Yarn Along (not much knitting, new chicks, cat-chasing, old favorites renewed, & life changes)

I cannot seem to find much time to knit these days, which is a shame because my anxiety could sure use the medicine that is knitting.  Harmon caught a bug from one of my daycare girls & has thus been very clingy, very feverish, & plain old grouchy the last couple days.  I attempted to knit last night after he fell asleep, but he woke up practically the minute I picked up the needles, so, yeah, yarn along this week isn’t much of a yarn along.

Our chicks hatched!  Well, one egg out of five hatched.  Three were apparently not fertilized & the Cochin egg quit developing after only a few days.  So we hatched one lonely Iowa Blue chick & bought four Barred Rock chicks to keep him or her-Lucky Penny-company.  I do not like Barred Rocks at all–the roosters are nasty–but there were no other chicks available at our local feed store small enough to join our day-old chick.Harmon is not exactly enamored with the chicks–unlike June who bounds out of bed in the morning in order to play with the chicks.  He will air kiss the chicks when asked…

…but then he tries to shoo the chicks away.

Chasing the hens around the yard, however, is great fun for Harmon.

Until he sees something else…

Not now, Turken…

…there’s a kitty in the yard!  Too bad you’re allergic, Harmon, because you sure do love the cats around here.

I got out June’s old beanie–my original June Belle (pattern available for free on ravelry).  The brim is a soft fuzzy Malabrigo & the main cap is a super duper squishy Cormo from White Barn Sheep & Wool.  I love this cap, reminds me of many happy days spent with my baby girl June…


I have given notice to my daycare girls’ parents that I will be done with childcare at the end of June & my anxiety levels are lessening the closer we creep to that time…I will therefore be (fingers crossed!) reopening my etsy shop by the end of summer with some June Belle beanies for sale & another pattern I’ve been dreaming about designing for years, so I hope you will all join me for that release in late summer!  I’m also considering using my teaching license in a virtual capacity this fall & I continue to edit my father’s book.

I hope I can be a better mama to my own four children with this change in vocation…I’ve been extremely impatient & short with all of them for far too long, much MUCH more so on the days I babysit.  It’s hard work being responsible for someone else’s babies!  Kudos to those who successfully and lovingly run in-home daycares for years…I’ve spent the last 4.5 years watching someone else’s precious souls, but it’s definitely time to move on…perhaps this change will enable more “yarn” in my future “yarn along” posts!

Happy Yarning to all my knitting friends out there!  Joining in with Martha!

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Lots of Eggs! {& babies–some cute, some not-so-much}

It may not be spring anymore in the Northern Hemisphere, but we’re still experiencing a spring-like baby boom on our property. The kids & I ventured up the road to a grassy ditch resplendent with Common Milkweed in search of Monarch eggs.  We were not disappointed.  We found ten & brought them home to raise to adults & then release.  I’m sure I’ll post more on these “babies” as soon as the eggs hatch.
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We have waffled back and forth several times over the last 2+ weeks regarding what the parent species is of the eggs in our bluebird nestbox.  We’ve seen both Catbirds & Eastern Bluebirds on the box & in the area, but we also thought the eggs looked a bit small to belong to a bluebird.  We were leaning toward robin eggs due to size, but the nesting materials didn’t include any mud and robins don’t tend to nest in nestboxes.  We’ve been monitoring the box from a distance for several weeks & have never been lucky enough to spot a parent enter the nest.  We were stumped.  On Saturday, Merritt checked the box (following the Cornell Lab’s Certified NestWatch monitor training) and there were four chicks hatched!  Still not 100% certain what species these babies are, but Brian saw an Eastern Bluebird exit the nest on Sunday while mowing.  Time will tell.
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And now to introduce you to “the girls” (we hope)!  Most of our chicken eggs from Murray McMurray Hatchery were a big old bust.  I don’t know why I forgot that every batch of eggs I’ve ever ordered from this hatchery & had delivered via the post have been this way (read: eggs don’t hatch), but I did.  The one time I actually drove to the hatchery & picked up my egg order we had almost 100% successful incubation.  Something about bouncing around through the mail must render the eggs infertile.  In any case, we incubated 14 eggs in incubators and gave the rest (10) to our Blue Cochins in the coop as they are incredibly broody.  Of those 24 eggs, THREE hatched.  None of the hatched eggs were in the coop.  Brian cracked all the eggs that didn’t hatch & found one fully-formed chick and that’s it.  Bummer.  Next spring we order chicks & pick them up as per our usual.  I can only blame pregnancy for my forgetfulness about the viability of mail-delivered eggs this year.

Meet Frost.  Isn’t she stunning?
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This is Coralee’s chick. All our chicks are bantams (so they’ll remain small versions of their standard breed counterparts). We have no idea of the sex of any of these chicks yet, but we’re obviously hoping for females as we don’t keep roosters (unless it’s a Cochin rooster as they are incredibly sweet).

Frost is the Queen of the Clutch (or King, I suppose) and is already larger that the other two despite being born last.  She struts around/scrambles quickly as if she owns the small blue Rubbermaid tub she calls home in our living room.
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Meet Early.  This is Merritt’s chick born almost a full 24 hours before the other two.  The incubation period for chicken eggs is 21 days & we’ve found it to be pretty spot-on, so we were a bit surprised when Early arrived at 7:40AM on Day 20 & got a full day of growing in before anybody else hatched.
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And finally meet Peggy.  This is June’s chick.
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June, at age 4, has come up with all sorts of strange unique names for her chick, but she really wanted to name her Margaret after her “baby” out in the coop.  Her “baby” is a giant, fluffy Blue Cochin that is larger than any other hen in our flock.  June calls her a baby anyway as she is so sweet. I told her ‘Peggy’ was a nickname for Margaret, so let’s go with that as we don’t want two Margarets. I think because she enjoys the PBS show “Pet + Cat” she quickly agreed.
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Peggy squawks a lot. And she has a bit more yellow on her chest than Early.  Otherwise, they look like twins.
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They are starting to develop their wing feathers already!  Soon they’ll be moving to a bigger home in the garage.  The kids have been pouring over hatchery catalogs & chicken books all weekend, trying to determine the chicks’ breeds.  Stay tuned!