Chicks rule

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In a random event of conversation began our foray into the land of 4H.  The 4H pledge goes “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world,” indeed a pledge I could believe in.  The Rolling Hills 4H Club introduced us to the wonderful world of farm animals.

The chicken AKA, the gateway animal to urban farming according to Novella Carpenter, introduced us to caring for an animal that provides us with delicious eggs. Little did we know when we signed up for the Chicken Project that we would learn to love these girls! Going to a chicken show in Modesto we saw the many breeds that we are now raising in little brooding boxes.

 

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This Serama chick may be a rooster!
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The Polish chick is wondering what is going on with the Silkie chick doing yoga

 

We have been having a great time in the house having the chicks in the lounge room listening to their little peeps whenever they are awake.

We took them outside for some sunshine the other day and saw a cute hummingbird in the tree with red leaves flying overhead. The next moment we saw a hawk swooping overhead and we were so lucky as we quickly ran inside with all the chicks to save them from a near death experience! The little pullets (a chick under a year old) were hiding out underneath an overgrown Italian parsley bush for safety – they knew how to do it but we had them out in broad daylight on open grass, we all learned a valuable lesson about keeping the chicks safe!

When you look after chicks in brooding boxes you conduct your own research on whether there are roosters in the gang. So Missy discovered while she was Google searching that the chicks with the crests already are most likely roosters. Time will tell, and the roosters will not be staying at the farm with the girls, eventually, they will be rehoused – someone did mention Hidden Villa in Los Altos?!

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Outstretched Silkie getting some rays
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A very inquisitive Serama chick

These chicks have been an excellent distraction from my last two assessments, and I love watching them. These two above have very interesting personalities with the fluffy Cochin chick spreading her little body out flat on the grass in the sunshine, and the little black Serama (a breed from Malaysia, the world’s smallest chicken) is quite the people’s chick and loves any interaction with humans.

Only 1 week to go and my 2nd teaching period is done, a combination of Science and Maths has been excellent, and I now have a newfound appreciation for both of these subjects and how to teach them to get the kids excited!

 

Sunshine and springtime chicks

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Finally, the weather has been consistent for the last few days and the weekend was just amazing! These roses are in a garden in the Los Altos Hills where the kids go swimming – the colours are breathtaking.

It is the best time of year to go bike riding as the wildlife and the flowers after the rain are super and there is also a super bloom that you can see from space. Now that the flowers are settled so is my allergies, so it was the perfect day to go riding on Sunday on the path where there were hardly any people and enjoy the peace of the bay. Check out that trail – there is no one there! This is off the main trail heading out to the Bay, but I allowed myself a short ride so I could get back home to clean out the garden and do some sewing and study.

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Missy’s Bantam Silkie chick – fingers crossed it is a girl

 

 

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A Bantam Polish chick
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My fave cute Bantam chick
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Another cute chick
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Cleaning chick feet
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The world’s smallest chicken – a Serama

 

Friday we picked up some Bantam chicks that have just hatched from an egg project from a homeschool family. The eggs were from a very special place in Sonoma where rare breeds of chickens are raised in an organic environment – they are closed to the public due to their breeding programs and having to keep the farm safe from any biohazards. Their collection of chicks and images on their site is so inspiring and make me want to move to the country to a yurt and raise chickens – it is always nice to dream! Still, we are fostering these chicks for the 4H poultry project where the kids will take care of them at home until they are ready to go into the coop with the other 2 bantam chicks. This time we are raising quite a few bantams, and it will be so exciting to watch them grow, they are quite small chickens but oh so cute! I love how the kids are so mesmerised by the chicks and how gentle they are taking care of them every day, 4H really is an incredible program for kids. The chicks sleep a lot of the time flat out on their bellies with their heads in front of them – I had no idea how chicks slept, and they are just gorgeous to watch and such a distraction.

 

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Miss Bella

 

Bella has been sad for the last month or so and has been hanging out with us more as she is really missing her brother Mack – they were the best of friends. She is such a loving cat when she wants to be and is sleeping on our bed a lot at night which we love! I am still missing my best cat friend though as each day passes, I think of all the good times we had together.

A piece a Week – Time out to the De Young

What a special time to go and visit the DeYoung with my friend from Oakland last week. It was my second last week to enjoy time before the chaos of summer kicks in and I have the kids for over 2 months. Time out to enjoy art is truly something that I cherish and the fact that clothes are involved it was even better! I really enjoyed the Oscar De La Renta show with all the color he used in his clothes and the fabrics – I just wanted to touch the fabrics they were exquisite. Working with textiles is like that – you just want to feel everything.

After checking out the show my friend and I had a quick wander around the De Young and found an inspiring textiles exhibition by Kay Sekimachi – student, teacher, artist with lots of woven textiles in various hues. Before we left the De Young in San Francisco we enjoyed Ruth Asawa in the downstairs foyer of the observation deck.

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Silkworm cocoons and moth

On the subject of fabrics we were visiting the farm at McClellan Ranch on Friday to get some chicken coop training. While we were waiting we visited the Nature center where there was a silkworm moth hatched from its cocoon. It was fascinating to learn about the life of this silk moth – it has 24 hours to find a mate and then it will die. I found this post about the lifecycle of a silkworm and I did not know there was such a thing as Peace Silk where the moths are allowed to emerge from their cocoons and live their life cycle.

And thanks to the lemonade project my daughter was doing at class I scored more lemons so I have decided to make a lemon shrub for cocktails this summer! When life gives you lemons (especially Meyer lemons!) then make a Lemon Shrub. Friday I went out with the ladies and had a watermelon shrub so what better way to understand what I was drinking – so I make my own.

 

 

A piece a Week – A 2016 FabMo Maker Faire Dress

Last week I was busy at work making a dress for the Maker Faire as I had found the ideal fabric to use at the last fabric distribution I went to. The fabric that inspired this dress is the optical art fabric panel at the bust line. The rest of the dress is a 3D cube pattern and I also made a belt out of the trauma straps that FabMo was giving away at the Fair – it was a neon yellow and I added strips of fabric to it and finished the edges with a bias binding, the hanging tail is using a velvet fabric sample. It was a lot of fun when I was volunteering at the booth and said yes you can make this belt out of this strap plus this is a FabMo fabric dress!
The optical art fabric combined with a 3D print ready for the Maker Faire
I was so happy to have worn a hat to protect me from the sun rays!
Close up of the fabric with the button detail on the shoulder – thanks to my hubby who bought them
from Button Button in Vancouver, Canada
The kids came by to the FabMo booth and we were doing an Amazing Eye project with small fabric samples – my kiddos took it one step further and made a fabric collage out of it. Here is a lizard pieces collage which should have been placed on a canvas to keep it all in place.
It’s hard to see the dragon with black on black the body is a different texture – he is breathing fire!
Other fun places we visited were the dark room where there is lots of LED plus this super cool cat car – the Make Fashion event was here too but the kids wanted to move on so we missed that, boo!

 

Always very popular – the cat car with his white plush body

 

Trying on an aviator crochet hat by Ruth Tillman Designs
Should we go flying now?

 

Mechateuthis, the giant mechanical squid
who runs on an Arduinio from the interactive hinge at the fence posts

 

A tasty find at Maker Faire the Napa Frozen Kuhsterd
with sea salt, vanilla Bean Kuhsterd and Burnt caramel – delish!
We had the chicks again last week and they are so big now! We enjoyed taking them out to the garden as they were living in our bathroom, not a good place to keep chickens! Still we would spend time watching them adventure out into the garden and forage for little treats. One day maybe we can have some of our own?

Charm, Ruby and Lucky enjoying their foraging near the succulents

Then we went to the last Poultry Project meeting for the year and Missy was bathing chickens – the chickens did not like it at all! You would wash them in dishwashing liquid, and clean their feet with a toothbrush, check their vent (butt) for lice and mites and then rinse them off and dry them with a towel. The chickens were happy when it was over!

A chicken getting cleaned in a bucket

Oh and those pygmy goats that were due to have babies had them last week and boy they are so cute! This one is sleeping as it was just born the day before – Mama goat was so tired!

Peaceful pygmy goat – they are the cutest and oh so tiny!