Thursday, September 27, 2007

Guys, I did not really send Jen chickens. But it's a nice thought...

So I just get home from a HELLUVA day at work, and I sit down innocently at my computer for a little blog perusal and relaxation, only to find that Jen has received chickens from on high. I thought to myself, now there's something you don't see every day, spontaneous chickens. This can't be a bad thing! So, having a reputation to uphold, I immediately set about taking credit for the happy event, which then got me thinking; wouldn't the world be a better place if I really could have some godlike power to send chickens to my friends?

Don't all run screaming from the room now, you won't all be finding chickens in your backyards, (or, if you do, it will have had nothing to do with me. Really.) There won't be magical boxes from Murray Mc Murray appearing in your mail making soft clucking noises. Not from me, at least.

But let me take this opportunity to tell you how cool chickens are. First, let me clarify, I'm talking about hens. Not roosters, which you can do quite well without, thankyouverymuch. Hens can be very sweet and will lay eggs just fine without ever coming into contact with a rooster. They don't make much noise, will interact with you if you interact with them enough to be familiar to them, and can be kept in a number of ways. If you live in the country and can let them loose, great, although you may have to hunt for eggs if you don't put them up at night and give them somewhere to lay, like a nest box. If you are an urban type, like myself, with a limited amount of land, you can build or buy a small coop and house, or you can go really compact with a chicken tractor. This is a cool little setup which protects your chickens from predators (there are lots of them about, even in the city) and can be moved around your yard to provide your girls with fresh grass. They range from the do it yourself on the cheap to the elaborate. Googleing chicken tractor will provide you with a good idea of the building plans available, or you can visit Omlet and ogle the prefab wonder that is the Eglu. I have an Eglu, and for me it has been well worth the investment. The dang thing is not only foxproof, it is packs-of-wild-dogs-proof as well, to which I can personally attest. There's nothing better than starting the morning with a fresh from the chickens' bum breakfast. Believe me, if you have never owned a hen, you have never known a truly fresh egg.

Here's a pic of my setup.

With Johannes and James of Omlet!! This summer we got a visit from the designers of the Eglu when they visited America. They surveyed first hand the damage the dog pack attacks did to my Eglu, and were amazed at how well it held up. Lest I sound too much like an advertisement for their product (which I really do think the world of) I'll get back to general chicken ownership information.

Chickens fly. So you (or someone you trust) has to clip a few wing feathers to keep them put. If you live in the country and you don't clip their wings, your chickens may roost up in the trees - they can fly that well. Wing clipping can be dangerous to the birds, so make sure you know what you're doing before you try it. Again with the googleing, or with advice from a vet who specialized in birds or even from the helpful folks at your local feed and seed, who probably sell chickens too (I bet you didn't even know you had one that close to you!) and can help outfit you with all the basics.

So, clean water, good food (chickens happily eat clean fruit and veggie scraps, too) clean straw, fresh grass, clean chicken, happy chicken owner. Fresh eggs nearly every day. Sometimes two a day. And chickens are funny. LOL funny, OMG funny, and sometimes WTF funny.

Chicken poop stinks, yes. They tear up the grass, yes. Grass grows back, the poop gives good stuff back to the soil. You get fresh eggs, and if you raise them sweet, you get sweet chicken pets. When they age and laying slacks off, you can retire them to the pet only status, or to the pot. Just depends on how up close and personal you want to get to that whole circle of life thing.

So, while I can't wish all my friends magical lucky chickens like Jen got, maybe I can make you want them. I think they're cool. They are certainly easy to keep, and they give you lots in return.

Next issue: Beekeeping!
(you only think I'm joking)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Breaking News

In no time at all, the lady previously referred to as "sadly blogless" has remedied her pitiable situation. Go check her out and tell her hi!

More coming soon. First, I must knit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mouse and Chicken Go To Town

How does one sum up a day like yesterday? I have no idea where to start, so I guess I'll start at the beginning. I met Knotty Mouse at the Yarn Garden, one of the few shops in the area I had never previously pillaged (somehow it had totally escaped my notice) in the early afternoon and whisked her away for a no holds barred, Thelma and Louise style day of knitterly hijinks and that special sort of mass hysteria only the arrival of the Yarn Harlot could perpetrate on Atlanta. After briefly looting a sari shop, we stopped at Taj Mahal for British Cadburys, made a quick hit and run on Needle Nook and wound our way down to the heart of town to meet up with several hundred of our closest friends.

Mouse taught Chicken that fresh bread and Cadburys makes a great sandwich.
A Mouse in the Yarnmobile Later that evening, Chicken would teach Mouse that beer and cameras do not mix.

Zoom really is just what it sounds like.  Funny, that. But I am getting ahead of myself.

After subjecting Mouse briefly to my cats and introducing her to my hen Ophelia, my husband played chauffeur and dropped us off at the corner of St. Charles and N. Highland to begin the evenings' festivities. First on the agenda was a little light queueing...

Which immediately devolved into general revelry and observance of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, wherein otherwise poised and polished women proved what scallywags they can really be.
Ahoy, Mateys! And to our stern were some of the happiest knitters in the world, I think. They sure look it.
Happy Happy Joy Joy Before long, we were inside and I found myself happily ensconced in the Hilan Theater with a beer in one hand and a camera in the other. And there were bloggers everywhere (and the occasional pirate celebratee).

First we have Snarky who looked for a while like she was conducting a sing-a-long.
Now here we have the ever serene Claudia, and the back of Janice's head. This was the first time I have ever seen Janice in person, and I have to say that I would have felt like a total freak for shouting "I'm the Chickengoddess!" at her across about 4 or 5 rows while pointing to myself (and jumping up and down slightly) if it weren't for the beer. Oh, crap, I did that, didn't I? What you really can't see in this picture (except for her beer) is Hockeymom, who is completely psycho, and I mean that in the best way possible. Betwixt us there was much throwing of the horns and promises of stagediving, and had I not been wearing glasses I can't afford to break there would have been some headbanging too. Maybe it's a good thing we didn't try, ultimately, or we might have run into trouble with Jane (and I would have paid for yet another of my Chiropractors' kids' college educations). Speaking of Jane...
It was her birthday! And she volunteered to work! What a great and generous spirit you have!

Meanwhile, Mouse and I were joined by the sadly blogless Laura, who arrived sporting a bag every knitter should have.
She joined myself and Mouse and got me another beer, wherein I proceeded to enter the "I love you, man!" phase of the evening. While evilsciencechick and Nytefalle looked on, Jen helped by putting on her best Rhinegold Maiden pose...

Ready for Oktoberfest And I got all soppy with the camera.
I love you, man!
I love you, man! So it was undoubtedly somewhat to the relief of all the poor people sitting around me that a few minutes later Kim took the stage and then it was all about the Yarn Harlot.

And she brought her sock.

Rockstar Apparently with just 2 beers in me I can no longer knit and I holler like a 20 year old redneck. Sad but true.

While Famous Steve surveyed the scene from the balcony...

we all fell under the Harlot's spell.

Deb, I am so sorry I didn't get a picture of you! I loved meeting you, and I hope we can run into each other again soon!

We met so many new friends, and saw so many amazing and talented knitters. I think it will take me at least a full week to absorb all of it. Thank you Kim, for making this happen. Without you and Knitch, I never would have met so many wonderful people, or Stephanie, who was tired but warm and gracious even through the late hours.

Thanks most of all to you, Mouse, for hanging out with me. I had a great time, and I hope you did too. I love you, man!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hey, Canada, What's the Problem?

Dear Canada,

Time and again I order from your stores, sending my money into your coffers, supporting your business, taking advantage of what I might also mention is an ever less advantageous currency exchange rate, and all I get in return is the opportunity to turn a little more gray whilst I wait for your mail to get to me. What's the holdup? What do you think we're trying to smuggle across the border disguised as yarn? Cheap viagra? Electronic detonator parts? Mexicans? WHAT?

I would like to point out to you that there are lots of knitters down here south of your border, knitters who through the internet have access to your exotic Canadian yarn shops, and might like to do more international business unless you piss us all off by never sending us our packages. I don't think the problem is on the American side of the border either, as I regularly order and receive (in a very timely manner, I might add) yarn from the British Isles and many of the European Union countries as well as Australia and Japan. Let me give you an example. On 8/27/07 (or 27/8/07, however you like it) I ordered a kit from a remote island off the coast of Scotland. Without any special expediting, I received it yesterday, 9/4/07. Here's the proof.

See, declarations stamp says yarn,

Hmmm, looks to BE yarn, but wait! There's something beneath the yarn! Could it be cheap vicodin knockoffs? Nearly spent nuclear material? Terrorists? Did those crazy Brits just prove their speedy Royal Mail service is really careless and dangerous?

No way!
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but even in the 21st century a tiny island off the coast of Scotland isn't going to have the most modern and finest postal facilities (or maybe they do), but anyway, I am still waiting for yarn I ordered from you over 6 freaking weeks ago. Come on, Canadian postal people, don't be such hosers.

The Chickengoddess

p.s. Yes that's goddess. As is deity. You have chickens in Canada, I know you do. You might want to speed up that post. I'm just sayin is all.

p.p.s and yes Claudia, I will dare (to try) knitting on this at Knitch on Sunday. Cause that's just how I roll.