Friday, August 31, 2012

BOLO: One Bantam Hen named Sauteed

About a month before we got the ducks and eating chickens, my Sister asks if we wanted these chickens her Brother-In-Law had. Sure, 'in for a penny, in for a pound'.  So we got 6 chickens.  We did not realize until they got older they were Bantam Chickens, or as my Momma would call them 'Banty Chickens.  They're smaller than your usual chicken. About the size of a Cornish Game Hen.

Ah well.  We kept them, threw them in the coop when they got older  and they free range.  I even gave them names:Fried, and Fricasee are the roosters, and Sauteed, Broiled, Broasted and Curried are the hens. Yeah, that was before we realized they were too small to hassle butchering them.

They're like 6 months old now.  We have fun watching the rooster displays, holler at Fried and Fricasee to STFU and let them eat bugs. Well Sauteed come up missing one night.  We have a nightly ritual where Dave herds the ducks into the coop with the chickens and I herd the geese into the garage into their pen.  The chickens are the only ones who will go in voluntarily on their own.  The others need to be herded.  Sauteed come up missing at bed count.  She's the all-white hen.

We searched hastily for a bunch of feathers on the ground, fearful that a predator got her.  No sign. Ah well, we closed up the coop and the garage and went to bed.  After all, it's not like we're missing much, it's a Banty Hen. Not even big enough to take the time to butcher...

She came back the next morning.

She's come back every morning to join her flock.  Which means one thing: She's setting on a nest somewhere outside. Just what we need, more Banty chickens!  Dave and I discussed and we decided to allow her her clutch of babies.  After all, there's talk that meat prices will become abhorrently high.  We may find that at some point those Banty Chickens aren't so much of a hassle to butcher. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


That is the sound of the truck going down our road marking the middle section now.  About a month ago they put down pea gravel and mucked up a perfectly good road.  Now they're marking their mess...sort of like marking their territory. It will be fun to dig out pea gravel from my yard come spring due to the snowplow.

SO, as my MIL would say...Anyways....

Working on closing the shop.  Dave and I have talked about putting up some sort of place holder to keep the shop open without really working on bags. I have some knitting patterns I've written that can be added.

The Geese and Ducks are getting along more and more each day.  Now that the geese have become fully feathered, they are bigger than the ducks.

Here is Dave with 3 of them. They look alike and I really cannot discern who is who all the time now.  I know the one in front of Dave is Sissy just from her head structure and the fact that all her baby down fell off before everyone else's.

Knitting wise - I'm still knitting on the Aidez.  The sleeves had to be frogged because they were too small.  I mean really too small. I rewrote that whole part to make bigger arms. It starts with 34 stitches and increases gradually to 70 then starts the decrease/raglan shaping. 

On a side note: I did no know how popular My Little Pony is with teen guys.  No, really! I'm going to use my sewing skills to see if I can make a stuffed on for my kid. If it's as easy as I thought, I might sell a few to his buddies..

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Officially Closing Up Shop

The official date for closing the Etsy shop is Aug. 31.  I'm done, spent out, fizzled.

It's been a strange, odd, goofy ride.  I started selling bags to help out with the budget while staying home to make sure Alex stayed out of trouble. I was going to Blackhawk Tech at the time and was going to become a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Did you ever start something and somewhere along the line get a real nagging feeling that this was not for you? Yeah, that was the PTA thing.  Somewhere along the time when they started admonishing us to be careful when transferring patients because their skin could be so thin it could tear...well that's when I got nervous.  Could I do that? How would I feel if I inadvertently hurt someone? Maybe this is not the path for me.

I washed out of the program about a week later.  No amount of coercion could make me go back.  I will always be just so nervous that I'd hurt someone just by moving them.


The knitting bags are still great, still fun to make when the sewing room is not like a sauna.  I can spend hours listening to music sewing along without really thinking of what I'm doing.  Hey, I've made over 5,000 of these things. I make them in my sleep! I once made one while talking to my sister.  She is still confused how I did it so fast.

10 Things I will not miss about closing shop:

1. working 6 days a week.  Yeah, I was supposed to have Thursdays and Sundays off.  Lately, it seems as though the only day I get orders is Thursday.  So I spend the morning sewing, then go off to knitting group later. Sundays are still mine though.

2. Taking pictures, endless pictures of bags.  The hardest thing is to find a good place during the winter. Normally I take them outside on the front porch.  During the winter, ain't no way I'm standing out their freezing my butt off for a photo.  Last winter the photos were taken in the bathroom.

3. Gobs of leftover fabric.  No really, I've got 3 boxes of bits of fabric that is too small for bags, too big to throw out.  Maybe I'll make more quilts when I'm closed....

4. to put this nicely? Clueless Customers. 99.9999% of my customers are spot-on, smart knitters with know-how.  I remember one customer well: I spent a month explaining to all that I would not be working on the Friday before Halloween 2011 due to my surgery. I had my Gall Bladder taken out. So wrapped in preparation for the surgery, I forgot to close up shop.  Some woman from Great Britain ordered a bag on that day and then gave me a neutral feedback because I did not send out her order til the next Tuesday.

Yeah, 7 Billion other people could read the postings over that month, ONE PERSON ignored them and I get knicked for it.  Still makes me cranky thinking about it.  That's your lesson small business owners: Close up shop when you're going to have surgery, lest someone expect you to bound out of bed, shake off the Vicodin, drive down to the nearest post office and post their international mail.

5. I Like the ladies at the fabric store, and I'm sure they like my revenue.  I'm not liking the fact that I'm there so much that I can direct other customers to what they need.

6. Knowing the VAT taxes for different countries, plus the postal rates for such countries is not info that will get me dates, fans or money in a trivia game.  I'll be glad to let that bit of useless knowledge go.

7. Oh! You sew? Let me give you my fabric that no one wants nor likes!   Yeah, the Thimbleberries and Sue's stuff was AWESOME, but the other stuff? Eh.

8. Bags are EVERYWHERE in my house.  I'm sure my husband would like to have his home back and my guests would like to be able to sleep somewhere where there's not inventory stacked to the walls.

9. I've spent the last 4 years explaining to my extended family that I work 8am to 3 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  I don't know how many times I've gotten a call, "Oh are you busy?" Yeah, I'm WORKING!

10. I've lost both my health insurance and retirement.  I've got nothing else to lose.  My retirement $ went to pay the fuel oil bill winter before last. Badgercare kicked me off because apparently when your kid reaches age 19, you're not a Mom anymore.  The really pissy thing about that one was that I was one of those who actually PAID to be on Badgercare: 25% of my monthly earnings went to health insurance.

Obama's thing of 'You didn't build that, someone else did.' pretty much pissed off a lot of small business owners like me. I built this business with a flat sheet bought from a Dollar General and some remnants from working at Hancock Fabrics. It was MY knowledge of sewing- passed down from my Grandmother, plus MY knowledge of Ebay that got me my first orders.  I've never gotten a loan, nor asked to borrow anything from anyone for this business. Along the way, I've lost it all, but it was MY risk! I'm not asking for a bailout, just an opportunity to work and regain what I've lost.  Obama can kiss my failing small business owner ass.