What’s up in the UK?

I've been reading ThomasK's blog, Urban Chickens, for many months now. I got my chickens only a couple months after him, and since mine were pullets ("teen girl chickens") when I got them, our hens are about the same age. Now that ThomasK's California hens are fully mature, he's been helping to keep me up to date about what's going on in other cities and countries around chickens. I've taken a suggestion from him and subscribed to Google News Alerts about chickens.

Seems that over in the UK, there's a LOT of news about the plight of battery hens and commercial meat chicken operations.

There's discussion and debate.

Opinion pieces and newspaper blogs.

And there are a couple of TV programs (this one and this one) and a national campaign to raise awareness of the ethical concerns over cheap chicken and eggs.

At least there's something going on over there!

Today while heading into the train station I stopped to say a few words to a person stationed with a bullhorn and photo placard decrying factory farming. First time I've seen that in Chicago, and I made sure to say a few words of support to the guy before I ran for my train.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend


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?

Wacky weather

Let's review. Last week, temps were appallingly low. I recall one morning being 8F when I got up to let the chickens out at dawn, and that's not with any wind chill factored in. The next day, the morning temp was 5F without the windchill. BRRRR!

Yesterday, we reached a high of 63F. Today, it was again near 60F. The snow has all melted and we are now having thunderstorms, rain, and are under a tornado warning. There's already been a report of a tornado touching down about 70 miles from here.

Crazy stuff!

It's supposed to start getting colder tomorrow, thank goodness. Oh, I love warm weather like this, but not in January. The gardener in me just cringes at this stuff. Last year, many people lost perennials and fruit harvests because of crazy weather like this. We had an extended warm front move in, all the snow cover melted, trees started to bud, and then WHAM! a frigid cold front quickly whipped in and killed things. Not good.

The chickens are doing just fine, though. What hardy girls they are! They were out and about during the day when we had that cold snap. I guess they have plenty of warm feathers and can stand a high of 15F. My winterizing of the Eglu has been successful so far. The lowest the temp has gotten inside the Eglu is 30F, and they seem to be comfortable enough at night.

I know we will see more frigid temps this winter, but I'm really hoping that the days in the teens are limited. Just in case, I've purchased some woolen tights to wear under my pants. Standing on the train platform it can feel pretty brisk!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend