Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fruit, Chicken Feet and a New Sock Pattern

Summer has finally arrived here in the California mountains.  The warm sunny days and cool evenings are absolutely wonderful.  For those of you who are new to our blog, we are a family that lives totally off the electric grid.  We make our own power through wind, battery and generators and have our own well for water. 

Our small 2 1/2 acre hobby farm has been quite an adventure!  Last weekend we planted two Colorado Blue Spruce trees in our "forest" area.  We also have a section that we call our "park" and one that is our "orchard."

This year's pear crop looks extremely promising - as long as we can keep the squirrels and birds away.

The apple trees are filled and I can already smell the many pies that will be baked in my oven. I'm still tying plastic grocery bags at the base of each tree and throughout the tops.  With all the wind that we have, they inflate and seem to scare off all the critters.

We've also added 5 Buff Orpingtons to our farm and are enjoying them immensely.  Their feet absolutely intrique me!  Here Lucy is posing for a photo op!  I keep telling her that they're getting a bit scaly and that she really needs some lotion!

Lucy is always curious when I bring the camera into their pen and she loves to have her picture taken.  Now, I must tell you that each of our girls have a name, but since I can't tell them apart, I always say "Lucy" to whomever I'm talking to.  My husband calls them all "Gertie".

And when I'm not attending to all that needs to be done up here, or watching our 5 grandkids 3 days a week, I'm doing my best to get my sock patterns up and running or making socks for our Etsy and Ravelry stores.  This is our next pattern called, "The Nogales Sock."  I had hoped to have it done by tomorrow, but that's not going to happen, so stayed tuned and maybe it will be ready next week.

Then we'll have a small giveaway for a free copy. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Girls Turn Nine Weeks Old

Lucy, Ethel, Cluckie, Mildred and Gertrude will be a whopping 9 weeks old tomorrow.  Wow!  Already they are quite large.

We've become their source of entertainment.  While we work around the property they jump up onto their perch to watch all our activities.  Could that be where the saying "Sticky Beak" comes from?

They especially keep an eye out on me while I'm working in the lettuce patch - lettuce just happens to be their favorite treat and they rush to the pen door when they see me coming.

This whole chicken thing was my idea, but my husband has become the girls' biggest fan and totally enjoys hanging out with them.

Guess I do, too!  The minute you crouch down inside their pen, they fly right up onto your knee and then to your shoulders.  The view is good from up there!

In another week they'll be ready to switch to the next level in food.  We supplement them with fresh greens from our garden and just introduced small tomatoes.  At first they were quite frightened when I  tossed the tomatoes into their pen, but now they squabble over them.

And yes there's a bit of knitting news - I'm working on the next southwestern sock design.  It'll be called "The Nogales Sock."  The chart is now complete and the colors selected so the knitting has begun.  Maybe by Friday I'll have the sample sock done to show you.

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sock Pattern Winner

Congratulations to Tzipporah on winning a downloadable copy of our newest sock pattern, "The Winslow Sock."  I just sent a message via Ravelry to you or you can email me at

The pattern is now in our Etsy and Ravelry stores and I'm starting our next pattern in our series of southwestern designs.  I absolutely love the American southwest - all its vibrant colors, history and scenic locations.  It just seems so perfect to do a sock collection based on all these wonderful things.

Stayed tuned, because we'll be having another little giveaway sometime next week.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Winslow Sock

Our newest sock pattern is up and running.  I just emailed it to my neighbor to see if she could open it as a PDF file and she had no problems.  What a relief!  It has just enough Fair Isle to make it fun, yet it's a quick sock to work up.  The yarn is Knit Picks "Palette" fingering weight sock yarn.

I've been wanting to do a new collection of southwestern designs, so this is our first - "The Winslow Sock."

And since this is now available, why don't we have a little giveaway?  Just leave a comment on this post and on Thursday, June 21st, I'll select one lucky name to receive this pattern as a downloadable file.  I'm without a printer, so I won't be able to mail a hard copy.  Be sure to leave contact info!

Now I'm off to my Etsy shop and Ravelry to get it listed.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New Place to Roost

Today was another milestone for the girls.  They all decided that their ramp is a very cool thing and enjoyed going up and down it.

They also decided that my husband is their new best friend and love it when he comes inside their coop - and that he's quite fun to climb on!

Here he's talking to them and getting ready to put 'em to bed.  With the evening temperatures starting to drop, Lucy discovered how warm his shoulder is and just wanted to stay right there.

Of course he made the mistake of trying to look at her and she gently pecked him near the eye!  Being Buff Orpingtons, they are quite gentle and really enjoy our company.

With Lucy on his shoulder, Ethel was quick to see what kind of perch his head would make!

Each day the girls are doing and learning new things and we are so enjoying this new adventure in our lives.  I can sure see why many people use the phrase, "the pleasure of keeping chickens."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Poor Little Lucy - How Could It Have Happened.....

We couldn't believe it as we looked into the girls' pen late Sunday afternoon.  There was Lucy on her side, eyes closed and foot up in the air.  Our hearts sank for the little gal.  My husband reached down to pick her up and the mintue he touched her, her eyes opened, she leaped up and started squawking at him as if saying, "you fool, why'd you wake me up - don't you know that you don't wake a girl up from her nap!!!'

Ok, we're new to this whole concept of raising chickens, but honestly, have you ever heard of a chicken sleeping on their side and looking well, quite dead?  Isn't that what perches are for?

Needless to say, we were quite thrilled that she was fine.

A storm blew in late last night and we've been under a high wind warning since.  Expected gusts possibly to 70 mph.  This is a bit late in the season, but we are always prepared.  You can see my tree doing it's best to bend - fortunately all our trees are staked.

Because of the cold temps and high winds, the girls will have to spend the day inside their hen house.  They've got plenty of water and food and later I'll take them some greens from our garden - that's always a treat for them.

We even had to turn off the wind turbine before calling it a night.  It's still off so we'll have to conserve our power usage the rest of the day.

On days like this it's best to just crank out a pair of socks and let the weather do what it may!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Shoe Lace Gang............

The girls are officially in their outdoor run and hen house.  Tonight will be their first time sleeping in their new digs.  At sundown, we'll go out and start teaching them how to walk up their plank and then shut and lock their door behind them.

They love it when I come into the run because they've discovered my shoe laces and fight over who can untie them first!

My husband hinged up the cleanout and entry doors today.

We even added linoleum to their house floor!  We'll probably just put newspaper over the back half and then add a deep layer of shavings in front for the area that will eventually become their nesting boxes.

Monday the girls will turn 6 weeks old and already they are huge!  And Deborah, you asked if I can tell them apart.  I'm clueless to who's who! 

In knitting news (yep, I'm back at it) I ordered lots of fun colors of KnitPicks' Palette.

I'm working on a new sock design and thought you'd enjoy seeing the inside.  The top portion of the sock is done in Fair Isle, so there will be lots of ends to weave in.

It's really a shame that more knitters don't try Intarsia and Fair Isle - especially in socks.  To me, these methods are so addicting - much like working a jigsaw puzzle.  Once I have this pattern up and running, it will be posted here and placed in our Etsy Shop and on our Ravelry site.

Now to throw some baked potatoes into the oven and then catch a few rounds of my sock.