Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring in a 6pack and a Secret Garden

I am still ignoring the cold and rain.  Today it is cloudy but dry.  The sun keeps trying to peek out but the air has a definite chill to it.  As I fed my hens this morning all I could think was ‘brrrr’.

For all those waiting, here is the update on my chicks.  Sadly, I lost another one, the one that was the weakest from the beginning and it did not surprise me to have her succumb.  Fortunately, I was not at home and my hubby got the privilege of giving her a decent burial.

On the upswing, the remaining 4 are hale and hearty.  Their wings are already displaying how pretty they will be.


Can you see the striations of color?  Three chicks are noticeably larger than one and I am hoping that does not mean the larger are roosters.  I would like one rooster or maybe even two but not three, that would leave me only one hen.  Not that I couldn’t get another clutch of eggs to hatch if I needed to. 

I mentioned a sign design I had racketing around in my brain.  I finally got it to a point I could share and I am thrilled with how it is turning out.  Better than I had imagined, in fact. 


I love the gothic lettering.  The curves on the wood softens the overall effect and the tiny rosebuds painted on a just a couple letters gives it the Pam touch. 


Here it is displayed on my potting bench.


Since I have been suffering from Spring withdrawals I bought myself some Spring!  I call it “Spring in a 6pack”.  I fell in love with this combo of colors.


I think the tag called it Pumpkin Spice.


I need to pot them up into either a planter or individual larger pots.  I will see what I have in the greenhouse to do the job.

  They smelled so lovely as they sat beside me on the drive home from the nursery/feed store. They made the sun shine (in my heart) even while it poured rain!

Now, back to the studio for me.  I just thought I would pop in here and share a bit of Spring and a chickie update.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How My Garden Grows

Good Tuesday morning.  It looks cloudy again today, I am enduring but I prefer at least a bit of sunshine once in a while.  Yesterday it was dang cold and it snowed, sleeted and generally was miserable.

I was in and out to the studio finishing up a special order sign.  This one is super flowery and I enjoyed painting it. I tuned in to Pandora on my laptop and discoed out to 70’s music while painting and ignored the nasty weather outside.


While I was at it I painted on a couple more signs for my website.  I have yet to list them so you get a preview.  My Secret Garden signs are a popular item and I try to keep one or two in stock all the time. No two are ever exactly alike.


I am currently working on a different type Secret Garden sign. I hope it turns out, sometimes the design in my head does not translate well to my paint brushes but we shall see.

This one below is customizable.  The customer can add the top wording. 


It has been so cold that I have not wanted to get out into the greenhouse and work.  I need to pot up my tomato and basil seedlings and I am waiting for a halfway sunny day so the greenhouse will heat up for me.  I don’t do cold!

As you can see they are growing up into the grow lights. They are a little leggy, I need to rub my hand over them more to make them stockier, it releases an enzyme when you have a fan gently blow on them or you run your hand across them daily. 


My Basil is looking thick and healthy.  It smells like summer when I brush this one, it releases that oh so fragrant Basil smell.

I see a lot of Pesto in my future. Have you seen the price of pine nuts lately?? sheesh!  Break the bank!

  A friend suggested substituting walnuts.  I need to try a small batch that way and see if I like it as well.


And an update on my Christmas cactus’.  Remember how these just had little bitty tips popping out, look how big those tips are now. 


And then there is the downside….I lost one of my little chickies yesterday.  She was fine earlier in the day, I treated her for ‘pasty butt’ not uncommon with chicks not raised by a momma hen and she was fine once I had her cleaned up so I was surprised to find her dead by evening.  And another looks mighty weak and most likely I will lose her too. Sniff…

So I assuaged my grief by indulging in a fattening dinner!  I have been wanting to try a recipe I had seen online and of course I tweaked it for my own pleasure and it turned out FABULOUS!


The recipe was for pizza rolls but I did not think the extra work of individual rolls worth it.  The recipe called for a frozen bread dough but I decided my oh so delicious baguette recipe would be better suited. 

I whipped up a batch of baguette dough in my bread machine. (you can find them frequently in thrift stores, mine was a whopping $5)

I frequently make bread dough in my machine and I never bake in it, I much prefer the bread baked in the oven so basically I should call my bread machine a Dough machine. 

I rolled out the dough, laid out the pizza ingredients on it and rolled them up inside, then brushed the top with butter and garlic granules and tossed it in the oven to bake.  I used parchment paper on the cookie sheet as I figured the cheese would ooze out. 

This recipe actually made two baguettes filled with pizza goodness but we had already devoured the first.

If anyone really wants the recipe (warning! it could be dangerous to your waistline) I will add it in a later post.  I have to figure out the PDF downloadable thingy first.

Okay, enough of my rambling, I need to get busy and wrap that sign for shipping and work on the others.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chickie update!

I know many are anxiously awaiting an update on my little friends.  Sorry I have been slow in posting more photos for you.I am so intrigued with the different coloration on them all even though they are the same breed. The one closest to the front look rather like a penguin.


They are already starting to feather out and I need to cut some wire to put over the bin they are in so they won’t be able to fly out. 


I have been attempting to handle the a lot so they will not be so skittish as they grow up but I think I need to do it more, they still run from me whenever I poke my hand into their brooder.


Here is a short video of them cheeping.

The latest Peep

I have been painting away and that is the reason for not being online here in a few days.  I have had a few special orders and I needed to get them out quickly.

Here are a couple signs I finished up this week.



Enjoy your Sunday evening.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Early Birds are Hatched!

Yesterday was exciting.  I tried to get my work done but was constantly distracted by chirps coming from the incubator.
Three eggs had distinctive cracking, a bit of rocking going on and definite peeps emanating from.  I thought for sure all three would pop out in no time.

Not so.  But one was making great strides. You saw my photos from yesterday, if not go here, if you wish.


The incubator is in my office, an out of the way spot safe from disturbance.  I had bookwork to get done yesterday which worked out perfectly, as I worked I could keep an eye on the babies chipping their way into the world. 

You can see her little beak in this one.


The progress was slow but steady.


Then out pops this little life form, staggering around, crashing into her sisters, still in their shells.


I had to go out to the studio to paint on some custom order signs but I was sure to run in and check frequently to see if anyone else cared to make an appearance.
Nope, not a one.  I was not worried since really today is the 21st day of being in the incubator and the actual date I had down for hatching, but little missy above must’ve been a day older when she was sent to me.

When I got up this morning we had another little hatchling prize in the incubator.  She is yellow.


Whereas her sisters is more brown/black.


Here is a short little video of #1 after she first hatched.  I did try to catch her coming from the egg but it was annoyingly blurry.

This is of the first little chick when first hatched.
I have more pippin’ today. You can hear them cheeping while still in their eggs.

Speaking of chickens I have a short little story to tell. 
Monday I kept my nephews for the day.  They are 4 and 2 1/2.  We were doing household chores and I have them help me to keep them busy. (it was cold and snowy outside or we would’ve gone to the park)

I had laundered my bed linens and once they came out of the dryer the boys where ‘helping’ me remake my bed. Jackson, the 4 year old asked where my stuffed animals were (he has a collection that he sleeps with, I do believe).

I told him they were in the spare bedroom.  Both of the boys were noticeably concerned that I did not have any in my bed to keep me company at night.  I continued to make the bed and they wandered off into our spare bedroom.  I heard them rummaging thru and playing with the stuffed animals they found.  They were entertained so I left them to it while I went downstairs and on to other chores. 

I thought no more of it. The boys left with their parents later in the afternoon and towards evening I went upstairs to my room for something and this is what I found tucked into my bed.


This is my stuffed chicken. Of all my stuffed animals, the boys figured this is the one I would like best to be in my bed with me. (I have bears, beanie babies, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore…you get the picture)

Do these guys know me, or what!

Here she is outside of the covers.


Now she sits proudly amongst the plumped pillows on the bed once its made.

I will, of course, bore you to tears with more photos of the chicks as they hatch.
Sunny today and it will reach 55, so a good snow melting day! I need to get out to the studio and get to work.

Until tomorrow!


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