Category Archives: Life: lived

buttonholes

Awesome! A buttonholer on a Singer treadle sewing machine, making perfect buttonholes.

This is amazing technology IMO, from the 40’s.

On a treadle sewing machine the needle is fixed. It can’t move side to side like modern electrics so it can’t do a zigzag stitch.

How to get around that? Let’s grab the fabric and move it side to side while the needle goes up and down- voila, zigzags and buttonholes!

Unlike how a computer works, I can look at this and understand how it works, and I think it’s exceedingly ingenious, harnessing the mechanical drive of the sewing machine and controlling the whole circuit of the buttonhole, instead of the three stage variable length method I learned on electric machines.

Treadle sewing machines can still outperform electric machines, mostly by being stolid and consistent, while electrics can be buggy and finicky.

One Year

After blogging since the early oughts, 2018 was the first year I posted every single day. It wasn’t always first thing in the morning, and sometimes a scheduled post failed to post on schedule, but I posted every day. After a while, it was too good a streak to break.

What else did I do this year? Caught my first swarm, made a more effective strike against the invasive Glossy-leaf Buckthorn species we’re plagued with than I have before, had a slightly better garden and a bigger one. As usual, I read 100 books. To finance my chicken habit, I made some strides at my day job, narrating more audiobooks and more exciting and challenging ones.

I’m still obsessed with productivity, still use and love Habitica, and this year integrated some GTD principles for more efficiency. The almost lifelong habit I have of packing more in than I or anyone should is catching up with me, and that’s the next thing I need to change. I aspire to do less now, which is a major shift from half a lifetime spent wanting to do more. Sigh.

Happy New Year! I wish everyone more health, strength, and success creating a life and world that is good.

bees snugged II

The bees are all wrapped now, after getting their insulation.

This time I tried to wrap the tar paper so that it was sealed and went up under the flange of the beehive lid, so in theory the water sheds over the tar paper wrap, but I can still get the lid off anytime. We’ll see.

I put a piece of tape on the corner before doing the fold so the paper doesn’t tear- that worked well.

Like gift wrapping. The paper is all folded down tight and taped to the eke. That lid is upside down by the way, just for while I work.

That’s what it looks like inside- the straw, and the bottle of bee syrup that they can access from the hole in the inner cover.

Here the lid’s back on.

Hello bee!

The bees were out, because it was a nice day (about a month ago). They were flying and curious.

Hello bees!

When I wrap them all up they are shut in entirely for a few minutes before I cut their doors open again.

Bees at the door

This one is done. Except I have a bigger sheet of ply I put over the lid like a second, bigger lid.

The one in the background has not been done yet:)

Will they winter?

This year I have three hives to winter for the first time, since I purchased a second hive (nuc) this year, and I had one split (dramatically) and caught the swarm. I also have three sizes. 1,2,3 – my largest is three supers (Violet), and Pansy is one super. I’ve only lost a hive once, so I’m currently one for three, so this year will be interesting, based on the size of each hive, and of course the weather is the biggest factor. I’m also hopeful that being able to feed them in warm windows and replace the straw if it gets wet will be a boon.

We’re goin’ to China, kids

It’s the chicks’ debut. Everyone comes to look.

Ursa’s first day in the chickery: she celebrated her first day out of the broody box as the hens always do, with a vigorous dirt bath.

This is how you dig a hole!

I placed her in the former location of the peat bag (the over flow spot), for premium dirt bathing.

The kids start to come around, Hey, I’m kinda cold, can I get under you?

Nope!

Stand back, kids, mama’s getting her bath on!

She’s like a round fur tornado, spraying everything down with dirt. Evidently, it feels incredible.

How about now?!
Maybe…..
No, not done yet!

not good very bad

My computer stopped working today in a way that seems forboding-ly final.  It won’t turn on and won’t charge.  No warning signs.  The current suspicion is that some snow got into it.

I’m already emotionally recovering.  The blow is that my computer is my work, and there was quite a lot of data only on that computer.  Now it is currently inaccessible in a deadline week, and I’m not exactly embracing having to re-record half of a book the week before Christmas!

Earlier this week I lost a couple months of photographs in a half second’s bad decision.  Format?  Yes.  NO!  I mean-  ah shit.
Now I only have the pictures I put on here! 

It could always be worse.  I lost loads of pictures of Cheeks, but I did not lose Cheeks.   It could have been three books, but it’s only half of one.  I have the software I need on HW’s computer; I can get by.  Technology can be disappointing.

guinea lift

I can’t believe this just happened.  I was closing up the birdies’ coops in the almost completely dark, and there was one guinea that wasn’t up on the perch.  It’s tough; their perches swing, and they fall off, or knock each other off, but they are usually all back on by nightfall.

He was sitting on the edge of the chickery slash confinement module.  I was already crouched beside him to shut the big coop, so I reached out, like, here, I’ll help you up (haha).  He let me touch him!  Not a hint of a flinch.  They’re dopey at night, but we could still see each other. 

I started prying his little toes off of the edge to take his feet in my hand.  Once he was standing on my hand instead of the wooden edge, I stood up with him.  He settled right down on my hand, squeezing my fingers with his feet like he was ready to stay. One foot was colder than the other.

It was Flash, one with the white wingtip feathers.  I raised him up to the perch, but since he was not at all motivated to jump from my hand to the perch, he did not (Oh, I don’t mind staying on the heated perch), and I’m not tall enough to reach their pole. 

I had to stand on a hay bale and stretch over, and then he shuffled his feet from my hand to the perch.  Adorably, the next bird over on the perch then side shuffled over to cuddle, which was friendly:)

New things! New things! – Greenhouse Rearrangement

 I got some more work done in the greenhouse.  Specifically, I untied all the strings crossing the top third, that suspend tomatoes in the summer. 

You can just see the strings in this pic.  So I’m taking them down and crochet looping them  up to decommission them until next year.  The guineas will be able to fly around in the upper third of the GH again.

This festooning makes sense to me.

Then the irrigation came out, and the pool went in, and coops were shifted – oh my!  When HW was yanking out the irrigation tape, he exposed a nestful of a family of shrews or voles that ran scurrying, and the chickens leapt into the air and screamed like little girls!  Which made the whole room erupt, and they talked about it for quite a while.

The Silkies noticed immediately that their dust bath was refilled:)  by immediately I mean seconds.  About ten.

Yep, that’s four Silkies going to town in there.

Cleopatra wants in there SO bad.  So bad that I was able to catch her, the notorious escape artist, and take her jacket off- she’s all regrown.

Ketchup’s elbowing in there

Everyone wants into that dust bath.  So much so that there was an invasion from outside:

Ahhhh, finally got that coat off!

A half dozen chickens that don’t belong hopped into Silkieland to use their fridge-drawer baths (how rude), all the while ignoring that they have a new grand bath of their own:

It’s garnering mild interest
Nosey, of course.

There was so much upheaval – wood chips and hay and coop movement and the addition of baths and overturning of turf, that the roosters were bleating about “New things! New things!” for about 20 minutes straight.  Other than that it was very, very quiet.  All must be investigated.

I’m gonna stand on that.

This little adventure chicken got in on the action when I went to hang some long poles for perches at the opposite end of the GH from where the guineas now roost.  First, I rested it on the coop.

Whitey got aboard.  More impressively, stayed on and rode the pole as I tied up the opposite end at 6’ish, then came to the coop, raised that end and tied that up. 

Whoa – whoa!   (It swings)

  What are you gonna do now, little bird? 

That should keep them entertained for a couple days.

cheeks and the baked goods

Cheeks having some lap time, and a foot bath.
She likes having her neck stroked
zzzzzz…

All very peaceful, until a croissant comes out.  First it was pie crust, similarly discovered by accident – I was eating it within her reach, and she stabbed out her beak- I’ll have some of that!

Multigrain croissant has proven to be such a huge and lasting hit, that I’m like Ok, eat some more of your grains, and then you can have croissant.  She’s like I’ll wait.  I can carry a box of them through the room, and her little head periscopes out of her banana box, following me. 

She gets a wicked glint in her eye when the croissant comes out, and she attacks! I used to break up beak sized pieces for her, but she prefers to rip her own bits off of the source, getting her whole body involved.

Why does she like it so much?

Attack!

We don’t know, but at least she’s got an appetite.