Monday, January 14, 2013

The Bird is the Word

Seems we have our own little fly by these days. The flock of small winter birds has increased.

Temps have been down to zero for the last three nights and other than being in direct sunlight to feel warmth, daytime hasn't gotten much over 26F.  If you stand on our front porch,

 you'll feel like you are getting dive bombed by chickadees and nuthatches!

The lighted Christmas tree is still up outside. I'd have to dig it out at this point, but it's providing good perching for the busy ones. The Stellar Jays have learned to push/rattle the wire cylinder feeder by the wood boiler to make it drop seed, because the bottom pan is too small for them to perch at. With such cold weather, activity has been almost constant from sun up to sun down. In the pictures are: Mountain Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Chestnut Backed Chickadee.

Besides bird and football watching (Go Pats!!!) there has been a frenzy of fabric cutting. I laid out and cut six patterns yesterday. A new vest pattern, two new pants patterns and some old blouse favorites done up in corduroy. In this weather you can never have too much warm soft stuff. One of the trouser patterns is a muslin for a Decades of Style pattern.

I bought two of their line and just couldn't wait to get this one out of the envelope. It's quite different from any other pattern I have or have done, so basically I'll do a pair of shorts for a muslin. This pattern uses a lot of fabric, almost twice what a regular pair of pants needs so when I go to nice fabric I want to be sure the fit will be good and the style flattering.

The other pattern is this wonderful vintage coat.

 I can see this done in some interesting outer weight choices, or as a beautiful robe done in charmeuse or drapey rayon or linen/rayon blend. Oh, the possibilities! I'll keep you posted on progress using these patterns from this indie company.

The Shetland wool vest has been completed and I am so glad I took my time on this one.

Making a lining for it was challenging, mostly because I had to modify the way facings and hems were done.

 The heavy weight wool dictated that I go slow with the machine, careful with my top stitching and really watch my fit around the arm holes. It all took time
and I wanted to enjoy the process and working with this lovely, old fashioned wool.

It's warm and comfortable and the bonus is the style looks great with a capelet thrown over it, almost like a Sherlock Holmes style Inverness coat.  Very practical for our climate too. I can't tell you how often I go to town bundled up because our temps are running 10 to 15 degrees colder than the valley, only to be too hot and shedding coats and sweaters when I get to town. Dressing for town would never do. What would happen if I got stuck or the car failed and I had to walk a distance or wait in the cold? But having a warm vest with a removable warm wool capelet dings a lot of bells. More on this type of style to come in the coming months. I've a had a request and am up to the challenge...I think. ;)

In farm news, not much going on. The horses are handling the dry cold temps well, the donkeys not so much. Even with blankets and shelter the single digits are hard for them. I can only keep heated water out for them, lots of hay and a little increase in the tiny amount of dry cob I give them. The night time temps are predicted to rise into the low/mid 20's and we'll all be grateful. This spring I will move the donkeys along to a new home, a valley home. I think they will be much happier as long as they can stay together. They are so very bonded with each other.

Parting shot: Sitting on the snow bleachers! (Robin's ear is doing its own thing, kind of like a bad hair day, he has bad ear days).


  1. It's been really cold lately, hasn't it? Great bird photos! I'm with you, I love bird watching and just seeing who's visiting the feeders. It sounds like you have some great sewing projects ahead. Enjoy your week,

  2. Sweet Robin's ear is adorable! What is the news on Lucky Lucy, has she settled into her new home?

    What interesting little nuthatch birds we don't have them here on the wind swept plains. My beloved Cardinals have returned for which I am very grateful. Last night there were four male Cardinals at my feeder with their mates blending into the wood duff that surrounds the feeder. Love to see them!

  3. Lots of little birds here, too. You need some little Shetland sheepies! No worries about the cold with them!

  4. And here I am in Virginia sitting outside yesterday at 68 degrees. Funny weather.

    The birds are not so plentiful for us this year, I think they don't have to search for their food as when we have snow.

    Lovely sewing! I would also wear the heck out of that vest.

  5. Interesting that your donkey's don't handle the cold well. I had one when I first moved to OR. She was to be a guard donkey but when I caught her carrying the rams around by their heads/horns, she found a new home. She did fine in the cold. I was in Cottage Grove, so at about 800 ft. (lower than you are, I'm sure), but because it was at the southerly terminus of the Willamette valley, the cold settled there. I think the low one time was 11 - and she was so wooly that she was fine.

    I know there's an active "long ear" group in Oregon, with members all through the state. You might see if you can find them - I found this contact info online: They may have people looking for donkeys.

    I've been cold too - it was 1 overnight Saturday night - and not clearing freezing during the day. But it's warm by the woodstove!!

  6. I've had a lot of birds here, too, with all the rain. Free food! They are such a joy to watch on these gray days.

  7. Wouldn't that pants pattern make a nice skirt, too?
    Bad ear day? No, just cuter!

  8. Who doesnt have bad ear days? Do Decades of Style come in adult sizes? I love the ones you got, but Im not great at resizing yet!

  9. prttynpnk, YES the sizes cover from 30 to 46 inch bust and look nicely redrafted!.

    Maggie, Oh it would! Good idea.

    LA, I do love watching them, small and common as they may be, they are such beautiful little works of nature's art.

    Laura, we are about 4100-4200' in elevation, so it does get quite cold and being mini's they are low to the ground. They struggle in deep snow. Thanks for the info on the longears!

    LOTL, I'm working on wearing the heck out of that vest! It is warm and cozy and rather pretty, although it does attract dog hair. Maybe it will end up looking "heathered". ;)

    Michelle, if sheep were better browsers than grazers, I would be up there to grab a couple of wethers, but the goats love to browse and do a nice job of sticking to the property without fencing and coming into the fold for the night. Their brush reduction measures are commendable.

    Martha, Lucy left her new home in the valley from the breeders on Sunday. I'm going to give a holler over the weekend and see how she is settling in. I love the little rosy Nuthatch, we had duller gray and cream ones in New England, but the star for me is the chestnut chickadee. Such a handsome little bird and such a pretty colorway!;)

    Judy, I see the skiing is improving by leaps and bounds your way. Enjoy and good to hear from you!