Thursday, March 28, 2013

This and that

Yeah, I'm big on creative titles tonight, aren't I?
It's been a busy week here.  Even though I had Monday off, I still feel like I haven't gotten much done.

Marilyn has been taking quite a bit of time and care.  Not that I regret keeping her alive, but she is a lot of work. V has really stepped up to the plate while I've been at work since we've been feeding her every 1.5 -2 hours during the day.  She was just beginning to be able to find the feeder but then we moved the chicks into the dog kennel and she isn't adapting very well to the larger space, even though I tried to keep the distance and position of the feeder and waterer the same from the brooder lamp as when they were in the box.  We're still putting her into her little box with a dish of mash and she eats and eats and eats until her little crop is crammed full.  She seems to do better with the mash than with the dry feed, I think because it is more uniform and she doesn't have to aim accurately to pick up a crumble.  She does this sad but funny head bob trying to figure out the depth she has to peck to eat.  Sometimes she is to shallow and misses the food, sometimes she pecks too deep and buries her beak up to her nose.  She is still very, very small.  She is growing quite slowly. The other chicks are easily twice her size now, but they aren't picking on her, not even Bettie who is older and bigger than the rest.  The don't even pick on her when she tries to snuggle underneath them.  Sadly, the bathroom is cooler than Justine's room and Marilyn doesn't venture too far from the brooder lamp.  She can find the waterer on her own and even though she she can sometimes find the feeder she doesn't do well with either the dry food or the little holes she has to find in the feeder.  We'll keep at it and see how it goes.

In garden news, last night I finally got around to planting my tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds.  My little brassicas are growing nicely under the grow lights already getting ready for Spring which I hope will truly arrive soon.  We had salad from the greenhouse but sadly, I discovered I've got aphids on my spinach.  So, since it's supposed to be fairly warm this weekend I'm going to try to get out there with some soap/garlic/hot pepper mix to try to take care of them.

I haven't had time to sew since the weekend and I really need to get busy.  And I really need to get onto the exercise bandwagon since I've only got 106 days left until the big race.

The boys and I will be heading down to my parent's for Easter.  I'm looking forward to going but also realize that it's a day out of my weekend that I really need.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Marilyn 'The Blind Chick'

I know you're all on pins and needles waiting for the latest Marilyn Monroe update.  If you remember, she is the chick we got who is blind.  Well,  we've got good news and bad news.
First the good news:  She's eating!  Woo Hoo!  And she is now eating like she's been starving for a few days.  Oh, wait... she has been....
But, the bad news is HOW she's eating.  I finally got her to eat this morning by making a mash of the chick feed and warm water, holding her in my hand and essentially shoving her face into it.  She was looking pretty peaked this morning so this was literally going to be do or die.  And she ate a little.  Amazingly enough after eating, she was scratching around and pecking the floor, which she had never done before.  But, I put her near the food and she still couldn't find it.

The solution:  I'm feeding her in a box.  Yup, I've got a small box (actually the one we brought the chicks home in) with a small container of mash in it. I put her in the box and she pecks around until she finds the food.  By putting her in a small box her chances of finding the food are greater and without the wood shavings in the bottom she isn't picking up non-edibles all the time.  But it's really kind of sad to watch because she often 'loses' the food dish and then pecks around the bottom of the box until she finds it again.  She also is so small that she isn't holding her body temperature well and gets cold quickly.  So feeding her is a chore of putting her in the box for a few minutes, putting her back in with the others so she can warm up under the brooder lamp and repeating the cycle a few times.
At least she is getting quicker at finding the food dish in the box the more times we do this.  Of course, I wonder what I'm getting myself into.  Just what I need, a high maintenance, special needs chicken.  But, at least this is giving her a fighting chance to figure out how to fend for herself.

Yeah... I'm sure there are many people who will tell me I should have just culled her or let her die.  But she is awfully sweet.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

And then there were five

We have concerns about Marilyn Monroe.  It appears likely that she is blind or at least has very poor vision.  She tends to run into things like walls.  She can only find the water if she runs into it and she isn't eating.  Sigh...  If she doesn't start eating she won't make it.
But, I called Orscheln's where we got the chicks and spoke to a clerk and then the manager about my concerns. She had me come in and get another chick, no charge, and we can take our chances on whether Marilyn makes it.
So, meet the newest addition:
 She is an Australorp.  I'm glad I got there when I did yesterday because they were out of all the breeds I brought home.  They aren't expecting any more Ameraucanas in until next week, at which time it would be more problematic to introduce a new chick, so the manager gave me pick of the breeds they have. What amazing customer service!
Here she is with Marilyn who just kind of stands around peeping and doesn't scratch or peck at things.
We're keeping our fingers crossed that Marilyn figures out this eating thing but regardless, now we have another chick to name.

More chick cuteness

They aren't all very willing subjects to photograph.  But here are the newest additions to our little homestead.
 Bettie Page looking for all the world like a little raven.  She is the biggest and obviously oldest chick we got.

 We haven't decided on a name for this one yet.  K13 suggests "Tabitha the Insane".  Another friend suggested "Aphrodite".  Justine suggested "Sasha Grey" while V thought maybe "Joan Crawford".  I love the brown and grey markings on her face.


And I believe this little sweetie will be Marilyn Monroe. She is the tiniest of the bunch.  Smaller even than her hatch-mate.  She's probably only a third the size of Bettie.  But she is by far the loudest chick.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Meet the new ladies

Here they are.  The new Fab Four!
One Buff Orpington- pre-named Beatrice by my darling daughter.  Why Beatrice I'm not sure.
One Black Sex Link- named Bettie Page by my dear V who was amused about "sex link".  Guys....
And, finally, two Ameraucana chicks.  They don't have names yet although we're leaning toward other 40's/50's pin up girls. Yeah, I'm a sucker for pretty colored eggs.

They are in a temporary box in Justine's bedroom until V and the boys finish the bathroom and I can set up the dog kennel that will be their more permanent home until they're big enough to join the flock.

I can tell that Bettie is a few days older than the others since she's already got some little wing and tail feathers where the other three are just fluff.

I know, I know, I said I was going to wait until they finished the bathroom.  But that will happen today and I was already in that part of town.  No sense making two trips... right?  Besides, this gives the guys extra motivation to finish.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I think...

I think tomorrow is the day for new chicks to arrive on our little homestead.  Our current girls are 2 years old this spring and while they're laying nicely again after a winter lull, I know that age will begin to catch up with them.  So tomorrow a few new chicks will come to live with us.
We were at one farm store last night picking up a new drive belt for the motor for the door opener for the shop and I checked out what they had.  Not too impressed with their selection.
But this evening, we stopped by the other farm store on the way home from picking up a few things after I got home from work to check it out.  They've got Ameraucanas, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds and Black Sex Links as well as a batch of 'rainbow layers'.  I think that is the catch all for 'what the hatchery had left over, not sorted! Two of our original Fab Four were from that bin.  They turned out to be RIR.
But, before I can get new chicks, V and the boys have to finish the ceilings in the downstairs bath.  That was on the agenda for the week but got delayed due to V being busy with paid writing work.  However, it is on tap for tomorrow!  I've got everything I need for chicks, just not the chicks or the space to put them.  The room isn't big and it won't take long to get the sheet rock up and mudded and taped.  We'll worry about painting it when it warms up.  But V doesn't want to have to work around the dog kennel that will house the chicks while they grow big enough to introduce to the rest of the flock.

Anyway.  I'm glad it's the weekend.  It seems to have been a long, long week at work.  The boys have been off on spring break but I've been at work.  I've been good at working out but not so good at sewing this week.  This whole balance thing is tougher than I thought.  I've got my day off on Monday so I've got a three day weekend.  Let's see how much I can accomplish....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I want a lawyer!

I think I want to sue that groundhog for fraud!  Some first day of spring.  Cold, windy with a high of only 25F and a low of 5 tonight!?  What kind of spring is that?!

Fraud I tell you, fraud!

Of course, what do I really expect from a large rodent?  I should have known better.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Something new

We did a little impulse shopping this afternoon.  A friend of ours sent us a photo of these and we just had to have one.
 K13 has named him Fernando... I'm not sure why.  He will inhabit the Goth Garden.  That seems appropriate, at least until we get a zombie statue for out there.
Ha Ha!  Gnome on the range....

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I finally planted my first little seeds on Tuesday night.  My early stuff: cabbage (red and green), chinese cabbage, kale, broccoli, bok choi, and a couple of herbs (rosemary, parsley and summer savory).  Today, I got home from work and I've got bits of green!  Baby choi!  And it looks like the red cabbage isn't far behind.  It was so wonderful to be cleaning dirt out from under my nails again.
It seems that since Winter finally started to kick in, it doesn't want to leave.  It has been cold and snowy here off and on, although today it was nearly 50.
The lettuce and spinach that survived in the greenhouse all winter is finally really starting to take off.  I'll probably go plant a few radishes out there soon, maybe tomorrow.

I rearranged my usual day off so I had an extra day last week when Justine was home so I'm doing tow weeks in a row of working 5 days straight.  Blah!  I didn't realize how much I love that every other Monday off.
I've taken the week off sewing since the photo shoot on Saturday but will probably be back at it on Saturday.  It has been nice to have a little time for things like seed starting and a few more elaborate meals.
The boys are off on Spring break next week so V is going to have them help put up ceilings in a couple more rooms in the basement, including the bath.  Once the ceiling is up, I'm going to pick up a few more chicks at the farm store since they're in. Not too many, maybe 4 or 5.  I had thought about ordering some fancy breeds but I'm feeling too cheap (or cheep!) to pay that much shipping.  And last year one of our local stores had Ameraucanas,  And I know Justine wants another buff orpington.  We'll see what they have.  My coop and run are sized for up to 16 birds (4 square feet/bird inside, more outside) and I'm at 10 at the moment.  And they're finally laying decently again after molting and the winter.  Averaging 5-6 eggs/day again so eggy dishes are back on the menu.

Gotta run close the coop and take the quiche out of the oven.   Gotta have something with crust for Pi Day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Time to relax?

Whew!  I made it through today's photo shoot. I didn't finish one blouse I was hoping to.  I made it as far as putting in the sleeves but knew that I would never get the collar and buttons on in time, considering I needed to pin and hem a skirt this morning after my model arrived.  Now, I've got a little breathing room until the next round.  I've got that shirt to finish, a coat cut out for I15 and a few more things in the offing.  Today was a ladies shoot, I didn't feel I had enough stuff done for the guys for them to turn out in the rain.  So more sewing is in the offing for me. I'm hoping for April or May for this one.
I also really, really need to step up the workouts if I'm to be zombie ready in July for our race.  Things have been totally hectic around here.  This week: Justine was home for Spring break, we celebrated K12 morphing into K13!  My baby is now officially a teenager.  EEK!  I15 finally got his learner's driving permit.  We had a band concert on Wednesday night, my brother had surgery on his knee and I've been sewing like mad and doing things like making goggles and hats.
But, it's also time to start little seeds.  Woo Hoo!  So that is on the agenda for tomorrow. I can hardly wait to get my hands in some dirt.  It's been raining all day.  Good for the moisture but not so hot for our photo shoot.

But, now that I've gotten through the first shoot, hopefully I'll have a little more time for blog reading.  I feel out of the loop because I've been bad about keeping up with all of you.

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

Today is Women's Day around the world.  Be sure to thank all the women in your life for all they do.

And thank you to all of you for being here with me on this journey.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

So I guess I'm momentarily famous

One of Justine's friends posted a photo of my octopus pizza.  Currently #1 on Reddit.  As she says:  I've just won the internet.  Who knew?

And an edit to answer the internet's questions and concerns:
There was more pepperoni and Italian sausage under the cheese.  The sausage is what gives the mottled appearance.
Yes, the tentacles were cheese filled.  What kind of mom do you think I am?!
And, we happen to like black olives here.  Sorry if you don't.
And calamari on a pizza is an interesting idea.  I'll have to look into that one.  We do love us some good calamari!