Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Naw man, it's OK

What? It's a very quiet time here at the ol' farm just before all heck breaks loose with babies.
Well...some babies are already here. I lent out some duck and chicken eggs to a school teacher so that her classroom can watch them hatch. They've got 2 ducks hatched yesterday, I'm guessing more today. We'll add those to our flock in a few days.

Currently I'm having a love affair with the Pattons Kroy yarn. It's a tad thicker than your usual sock yarn and these hats are just mindless. Knit while I'm studying, get a warm hat as a reward. Since it's yet to reach a temperature in the morning that can be construed as hat-less, I'm liking this style of hat. It stays on and doesn't move when you look down, look up, reach all over the place.

BTW: Dave doesn't mind the affair as long as it's just platonic.

Every Friday I go into town and hit Goodwill and then JoAnn fabrics. My MIL gave me gift cards to JoAnn's for Christmas. Armed with a 40% off coupon and my gift card, I can get a skein of Kroy for like 4 bucks. One skein/one hat. Takes me 3 days to knit it while doing my studies.

The geese have settled a bit. The pairing off has been completed and we see couples wandering around grazing and looking for nesting areas. Dave and I have most of them convinced that the best nesting areas are in either the pen or the garage.  So far the only one who has gone completely broody is Molly.

That isn't Molly in the picture, but Buddy. Molly is our other Toulouse goose. She's scheduled to hatch this weekend. I am hoping that once the other girls see the babies, it will help them realize why they need to be setting on those nests. I remember last year when Sissy's kids hatched, Molly took one look at the little fluffy bottoms ..walked over to her nest and started brooding.

And if that does happen; we will have a bunch of nervous-nelly Ganders pacing around for a month. Not as raucous as breeding, but they do get real touchy about anyone in the yard. We make sure to watch for the neck-down parallel to the ground/hissy postures and make a wide berth around that gander.  I'd show you what I mean by posting a picture of that posture, but usually at that moment I'm more concerned with getting my butt outta the way.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wild Times

Lots of fun around here...with spring being here and all. The goosie gals have been laying eggs constantly, so I've resorted to putting a few dozen on Craigslist to allow others to incubate and start their own flock. I tried something in the goose pen that turned out to be a failure: I had Dave take down the partition between Percy's flock and Molly's flock. Fights ensued between Percy and Albus, Adele was frantic and Molly was having none of it. After 2 nights, I put the stupid thing back up.

I'm knitting basic stocking caps while studying. So far, I've knocked out 3 of them within 2 weeks. The last one was thrown at my Professor who was surprised. I asked him if he was allergic to wool. His confused answer was, "I don't think so, why?" because you're getting a hat there skippy....

I was screwing up the decreases horrendously. Instead of a double decrease using SSK,then K2Tog, I was doing just the screwed it up a lot. They are handy hats to have though; light enough to wear for spring and good for keeping your hair out of the way. I'm using up odd bits of sock yarn to make them.

I mean, they're easy...k2p2 for 4" then stockinette for another 7" or so depending on if you want slouchy or not. Then the ssk/k2tog decrease until 16 stitches left.  I can knit them without looking at what I am doing. It helps me focus on my studies.

There's other projects on the needles to be sure, but as I've got an exam next Monday, I'll focus on this until after it is done.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lent is almost over

This is Holy Week, the last week of the Lenten Season culminating in Easter. So what was my sacrifice? Well, I didn't give myself one. I did pray about it and apparently God gave me a good one. Over the last month I've had to deal with people who have wronged me seriously. These are people whom I've distanced myself from because of their actions. In each case I was put in a situation where I encountered them again. The encounters were enough to tell me that I can be civil to someone but I don't have to go all mushy with them also.

The Grebe that we rescued from the frozen pond was transferred to the Milwaukee Humane Society rescue center as they have more experience with water birds. After a month of hanging out in a deep pool diving for minnows, the Grebe was rehabilitated enough to be let go. The Humane Society has had 2 Grebes as rescues this year which is a record for them. Grebes are endangered here in Wisconsin (well, they ARE migratory..they may just not migrate here any more) and to rescue two of them is good and bad.

It's just been a very cold winter. Lake Superior froze completely over. Lake Michigan almost did. Its no wonder so many water birds had issues this year.

Nothing's cuter than a man and his pet goose. Here he and Sissy are exchanging Good Morning greetings. Sissy's whole family have gotten themselves moved into the garage for breeding/laying season. Buddy's been fiesty with them all.

I finished up the green hat. I made a mistake and kept on knitting it on the size 3 circs, but that's OK. The biggest issue is that I made the cast on too big: 132 stitches is too much. I'm wearing it now because it's like 32°F outside and it's very windy. The gusts are sneaking into the house.

Molly has been sitting on her nest now for over a week. We get hissed at when we enter the pen, but that's just her being a good Mama. I told Dave that Molly brooded her babies in June last year. This year she's going to get it done early. I'm already thinking of things that we'll need to do when the babies hatch.

The biggest obstacle will be the fact that there is a 4" step down into the goose pen. The babies will need some sort of ramp for about 2 weeks. They grow fast so after that it will be OK.

And for the last fun of this week, it's Dave and Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea is a gander who is gentle, mellow and very friendly. He likes to give kisses to us. He'll come up and nibble on your bottom lip. He's the only goose we have that will do this.

So here he is giving Dave kisses. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The color of the Month: Green

It's a good color after all that white/gray of the last 6 months. The grass is greening up. I see shoots of the daffodils beside the house, and buds are starting on the trees.

I'm knitting a green hat from the leftover Knit Picks sock yarn from the shawl. The stupid yarn was just hollering at me to be used, so I found a nice hat pattern from Pattons: Basic beanie that will use up the rest of it and make something that I will actually use.

You see, I've decided to forgo an actual gym membership, not because I don't like working out, but because it takes 1/2 an hour to get TO the gym and 1/2 an hour to go back spend an hour working out.

I've decided on using that time to work out here. I'm calling it the 'Rocky IV' workout. Unfortunately, I've seen all the Rocky movies. Rocky IV was when Rocky goes to Russia to fight Dolph Lungren. Dolph gets the state-of-the-art facilities while Rocky gets a barn with a tree stump. High Tech meets Old School. I'm doing Old School: A walk down and up the path with more walks down and up the hill. Like an eliptical, but with geese spectators. So I need the hat to keep my head warm from the continuous wind that whips up the back 40 here.

Oh, and I tried Yoga for 2 days, pulled a butt muscle. It's not as funny as it sounds.

Dave bought another van with our refund so the Jeep is up for sale. He was sorely missing the old caravan and bought one just like it except this one has bucket seats in the back as well as the front. Oh and it was in much better shape than ours.

Molly, our Toulouse gal is the first one to go broody on us. She is sitting on 13 eggs of indeterminate parentage. I think her daughter laid a few in there as well. This is the first time I've seen her and our Male Toulouse, Buddy shagging, so there might be a few true Toulouse this year!! I'm excited. Toulouse geese are so pretty.

Not to say that the Africans aren't pretty. They have their own good looks, but DANG they're noisy! Buddy can be noisy too, and he's a buttinski quite a bit of the time. He likes to break up fights.

Molly, she's pretty laid back for a goose, and a decent Mom. This will be her 2nd clutch, so I'm guessing more will survive this one. Out of 6 from last year, only 2 survived: Albus and Adele. Albus has healed from his injury and is walking fine. Adele is doing well on her own.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Well then! Let's just get started, shall we?

My Piper's journey is done. In the middle is Malabrigo sock yarn in the colorway of Solis - a blend of dark blues, greens and a hint of mint. Which is why I chose the Mint to finish it off with. It was purchased off a Ravelry user since it is on backorder w/Knitpicks.

It was a fast shawl to create, and yet...I'm meh about it. I like the colors but as a shawl it just doesn't work. I need shawls that cover my back and my shoulders and will lay there just warming me. This is more of an affectation shawl meant to accent an outfit.  
This is just an awesome picture of Percy. He's got his "I'm a STUD!" pose out there. Nice form, ginormous knob, good honk...he's a stud. But I'm not going to tell him that :).   Now that it is warmer out there, the flock is in breeding mode. It's like a frat house on a Saturday night out there.............all day, all the time. Fights between ganders, shagging girls in the pools, girls nipping off to lay eggs, and then more fights.

So far the biggest injury was to Albus last week. He must have gotten into it big time because his leg is hurt. We wrapped the knee with Vet Wrap for a day, then just let him do his own thing. There's no gashes or anything else to tend to...he just needs to heal. Fortunately for him, he's a good flyer. We never did clip wings on our flock because well.......we've never had them fly away far! Once, and that was because the next door neighbor's dog got into the yard. He's a duck hunting dog. I bet he thought he found Doggie Nirvana here.

But they flew about 300 yards and I hustled them back. So Albus has used his flying to get him around all week. Yesterday I noted more walking than flying.  He's the goose in the middle in the picture. He's a Toulouse/African cross and in that photo Mom Molly  is in front and his Sister Adele is in back. Yep, still working on Harry Potter names for the flock. I could not remember the name of Albus' sister, which is really Arianna. So...Adele.