Saturday, December 15, 2007

10 Days Till Christmas

So I've gone 3 days without doing a's such a weird's like I can tell something's wrong, but I just can't put my finger on what's missing in my life and then I realize how much I miss my blog and being able to spend time with all of my blogging friends! We started our first overtime weekend today and I worked from 5-10 AM. I'll take tomorrow off and then hit it hard again starting Monday. This afternoon, though I had some time for some work and some fun (I'm saving the fun till last!)

The temps were in the upper teens this afternoon, partly sunny, and very little wind, so I decided to try hanging some laundry outside.I've been wanting to do this all winter, but it's been either snowing or too windy the last few weekends I've done laundry. The weatherman says tomorrow is going to be nice like today, so the laundry hopefully will freeze dry overnight and I'll have good smelling clean clothes to fold tomorrow.

I'm making progress on my Christmas gifts. In the picture below (from L. to R.) is a stocking cap for my nephew in California, a sock for my office mate (a second one still has to be completed), and the goofy-looking thing is a ball cap earwarmer (my own design).

I saw something like this (made in fleece) in a catalog and actually figured out how to adapt the design to a knitted pattern. Here's how it works:

The opening in front goes over the "bill" on your ball cap--the lower part keeps your forehead warm and the upper part holds it in place on your cap. I've knitted it so it's wider in the back part to also cover that hole in the back of a cap to keep that spot on the back of your head warm too. I'm planning to get this pattern typed up in early January, so if any of you knitters would like to try knitting your own for the "ball cap wearers" in your life, let me know in a comment or e-mail and I'll be sure to send you a copy.

OK, now for the fun.......can you figure out what this is??

I brought home an empty apple juice jug from my stop at Wild Birds Unlimited today and while I was rinsing out the jug and the cap, I realized the cap would be perfect for holding mealworms in my hand and feeding chickadees.

I'm afraid I'm getting obsessed with feeding these little birdies, but it's just such an amazing thing to have them be trusting enough to land on my finger and eat a worm!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think this is amazing that you can get chickadees to eat from your hand. What a thrill it would be to have on on your finger. Who takes the pictures? Do you have a camera in your other hand?

Lynne said...

Ruthie- I am absolutely GREEN with envy! How sweet to have a chickadee perch on your fingertip. It would be such an honor to feel that trust from a tiny wild bird.

Trixie said...

Sacred Heart! That is so cool! And freeze-dried laundy, I have never tried that. Have you done it before?

Trixie said...

Oh, and the ball cap ear warmer is very nifty. What kind of yarn did you use?

KGMom said...

Trixie took my words--that ball cap ear warmer--ingenious.
And I love the chickadee.
Oh, and how I remember frozen laundry and the wonderful clean smell you get with it. That's what my aunt always did. I found the frozen pants too funny--standing up straight as if someone were in them.

Marsha said...

How wonderful is that...handfeeding a chickadee!

Your knitting is wonderful.

Jayne said...

Love the ball cap ear warmer! So ingenious!

Am speechless that your chicadee-dee-dees are eating right out of your hand!!!!! The best photos I've seen in a long time. Yes indeed, we are soooooo green!

Jennifer said...

How did your laundry turn out? Such cool projects... and that chickadee is adorable. I might have to try that technique here...

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lisa,
You know, last week I thought they just came to my hand because of the dish, but now I know they come because of the worms.
To take these pictures, I'm kneeling on the dining room floor with my left arm out the window and the camera in my right hand and up against the glass. The crabapple tree is right there and it's where the chickadees fly from and return to for eating the worms.

Hi Lynne,
I can't even describe how it feels. They weigh almost nothing so you can't even feel any sharpness from their little toes, just the sensation of them clinging to your finger. It truly is the most amazing thing!

Hi Trixie,
I haven't freeze-dried laundry before, but learned more about it on Randy's Weather Blog. Here's the link:
I'm not sure how much gas the dryer uses, but even if I can conserve a little here and there, it might help on my bill this winter.
P.S. the ball cap ear warmer is worsted weight yarn on size 5 or 6 circular needles.

Hi Donna,
Those jeans were frozen stiff!! I love the smell of laundry that's been hung outside. Sometimes the old ways are best!

Hi Marsha,
From all the books that I've read, they say chickadees are the easiest to train to eat from your hand. I think chickadee is probably the only bird coming to my feeder that I could get to do this.

Hi Jayne,
It's so much fun! And a good excuse to put aside other *boring* chores on a sunny winter afternoon.

Hi Jennifer,
The laundry's still on the line this morning and getting flurried on now. The sun is supposed to come out later, but it takes A LOT longer to dry in the winter than in the summer.
Good luck with chickadee feeding--I hope to see pictures on your blog soon!

Susie said...

Hi Ruthie,
I'm so sorry I haven't been by to visit in a while. Life has just been crazy busy. I love to hang my laundry outside too, but only do it during the warmer months.
The picture of the chickadee eating the worms right from your hand is just amazing!

Meggie said...

When I say the laundry hanging outside and I know you live in Minnesota, I thought it ws a joke. I can't imagine going outside to even hang clothes in the winter. What a clever adapatation for ball caps to keep one's ears warm. You are such an ingenious gal! Love your bird photos...I miss you when you are away for any length of time.....

Anonymous said...

Love the pics of the chickadee, only you would have the patience to do this and with a camera in the other hand. Now it's a toss up which I like better, hummers or chickadees sitting on your hand.
I used to hang out laundry in the winter and let it freeze dry, only when the snow wasn't real deep under the clothes line, it always smelled so nice. Those days are gone for now, it is easier to just throw it in the dryer, or hang it up in the house to dry.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Susie,
That's OK, I know you've always got something going on, and we're all in the middle of the season of busy-ness.
I'm glad you got to stop by and see my pet chickadee ;-)

Hi Meggie,
This is the first time I've tried hanging laundry out in the winter. It was really weird having to put on snow boots to go to the clothesline, and I had to watch where I put the longer stuff so it wouldn't drag in the snow!
Thanks for your kind words--that made me feel good!

Hi Mom,
Both birds are pretty cool, but I'll pick hummers because the weather's nicer and all of me can be outside--not just one arm.
I remember you used to hang clothes out all the time--we loved to play in the hanging laundry when we were little kids.

Mary said...

So, Miss Smarty Pants with Chickadee on Finger, guess what envious Mary is going to do on her Christmas break? Huh? I ran out of meal worms but will stock up real soon, sister... LOL!

Your creation for the ball cap wearer is fantastic. Michael would have loved it for golf up north!

Hang in there with all the work...

RuthieJ said...

Go for it Mare! I want to know that you're spending all (or at least part) of those 14 days with mealworms and chickadees!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ruthiej I can just see you hanging out the window with one arm and clicking away with the other. Love the results tho. :)

Larry said...

That's cool!I've had them eat out of my hand each year but have never manage to get a photo at the same time.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lisa,
Yeah, I imagine it would be quite a sight if someone was standing behind me observing...that's why I only do this when I'm home alone!

Hi Larry,
I think having the window there is kind of like taking photos from a blind--this chickadees are concentrating more on the worms and not noticing the movement inside the house.

Jorun said...

I'd love to knit a ball cap warmer for my husband in the north of Sweden.

I have tried to find out what a chickadee is, and I think we have some of its cousins here as well. My personal favourite among the backyard birds is the "blåmes", parus caeruleus. It's really pretty with its blue cap and wings.

Christmas greetings from Sweden!

Влад said...

I, in Ukraine in a garden too had today many birds. But a forage as at you, wasn't.
5 kinds of birds stayed in a winter garden Chernigov. The PHOTO
Daily reusable feeding of birds by seeds has yielded the results - for the first time for some years to me have visited костогризы, в'юрки and siskins.
Except titmouses and sparrows who don't leave the dining room in the open air.
Regular work always yields results!
And in the market, by the way, the prices for seeds for birds doesn't raise - 0.50$ for bank of 1 liter. And townspeople who buy seeds for birds, it appears, much.
Aim all one - to help dumb animals to worry difficult frosty winter.
To a theme: