Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stopping to smell the roses or watching the chickens free range….

A couple of years ago, I began keeping chickens. Just as with my birds, I’m very protective of my chickens. I haven’t ever let them out of the walk-in flight to free range because I worried about getting them back in, predators, the dogs, the cats, etc, etc, etc….. Well, after some discussion on the Bantam chickens yahoo group this week, I made the decision to let them out for a while yesterday afternoon.
They had a ball! They tended to my flower beds. “Mom, these plants have leaves on them.” One very quick polish/cochin black chick very efficiently nipped a leaf and ran like crazy back to the walk-in with his prize. He very proudly showed the more shy chicks his leaf as if to entice them all outside. My largest silkie roo walked around the cockatoo cage in his usual distinguished manner until he realized those seeds and pellets under there were mighty tasty. My Old English bantams patrolled parrot row between the aviary and the gazebo, while the silkies, cochins, and polish flock covered the upper part of the backyard next to our pond and deck. I started rounding them up about 6:30 after I had done bird rounds for the night. The silkies, polish and cochins were fairly easy to get back to the walk-in –put the food out and here they came! However, the Old English bantams had decided to roost in a small tree next to the aviary. So the chase was on! I got them out of the tree and had to run around with a long-handle bird net to catch those little demons. They are not as tame or easily led as the silkies! Thank goodness there are only five of them. I caught three hens and the roo, but one little hen decided she wasn’t going back to the coop.
She promptly ran down in the woods and hid. I worried myself sick over that chicken – even had Steve outside with the flashlight looking for her after dark. This morning she was standing right next to her coop waiting patiently to go in. Little demon…..I really loved watching all of them play and will let them free range again in the next day or two.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Are you tired yet….

Of my discussing organization or the lack of thereof in my household? Well, too bad… I’m finally starting to see some major progress in my household, my sewing studio, and my aviary! I’ve been reading and discussing with my Organized Stitchers group David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. Mr. Allen doesn’t push his own organizational tools on you. He just gives you some wonderful ways to utilize the tools, high tech or pen & paper that work for you. His method emphasizes clearing your mind of clutter and freeing you for creativeness.

I spent the several weeks between thanksgiving and Christmas tossing, throwing away, donating, and cleaning my clutter! I can’t brag that my house is clutter free yet but hey, it is so much better! I actually had a tree in my living room and could finally play Christmas carols on the piano. I fed my family in the dining room which was nicely decorated I might add. Mainly I could do this because I cleared all the merchandise out of the living room and dining room.

All this happened even with new carpet being installed in all the bedrooms, a week at Disney World with two of my grandchildren, my daughter and son-in-law, and a broken foot.

Well, somehow when I did my final increase on my pi shawl, I managed to turn the thing around so that I was knitting on the wrong side! For those non-knitters, this meant that all my knit stitches looked like purls and my purls looked like knit stitches. At first, I just looked at it, gulped and though I’m not ripping that out! Then every time I picked up my shawl to work on it, I would see it. So I did what every good knitter would do, I asked the Elizabeth’s Year yahoo group members what they thought. I got several who said the same thing happened to them, they left it and thought I should too. After all, this pi shawl is a learning experience, right? Well, then Kelly Petkun of Knit Picks gave me her words of wisdom. She reminded me how much time and effort, not to mention the expense of the quality yarn I was using in my “learning experience” and that I probably wanted to wear this shawl for many years to come – with pride. Well that just did it. I put the shawl in my little bag, hoping the Rippit fairy would come and make all those backward stitches go away. She didn’t. so last night I ran a life line of dental floss through all 586 stitches 6 rows down from the edge, took my shawl off the needles, and frogged away. After the nausea had passed I put it quietly back into my bag. My DH asked me if I was finished for the night. Again, in a very mouse like voice, I replied, I’m done.

Today, I started picking up the stitches on the pi shawl again. I honestly think I need to frog it down past the increase row since every other stitch is a yarn over. Lots of loops to contend with at this point. It just means I have to run another life line in the shawl.

I’ve also been listening to audiobooks regularly the past couple of weeks. I’ve listened to several very good ones: Pride & Prejudice (always loved this one), Rehab’s Story, It’s too Much, Knitting, & The Secret of Bees. I also love listening to podcasts on knitting, writing, quilting, and spinning. Of course, it drives dh nuts when he comes busting into the room with some sort of news and I don’t hear him. Yes, I am a child of the 70s… I play the ipod loud even with earplugs in my ears.

I finished my dgd’s baby kimono jacket and leggings.

I really enjoyed knitting both these pieces, but I’m just a scaredy-cat when it comes to making buttonholes in hand-knitted fabric. I just couldn’t do it so I put a crocheted trim around the jacket and sleeves so I could make a button loop instead. In the future when I make the baby kimono jacket, I will make buttonhole in the wrap tab on each side with a yarn over buttonhole, rather than the crocheted trim.

I’ve been piecing on two quilts the last couple of months. One is for Brenton;

the other is for my nephew, sam. Brenton’s blocks form interlocking square chains in blues and oranges on a muslin background.

Sam’s is predominantly batiks with blues, tans, yellows, and orange.
just in case you think I’ve gotten into a strange color scheme, both these young men are at Auburn University, thus the blues and oranges. War Eagle! I’ll post a few pictures of these two WIPs after I take some photos this week.