Archive for September, 2012


Pacific Northwest Poultry Association Winter Show 2012

The PNPA Winter Show is VERY worth the visit. Only an hour from Portland, Oregon, at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. It’s a great show!

The Pacific Northwest Poultry Association (PNPA) is holding their annual Winter Show this year in Salem, Oregon at the Oregon State Fairgrounds and that means…

Fairy Chickens!

also known as Modern Game Bantams….

Gorgeously, seriously, far-out weird chickens that I have fallen in love with.

We joined the PNPA when we first came to Portland in this way:  Andrew visited Pistils Nursery to see if they wanted to stock my book, Just a Couple of Chickens, in 2010. There he met Michelle Koppe, who is a chicken-networker-raiser-expert-healer of extraordinary skill. Michelle invited me to give a presentation at the PNPA monthly meeting, which I did – about the small business, called www.TheFeatheredEgg.com, that I started in Santa Fe, New Mexico to sell blown eggs and natural feathers from my chickens, which I had ordered in the mail… a bookworthy adventure. That’s what my book was about, and the PNPA gifted us with a membership and we were hooked. We attended their spring show, out in Stevenson, WA, and now their show is down in Salem, in the much larger venue offered by the state fairgrounds.

By attending these shows, masterfully presented by the PNPA, I learned what a good chicken show can offer.
First, surprisingly, is chickens.
Just kidding.
It’s not a surprise, but the range of breeds and their colors and shapes and sizes and glamor is surprising. It’s a great place to learn more about the breeds. Second, it’s a great place to meet people who are doing interesting things in the chicken world, and network, learn, source, discover.

There are ususally birds for sale at these shows, and if not the breed you want, there are people’s phone numbers to collect. There are vendors, selling chicken-related gifts, crafts, equipment. There’s a lovely social scene with family-friendly food, and a raffle that is hard to resist. The breeders auction is a place to buy chicks and older poultry that are not usually available for sale.

This winter show, on October 13 – 14th, 2012, is special because it hosts multiple breed associations as well. A chance to see so much variety under one roof (literally) that it’s a must-see.  For backyard chicken farmers, poultry shows are the very best place to go see what backyard poultry can be. A great place to get a chicken, a great place to learn about chickens without getting a chicken. Or duck. Or Turkey. Or Goose. I love poultry shows, but I especially love THIS poultry show.

(Headsup, if there’s a live rabbit in the raffle… the cage is usually not included…)

 

Farewell My Subaru by Doug Fine, My Book Review

Doug Fine’s “Farewell My Subaru” is an excellent introduction to the idea of transitioning from a gas based economy to alternate fuels.

I discovered Doug Fine and his book “Farewell My Subaru” when a man who had read my book, “Just A Couple Of Chickens” emailed me through this website to say that he had enjoyed my book and that I reminded him of Doug Fine.

I was totally delighted to get that piece of fan mail, and even more delighted to be compared to Doug Fine… once I had googled him and come up to speed on what Doug Fine is doing.

“Farewell My Subaru” was obviously required reading that I had so far missed, since my urban homesteading curriculum is self-complied. Because i’m self-taught. Which explains my motto “Learning by doing it… the hard way”

“Farewell My Subaru” was published in March, 2009… right about the time we began to dismantle our New Mexican lives because our local economy had not recovered from the Crash of 2008, so I was late to the party. Doug Fine’s story was about his transition to rural New Mexican life, and his effort to get away from a gasoline based lifestyle.

Doug’s homestead was in Southern New Mexico, and I was in the North, but that didn’t change the similarity of the culture, climate, wildlife, and experiences he described. It was like he was writing about our place. Except that he started out with solar panels and he jumped feet first into biofuel, which we didn’t do. And his chicken chapter was very short, and not only because his chickens kept getting carried off by the wildlife… but because he was already in love with his goats. I’ve raised a goat. I’ve felt that love. 100 plus chickens cannot compete.

His book is an excellent read, and I would place it at the beginning of my growing library on urban homesteading. It’s perfect for someone, like me, who is just beginning to explore the idea of biofuel, and who has heard of solar panels, but not experienced them. For someone who is well along that path, I think it would be too light, but those folks are not the intended audience. This adventure was only the beginning for Doug, who is currently behind a new book delving into the world of legal cannabis and it’s economic effects.

“Farewell My Subaru” was an important book to me in two ways that I’m quite sure Doug Fine did not intend. He described, in his year of homesteading struggle, the difficulties of raising enough crops and food sources to support himself from the land he was standing on, and he carefully detailed the cost – and longterm amortization – of the alternative fuel sources he was using.

One of the reasons I decided to leave my beloved New Mexico property in 2010 was that I had done the math on my farming dreams and seen that, so long as I had to pay for my water (even if it was just the electric bill of the well pump) and so long as I had to pay for the feed, I would not be able to make my farming support itself, much less me. My real homesteading dream had failed. My urban homesteading dream has now begun.

The book is an exploration, not a solution. It’s not intended to be a solution. Doug makes it very clear that the isolation and climate of his remote ranch were problems to an off-the-grid lifestyle. I add that places where solar panels work beautifully are places where fresh running water is scarce. Places where fresh running water is plentiful are places where solar panels don’t work as well as Doug’s did.

Piece by piece, with prudent combinations and community teamwork, we can make progress on issues like sustainable energy, urban farming, local living, and our impact on our environment. “Farewell My Subaru” is an important piece.

And it’s a super easy, funny, fresh read.

 

Self Publishing Advice Tulip Field

In an endless field of cool things to do with my website, how do I choose just one? And which tulip is the right tulip for me?

The wonderful thing about the internet is that there are so many things you can do!
The terrible thing about the internet is that there are so many things you can do.

Which things are worth my time?

Learning how all of this is going to help me sell my self published book is a massive time-sink, so I have to be very sure that doing something is worth it.

Based on my research, my observations, my workshop attendances, my groups, my mentors, my website classes, and my habit of listening in on Starbucks conversations – having your posts show up on your Facebook page is worth it.

Posting regularly to my blog – (which is the same as my website)… is worth it. And making sure those posts show up on my Facebook page (page, not profile – tho I could do both) is worth it, because I can make the Facebook page updates happen automatically. I can include automatic tweets with the same process, so that’s worth it too.

You can set up your Facebook page to have your blog posts flow automatically each time you post fresh material using the Networked Blogs app, done through Facebook. The same app will push the posts to your Twitter account.

I first set up HootSuite to do this, one of many free services that will do it automatically. But HootSuite would not let thumbnails of my post images show on my Facebook page and that was a deal breaker for me. I think people are more likely to click through if the picture shows, so I switched to Networked Blogs. I’d gone with HootSuite first because I’d read that Networked Blogs would count my click traffic as their own… but in the end, the thumbnails issue was more urgent.

Any specific details on how these services function goes out of date super fast, because everything is so dynamic on the web. Most of the tutorials I viewed about how to set up Networked Blogs were using the old Facebook interface – although they all still worked. The screenshots were out of date. So the info in the paragraph above may no longer be an issue by the time you are reading this post… but regardless, pick one and move forward so that your posts flow to both your Facebook page and your Twitter account.

Google “How to setup Networked Blogs” or “How to post blogs to my Facebook page” and follow through. Then keep posting regularly, because the heart of all the “How to use a website for Self Publishing” advice is to keep posting regularly, and then make those posts work for you.

If I’m wrong about Hootsuite, let me know!  (And if it would take a massive HTML hack to make it show thumbnails… that doesn’t count.)

 

Ann Sothern met Col. C. J. Tippett in 1931

Ann Sothern met my grandfather, Cloyce Joseph Tippett, in 1931 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This picture is from the movie “Cry Havoc” released in 1943. She was blond when my grandfather met her.

In the continuing series about Famous People Who Met My Grandfather, I’d like to introduce Ann Sothern.

Ann was a stand-out beauty in 1931 when Tip brought her a room service tray at the Fort Wayne Hotel, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tip reported that she was reading a script when she opened the door, dressed in a dressing gown, and that she was performing at the Fort Wayne Theater. Tip and his roommate, Bob, saw the play twice.

Ann Sothern was 22 years old, and Tip was 18. He was working at the Fort Wayne Hotel to support his studies at the Midwestern Aeronautical College, and he didn’t usually deliver room service trays. The hotel was shorthanded that night, and so Tip pitched in and scored this cherished celebrity sighting.

Tip did not fall in love with Ann Sothern, nor did he graduate from Midwestern. He was flying his Curtiss Jenny JN4 in open fields, recovering from boxing matches, and trying to find his way to aviation in the depths of the Great Depression. In a couple more years, he would join the Army. But on that one night in 1931, he brought Ann Sothern a room service tray.

This excellent personal service from my grandfather did not, to my knowledge, feature prominently in Ann Sothern’s life. She had started acting at age 18, and was destined for movies and television, but had started out in theater. She was already appearing on Broadway at the time Tip knocked on her door, but one of her Broadway producers had business ties in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and so the show went on there.

Looking at Ann Sothern’s career in comparison to modern celebrity standards, I can see that she was a hard-working professional. She had no reputation for extravagant living, serial marriages, or extraordinary behavior. She married at a reasonable time in her life and had one daughter. She went from theater to film, and kept working in an amazing number of films until she had a break-out success with the “Masie” films, and then a TV series in her own name.

Many of the famous people who met my grandfather were far more involved in his life than Ann Sothern was. She increased his pocket money by tipping generously for the room service tray, but other than that, she was just a fun story for cocktail hour. I include her in my series because she represents, to me, a person who achieved her goal in a methodical, professional, patient, hard-working, and diligent way. I am surrounded by stories of people who make it to the top of their profession by lightning strikes of luck or coincidence, but what I need instead are stories of people who got there the hard way, by working for it.

Ann Sothern, who was born Harriet Arlene Lake, died of natural causes in Ketchum, Idaho in 2001 at age 92. Ernest Hemingway, who also met my grandfather, also died in Ketchum, Idaho. This seems like a highly suspicious coincidence to me, (well, not really, but as I’ve said before… I don’t get out much.)  What is going on in Ketchum, Idaho?  If I was a famous person, I’d probably take up residence somewhere else. Like, Malibu or the Bahamas. Or Corfu.

 

 

Biosphere2 Is the Ultimate In Urban Homesteading

The ultimate in attempting self-sustainable farming away from farmland!

Despite being born and raised in the city, many cities, I have been fascinated with farming.

I tried my hand at dry-land farming. That’s the basis of my book “Just A Couple Of Chickens”, which is funny because it didn’t really go well. But it also didn’t cure me of the farming itch. I’m back in the city again, having flunked farming 101, and now I’m starting to look to urban homesteading. That’s farming my urban habitat, no matter what it may be, using ingenuity and science and techniques the neighbors probably don’t want to know about.

Recently, I realized that my twenty-year-long fascination with Biosphere2 was because it is the Ultimate in Urban Homesteading.

Biosphere2 was an attempt to test what is required to have a self-sustaining enviroment isolated from the planet earth. While the facility is certainly on our earth, it could be completely sealed away from the ground, air, and water.  Sunlight pours in through glass, but sunlight would pour on to anything out in space as well, so that’s part of the plan.

In the 1990s, two teams of people were sealed inside on a mission to see how well it would go to be totally self-sustained. Like, including air and water and all food. They had chickens and goats and crops and five biomes of wild plants and animals. The general media likes to call the mission a failure, but it wasn’t. An experiment is a test, and if it doesn’t make the goal, that’s still good information. The biosphereians were not able to grow and produce enough food to sustain themselves comfortably, as well as suffering other problems, but they learned a lot. They learned not to bring monkeys next time, for instance.

I claim the Biosphere2 crowd as members of my distinguished crowd of failed farmers, which includes the Laura Ingalls Wilder clan.

As I begin my sequel to my first book… which will probably be titled “Just A Couple More”, I’m turning my thoughts to urban homesteading more and more. I’m in the perfect city to do it. Portland, Oregon has a fan base of sustainable agriculture in the city.

Biosphere2 is in Tucson, Arizona and well worth a visit. I think it’s very much like what I would do with urban homesteading if I had 250 million dollars to spare, and about 50 additional million dollars a year for upkeep. My farming plans are smaller in scope, but not in impact.

 

More Than Twenty Tips for Self Publishing A Book

Book design is where we authors put all of our eggs in one basket… for a classy and cohesive presentation.

Book design is an important step in self publishing a book. It is the setting that showcases the polished jewel of your story. Designing your book is where you figure out what you want to do with each of the pages, headers, chapter breaks, and more.

Book design can be a great opportunity to express the message of your story in unique ways, or reinforce your message. So far, I don’t get too weird with my book design because I’m aiming for a polished and professional look… but I can literally do anything I want within the page margins of the book size I’ve selected and the content guidelines of the service I’m working with. But, what do I want to do? Where do I start?

I had no idea how to design my first book, and my friend Sue Waterman was a tremendous help. She did a lovely book design for “Just a Couple of Chickens”, and that was a huge boost. With her fundamental design in hand, I went to the library and checked out ten books, one each from my favorite authors. I lined them up and studied how they designed each of their pages. Then I decided how I would approach it. I also considered the fact that some of my favorite authors have fancy full-time book designers on staff, so their books look pretty swish. I opted for simplicity.

I found a wide variety of left page, right page, headers. Many books had the author’s name on the left and the book title on the right, with page numbers left and right with the header at the top. But some books had the book title on the left and then each applicable chapter title on the right. That takes either a lot of careful design or some fancy programming. It’s super helpful from a reader’s point of view, becasue I can tell right away what chapter I’m in, but it’s more than I want to take on right now from a designer’s point of view. I discovered that I prefer a page number on every page, although most books omit the page number from the first page of each chapter. Books that only listed the right hand page number were not popular with me. I don’t want to go looking for a page number. And I love book dedications, especially the creative ones. I discovered that many of the things I love as a reader, I don’t love as a publisher… like an index, for instance. Lotta work!

I’ll be posting in more depth on individutal book design elements over the next several weeks, and my soon-to-be available book series on How To Self Publish will have even more info, but in the meantime, using other books as a guideline is a great place to start.

Not every page is applicable to every book project, for instance, a fiction novel probably won’t have a bibliography. I feel that book design should always favor readability over fine art, but otherwise, it can be a powerful asset to the book when done well.

This, however, is an enormous amount of work… just when we thought we had “finished” our book!

 

 

Ernest Hemingway coached C. J. Tippett in 1931

Ernest Hemingway coached Cloyce Tippett in Golden Gloves Boxing in 1931. Yale University has an archive of letters from Hemingway to Ezra Pound and posted this picture at their Beinecke Library website.

In my continuing series about famous people who met my grandfather in the course of his aviation pioneering adventures, I am happy to introduce…

Ernest Hemingway!

Actually, Cloyce Tippett would meet Ernest Hemingway twice, and this story is about the first time.

Cloyce Joseph Tippett, known to everyone as Tip, had won a series of Golden Gloves boxing matches held at the YMCA in Port Clinton, Ohio, in 1931. He qualified for the state finals in Chicago and traveled there on a motorcycle with a sidecar, and his friend, Bob.

Ernest Hemingway was in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife, Pauline, waiting for the birth of his son, Gregory. He decided to go over to the boxing match and coach the out-of-town boxers at the finals match in Chicago.

Tip found Hemingway in his corner, seconding the match. Hemingway coached Tip with all of his extensive boxing expertise. Initally, Tip won his matches and was ready to compete for the Golden Gloves Welterweight Championship. Hemingway observed Tip’s opponent and strongly advised Tip to stay out of his way. But Tip was convinced he could win, and he let fly with a right-hand punch that failed to impress anyone, much less his opponent.

When Tip regained consciousness, he went several rounds with a furious Ernest Hemingway, who lectured him for ten minutes about disregarding coaching instructions.

When Tip met Ernest Hemingway again, much later in life, they both remembered their encounter at the Golden Gloves match in Chicago… and how did that second meeting go?  Check back to find out, or sign up to be notified when the book about Tip’s adventures in life, black marlin fishing, and aviation comes out!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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