Sunday, March 13, 2011

Houston, We Have Roostin!

**Note - Lest you think I've abandoned my calling entirely, I do finally get around to beads at the end of this post **

We were told that the largest and oldest of the chicks we bought yesterday was only 2 weeks old. All have the beginnings of feathers on their little wings, and their precious little bottoms. But the biggest is already flitting about the brooder cage and perching on the low roost I installed today. Presumably one of the others is just as old, but one of the three is a week younger than the others, so their achievements will no doubt be staggered a bit.

I'm a bit obsessed with the big job of making sure the temperature is just right in the brooder, which is tough given our tendencies to keep it rather cool around here most of the time, and watching for all signs of disaster to include pasty butt and bullying and any number of fatal chick diseases which scare the heck out of me. And God help me if I accidentally get it too warm and they fry. I could not live with myself.

This is all so new to us. I have never been inclined to own a bird for a pet, and know nothing about their care, so it's been quite an immersive experience learning about everything. I've spent loads of time just watching them, and some of what I see is so cuuute and so charming, and I have to tell you, some of it is just plain disgusting.

Like all infants, they don't spend a lot of time awake. But it's just hilarious how they transition from wide awake to totally crashed out in a split second, and vice versa. We're trying to handle them a bit every day, which is tricky with our chocolate lab (who hunts ducks), but when we take them out of the brooder we put him in another room, to avoid disaster. I keep telling him not to worry, and that before long the world will revolve around him once again.

They are scratching around and pecking everything in sight, drinking water, grooming themselves and each other, making the most aDORable birdie sounds I've ever heard, and showing interest in humans (and the beeping of my camera!). When we take them out to cuddle in our hands they fall fast asleep, and make some mighty endearing noises as they do.

The disgusting part has to do with their cleanliness, or, their lack thereof. Let's just say they don't hesitate to eat anything at all in their cage, including their poop. It's really awful, and reminder enough that handwashing is paramount with these critters. We'll see how long they last in the kitchen (the warmest place in the house these days).

My husband has been searching for the perfect coop to build, and I think we've settled on this one, though the name is irritating: City Biddies. Did it occur to them that perhaps some rural folks might like this design too?

It's compact, functionally designed, and darned cute, and will do the job just fine for our modest flock of 3 hens. Now we just need to get the plans and fire up the saw.

Meanwhile, I've also been attempting some beaded projects from Kate McKinnon's book, and I can't help seeing chicken feet instead of Ndebele flowers in this:

I got some 3.25 mag lenses for this job, and I am proud to say that
I can thread the needle the first time almost every time. Shown here are a bunch of 11 and 13 seed
beads I ordered from Fire Mountain Gems and The Red Bead.

The peachy pink beads are supposed to be smaller than the gold ones, but they're not, so the flower flares too much, but I don't have anything better here to work with now. I went to a local bead store last week to find some vintage charlottes, and they were all mislabeled. Even as a newbie it was clear to me that they were all size 11 beads, but most were labeled as 13s or even 14s. I suspected it when I bought them, but just fell in love with the colors. I'm sure I'll figure something out for them.

The most hilarious thing about receiving my first order of seed beads from Fire Mountain Gems was the free gift they sent with it - a magnifying glass!

But do you know how freaking TINY a 13° bead is? Here's a clue:

Anyway, lots of learnin' going on at the Lakinsmith Lodge, soon to be Lakinsmith Farms. I kind of like the sound of that.


Sally Anderson said...

I didn't even know there are size 13s. I was doing a project with 15s last week and definitely will get some magnifiers before I try that again. My eyes still haven't recovered!

Patty said...

Sally, I'm pretty new to this, but I believe they are a bit vintage, and not readily available now. I can't fathom using 15s, and without magnifiers! You deserve a medal for that.


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