Friday, September 26, 2008

Using up the bits

If you spin, you have lots of tiny little skeins and balls of odd yarn that were samples. If you knit or weave, you have the ends of many skeins of yarn.

This is supposed to be a wicked cold winter. What could be nicer than a wool rug at the base of your favorite knitting chair?

I crocheted this with single crochet stitches... just round and round with two to four extra stitches in the corners. Two instead of four probably would have prevented the "ruffles" but I rather like them.

I would not put this rug in a high traffic area as it's rather slippery (at least on a hard surface floor). But I might paint the back with some of that no skid foam stuff...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Home on the Range

We decided after a couple of months of almost no eggs being produced, that the chickens were unhappy in their pen. They had, after all, picked it clean of all vegetation and when it was dry it was a dustbowl with sticks and when wet a mudbog with sticks.

On top of that, one of the trees in the corner had keeled over and smashed in the chicken wire across the top of the pen, so it was nearly impossible to get into the pen to clean it up unless you wanted to crawl.

So, I had the boys go in with wire snips and start removing the "roof". Ken and I took out another section. But finally, I realized that they would be just as happy running around in the yard.

We risk an attack by fox and stray dog, but the birds would have a better diet, get some exercise and with full run of the yard, might actually be able to escape predation as their wings are not clipped.

So now every day is a hunt for eggs and we have to herd them back from the road from time to time.

I'm trying to teach Macha how to herd the flock, but so far she just looks at me like I'm crazy even though she walks along with me as I attempt to round them up.

Fortunately, both Macha and Gloria have accepted that the chickens are part of our "pack" and have not attacked any of them. I suspect the rooster helps with this as his spurs are down right wicked and he did fly up in Macha's face once when we first let them out. She has steered clear of him ever since.

We ended up with 6 babies in the shared refreshing of the flock with out neighbor and all of her older birds. So we have something around 20 or so. We are again getting eggs -- about 3 or 4 a day. But I suspect the girls have a secret nest or two that we haven't found yet.

Each night they all go back into the pen to roost, so we can at least make a count from time to time... and while I've not noticed a decrease in the bug population, I have noticed I'm outside a lot more and getting more exercise from hunting eggs and chasing wayward birds.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Triple Play or Bust?

I have to tell you that having grown up in Texas -- in a part of tornado alley -- I've become very paranoid about high winds. There is a reason I do not live in the heart of America anymore and I avoid Florida in the summer months. I fear that I will now add Louisiana and Mississippi to my list of places not to live.

But I'm beginning to worry about where I live right now. Tropical Storm Hanna is expected to cross over the top of my house on Saturday afternoon. Hurricane Ike may be close on her heels... I'm thinking Wednesday or Thursday. Then Josephine! Well, that's next weekend most likely.

I'm hoping the waters near the Bahamas are icy cold right now so Josephine shuts down... And I'm hoping that Ike is more interested in Miami and other parts south than the Commonwealth.

As it is, I'm trying to prepare my brain for Hanna and a week or more without electricity.

It takes a long time to cook without electricity (since I have an electric stove). But the shelves are stocked and I know how to cook over an open fire, and have a dutch oven and can bake in a pit.

If there is no power at work, then I can stay home, tend the fire (literally) and work on my spinning, knitting and weaving. Thank the Goddess that my hobbies don't require any electricity at all.