Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lessons Learned:: Good-Bye, Hopper

 It pained me to type these words yesterday on my Instagram account: "Buie & I are mourning the loss of our sweet Hopper tonight. We think she may have had a heart attack after being chased by our dogs. Rescuing animals, whether dogs or rabbits, means so much to us. We take it hard when one of ours passes, especially before it's time. This time, it was avoidable and we take full responsibility but it doesn't make it any less devastating. It make us more aware. It reminds us that taking care of these rescued animals is a full time job. One gate left open or one time I forget to check one thing and it could be a fatal mistake. In Hopper's case, it was. I'm sorry, Hopper. We'll never forget you. I'm sorry you had to sacrifice your life for me to learn a lesson."

This was definitely a tough mistake to make. It's easy to say accidents happen but the truth is, this situation could have been avoided. I was giving our baby bun bun a bath so I put all of the dogs outside. B went to the bathroom so he wasn't watching the dogs and neither was I. The other three rabbits were safe and secure on our sunporch (so we thought). The only thing separating the rabbits from their natural predator was a flimsy screen door which we have been meaning to replace for months now. Our dogs have been outside a hundred times with the bunnies on the porch. They whine like they want to play and scratch on the door as if to say, I want to come in. In my naive mind, I have even thought..."maybe they could be friends one day...just maybe." But we didn't dare let them alone in the same space. 

When I was finished bathing baby bun bun, I walked into our living room and saw our sunporch screen door wide open. My heart sank. I ran back around to our bedroom back door to call for the dogs and surprisingly they came immediately. They came bounding in muddy and sweaty and extremely hyper. I shut them in the bedroom and closed the door.

I hesitated inside as I RAN to the sunporch to account for all four bunnies. Tiana, Mr. Bun Bun, and baby bun bun who was still in my arms and wet from her bath, were all accounted for. At this time, I screamed for Buie who was coming out of the bathroom. "I can't find Hopper! The dogs got in the sunporch and I can't find Hopper!" Buie was, of course, calm and collected as I became more and more frazzled. For such an optimistic person, I expected the worst this time. Three hyper, playful dogs don't just leave a bunny (a live one) and come inside when called the first time, not even the most obedient dogs, which mine are not. I knew that the only reason they would come inside so quickly is that they thing that they were playing with...was not so much fun to play with anymore...and there was only one reason for that. I shuddered at the thought of it.

Buie was the first to find her in the lower part of our yard. Lifeless. She was dead. I immediately started crying. He checked her out, assuming he would find her mangled. Besides some loose fur scattered around the grass, Hopper looked the same, just still...like she was asleep. Our best guess is that our dogs wanted to have a romp with her and they literally scared her to death. Rabbits are delicate little creatures and they are known to have heart attacks if they get scared. Poor Hopper. 
Buie found a nice spot to bury her on the other side of the fence, so that the dogs wouldn't disturb her. We both shed a few tears and said a few nice words about her. We let the other three rabbits smell and examine her lifeless body. We thought this would help them understand what happened and if not, then it at least helped us.  Tiana and her were buddies. I'm sad her friend is gone. 



Thursday, June 12, 2014

We Had a Baby....Bun Bun!

In my last post I mentioned that we adopted three rabbits. With the help of our nieces and nephews, we named them Mr. Bun Bun, Tiana and Hopper. We have thoroughly enjoyed having them around and have learned a lot about bunnies. Actually I have been keeping a list of things we have learned about our bun buns. I may share the list in another post. They are fascinating creatures, including their ability to procreate. You know the crude expression "doing it like rabbits?" Well, I totally understand why it was created. One of the interesting facts about rabbits is that they are a "breed-at-will" mammal, meaning they are "ready to go" at anytime. We found this out the hard way. 
Mr. Bun Bun = the culprit 

On April 22 this was a Facebook entry: 

'So far we are FAILING at raising bunnies. Tiana dug out of her cage and had a early morning rendezvous with Mr. Bun Bun who is NOT yet fixed. We have NO IDEA how much "cuddling" went on but we'll know for sure in 31 days if there are extra little bunnies hoping around. I'm SO not ready for babies and especially not a litter of them. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ALL they did was cuddle. Buie is currently making plans to build a more secure cage and I'm thinking I should get Mr. Bun Bun to the vet ASAP!'

We were completely clueless if A. they had even done anything or B. if Tiana had become pregnant or C. if she was, in fact, pregnant how many kits were about to be added to our zoo!!

We immediately googled "rabbit pregnancy" and guess what? A rabbit's gestational period is 28-31 days. So the good news is we would find out in a month if were going to have a baby...and the bad news? Well, the bad news is that we could possibly have a lot more babies added to our house in one month.

I added the date to my phone. I counted 28 days from the "incident" as I call it. That whole month I was on bump watch. I kept telling Buie that I thought she was getting fatter. Buie was in denial but I knew she was pregnant. Call it woman's intuition or whatever, but I was 80% sure she was pregnant and I was kind of excited. Because let's be honest, who wouldn't want to stare at this cute little face?



She was due to give birth the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend IF she was pregnant (remember we still didn't know if she was pregnant or not and had no clue how many babies were in there if she was). We were scheduled to shoot a wedding on Saturday in Texas. We kept watching. Friday was day 32 and the day we were leaving for Dallas. By the way, I feel it very necessary to mention that my husband threatened to NOT go with me to Texas if the babies were born before we left. He just couldn't see how we could leave them here alone while we were off shooting some wedding. Seriously!? I mean, that's sweet and all, honey, but what are you going to do breast feed the bunnies yourself??

No bunnies were born on Friday and honestly we kind of assumed she wasn't pregnant and forgot about it. We had a crazy busy weekend in Texas. Our pet sitter took great care of our bunnies while we were away with no mention of a baby..so we were in the clear, right? 

WRONG. 

We got home Monday night, fed and watered the bun buns and everything was lovely and seemed normal. Tuesday afternoon rolls around after Buie and I slept in late...embarrassingly late actually. I went to feed the rabbits and I opened up the side of their hutch and I see a huge wad of bunny hair like a little nest, in the picture below. Since Buie and I had been doing some mad research we knew that rabbit mommas will make a nest right before giving birth. My first thought was Oh crap, she about to give birth! And then the big mound of hair started to move and I freaked out!

Oh my gosh! She WAS in fact pregnant and sometime between Friday night and Tuesday morning, Tiana gave birth to our newest little baby bun bun. And here he or she is. Yes, that's right, we still don't know if it's a boy or girl yet.... so for now it's name is Baby Bun Bun.


 We have loved watching Baby Bun Bun grow these past 2 and a half weeks. I honestly can't believe how fast he's grown.

We had fun introducing him to our nieces and nephews, too. My niece, Makaylan, wanted to name him Aladdin. :) 


Baby Bun Bun has a vet appointment this Friday to get some things checked out and to find out the sex. I thought he was a boy at first glance but now I'm not so sure. ha. I told you were are beginners at this. We are a little concerned about his back legs. He doesn't seem to be using them very much so we are taking him in to get him checked out just to make sure everything is ok. The research we have done says he should be hopping around and using his legs more than he is so we just want to cautious. Say a little bunny prayer for Baby Bun Bun on Friday morning. :) 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Buies Do Frisco

This past weekend B & I got a pet sitter for the dogs, cats and rabbits, loaded ourselves and our camera gear in the car and headed to the big D. This was after we had to postpone our trip by several hours because my rented camera lens were late to arrive by FedEx. But finally we were on the road.

I had been hired by the mother of the bride to shoot her daughter's wedding in Frisco. I love to travel for my job and I had that date available so of course I said, yes! I brought along my assistant, my husband, my partner in crime and now I can officially call him my second shooter! :) This was his second wedding to assist but his first wedding to second shoot. B did so well I told him that I may never shoot another wedding without him.


This was just a quick shot of us with our iPhones the night before the wedding. We ate at this amazing place called TruFire in Frisco and we highly recommend it. It was recommend to us by a friend who lives there. We wanted to eat there again before we left but didn't. Instead we tried out a few other restaurants that we don't get the opportunity to eat at.

Saturday was the wedding and it was grander and more beautiful than we ever expected! It was my first full Mass Catholic ceremony to attend and shoot. It was beyond spectacular. Since the ceremony was hour an long - yes, that's right an hour long- I had time to just sit down and take in the beauty of the place.

After the gorgeous ceremony, we danced all night long til 1 in the morning. Needless to say, B & I were exhausted but I couldn't have done it without him. One of my proudest moments so far was when I glanced through the shots that Buie took that night. He did such a great job as a second shooter. Honestly certain moments, such as the first dance, he got better shots than I did! :) So proud!

Sunday I let B sleep in and I had a late lunch in downtown Frisco with my childhood best friend, Brook-Lyn who lives close to where we were staying. It was so nice to just sit and chat for an hour or two. I have missed her terribly! When you are growing up you don't ever think that you will be separated from your best friends but when you are, you cherish each and every moment you get with them! 
We had one more stop before we headed home. Mom had requested that we meet up with my uncle Jerry to pick up a wheelchair for my grandmother. My grandmother, (MeMe as I call her) recently had a bad fall and broke her lower back. She has had a very hard time with recovery. My mom and two uncles have been working hard to make her comfortable by moving her to a nursing home where she would have more round the clock care. Uncle Jerry found someone to donate a wheelchair to her so we just needed a way to get it back to Louisiana for MeMe. It worked out perfectly that we were in town on the right weekend. And I'm always looking for another excuse to have dinner with my wonderful family. 
me, Buie and my cousin Jena who lives downtown with her awesome dog, Tucker 
(she's single, fellas!-Don't hate me, Jena!)

Jena, Aunt Lacy, me and Uncle Jerry

Monday, we slept in, checked out of our hotel room and drove back in time to pick up Lady and stop by our family's Memorial Day cookout. They had fun chasing her around the yard. I think they all slept well that night! :) 
video

I would say we had a successful trip to Dallas. And I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We Got Bunnies!

That's right we got bunnies! Like real live floppy eared, carrot chomping, nose wiggling, poops a lot, real live rabbits. It all started last Easter when I hosted my first Easter mini sessions. I rented two rabbits from a guy nearby. They were adorable, well one of them was...the other one liked to bite. Anyway, the hubs and I tossed around the idea of keeping one but then (like normal people) decided not too. 

So this Easter rolled around and we rented the three sweetest bunnies from the same place as last year. The guy informed us that he was "getting out of the rabbit business" so that got us wondering what would happen to all of his rabbits. We had so much fun photographing these rabbits in this year's Easter mini sessions. They were great around the children and definitely no biting. We kind of grew attached to them all in about three days. 


We weighed our pros and cons and I actually said no, we don't need more responsibility, more cost, more work, etc. etc. But then Buie, just said, let's do it! :) And of course, I said okay. He didn't have to twist my arm too hard. 

So like that, we added three more to our zoo. 



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Louisiana Saturday Night

The Spring in Louisiana means crawfish season. Last year we were just moving down here about the time crawfish season started so we actually never ate any all season. The rest of the year I just couldn't wait to get my hands dirty from crawfish juice so we invited over our closest friends and picked up a few pounds.

To me, this is what Louisiana is all about.  I could honestly do this every weekend. Heck, I could do this every NIGHT but I'd also be about 50 more pounds overweight. ;) 

It sounds weird to Northerners, I'm sure,...sitting around picking apart a little crustacean only for millimeters of meat, sucking the juices out of their heads, tossing their empty shells aside, only to pick another up and do it all again. 


But, it's about tradition. 

It's about sitting around on your back porch being around people who you've known your whole lives and sharing stories. It's all about the potatoes and corn. Who's with me? It's about your lips being so on fire because it's just the right amount of spicy. Well, maybe it needs a *little* more. :) It's about getting your fingers and fingernails so dirty and not caring one bit. It's about seeing how many pounds you can eat or how fast you can peel them. It's about putting the shells on your fingers and pretending that they are little tiny puppets (because we ALL have done that). 



But most of all, it's about being with friends.
All images are copyright Cara Beth Studio. Please do not use anywhere without my permission. If you would like to use them for any reason, please send me an email at carabethstudio@gmail.com. Thank you for respecting my art work! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Scottish Tartan Festival

Since moving back to Louisiana we have discovered a little gem of an event called the Scottish Tartan Festival. Just a couple miles north of my hometown, this festival takes place in a beautiful pasture filled with bright green grass, wildflowers and these adorable hairy Scottish Highland cattle. These cutie cows are the highlight of this festival, for me. I love the way their shaggy mane hangs over their eyeballs. 
 Lady, our King Charles Cavalier little rescue dog, found these guys extremely curious. But after a few tail wiggles and sniffs she let out her most vicious growl and bark and was then ready to move on. I think when she discovered she wasn't allowed to crawl under the fence and play with them, she was disappointed.
We met some of our best friends and their adorable little daughter at the festival. Their daughter shares my obsession with the hairy cows and we both practiced our best mooing.

We met some nice Scots who played us a little tune on their bagpipes and had a little fun with in the meantime. This picture cracks me up. He's lifting up his buddy's kilt without him knowing. hehe. ;)

 There were so many beautiful people in their outfits, kilts and Scottish dress including this woman. Doesn't her smile just radiate?

This year we brought our own little Highland dog. Lady had a blast getting belly rubs from all the children and even some soft hearted men in kilts took a second to scratch behind her ears. She was a stranger to no one. As silly as it sounds, I was a proud dog mom because of how well she was socializing with other dogs, big or small. As dog parents that has been our goal, to socialize her even beyond what is necessary and she passed the test with flying colors!

The festival hosted a little dog show, nothing big or anything, but we were approached and asked to sign up. Since Lady's breed is from England she is considered a Highland breed so she was entered in that category along with 2 other dogs, a Scotty dog (obviously a breed from Scotland) and a little Jack Russell Terrier (I think). She got 2nd place and even though there were only 3 dogs, I didn't care. She did so well and I was one proud dog mom. 

 Overall, this is such a great event and I hope it grows and grows each and every year. Buie's family origins can be traced back to Scotland. One day we hope to go there and experience their culture fully, but until that day, we will continue to attend Minden's Scottish Tartan Festival each year. It is honestly something we look forward to for weeks, if not months!

All images are copyright Cara Beth Studio. Please do not use anywhere without my permission. If you would like to use them for any reason, please send me an email at carabethstudio@gmail.com. Thank you for respecting my art work! :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Conquering Canton.

Can we just talk about how much I love the Canton First Monday flea market for just one second. Nevermind the blister that I still have on my left toe or the soreness that I still feel four days later. It was all worth it.

What is Canton First Monday? Well, it's only the oldest, largest continually operating outdoor flea market in the United States.   It takes place the weekend before the first Monday of the month. If you love vintage, antiques, dirt, a little rust and a whole lot of history, then Canton is the place for you. The first time I went I was completely overwhelmed. I didn't know where to go, what to think or what to buy. I've been quite a few times now and each time I go, I learn a little more. I can still get lost in a heart beat. I depend on my mom mainly to keep me straight but also my trusty map.

This past weekend my mom and I went one more time just for the day and had a great day! The weather was absolutely beautiful! It was about 75 degrees that afternoon. I had a list in my hand, my mother by my side and new tennis shoes on my feet which proved to be a poor decision in the end.

I go to Canton mostly to go prop shopping for my photography business. I have found tricycles, wagons, child's rocking chairs, vintage ABC blocks, hand sewn quilts, lace bonnets for my newborn shoots, vintage handkerchiefs...and the list goes on and on. Sure you can find all of these things on ebay or etsy but will you be able to bargain the price or meet the people who own the shops? Probably not. And in Canton you don't have to pay for shipping! I have found some pretty amazing deals by simply asking. It never hurts to be nice, too. :) 


Before you load up and head to one the largest flea markets in the US, there are a few things that I think you should know:

1. Have a plan in mind. Even just a rough idea is nice. For instance, this past Saturday I knew I was looking for props and a few decor items for our bedroom. I had about three places I knew I wanted to go to and we marked them on our map. The rest of the afternoon we spent wandering around the open air area hunting for props. 

2. Wear comfortable shoes. I thought I was doing that this time but the shoes I put on I had really only worked out in a few times. They were still fairly new. Even though they were tennis shoes, they were not broken in. And my dogs were barking by 3pm. It is not important to look cute at Canton. It is not a fashion show, people. Wear the most comfortable shoes you own and NOT NEW ONES. 

3. Bring cash. Some of the boutiques in the pavilion will have a credit card machine but the internet connection is unreliable so sometimes they cannot run CCs. Have plenty of cash and lower bills. Not just $100 bills. And just to be nice, please don't offer someone a $100 bill at 8am when they first open and ask for change. Chances are they won't be happy with you. :)

4. Rent or buy a cart. They have little carts, or buggies as some people call them, for rent or for sale for pretty cheap. I think they are $10 for the day or $40 to purchase. Obviously if you plan on coming more than once, you should just go ahead and by one. Oh, and get one with the swiveling wheels. You can thank me later. They are pretty hard to navigate otherwise. 

5. Go ahead and leave your kids and dogs at home. I see people at Canton trying to make the most of the weekend or the day, however long they are there for, with their children and failing miserably. It's hot. It's crowded. Your kid probably thrives on a schedule. He's cranky because it's time for bottle and you can't get to it in time because it's underneath everything in your cart or there's nowhere even halfway private to breastfeed. I don't have children so I get that I might be making some moms mad and I'm sorry, but wouldn't you enjoy yourself more if you didn't have to worry about when to feed, when to wipe and dear Lord, what in the world do you do if you kid just has a full on melt down. I mean, you came all that way, and what do you do, turn around and go home? Just get a sitter or your mom or husband to watch them. You'll enjoy yourself more, I promise. Oh and the dog thing. Just don't. I mean, I'm obsessed with my dogs but I don't bring them shopping. Would Lady look cute sitting in a wagon being pulled around Canton all day. Of course! But it's just not practical. And where are you going to put all of your purchases, if your buggy has a big dog bed in it? So fight the urge, if just for one day. (Of course this is just a suggestion based on my personal observation. If you're feeling brave then by all means, ignore me.)

6. Bring a map. Print one off the internet and bring it with you. You'll need it. Oh and pay attention to where you park, you'll want to get back to your car eventually. 

7. The buddy system. If you go on a girls weekend and bring several friends with you, don't expect to all shop together. It's difficult to all stick together in this place. So pair off based on what part of Canton you want to conquer. Believe me, it'll be way easier than playing the 'shop and wait' game. You don't want to stand around and wait on 6 of your friends while they look at stuff you're not in the least bit interested in. 

8. Have a meeting point.  If you are with several people and are not shopping together, then have a meeting point and time to meet. Usually whoever I'm with, we'll plan to meet for lunch. We'll regroup, talk about how the morning went, any great purchases we found, then we'll go load up our car. With our buggies freshly unloaded, our stomach full and energy levels back up, we'll go back out for Round #2. We'll settle on a departure time and plan on meeting at a certain place (usually it's the car). We'll load up again, then go eat dinner. 

That's a good start at least to conquering Canton. There is no way to possibly conquer all of Canton in one day but you can surely try!

 Conner & Scooter enjoying my vintage lawn furniture I picked up this past weekend in Canton. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ice Ice, Baby.

So far this year I'm kinda failing on my blogging. I have the worst memory and one of my favorite things to do is look back on this blog and read what all happened through out the year. So let's recap the last few weeks shall we?

Old Man Winter woke up and shared a little ice with North Louisiana a couple of weeks ago. While our friends in Central and North Arkansas were having true snow days we were slip sliding on 2 inches of thick ice. Here's a little peek:

video

 This was Lady's first time to see any sort of wintry mix (at least while we have had her) and it was so fun to see her chase around the sleet as it fell. Then she would dance around on the slippery ice like it was the Doggy Nutcracker Auditions. :) Scooter is our dog that LOVES winter weather. He usually just lays in it for a while; I think because the cold feels good against his fur. He also enjoys eating it.


The ice only lasted about 36 hours before it melted and then it was back up to 70 degrees in about 2 days. Crazy Louisiana weather!

According to the Farmer's Almanac (and Mr. Groundhog), we will be getting one more frost before Spring. Buie & I are getting geared up for Spring already and seeding our herbs and veggies.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feeding Time & BarkBox

You may have noticed our little blog here got a new look. I thought it was about time we added in our other two family members. In 2013 we added two members to the Buie's Zoo: one cat and one dog. The dog was our choice but Lannie Cat came with the house, but we love them both the same. So how is it living with 6 animals? A zoo for sure! I feel like it's always feeding time. Most days, B & I switch off feeding cats and dogs. He'll feed the 3 cats and I'll feed the 3 dogs, then in the evenings we'll switch. Everyone gets fed a measured amount twice a day. We don't ever leave food out during the day because inevitably the dogs will eat the cats food and the cats will be throwing up Lady's food 30 minutes after inhaling it. So when it's feeding time, it's feeding time. If you don't eat during the allotted time then tough luck. Your bowl gets taken up...except for Lannie Cat, our outside cat, she has her own bowl outside and no one ever messes with it, except for the occasional raccoon.

Scooter and Conner just went to the vet yesterday and S had gained 3 pounds since November. That would be like me putting on like 30 pounds in 3 months! Ok I have no idea if that is what it would be like, but you get the idea. It's a lot for a 70 lb dog. It's a lot for any dog. Our vet recommended cutting his food IN HALF until he gets the weight off. In other words, we're going to have one pissed off dog for a while. Poor Scooter. That also means cutting back on treats which is sad because we just started subscribing to BarkBox.

What is BarkBox you ask? If you are not familiar with it and you have a dog or two (or three or four) that you are crazy about like we are, then I highly recommend this company.

I'm sure you are familiar with the many monthly subscription companies that have emerged such as BirchBox or NatureBox. There is even one for meat lovers that I know my husband would appreciate: Carnivore Club. Yes, that's right, you can have meat delivered straight to your door every month. What man wouldn't want that? 

BarkBox is the same concept but for your dog. This company puts together the best biscuits, treats, and toys, packages them and sends them straight to your door every month for you and your pooch to enjoy. You should definitely look into it. I know you are probably thinking, "but is it WORTH it?" And the short answer is YES!! definitely! The long answer is well, it depends on how spoiled your dog is. If you buy your dog treats and the occasional toy then this monthly subscription would probably be for you. We have definitely saved money by subscribing to BarkBox. I have received 3 months of boxes so far and ALL of the treats are made right here in the United States. Most of the treats are either grain free or gluten free and void of all of those nasty preservatives that we are all trying to avoid these days. 

 The best thing about BarkBox is that all three of our dogs love the treats and toys! Even though we have three dogs we only ordered one BarkBox and there is usually only one toy per box so we have to share. :) Last month our favorite treat was the Louisiana Alligator treats make from real gator. Go figure! I knew I was raising them right. ;)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Project House:: 2014

Well, here's the obligatory New Year's - how is this year going to be better than last year - post. My resolutions are probably no different than anyone else's: lose weight, be more organized, yada yada yada... but I do have several big house projects than have been hanging over my head for the last (ashamed to say it) ELEVEN MONTHS!

Remember those lovely before pictures I posted months ago?
It's SO nice to look back and have a sense of accomplishment knowing that none of these rooms look like this anymore. I actually left off a few rooms. So in the sense of being complete, I will finish showing y'all the before pictures and then throughout the next few weeks, months (or however long it takes me - I really have no plan!) I'll start showing y'all the AFTER pictures of our home. It has been so fun to take each room and decorate it according to our style knowing that we aren't leaving here for a long time. 

2013 was a year for our new-to-us house. This home was actually built about 20 years ago but sadly was not maintained properly. As soon as we moved in we knew we had our work cut out for us. With the help of trained professionals we were able to accomplish these - along with many smaller - home projects:
our new fence going up
  • build a privacy fence
  • paint interior walls and trim
  • re-screen sunporch
  • hang a front porch swing
  • update lighting fixture in 2 bathrooms
  • replace old mailbox
  • landscape our front yard

And as any home owner knows, your work is never done. As far as resolutions go, the house is a big one: finish all house projects, including but not limited to:
  • organize the garage
  • organize my home office
  • landscape the back yard
  • spruce up the sunroom
  • renovate our kitchen (not sure if this will happen in 2014 or 2015 - we shall see!)
The day I can park in our garage again will be a day worth celebrating! What resolutions are you making this year?