Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.12

I don't think I did very well with this week's prompts.  Just wasn't feeling too creative I suppose. Sometimes my brain doesn't want to translate the prompts into fun and exciting pictures!  Still, I gave it a shot, so here we go with:  Starts with L, Landscape, and Key.

Starts with L
Little starts with L.  We acquired two new chickens for the flock this week, and they are really little birds.  Although they are fully grown, they are about the size of a pigeon, maybe a bit smaller. They are two serama hens.  The serama breed of chicken is wildly popular in Malaysia, where they hold beauty contests for them on a regular basis.  The light coloured one is named Cream and the dark coloured one is named Jellybelly.  I decided to keep the names they came with.

Jellybelly is in the classic serama pose with the tail straight up and the wings tilted down.

Cream is very friendly and will even sit on my shoulder.  This gives you an idea of how little she is.

I had to go to Nova Scotia today to do some clean-up at my property there, which is up for sale, but I'm moving the rest of my stuff out of it on Monday.  I intended to take a landscape picture there, but I forgot.  At home, it's trees everywhere!  So I decided to try miniature landscapes.  I took a mushroom landscape and a moss landscape.  These are landscapes from the squirrel's eye view!  See the bird feather?

This is the wire gate on my goat and sheep enclosure.  The rebar is attached to the wire and it slips into 3 large hooks that are in the tree trunk - you can only see one of the hooks in this picture.  The "key" is the bungee cord, which keeps it firmly closed just in case some goat gets an idea about how to open it!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.11

I had my spinning guild meeting last night, so I didn't get around to doing Friday's Hunt yesterday. I do enjoy getting together with other hand spinners to chat about fibre and yarn and spinning.  We have a great tribe!

The prompts for Friday's Hunt with Eden Hills this week are:  Starts with K, stinky, and old.

Starts with K
Well, as anyone who reads this blog from time to time will know, I am a fibre fiend, and that means that among other things, I knit.  I wish I had more time for knitting, but recently I have completed a project that I really like.  I made a purple bouclĂ© yarn vest with an alpaca/wool blend yarn.  I had a lot of the yarn in my stash and wanted the right project for it.  A bouclĂ© yarn is one with little loops along its surface, which gives the finished project a highly textured surface.

One of my current projects (I always have a few on the go) is this cowl, knitted in locally-sourced and processed yarn that my parents brought from a holiday in England - the Yorkshire area to be precise.  The cowl is called Harmonia's Rings and you can find the pattern on Ravelry.

I like the beaded edge on the cowl, which you can see in the picture below.  I'm on the last skein of yarn, so nearly finished.

We recently adopted a pair of young rats from one of Marc's colleagues.  Her cat was frightening them, so they were looking for a good home for them.  We love their cute little faces and their funny antics.  The brown rat is Violet and the grey and white one is Ivy.  People sometimes complain that rats are stinky.

I cleaned their cage this morning so it would not be stinky - rats are not very easy to litter train, so they pee around the cage, which can make it stinky if you don't clean it regularly.

I recently unpacked some boxes in the basement that had some of my old toys in them.  One of the oldest is this stuffed hedgehog.  It was one of my first "teddy bears" and was made for me by my maternal grandparents.  Her name was Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, named after the character from the Beatrix Potter books, all of which I also adored!  She has been loved for many years and looks a bit squashed as a result, but she is a very special old toy.

I also found this marvellous finger-puppet mouse bride, which my mother made for me when I was very young.  She is also a very old toy, but also well-loved and often played with when I was a child. My mother is very creative and made me many little animal toys when I was young, many of which I still have.  It's lovely to re-discover them!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.10

Today is a chicken-themed Friday's Hunt, even though the prompts are not necessarily chicken-related.  I am really excited about my new little flock and can't help but share my news about them via the blog.

Today's prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with J, Car, and Outside.

Starts with J
I have decided that one of the red hens is named Juniper.  She is blind in one eye.  I don't know how that happened - she came to me that way.  It does not slow her down and she is a lovely hen who doesn't seem to mind sitting on my lap for a while for cuddles.

The hen on the right is Juniper.  The little bantam on the left is Sienna.

So, how to incorporate "car" into a chicken themed picture?!  Well, since the chickens arrived on September 4 (Monday), we have had 10 eggs.  That's 10 eggs in 6 days, which is not bad, especially since the silkies are not yet laying.  How does this relate to car?  I lined up all the eggs on the edge of the sun roof on my car!  My car is a 2001 VW Jetta.  It is my 4th Jetta and I have loved them all.

The five brown eggs are from the brown hen that isn't Juniper, but she hasn't told me her name yet.

The four white eggs are from Sienna, the little bantam hen, although for a banty, she lays fairly large eggs.  The egg on the far right is Juniper's first egg since she has been here.

A little more work was done outside today.  I was so happy today to have my coop-building guys return to help put up a frame around the coop fence, and install some wire mesh on it (combination of fencing I had laying around plus some chicken wire).  Here you can see that they built a raised framework above the fence so that the wire would be at a suitable height for me to walk around inside the coop yard.

This means that the little flock will be safe from hawks, but will be able to enjoy the outside environment.  I am not entirely sure if any of them had been outside before.

They did not seem to know how to scratch around in the dirt, except for Sienna - you can just see her in the picture above, next to Juniper, already with her eye on the dirt area.  The guys lifted a row of patio stones for the chickens to have an area to make their dirt/dust bath.  By the end of the afternoon, the red hens had caught on.  The silkies are still bewildered.  I think they have been kept in a cage for most of their life so far.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Friday's Hunt v 4.09

I've been busy with a short term new work contract, so I didn't have time to get to Friday's hunt yesterday.  I am doing it on Saturday instead, which seems to be par for the course these days, although it's a bit better than doing it on Sunday.

The prompts from Eden Hills for this week are:  Starts with I, bowl, and desire.

Starts with I
Izzy starts with I.  That is our outdoor cat's name.  She has trouble with consistent use of the litter box, so that is why she is our outdoor cat.  She likes to perch on Marc's snowmobile, which has the "Arctic Cat" logo on the cover.  I don't think she would do very well in the Arctic!

Ah, bowls!  Teresa unwittingly picked one of my favourite topics this week.  I am a tremendous fan of all sorts of different bowls.  Truth be told, I prefer my meals in a bowl, rather than on a plate.  I have no idea why that is the case.  However, you can see from my dish cupboard that I have more bowls than plates.

I like bowls of all different sizes.  I use a lot of ramekins, which are little bowls, for things like ice cream or bed-time cereal snacks.  The blue ones are Emile Henry and they are oven safe.  I bought those while living in Iowa.  The golden ones are Paderno (made in PEI) and the green ones came from World Market in Kansas City.  I forget where the white ones came from.

This is my favourite bowl for supper.  It is a shallow bowl, and works very well for pasta dishes or anything with gravy or sauce.  I love the pattern around the edge.  I bought four of these bowls when I was attending the 2-year Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner course in Toronto, back in 1999 or 2000.  I used to have to go past a shop called "Kitchen Stuff Plus" on Yonge Street in Toronto.  I looked it up on the web tonight, and it's still there!  I loved that shop!

I have some lovely triangular green bowls that I also bought there in 2 sizes.  You can see them on the top shelf of my cupboard picture, at the right.  Here is the leaf pattern on them.  I also got triangular plates that match.  I've had that set for ages and I still love it.  The lime green bowl is a more recent purchase.

These interesting bowls with the spiral design in them are a favourite for soup.  I think I bought these at Crate and Barrel in Chicago.

In particular, I seem to be drawn to bowls with fish and ocean themes.  This little set of three fish bowls are just perfect for veggie sticks or other snacks for guests.  They're really cute!

 Then I have these fish and seaweed themed bowls...which I could not resist.  Coldwater Creek sold them, when it still existed, when I lived in Iowa.

I also have this very large bowl with hand-painted fish on it.  This is in my guest bedroom.  I love the colours in it.

 Of course, it is also important to have good mixing bowls in one's kitchen.  Depending upon my mood and the requirements, I either use this set of colourful mixing bowls...

...or this heavy stoneware set of pastel pink bowls.

So yes, I think you could say I am a little bit bowl-crazy, but there is something so inviting about their round, open shape, and they can hold so many delights!

Obviously, I desire more bowls.  I didn't know what to show as a picture for this topic.  I thought about what I desire....

I desire a little more time to knit and spin and weave and enjoy my passion for fibre arts.  I just don't have enough time for that lately.

I desire a kinder, more peaceful world, less divided by things like politics and religion.  I wish we didn't have either one of those things in this world - they are both the root of much suffering and I believe we'd be better off without them, and with more acceptance and tolerance and love.

I desire ice cream, in many different flavours.  In bowls.

I desire a great-tasting pasta without calories.

I desire a long and happy life with Marc and my critters and my gardens, and the gift of good vision and use of my hands so I can create things.

I desire more time with my parents, and wish I had more time to visit with them.

I desire more time to spend watching the birds, walking in the woods, and feeling the wind in my hair and on my skin.

I desire fewer mosquitoes.

I desire a world where everyone can find their passion and make a living from it and inspire others with what they do.

I desire a bit more ice cream.

I desire more yarn, but I try to keep that desire under control.

Most of all, I desire the knowledge that I have made a difference in this world in my lifetime - that I have put a smile on someone's face, that I have given of myself when I could see that it was needed, and that somehow I have made the world a better place than it would otherwise have been.  If everybody had that desire, and lived it out, this world would be a far better place.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A barn! A barn! We have a barn!!

I am really pleased and excited to say that finally, after more than a year of needing one, we finally have a barn for Lucky Nickel, Tucker, and Twilight.

I am so relieved that this winter they will have a proper structure to shelter in, rather than my little hoop house made of a cattle panel and a tarp!  The guys who built the chicken coop for me were able to put this up over 3 days.  Now we are just waiting for the roof panels to come in, which should be in the next few days.

The barn is made from rough-cut lumber, which is ideal for an outdoor building and is very sturdy.  It is 10 feet square and has two very sturdy doors which lead to each compartment.

One side is for Lucky Nickel, who insists on bashing everything with her horns and generally intimidating the sheep. The other side is for Tucker and Twilight, who are calm and peaceful and just want to be left alone to eat their hay in peace.

The barn has two lovely windows (on the sheep side) which are 3 by 3 feet, and 4 by 3 feet.  They open and have screens, which makes for great ventilation.

Because they were low enough for Lucky Nickel to reach when she is on her hind legs, the builders put a cattle panel piece over the outside of them, and some boards on the inside, so she cannot break the glass with her horns.  It is very difficult to find cattle panels around here, so I am glad I had one for this purpose.  The other one will probably become part of my garden set up.

Each compartment has a hay feeder area that was also made with cattle panel pieces.

One for the sheep...

...and one for her highness.

Nickel's is smaller than the one for the sheep, because she is a little portly and there is only one of her, whereas there are two sheep and they need to put some weight on.  Now, they will be able to eat without Nickel constantly charging at them and chasing them around. Do not let this innocent face fool you - she can be a bully!

I have enclosed the critters in the barn tonight as a test to see if Nickel will try to jump over the centre wall.  I hope she won't.  If she does, some additional boards will need to go up.  For now, the sheep are eating peacefully...although somebody is trying to see if the hay is greener on the other side of the wall.

 What if they have better hay than mine?

In her younger days, she would have been up on that middle wall like a shot, and over onto the other side.  These days, she's not quite so agile.  She is 7, after all!

Munch munch munch.

I went outside and looked back through the window.  I can see she's thinking about whether she can make the leap.

Everybody's in their place for the night!  And I will sleep much better this winter knowing that they are safe and cozy every time we have a big snowstorm.

My next objective will be some decorating.  I haven't decided if I will do name boards on the doors, or a 'barn quilt' decoration for each door, or what.  It will be fun to get creative with it.  I'll update when the roof goes on.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Friday's Hunt v. 4.08

I had a lovely visit from my parents for the past 3 days, so I didn't get around to doing Friday's Hunt on Friday, as I prefer to do.  However, I'm still doing it before the deadline.  I have had a busy week and anticipate another busy one ahead, which has limited my ability to visit other blogs and to do my usual comments on other Friday's Hunt participant blogs.  I will try to catch up soon!

Today's prompts from Eden Hills are:  Starts with H, Simple and Green.

Starts with H
Marc found a shed snake skin on the pile of barn boards that he is using in his garage project.  I decided that the skin looks like a husk of a snake.  Husk usually only applies to the outer covering of fruits or seeds, but I am using a little poetic license and applying it to this outer snake covering! It is most likely from a garter snake - the only kind we usually see around here.

I think most of us could use a few more simple pleasures in life, and focus a little more on the things that really matter.  It is difficult for me not to get all wrapped up in my work and my other responsibilities and not take time to just be, and enjoy the moment.  This weekend I enjoyed many moments on my parents' visit - just experiencing the simple joy of their company.

We had a lovely walk in the local waterfowl park, and here is my mom smiling with delight as we went on a simple walk in the park with my parents' dog, Bella.  Bonus points - my mom is wearing a green sweater and Bella has a green collar!

Here's another simple delight - watching young ducklings (late in the season!) zooming around on the pond at high speed.  They looked like little motorboats - look at that wake!

Although the leaves are just starting to turn colour around here, there is plenty of green still visible. On our walk in the park, I took this photograph of a sleeping duck surrounded by a whole cast of different shades of green, including the greens reflected in the water.

Finally, here is the pale green seedpod of the wild cucumber vine (Echinocystis lobata).