Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey Google? I don't have a cell phone, stop asking me to give you it's number!

Back to the original plan; which was...I didn't have a plan really.
I've got 2 geese that collapse in the morning when let out of their pen.  It's like they have asthma or something.  I isolate them in the pen and after about 10 minutes they recover. It's inconvenient but I am dealing with it. It takes a morning chore that was 1/2 an hour and now it's an hour-long.

School is eh: I was 20 minutes late to my first Algebra exam because I was studying FOR it.  I got into class, apologize and grabbed the test. My brain froze and could only remember the quadratic formula.  Yeah...got a D on that bugger.

Chem is fine.  I hear I have to watch an ice cube melt for Engineering fundamentals.  great.

Knitting: I can only focus for about 10 minutes at a time.  Other than that, I've got a cat that needs my lap every stinking time I sit on the couch, whether or not I'm studying, 8 geese, two that faint, 4 ducks 3 that get along and one drake that's alone, 16 chickens -10 of which are the size of a small bottle of medicine (they're cute), 3 cats, one husband and one kid that all clamor for attention. I'm only one person - any animal under 3' BUGGER OFF! geez.

So I'm knitting hats. Apparently I knit hats in my sleep. I've attempted to start the back on the Aidez but was interrupted. What A FREAKING SHOCK!! Nothing I do is left uninterrupted lately!  I went to sew a nook bag for a friend of mine...got 10 minutes into it (it's quilted) interrupted. My Sister came over to see if I wanted to \_ another interruption - some telemarketer selling shit for seniors (dude, I'm 42 not 102) ok done w/ that- sell me her Son's car.

Interruptions have become my life lately and it's frustrating me to all heck. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Update-a-rama

Honestly, I have been knitting! The thing is though, when you're working on a new design, you have to keep it secret.  This is a cowl that I've designed and now I need to write the pattern out and publish it. It's a nice, close knit pattern great for guys. This morning I wore it outside to test it out since it's 41 here in WI.

I'm also working on a stranded hat.  There's about 10 skeins of Knit Picks Palette that I scored for 50 cents a piece at Goodwill some time ago.  I've been playing with different stranded designs.  Sometimes I just want to mess around without a real aim.  The Aidez is taking a time out mainly because I am afraid to mess up the bind-off on the sleeve re-design. I know, ...get over it! It's getting colder, so that might be my impetus to get it done. I find that some of my homework reading is done better if I am knitting at the same time.  I concentrate better.
Bantam chicken update: we have 10 baby chicks under two hens in the garage. This is one of the two black/gray ones we have.  The odd part about this is that our hens are either speckled white or white, and our roosterss are either brown or white.  So where the black comes in? Who knows.  Genetics is a fickle science!

And they are little! This one is well....1/3 of my hand. I had him/her on a bale of straw but it wanted Mama so bad it started running and almost fell off.  We don't need that.  The broody girls are very good Mama's and do well in caring for their babies. It's interesting on how well they do just based on instinct.

That's George on the left, and Fred on the right. Our geese that hatched over 5 months ago.  Both of these boys were found last night all wobbly and panting for air. So Dave and I held onto them while we put the others into their pens for the night and for about another 1/2 an hour. George was my charge and he was just breathing so heavy I didn't know what else to do for him except keep him warm and talk to him to calm him down.

We suspect something was chasing them around the yard in the dark. We'll have to watch that and put them to bed earlier to keep them safe. This morning I watched them carefully, and they seemed fine.  Perhaps a bit more slow than usual. I told them to take it easy.  I've got one class today for an hour, so I'll spend the afternoon doing my Algebra outside to watch them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hey, wanna see what I look like these days?  I had to take a picture of myself for my online profile for school.  That's me, in the kitchen with my hair down. Which usually doesn't happen due to the fact that it gets in my face or gets eaten by geese if I leave it down.

School: Yeah, it's going pretty OK right now. I'm taking Pre-Calculus, Organic Chemistry and Engineering Fundamentals.  The last one is online. The 3 classes keep me plenty busy, thanks.  That and driving back and forth between Janesville, Beloit and Orfordville.   Once we get another car for me, I'll stop having to be in the van for about 3 hours a day driving 100 miles just to go to school.

I've got 3 options for cars: 1988 Mustang Convertible, 2001 VW Bug, or a 2005 Aveo.  Really? I want the Aveo. It's new but costs more than I'll be getting for financial aid this semester. Unless we can come up w/ about $2000 in financing, I'll be driving a Mustang Convertible. Which would sound more awesome if it were like a 1968 Mustang Convertible.  But then I would not drive it to school. I know how people drive!

The Geese, Ducks and Chickens: Ducks are learning how to mate, which apparently is done in the pool.  High romance it is not.  The female duck will only have patience for a fumbling mate for so long before she bucks him off and goes on her way.

They are getting along better with the geese, who have figured out they are now bigger than the ducks.  This leads to 'paybacks are a bitch.'   They run around bullying the ducks like the ducks used to bully them.   Eventually though, everyone settles down and they get their baths in, preening and grazing.
The geese are now at that point where they are getting full-swing into goose puberty.  The two in the pool; Sweet Pea and Percy are fighting.  Sweet Pea is our mermaid and insists on solitary time in the big pool.  Only once so far has Percy won the fights.

Fighting starts with words, then neck biting like you see here, then with wing flapping. They really don't injure each other while fighting. Oh some feathers fly off, but that's about it. The other geese sit around screeching while it's happening.  Kinda like a goosey chant, 'fight, fight fight!'

Oh by the way? Percy's a girl. I'm about 80% sure about that.  We're going to keep the names even when they don't hit the gender correctly. Percy has a big butt, small knob and no dewlap.  Which makes me think girl.  There are now 2 Bantam Hens sitting on 21 eggs. We call the the 'broody girls' and we should have little bantam chicks in a week. Dave found where the other hens were laying their eggs: On the tool bench and behind the pool pump.  So we have had laying hens for quite a while now, they just keep hiding them.  Which ticks us off because we built 2 very nice, large, comfy nesting boxes in the coop.

We've also been doing a bit of shooting. That is me with the shotgun.  You know, they don't kick if you snug that barrel right. into. your. shoulder.  We had some friends over to try out their AR and to give them some time with the semi-auto pistols.

I've learned a lot in the past few years about handling - and I mean SAFE handling - of firearms. I've noticed that once a person is taught the safe handling of a semi-auto. then learns to fire it...they aren't as afraid of them anymore.  Contrary to popular belief, a semi-automatic firearm does not just 'go off'' when sitting around.  I mean you really have to work at getting them to fire.

And there are 4 rules to firing a gun that many people just might not know:
1. Always handle it like it's loaded.
2. Never aim it at something you don't mind shooting
3. Always look past your target because the bullet will be most likely going past your target.
4. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THAT TRIGGER unless you're planning on firing!

I don't know how many times I read news stories about people who 'accidentally' shoot someone because they don't follow these 4 simple rules.  Then again, stupid is as stupid does.  Guns aren't toys, they are protection.  You don't go swinging around a bat at your kid do ya? Then don't go swinging around a gun.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That's what I remember

Lots of people will give you great and moving tributes to those who died on 9/11/2001.  Lots of tributes. And me? I remember the feeling of emptiness, helplessness and horror as we saw what unfolded that day.
I start work at 8, so I was in by 7:45 doing my thing.  Dave and I carpooled and he needed to be across town by 8, so I got dropped off early.  As I slipped in the front door, my boss Jeff came out of his office directly across from my cubicle, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." he says incredulously.  I was thinking Cessna with a student pilot.. small plane got out of control thing.  Jeff walks back into his office.

The next time he RUNS out of his office.  "Another plane just hit the other tower!" he says.  My first words were, "Terrorist Attack?" He nods and says, "Seems so." Now as the day unfolds, not much work is done.  We had radios dialed into whatever we could. I scan for any type of info online as the IT Gods would allow and find a weather webcam across the bay in Jersey that faces the World Trade center.  It updates every 10 minutes, so I see everything sporadically.

Then I look down and realize that I cannot go anywhere but home after work.  You see, I love the Middle Eastern dresses.  The style and embroidery are elegant and on those days when you really don't want to wear much, an elegantly embroidered caftan works. And that day, I had just pulled out of the box sent from some Ebay dude, a maroon caftan with gold embroidery done in the style of Egyptian Arabic Caftans. I am so totally screwed! Any place I would have thought to go to like the grocery store...nah.  People are just off the wall freaked about what they are hearing.  

I did eventually get rid of the dress.  I wore it once: that day and never wore it again.  Bad mojo.

My first time watching the 2nd airplane hit the tower was when I went to pick up our son Alex. The video was replaying on tv.  My only word was, "Shit!" it was just so....surreal.  We discussed my upcoming workshop on learning to spin when we got home.  I was scheduled to go to Black River Falls and take classes on learning how to spin about a week later.  My decision was to go.  As I said, "What are the terrorists going to do, start bombing cows? There's nothing worth bombing in Wisconsin."

Sitting across from my Father In Law, Ed the next morning eating breakfast, he asks, 'does this whole thing make you nervous?" And I think about it, "Not really." I say.  We're in flyover country, surrounded by hay fields and cows. We're not a target.   Only about a week later they were giving news updates about the rescue and recovery efforts when it just hit me: 3000 people dead in one day... for no reason. Absolutely no reason.

I just cried. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updates

Yeah.  Sauteed is fine. Setting on a nest of eggs somewhere in the 30 acres we call home.  I see her every morning.

Today was the first day of school, which is daunting at 42 years old.  Even worse? Most of these kids could be MY kids! I sit in classes with a bunch of 18 year olds trying to look inconspicuous.  Yeah, right!

I put the shop in semi-permanent vacation for now. Still getting used to the whole....not having to do stuff all the time thing. Not having to check for orders, sew bags, finish bags, answer questions, ship orders...it's odd.  I've spent the last few days wandering around doing *something* to keep from going bonkers.

So...one thing I've been doing is gleaning feathers from where the geese and ducks lie. When they huddle together and preen, they leave feathers behind.   So I gather them in plastic bags and then dump those into a 2 1/2 gallon zip bag.   That is the first one, I am working on bag #2.

From what I've read, geese will molt twice a year. Ducks about once.  The geese are teens, so they will molt an extra time this year to get rid of their juvenile feathers.  Now that's a lot of down and feathers! Mama's gathering enough for a down comforter, I think!