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Monday, 29 February 2016

You Spin Me Right Round Baby, Right Round.

On Sunday, I taught myself a new skill!

I bought a drop spindle second hand, about 5 years ago, with the intention to try a little hand spinning. I love the look of hand spun yarn, but I'm not such a fan of the price tag.

Well, the spindle sat around in my craft drawer, waiting for me to get around to it. I needed roving  (unspun) wool, which was easy to order, but i just never did.

I was walking through Canterbury on Saturday, and popped into CandH fabrics, for a little look...... I was just looking, honest!   I saw the roving in the needle felting section, and couldn't help myself. I just had to.

I coudnt wait then to give it a go.

It was a little  (ok, ok, a lot) uneven and slubby to start with. I got the hang of it after a while though, and by the time the evening came around, I had gotten quite a bit better at it.

I produced 2 balls of single twist, and my next task was to ply it. Tristan was unwell today and off school, so I took the downtime while he was napping to do that. I am really pleased with the way it turned out. 

I'm making myself a hat :)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Day 5!

Today i am going to talk about candling.

I tend to candle my eggs on day 5 (sometimes on day 4 if i am really impatient!) and day 10. This is really just shining an LED torch through the shell to see shadows of what is inside. You can get specifically designed egg candlers, but these can be expensive, ad i have never had an issue using a torch. Make sure its an LED though as the older bulb types can get hot and cause issues for your eggs.

I do this to check whether or not the eggs are developing properly. There are many pictures and articles about egg development out there online, its really easy to do a google image search and find pictures of candled eggs at various stages of development.  I candle on day 5 to check that development has started, and at 10 to check that they are all still with us. At day 10, if i see no development, i will remove the non fertile eggs from the incubator, as there is a risk that they may explode, contaminating the other eggs with bacteria.  I attempted to get a picture for you, but my camera didnt show the veining at all :(

Here is a picture from showing how a candled egg looks at different stages of incubation.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Restful morning.

This morning is for relaxing. As much as you can in such a busy household. 
I'm not a tidy person. My household routine and priorities dont revolve around decluttering and tidying. They revolve around feeding the chickens, caring for and snuggling with children, or working on crafts (my mother says I craft to procrastinate, and I suppose I do, as I am only putting off the inevitable).
This morning I am not at work, and have nowhere I need to be, so Imi and I are chilling at home, with a cup of tea and my crochet project.
At Christmas I started a blanket for my eldest daughter. She wanted autumn colours, so autumn colours she gets! We are in the home straight now, she is getting excited about snuggling under it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Egg Watch 2016!

Here at the Yeo house, we usually hatch a small clutch of chicks each spring. I just usually forget to blog about it. This year i have decided to put it out there for the world to see.

 My teenage daughter is doing this with me this year, as she is applying for an animal management diploma for college next year, and wants to get some practical experience in before her interview.

 I ordered the eggs from ebay. I have had good luck in the past buying eggs this way, but it has to be said that sending eggs through the postal service can result in a lower hatch rate, as they don't really like the vibrations and rough handling. Many rearers advertise through pages like preloved, or at animal feed shops, so you can look around locally and see what is available for you. I ordered some Cream Legbar birds. They lay the most beautiful Blue/Green/Turquoise (depending on which of my children you ask!) eggs. These birds are considered a rare breed and have soft feathers. They lay around 180- 200 eggs a year, so they are not the most prolific layers, but they will do for us. There is added bonus that they are an autosexing breed, which means i should be able to tell as soon as they are hatched which are the roosters and which are the pullets. The boys are lighter with a white spot on their head, and the girls will have a darker streak down their back.
It is recommended to let the eggs settle for a day with the fat end up to allow things to resettle and make sure the air space has returned to the correct position within the egg.
I like to run my incubator for 24 hours to ensure that it is maintaining a constant temperature before i "set" (put them in the incubator) my eggs. Its essential to make sure the equipment is working properly (especially as it has been sat in my loft all winter!). The temperature for incubating chicken eggs is 37.5°C - 37.8°C.
And in they go! I let them acclimatise in there for 24 hours before i get to the business of turning them.
You may have noticed I have numbered all my eggs, and drawn a circle on the top of each one. The number is so that I can identify each egg individually when candling (I'll get to that in a few days!) and come hatch time. The circle is so that I can identify which eggs have been turned when turning them. I turn my eggs 3-5 times a day. This mimics the mother hen nudging them around in the nest. It is done to ensure that the chicks develop correctly inside the shell, as if they aren't turned, they rest against the shell and this can cause malformed chicks. I turn them an odd number of times during the day, because then they spend each night on a different side, so they don't always spend each night laying the same way.

 This blog has been neglected for a number of years, because I just wasn't sure where to go with it, but I suppose I don't really need a direction. I am just doing what a lot of people are, trying to fit a little more conciousness of our planet and our food chain into daily family life.