Or is it smelly problems? Something has been eating the eggs at night--goose eggs, duck eggs, chicken eggs! Whatever! Scarfed right out of the nests. If they aren't locked up in a pen or cage of some sort, the eggs are gone by morning. All the birds are very frustrated. The cold has been bad enough, but now in addition, we have the midnight thief. Possum, raccoon, skunk, crows-all like a fresh egg whenever they can get it. Crows are very clever they will grab an egg in their beak fly up into the air with it and then drop it to the ground. They then swoop down and eat the contents. Of course this happens in the day, so the crows are off the hook. Since it got warm we have been noticing a horrible skunk smell in our shed. Traces of skunk smell are on the nests and pretty much all over. Hmm, I think we know the type of thief. Now comes the hard part--how do we get rid of it or them? In the meantime, we have hardened all of the nests we know about. It is too bad we can't attach a smell instead of a picture. Or, maybe it is a good thing. Isn't he cute! It is hard to get too angry.
Today is Pi day--that is right, the mathematical pi--3.1415 (get it March, 14 2015). It is particularly unusual and special because of the year 2015. I have always loved math and am thrilled that there is such a thing as pi day, however, if you don't like math or know what pi is, you can always celebrate "pie" day with your favorite flavor. Just thinking about it makes me want pie. I may have to make one this weekend.
On another note, attached is a picture of one of our outdoor cats, Vinnie, trying to talk us into letting him into the house last week--it is hard to believe this picture was taken last week. And yes, the cats have a nice warm corner of the chicken house with a heating pad and a heat lamp. He was very tired of winter when this picture was taken and I think we were, too. Of course, Vinnie dislikes the rain even more, but he doesn't like to get wet while he pounds on the door.
Pictures of the poor geese in the latest snow. In the first picture Spotty is asking "When will it end? The second picture is LG eating out of my hand. It is ironic that of all the geese we have, LG, the only wild one, seems to know his name, comes when I call him and eats out of my hand. I can't help but think that he must have been raised by a human. None of the other geese eat out of my hand--but then again, if they try LG attacks them.
I managed to get a picture of Bomber with his head in a bucket--but the rest still more or less applies.
My plan was to write about Bomber and the Bomberettes today. To do the post reasonable justice, I needed photos of the subjects. They were nowhere to be found in the barnyard this morning. I looked in the shed, the chicken house and various other pens. No show--nowhere to be found! I took my camera and huffed back to the house to get ready for work. Needless to say, I was a little irritated. As I stepped out of the shower I gazed out the window and there they were strutting around and showing off for who or whatever would look at them. Darn, and there just wasn't time to go do the photo shoot.
Your curiosity is probably piqued at this point so I will explain. Bomber is a rooster and the Boomberettes are 3 hens. They are all half Buff Orpington and Buckeye. They have been really annoying me--whenever I open one of the grain storage bins (garbage cans with sacks of feed) they swoosh over my head (or anyone's head, I would suppose) and dive head first into the sack of food. They stay there head first gobbling food down with their tails stuck up in the air until they are fished out. This is all very frustrating, especially when it is cold. Who wants to grab a rooster or hen and extract them from grain bags when it is below zero-- or any other time for that matter. They will also perch on the edge of buckets as we are carrying the feed to the feeders. They poke their heads as deep into the feed as possible, clutch onto the rim of the bucket with their toes, and fan their tails to stay on board. After many frustrating episodes, we have discovered that they like being picked up and carried around so now I am thinking they may be trainable. This is very surprising, because I always thought Bomber was mean--and he is, when it comes to other roosters. He has killed or run off several other roosters. Two have taken refuge with Merlot the pea hen and the others are gone. When it comes to people, so far, he isn't too bad. I don't know how long his friendliness will last--us handling him and fishing him out of cans and all. For now, we appear to be training--either I am training chickens, or chickens are training me. I am not sure what advantage there is to having a rooster or hen perch on my arm or on the edge of a bucket I am carrying, but who knows? I will try to get pictures tonight and add to the post tomorrow. In the meantime, you can imagine!
Oh, by the way, Bomber started this bad habit and has trained the Bomberettes to follow his example!
February 19 is Chinese New Year (the old Chinese calendar started with the 2nd new moon after the winter solstice) and is a major, if not the major, Chinese holiday. Everyone takes from three to six days off from work and there are major celebrations with family. This often includes a trip back home.
This year is the Year of the Goat (some people will say sheep). The discrepancy comes to play because the same word (symbol) means either goat or sheep in Chinese. Since Market Street is a yarn store we should probably go with year of the sheep, but since the goat is one of my favorite animals, I will probably stick with year of the goat. My love of goats started when I was quite young and increased immensely during the years I had a small herd of dairy goats. I won't go into their wonderful attributes here, but will skip back to sheep and the Chinese New Year.
People born in the Year of the Goat show great kindness and politeness. They are shy and sensitive and are said to love art.
Lucky facts for people born in the Year of the Goat.
Lucky Numbers: 2 and 7 or any combination, Lucky days: 7th or 30th, Lucky colors: brown, red and purple,
Lucky months: August and November, Lucky direction: North
Flowers: carnation and primrose
Today I planned on writing about the next Progressive Needles mystery knit along which will start the first Thursday of April and posting a picture of the gorgeous yarn Michelle chose for it. However, the yarn was a limited edition and: the good news (for me) and bad news (for you)--I am already sold out of it. I can only describe the project. We will be making Kaika a toe up sock "with Japanese inspired stitches." The stitches are intricate and require removable pins or markers.
I can hardly wait to get started. I expect any hand dyed mostly solid color yarn can be substituted. It is even possible that I could get more yarn. If you are interested, please let me know ASAP and if enough people want it, I will see if any yarn is available. Michelle and Skacel only died 1,000 skeins so it may not be possible to get more.
Oops! We are a month and 5 days more into 2015--AND I haven't written a blog about the 2015 Pantone color of the year. According to the press, the 2015 color of the year is "equally appealing to men and women". It is also " stirring and flavorful...the tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal," and it is "hearty". What are we talking about here? It sounds like something we might eat. Maybe it is. The color of the year is Marsala, which is a robust and earthy wine. According to the press release it is flattering for many skin tones, yet appealing and sophisticated. "Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability." My,my! Maybe it is the wine that brings on all these earthy and edible descriptions. Since I am not a wine drinker, I can't say that comparing the feeling brought on by the color to the effect of drinking the wine does a thing for me. I do like the color. Maybe it will make me more sophisticated if I wear the color--I doubt it though. Part of the problem is that I don't think I want to be sophisticated. I am not sure it is a good thing. I knit a shawl out of this color before I realized it was the color of the year. I like wearing it. It is comforting more like a blanket, especially since it is a big shawl made out of thick cushy yarn. No, the color does not make me feel sophisticated or appealing.
The air out where we live has been filled with a constant buzzing, humming motor-like sound similar to a very large lawnmower with a rhythmic thumping added to it After a few days, we realized it was a tiny yellow helicopter. Last Sunday we noticed the machine itself, sitting in the baseball field at the community center just humming away. The rotors were spinning and it was vibrating as it hummed--ha, that is where the motor sound with the thumps is coming from. There didn't appear to be any operators around it--I am sure they were there somewhere--we just didn't see them.
It turns out that the helicopter is doing some maintenance work on the towers and/or electric wires on the section of the electrical transmission grid out in our neck of the woods. The helicopter and several men are working on the towers and lines in the view outside our front window. The helicopter actually appears to land on the towers (the picture to the right is of the helicopter on or near the tower) to do something and to lay cable between them as well as other operations. There are also men on two of the towers and the helicopter appears to be delivering insulators and other items. I wasn't able to get a picture of it hovering on or over a wire between the towers. Watching this has just amazed me! It makes me appreciate our electricity! To think that there are people doing this incredibly dangerous job is mind boggling. People putting their lives on the line every time they go to work. Can you imagine how stressful and dangerous it must be to work with the electrical lines from a helicopter, not to mention the height? There is not room for even the slightest error. Hopefully, the power is turned off where they are working. Not to mention that they have been working every day including Saturday, Sunday, and Martin Luther King Day from sometime before 8 in the morning (we hear the helicopter as early as 7 am) until after 5 pm in the evening--all the daylight hours we have this time of year. Imagine how cold it is climbing those metal towers. I have been guilty of taking electricity for granted and maybe most of us do--but we shouldn't. The jobs those men, or women, are doing are so necessary for our lifestyle, but oh my, can you imagine hovering over electric wires with a helicopter. Our military isn't the only occupation that offers up really dangerous jobs. My hat is off to those people--what a job they are doing.
Today we have snow, so the pictures seem a little out of touch. They were from yesterday (when I was really tempted to stay home and watch) early in the morning before we left for the stores. This morning we could hear a helicopter, but didn't see it, so we don't know if they are working again or it was a different helicopter.
Last week we received notice that Anders Andersson had passed away. This was very sad news, indeed, and we are heartily sorry! You might be asking about now, who is Anders Andersson and why should we care? Anders Andersson was a Swedish engineer who worked for Husqvarna Viking for 40 years. If you own, or owned, a Husqvarna Viking machine manufactured and purchased in the last 40 years, Mr. Andersson has touched your life. Mr. Anderson was an engineer for Husqvarna Viking in Sweden and when manufacturing moved to China, he went also--to oversee operations and insist on quality products. He was a fantastic engineer and a very decent man. Mack and I met him, had lunch with him, and discussed our likes and dislikes about the machines (and your comments, as well) at every Husqvarna Viking conference we attended. Mr. Andersson always listened, asked questions about our comments, and discussed possible ways we could improve the performances of our machines with tips and tricks. (Several times, ideas introduced at conference showed up as feet or improvements on the machines a few years later.) I always appreciated his attitude. Nothing was too small and he was never short with us. He always behaved as if our comment was the first time he had heard it. How kind! When you think how many people he met over the years and all the comments he must have heard, he was indeed a gracious man and a gentleman. The world could use more people like him!
According to the weather we are in for a couple of nice days. By nice I mean above freezing during the day. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, but temperatures above freezing for a couple of days--yeah! Time to stock up on some materials for those next projects.
The weather is terribly hard on the animals. Yesterday we saw coyote tracks in the snow on the pond. It looked like they were stalking the geese. There were big spots in the snow at the edge of the ice that looked like the geese had scooted or flown into the water for safety. The poor birds have sounded like the tinkling of crystal chandeliers they have so much ice frozen in their feathers. And, oh, do they eat a lot of food now that there isn't much grass.
The alpacas are still going out and foraging grass. We supplement their diet with both alpaca food and hay. They like the cold weather, but spend more time in their pen then I thought they would. The picture is of four black ducks walking ( I should say waddling) up the hill from the pond. (You can just see the edge of the snow and ice covered pond in the upper left--right below the black sky.) Bleak isn't it?