Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In momma bear mode

Elvis is in mama grizzly mode. 

I made a quick run to Menards to pick up a couple totes. One for Elvis and her babies, the other for Grandma P.

I set up the totes and put Elvis in the one and she was fine.  She found the food and ate while I put her babies in with her.

Oh but later, after she kicked pine shavings into the water and tipped over the food plate I went to clean up and restock her food and water she went after my hand and drew blood.  She went into full mama grizzley mode even though I was no where near the babies.

My DH says that since Grandma P is in the room Elvis might sense it or hear Grandma and is on the defense.  The timing is too coincidental because *yesterday* Elvis was just fine.  Heck, she was fine this morning.

So now if I want to take care of her basics I have to wear gloves.

Loverly ...

Thankfully Grandma P seems to be doing just fine. She's such a good girl.  You wouldn't know she's in the house she is so quiet.

Weather is still yucky.  This morning it was snowing and the flakes were HUGE.  No kidding, they were the size of jar lids.

I made the body of my first bunny nugget last night.  I still need to make the ears. This morning I found a small ball of blue worsted weight yarn I forgot I had.  I cast on another bunny nugget on US 3 needles.  So far I've got the body done and look at the difference in sizes.

The blue one is so wee.  The white one is a good size and I'm eager to what they both look like completed.  The only think I'm not looking forward to is putting the faces on.  I'm not very good at that bit.

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. I am getting better at cooking in cast iron.  I can't believe I didn't have this one on yesterday's list.  Yesterday I fried eggs in my skillet and they didn't stick and I didn't break the yolks!  Go me!

2. Dinner with my little man tonite.

3. At rel. ed tonite (the last class) a gal did a really nice presentation on the Shroud of Turin.  I learned some interesting things. 

4. How quick these bunny nuggets

5. My house is toasty warm right now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The (mostly) uneventual day

Shortly before leaving to work this a.m. my DH looked out and noticed one of the neighbor's ducks came over to visit our temporary lake.  Yesterday we saw it walking along the edge of the neighbor's yard, as if deciding it wanted to come over or not.

It is a funny looking creature, yes?

I get a kick out of it's pompadour.

The neighbor has a menagerie of ducks, geese, chickens and guineas.  She is fortunate that she has a big pond right on her property so the critters have a pretty good home.  

I guess this is one of those times where the grass is greener on the other side, according to the duck.

Work was uneventful for the most part.  I had three people stop  by my office to let me know that it was snowing this afternoon.  Lovely news, yes? Not really.  The snow turned to slush on the roads and every car that passed me splashed the whole car in a slushy mess. 

When my son came back from checking for eggs he told me that Grandma P had blood on her back end.  I went and checked it out and saw the feather eater has struck again.

Poor Grandma P.  When we first got her last summer her back end was (and still is) bare.  We joke about her featherless rear and her waddle makes it all the more humorous but the poor thing deserves to have her feathers back.   Every time the feathers started to grow someone would pick them.

We have a pretty good idea who is doing it too. :-/

My guy felt so bad about her getting pecked at again he decided to move her out of the coop temporarily.  He was going to put her in with the bigger babies but they were immediately attracted to the blood.  So she is currently in my craft room in her own set up until we can figure out a new solution.  She's a very docile chicken and I think she is appreciating being brought it. For one, it's warmer in the house and she doesn't have to worry about getting picked on.   I haven't heard a peep out of her.  I did look in on her a while ago and she was just sitting there, being zen.

Later on my guy took one of the turkeys and put it in with the guineas.  At some point I'd love to group these guys all together but I think it won't happen anytime soon.  I was told that the guineas tried to go after the turkey but the turkey pecked a bit.  Then when the turkey went "weep-weep" the guineas freaked out and ran into a corner and tried to climb the feeder.  Then the turkey started to panic.  

Today I was watching an episode of Single Handed Knits and Mel was talking about Bunny Nuggets.

Bunny Nuggets is a free pattern from Rebecca Danger. The finished object is so cute it makes my teeth hurt.  I printed out the pattern, checked my stash and cast on tonite.  I'm not sure how many I'll make. I do have one or two people in mind for these.

I'm nearly done with the body of the first one.  I'm working with a bulky yarn on US size 8 DPNs. I do have a second ball of leftover yarn for the second bunny.  I need to measure it to make sure it's enough.

One of my friends on Nimblestix posted in the Knit One, Eat Two guild about a new-to-me canning podcast.  It is the Canning Season podcast.

I've listened to the first episode so far and I really enjoy it.  It's very professional.  The podcaster has a nice, clear voice,  you can tell he's enthusiastic about what he's talking about and he has a pretty good plan for the podcast.  I can't wait to hear more and see where it's going. He's also a bit "local" to me in that he's from Minnesota.

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. How much the family cares for the critters we have.  How you treat animals is a true test of character, IMO.  My guys are awesome!

2.  Casting on a new project.

3. New-to-me podcasts.  I've branched out from knitting podcasts. 

4. Being able to finish one book on my kindle and immediately start another.

5. Black Cherry yogurt.

Monday, April 28, 2014

It was a cold and dreary day ...

No really, it was.

Temps stayed in the mid-30s F all day and the wind ... oh the wind, it blew.  It blew hard. 

Then icy bits of death fell from the sky.  I never thought that would actually happen but it did.

My coworker and I were in such a funk today.  The wind was blowing so hard it sounded like someone was in her office blowing a big kazoo. 

The day called for a pot a chili for supper.

And a fire in the wood stove.

We've been trying a new method of fire building the last few times.  It's been working out great for us.  The fires start and take very quickly. It is the top down method.  You can read more about it here

Considering how damp and yucky it was outside, this was a welcome sight for us.

Tonite we cleaned out the brooder totes and rearranged a few things.  We moved Elvis from the big box and put the guineas in the box.  The box was too big for Elvis and the tote was too small for all the guineas.  My guy thought the guineas were freaking out in the tote because there wasn't much room for them to roam. 

The guineas are really happy in their new digs. It's so hard to take a photo with the red brooder lights. Sorry.

The guineas are now roaming around and scratching in the shavings.  They are no longer huddled together in the corner.  We even heard one make that really sweet trilling-coo sound.

The Americaunas and turkeys are happy to have clean shavings.  They took "baths" in the shavings.  One of the turkeys can really throw the shavings.

Elvis is still adjusting a bit to her new space.  The other babies were making so much noise that Elvis was wondering what was going on.

 I did decide to rip my Pamuya shawl tonite.  I didn't have any fun doing it but it had to be done. I have to come up with a game plan for working on it again.  I can't be distracted when I'm working on it.

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. My guy takes care of the mice that come into the garage.

2. Talking books with my coworker.

3. Grilled cheese sandwiches.

4.  Hearing someone say nice things about my ladies eggs.

5. How pretty the fire is tonite.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A preview of things to come

The last time I had guineas they were frantic, loud little creatures when they were babies.  When they got older and were out in the coop, they acted like teenagers and would sleep or stay on the high perches until you went in and chased them out.  Then they roamed the yard in a pack and made their noises and screamed at you.

The guinea babies time time around, they are fairly quiet in comparison.  They also spend 95 percent of their time sleeping. They huddle in a group together, in the corner and sleep.  Sometimes one or two of them fall asleep with their head in the food dish. I guess they are getting an early start on all the sleeping they will be doing once they are older.

My son took one out of the tote to hold for a bit and the little bugger jumped out of his hand and ran under the dresser in my craft room.  It got my little man pretty upset and I think he was scared that either the chick was hurt or I was going to be mad.

I was neither.  I went and found the little bugger and carried him out to the living room and let my DH hold it for a while.  My DH let his guard down and the guinea jumped out of his hand, ran across the couch, jumped down and ran behind the couch.  We found him in a corner all panicked and stressed out.

Perhaps we should give up on the idea of hand holding these critters.  I think they are more high strung than the ones we got last year.  It should make this summer interesting.

The weather today was pretty crappy.  Rain and cold.  Made for a dreary day.

 This evening I pulled out my Pamuya shawl that I had been working on during the winter Olympics.  I had set it aside but I can't remember why.

Anywho, I worked a pattern row then a purl row and somehow I reduced my stitch count in half.

What the heck?

Now I'm wondering if I should bother ripping back or frogging the project and starting over.  I know I have mistakes all over this shawl. 


I'll probably end up frogging it. Boo!

 Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. My DH made a kick butt fire today in the wood stove.

2. I got some knitting time in today.

3. I saw the deer out in the yard this evening and was able to toss them some bread.

4. I didn't have to do major cleaning this weekend.

5. Seeing the wynadotte out in the run, hoping someone would come by and give her treats. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I think I may have turned into a collector

Did all the usual weekend things this morning: tidied the house, cleaned the chicken coop, made sure the babies were all taken care of, wood was chopped.  The sun did come out for a bit.

My guy took a photo of me holding on of the turkeys this morning.

If only they stayed this small and cute.  I'd have a house turkey for sure!

Then we went to town.  On a lark we called the feed store and they still had guineas.

Yes, we got four more guineas.  That makes an even 12. The new ones have found their voice and aren't afraid to use it.  Fortunately they aren't obnoxious.

On the other side of the spectrum ...

 I discovered one of my Americaunas died.  What is wrong?  I wish I knew.  The rest seem fine.   Last year we had such good luck with the chicks. This year we are getting all the curveballs.  One of the gals at the feed store told me last year they ordered 15 and had only six reach maturity. That sounds awful but I'm starting to see how it could happen.

One of our Barred Rocks has pasty butt.  So I had to soak her for a little bit.  Things seem better for her and when I last checked she was laying on top of a turkey and the other Barred Rock who were snuggled together.

Fingers crossed please.

Elvis and the babies are doing great.  The big babies are doing fantastic.  They are so feisty.  The guys found ants and grubs when they were splitting wood.  The big babies got some of them and were fighting and tussling each other for that natural, raw protein.  They are big enough that we think they can be introduced to the main flock.

Tonite we watched "After Earth." I thought it wasn't too bad. My son thought there was an awful lot of dying in it.  He was sad that some of the animals in the movie died.  My guy thought it was predictable.

 Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. Going out to lunch with my boys today.

2. Snuggle time with my son.

3. Snow much snow is gone.

4. My son was such a good helper today

5. Good steaks for supper tonite.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lots of chicken stuff in this one

Yesterday when I came home I was sad to see that we got our lake back.

My poor DH spent quite a bit of time out there setting up the pump and placing the hose so the water would drain away from the house. It pumped all night. 

Oh yeah, did I mention that it snowed again yesterday?  It did. It started as rain and switched over to big fat flakes that made very heavy and wet snow.  So not cool

While I was staring at this lake and hating all the snow we've got this year I heard a roo crow.  It was Buck and I got him on video.  He's got an impressive crow now.

When I looked out the kitchen window, while getting supper started, I noticed one of the resident squirrels running from the house, something in it's mouth, and by the way it was running I could tell he was pretty pleased with himself and thought he'd gotten away with something.

The little bugger did.  He knocked down the suet cake holder that didn't have washers on the hook to prevent him from just pushing the feeder off the screw. 

He *also* figured out what I thought was a sure fire way to keep squirrels from popping open the suet holders and taking the cakes. I put safety pins on to keep it closed.

The safety pin has been popped!  I'll be. If he managed to figure that out I guess he deserves what little scrap of cake that was in there.

This is what my "craft room" currently looks like. Elvis and the babies are in the white box. The guineas are in the tote by the buckets and the chicks and turkeys are in the blue tote by the office chair. Just thought I'd share what their current digs look like.

Tonite I tried to hold a couple of the guineas. They promptly spazzed out and huddled together behind the waterer.

I forgot how they are prone to freaking out over nothing.  Fortunately they haven't found their voices yet.  It was just a mild little "weep-weep" sound.  They are very sweet looking.  It's hard to believe that they will be so ugly when they grow up.

I'd say they are the ultimate clique in the fowl world.  They always stick together.  I can already picture them moving as one through the yard. 

For now, I'll enjoy their cuteness and relative quietness. 

 Here's one of the turkeys.  To me they are so pretty already.  I love how you can see the pattern in their wing feathers already.

Here is the other bronze turkey.  It was falling asleep when I took the photo and woke it up.  

  The white turkey has decided it likes to sit on top of the feeder and stare at the others.

Took this photo of a turkey last night.  It was being adorable and cheeping and falling asleep in my guys hand.  I got video!

I *heart* the little "weep-weep" sound.  I'm sure it won't last long.

 When the turkeys sleep in the tote they sprawl out.  They are comfortable no matter where they are as long as they feel safe.

Here is poor Elvis.  She's still looking pretty frazzled. 

"Why are you taking my photo?"

She is such a pretty girl. We've made sure she's had plenty of access to food and water and I think that she did not lose as much weight this time around.

Elvis with all the babies.  Yes, the runt is still kicking and chasing after it's siblings. DH and I were looking at them and you really can't tell which one had the rough start.  They all tumble around together. 

I thought this image did a nice job of showing off the one chick's colors. 

I kept trying to take a good photo of the babies interacting with mom, but it's not easy.  They are always running around when they aren't snuggled under her.  Elvis has decided the camera is evil. 

The chick in the middle, with it's beak down, is the runt I think. 

When I'm not taking care of the babies I'm kind of wishing I had an easy knitting project to work on.  I probably shouldn't admit this, but I picked up a couple skeins of LionBrand homespun yarn today to make a simple shawl.  Have I started it? No. Too busy with the babies and keeping an eye on the big girls while they are free ranging.  

Tonite they Wynadotte thought it would be a good idea to walk up on to the deck.  I tried to go out and toss her some bread.  I freaked her out.  REALLY freaked her out.  She flew all the way back to the coop and ran in.  Then Red flew to the coop and went in.

Brewster takes his job very seriously.  He stayed out to make sure all the ladies were in. Then followed them in, then took another quick look outside to make sure there was no one outside and they he went in for the night. What a good boy!

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be better than it was today.  Fingers crossed.  We are thinking about getting another load of seasoned wood. There isn't much left out of the seasoned wood we purchased a few months ago.  Not sure what else is in the works. Sitting on the computer won't be I'm pretty sure. 

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. I had a really fun lunch today with my coworker.  We chatted up a storm and enjoyed each other's company. 

2. I have no mice running around my house.

3. ALL my babies seem to be doing just fine. 

4. How sweet my guy is with all the babies

5. The chairs for my new kitchen table were delivered today.  Now if I could just sell the old table. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now, with more babies

I'm getting used to waking up to my chick and roo symphony these days.  It is a pleasant way to start the day.

Hearing Buck and now the white chick crow makes me smile.

Today was my at home day.  Turned out to be a good thing because my little man stayed home today.  Fever and lethargy.  He'll be good to go tomorrow.

It was an interesting time today with the babies and Elvis.  We had to move Elvis and the babies from the tote she was in to a bigger box.  The babies seem happy to have more room to run around in.  Poor Elvis seems even more frazzled because she can no longer just reach over and drag them back.

I am very happy to say that the runt chick is still with us.  It's all fluffed out, alert and is eating.  It's got an awkward little gait, however. I wonder if it will grow out of it or if it's permanent.  Elvis doesn't seem to be ignoring or excluding it.  It hangs out under Elvis a good chunk of the time.  It had popped out for a little bit this morning and walked right into my son's hand and sat there.  I went to get the camera and when I got back the chick had walked out.

Meanwhile, the other babies and turkeys are doing just fine.  One of the turkeys keeps trying to fly the coop.

 The other babies are just so adorable.  A few of them have their tails feathers coming out.  So darn cute!

Late this afternoon I was walking by one of the windows in the kitchen and noticed we had a visitor.

I'm wondering if this is one of the twins from last fall.  Can you see how skinny this poor thing is? 

I had let the big chickens out and they decided it was safer to be up on the deck while the deer was here.

The big chickens thoroughly enjoyed their time outside.  It's supposed to start raining tonite so who knows when they will get to be outside the run again.

When my DH came home tonite he had a present for me. Eight adorable and very quiet guineas. Apparently they were camera shy.

 DH had asked me earlier to call around and see which feed stores had what and if any fowl were available.  The feed store in Superior had guineas which surprised me.  I didn't think they were going to come in til mid-May.

So now I have three, yes, three totes and containers in the craft room with barnyard fowl in them.

You know what?  I couldn't be happier. :-)

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. Elvis' little runt is still around and seems to be doing fine

2.  We got Guineas weeks sooner than we thought we'd get them. 

3. I can now sit on my deck because all the snow is gone. 

4. The temps were nice out today

5. Homemade beef stroganoff for supper tonite.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cock-a-doodle ... honk

This morning we heard a couple new voices. Grandma P's baby has starting saying "buck"  It's so low and deadpan right now that it seems very out of place.

"What? It wasn't me who said that. Honest"

Another thing that was a bit exciting was that the white chick crowed for the very first time this morning.  It was one of the funniest sounds I've heard in a very long time.  Brewster would crow, then Buck and then this guy and it went something like this: "Cock-a-doodle (pause) Honk.

"Yeah, I said that.  Jealous?  ... I thought so."

Buck is turning into a handsome roo.  So hard to believe that these guys were just itty bitty things not too long ago.

I hardly get a photo of this particular one.  We are pretty sure this is Red's baby. She's kind of awkward looking.

I hung out with the big girls for a while tonite, and Brewster. 

Even though it's staying light out past 8 p.m. They are tucking themselves in about 7:30 p.m. That's fine with me.

I'm sharing this photo because I thought it was funny.  She looks SO frazzled.

Admit it, we've all felt like we look like this at some point.

A quick update on the homegrown babies. I've seen the little yellow one.  It hid right away under mama.

Meanwhile, this little guy likes to poke his head out.

Elvis has been grinding the chicken mash down so it's easier for the babies to eat.  I'm not sure if they are eating yet.

All babies are hatched out but the last one seems to not be thriving.  Granted it is a bit soon to say, but I'm not sure that one is going to make it.  It looks like it's Blackie's baby. This is our first time having a freshly-hatched chick not do well right off the bat so we are taking this one a bit hard even though we know you can't win them all.

Once again the weather was pretty darn nice up here. We've lost more snow. The evening cooled off pretty quick so we got a cozy little fire going again.  It's going to be weird once we don't have to have a fire anymore.

Daily 5 of things that made me happy today

1. The weather was nice once again. 

2. Lunch with my man

3.  I don't have a lake in my front yard

4. I have many happy and healthy chickens.

5. Learning about my new son's hobby so that when he prattles on about it I sort of understand what he's saying.