Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Weekend Roundup: D

This weekend's prompts from Tom the Backroads Traveller are: Starts with D, Details, and Favourite.

Starts with D
I recently acquired a new desk.  Until that point, I had been using the same Ikea desk that I received from my parents in 1982 as a new junior high school student.  It was a very well used and sturdy desk, but it was time for an upgrade.  Mostly, I wanted to upgrade because I wanted a sit-stand desk, which would help me introduce more movement into my day.  I did a lot of research on sit-stand desks and learned that the most frequent problem is with the motors that do the raising and lowering of the desk.  Thus, I decided to invest more significantly into a higher-priced desk with a strong warranty.  The basic warranty on the motors in the legs is 5 years, but I extended that to 7 years.  I figured it might be worth it, given that I will be raising and lowering the desk multiple times a day, pretty much every day of the week.  Here's my new desk shortly after it was delivered, with Pippin doing his usual auditing task to make sure all the parts are present.

There are quite a lot of sit-stand desk vendors in the USA, but most of those charge astronomical shipping rates to get their product to Canada, not to mention there would be the border duties as well, which can also be ridiculous.  I didn't want all those added costs, so I searched for a Canadian supplier.  Fortunately, I found Ergonofis of Montreal, Canada.  They make a range of sit-stand desks that are made with locally-harvested hardwood timber.  They're also a small business who stand by their product, and I liked their association with a tree-growing organization that replants trees on their behalf as they sell desks.  The desk ended up becoming a Christmas gift from my parents, which was a wonderful gift indeed, and will be useful for many, many years to come.

So, now I have the Ergonofis "Sway" model of sit-stand desk and I just love it.  I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I think it's great!  I still have the cupboard and drawer units from my old desk underneath because I haven't quite figured out where to put all the things from those units.  I'm trying to make some room on shelves in the home office. As you can see, it fits my many desktop items and accommodates my monitor arm with ease.

Here's a little detail I added to my new desk arrangement.  I purchased a cute little bear-shaped mug warmer to keep my coffee mug warm in the mornings.  It is powered by a USB plug into my computer.

Here's my mug warmer, on my desk, keeping the coffee warm in one of my favourite mugs.  It is designed to look like knitting on the surface. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Weekend Roundup: C

Today's Weekend Roundup from Tom the Backroads Traveller has the following prompts:  Starts with C, Week's Favourite, and Clouds.

Starts with C
We had a snowfall earlier this week and it accumulated quite a bit, so there was a lot of clean-up required.  This was my car:

Here's the chicken coop (double C!), with the path that I dug to it so I could easily get out there to fill the feeder and waterer!  The chickens don't like to come out of the coop at all in this weather.

I found some crab-apples still on the branch, wearing snowy hats:

Week's Favourite
I had a slightly less crazy work schedule this week, which allowed me to take a few minutes to work on a craft project - I wanted something small and easy that I could complete quickly.  Thus, I knitted this cute little hedgehog.  That was my favourite part of the week!  (Bonus letter c:  The back of the hedgehog is knitted with chenille yarn).

After the snow, there was some blue sky, but as usual at this time of year, there were also clouds, and within about 20 minutes of this photograph being taken, there was no blue sky to be seen at all. 
At this time of year, I get rather tired of grey, dismal, cloudy days.  Today is actually sunny, although very cold, but that's better than gloomy.  The long term forecast for the coming months suggests that by mid-February, we are going to head into a period of lower-than-normal temperatures which will persist throughout the month of March.  I'm not looking forward to that.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I had to do some creative thinking this week for dear Wellington, my much beleaguered rooster.  You see, since he arrived, he suffered from a distinct lack of tail feathers.  This was OK, for the most part, because he didn't really need them to have a fulfilling life as a rooster.  He could still happily eat, drink, patrol, dance for the ladies, and pass on his wild oats. 

As you can see from this picture (not mine) of a cream legbar rooster below, he does not have that rather majestic fountain of tail feathers one might expect in a fully grown rooster.
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Indeed, there was something about his little pink rooster tail that was very enticing to some of the hens.  That picture above shows one lone feather sticking outward, and you can see some pinkness of the skin at his tail.  Chickens have a tendency to peck at things that are pink or red.  The other day I found him in some distress.  Not for the faint of heart....this was his back end AFTER I had cleaned most of the blood away, which took some time.
The hens had pulled out many feathers and broken some at the base resulting in a raw, bloody mess.  It was clear that I needed to do something immediately to address the problem, because otherwise the red blood would simply keep attracting more pecking.  I thought to use the little shirt that Izzy had to wear when she had her abdominal injury, which stopped her licking herself.  I put it on him and it worked fairly well to cover that tail area, but it ended up also covering his "back door" so to speak, and the poop was getting stuck inside the shirt.  Not so good, especially when I'm trying to keep the area clean.

As a result, I had the idea to make him a sort of a cape.  I'm not a proponent of dressing chickens in sweaters as a rule.  Their feathers provide plenty of insulation and a sweater can prevent them from fluffing up their feathers, which could actually make them cold.  However, in the past, I've used fleece sweaters on rescue hens who have very few feathers when they've arrived and they are very effective in such cases.  I decided that a modified sweater in the form of a cape would help Wellington.

He and I went looking at my stash of polar fleece to find a nice manly colour, and we settled on this Green Bay Packers football team print, which I had purchased for next-to-nothing as a fabric for making plant protectors for my winter garden.  The leftovers were still on the shelf.  I fitted him up and quickly sewed a little "cape" of sorts.  The cape is sewn closed at the neck (but not too tightly) and it has wing holes so it stays in place due to his wings being through the holes. 

Most importantly, the lower end of the cape covers his nether regions without impeding the poop production pathway, but while keeping his red rump out of view of the ladies. 

Today, having been 2 days since I created this fashion statement for him, I checked on his progress.  The redness is much reduced and there are no signs of further pecking.  It should allow for feather development to proceed and once the feathers grow in sufficiently, his skin won't be visible and it can be removed without the concern of more plucking.

I told him, following his fitting, that he was now SuperRoo.  He said he thought that was a type of car, or SUV.  "No," I said, "that's a Subaru. Quite different indeed."  He was suitably pleased and is considering watching a football game in future when he has a tail to wave around. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Weekend Roundup (B)

Today's weekend roundup, brought to you by Tom the Backroads Traveller, has given us the following prompts: Starts with B, Week's Favourite, and New Beginning.

Starts with B
Baby starts with B, and we currently have a baby chick in the house.

This baby chick is from an egg that Whisp was sitting on - I showed Whisp in my blog a couple of weeks ago.  As I mentioned in that post, this wasn't planned - it was a result of my being away for a week and Marc not collecting the eggs on a daily basis.  I wasn't sure if Whisp's eggs were developing, but candling suggested they might be, so I kept her with her eggs but brought her inside because of the extreme cold we were having here, which was affecting temperatures in the chicken coop.  This little one came into the world on Monday, which was earlier than I'd expected.

Whisp seems to have taken motherhood in stride (even though these are not her eggs - they were eggs from one of our brown layers).

Week's Favourite
I know this category is supposed to be a week's favourite picture, but I'm never good at week's favourite picture, so for my own twist on this topic, I'm going to start including a brief discussion of my favourite thing about the past week, whether I have a picture or not.  And I might add a picture that is unrelated.  So this week, my favourite thing was the fact that I completed some major projects, and all the BIG project deadlines have been met.  This week (after Wednesday) was my first week in many months that I was able to look at my work "to do" list and say "Wow, I am all caught up!"  This was a tremendously good feeling for me.  I still have ongoing projects, but they are not enough to require me to work late nights and I might not even have to work this weekend, which would be amazing. 

Here's a picture from a couple of weeks ago that I rather like.  It is moss and lichen growing on a tree in our yard. I enjoy the variation in textures and colours.

New Beginning
There is a new beginning occurring in my home office at this very moment. As I said up in the "starts with B" section, earlier this week, Whisp's first egg (of 4) hatched. With no further signs of hatching, I thought the rest were not going to hatch, since they usually hatch at about the same time.  This morning I was cleaning the cage and I decided it was time to get rid of the other eggs since she was not sitting on them reliably any more, being more focused on her new chick.  As I picked up the bag of cage waste material to take to the garbage, I heard a noise from in the bag.  I rushed to get the eggs back out of the bag and realized that one of them had a tiny hole (a "pip") and that there was a chick that was in the process of starting to hatch.  I'm so glad it made that tiny noise when it did!

Here is the current new beginning at the moment (around 3 pm this afternoon).

I set up the incubator and put all 3 of the eggs in there because Whisp was too focused on her little one and she was not sitting on these eggs very consistently.  This is actually normal because, as I said, the eggs tend to hatch at the same time, and the mother hen typically only waits a day or two after the first one hatches and then abandons any remaining eggs.  What I think happened here was that Whisp started sitting on one or two eggs the day that I left, but other hens kept laying their eggs in the same nest box while I was gone.  Thus, the first egg was ahead in its development.  The one that is now pipped is carrying on in its hatching process. 

Around 4:30 pm, the chick began the "unzipping" process in which they begin to open the eggshell completely by creating a break that goes all the way around.  Here was that process underway:

The other two are not yet pipped and may not ever hatch, but I need to give them a day or two more just in case. 

I then went out to pick up our sustainable local fish delivery for the week, and by the time I got home, about 20 minutes later, the chick was out.  I have put it in with Whisp and her first little one.  I had to get it out from underneath her for the photo.  It is still drying off and fluffing up.

Tomorrow it will look like its sibling!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Weekend Roundup

Now that Eden Hills has passed the torch on a weekly blog link to Tom the Backroads Traveller, I will still try to participate, although it's tricky with my crazy busy life at the moment.  Today's blog is brief because I have a lot on the "to do" list at the moment!

This week's prompts from Tom are:  Starts with A, Week's Favourite, and Art.

Starts with A
Here's a picture of Twilight, my sheep, adorned with hay after getting into the new bale that I put out for them.  Perhaps she looks a little abashed?  But still adorable.

Week's Favourite
I didn't have time to take many pictures this week.  In fact, the only pictures I took were a few last Monday of a pheasant in my backyard, under the bird feeder.  This one is my favourite because you can see the action of the snow flying as he was digging for seeds.

I liked this painting of a cow, which I took a few weeks ago at the conference centre in Ottawa when I was there for a meeting.  I'm always fond of animal-themed art.