Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Elvis has left the building

If, by Elvis, we mean chickens.
For the first time in a long time, there's nobody in here but us humans*.
The last of the chicks moved outside today, since they're all grown up and feathered out. We'll have a couple of weeks of peace and quiet, then the cycle will start again when we take delivery on the next batch of peepers.

It's quiet.
Too quiet.

*Well, there's one little Siamese Betta fish, but he's pretty low-profile.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Because Karma has to balance

After all the sadness we've had lately, today was a day of joy.
Because this happened -

Um, I mean, this -

Let's try one more, without the wind...

I knew you could do it, Sweetie. You chose a hard path, you rose to the challenge, and your spirit carried you through.
Makes a mother proud.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


We lost our little bunny. He was fine last night - playful, bouncy, cuddly. This morning he was dead.
When we first brought our little orphans inside and started researching how to hand-raise them, we noticed a lot of the experts said "Don't bother. They're all going to die anyway."
But, being us, we had to try.
Losing this last one is hard.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Not creepy at all

These are for Lindsay, who thinks my bunny is creepy...

Not creepy - just really hard to photograph. (S/he usually wiggles just as the camera clicks. I've got a lot of blurry bunny pics.) At least the eyes aren't glowing red in these photos.

Madman has taken to calling the little bunny Hopper. Though Tiggywinkle's comment on my last post had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sourdough, Milestones, and Great Balls of Fiber

The other day, when Madman picked me up from work, he asked me "Do you know someone named Erika who would mail you a lumpy envelope?"
"Why, yes," I replied. "Yes, I do."
Erika and I had been emailing back and forth about bread, and she offered to send me some leftover sourdough starter. Dehydrated sourdough starter makes for a lumpy envelope...
So I've got the Son of Makoto. Or, more properly, the little brother of Makoto.
It's been happily bubbling on my counter for days and days. I fed it up good last night, and used it to make this
today. I meant to take a picture of it before cutting into it, but, well, you know...
(And btw, Erika? I cheated and added a tiny bit of dry yeast to the dough, which is why I got such a good rise. Next time, I won't, I swear.) (Really.) (Patience? What patience?)

Hey, look! Little bunny is now eating rabbit pellets! And hay!
*sniff* They grow up so fast...

This is actually a major milestone. We're both breathing a sigh of relief, because it looks like the little booger is really going to make it. After all our recent losses, I don't think we could bear to lose this little sweetie. We've gotten way too attached.
The word "houserabbit" is now in play.
Though a New Zealand White isn't the best choice for a pet rabbit (there are friendlier breeds), at this point this little one is more acclimated to people than other rabbits. We'll have to wait and see as it gets bigger.
I've done weirder things than keep a rabbit in my house.

And last, but certainly not least, I've been washing up and carding a storm of fleece.

I started with Goldie's fleece. Now, to look at her, she looks like your average sheepy-colored sheep. You know, that basic off-white creamy sort of color. Imagine my surprise when I started working with her fleece - it's laced with dark gray and black fibers. The roving is coming out a light heathery gray, which I'm liking a lot.

I've made that little mountain of roving, plus I have twice as much washed and drying. And I still haven't made much of a dent in the fleece.
Do you think she'll be okay with me wearing a sweater made from her fleece? Or is that going to boggle her little sheepy brain?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sigh of relief

Madman and I were watching a tv show on the computer tonight (Supernatural, if you're interested. Catching up on the last couple of episodes.) when I noticed he had fallen asleep. Since it was time for Little Bunny's late night feeding, I paused the video, went to mix up the formula, grabbed a towel, and headed into the spare room to get the bunny out of its box.
No bunny.
I thought it might have burrowed under the towel in the box, so I pulled everything out of the box (water dish, pellet dish, hay - Bunny is old enough now to start investigating grownup food, so we're making it available. So far, he/she hasn't figured out what all that weird stuff is, but we're patient.) and searched through all the folds of the towel.
No bunny.
I pulled the towel completely out of the box.
No bunny.
The search began. Under the bed, under the dresser, behind the pumpkins. (It's a multi-purpose spare room...)
No bunny.
I widened the search. The guest bathroom. The hallway. The kitchen.
No bunny.
Finally, I headed back to the living room to wake up Madman so he could help in the search.
Look what I saw in the crook of his elbow.

Both of them, fast asleep on the couch.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rain of Death

This whole Circle of Life thing can just stop any time. First something got into the hatchlings' chicken tractor, and killed three of them. Then we lost 4 more of the baby bunnies. Then, this morning, there were gaping holes in the chicken wire of the hatchlings' tractor, and the last two were gone.That's 4 rabbits and 5 chicks in a week's time. It's all just heartbreaking. The hatchlings were the 5 that survived the first hatch in our incubator, the ones we cheered for as they broke out of their tiny prisons. The bunnies were poor little orphans that we desperately tried to feed and keep alive, against all odds.

We almost lost the last bunny as well. It started to decline, right before our eyes. We'd been listening to the experts, and went from infant formula to kitten formula. The bunnies continued to weaken and die.
Finally, as the last one was getting lethargic and losing interest in eating, as the others had before him, I said to hell with this, and went back to the infant formula.
He started to perk back up. (Or she. I don't know if you can tell the difference at this age. We certainly can't tell the difference at this age.)
Back to perky, to our huge relief.
He/she/it enjoys a good run on the carpet. (Not so fond of vinyl flooring...)

Sort of a Bunny of the Baskervilles look in that photo.

If you hold out your hand, he/she/it will jump in.

After all we've been through with this little guy/girl, we're keeping it. So far, we're just calling it 'Bunny' or 'Bun' - we should probably go ahead and give it a name.
Like, Scamper, maybe.

Excuse me. I have to go catch a little bunny.

Monday, May 10, 2010

One. Just one.

You get one photo of the sweater. Because it's currently 40 degrees with 15-20 mph winds out there, and we were freezing our asses off.

Onyx just had to squeeze into the picture.
And you can see the dangly bit where I still haven't fixed the right wrist seam.
Love this sweater, but a real photo shoot will have to wait till it warms up a bit.
Maybe around July 21st or so...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Cabled Coat makes its debut, and we consider the advantages of zen photography

I love it when a plan comes together. My daughter arrived right on time (and this is no small miracle. Huzzah for her!), my inlaws arrived to collect us, and off we went to NH S&W. Never mind the fact that I spent the early part of the morning stitching madly at The Cabled Coat, trying desperately to finish it in time. I briefly considered trying to work on it in the car on the way, but discarded that notion when I realized that I would either A) puncture myself with a dull yarn needle, or B) make myself so carsick that I'd be puking out the window all the way to the festival.
I got it to this point -and called it close enough. The last flappy bit could be a design feature, and the yarn end was obviously a very delicate tassel.
Besides, I figured I should leave the flappy bit, just to crack up Laurie.

I remembered to pack up my camera, and threw, not one, not two, but THREE sets of batteries into my bag. I was so ready to document the festival.
Except for the part where I never took the camera out of the bag. Not once. We were there for hours, we saw amazing and wonderful things, and I didn't get a picture of anything...

So, you'll just have to use your imaginations while I show the photos I could have taken if I had remembered to pack my brain with the camera.

We saw the cutest little lambs:

and these:

and some of them were even Shetlands! Look at the colors on this little one's fleece.

These llamas were my favorites. Isn't the one on the left the most beautiful one you've ever seen?

One of the highlights of the day was the 4H kids costume competition. We saw Little Bo Peep and her ribbon-bedecked little lamb:

And this young man who'd outfitted himself as a cowboy and his sheep as a longhorn steer. Aren't those horns clever?

But my favorite by far was this little girl, who dressed up as a lilac bush by strapping flowering branches to her back, and dressed her lamb up as a bumblebee. Isn't that just the cutest thing you ever saw?

Here's a great shot of Laurie and Manise as I showed them the flappy bit. I think I really caught the twinkle in Laurie's eye, don't you?

I loved showing off my sweater - I got a lot of comments on it, starting with the lady in the ladies' room who complimented it as I was waiting in line. The nice ladies in the spinner's guild building all wanted to get a closer look, so I ended up twirling for them. And several other people flagged me down over the course of the day to check out the sweater.
I'm not used to getting so much attention. I tried to pretend I wasn't shy.

And I really enjoyed being warm in my big wrappy sweater. It was freakin' COLD!

And just to end the day on the highest possible note, Judy at Ball and Skein had the perfect pattern for the merino tencel I spun last fall. Feather Duster is absolutely the shawl I'd been dreaming of - the yarn reminded me of ostrich plume colors, and this feathery pattern will show those colors off to perfection.

I love wool festivals. Can't wait for the next one!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tomorrow is NH Sheep and Wool

Uh oh.
It's supposed to be cold.
I made a rash promise to wear the Cabled Coat.
Ready or not.
It's still not seamed.
I'd better get to work.
Look for me tomorrow. I'll be wearing a light gray Cabled Coat.
Possibly with pieces flapping.
Say 'hi' if you see me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye, little one.

Originally uploaded by mangofeet
We had to let our little cat go, today. Renal failure. She had gotten thinner and thinner, and since on her best day, after a big dinner, she only weighed six pounds, the weight loss was devastating.
Ursula was a knitter's cat.
She loved yarn with a passion. I had to keep my yarn locked up, or she would bring me every single skein. And since she always took the scenic route when she was bringing me yarn, I usually had to unwind it from table legs, chairs, desks, and beds, before I could wind it back up again.
I'll miss her little deliveries.
I'll miss her companionship when I knit.
I'll miss her forever.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ain't we got fun!

Adventures in the Wild Kingdom continue.
Still feeding bunnies:Though sadly, the runt didn't make it, so we're down to five. But look! Their ears now look more like bunny ears and less like pig's ears! And their eyes are starting to open - just a peek now and then - and they're starting to walk/hop instead of just randomly flailing. (And here's a question - why, when we're trying to get a better grip, do they always spin to the left? All of them do this. Madman and I had both noticed it. Any vets/biologists/zoologists out there with an answer?)

And we're still buried in chicks. Our little Rhode Island Red hatchlings are looking tinier and tinier next to their behemoth cousins. (The RIR chick is in the upper left. Note that even standing, she is shorter than the sitting chick next to her...)

There's only a 2 day difference in their ages, but a 2 week difference in their development. Those Cornish cross chicks are genetic freaks monstrous mutations a hybrid that was specially developed to grow chicks to chickens in the most efficient way possible.

Our little guys just get lost in the crowd. (Here's our version of 'Where's Waldo' - there are three RIR chicks in that picture. See if you can spot them...)

And just because there's more to life than baby animals (or so they tell me), I'll be going to NH S&W on Saturday. Where I'll probably look at baby animals. (Though I may not coo over the baby rabbits as much as I have in previous years...)
Anyone else going?