Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Enjoying our Visit

We are certainly enjoying our visit with son Zac.  It has been almost 3 years since he was home and then it was a very short visit.  So this time we are grateful that he will be here for 2 weeks (another week to go).  You would think he would not want to col while he is on vacation, but I can't seem to keep him out of the kitchen!  Last night he cooked dinner for us and his grandparents.  Shepherd's pie with spinach salad and a rich chocolate dessert.  I also have lots of leftovers.

The guys had a great time at the Columbus BeerFest last Friday night.  I was designated driver and was oh so glad to pull into the driveway at 2:30 am!  Of course, a food stop at Denny's at midnight was required.  I now recall why I don't go there more than once every 3 or 4 years.

Our weekend was incredible....record warm temps up to about 70 degrees.  I spent most of Saturday outside cleaning up the yard and helped Sam a little with getting more firewood stacked close to the house.  Winter is not yet over, not by a long shot.

Of course, I had to check the beehives to see if there was activity due to the warm weather, which thankfully there was.  Both hives had bees coming and going and evidence of mid-winter "house-cleaning".  Bees have short lifespans and the bees who were very busily preparing for winter in the fall will not be around to see spring.  The queen will still be laying some eggs to replace the ones who die throughout the winter, but at a reduced rate.  The new generation of bees will dispose of the bodies of their predecessors outside the hive to keep things tidy inside.  Here you can see a bee hauling out a corpse, along with the remains of many other bees.

 All this activity means the hive is surviving, though we still have 2 months of cold winter weather ahead.  It is good to see this.

I hope to attend a beekeeper's expo in West Virginia in a couple of weeks.  It is a full day of workshops and vendors will be there.  If I order from them they will bring my order and I will have no shipping charges.  Need to shop for an extractor!

Grover/Carter and the chickens are getting along just fine.  I am told I missed his first encounter with the rooster.  I guess the rooster was not too pleased with  Carter's interest in him and chased him off.  That's what we needed!  Grover/Carter has been loose with the chickens now and he approaches them with curiosity, but does not chase or act aggressive.  I am very pleased.

The rooster, who we have named Elvis, is much larger than the hens.  He also seems to be fascinated with his reflection in our sliding glass door between the dining room and the deck and stands there and pecks at the reflection.  Maybe he thinks it is a rival rooster!  Egg production is not up much yet.  I think we got 1/2 a dozen one day, but usually 4 or so.  I figured that until everyone settles in it will be sporadic.

I need to get a photo of me in my sweater I finished last week, but I still need to wash and block it.  This weekend.  I am still working on my merino/silk fiber for the Spin-Along and have finished the first half and started the second half.  What I did was split the long strand of roving in half lengthwise and I weighed it to make sure each portion was 2 oz.  I am spinning each portion on a bobbin and then I will ply the 2 strands together for a 2-ply yarn.  I am sure there will be some color overlap, but if I can manage to spin a consistant  "grist" or diameter of yarn, it should keep the gradient colors true.  We shall see.  Here is the first 2 oz  almost finished.

You can see some of the gradient color variation.  

I have done some knitting on the shawl I am making from the handspun lace yarn I did last winter, but am going to take a short break from that to knit a beaded lace neckwarmer requested by a friend.  I had to overdye some leftover commercial lace yarn I had since she wanted black.  It came out great and I am using leftover yarn, which is even better.


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