Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chicken and Llama Update, Grouse, Moose and Icelandic Wool

Hunting season finished with no elk.  Despite that, we saw more moose (bringing the moose count to 10) and saw 3 grouse.  One of which is now in the freezer along with another blue mountain grouse.  Mountain grouse hunting continues until 12/15, which means we'll probably be going back to the same areas to get a few grouse for the freezer.

All-in-all, hunting season was successful with two deer in the freezer and a couple of grouse.  We got to see a ton of moose -- something pretty rare.  I would've liked to have gotten an elk to ensure we would have meat through the summer, but sometimes you don't get what you want.  Elk are elusive critters so sometimes you just have to take your lumps.

Oddly, a lot of what hampered the hunt was the large amount of snow up high.  If you can't get to the places where the elk are, it's pretty much moot.  Even with our jeep and the chains, it was still sporty to get up there.  Assuming the elk hadn't migrated somewhere else.

On the cold and snow front, the chickens and other birds did pretty well.  The toughest part was deicing the waterers for them to drink out of.  They're also eating a ridiculous amount of food to stay warm, which is why I'm grateful the Easter Egger chickens have decided to start laying again.  These birds have been on strike for the past 3 to 4 weeks, laying about one egg every two or three days between six birds.  The following 3 days I've gotten six eggs from these girls, which might not seem like much, but it's better than before.  I'm able to sell the eggs for $3 a dozen, which helps pay for the feed.  Most of them time, I could expect close to 5-7 dozen eggs a week.  During these cold times, I've been looking at about 4 dozen eggs a week. 

My four older chicks -- the three Marans and splash Orpington -- have been silly.  I introduced them into the EE pen and the one Buff Orpington has decided to be the bully and annoy them.  But no one is hurt and they pretty much give that pullet a wide berth.  When I show up, the chicks will all crowd under my legs and climb up on my boots and peep at me.  It's really cute.

Sid is doing great in the cold.  I was somewhat surprised because he was so thin, but he has gained a lot of weight.  You can no long feel his ribs and his backbone feels good.  He knows I'm coming over to feel him morning and evening, which means he gets hay in the morning and llama pellets in the evening.  I'm going to start taking him snowshoing.

On a Christmas note, I've decided to make most of the presents I'm giving this year.  Right now, I'm knitting a present for one of my sisters out of Icelandic wool.  This stuff is amazing to the touch, but is very difficult to knit with.  The fiber is very fragile and breaks easily when you're working with it, but end up being very strong when knitted together.  Odd, that.  Icelandic wool is pricey too, but it's worth it because nothing feels quite like it. 

One thing I love about the Internet is the ability to look things up  like knitting patterns and get free patterns.  Years ago, I remember having to buy all these books to get the basics and patterns.  Now, I can just look up the information.  How cool is that?

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