Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mess o' Feathers

Brazil, our black Australorp hen, on the right.
Looking normal.

And Brazil; molting.

You can see how her feathers are growing back.

"Molting is a natural and necessary process by which chickens lose old, broken, worn out, and soiled feathers for new plumage on a regular basis.  It is important that a chicken grow new feathers from time to time because the integrity of a bird's feathers affects how well that bird is able to keep itself warm in cold weather."

For more about molting see this page.

Normally Brazil would be perched up on a roost in the coop.

But she's been spending her nights in one of the nesting boxes, cuddled up with Tootsie.
It's the "top" chicken and the "bottom" chicken of the pecking order sharing a warm spot at night.

Update:  No, we don't do anything special to keep our hens warm in the winter.  But we chose the breeds we have with our winter weather in mind.

It's true;  our hens "know what they like".
And just look at all the wild birds around.  They puff up their feathers and fall asleep in the trees. Our hens have a roof over their heads and protection from wind.  They have access to the nesting boxes with room to spare if the roosts get too cold for them.  But they usually do prefer being outside (still inside the coop area) sitting on a roost.  We've only seen them move into the nesting box area when it's extremely cold, or as is the case now, when one of them is molting.

Tootsie, being one of our oldest hens at 6 years, seems unable to get onto a roost at all so she stays in a nesting box at night.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Knitting Stuff

This post is all about knitting.  Just warning you.

Since I was informed of my daughter's pregnancy I started working on a blanket for her addition.

Then I saw this pattern and had to give it a try.  It's much easier than it looks.   I love the way it turned out.

In between I didn't forget about myself, and I made a couple of cowls.  I hadn't worn one before but now I really like them.
 The one on the left was super easy to knit.  It would make a great first knitter's project.

Of course I didn't forget about my granddaughter in Seattle.  I made this sweater for her.  Turns out it's still too big for her, but someday it will fit.

 Want to see some fails?
Here you go.....These are supposed to be toy cats!  Ha ha ha!
My husband says he can't decide if they look like weasels or rats.

 I tried a new pattern.  This one worked out much better.  A little lamb.

Not giving up on a sweater for my granddaughter, I tried again.

This time it fit!

And I nearly always have socks on needles.  I let Scarface photo bomb this pair.

 I knit this hat intending it for my FIL.  Kim thought it too "femmie" so I'll keep it for myself.

 And these socks.
Yes, they're pretty, aren't they?
But sometimes more complicated just means you won't wear them as often or enjoy them as much.
I have divided feelings about these.

Same with these cat mittens.  They are nice, but I'll be saving them to wear around October every year I think.

What about you?  Knit?  Crochet?  Wood work?  Paint?  Music?
What keeps you going?

You can see the patterns I used on Ravelry.  I'm VictoriaJean.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

And Here Come the Holidays

Well, goodbye Halloween;  welcome November.
Or, more to the point:

Actually, I don't mind all the Christmas decorations in the stores.  That's probably because I don't have to do much shopping so my exposure is limited.  (But I admit, I do love the glitter of Christmas decorations.)

Anyway, I'm sticking with the November/fall/autumn theme a bit longer.  And here are some great new recipes I made last week.

Who doesn't love a stuffed pumpkin?  I made two of these "veggie" per the recipe and cooked up some sausage to add to the other two for the meat eaters.

I substituted small pie pumpkins for the carnival squash in this recipe.  It worked great, just extend your baking time a bit.  And try to find pumpkins of all the same size.  (Hint;  I didn't)

My daughter brought over some appetizers that we consumed while waiting on our pumpkins to finish up.

And for dessert, Italian Spiced Chocolate Cream served in tiny espresso cups.  It was yummy.  I smeared corn syrup on the lips of the cups before I dipped them into the Demerara sugar because my DAUGHTER IS PREGNANT and I didn't want to risk raw egg exposure on her.

Oh, did you catch that?  Yes, MY DAUGHTER IS PREGNANT!
I'm going to be a Grandma again, and I can't wait.  They're having a boy and he is due in March.

And if when reading this you said to yourself, "Just exactly what is Demerara sugar?" Well, here you go;   "Demerara is a light brown, partially refined, sugar produced from the first crystallization during processing cane juice into sugar crystals (this process is similar to what happens with naturally evaporated cane juice).  Unlike brown sugar, which has the added molasses flavor, Demerara has a natural caramel-like flavor that hasn't been refined out.  This lends warm caramel notes to whatever you add the sugar.  Also, Demerara sugar is also referred to as Turbinado sugar in many markets, which has more to do with how the sugar is processed in turbines, than where it originates."  

You can read more about Demerara sugar here.

And if you know me, you know I nearly always make two desserts.  I blame that on the chocolate lovers versus the people who aren't in love with chocolate.  (Yes, I know!  Turns out they DO exist!)
Anyway, I tried this new bread pudding recipe and we all loved it.  One thing I would do next time;  double the apple topping.  And maybe serve it with just a bit of whipped cream on top.

I didn't get a photo of it, but believe me, it's worth the effort.

And I'll end this post with some pictures of my friend Jeanne's Halloween display.  I did make it to her house and it was worth it as usual.  You can see some of her creative process here.

And my granddaughter and daughter in law - Curious George with Professor Wiseman.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Spooky Stuff

I have to get over to Jeanne's house this Saturday.

I missed it last year.  Big mistake.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

End of October

I readily admit it, I've been ignoring my blog.
And I don't have a good excuse.
It's just happened.
Grace keeps up with her two blogs.  And she does it well.

I guess this post will be a "bring my blog up to date" post.

Ah...right now we have some Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis) blooming in our garden.

But check out my daughters pink ones.  (I plan on stealing some of her volunteers.)

The difference?  I think it's called chickens.

We recently returned from Burgdorf Hot Springs.  We spent three nights up there and rented four cabins for our group.  Great trip.  My dad used to take us up when I was a kid.  I've returned many a time as an adult and it's hardly changed at all.

Amazingly, these two are still alive and getting around.

Scarface and Chelsea did a lot of this:

And a little of this:

We hiked up this hill near Burgdorf.  This photo is courtesy of Sarah Knopp and a cool flying gopro.

And an update on my son since his June surgery.

He and his family are doing well.

I miss this little gal though!