I’m practicing working with a new off camera flash set up – thank you to Josh and Kathy for the great mentorship that has me trying this out!  And guess who got to be my models this weekend. 

Isn’t Sophie so beautiful(above)!



This is Miss Arnika who was her typical curious self about the umbrella with the light behind it.  She certainly wasn’t going to sit and passively let me get photos.



sm-8220And this is Mr. Arrison, so super cool and satisfied with himself – little did he know when we took this photo that he’d be getting his man parts clipped in just 48 hours.  But as with all the guys in our household, he is just super handsome!

sm-8248And then we have sweet Mr. Tank, who is looking so grown up and responsible these days.  He’s even trustworthy with the chickens (who, by the way, did not make the cut for the photo shoot).  When Tank is out in the area of the chickens he doesn’t see them as supper, but he sure is interested in the scraps we give them – he has supper envy!

Next time I’ll share how I applied the experience these loving loyal pets gave me to a real live human being.


Categories: Arnika, Arrison, dog, kittens, Light, Photography, Sophie, Tank | Leave a comment


And it’s not going to get delightful any time soon.  We’re expecting highs in the 0 – 10 range tomorrow, and by Wednesday through the weekend there is a chance the highs will be 0 or below.  Makes the idea of outdoor photos a little daunting for now.  In the mean time, here are a few of the kittens who have grown so much the past few weeks.IMG_1605.smThis is Arrison.  I know it is him because his paws are darker than Arnica’s.  He’s up on the dining room chair in this photo which was taken by J.

IMG_1641smHere they both are confirming that it won’t be long before they are each larger than their mother.  This is at 8 weeks.  Sophie is a little thing, and it really hits home just how little when I see how big the kittens are already.

IMG_1571smAnd here the big ol’ galoot, Tank, joined them on the bed – clearly they are not afraid of him.  This is Arnica (I know because the dark paws are in the background kitten, and Arnica has a slightly lighter chest.  Tank is not usually allowed on the bed, but this was a special occasion – like he was being cute with the kittens so I didn’t kick him off.

Stay warm out there!

Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Fall, kittens, Photography, Sophie, Tank, Winter | 3 Comments



After an absence from the blog I always want to explain – but really it is just a matter of living life.  We are getting ready for a huge three-week long trial that starts in just over a month – definitely the longest trial of Andy’s career so far, and as far as moving parts, one of the most complicated cases.  It is a white-collar crime allegation so there are documents upon documents upon documents in the case.  A huge time suck!

At the same time my not particularly inclined to handy-man work husband built a home for 12 chickens, who joined us on Sunday of this week.  These beauties are J’s project – he hopes to sell their eggs once they get settled and start producing.  Yesterday they came out of the coop for the first time as far as we can tell.  That was exciting because we were worried that they weren’t coming out even after the wind and snow of the early part of the week went away.    I think they just like it nice and warm, and yesterday afternoon they got that.


These two (above and below) keep us busy too.  Above is Arnica – a girl – and below is Arison – a boy.  They are 3.5 weeks old, and all these photos were taken last night as they ventured out of their nest for the first time – much to Sophie’s (momma) displeasure.


They seem to enjoy the dogs at this point – and the dogs are pretty excited but gentle about the kittens!


Even blind Leo finally found them with his nose last night, and he just wants to curl up with them.


When they decided to leave the nest they did it together, and were greeted by Mr. Tank, who knew they weren’t supposed to be wandering along.


Aren’t they the cutest!


So, that doesn’t explain every little detail of life for sure, but lets you know we are alive and well, just buried in work and trying to keep the balance of good things in life – and the animals are a part of the good things!


Oh, and J finished up his first quarter of 8th grade with his best ever grades and he made that accomplishment without interference from his parents – he’s very independent with his school work these days and really quite responsible.  We couldn’t be more excited about this development because of the growth and emotional peace it brings to J who has always worked hard but until we figured some things out this summer never got the reward for his efforts.  Now he’s getting to experience some of that, which is such a joy – it almost brings me to tears.

Categories: Andy, Autumn, Birds, chickens, Daily life, Fall, Family Fun, J, kittens, Leo, Outdoors, Photography, Sophie, Tank | 2 Comments


We get to hold them today.  I’ve been gently petting them in front of Sophie and she doesn’t seem to mind. 

IMG_0100_7381smEyes are open and they climb all over Sophie sometimes – especially pawing at her face when they can reach it.

IMG_0099_7380smSchool is out yesterday and today for a teacher conference, so J is free and easy.  Made for some big excitement already as he got his first phone – not a “smart phone” but a practical phone since we no longer have land lines.

IMG_0098_7379smTo add to the excitement, the State of Montana times Junior Hunter day (kids 12 – 15) with the statewide school break, so he’s able to hunt deer a full 10 days before the regular season opens.  That’s what he’s doing as I type.  Don’t know if he’ll get anything, but the concept of doing it is great.

IMG_0101_7382smGoing to have a weekend at home for all of us – hopefully get a chicken coop made so we can bring our chickens home next week.  That will add to the workload, but it will be a fun adventure too.

Categories: Autumn, chickens, Daily life, Fall, Family Fun, hunting, J, kittens, Photography, Sophie | 2 Comments



They sleep a lot, but they are starting to move around quite a bit too.  And it is amazing how fast they can roll from one part of the nest to another.  Or on top of each other and around each other and under each other.  Amazing!


You can’t see it in all my photos, but they look so much a like it is amazing.  The markings on their faces are almost exactly the same.


Their little feet are adorable – absolutely adorable.  I can’t touch them yet – another 5 or so days – but I know if I touched those little pads they would be so soft and pillow-like.


Sophie gives them baths like crazy – so neat and clean.  They are starting to fight back a little – batting at her with their little arms and legs.  It is so funny to watch.

So glad we have these little guys to love and watch and enjoy.  Andy and J are gone for a hunting trip and when they get back I’m certain they will notice a huge change in their size.  I think they have more than doubled in size since they were born on Tuesday.

Categories: Daily life, kittens, Photography, Sophie | 1 Comment


IMG_9806_7310smWhat do you think?  Is this fall enough for you?  For Montana, this is pretty fall – all those yellows are about the extent of color that we get.  This was out driveway this morning when I brought Leo home from the vet – just a blood sugar check up, nothing to worry about.

IMG_9795_7299smThese two are doing well.  Sleeping lots.  To be expected at less than 48 hours old.  But they already seem to have grown so much!

IMG_9793_7297smThis one makes me feel like I should have named them Ying and Yang.  So funny.  The lighter colored one I’m calling Arnica – also happens to be the smaller one although this photo doesn’t really show it.  The darker one is Arrison.  I think Arnica might be a girl and Arrison a boy, but that is based on nothing but size, which probably isn’t all that reliable at this point. 

IMG_9799_7303smI find myself fearful that they will die because . . .  well because Sophie’s other kitten/s did and we weren’t here to know why.  So I check on them a lot.  I’m not sure this is all that healthy on my part – I’ll be working on this.  This morning Sophie went outside (something we’ve been trying to prevent) and I went into a panic about if she would come back to care for them.  Sure enough, she did.  Still, I’m working hard to keep her in because it keeps my stress down.

Stress or not, they sure are cute!

Categories: Autumn, Barns, Daily life, Fall, kittens, Leo, Photography, Sophie | 1 Comment


IMG_9788_7285smWell, I’ll put in a few words – all photos here are of the kittens less than 24 hours old – heck, as I post they aren’t even 24 hours old yet.IMG_9786_7283sm








Categories: Daily life, kittens, Photography, Sophie, Wordless Wednesday | 2 Comments


IMG_9773_7277smI was nervous that after the last pregnancy that ended in a disaster while we were on vacation we couldn’t really count on kittens this time either.  But today Sophie did it.  Two kittens.  Apparently healthy, and Sophie behaving appropriately as a new momma.

We sort of hoped for Siamese looking kittens, but got twin non-Siamese.  Don’t know if they are boys or girls yet.  And have no idea who the father is – but clearly not a Siamese.

IMG_9771_7275smSophie was loud and made it clear I needed to be there with her through labor and delivery – she kept coming to get me and basically yelling at me with her voice.  And let me tell you, she can yowl when actually delivering – but she seemed comforted by me petting her through the process and talking sweet to her.  But once these little guys were out, she was pretty content to focus on them and lick and lick and lick and lick . . . oh man, she spent almost an hour licking them.  I was worried she wasn’t ever going to let them nurse because she was licking them so much. 

She completely abandon paying any attention to me.  Good thing I’m not one to take that personally.

IMG_9768_7272smShe did insist on having them on a shelf in the garage even though I tried to move the birthing bed to other places.  This location is her “safe place” up from the dogs (who she loves and snuggles with when she doesn’t have kittens) and nice and dry and free from drafts.

IMG_9775_7279smBut I don’t like it as a place for kittens because it is “up” – if they fall out it is a long way to the floor, and it is in the garage, which is not as warm as I think they need.  I build a fire in the garage stove this afternoon to help.  In two or three days I’ll probably try to move them into the house.

Guess you have some idea of what I’ll be photographing for the next oh say 8 weeks or more.

Categories: Daily life, kittens, Photography, Sophie | 2 Comments

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