Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vying for the Ladies

Beautiful spring and love is in the air. We were paid a visit by Mr Tom, his flock of ladies, and a couple of would-be-contenders.

Unfortunately, there can be only one Mr Tom. The unsuccessful suitors will have to wait till next year and try again.

In the meantime, taking in the healing view from the Vista helps to soothe Junior Jake's ruffled feathers.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Never Felt Better

It's been a little while but I'm finally starting to knit and play with fiber again. The weather has been perfect to sit outside overlooking the Vista and spend some knitting time outdoors.

It's also been on my list to make a few hand-crafted gifts. I decided "Felted Flower Bowl" by Meg Myers would make perfect gifts. I chose one of my oldest stashed yarns, Jojoland Rhythm, for my project. Each skein has such amazing color shifts -- pink to orange to green to blue; I've used it before with very pretty results. And since it's 100% wool it's perfect for felting projects*. 

But first I had to knit up several bowls.

In the past I've felted in my washing machine but this time I decided I would try felting by hand. This required a trip to the hardware store for a new, unused, "fiber tool".

A bucket, a splash of dish soap, hot tap water, and "fiber tool".

Agitate, agitate, agitate. Then agitate some more.

It took about forty-five minutes and two hot water refills before I was happy with the degree of felting.

Last night I blocked (shaped) on overturned soup bowls.

This morning I'm very pleased with the results.

Yes, it was a lot of work, especially the bucket & plunger part. I think next time I'll put my pre-felted knitting in a pillow case, tie the end securely (so the fiber/lint doesn't escape), and throw it in the washing machine.

Oh, and I may gift the "fiber tool" to The Man. I'm sure it will come in handy one day.

*Wet felting is one of several methods which can produce felt from wool and other animal fibers. Fleece from fiber animals are covered in tiny scales, similar to the scales found on a strand of human hair. Wetting and soaping the fleece causes the scales to open, while agitating them causes them to latch onto each other, creating felt. Superwashed wool has been processed (scales removed or smoothed down) so it can be machine-washed. Plant fiber (cotton), silk, or synthetic fiber will not felt or mat together.

Happy Easter Everyone.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Aw, Sugar, Sugar

Lately, my Hummingbird feeder has become quite the popular hangout. I thought the lil birds lived entirely on the sweet stuff. I've learned instead that they also eat insects and use the sugary water for quick energy to catch bugs. My feeder must be the refueling station because it's empty by evening and I'm refilling it everyday with half a cup of sugar (4 parts water : 1 part sugar).

But if these insect fighters keep the bugs away from our deck I'll gladly use up my 10 lbs. of C&H Pure Cane Sugar to keep them happy and in the air.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Matter of Time

The woman selling the pullets said, "Livestock is deadstock," and warned The Man not to get too attached to the chickens she had just sold him.

Yesterday when I came home from work The Man told me one of the chickens was missing. He had been working in the garage, heard a loud noise, and all the animals--goats and chickens--ran into the garage. When he was able to do a head count he realized a Buff Orpington was missing.

Sophia, aka "the Hag", followed me as usual but I found the remaining four chickens hiding under the deck with Brandy amongst them. I was not surprised that Tandy was missing. She's the one who likes to be carried, the sweet one. I looked at Sophia and gave her the chicken stare: "It could have been you."

Still in my work scrubs, The Man and I walked the chickens down to their coop and locked them in the pen. We searched the area around the Vista and the fence line but we only found a handful of soft blonde feathers. No body, no blood. We reassured ourselves that it must have been very quick.

As we searched, I kept looking upwards towards the treetops and the sky. No turkey vultures circling. No golden eagle--since November we've had an eagle occasionally perch in the pine tree next to our driveway. It could only have been an eagle to take down a chicken as large as Tandy. No hawk could have carried her away.

I finally went inside to change out of my work clothes. As I looked out the upstairs bedroom window I saw one lone chicken on the outside of the pen. I hurried back down to the pen with The Man and scooped Tandy up. I checked her over for injuries or blood. Nothing.

When I put her back down she went on her merry way, pecking at the green sprouts, clueless.

Photo by Barbie 12/13

The Salad Bowl of the World

Out and About The Salinas Valley
March 23, 2014