Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prairie-dogging

Just popping my head up to let y'all know I'm okay.  (For some definitions of 'okay'...)
Right now, my plate is full, my cup runneth over (not necessarily in a good way), and I'm fresh out of spoons.  And that's enough mixed metaphors to make quite a salad.  Please pass the ranch dressing.
I promise to post when things calm down a little.  Say, to less than a mild uproar.
Hang in there.  That's what I'm doing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just to tide us over

Maybe while we're waiting for real chicks, I should make some of these...


Pattern here.
Photo and pattern from Myrtle & Eunice.  Thanks, Myrtle and Eunice!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Sunday, November 17, 2013

As things continue to go pear shaped...

We currently have no chickens.  This feels odd, since we've had chickens for years and years and years.
Something scared away and/or killed all our chickens.  The Prime Suspect is a large dog that appears in our yard occasionally.  We have no idea what irresponsible jackass owns it and doesn't see fit to keep it safely at home.  We've alerted our local Animal Control Officer (a wonderful woman whom we both dearly love and respect) and she's watching for it. 
But that doesn't get us our chickens back.  Our old Rhode Island Reds.  Our not-Buff Orpingtons.  Our Black Australorps.  Our brand-new Barred Rocks.  All gone.
We won't be able to get new chicks until spring.
And they won't start laying until they mature next fall.
We're going to have to buy eggs for the first time in umpteen years.
I'm so depressed...


Friday, October 4, 2013

All One Big Happy Family Flock

We had A Plan.
(Hey!  Who said "Never learn..."?  Oh.  All of you.  Well.  Okay, then.)
Somewhere in the next month or so, we were going to move the ewes (Goldie, Onyx, Abigail, and Tiny) up to the boys' pen, so we'd have lambs next spring.  And, you know, just for a change, we'd know who the Daddy was.
We forgot to share the details of The Plan with the sheep, however.
Yesterday afternoon, we heard the ewes and lambs start a huge blatting ruckus out front.  It was too early for supper (not that that would make much of a difference, actually.  In their world, it's always time for supper.  Or breakfast.  Or both.), but this didn't sound like the usual feed-me chorus, anyway.  We ran for the windows to see what was up.  Madman saw it first.
"Oh, ****.  They're out."  And he ran for the door.  I didn't even bother to keep looking to see who was out;  I just ran for my boots and followed him outside.
The boys were out.  They were checking out the girls through the fence.  Not good.  We've had a few adventures with the boys being out, over the past summer.  (Once they went half a mile up the road to visit the neighbors.  Took us most of the afternoon to catch them and bring them home...) 
Madman made a grab for them a couple of times, but they weren't going to let him catch them, and took off running.
He headed them off from going down the driveway, and sent them around the girls' pen, following close behind.  I went the other way around to cut them off, so we could herd them back up the hill toward their pen.  But, instead of running away from me, they came right up to me and let me grab them both. 
"Oh, sure."  Madman snorted. 
"Want one?"  I asked.
"I'll take the one with handles," he said, and grabbed Orion.  Merlin then broke away from me and headed on around the pen.  (And what I was thinking when I grabbed them both to begin with, I'll never know.  Either one of them could drag me away, and both of them together could probably launch me...)
The Tug of War of the Century had now commenced.  While Madman and Orion are evenly matched for stubborn, Madman has the weight advantage and can usually carry the day.
However, Orion has a lower center of gravity and four legs to brace with, and he had clearly decided that he was Not. Going. Back. To. My. Pen.
Standoff.
There wasn't much I could do to help.  What with all the flailing elbows and horns, I didn't want to get anywhere near them.
"He's not gonna move. What do you think about just putting them in with the girls?" 
"Well, it's October,"  I said.  I counted off the months on my fingers.  "November, December, January, February, March.  I've got no problem with lambs in March."
Done deal. 
Orion, who was tiring a bit at this point, but not nearly enough to make it possible to drag him all the way back up to his pen, was a little less resistant when he saw me opening the gate to the girls' pen.  The phrase 'rocket-powered' comes to mind.
Once inside, he was the happiest ram on earth.  Girls to the right of him!  Girls to the left of him!  Girls, girls, girls!  Everywhere girls!
It's fall, you see.  Mating season.  Getting into the girls' pen was the whole reason he'd gotten out of his pen.
Merlin still needed to be rounded up, and he led Madman a merry chase.  He couldn't find his bosom buddy Orion, and didn't know what to do or where to run.  (He's easily confused, our Merlin.  Not the sharpest thumbtack on the bulletin board, if you know what I mean.)
Finally, though, we persuaded him to join the rest of the gang, and everyone settled in for supper.  Though Orion kept getting distracted from the food, because Girls!!
Our next step will to be to pull the lambs out and put them in the erstwhile boys' pen (after figuring out how the boys escaped and fixing it, of course.) 

But that's A Plan for another day...



Sunday, September 15, 2013

This is beyond awesome...



If you're not familiar with the movie, go get familiar.  Now.  You can thank me later.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So, I know the suspense has just been killing you...

The adventure my daughters took me on was a trip to Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, NY.



(More about Chihuly's Fern Green Tower here and here.)

 We saw fascinating exhibits and dazzling demonstrations.  Stop and think a moment about how much glass there is in your life, from window panes to wineglasses, from prisms to pyrex.  Glass is an amazing medium, spanning the strictly utilitarian to the breathtakingly beautiful.  If you're ever in upstate NY, don't miss an opportunity to visit the museum.

But wait, there's more.  Because they also treated me to classes. 
And that's where the superhero costume comes into the story.  Because glass is HOT...



 Here I'm getting a taste of glassblowing.


The nice young man does all the ya-gotta-know-what-you're-doing work.  My job is just to puff on the blowpipe and make a bubble in the glass.


Reheating to keep the glass soft.


 Hey, look!  I made a bubble!  And don't be fooled by the red and orange - that's just the heat talking.  The actual colors of the glass are blue and purple.  (And clear.  Clear is a color, as I learned that day.)


Now for a little more knowing-what-you're-doing stuff by the nice young man (and I did ask him his name at the time, but I didn't think to write it down, so I've forgotten it.  He told me he'd been working with glass for 6 years, and had been with the museum for about 3 months.)  He's making a flat base on my bubble, and pulling a decorative top.





Tada.  That's a glass ball full of my breath.


Cool, hunh?

And there's more!

While I only needed goggles for the glassblowing, since there wasn't any 'hand-on' stuff, for this part I needed to be all geared up with safety stuff.  Sleeves, gloves, and goggles.  They even had foot protectors available for people who had showed up in sandals or flipflops.

This time I get to do some actual shaping...


 pinching...
 and more pinching...
and pulling...
and twisting...

And when it was all cooled off, it looked like this:



 For the third and final class of the day, we all got to play:  My two daughters, my granddaughter, and I all made glass beads, using a torch.  This was the biggest decision process of the day.  I'd picked a couple of colors each time for the previous projects, but this time, we had to choose 3 colors, a shape, a size, and a pattern for our bead.  The decisions were almost impossible - there were tons of gorgeous colors to choose from, several patterns which were all appealing, and round? Square?  Triangular?  So hard...

In this photo, you can see some of the colors we had available.  That's my oldest girl on the left, being assisted by her designated Redshirt.  And I was very glad that each of us had someone right at hand, as we fiddled with molten glass, playing with a torch that was burning at 1000's of degrees F.  (And all the Redshirts survived the mission!  Must be a first...)


 There's my youngest girl (in orange) and my granddaughter on the extreme right.  I had to stand behind a railing out of the way while I waited for my turn, so couldn't get any pictures of their beadwork in action.


And here's an out-of-focus picture of my bead.  (Sorry, that's the best of a sad lot.)  I chose white for my background, and purple and green for my accents, round, medium, and swirly.


 Here's a photo with my hand for scale.  (And yes, I have a boo-boo on my thumb.  Though it was a kitchen injury, not a glassblowing injury.)


Then, as if the workshops weren't enough, we visited the galleries and saw 3500 years of glass.  From ancient Egyptian glass (where a couple of guys playing with melting sand Changed the World Forever) to Roman glass to Medieval glass to Renaissance glass to Modern glass, and every age in between, with examples from every region of the world.  Glass!  Beautiful glass!  Mindblowing glass!

Makes me want to take up some new hobbies.  I'm sure Madman wouldn't mind if I put a glass furnace in the kitchen, right?


 ..