I am so excited that it is spring!!! (… even with all of its unpredictable weather – - yesterday was 60 and very rainy, today is 40 with strong winds). Mainly, I am so relieved that it is no longer winter. Our nighttime temps continue to dip below freezing, but much less below freezing and much less frequently below freezing.
Anyway, this isn’t a real ‘craft update’ but I did want to mention my excitement for spring and pay homage to the garden and other related activities that spring ‘sproings.’
The chicks continue to do well and I am trying to get them outside as much as I can (though, with the unpredictable weather, that has been less frequently of late). They are almost five weeks old and have grown so big! They have hardly any of their baby fluff left and their previously distinguishing features are now gone (replaced with totally different distinguishing features that I continue to try to distinguish). …It’s possible that who I am currently calling Penelope may actually be Madeline!!!
I had wanted to get better photos of them for you, but it’s been so stormy here lately that they haven’t gone outside very much (and when they have, I haven’t taken photos). So these two photos were the best that I was able to get of them in their inside home, and they were moving so much that I couldn’t get a clear shot. I actually think these two photos are pretty funny. Above is Florence giving the camera of the evil eye and then, behind her, Penelope is doing her long-neck-cock-her-head-look-at-something thing. And below you can see just how much they move in a split second. I recently (as in, yesterday) switched their bedding to play sand because I couldn’t handle the dust from their pine granules. The smell doesn’t bother me but the dust drives me crazy. I procured a 40 pound bag of the washed play sand for $3 and the chicks seem to like it. One plus is that I can now scoop up their manure with a cat litter scoop, which I think also helps with the smell. Also yes, the basement is wall-to-wall carpeting, which makes this extra disgusting (tearing out the basement carpet wasn’t on The List of DIY Projects for this year, but maybe having chickens down there will bump it up).
As for the coop, I believe that I mentioned we are going to convert our ginormous shed into a shed/coop combo. The first step in this process is to re-roof the structure, which we were planning on doing anyway, because the roof leaks horribly. Josh tore off the old roof and we had to discard most of the old boards because they were all rotten and very very moldy, and he is working on putting a new roof. Of course, the inclement weather has stalled this work (please note the ominous storm clouds and the tarps over the shed in the below photo). It’s kind of hard to put on a roof with 25mph winds and lots of rain, and of course, Day Jobs that take up your time during the Day. When weather permits, Josh has been hard at work during all of his spare time, until almost 9:00 at night (well after the sun has gone down), but wind and rain is hard.
Once we get the roof up, we’re going to finish off and insulate the walls, section off a portion of the shed to be the coop, open up the second door, open up a chicken door, open up lots of ventilation areas, and then set up the coop interior (not necessarily in that order). While I find that housing chickens inside my human house is not the most optimal living situation in which I have ever found myself, it is much more tolerable now that they are in the basement and I think that being able to take the chicks outside as much as possible will only make it more tolerable until they can be formally moved into their coop. Please weather, get nice and stay nice, pretty please!
My gardening work is going well and all of my seedlings are thriving. I’ve got onions, leeks, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, spinach, romaine, carrots, radishes, parsnips, many many herbs, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and this weekend I am going to sow my tomatoes (and some other stuff on my list). Some of them are already in the ground and are doing well, and I’m planning on planting everything else the first week of May.
Unfortunately, my frost abatement frames haven’t stood up against the 25 mph winds that we’ve been having and the tops have all blown off, so I need to revisit their construction. I have been using them continuously, however, and the seedlings underneath are all doing well. Sort of…
Last week, Kiko and I were outside catching some rays and working in the garden, when I realized that I wasn’t sure where she had gone. I looked all around and started to get worried that she had gone feral and decided that living with humans was no longer for her, until I found her basking in the warmth underneath one of the cold frames.
I think she was a little annoyed and contemplating going feral when I made her get out, but I haven’t brushed away the kitty prints in the raised beds, as I find them to be a cute addition to my garden.
A few seedlings were damaged while she was rolling around, but it’s hard to be mad at someone so cute.
As for sewing, I don’t have a ‘real’ sewing project to show you, but I have been working on mending and altering this dress that I bought almost a year ago. The dress was at an antique store for about $10 and was clearly handmade. It also had a lot of holes where the seams had busted out and there were a few styling elements that I didn’t like. However, as I held the dress up to my person, it was evident that the dress would fit me well. So I brought it home with the intention to fix it all up, but then it sat at the back of my fabric stash for almost a year, sadly forgotten. Recently, when I did the deep clean of my craft room after moving the chicks to the basement, I re-discovered this dress and decided to finish it. Sorry, I don’t have any before photos. Initially, the dress was so long that it hung to my mid-calf, which I believe is possibly the most unflattering dress length. So I cut off about 18 inches from the length and hemmed it. I also re-sewed all of the seams that had come undone. The sleeves were hemmed with elastic which was way too tight around my upper arms, so I took out the elastic and then made some pleats at the hem. Anyway, I didn’t make this dress, but I did fix and alter it to fit me better, and I’m very happy with it. The print on the fabric is actually plaid with butterflies and I kind of love it. It was also surprising to find an already sewn dress that fit my bodice perfectly, as that never ever happens. Incidentally, the bodice has shirring at the waistline and I find this to be exceptionally comfortable.
I’m still trying to decide what my next real sewing project should be. Decisions, decisions.
Finally, as for my book reading, I am making my way through The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein and, to be honest, I don’t like it very much. I find it boring and uninteresting, and am inclined to think that I won’t have it finished before I need to return it to my public library. I’m trying to decide if I should try to finish it (either before the return deadline or make the effort to renew it) or just find something else to read.
Readers, tell me, when you find yourselves reading books you don’t enjoy, do you ever feel guilty for not finishing them, or do you subscribe to the notion that life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy? This book has very favorable reviews on Goodreads, so perhaps I just haven’t gotten to the good part, or maybe what is so great about this book is just eluding me and I should pay more attention to locate its redeeming qualities.