Archive for April, 2010

Sometimes less is more…

April 18, 2010

…and perhaps this week has been proof of that, on the recycling front. I have only managed two forays, thanks to my still-recovering hip and other commitments; one to the Tip and one to a nearby car boot sale. But both outings were well worthwhile.

At the tip, I found some oddments of textiles needed to complete a couple of projects I heve on the go, including a fair few metres of curtain fabric still on the roll, ideal for Morsbagging. Also a complete game of Absolute Balderdash – that’ll keep us happy for a few evenings!

At the car boot sale (outside Wimborne Market on a Saturday morning) the first thing my eyes alighted on was pure treasure; an apple press. I know I already have one, but I’d been racking my brains to think of a way to raise some money for TTWimborne to buy a fruit press. Obviously, for public use, we’ll need a bigger one, and will have to fundraise; however, I’d just found out we have been allowed a stall at the Minster Fair on the Minster Green during the Folk Festival this year. What could be better than raffling (or some kind of contest, if they have stern rules about games of chance) a household-sized apple press? I know from experience how hard they are to come by and how many people would love one  – hopefully they’ll think risking a pound for a ticket is a good investment, especially as that pound will be going towards a bigger one for community use, so if they don’t win, they will at least have that to look forward to!

Then at one of the house clearance stalls, I found a bag containing several pairs of bamboo knitting needles & other oddments. He wanted several ££s, which half of me thought was too much, but it was still early in the morning’s trading & he didn’t look to be in bargaining mode, so I paid up. When I got home, I found to my delight that most the the bamboo needles were still in their packets, and thus saleable from my own stall or web shop, AND there were three sets of circular metal needles, also still in their wrappings, AND a box full of Simanco fashion cams, AND oodles of old lace snippets! I shall be uploading them (and lots of other things too) early on this week, whenever I’m not planting up my hanging baskets or front garden.

On Tuesday, Wimborne played host to Steph Bradley, who is walking the length & breadth of England telling & gathering Transition Tales. I met her at Canford Bridge and gave her lunch & a chance to rest her feet a bit before meandering through Wimborne to meet up with Tom from the Gaunt’s House community, where she was staying the night – read about it from Steph’s viewpoint here. And what a lovely, sparkly entertaining lady she is!

And last but not least, the chicken saga continues; I have had two broodies sitting for 6+ weeks. I didn’t think they’d stay put at first because it was so cold, so I didn’t arrange any hybrid chicks for them. But they sat it out, and just over four weeks ago, I was at a friend’s house who keeps a cock bird, so I begged some hopefully-fertile eggs from her and popped them under. But sadly, one of the broodies at least was turfed off the nest by someone looking for a space to lay in sometime in the first few days, and when I candled the eggs at 7 days development, two were obviously clear. I couldn’t see much in the other two because they were blue eggs, but one did look a bit darker – maybe it had a thicker shell? Anyway, day 21 came & went with no hatchlings, then day 22, day 23, etc. I was a bit worried that they’d starve, so on day 27, the first day I had any spare time, I rang round the local breeders, located one (Race Farm Poultry – thank you, Shelley!) with day-olds, and went & bought 4 best-guess-female pure breed chicks for them.

I left the warm box peeping in the shed for an hour, to get the girls used to the idea of impending motherhood, then slipped two chicks under each broody, removing the “blank” eggs, all but one. That evening, I went to take the last egg away, so that Nutmeg would be free to bring her chicks out the  next day. But horrors! There was only half a shell – oh no, I thought, it’s burst & the chicks will get infected & die! But there was no foul smell… I lifted Nutmeg up slightly, and there were altogether too many legs… THREE chicks! The last egg had hatched, at 27 days. Maybe the little sturdy, stripey chick inside needed to hear the other chicks cheeping around it before it found the strength to break out? Or maybe it incubated really slowly because  of the cold weather in the first couple of weeks? Who knows… but it’s a lovely healthy chick all the same.

The Silkin, Nutmeg & surprise legbarX chick...

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How can I reconcile myself…

April 1, 2010

… to having become bionic? There’s nothing recycled about my new hip; it’s all-new titanium, ceramic & plastic grafted onto my somewhat-protesting femur & pevis. I think basically I am going to have to think of it that by replacing a worn-out part with something new to keep me on the road, I myself have become recycled.

So my opportunities for recycling-in-action have been somewhat limited for the last 7 weeks, though I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in my very-comfortable leather-effect ergonomic chair with matching footstool, gleaned from the Tip for a fiver when I realised we had nothing the right height for me to sit on after the op. So I’ve spent the time learning new skills & practising old ones, unashamedly using new materials – some bought-in pre-prepared handpainted wool tops, for example, to take part in the first round of the Ravelry UK Spinners Scraps Swap. But I did dye my own for Round 3… I also invested in some garden twine; I bought a book called “Quick Crochet, Huge Hooks” secondhand from a fellow-Raveller, and it sparked a little bit of inventiveness on my part. I looked at one project & thought, “That’d be even quicker & easier in double-ended Tunisian…”   Three hours later I had this:

String bag made from garden twine

But I forgot how they stretch, and made both the bag & the handle a bit too long (doesn’t matter, I can always wear it cross-ways anyway, better for my back) so I sat down for a further 2 hours & 10 minutes & refined the idea a bit further to to this:

A smaller, more manageable version of same...

 …which is a little more manageable. I’ll get round to posting the pattern shortly, whilst you go & research “double-ended Tunisian crochet” on YouTube & work out how you’re going to make or get hold of a 15 x 50 cm hook…! I bought mine from Mike Williams realising that it was going to be a worthwhile investment, but now I think I might have a go at “bodging” one up for rough projects like this. I’ve picked up a windfallen good straight cherry-plum stick to try with , so watch this space!