BECKY AND BUNNY

Becky and Bunny2-

This is Becky B. and her bunny. Those of you who read the Comments already know Becky as the Gypsy. Frankly, I don’t know whether she is descended from gypsies or just fancies herself one. I do know she orbits the Crooked Moon (definition provided in first paragraph).

Most people have cats and dogs for pets. Not Becky. She does bunnies. Becky claims that bunnies are very much like cats – great personalities and they are warm and cuddly!! She got her start with a rescue bunny in her neighborhood and it went from there. One of her bunnies, Alexander, spoke French if you can believe it, and was always greeted at the veterinarian’s office with “Bon jour, Alexander!”

Alexander is now in bunny heaven and after his departure, Mr. Becky said, “No more bunnies!” I don’t know how long this lasted but it obviously wasn’t permanent. Their daughter was shopping for dog food at Rupert’s, who, according to Becky, has his own novel.

“Mom, there is the cutest little bunny here! I’ll send a picture to Dad.”

In a few minutes, Mr. Becky walked in with his phone and said, “Look at the picture M just sent.”

Becky tried to explain, “She’s the last bunny there, all the others had been adopted, and she has been alone for weeks.”

“Poor little thing.  Well, when you get her, you take care of her!”

And that is how Becky got Enna, the little Scottish bunny, who, of course, told Becky her name.

CROOKED MOON CONTAGION

Back in 2013, at Chicken News, I explained that Poppie (and truthfully, some of my other relatives as well) seemed to hold the view that I orbit a crooked moon. I have several friends who admit to orbiting that same moon right along with me. I don’t feel bad about that as I had nothing to do with whatever craziness caused their orbit. They hung themselves on that moon all by themselves. Just like I did. I do feel bad, though, that my baby kitty, at six months of age, is apparently orbiting the Crooked Moon, too. It is not normal, to knock the garbage can over, toss out half the garbage, and climb in to go to sleep. I hope the Crooked Moon is not contagious!

Zorro in trash can-5997

FRUGAL PHOTOGRAPHY TIP

Rather than purchase an expensive macro lens for your DSLR camera, buy an accessory known variously as a close-up filter, close-up lens, macro filter or diopter. These screw-on lenses attach to the front of the lens or lens adapter to extend the close-up range of a camera (I don’t know whether or not they can be used on digital point-and-shoot cameras). The quality is not as high as a macro lens but close-up lenses are small, lightweight and inexpensive.

Many years ago, I purchased a set of three for a Nikon SLR camera for my everyday lens of choice. They came in a small 2.5” x 2.5” hard leather case with a “tab” on the back. To this tab, I attached a key ring and put the ring on my camera strap. Thus, I always have the lenses with me and I hardly ever grab a camera bag. I don’t know if this hard leather case is available nowadays. It definitely protects the lenses from the wear and tear of being hauled everywhere the camera goes.

Close-up tab and key ring
Close-up tab and key ring

It would be safe to say I never use the 18-55 mm lens that came with the DSLR camera so my 52 mm Vivitar close-up lenses (made in Japan) include a No.1, No. 2 and No. 4  lens for my everyday 50 mm lens. Close-up lenses have diopter ratings such as +1, +2, +4, +10 that can be purchased individually or in sets.

Close-up lenses
Close-up lenses

When stacked, they provide more magnification than the built-in macro mode found on many digital cameras. When you stack filters, it is important to place the filter with the highest number closest to the camera lens, then the next strongest lens. If you use a standard filter and a close-up lens at the same time, place the close-up lens first and the filter last.

Keep in mind that close-up lenses decrease depth of field as you get closer to the subject meaning that very little will be in focus. To bring more into focus:

  1. Set your mode dial on top of the camera to the flower icon.
  2. Use a small lens opening, such as f/16, to allow less light through the lens opening and get more depth-of-field. You may have to compensate for this lack of light by using ISO or shutter speed.
  3. Set the camera lens to M (manual mode) and twist the focus ring on the lens to get your focus as close as possible then move the entire camera back and forth until you find the sharpest image.
  4. You can use tripods and clamps to keep the camera and the flower still but, frankly, I’m too lazy to do this.

I would encourage you to check online reviews to help you decide which brand to buy. You don’t want a lens with aberration. To find the current brands, check Adorama or Amazon by searching for “close-up lens filter.”

Lastly, I am the WRONG person to ask about photography techniques so don’t. I’m an amateur of the first order but I did want to make sure that you knew about this frugal way to get close-ups because I have happily used my close-up lenses for more years than I have been howling at the Crooked Moon (circa 1990).

Thanks to Poppie for loaning me his camera to take these photographs.

CHICKEN ON A LEASH

I’m telling you, I can’t get any respect from my relatives. Just the other day, Poppie told me something I wanted to do — that would benefit him financially — was crazy. He was most emphatic about it, too. CRAZY! You would think I orbit a moon that hangs slightly crooked and therefore suffer from a warped view of life.

When I indirectly suggest to him that some of my friends orbit the same moon by casually mentioning some oddball thing they plan to do, their plans don’t even garner a raised eyebrow.

For instance, just this week, I found myself leaning toward my computer monitor with mouth gaping wide open. Surely I had read it wrong. So I read my friend’s e-mail again. Yes, yes, that’s what she wrote.

Lam, who you will remember from Chickens, was responding to my email about BIG chicken news in the Sunday newspaper. The City Council had approved backyard chickens. A whopping 300 residents could become chicken holders. All this time, Lam and no telling how many other residents, were skirting the chicken coop laws.

Having already read the big news on Facebook, Lam went on to chat about her chickens congregating in the yard outside whatever room she occupied in the house.  Then she dropped the bomb that had me gawking. “They don’t know it yet but are about to start leash training….”

Leash training a chicken? I immediately pictured her walking down the sidewalk with a leash attached to tiny collars on their skinny little chicken necks. My first thought, of course, was “where will she find collars that small?” My second thought involved the Guinness Book of World Records.

I considered this at least equal to anything I had ever done in the Crooked Moon Department except, perhaps, attending the wrong funeral. Lam’s reason also had less going for it than the financial wisdom of my project that Poppie had deemed crazy. She wanted to leash train her chickens “just because I think it would be neato.” I considered the possibility that HER crooked moon was surrounded by glow-in-the-dark glitter-infused stars.

I took this wild plan of hers to Poppie and casually asked him just where she was going to find teeny tiny chicken collars. He said she would have to get a harness. I couldn’t imagine her chickens being agreeable to any plan involving a harness but, more importantly, Poppie didn’t raise a single eyebrow at Lam’s plan. Not fair!

Lam had already completed a chicken trade in the Wal-Mart parking lot so I knew she had this all figured out. Besides, her chickens really liked her. A lot. After dinner and Wheel of Fortune at Poppie’s, I emailed her with my questions.

It seems she was planning to use a soft strip of cloth as a start, “looped in front of the legs and behind the wings. They are underfoot all the time so it shouldn’t be so different than usual.”

It turns out the chickens viewed the leash as waaaaaay too different. Lam’s update email said they looked like blue marlins on a fishing line and royally scolded her for such audacious treatment. Undaunted, Lam theorized that “every dog I leash trained took a while, too, so no surprise there.”

Lam's chickens
Lam’s chickens — Spacy Lacy Greedyguts and Princess Penny Stinkypoops
Photo credit: Lam

However, she was surprised the next day when she walked out into the yard with the leash and both chickens bolted the minute they saw her. Ain’t that something? She treats them like people and then wonders why they can’t be tricked.

Her third training session involves putting the leash or harness in an enclosed area with lots of food to distract them then standing back to let them figure it out without associating HER with the harness.

I’m tellin’ ya, I really should get a little more respect.