Monday, February 24, 2014

ugh, the winter will never end, will it?

I'm determined to not let it get me down, but then it pretty much did. Last Saturday I was out doing night chores and slipped on the ice. I went down carrying to canisters of water. My arm was not happy to suffer another injury. The left knee has a bruise and oddly enough; my stomach muscles were pulled.

Aleve is my friend this winter.

A quick look at the chickens that were hatched last weekend. We had 8 hatch, and another two are expected today.  This is the 1st week of the 3 week long hatching fun that will culminate in us having 30 chickens to raise to butcher and eat next fall/winter.

They're doing well. I have one that hatched last night that is a bit more tired than the others. As you see in the photo, we first stuck them in the bathtub after realizing the usual spot in the laundry room was not going to work. There is little heat in the laundry room, and the heat lamp was not putting out a consistent temp.

**Normally, the weather outside by now is consistently in the 30's and 40's...but not this year ***

So we stuck them in a box in the bathtub. Which was fine until we needed to fill water for chores. Now they are beside the sink and the door stays closed.  

This is the hat knitted for Cody's Dad. I've not seen him yet to give it to him. Malabrigo worsted is some great soft yarn. It should keep him warm for many years to come.

He wanted Packer Colors, so I frogged a pair of mittens that I've stashed now for 2 years. They were 1/2 done and I was not in the mood to finish them.




There's this stuff by Lion Brand called Imagine Prints. Essentially it's a huge knitted tube. What I did was take that stuff on clearance for 3 bucks, and frog it to make a light thread that I'm using doubled to make this cabled scarf. Big cables ...now I'm contemplating buying more of this stuff to make a longer scarf.

Not because I'm not working on like...3 different projects right now, right?

It was started because I happened to stop by the fabric store on my way to pick up the Hubby one day and thought...I could frog that for some nice yarn.

I should just stop doing that. It's a habit of mine to buy one skein of a yarn because it's pretty, then have not enough for a project.

The cabled shawl is progressing. I made a strange cable cross in the middle while babysitting, but I think I can make it a design element.

Now I know I have enough of this yarn. I've got 10 skeins of it!  I will eventually have to figure out how big to make it and what edging needs to be put on, but for now, it's a calming knit.

There was no real aim to this project, only to make a nice, warm, cabled shawl that I can wrap around me while making meals or studying.

And when I study, sometimes my hands get cold. So I have more than a few of these fingerless mitts around. These were made from handspun on size 3 needles. Instead of fiddling with a thumb, I made an increase for the thumb base and then bound off the stitches while knitting that row. I was running out of yarn anyways and sometimes I just don't need a thumb, but to keep my hands warm.

 I like the colors in this: the hues of red then the hues of teal. It was the reason they were knitted into mitts. Sometimes you just need to see color when everything is either white or a shade of white/gray.


It looks formless and a blob, but it's a prayer shawl. I'm behind in my donations to the church for the shawls, but hey...I can't be the only one they depend on for these shawls.  It gets annoying that a few people will donate much to the church and the rest skate on just throwing bucks into the offering plate.

In times past, if a family was poor, they'd donate their time and talents. If you've gone into a church built before 1900, you'd see much of that in the altar and carvings. Just because you did not have money didn't mean you did not donate your talents whenever you could.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

LAND!!! I See LAND!!

Yep, there are few patches of land out there under all this snow. The last few days helped out quite a bit. I got to  muck out both the goose pen and the chicken coop. We ended up having to do a deep-bed type bedding for the animals simply because it was 1: Warmer, and insulates the floor and 2: we really couldn't get the stuff up until it defrosted a bit.

6" of wet, smelly, poopy straw was under the nice upper layer. It's a decent way to go for winter, but it makes mucking take hours. And my elbow still doesn't like it. However, I do appreciate the effects of Aleve in getting rid of much of the pain and swelling.

I've started the last sleeve on the gray sweater. Once that is knitted up, I'll block it and see if it fits me better. It's a close fitting thing now, but hopefully the blocking will give me a better fit.

The cabled shawl is longer, with many cables on it.

I finished up a hat for my seatmate, Cody who wanted one for his Dad.

A test in Calc yesterday was ..meh. I forgot a few things I shouldn't but with work and this illness that dogs me, I did as well as I could I guess.  A few more nice days and some rest and maybe this cold/bronchitis will go away. It's gray, windy and raining out there now. I enjoyed yesterday's sun.

We had Ronson inside for an inspection night before last. He had this lump under his beak. You can see it in the photo. Now, normally there isn't one, so I was concerned. There is a condition where geese can get feed stuck under their tongue. It gets infected and well...nasty. But Ronson (Ron's Son, get it?) is fine.

He's got himself a little dewlap! Normally production African Geese don't get dewlaps under their chin. He's a cross though. We're not sure if Sissy, his Mom is a true African goose.

Ronson was hatched by Sissy, raised by the uncles and really has never set foot in the house until now. He was ape-shit over it! He's also a very loud and very BIG gander. Nice knob, right? He's not even a year old and he's as big as Percy, but lacks Percy's phenominal knob. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

OW

So sometime in the last month, I hurt my elbow/bicep/lower arm area in my left arm.  Probably toting those stupid cans of water out to the animals. Writing notes makes it hurt, reaching out and grabbing my ipad makes it hurt, any effort to bear weight on it makes it hurt. So I sit here with a heating pad wrapped around my left elbow to see if I can get relief. So far............meh

The weather has turned warmer...meaning it's now over 10°F instead of under.  Our eldest pair of mating geese have left the flock and set up house in the garage next to the dead van.  Ron and Sissy were in there one night as I was getting everyone ready for bed. Both honked and honked and would not move. OK, fine. You get to stay in the garage. A heated bucket of water, a tub full of food and some cushy straw and they're all happy.

Yep, our old van bit the dust during that last cold snap. We found a Jeep Cherokee to replace it. Old, loud and full of electrical issues, but hey...it runs and is paid for.  Notice the *one* working headlight? That's one of the things Dave fixed last Monday.

It seems as though a 4 wheel drive car with some storage ability would be a good thing these days. I'm sick of dropping the top on the convertible to put 2 bales of straw in it at the feed store, then putting the top back up and driving home.

The jeep can carry 4 bales no problem.
Incubation is going well with the eggs. What you see here is a duck egg we put in the incubator last Saturday. It's difficult to photograph candled eggs, so forgive the graininess of the picture. The only thing that will take these photos is my ipod touch and it has craptasticly low resolution.

So this egg is on it's 6th day of incubation at roughly 100°F with humidity at about 50%. What you see is veins running through the yolk, plus a large red blob. That blob is its' heart. During this next week, the yolk will form into vital organs and become darker. That's when it gets difficult to really see what's going on.  The next week gives you a darker view into the egg, but the week after that is fun because the newly formed little chick moves around and stuff. We are expecting our first hatch of baby chickens next week.

Don't worry, there will be pictures.
The lad who sat next to me last semester in Calculus has requested one of my garter stitch hats for his Dad, so I've been either knitting that out of Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway of Jaen, or on the cable shawl. I knitted the lad a hat for Christmas to thank him for all his help. Without him, I would've not gotten as far as I did IN Calculus.  I kept glancing over on his notes and asking him questions about it. He was a trooper for putting up with me.

With the arm being as it is, there's not much else TO do that won't give it more grief. As most of my manipulations while knitting are on the right hand, it's a better thing to keep me from moving the arm much. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Officially/Unofficially

So far, the coldest winter on record here in WI, officially.  Each winter there is one article of clothing that I grow sick and tired of wearing. This year, that would be my full-length powder blue goose down coat. Yeah, it's a great coat. It's warm. But if I have to endure that thing for another month, I'm going to scream.

About a year ago I purchased some 10 skeins of blue alpaca yarn off of eBay. Last weekend it finally told me what it wanted to be. It's a farose shawl in cables. The pattern is entirely made up in my head.

Right now I'm going to get down to a rant, so plug your ears. I'm sitting here with my ipad on my laptop, with photos in my ipad that refuse to be shared with my laptop. I mean, it's on the same flipping network, it's supposed to be sharing on the icloud but no.  I went to 3 different websites, including Flickr to put this *ONE* photo on so I could share it with my blog. None of the sites would allow sharing with blogger, INCLUDING G+!!! And when I email a photo to myself, GMAIL>>>> I want it IN MY LAPTOP!! Not on google drive, idiots!

And this is why we fail, people. This is not rocket science but a simple photo sharing amongst devices. It's brain-dead simple and we still fail at it.  /rant.  ** Edit; three days later, and the link fails. UBERFAIL on a simple photo sharing.

So..anyways...it's working well, I traded the nickel-plated tips on my Knit Picks Options needles for the wooden ones because they have a sharper needle. When you're cabling without a cable needle, sharp points help out immensely.

Inside our old incubator is a number of brown chicken eggs and 6 duck eggs. The bottom chicken eggs have been in for about a week and a half.  The top ones were put in last Saturday. Now chicken eggs incubate in 21 days, Duck eggs, 30. So it takes planning to get 30 chickens to hatch at the same time 6 ducks hatch.

I've been candling the chicken eggs to acclimate myself to the fact that the darker shells make it very hard to see what's going on in the egg itself. I've rigged up an empty toilet paper roll to the top of an LED flashlight with something like 12 LED's to make a candling rig. The extra LEDs is helping. Before, a one LED flashlight would candle a duck egg without problems. That's because the shells are white and very translucent.

So far, I see one chicken egg that is non fertile and one duck egg. They are all being hatched with the plans to become next year's food. All the eggs come from our poultry. The geese are laying as well, but we let the gals brood their own babies. They are such good mamas and daddys. The ducks have never shown any interest in brooding, even when we let the eggs stay in their nest.

The chickens....well there will be so many chickens hatched that we don't think the two hens would be able to handle that amount of babies. We'll brood them inside.