Category: Blogs @ “Just a Couple of Chickens”


I'm mentioned in an article on ModernFarmer.com !

I’m mentioned in an article on ModernFarmer.com !

Lori Rotenberk has written a great article on ModernFarmer.com about the uses of chicken feathers titled “Flock Star: From Computers to Cars, Chicken Feathers Are Everywhere” – and I’m mentioned for The Feathered Egg and Just A Couple of Chickens!

The article describes how chicken feathers are being used, both commercially and experimentally. There are some amazing things being made out of feathers.

Lori contacted me through my website and we talked by phone and email. She wanted to add an art element to the scientific and manufacturing focus, and my small feather business was just the thing.

Check out the article and learn, as I did, where feathers are headed in our future!

What was the name of that book you saw suggested on the big Portland Bike Ride on June 8th, 2013?

What was the name of that book you saw suggested on the big Portland Bike Ride on June 8th, 2013?

What was the book you saw on the recent Portland Bike Ride on June 8th, 2013?

It was Just A Couple Of Chickens, by Corinne Tippett!

The placard was worn by Andrew Hunt, who is a main character in the book, and who is my husband, and who was riding the “E” bike of the Love Bikes on last nights stunning bike ride through the streets of downtown Portland.

Andrew was wearing the book cover, and not much else…

Because it was the World Naked Bike Ride, Portland 2013!

I thought it was an excellent promotional opportunity, not to be missed. I’m a marketing machine, you see.

The Love Bikes are an art project originally prepared by an inspired group of bike lovers for Burning Man 2012, but also riding Portland’s Last Thursdays on Alberta as often as possible.

Andrew reports that the 2013 Portland ride could have been called Knock Your Socks Off amazing except that nobody was wearing any.

 

by Lauren Scheuer and Available Now on Amazon.com!

by Lauren Scheuer and Available Now on Amazon.com!

Lauren Scheuer has written a book called “Once Upon A Flock” about her journey and discoveries in backyard chicken raising, and it is the book I wish I’d had when I was raising chickens.

Lauren is an illustrator, and it is her photographs and whimsical illustrations that gives a third dimension to the book, taking it beyond the world of story telling and information sharing. This is the kind of book that parents and children can enjoy hand in hand as we enter the chicken world.

Lauren and her family went through a chick hatching experience, nursed a sick chicken back to health, and successfully managed adding a new hen to her small flock. We get to go along on all of these important chicken journeys as if we were there, by her side, because of the window she creates with her pictures. Full color, beautifully illustrated pictures.

There were times when I was raising my poultry, before Lauren wrote her book, and usually in the middle of the my coop, in the middle of the night, when all of my pamphlets, and university extension office resources left me feeling very alone.  This was the old way of learning by doing. Lauren’s book is an example of a new age. Books that entertain and warm while they teach and show. Books that show and tell and show some more.

Once Upon A Flock is not only the perfect book to have in hand while starting up a chicken project, it is also a great bedtime story for my daughter… the kind we read while snuggled together, side by side, so that we can see the beautiful pictures! (plus, there’s more to see once we’ve finished the book because Lauren has an excellent blog)

Available on Amazon.com, and in Kindle format, by Atria Books, of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Free Rooster by Corinne Tippett at The Westchester Press

Getting closer to my goal of making a book from my blog at www.TheFreeRooster.com by using FastPencil.com.

I’ve just tried FastPencil.com as a solution for turning my blog into a book.
Previously, I tried Blurb.com, and Blog2Print.com, and I’m getting closer with FastPencil.com.

Fastpencil.com is a website offering to let authors produce their own book, or help them produce it with fee-based services. It is free to get started, and they offer an “import blog” function based either on the url feed of your blog, or on an uploaded xml file.

This is uber-cool because I can pull an xml download of my self-hosted wordpress blogs, or grab the published feed.

This means it can work with any blog that can be exported and downloaded. For instance, Blogger.com can be exported. Check your settings to find where to export your blog.

Back at FastPencil.com, once my xml file was uploaded, I had a variety of choices to make regarding book format, size, font, cover, description, and audience.

  • My 89 posts resulted in 296 pages.
  • I went with the suggested “elegance” format,
  • 6×9, both printed book and epub ebook.
  • I uploaded a cover image, and chose my cover colors – making them all simple.
  • Along the way, I had plenty of opportunities to preview the book. It was looking good!
The cover I could make through FastPencil.com is not great, but it’s good enough for this test. There was an option to upload a cover, but I have not yet spent my bizillion hours creating one.
  • I had a choice to keep the project private, viewable only to me.
  • Or, for free, available to the FastPencil.com marketplace – other FastPencil.com users.
  • Or, for $299 ($249 ebook only), available to retail markets like Amazon.com – which is not something I would choose because as a Do-It-Your Self Publisher, I know that I can do that myself for less. But there is always a balance between spending time and spending money.

Still hopeful for my color photo print book, I chose “color photos in the interior.”

The whopping $76 print book cost cured me quickly.

I re-set that checkbox and saw it would be $13.14. Shipping would be an additional $14. 42. This print book shows FastPencil.com as the publisher – even though I haven’t accepted their offer of a free ISBN. Their imprint is in the pdf of the print book, hmmm. So I put aside the FastPencil.com quest for a printed book of my blog. Having already given up on color photos, it simply isn’t an affordable option even though it looks good and was easy.

But… The ebook would be $9.99. Onward with the ebook!
It will be EPUB.

I purchased the ebook – checkout total was indeed $9.99, and included a PDF and EPUB.

I moved my shiny new ebook over to my Nook, and although it gave me an error message the first time I tried to open it, I tried again and there it was. An ebook!  There were a few small formatting issues, but it looks good. Especially since I didn’t do a lick of formatting.

I moved my sparkling new ebook over to my iPad and without any error message, it opened in iBooks and looks FANTASTIC!  seriously beautiful.

In summary, I highly recommend FastPencil.com for turning a blog into an ebook.

It was easy – despite a few minor bugs in their online process – and affordable. The pictures look beautiful, the formatting is clean. The EPUB format is widely useful.

Although I didn’t get a file I can convert to word and work with, I did get a file I could immediately distribute – perfect for mommy-bloggers, food-bloggers, travel-bloggers and more. I’m so pleased with FastPencil.com that I’ve signed on as an affiliate.

My quest is not yet over! Next I’ll look at a program that may give me the workable file I have been jonesing for, but in the meantime – Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cape meares oregon and the westchester press

Taking a wide angle view of blogging can help me see where I’m going as I work. (This is Cape Meares on the Oregon Coast, by the way.)

Along the way to learning how to self publish a book, I researched blogging, and saw that many resources suggested posting a blog every day.

Blogging every day sounded overwhelming to me.

It still does, which is why I don’t blog every day.

The whole idea behind blogging, or at least the one related to self publishing a book, is to use the right keywords (ones that readers will be entering in a search engine like Google) and write really interesting, useful, engaging, current, accurate, and readable content, and do it regularly. This builds traffic, and a readership, and an audience… for our books!

A good idea, but still. Overwhelming.

So I developed a system:

  • I brainstormed ideas, and wrote them down in any form. On paper, in an idea database, in a word document, in a spreadsheet… anything.
  • I organized those ideas into categories. Ideas usually can be grouped – and those groupings are the Category. Assigning the category in the blog platform makes it easy for readers to find the topics they are interested in.
  • I printed out a blank month from my calendar program – on paper. Enough with having everything inside the computer, I need to old-school it with paper and pen sometimes.
  • I added any seasonal holidays to that blank calendar sheet, so that I could tailor that day’s post to the season if I wanted to. Christmas always comes as a surprise to me, and this helps.

Since I have too many topics I am trying to cover, I assigned one day a week for each, minus Fridays. If I were blogging about one topic, I’d maybe assign a day for each category or such…
For instance,  I am blogging twice a week at www.TheWestchesterPress.com, instead of three times a week (I couldn’t keep up with three times a week – given my other blogging efforts which are about to be revealed in my next sentence)… actually, I can’t even keep up with twice a week.

Many of my ideas could be broken up into more than one short post, so the calendar filled up rapidly.
After all this, I take one day a week and write the posts, add a picture, and schedule it for the designated day.
I write the posts in advance – as many as I can do on a Saturday, for instance, and when something timely comes up, I can just move the pre-scheduled post to another day, and insert my extemporaneous post.

Series are the most fun for me. Like, “Famous People Who Met My Grandfather” for my soon-to-be-released aviation biography, or “Egg Artist Spotlight” for artists doing amazing things with blown eggshells. My quest to turn my www.TheFreeRooster.com blog at into a book is a series of posts, as I use each tool I can find to accomplish the task.

My system makes an overwhelming task do-able. I see increased traffic every time I post. And I see growing traffic each month since I began to post regularly. If the content is useful, people will read it. If the keywords are correct, search engines will find it.

And now I’ve posted a blog about posting a blog – BlogElegant. Blelegant!

 

 

Silver Laced Polish in Just A Couple Of Chickens

Silver Laced Polish Chickens enjoy heat lamps in the winter… and I learned to hang them high enough to clear their head feathers! But now I have to watchit for teflon-coated heat lamps as well!

I used red heat lamps extensively both when I was brooding my 100 poultry chicks, and each winter of their lives, to keep them comfortable.

Other than the Polish Chickens burning their head feathers on the hot bulb, I had no problem… but that was more than two years ago and there’s a new technology out there resulting in red heat lamps that are coated with teflon.

And teflon is extremely toxic to birds when heated… teflon fumes = dead chicks. The teflon makes the bulbs shatterproof, and these bulbs are intended for food warming, but this new development makes it important that backyard poultry farmers be very careful when choosing the right heat lamp bulb.

In another new technology development, there are energy efficient, ceramic heat lamps available that don’t put out any light… and have no teflon threat, and Rocio Crespo, DVM, MS, DVSc, Dip ACPV suggests that we use them for our brooders and not risk the red heat lamps.

Dr. Crespo presented a talk to the Pacific Northwest Poultry Association (PNPA) in November this year, and I was very happy to be able to hear her speak. For one thing, I totally would have used heat lamps for my birds – and potentially gassed them all to death, and for another thing, she had many other valuable pieces of information. I learned a huge amount!

Rocio Crespo is the Branch Director, Associate Professor at the Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Puyallup, WA. Her knowledge of chicken keeping, and her availability as a knowledge resource is amazing. People contact her with chicken health mysteries they cannot solve, and this is how she learned of the teflon danger. An entire brooder of new chicks expired one night, and Dr. Crespo narrowed down the clues until a light bulb moment appeared overhead. A red teflon light bulb.

I had kept my chicks in constant light, thinking that was better for them, and for me (checking on them in the night), but the lightless heat of the creamic bulb gives the chicks a chance to learn the cycles of day and night, which Dr. Crespo says is better.

SO!  good to know… no more red bulbs for me for poultry. And no more overheating my teflon frying pans… if it isn’t good for chickens it probably isn’t good for children. (Oops.)

Thank you Dr. Crespo and the PNPA!

 

Jodi McDonald supplied the Button Quail for Just a Couple of Chickens

My Button Quail came from Jodi McDonald who has written “A Closer Look At Button Quail” which is the best Button Quail book out there!

Jodi McDonald was the quail breeder in my book whom I called when I needed a girl quail to go with my boy quail, which I bought thinking he was a girl quail who would lay lots of quail eggs… and she was the person who taught me all the things I should have known before I got any quail.

She breeds, raises, and sells Button Quail from her Bracken Ridge Ranch in California.

A couple of years ago, Jodi came out with her book about Button Quail, and it is the absolute resource for everything there is to know about this little bird. It’s the best button quail book I’ve ever read!

The Button Quail is a borderline pet in the US today, but it is also a true quail and needs all the things that poultry need, and a few things more.

Jodi builds and sells a cage specifically designed for Button Quail success. It copes with their bonking issues, their escape plans, and their egg laying production. I tried to handle all of those quail-isms myself and in addition to Jodi’s book, I’d use Jodi’s cages next time.

Button Quail eggs are the size of a penny, and so delightful. They are in great demand in egg art. Button Quail chicks are literally the size of bumblebees – so cute, so tiny. My quail hens, which were Jodi’s quail hens until I bought them and she shipped them to me in perfect health and comfort, laid so many eggs that I am still selling them on www.TheFeatheredEgg.com.

If it’s about Button Quail, which, as Jodi says, is actually the Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, then Jodi is the one to ask.

Quail Queen… Jodi rocks.

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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