a house or does one family live “off-site”?

Daniel and Tess live in my old house and Brandon and Megan live just out of sight from me up here at the Mills place.  I probably just haven’t mentioned Brandon’s because I never lived there!  Johnny has his own place as well.

Gina: I am glad that it is question time again. My husband and I need to purchase a new camera and are wondering what you use to take the great pictures we see? And do you have any suggestions for great picture taking? (opps that is 2 questions)Ok here is another, how do you carry the camera so that you have it ready for those great pictures? Our last camera was a pocket sized one, which we kept in our pockets often, and now it is grinding when we turn it on – culprit is sand and dirt. I would love to hear what you have to say!

Oh, Gina, I’m SO hard on cameras, and have written about it!  I’m using a Canon SX260hs right now.  In fact, I bought a new one because this one has been giving me little signs that it may be on its downward slide, but it has lasted MUCH longer than some of the others I owned.  I loved the Panasonic point and shoot, but I had a series of them for a while, each lasting only 3 months before the dirt ruined them!  It’s the one I always carry, stuck in its case, stuck in a pocket.  I leave it unzipped (unless having to trot a lot or if there’s tons of dust), just so I can pull it out quickly.  I do have an Olympus E-500 that I love, the quality is amazing, but it is just too hard to pack around in this dirt!  If I’m driving somewhere, the Olympus is there, but otherwise it gets left at home.  Best tip for taking great pictures, besides taking a LOT of photos?  Don’t just stand there, change your perspective, bend over, squat down, lay down, hold the camera up high, shoot… tip it sideways!  I used to take what I called OOPE photos (Out Of Pocket Experience) when my camera was big and clunky, just aiming the lens out of my pocket, and I actually took some good pics that way (unusual, but good!)  Here’s some pics of me proving my point!  Thanks to C. for the portraits of me!

Carol portraitCarol portraitCarol portrait



Questions and Answers – February 2014 Edition — 7 Comments

  1. I love these pictures…..I am a photographer on the side, but it’s usually not staged, but on the fly. I do a lot of desert off-road exploring; old mines, abandoned homesteads, just cool stuff. I have a Canon 7D and it gets horribly dusty (as well as all my lenses). I recently go a used 260sx also because it is lighter, but already it is starting to grind a little. I’m thinking it needs to go in for regular cleanings with my other stuff.

    Maybe someday someone will capture pictures of me doing what I love!

    • Sounds like fun, Karyn! I have a new 260 on standby, not even out of the box, just waiting for this one to croak! I’ve even asked Canon to let me field test their cameras… I could definitely put them to a difficult test… but never heard from them!

      • I think you should try again with Canon, show that you have a large readership, and see if they will re-consider. Seems like a win-win to me!

  2. Loved the Q and A today, was a really good one! Oh, don’t know if I ever shared w/ you how much better my chicks have been laying this winter with a little hot cooked oats on these really cold mornings, it is amazing the difference it makes!

    • Hot cooked oats??? Really. I never would have thought of cooking breakfast for my chickens! Are you getting more? Our girls are, what, two now??? I’ve noticed the copper marans look nice…

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