Thursday, June 30, 2011

yarn-along

I'm joining Ginny at Small Things and all the wonderful yarn along ladies. Better late than never? I have been missing from the Internet lately. Miles started crawling and Cole finished school. I've had my hands full and its taking a while to get sorted out. I am going to try to dedicate some time every day to writing. I really enjoy blogging and I think my mental health benefits from having a little time to myself each day. So please forgive my irregular posting as we work out our new summer schedule.

This very mobile and speedy baby leaves me little time for anything other than chasing these days, so I haven't progressed much in my summer reading, nor have I started any new knitting projects. Recently, my Granny very kindly donated a large chuck of her wool stash to me. All kinds of ideas are percolating. I've been inspired by Sarah's Year of Projects post to participate in this Ravelry blog-a-long. I'll post my project hope-list as soon as I can.

I do, however, spend a lot of time with baby books these days. Won't You Be My Kissaroo? is awfully cute and I highly recommend it. We have the boardbook version of course as my babies are particularly hungry for literature. I think this one still has all its corners.

To make up for my inability to properly contribute to this week's yarn-along, here's a picture of the newest member of our family, Alice the Manx kitten. She's supposed to be a good mouser. If Cole has it his way, she'll be more snuggle-bum than hunter. Pretty cute, eh?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

the first dozen

We've been collecting eggs from Priscilla for a while now, but one little silkie egg per day isn't egg-actly enough to feed a family. Our two new silkie hens (named Wasa and Bi by Cole) are now laying along with the incredibly efficient Ginger Chicken. We actually managed to fill a carton.. our first dozen! Its so funny to see the difference between the teeny little pinkish white eggs and Ginger's extra-large ones. Her eggs are so big that we can't quite shut the carton.


We enjoyed some of these immensely in our lunch omelets today. Oliver makes awesome omelets. He also used spinach and swiss cheese from the Jolly Farmer, and chives from our garden. Delicious!

Friday, June 24, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Visit Soule Mama to participate.

 Cole's eggsperiment

Friday, June 17, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Visit Soule Mama to participate.





~ Wishing all of you a sunny, peaceful weekend ~

Thursday, June 16, 2011

meet me at the punk show

Oliver and I had our first night out sans bébé. I have been fretting about this for months.  I've been "hemm-ing" and "haw-ing."

I was very nervous because 1) Miles refuses to drink from a bottle, and 2) Miles is a major mama's boy... but I didn't have to worry because my mother knows exactly what to do to make a little baby feel happy and cozy. Of course I already knew this.

I think she is a baby whisperer. There's something about my mom that makes everybody around her feel loved and very special.

Cole says his Nanna is his very favorite person. I think I may just have another Nanna's boy on my hands. This baby did not cry hysterically like I anticipated. He was just fine. 

So, aside from some slight achiness (didn't bring a pump),  I had a great time. It was nice to spend an evening just the two of us.. its been a while.

Not that it was incredibly romantic. Unless you consider a steaming room full of riled up punk rockers (aged 5-50!) romantic.

But it was fun... and reminiscent of a time way before kids, and responsibility, and all that jazz. 

I didn't take pictures. I was afraid my camera would get stomped on.

http://www.myspace.com/nofx  Try not to be offended.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

yarn-along

Reading has always been my obsession and recently it has been joined by knitting. I'm so glad I came across Ginny's yarn-along as its a chance to celebrate these, my two favorite things. I really enjoy hopping around all the yarn-along blogs. I have found some awesome knitting inspiration and also great book suggestions. After seeing Mennonite in a Little Black Dress last week, I had to go out and buy it. I'm about half way through. Its very well written. The author is an English PhD and this is apparent in her interesting word choices. I always love a good memoir and this is not an exception. I feel that I am getting to know the characters and am able to connect with them even though our life experiences are different. My only complaint so far is that its just not quite juicy enough. I think I was expecting this story to reveal some deep insights in to Mennonite lifestyle. However, there hasn't been anything too shocking yet. Maybe we'll get there. Maybe its not fair for me to hope for shocking. My intentions with this book were a little voyeuristic I have to admit. I'll let you know the final verdict next week.


I'm almost done this soaker. It only took two days. I'm using a 100% wool from the Briggs & Little $2 basket. Today I WILL master the Kitchener graft... if it kills me!

I also finished the Baby Surprise Jacket. Its a little snug around. Probably because of where I messed up in the back. Either that... or he grew... again. I just need to add buttons, not that I'll be able to do it up. My mom said toggles. I'm thinking wood.


Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All about chickens! Part 1

Its about time I delivered on this much promised chicken post. I know its pretty wordy, but I really want to document what we're learning as first-time chicken parents.

Elvis and Priscilla. 
New to chickens this year, we started out with two silkies, Elvis and Priscilla. Oliver built a fantastic little coop and pen for them out of recycled art crates (wood creates used to deliver paintings.) They are pretty funny creatures and definitely have a lot of personality. More recently, Priscilla has been looking a little worn out and is missing some feathers. We figured out that Elvis is picking on her. His demand for "chicken love" (as we call it) is too much for her! Its actually recommended that you have at least 3 hens or so for your rooster in order to satiate his roo needs without being too taxing on any one hen. She also had a period of broodiness that was a little hard to break. She came in to the house for about a week vacation in a dog crate. This broke her of her broodiness, but Elvis' efforts redoubled once she returned. She's back on vacation now with extra protein treats while she tries  to regrow her feathers. Poor thing! She is starting to look better though.

Rescue Chicken! 
A couple weeks ago, Fredericton City Chickens posted on FaceBook that they needed to find a home for a wild chicken! Somebody in Fredericton had found a chicken running around their yard. Our best guess is that this was an illegal chicken who got lose. We decided to offer her a home. This may be long term or temporary if the owner ever comes forward (if its you, send me an email.) Cole named her Ginger Bread Chicken because we had this whole scenario worked out about how she escaped being eaten by the farmer's wife and had the whole farm chasing after her. Its since been shortened to Ginger Chicken, which sounds more like something on a Chinese restaurant menu. We do not, however, plan on making dinner of this girl. She is the most hilarious chicken I have ever seen. She squawks and flaps at the dogs if they go anywhere near her. She also likes to roost on Oliver's head. She's sneaky about it too. She will climb a tree stump or wood pile and lay in wait for the perfect moment... and when you least expect it.. chicken on your head! She isn't laying and we don't know why. She laid her first egg today! However, she laid it up high on a shelf and it fell off. It looks like she ate it when it broke. This isn't good as hens can sometimes get a taste for eggs and start breaking them on purpose. We removed the shelf and we'll have to keep an eye on her. Since she's a mystery chicken, we don't know how old she is and how productive she'll be.

Here she is, rather pensive, in her favorite spot inside the coop.


New digs!
Oliver built a bigger coop with the help of his dad and brother. The new coop is built on legs made from this tree. Its 8'x8' with a slanted roof. The tall side is 6' and the short side is 4' tall. It has glass windows for light and lots of good ventilation. The chickens are only meant to sleep in here as they will have access to a generous outdoor run during the day. This structure should accommodate a larger flock of layers along with a small separate section for the silkies. They have to be kept separate because they are little (bantams) and fairly docile and will be picked on by the other chickens. The art crate coop will be their summer home.

Choosing a breed of chickens was kind of stressful. Whenever I do any sort of research, I tend to do too much and then I have a hard time narrowing it down and making a selection. I spent a lot of time looking at chicken breeds online. A good resource is the breed index at Backyard Chickens. Factors we took in to consideration were hardiness for our area, temperament, and productivity in terms of egg laying. We also like some breeds for their special features.

We narrowed it down to Australorps, Delawares, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Araucanas, Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks. All of these are heritage breeds.

Chicks or Pullets? Then we had to decide whether to get pullets (female chickens less than a year old) or unsexed chicks. The pullets are more expensive, but you know what you're getting. With the chicks, you will likely end up with 50% roos. You can't keep lots of roosters as they are aggressive towards each other. Put a couple of roos together and you could have a blood bath on your hands. Our chickens also have to serve a purpose, pay their own way if you will (Ginger Chicken being the exception apparently.) This means that non-egg-layers can't stay. We did a lot of soul searching. It was difficult to come to terms with the idea of slaughtering and eating animals that we had raised from birth. I am in the process of a mental shift. I'm looking at food in a whole new way. I suggest reading this previous post for more on this topic.

Wings and Whiskers. We decided that we knew well enough what we wanted and didn't want in a chicken. Armed with the determination to finally make a decision, we went to Wings and Whiskers in Petitcodiac, which is a flea market style sale of birds and small furry animals.



We found two new silkie hens for Elvis and a bunch of chicks. This is already a long post, so I'll introduce the new flock another day. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 13, 2011

this weekend :: WWKIP day and a duckling

I wasn't able to make it down to our local yarn store to knit in public today. I did, however, stop in at the Gagetown Fiber Festival. It was just a little celebration with goats being sheered and lots of yarn for sale.


It was a Miles and mama day as my bigger boys were busy with other commitments. So I stuck the baby in his sling with his 'daddy hat' on since it was so sunny!

I definitely have enough yarn to last a season, but how could I help myself surrounded by tactile wonder. I feel that I practiced restraint by not buying $80 worth of the blue and yellow (90% mohair, 10% merino hand spun and dyed) I loved it so much, I couldn't leave without a small bit of it. So, now I have to figure out what to do with 90 yards. I also picked up some pink 100% alpaca and blue/grey 70% alpaca, 30% angora. Great hat ingredients for my sisters!


There was a drawer full of bits of alpaca? for needle felting. Such terrific colours! I'm thinking of making some play animals. Last but not least, I found a great treat from Earth Art Felted Soap. I purchased one for me and one for my mama. They smell great! They are goats milk soap wrapped in felted merino wool. Its soap and face cloth in one!

 
We didn't stay long as our final destination was my parents' cottage. We were on a mission to release Flapper on the lake.

Recently I got in touch with a wild bird biologist at Environment Canada. He said that ducklings can be quite adept at caring for themselves and its not uncommon for them to become separated from their families. We may even have been in violation of some legislation by keeping Flapper at our home. oops.

Oliver also found this article about leaving wild birds in the wild.

Based on everything I've read, however, I still think he was too small to survive on his own. I highly recommend contacting your local wildlife experts if you find an abandoned duckling. 


After everyone said their goodbyes, I walked down the shore and let Flapper off near the water. He enjoyed splashing in the water, but soon found his way back to our beach. My sisters were swimming when he appeared.

We decided to take him on the boat to a more remote area where he could be more independent and also safe from dogs. We dropped him of at an uninhabited island about 1 km away. The next morning, he reappeared on the beach. What a determined little guy! Everybody did their best to ignore him and eventually he swam away down the shoreline. He seemed very happy to be in the lake. I'm hoping he'll find some friends, and wondering if we may have a resident duck on our beach.

Friday, June 10, 2011

homemade baby wipe solution

I just ran out of my simple healthy baby wipe solution. I can't do without it, so I'm mixing up a new batch right away. Here's the recipe ::

2 cups water
2 tbls or 2 glugs of olive oil ~ could substitute in your fav oil - coconut might be nice
2 tbls or glugs baby wash ~ I use Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap
Add in a couple drops of melaleuca oil (tea tree) because its naturally anti-fungal, antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial + it smells good
If you want, add in a couple drops of fav essential oil. I'm using lemon for some extra fresh scent.

Mix it all up in a jar with a lid so you can shake it before you use it (oil will separate). Some people add in a cut-in-half paper towel role for instant disposible wipes, but I use cloth.

Its good for faces, hands, and bums. Although, I'm not sure it would feel good in little eyes, so be careful.


hmmm... I think I need to clean that window.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo - no words (or only a couple)- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Visit Soule Mama to participate. 

Nanny's new puppy

Stay tuned for my first giveaway, a new name, and a whole new look coming soon...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

yarn-along

I'm joining all the wonderful yarn-along ladies again this week. To participate, visit Ginny at Small Things. I love to see what you're up to knitting and reading-wise as well, so please leave your link in the comments here.


Miles just said "oh mama, why are you making me try on this stupid sweater again?!"

and, by the way, do you like the black fly bite in the middle of his forehead? Poor little guy. 

Here's the BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket). I'm almost done the knitting part (next row button holes!) Somehow I've messed up once again. How am I 9 stitches short across the back? I really don't understand as I've been carefully following row-by-row. Unless I miscounted when I cast on at the very beginning. I've been counting the stitches from the edges in to the increases/decreases, but not necessarily all the stitches in between. It just should have worked out. Well, I'm now adding more rows before the button holes. I think it will work out, but the neck opening might be to wide. Aiii. I guess we'll see. I wonder if a knitting project will ever go smoothly?

I should mention that the wool is fabulous and its the soft spun from Briggs & Little. 

I should also mention that this Saturday is World Wide Knit in Pubic Day around here. Check for an event in your area as dates vary.

I have had no time for reading because this little guy was teething again. We now have a third tooth! He has more teeth than all his friends put together. We're also in the early days of 27 new chicks, which I'll post about tomorrow. Miles, however, is reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. This was a favorite when Cole was a baby too, but we didn't have this slide and find version. I guess we're moving up in the world!

I fully intend to start a book review section as part of this blog. I know I keep saying that... so maybe you don't believe me. I'm making it a priority this week/weekend. I'm a little intimidated to publish my first review as there are so many great book bloggers/book reviewers already doing their thing.

Please also stay tuned for news about my very first giveaway! I'm working out the details now. I hope to announce this next week. I'm sure it will be spectacular.. absolutely the best giveaway ever, so check back. By the way, I think it will have something to do with trying to reach 100 followers, so feel free to sign up and tell your buddies.

Have a great day everybody!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Miles

I know its a cliché, but I really can't believe how quickly this baby is growing.

week 29
I don't really talk about this because its an emotional subject, but looking at my beautiful little boy this morning, I feel ready to put this story in to words. In April 2009, I lost a very wanted pregnancy at 14 weeks. I was devastated. My son was almost 9 years old. I had been waiting a long time for 'all the stars to align' and we were so excited. I had already started nesting and had a growing collection of babyness around the house. Fortunately, or unfortunately, so many wonderful women empathized and supported me. Like my mother said "its not exactly a club you want to join," but at the same time, its good to know that there are others who understand. These were mostly women I know in real life, family and friends, but also an on-line community. This was my first experience with blogs.

I was torn between wanting to try again right away and mourning my baby. I decided to do both at once. It was difficult. I became obsessed. I know this process put stress on my husband, but he stuck with me... like he always does. The first two times I became pregnant (my son and the loss), it happened very quickly, so as time passed I became increasingly worried that nothing was happening.

After about ten months of trying to conceive I spoke with my doctor who told me that I could see a specialist in two more months if I still wasn't pregnant. I actually had a very strong feeling that maybe it was not meant to be and started researching adoption, which I have always been interested in anyway. 

One day, I decided to stop worrying. I decided to meditate and do some yoga. I bought a book called The Fertility Diet and adjusted my eating habits. I think the main thing was adding full fat dairy. Feeling better and slightly less stressed out, after eleven months of trying to conceive, I did. Now, I should mention here that even though I feel my new perspective did make a difference for me, I would never say to a woman experiencing infertility "relax and it will happen." Infertility is a serious medical condition.

Terror and ecstasy about sums it up. Terrified that something horrible would happen to this baby, and overwhelmed with happiness and anticipation. We took longer to tell people this time (with the exception of my mom of course and some office-mates). I was more hesitant to buy anything babyish or do much to prepare. I was referred to a specialist and started having regular ultrasounds (and no, I don't think these hurt my baby.) We found out we were having a boy. He continued to look healthy and was growing well. Even though it never completely went away, my fear did wane.

We had only one bump in the road when nearing his due date, this little guy flipped around into a breech position and the nurse wanted to schedule a c-section. It was on a Friday. I spent the weekend in between child's pose and on my back with my hips up high on a mountain of cushions. Early Monday, I went to to have him turned, but he had flipped back on his own..phew.

I didn't go in to labour by his due date and by this time I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, as happens! By eight days over, Miles was still not even descended. He was showing no signs of leaving his nest any time soon. I was induced, which was very hard for me because I really wanted this to be as free of intervention as possible. If midwives were available to me, I would have opted for a home birth.

After a very long and intense labour and three hours of pushing  (he really didn't want to come out!) Miles Robin Joseph came in to this world. He was born at 1:58am on November 22, sharing a birthday with his cousin Carley (middle name Miles) and his great grandmother (maiden name Miles). We had planned his name ahead of time, so I think he was just waiting for this auspicious timing.
 
Miles was a little chilly and we did skin to skin until he warmed up. Aside from that, he was just perfect (and smaller the anticipated - the doctors had me believing I was having a ten-pounder, but he was only 6lbs13oz.)

I look at this baby and I just love him so much, its indescribably. You other mamas know what I'm talking about. I can easily go back to that place of desperation I was in for the eleven months we were trying to conceive. It seemed to last forever. Somehow, we got from there to here in the blink of an eye. I'm now in this wonderful place that I wasn't even sure I'd ever reach. I have two beautiful children. I am so glad that Cole gets to experience being a big brother and it's lovely to watch them together. He is developing this new gentleness.

Being away from work and school, I also feel that I've had time to re-focus and spend time working on what really matters in life.

By the way, Miles is now huge! Almost 18lbs. I think he's going to crawl soon. I know that if I don't pay very close attention, he'll grow up too fast.

week two
week three
week 6

Monday, June 6, 2011

this weekend: life lesson

This was a weekend full of lessons...

My grandmother's dog Charlie passed away after a lengthy illness.  He was surrounded by his family. The children were there. Petting him and comforting him, they said their goodbyes. I missed it, but Cole gave me a detailed and heartfelt recounting.  It is very sad, but an integral part of life. I'm glad my son was a part of this. He is such a sensitive soul. This will stay with him for a very long time.

Here he is with his Nanna (my mom). 

Friday, June 3, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual from Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Duckling Love

Just over a week ago, my mother found a duckling at her cottage. This teeny little critter crawled right on to my mom's foot... probably looking for warmth. (S)he wouldn't leave them all day. Everybody searched and searched to no avail for a duck family or any signs of one. They have actually never seen a duck before at this lake. Poor little ducky was definitely hawk food if left on his own. Apparently, my family thinks we are some Dr. Dolittles around here, because we got the call and off we went to a meet up spot to collect Flapper (named by my sisters).

I don't know a thing about ducks! I did a lot of interneting and found out that they can be 'brooded' like chicks. They have similar needs, a bit less heat, a bit more water.

The first night was a little scary as we weren't sure he would make it. He did and he's been growing bigger and stronger ever since. 

The unfortunate thing is that ducks are very social creatures and really need a friend. Everything I have read says that ducklings don't tend to do well on their own. I don't know what to do with this information! I was hoping to find him some chick friends (apparently this can work,) but wasn't able to get any the same age/size. We even considered another duckling, but decided that was a little crazy. I am feeling so bad for the little guy being all on his own!

We aren't sure if Flapper is a Mallard or a Wood Duck. The ducklings look very similar. I'm leaning towards Wood Duck. Both of these types of birds can be found in our vicinity. We're hoping that as soon as Flapper has more feathers and we know just what he is, we will be able to find a suitable release area.

We have started giving him swim time in the bathtub, which he enjoys. I think we'll soon let him outside. How do you teach a duckling to find its own food? I'm worried he'll be too dependent on us to take care of himself.

He is awfully cute though.





yarn-along

Joining Ginny again in the Wednesday yarn-along. Congratulations to her and her family on the arrival of their new little package Silas!

Post a picture of your current read and your current knitting or crocheting pattern. Visit Small Things to participate. I love to see what you're up to, so leave a comment here too!


I finally started my BSJ! and I'm keeping the colour a surprise for now. I keep changing my mind about both the colour and stripe pattern... so we'll see what happens. So far, I'm finding the pattern from Schoolhouse Press very easy to follow. It just takes forever to do a row since there are so many stitches. This week, I'm reading up on chickens! These two books are Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens with Ashley English and Chick Days: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatching to Laying. Our two silkies will soon have some new neighbors, so we want to be as prepared as possible!

If I 'ever find the time' I'll be posting reviews of these books. So check back.