samedi 12 décembre 2009

Meteorites and strange clouds.....and a chicken with an identity crisis.......

I photographed these clouds a couple of days ago.  The photo does not do the scene justice as the clouds were edged with lovely morning red.  I think this formation is called a pile of plates???  Can someone correct me?

At the moment the earth is in the path of a meteor show called the Geminides, because they emanate from the area of the Gemini constelation.  Don't ask me where this is as I am not sure.  If you look for Orion's belt , the three quite bright stars close together in a line, then look up and to the left, the Gemini constellation is a defined square of stars????  I cannot work it out either, but just look in the direction of Orion's belt.  Last night in the freezing cold I was wrapped in a blanket, hat, coat and gloves and stood out for only 10 minutes and saw three shooting stars, two of a golden colour and a white one very low on the horizon (for us anyway in the mountains!).  They were at least worth getting cold for.  The shower reaches it's most intense period on the 14th in the early hours of the morning.  So get your quilts out and your hot water bottles and have a look......I'll be tucked up in bed. :o)

It is exactly 4 degrees C outside at the moment, 23:15, which usually means snow for us, and it is forecast. I have just looked out and it is cloudy so no shooting star spotting tonight - thank goodness........

One of our cats is missing at the moment, I expect he is looking in the village for a girlfriend, he has been missing for 4 days now and we have been walking around the village calling for him, hoping he is not shut inside someone's garage.  Maybe he will come back now the weather has turned so cold.  It is also worrying that we heard a fox screaming at about 2am this morning, he was around for quite a while, no evidence this morning and thankfully no damage to the chicken runs.

The peacocks were making their warning honk noise today but I saw nothing when I went to check, Tony peacock was sat on his perch looking up the long field.  My husband was in the canal out of sight, throwing out the oak logs he had cut down in August, so maybe the peacock could only see the logs flying out of the trees.

The pen where the peacocks are housed at the moment is next to the flight where the ducks and Araucana chickens live.  All these birds seem to congregate in the back corner of their respective pens.  The ducks have an elegant pink bath in this corner for a pond, and the peafowl have an old bench to sit on.  Today all four hens were in the corner, the duck were in their bath and the peafowl on the bench.

The Araucana chickens arrived in the post from a breeder in Northern France who I met through a web forum.  They were about 4 weeks old, three of them, we already had one Araucana that we had hatched from eggs also sent in the post.  We put the all together in a small pen inside the duck flight and they were great.  After 2 days we let them out into the main pen and they were very comical running around chasing the ducks etc.  One of the chicks was infatuated by the ducks and followed them about all day, then every evening when we went to shut the coops at dusk this one Araucana chick would not go into the coop with the three others.  She sat on the edge of the pink bath while the ducks flapped about, then the duck obediently hopped out and went to bed, but the chicken had to be picked up every evening and put inside the coop.

One evening, the peafowl were 'honking' loudly, we were on our way down to put everything away, but it took us a long time to realise the Araucana chick was actually in the bath, she was standing on the stones we had put in to help the ducks get out, and she was squeaking.  So I had to pick her up, stuff her inside my jacket and bring her up to the house.  I dried her off, put her in a cat box and sat her by the fire.  She eventually stopped shaking, I thought she would die as she was so cold, but she perked up and the next morning we put her back with the others.  She did the same thing for the next 3 nights......I think she liked being in the house, or she was just stupid.  All the hens are so similar, I put a green ring on her so that we could see which one was the mad one!  She does go in at night now, but sometimes she is still out when we get there and she seems to enjoy being picked up and cuddled for a minute.  We need an appropriate name for her now?????  Must begin with the letter 'A for Araucana, all the Marans have names starting with 'M', ordinary chickens which we may eat are named accordingly, Tandoori, Cous Cous, Coq au vin etc.....

Araucanas lay blue eggs and in France the breed standard has no tail, in the US and UK  I believe tail feathers are allowed, but I am not sure.

I have been spinning all evening, yesterday I blended and carded by hand two lots of lovely mixes of wool, (Masham), banana fibre, bamboo fibre, and glitz, one a peach colour that I dyed myself and the other made up from a selection of Merino wool in shades of purple and pink that I found in the bag of Botany lap waste scraps.  I had 15 rollags of each colour combination and I thought it was so much, they filled a pillow case.  I was very disappointed in how much wool I ended up with after plying (2 ply).  I tried to spin as lightly and finely as possible, to learn more control, the purple made up 100yds and the peach 70 yards.  So I could probably make a purple hat and the peach neck warmer, I will have to look up some patterns on Ravelry, they have a great pattern section, some are free to download, and thankfully in the US the wool quantities are given in yards, not number of balls.

A bit fed up today as my relatively new camera (6 months old) is dead as a Dodo today, nothing.  I checked out the 'Troubleshooting' section in the handbook.  It was laughable.....'If the camera will not switch on.....switch it on and off'.   If the camera will not switch off......switch if off'......Doh  I will have to find the bill and take it back on Monday.

Time for bed said Zebedee.........

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