Snow birds

Snow birds

Between Saturday and Sunday morning we got about 5 inches of snow. I snapped the photo above on Sunday as I headed out to collect the eggs and give the girls a little treat (some squash “innards” from our dinner the night before).

The girls got their first taste of appreciable snow while we were out of town. They didn’t seem to like it one bit. According to my housesitter, they basically stayed inside the run after that first snowfall. But I thought I could lure them out, and indeed I did.

Treats and food go a long way when training animals. My dogs respond very well to food treats and affection when I’m training them, and I figured chickens couldn’t be much different. It only took a one visit with a handful of raisins, and the girls were out the run door and into the snow. I could see they didn’t like how unsteady the snow made them. Little Selma actually flew a short distance over the snow so she didn’t have to walk in it. Their feet aren’t quite like snowshoes, you see, and so they sink into the powdery snow when they step on it. They don’t like feeling so unbalanced.

When I head out to open their coop every morning and then back to shut it up in the evening, I compact the snow with my foot steps. So, they’ve found they can just follow my trail to get to the gate. Now they come up to the gate on their own when they hear me coming outside during the day.

I don’t know if they can understand words like dogs can, but I was quite full of praise for them yesterday when I saw how they had trekked over to the gate all on their own. I thought they were quite brave and said so as I cooed over them and gave them their treat.

I know they’re chickens, but they’re precious to me nonetheless.

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Leisure time

It started out as another bitterly cold day. Perfect for some guilt-free indoor leisure time.

Wanna guess what this is?

Nalbinding start
Here’s a hint: it’s the beginning of a needle-arts project. Another hint: no knitting needles are involved. Final hint: this fabric-making technique pre-dates knitting by at least several hundred years.

It’s my start to learning the ancient art of nålbinding. Today, the Windy City Knitting Guild sponsored a nålbinding workshop with Nancy Bush. There’s more fun to come this weekend as I return for sessions on Nordic Color, Estonian Traveling Stitches, and Vintage Socks.

Nancy has made it her personal mission to pass on these historical, ethnic knitting techniques that are in danger of disappearing. She’s also helping women in Estonia earn a living through their knitting by selling some of their handmade knitwear here in the U.S. for them, where they can get much better prices than in Estonia. I bought some of those items today, and will show them off when I get enough sunlight to take some good photos.

By the time I’m done with my workshops this weekend, the weather should be improved at least. I think we’re going to get temps in the 40s by Monday. Ah, it can be so interesting to live in the Midwest!

Go away

Winter: I’m putting you on notice. I’ve had it with this annoying and dangerous cold. I hate waking up and hearing how low the temperature is going to be today. I’m tired of dressing in so many layers and *still* feeling chilled and miserable. The dismal, low-light days are really getting me down.

Go away. We’ve all had enough now and are ready for spring. I can’t believe that the I’m getting excited about a weekend with temperatures in the 30s!

Yet another one

Yes, I’m playing with blogging software again! This will be my third attempt to try to find my best fit in blogging software.

I started out with Blogger, but found that I had to do LOTS of editing of my posts when I included photos. Too much work for me!

Next, I moved to Vox, but I’m getting a bit annoyed with all the widgets and crap it adds on to the site.

So, let’s see how WordPress does, shall we? At least it let me import my Blogger posts. Now…how do I get my Vox posts over here…hmmm…

Anyway, to really put this to the test, let’s upload a photo, shall we?

Close up of Neckdown Wrap Cardigan

Interesting interface…not as idiot proof as Vox, but not too bad either.

And now, it’s official

I’m now officially known as “The Chicken Lady.” The Chicago Sun-Times has an article about how I and others have been approaching the proposed chicken ban in Chicago.

The videographer got some great footage of my girls on a REALLY cold day just after the New Year, too. (Launch the video clip under Related Stories.)

I guess I’m just going to have to embrace the nickname.

And now, it’s official

I'm now officially known as "The Chicken Lady." The Chicago Sun-Times has an article about how I and others have been approaching the proposed chicken ban in Chicago.

The videographer got some great footage of my girls on a REALLY cold day just after the New Year, too. (Launch the video clip under Related Stories.)

I guess I'm just going to have to embrace the nickname.

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Focus, focus

I'm not exactly in the knitting blahs, but I am having trouble focusing considering all the projects swirling through my head. Here's a sampling:

Socks for Mark; socks for me. I typically only work on socks while commuting, with the exception of the tricky bits (turning the heel, setting up the gusset, or starting the toe), which I do at home. So, I've had this pair of socks for Mark on my needles since November. I'm finally on the second sock and working on the leg of this toe-up pattern. But, since my total knitting time per day on this sock is only about 40 minutes max, it's still going slowly. I can't wait until they're done, so I can start on another pair of socks for me!

Pillow covers. I really need some throw pillows in my living room. I bought pillow forms about a year ago and have some yarn in my stash that would make great pillow covers (a washable, wool-hemp blend, a superwash wool, and a washable cotton blend). I want them badly, but I'm not sure if I want them badly enough to bump them up higher on the project list.

Baby sweater. A guy I work with will be welcoming in his second child in just a few weeks. If I'm going to gift him with a sweater, I gotta get a move on.

Hat. Lillian (my MIL) saw my warm earflap hat and suggested that if I was thinking of doing a hat anytime soon, she'd love something that covered her ears. Winter will be over in just a couple months, so practically speaking, this needs to start soon, too.

Lampshade. Yeah, this sounds like a weird project, but it's one I'm trying out now. We have these table lamps we picked up at Ikea in the living room, and the cat went postal on one. The shade was just paper and it was totally wasted. However, it looked like it would be an easy knit to replace it. A simple tube, knit in the round in a combination of garter stitch and purse stitch. I started it last weekend before I had sorted out all the rest of these projects. Now I feel compelled to finish it. After all, the naked lamp is ugly at this point, and I hate letting things sit on the needles.

Sweater finishing. As I just said, I really hate to leave things unfinished, and I've had this one sweater sitting around awaiting final finishing for many months now. Now that I have a new "owner" lined up, I need to pick it back up and finish it.

Sweater starting. I so want to knit myself another sweater. There are several tempting patterns, and I've got plenty of nice yarn to play with. This is at the bottom of the list 'cause I'm sure it's not going to happen any time soon. But I can dream, right?

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