Monday, April 30, 2012

Ridiculously excited about this

Quick note from the hen house, for those who care about the wee drama of my small flock.  I've been keeping an eye on Pauline, aka Ms. Broody, and yesterday I caught her off the nest for a moment.  I took advantage of her absence to check on her three adopted eggs, and saw this:
I was ridiculously excited about this, and could hear the little chick tapping away with his or her egg tooth, and then the egg started cheeping and I almost fell over.  Can't tell what's up with the other two eggs, but today or tomorrow we should know if they are viable.

Pauline came right back, and now she's extra defensive of her new baby, swelling up to three times normal size when I open the door and gives me the stink eye.  Can't see what's going on with all her feathers in the way, so I hope the wee chick is doing alright and that she'll let us get a look soon.
(the reddish light is from the heat lamp, it's been COLD at night lately)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shoes all over my living room

I have spent most of my free time in the last week at the delightful solitude of my painting desk, working on shoes and belts in a frenzy of inspiration.  Having a looming show is always shall we say inspirational to the creative inspiration.  Also, I'm actually caught up on freelance work and it feels great to have the time to follow my own painting bliss.  I'd like to avoid too much freelance work for the next few months as the summer market season heats up.

Here's a bunch of photos of what came out of last week! They are all listed on my Etsy site, and destined to be shown at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in the month of May. More about that show and the opening party as the time approaches.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pauline and her biological clock

I haven't updated you on the hen coop in a long time, and there's two exciting dramas going on.  I know SOME of you care about this stuff, so here goes.

First, there are 11 baby chicks growing in a cozy crate in the hallway.  I didn't expect to be taking on the raising of these little darlings, but due to a long story involving some local politics and a teacher's aversion to chicken poop, here they are.  Six Barred Rock, two Auracanas, two Speckled Sussex, and one little Golden Comet named Potato.  I took this while changing their bedding yesterday, they are 2 and 3 weeks old.

And interestingly, one of my remaining two adult hens has turned broody.  I've never experienced this before in my little flock, and at first thought Pauline was sick because she was just sitting on the nest and wouldn't move...except she was very plump and glossy and bright-eyed.  But I realized what was going on, and that her wee chicken version of the biological clock was kicking in.  Perhaps she got wind of some baby chick pheromones from inside the house.  Since we don't have a rooster, and she was sitting on a completely empty nest, I tried booting her off the nest several times a day to break the broodiness.  She was indignant, and persistent in returning to her misguided vigil.  Let me tell you, a broody hen is a single-minded force of nature.  So yesterday I took to feeling bad for her, and started to think that maybe it would be best to go with the flow of nature.  I called up my neighbors who have a flock of hens and a big rooster, and begged three eggs for her that might be fertilized.  She was so excited to get the eggs, and immediately tucked them right under herself and proceeded to fluff up and hiss at me.  Chickens might not be very bright, but their instincts are strong.

(Insert mental movie clip from "My Cousin Vinny" with Marisa Tomei stomping around on the porch in her flowered catsuit yelling, "...and my biological clock is!")

If the eggs really are fertile, there might be MORE chicks on April 30.  Meanwhile, I'm researching whether I can possibly introduce the younger of the baby chicks to her.  And also meanwhile, trying to figure out the logistics of having one adult free-and-happy hen, one broody hen with eggs, and 11 babies who are outgrowing their childhood home, and one chicken coop without a fence...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which I go to the big city, and see two-headed babies in jars

downtown Philadelphia

My internet has been out for most of the last week, giving me two bits of insight.  First, I miss being tethered to the mothership, and second, I don't really miss it that much.  Anyway, I'm back online and back to my blog, and I have loads to tell you all about.

Before I get to the two-headed babies, I have to say that the Ithaca Farmers' Market starts up again this Saturday!  Hurrah!  This is, of course, I am looking forward to the social crowd and the lovely customers and the flowers and fresh greens and Cambodian curry and regular income.  On the other hand, I'm mourning the loss of the weekends until next January.  This is the start of my TWELFTH season there.  Please come down and say hello, booth #84.  I'll have my painted belts out for sale for the first time.

In anticipation of the start of the market season, I took most of last week off to go visit friends in the Philadelphia region.  Everything was flowering there, cherry trees everywhere and little just-born-green leaves popping out on the bigger trees.  There was some shoe shopping involved (my maiden voyage into DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse but also known as Danger Shoe World), and a total score on awesome sparkly tango shoes for $5 at a fantastic thrift store.  And my friend Karen and I took a trip into the big city itself to hit up some science geeky museums.  So there was the Franklin Institute, walking through the giant heart model and avoiding the crowds of hyper schoolkids running amok in the electricity exhibit....that was fun, but the real star of the whole trip was going to the Mutter Museum.

This deserves it's own paragraph.  By the way, there should be an umlaut over the U in Mutter, but I can't figure out how to do this.  The museum's promotional materials were very keen on letting us know about the umlaut.  This is a museum of medical oddities associated with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  You can read up on the history with a little google searching, so I won't reiterate it here.  I had been working myself up to visit to this museum for a long time, knowing my inherent squeamishness about oddities and aberrations, but I found quickly that sqeamishness was replaced by fascination and compassion.  Ok, so there's a freakish plaster cast of seriously conjoined baby twins...but it's accompanied by a little card with their story of their separate personalities and how they lived to be 13 months old and were cheerful.  And then you turn the corner and there's a gigantic stuffed colon (and I mean gigantic) in a tasteful glass case.  AAAUUUGGGH!  But wait, there's the man's story and he was a real person who had to live in a sideshow.  There were so many gruesomely fascinating things...if you buy me a pint I will tell you all about them (the sad story of the dwarf and her baby, the jar of skin flakes, the ossified embryo, the lady with the horn on her forehead who lived well in to her 80's), but I will spare my more sensitive readers the details.  What really struck me was how so many of these people would have been spared their afflictions in these days of advanced surgery and nutrition and medicine, but also how so much of what we know now rests on the pain these people went through.  And thankfully no one really gets rickets anymore in most places in the world.  It was fascinating, and well worth the trip....and for those who are also squeamish I can reassure you that it is tasteful and respectful and Not That Bad.

See you at the Market!  (Don't worry, I probably won't be making a line of notecards of medical oddities.)