Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wild baby bunnies

Last Tuesday evening, we were visiting a friend at her farm and she showed us her baby bunnies. She had been working at the garden and accidentally dug up a baby bunny nest. She figured the mother probably wouldn't come back for them so she took them in to care for them. (disclaimer: if this ever happens to you, you are supposed to just rebuild the nest. Mother bunnies usually visit the nest twice a day - at dawn and dusk, to feed their babies. And they most likely won't abandon the nest just because it was disturbed, but if they come back and the bunnies are gone, they won't return.)

They had survived for a day on cows milk from a kitten bottle - which amazes me, because bunnies need a very small amount of lactose to survive and cows milk can be very bad for them. Goats milk is better, but kitten replacement milk is better yet. She said the bunnies had lost a lot of weight since they took them in and they didn't have a lot of hope for them.

I told her that we had a female bunny at home who has had a couple of false pregnancies and seems very maternal - perhaps we could try to see if she would adopt them. So they agreed and let the babies come home with us.

I explained to the kids that the bunnies would probably die and I told myself not to get emotionally attached. I was going to try to make them as comfortable as I could, for the last day or two they probably had left. Apparently wild baby bunnies have a less than 10% chance of survival being hand reared.

We put them in with Neddy, our female bunny. She sniffed at them then hid out at the other side of the cage for the rest of the night. In the morning I fed them kitten replacement with pedyalite. They were very dehydrated (you can tell by pinching the skin between their shoulder blades and counting how long it takes for the skin to fall back down - their's was taking more than 5 seconds, which means severe dehydration). I fed them several times a day, until they got more comfortable with me to take larger amounts, and also until they were better hydrated.

Their eyes were starting to open, which meant they would be starting solids soon. Which is a very dangerous time for baby bunnies, because their sterile little tummies are so fragile and they are at high risk for diarrhea which is always fatal. They need a special type of adult bunny poop to eat (yes, to eat) to give them the good bacteria in their gut to help them digest food properly. I tried to collect some from Neddy, but I couldn't find them. Bunnies usually eat them directly from their own bottom. (yes, they do) Then I noticed Neddy was hopping in the nest box, depositing a cecal poop and leaving. Which touched my heart because she knew they needed it and was taking care of them! I gave them probiotics with their feed too, just in case.

And I am pleased to say, that over a week later they are still thriving! Full of personality, hopping around the cage. What has been amazing has been watching Neddy adopt them. It started with the poops of love. Then she started hopping in and licking the bunnies and cleaning them. Then she pulled a ton of fur to make a nest and we have watched them nursing from her! Many times. I'm not certain that she has milk, so I'm still supplementing, but they aren't taking as much anymore and I'm sure they must be getting something from her.

And that whole not getting emotionally attached thing completely fell through. How can you possibly not? I am so in love with them. They are so incredibly cute. I am so happy they've been adopted and are eating hay and dandelion leaves and oats and doing so well. Fingers crossed that they continue to thrive. We're doing our best.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I heart faces - @ the beach

Ok there are way too many incredibly awesome beach pics to even stand a chance this week.

But I wanted to join in anyway for fun. Then it occurred to me that I live in Nebraska, slap bang in the middle of the continent with no ocean anywhere in sight. So I sifted through my old pics from when I lived in Scotland and came across this one of Kaya. (You can still see her face, right? Profiles count, I think..)

This day was so memorable. We were on our way home from a refreshing family vacation, just the four of us. Actually the vacation was a time we took to spend away from the mundane, over the anniversary of Heather's death. Because that's always a hard day, and we were already broken and weak and going through marriage issues at the time. This "vacation" was incredibly healing for us to spend time together and regain some focus and clarity before heading home to continue weeding through the tough issues. We were driving along the coast and decided to stop off for a break and see the ocean.

Shortly after I snapped up this pic, the wind and waves really picked up and it was incredible. It was so powerful and vast that it frightened me, in a wonderful way. And it made me think of God. And it helped me understand this difficult-to-digest subject of the fear of God. We are supposed to fear God. And we are supposed to feel safe and comfort in him. Staring at these huge, powerful waves, fiercely crashing against the rocky shore, I was filled with wonder to remember that Jesus controlled such powerful elements with just an uttering from his mouth. God is huge, powerful, capable and whilst that induces a sense of fear and awe - I'm so happy to have all that in my corner! He's not a tame lion, but he's good. What in this world could I ever be scared of, that could be too big for him to help me through?

You've gotta go check out some of these breathtaking pics at I <3 faces.

Tot Talk Tuesday

Zoe has a best friend. He's the next door neighbor's kid, Gage, a few months younger than she is, and yes, he is a boy. So of course everyone thinks they'll be married one day, and if they do, she'd be doing well for herself. Because he's a very sweet and loving boy. He puts up with Zoe's unwillingness to share, he tolerates her fickle nature and bossiness and follows her from the car to the swing to the sandbox as she constantly changes her fancy. It's adorable to watch their faces light up when they see each other and they run to each other and immediately take back up from wherever they left things off last time.

This week I was out swinging Zoe and she could hear Gage crying inside his house. She looked concerned and told me,

"oh no, Gage cwying. Gage sad; He wants me. Gage wants me."

I asked her,
"Is Gage crying because he wants you?"

"Yes. And a baby chicken. Gage cwying - he wants me and a baby chicken".

Then later on that day he came out to play. While he was playing on the swing he started patting his lap and saying, "Zoe, come a sap. Come a sap, Zoe."

She frowned at him and put on a disgusted face and said, "No. I don't want a wap"

Which of course, he gracefully accepted and they went on to play something else. They are so cute together.

I've also gotta tell you about Lana singing a song she learned at Sunday school. On the way home from church, she was sitting in the back seat peltering out,

"God sent his son to Earth and Jesus was his name-o
Hmm hmmm esss yooo esss
hmmm hmmmm esss yooo esss
hmmm hmmm ess yooo esss
and Bingo was his name-o"

Then she looked a little confused. There were a couple seconds silence while she figured out the error, then corrected herself,
"And Jesus was his name-o"


Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

Sunday, July 26, 2009

High pass sharpen tutorial (photoshop)

I've been asked plenty times if I'd make some photoshop tutorials. I keep saying "sure, I'll do that" but then just not getting round to it. So I figured, now's as good a time as any. And I'm going to start with one of my favorite ways to add a final sharpen to a photo when preparing for print or web or whatever.

Later versions of PS have some very clever and impressive sharpen options, other than just the unsharp mask. You can use a smart sharpen to remove gaussian blur, motion blur or lens blur. It's all good. And I often use it to sharpen eyes or other details. But for that final tighten everything up kind of sharpen, I still favor the high pass sharpen. And here's how I do it.

OK, here's the first pic. Just something I chose randomly from my folder. A pic of Turtle.

Before I do the sharpen, I'm going to run through my basic editing.

I start by using the spot healing tool to remove some of those nasty marks on his face.

Then I'll work on the eyes a bit. I'll make a tutorial for this at some point in the future.

Then I make a few curves adjustments (I'm sure I'll do a tutorial for this too. Curves are my number 1 favorite tool for photoshop. I use them all the time.)

Ok, now the High pass sharpen bit.

Select the whole canvas by pressing control+A or by clicking select>all.

Then click copy merged or shift+ctrl+C.

Then paste this merged layer at the very top of all the layers. ctrl+V will do the job.

Now go change the blend mode of this new layer to hard light. It will look really weird, don't worry, we're going to fix it on the next step.

Click filter > other > high pass.

A window pops up, with a slider.

Mess around with the slider until it's nice and sharp, but not overly sharp.

It's ok if some of the details become a little oversharp, like this.

We fix that by making a layer mask on this grey looking high pass sharpen layer. Then take a nice soft black brush and paint over any of the details which are over sharp.

And there you have it!

(before and after)

My friend Shaye had a good suggestion, that I take submissions from you lot for me to fix up and post on here. I thought it was a fab idea. So if any of you want me to mess around and try to fix up some of your photos, please e-mail them to me and I'll choose which ones will make the most interesting tutorials. Then I'll post a tutorial up here, made using your pic, and of course you'll get to keep the edited version. I'd love to see a variety of pic problems, like red eye, extra person in background, bad color cast, lots of shadow, overly pale skin, bad lighting, cracks or tears in (scanned) photo etc. I won't necessarily be able to fix up all submissions, but I'll try to work on as many as I can. I do hope some of you will send in your photos, it would be fun. Let your blogger friends know about it too! Spread the word. The more the merrier.

Also, what should I call this segment? Any good name suggestions? I just think it would be nice to have a name...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The quest for authentic manhood

My husband has been doing this men's fraternity thing at church and has been so very inspired. He's healed past hurts and has new hope for the future. I think there is a lot of confusion for men in our society; they don't have a very well defined role and it's leading to a lot of misdirection and depression.

Rene is an amazingly good man. A wonderful husband and an awesome father. But he is striving to do better still. And that's why he started this blog.

He intends to record his musings on the issue of finding his authenticity in his role as a partner, provider, role model, and son of God. I'm looking forward to reading it! He's also asking a bunch of friends to post some guest posts in the future (which may or may not represent Rene's personal beliefs on the subject of manhood, as he's leaving it open). And I will make him some pretty pictures for his blog soon too, a nice skin of some sort.

It's in its baby stages just now, but please do go check it out. He covets some comment lovin'. If you can take a mo to drop him an encouraging comment, he'll be a happy man.

Here's the link again Rene's blog in case you missed it before.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday

Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog

And try to comment on some other participants' blogs, if you can.


I didn't take much note of mine this week. One that I did remember is Zoe's latest way of asking for a large quantity or volume of something. She asked me for a cracker the other day, then asked for one in her other hand too, but was still not satisfied. So she tried, "I want more. I want wots of fings".

The next day she wanted a cup of milk. So I half filled a cup, which wasn't enough for her, so she used her line, "I want wots of fings".

It's so cute, so it works. She gets plenty of fings.


Ok but I've got to tell you what just happened a minute ago. It was the grossest thing ever in the whole world. Zoe just whipped off her diaper and came to me saying, "I'm poopy. I'm poopy. Oh no, Ghen"

So I jumped up to investigate. The word poop always gets my immediate attention (ok that sounded kind of weird). And I found her warm, fresh feces lying on my carpet. But that wasn't the gross part. The gross part was Zoe's baby brother hovering over said poop, sticking his hands in it and........eating it. Kaya reckons he thought it was chocolate. I may never eat chocolate ever again.

I have never seen anything so disgusting. Ok so what are the symptoms of e.coli I should look out for?

Honestly he didn't get a whole lot of poop in his mouth, but any poop in the mouth is too much poop in the mouth, am I right? Wow, yup, this one definitely tops the time Lana took off her poopy diaper in Scotland and painted the walls and the toybox with the contents

I'm thinking it's a good sign that it's time to start potty training!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I heart feet

Hey, thanks for all the nice comments about the dreads! They're coming along well, but still have a long way to go until they start to look like the real deal. I'm told the best thing to do is just leave them alone and stop thinking about them...they're not even a week old yet, and I'm finding it very hard to not think about them.

Anyway, I hadn't joined in I heart faces for a while, but when I read that this week's theme is feet, I couldn't resist. I love feet pics!

Lana also loves having her feet photographed, so it works out beautifully.

Click on the logo below to see some amazing entries, and maybe join in too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I've done something drastic...

So I was at a BBQ and a friend of mine (Holla, Elayne!) was talking about her hair and in passing she suggested I get dreadlocks. I humored her with "yeah, well maybe" and did my best to look interested, when actually there was only a small spark of interest.

But the next day I kept thinking on it, and I guess there were some highly flammable materials in my brain, in close proximity to that spark and in no time at all my whole head was alight with inspiration. I figured, my mum was born and raised in Jamaica, which gives me certain rights. Right? An she is a 50 something year old lady with bright purple an blue hair, so crazyness with hairstyles is in my genetics. And I'm crunchy granola, which also gives me some mad hair rights.

Rene was all, "go for it", so I did some research online, made myself a salt water and lemon juice spritzer bottle and when Rene came home with a flea comb for me I figured it was as good a day as ever to start. The day before mum left to return to Scotland (which was yesterday, so I'm talking about the day before yesterday) mum took an afternoon and evening to backcomb and palmroll my hair for me to get some dreads started! No turning back now, peeps.

I figured I'd just not post any pics with this.

Of course I'm joking! Who do you think I am? No pics. Sheesh. I can't believe you bought that.

So here's me before. Pic by Kaya.

Sweet, but bland. Straight. Boring. My hair was just lying around waiting for something exciting to happen.

And then something did.

Here's during.

And are you ready for the after? Really?

Keep in mind that these are not really my dreadlocks. These are the framework for where my dreadlocks will be. It will take a few months before they start looking like dreads and a year before they officially mature past babyhood. So I may look goofy for a year, but as Rene pointed out, whenever someone grows their hair out long, they look stupid for about a year while it's at ear length and all puffy and silly. It's all about having patience. It will look good in time.

Ok, here's after.

I could not believe how much it frizzed up. I guess I have hair more like my Dad's than I had realized (speaking of my Dad...I hope he won't disown me now, after going dreadhead! Whaddya think Daddy?)

But I assure you, this is not a bad joke Bob Marley wig. This is my real hair. And it will tame down in time. Meanwhile I just want it to tangle up as much as possible to start to lock in.

I'm not 100% happy with them. I keep going through "what the heck have I just done" moments. But I'm sure in time I will be quite attached to them, and I'm glad I did it.

Oh, and I want to debunk some myths about dreads for you.


Wrong. Maybe people get confused because you can't brush your hair? Anyway, you are encouraged to wash your hair at least every 3 days. A residue free shampoo is best...I'm going to look into the cheapest natural option probably. Or else just keep using my regular shampoo and rinse it out real good.


Nope. Wax can actually ruin your dreads. It makes them look tighter and less frizzy, but it can also make moisture and yuckies get stuck in your hair and cause mold to develope. Ew! So I'm doing it without any wax. Also, wax will make your dreads take longer to lock up and tighten. Because it stops the hair from moving freely enough to knot up. So go without the wax.


No, again with the whole, you are supposed to wash them, thing. They're not dirty. They're not smelly. You keep them clean just like any other hairstyle.


Haha, just cause I wear dreads doesn't mean I'm a pot head. Smoking is disgusting. I've never smoked anything in my life and never will. I'm conservative, peeps. Remember? You may be surprised to hear it, but hair doesn't actually make you do anything at all. It can't control you or anything. It's just hair. Not everyone realizes that. See, you've learned something new today.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tot Talk Tuesday

Read what a Tot Talk Tuesday is and how you can join in here, remember to include the following code in your blog


Zoe has had a difficult time accepting her role as middle child since Turtle came along. We've had issues with her pushing and scratching and stealing toys. She sometimes worries she's not as loved because she has to share the attention, and it's difficult for her. So whenever there is a warm, tender moment between them, I savor it.

A couple days ago we were snuggling in bed. Zoe, Turtle and I. Zoe turned to look at me and her baby brother caught her eye. Then she noticed he had fallen asleep and I guess he didn't look like a threat to her in his position and she felt nurturing towards him. She patted his head, gazed down lovingly at him and said, "awwwwwww. Ghen. Awwww, he weely wikes me. Wook at Ghen. I weely wike him".

Thanks for playing along. You make me feel loved. Lets share some comments :)

Tot Talk Tuesdays Participants
1. septembermom
2. Kathie S.
3. Juli
4. Shaye @ Miller Memories
5. MrsW

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Family Reunion

I kept promising I'd post pics from the family reunion in Joplin and tell you all how it went. It's been so long now (like, over a week) and I can't be bothered giving a detailed account of something that's like old news now.

But I'll say this much.
I had a ton of fun.
I got to meet my grandfather for the first time ever.
It rained like crazy all morning.
It cleared up beautifully for the afternoon.
I got to meet an Aunt and a cousin I had never met before.
I have an awesome family.
They are very musical.
We made memories we'll keep forever.

Here are some pics.

My gorgeous 12 year old brother

Mum, her sister and their Dad