Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lucky Winners

There were lots of Ravelers in this contest. For the first time all of our winners have Ravelry accounts. Is anyone else totally blown away by how fast Ravelry has become as ubiquitous as yarn in the fiber world?

I give you the winners:

Kelly (knit4joy) said...

What a fascinating road to take, beekeeper. Such a honey of a job! The chicks are sweet and so cute, hopefully, many will become layers and will life a long and happy life.

The chicks are adorable! Some of them will grow up to be layers, that's for certain. The rest are boys, and there's only so many roosters a girl can have on ten small acres with only 25 or so hens. We'll keep 2-3 of the boys for breeding back to the girls. The rest will become part of our food web. I know this can be hard for some people to (for lack of a better word) digest. It's very important to us to know where our food comes from as much as possible. By raising these 'as hatched' or 'straight run' chicks - that means girls and boys - we're taking responsibility for all of the chicks hatched on our behalf. Many hatcheries offer pullets, which are girls. That means they have to set about twice the number of eggs as there are orders for chicks, because about half will NOT be pullets - they'll be cockerels (boys). What happens to the boys? This way, I know what happens to them, and it feels right to me. It's not for everyone, I know!

Kim (tarheelfan) said...

Would love a copy of your book and yummy yarn. I haven't done 2 at a time yet, but working my way to it as I just learned magic loop recently.

Then, Kim, this is a great book for you! Make sure you check out, if you haven't already, the 2-at-a-Time group on Ravelry. It's an awesome way to get help if you have questions, or share finished projects.

Paulette (fuzzy-slipper, who's also a homeschooler, and we all know how near and dear that is to my heart AND apparently makes some quite lovely jewelery as well!) said...

Well, you'll be happy to know that since I apparently don't travel in your circles often enough I hadn't heard of Valley Yarns before, so you weren't preaching entirely to the choir. I mostly am a "reclaimer" and a Knitpicks fan, but I loved their website and their variety. Thanks for the info.

Living as close to Webs as I do I sometimes forget that there are people out there who may not have heard of them. Their Valley Yarns are lovely. I'll add the caveat that I teach at Webs and have designed for them in the past, but trust me on this - I don't recommend yarn I don't like. I won't bash it, but I also won't mention it. This is yarn I can happily mention, recommend and stand behind!

Rosie (canadianknitter) said...

I am terribly impressed by your daughter becoming a beekeeper. Does her interest stem from the depleted bee population?

There were a few bee questions in the comments, so I'll share some answers here. Girl (who's 21 now) showed interest in bees from the time she was about 13. She's allergic to a lot of things, and we were more than a wee bit paranoid, and more than a wee bit broke (we have four kids, she's the youngest. The groceries alone...), so we delayed "the bee thing" in case she changed her mind and in the hope of better times. She did not change her mind. She studied and spent hours hounding innocent beekeepers at any public event she found them at, and many more hours begging her equally innocent mother. Bees, she said, would make my garden huge. They would make us honey. I only use about 10 pounds of honey a year. It seemed like a big investment for a meager ten pounds. Then a few years ago she became very concerned when she read an article in American Bee Journal about bees in crisis. She shared the article with me, and I became convinced that an "if not now, when?" mentality was what we needed. Small producers like we hope to be could be essential if bee numbers continue to diminish. All of a sudden keeping bees means more than just honey to us. It meant a positive step in preserving humanities access to food. Pollinators play a much bigger role in producing our food than most of us know. A family member (Cousin Gail) very generously offered to give Meg (that's Girl's real name) some of her father's (Uncle George's) bee things. It took us some more time to get established in our new home; getting our gardens in, taking out a lot of trees to make enough dappled sunlight for bees and direct sunlight for gardens to feed them properly. Finally this winter we were able to place our order from Warm Colors Apiary for a nuc, or nucleus colony of bees. I doubt that Dan Conlon the owner of Warm Colors remembers, but my daughter has, I believe, chewed his ear off with endless questions at our local fair on more than one occasion over the years. (He and any other beekeeper who wasn't moving. And some that were. But she's fast and slippery and could keep up with them when they tried to escape.)
And yes, Cheryl, my kid is totally cool. The bees are just the beginning. When she was quite young she said she wanted to learn sign language after meeting and spending time with an older girl who was deaf. We put her off on that one, too. Homeschooled through high school, when she began college the first class she registered for was American Sign Language. She came home from the first day of the first class and said, at 18 years of age, "I know what I want to do with my life." She's got a passion for ASL and the Deaf community that never ceases to move me. Once Girl sets her mind to something, there's no stopping her.
There were some chicken questions and comments too - yes, the post office delivers the chicks. They leave their 'home' as soon as they're fluffy and dry. Chicks absorb the remaining yolk into their body just before hatching, and their abdomen closes over it. They can live off the contents of that yolk sac for up to three days. The baby chicks make it from where they hatch to my door in about 36 hours. The postmaster gives us a ring and we fly down to meet them fresh off the truck. Swknits asked if the chicks were any particular breed - they're a mixed bag from an truly wonderful place called Sand Hill Preservation Center. We order assortments because they're a fun way for us to experience lots of different breeds. These chickens are mostly Red Sussex, Cuckoo Marans, Buff Cochins, and Rhode Island Reds. There's also some very fun things in this batch, like Blue Jersey Giants, Blue Laced Gold Wyandottes, Black Australorps and the "original chicken", Black Dorkings. To learn more about chicken breeds, check out Feathersite, an amazing compendium of chicken information. It is my firm belief that everyone should, if they can, have chickens in their backyard. Or in their chicken house. And with that, I give you pre-adolescent poultry at their finest. Gawky, lanky, half grown feathers and all.The butts are still fuzzy.
This is a guinea fowl. They eat ticks. I hate ticks. More on that another time.
Delightful little chick that I believe is a Dorking.
A Rhode Island Red

Another Rhode Island Red. I've had "RIR's" before, but from a commercial hatchery. There birds are nothing like commercial birds. They're super calm, and more true to their original breed than I've seen before.A smattering of baby cuteness.
More smattering.

And the finale - a Blue Jersey Giant, a Buff Cochin and the capper - a wee little Ameraucana pullet. I think she looks more like a chipmunk than a chicken. When this little girl grows up, she'll lay blue eggs. I have seven of them. The Ameraucanas did not come from Sand Hill - we got them at a poultry swap in New Hampshire. After a week in quarantine they're in with "the big birds" now, and settling in beautifully.
Knitting someday soon. I promise. Well, unless bees or chickens or the garden catch my eye and I forget to knit...


Yarnhog said...

That is SO cool! Both the bees and the chickens (for whom I have a great weakness, as you know). Congrats to Girl on her new job as beekeeper!

Tipper said...

I love cochins. I am a sucker for chickens with hairy feet.

And the beekeeping thing is so freakin' awesome.

Judy said...

Your blogs are so interesting and give me some insight to you and your family. I can see why you love these little chicks. I do accept and realize that some of them will wind up in the food chain. It's good to know where your food comes from. On Sunday mornings, one of the women at church teaches sign language to some of the teens. I love watching the fluent movement of their hands. Sometimes they practice while we sing the hymns and songs. Ahhh beautiful