Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bizzy Beez and Other Miscellaneous Ramblings!

Good grief! It's been almost a month since my last confession, er, blogging session! I wish I could tell you that I have been working on things only for me like knitting, crocheting, rughooking, more knitting, etc., but that has not been the case. Sadly.

We have been keeping very busy getting ready for winter. We knew winter would inevitably be upon us; however, there is always so much to do at the last minute. Um, like adding more chickens!?!?

Some crazy "friend" of mine convinced me that I needed more chickens. Truthfully, I do...or did. Our current flock of hens are about six years old and slowing down on egg production. I ordered ten more which means I received thirteen! Yes, that math is correct. Sometimes the hatchery throws in a couple extra for good measure if the temps are going to be chilly during the delivery process. Here are the new girls a few days old under their red heat lamp.

The one in the center with the black band around her eye was the mystery chick thrown in by the hatchery. I ordered Ameracaunas, Black and Red Sex Link chickens, and I "think", yes, I'm pretty sure the mystery gal is a Silver Phoenix. We are calling her Hawkes. Get it? Well, if you are not into Harry Potter then this has absolutely no meaning for you!

The new batch of chicks were housed on the front porch. Messy, smelly, dusty beyond belief, but, oh so cute. Currently, we have two existing chicken coops, but we really needed a "coop within a coop" so that the young girls could be kept secure from predators and separate from the bigger chickens. Also, the baby chicks are fed something called chicken starter for their first sixteen weeks. It is a medicated food that gives them immunity to common bacteria in the environment. Alas, my darling husband built a beautiful new interior coop.
Dewey (aka Mr. Helpful) the Doorman.
This coop also houses four other chickens, two Pilgrim geese, and five Indian Runner Ducks. Now, I don't normally worry about square footage requirements per animal because all of our poultry and waterfowl are free range.

In the winter time it is a different story. For some reason, the four Ameracauna chickens that live in this coop REFUSE to go outside in the winter. Yes, feel free to scratch your head here. Perhaps they are a wee bit spoiled. To help relieve congestion in this coop during the winter, my darling husband also built the "chicken annex".
Break time for the coop assistant (Dewey) who now naps after
consuming any available duck food or goose droppings.
To the left is the chicken annex.
The animals living in this coop will still have access to the outside during the winter...if they so choose. The new enclosure will be filled with straw, food, and water so that they can have a nice spa day when they don't want to get their little toesies chilled.

Both the annex and interior coop were completed this weekend and FINALLY the chicks, now about a month old, have been moved outside.
The "new girls on the block" enjoying some sunshine.
They still have access to a heat lamp since the evening temps are near or below freezing
They are just babies afterall!
When I'm not caring or fretting over baby chicks, I've been busy with the fiber orders and spinnng for the winter farmer's market. Before we fired up the woodstove for the heating season, it worked really well as a satellite office for me!

The "woodstove room" gets all the lovely morning sun, so it's a fun room to work in. However, now the woodstove is in use for heating. : (

 I love those big Rubbermaid tubs. I can track orders to ship...

...or to organize yarn "in process".

Of course, there is always dyeing to do. If you follow this blog or my Etsy store you know that I LOVE color.
Once in awhile, I go crazy and spin natural colors. Okay, that's kind of a half-truth. I do spin natural colors, but most of it comes from custom spinning orders. Here is some absolutely, beautiful Shetland yarn I am spinning for my Shetland dealer, uh, breeder, Crosswinds Farm.
Gorgeous yarn from a Shetland sheep named, Laurel.
It is so nice, I bought some of the roving for myself.
How profitable is that?!?!
And just when I thought things might wind down for the winter, the fiber from our fall shearing just came back from the processor! It's simply gorgeous. Unfortunately, I have to part with some of it for custom orders and folks on my waiting list. I mean, I can't hog all of that fibery treasure. I am keeping a large portion of it for myself this year and cannot wait to start spinning it...watch for it on my Etsy!

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