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.


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!