Thursday, June 20, 2013

R Squared

Rachel. Not me Rachel, the other Rachel. 

                I am not the only Rachel. I’ve met maybe thirty, or forty, maybe more. I grew up with one. We were born in the same valley. Her father laughed at my father when he got his Rachel first. We grew up together, Rachel and Rachel. Our farms met at the west pasture, and we would go there to play. There was a trough there. We would wade through the mud in our gumboots and go snail fishing.

                We’re both blonde. When we were little, we both grew our hair out to our butts. She had blue eyes, mine were brown. Our families both moved out of the valley, both estranged. We both lived primarily with our mothers. Our mothers both re-married within a year of each other. Neither of us liked our step-fathers.

                We went through school together, all the same classes from first grade on. Teachers were always worried about getting us confused. On the first day, when they called roll, it would always be “Oh no, two Rachels…” They always seemed to think it would be a huge problem, two Rachels. But it never was. When someone called out “Rachel” we knew who they meant. We always knew. I’m not sure if people said it differently, or maybe it was body language or something, but we always knew.

                The other students kept trying to give us nick names. Tom and Jerry, Thing One and Thing Two. Nothing ever stuck. We were just Rachel and Rachel. And it wasn’t just the classes. We were both on the swim team in high school. With our long blonde hair and matching team suits, we looked even more alike.

                We aren’t alike though, not really. She’s assertive, I’m shy. She’s going to business school, to be a sports agent or a rep for a company that sells million dollar machinery. She would be really good at either. I went to school to be a writer so I can work from home and talk to no one. But I still talk to her. She calls me. It’s never the other way around. We talk about our plans, and the house we will buy together someday. She tells me there’s a little farm, in a little valley in Hawaii with our name on it. Rachel. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

In The Beginning, There Were Bantys

Now, you've all heard a lot about Alasse. You've heard a lot. 


But, before Alasse found me, I had two Banty hens. Banty hens, or more formally, Bantam Chickens, are a small variety of chicken. But Banty hens are not your ordinary poultry bird. I have raised a lot of chickens: Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas, but Banty hens are by far my favorite. Very noble birds, Bantys. They came from somewhere in Indonesia and have been domesticated for over 4,000 years. Marco Polo even said something favorable about them once.

Then there are the eggs. Some people don’t consider Bantys to be good layers because their eggs are so small. But while the Rhode Island Reds may have given me four large eggs a week, and the Araucanas did have really cool blue eggs, I was always happiest when I found a little Banty egg waiting for me in the coop.

The Banty is a handsome chicken. My Red Sussex Bantys were a dark, reddish brown, with a spattering of black feathers around the neck and in the tail. Very slim, very sleek. And while the Sussux Banty may not be as fancy as the Sebright, my girls were stunners. They loved to show off, spending a good part of the day preening and getting all their feathers in order.

But eggs and looks aside, Banty hens have more personality than any other chicken. This is why they were my favorite. My two hens would follow me anywhere. Sometimes I would carry them around in a little basket. They didn’t mind.

They slept in the coop with the others. And every morning it was my job to let them out for the day. Besides the Rooster, all the chickens were very tame. Some were older than I was at the time, but the younger ones had hatched in a cardboard box in my room. I repeatedly got in trouble for putting them all in my bed. My mother would be furious whenever she found me lying on the bed, letting them hop all over me, their peep-peep-peeping drowning out my giggles.

Then, when they were old enough, it was out to the coop. All the chickens were friendly, they would even come when called. But while the others strutted out on a pecking mission, the two little Bantys would spend the day with me. They trailed behind me or hopped into my basket for a free ride.

They were my first models. They would stand on the table, very still, and I would draw them. I would go through stacks and stacks of printer paper, sketching them again and again, day after day. I never got tired of drawing them. They never got tired of posing for me.

But most of all, I never lacked for inspiration, never wanted for something to draw. I had my Bantys, and you can never have too many paintings of the people you love. 


Original paintings and prints available here.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Eden Loves To Pee

My Name Is Eden And I  Love To Pee

Alasse has a friend named Eden who loves to pee. When we go on walks together, Eden pees on everything she can. Take a few steps, take a pee, a few more steps, let’s pee again! This drives Alasse nuts.

This drives Alasse nuts because Alasse has to pee on all other dog pee. If another dog pees, she has to pee on it, immediately. She sniffs out the past pees with vigor and excitement, but nothing compares to peeing on fresh pee. When she sees Eden squatting down, it’s on. She off, and she’s gonna pee on that pee no matter what.

So, as Eden is happily peeing on everything, a few drops here, a few drops there, Alasse is frantically trying to pee on all of Eden’s Pees. Now, both dogs are quickly running out of available urine. But when it runs out? No need to panic! They’ll just squat and pretend! Because if you can’t actually mark your territory, at least pretend and fool your friends!  

Stop Peeing!!!
Prints and original artwork available here