I will start off today by covering some RSE information since that’s why most of you are even reading this right now *wink*.

I usually take a break until about now, but as I’d mentioned before I am taking a longer break to recharge the creativity. Also we decided it was a good time to finally re-finish our basement which has been finished, then flooded, then finished and flooded again. After the last time we completely gutted it- down to studs- and finally put in a sump pump. DUH. So. I convinced Mr. RSE that we were NOT going to mess around with drywall; yes, we’ve done it in the past, but it’s a horrible thankless job and the walls are funky in the basement. By funky I mean…creative. Lots of weird angles and planes that don’t quite meet up. So we hired someone to do it! LUXURY! That’s done and then we painted. I went with this color scheme:

 

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That medium gray on the long walls and that eye-popping teal on the short walls.  It looks great!  And then I was going to hire someone to put new flooring in, but good old George went and ate some bad stuff and earned himself a 3 night stay at the emergency vet’s, so there goes my floor fund!  So now it will be sad old me installing vinyl plank flooring through all 300 square feet down there.  Don’t get me wrong- I loved the last floor we had down there which is the same stuff- I just hate installing it.  I’m dreading it but will probably start on that next week.  UGH.  UGH.  UGH.

So I said all that just to bring up the fact that during this renovation, ALL the stuff that was in the big basement room is now stuffed into the room that I store my pottery in, and take photos of them to put up on my sale sites.  I had originally planned to put a few things up here and there throughout the winter, but nooo.  I can’t get to any of it.  I’ll announce on Facebook when I finally do, though!  I do have to get back to work by the end of February regardless.

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Winter. BRRRRR. It came late but wow- it’s hit us hard! We are in between snowstorms today but our forecasts keep threatening negative numbers so of course I worried about my girls.  Now, they have two things working against them in the cold weather.  First, I strongly believe that cold weather coops housing winter hardy chickens (which mine are) should not have supplemental heat.  I feel it lowers their ability to deal with the cold.  I am also absolutely petrified of fires, and heat lamps and heaters are notorious for starting fires in chicken coops.  Second, I promised my husband that this time around, no matter how bad the weather got, I would not bring them inside (my city boy husband could NOT deal with the stink and dirt that chickens produce when confined in the house).

I was not counting on these extra cold temperatures though!  We do not often deal with single and even negative digits.  So I broke down and decided to come up with a fairly safe heater for the coop.  I was determined to use things I had around the house because- oh yeah!  I was also battling the flu!

I found a large clay flowerpot and saucer that I had painted with latex paints once upon a time that are now flaking off like crazy.  I would not recommend this normally, but I wasn’t going to go shopping for a new clay flowerpot in the middle of January with 102* fever.

Because we have had lots of different pets, we had some reptile heaters lying around.  The clip on dome lights with ceramic bulb bases (important not to use plastic ones) and ceramic heat emitters that look like this:

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I took the clamp part off of the dome, screwed in the ceramic heat emitter (100 watt), and threaded the cord through the hole in the bottom of the flowerpot with the heat lamp inside.  It fit perfectly:

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I clamped the cord to keep it from falling back down (I used washers to help distribute the pressure on the cord), then set it upside down on top of the saucer and left it on the stove all day to see just how hot it got.

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I’m known for pulling bread out of the oven without hot pads, and this got hot enough where I could barely pick it up without burning my hands.  In other words, pretty toasty but not dangerously so.   So I set it up in the coop, but instead of the on saucer which was precarious, I set the flowerpot on top of a couple of old brick pavers to help absorb and distribute the heat.  I set it up under the “poop shelves” under the roost.

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In a perfect world I would chicken proof  the cord which I still need to do- just stringing it through some thin PVC will do the trick.   It seems to be keeping the coop about 15 degrees warmer than the outside air which I feel is just enough to keep them from seriously suffering from cold, yet not enough to lower their resistance to it.  All just guesswork- nothing scientific about any of this.  I have it plugged in to a thermocube which turns on at 35 degrees and shuts off at 45.  Judging from the number of poops around this thing, they seem to enjoy hanging around it during the day for a little warm-up.

And there you go!  Disclaimer:  I am not saying that this will not start a fire in your coop, or light up your hens, or is not a stupid thing to do- this is just something I came up with out of desperation, out of things I had laying around the house.

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My goodness but time has flown!

Almost 4 months have zipped by since my last blogging session, and 5 months since I made this announcement.

The chickens and pup have kept me very busy!  But, I have already been dabbling in some new ideas.  These will be available at local craft shows, and if I have any left over, I may list them on Etsy, but since I am on that break I am not taking orders at this time.  This is my time to make what I want, when I want!  :)

The first are these cute salt and pepper shakers (sorry for the crappy kitchen photo):

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Second is this nifty double bowl server:

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And I’m also participating in Shop Unique.  It’s a movement promoting Etsy Sellers and their wonderful products!

Lastly, I just stocked my Etsy shop- see what kind of goodies I stocked there!

Thanks for looking- I’ll peek in again one of these days!

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Zombiepig

Once he popped into my head, this guy kept me awake until I finally brought him into existence  (I’m sorry, zombiepig is not available for sale at this time- he was made for a special event):

 

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Etsy shop is stocked!

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Although I’m on sabbatical, I have quite a lot of inventory, so I will be stocking my Etsy shop from time to time.

Check out the goodies!  Rising Sun Earthworks on Etsy

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Five girls (hopefully) have joined our family:  Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy and Clara (extra points if you get the reference).

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I had chickens when I was a kid, briefly as a young adult, and again back in 2000- up until about 2005.  At that point I was so immersed in RSE I had to give up my guinea pig showing and breeding, and my chickens.  Between the kids and the business I had no time for anything else.  Also Mike didn’t like the way the chickens tore up the grass in the yard to make dustbaths when it got dry.

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Now that the kids are grown up we decided to keep a few backyard hens again.  This time around they will have their own yard, with semi-supervised free range time in the backyard.  This project has kept me extremely busy for the past 5 weeks;  raising tiny day old chicks, training the dogs not to eat them, building the coop.  Oh my gosh, building the coop- that project seemed to go on forever, but it’s finally finished!  The outside is, anyway.  The girls won’t need a real roost or nest boxes for a month or so, so I saved the furniture for last.

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They were finally old enough to move in to their new digs on Monday night, their 5 week birthday, but I actually didn’t finish all the trim and paintwork until yesterday.  I’m so glad to have it finished– on the first day of summer– finally!

The two little boys get along with the chickens great.  George is okay unless Donna pecks him in the eye, and then he will retaliate.  I’m not sure if it would be easier to teach the chickens not to molest the dogs, or vice versa.

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#2 project for the summer

Besides working on our bad eating habits, we have this project to work on:

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Meet Jesse, aka Jelly, aka Jellybelly, aka Potpie.  He came from the same wonderful lady that we got Russell from.  For the past 5 years she has always been there for us when we had questions and sought advice about our first French Bulldog.  When Jesse became available, I was a little hesitant– we have two male dogs already;  how would a third fit in?  The timing was a little wrong.  We weren’t ever planning on having three dogs at once, but I kept coming back to his photo.  On Easter weekend I asked Mike what he thought, and he said “why not?”  So we jumped in the car on Easter Sunday and drove the 6 1/2 hours to Pennsylvania (and 6 1/2 hours back) to pick up this character.

He gets along great with the other boys  (Russell loves him– he just always has that expression on his mug):

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He has become Katie’s constant companion

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Since they are so devoted to each other, I’ve decided to let Katie take charge of raising this pup and she is doing a great job!  Here they are in obedience class:

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Puppies sure are a lot of work!

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Today I’m eating pound cake.

The first thing on my agenda during this break from RSE, is to get my health back on track.  Katie and I are doing a sort of healthy eating boot camp:  Whole30 .  We are starting tomorrow, June 1.

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And today I find myself stuffing my face with pound cake that will have to be thrown away at midnight :/  This is exactly the kind of behavior I’m hoping to modify by doing this whole30 thing!

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An announcement from RSE

I have decided to take some time to step back and do some revamping of RSE. There are two reasons for this. One, to take a look at my business model and make a few changes in how I manage the company. Two, to reawaken my creativity which has gradually taken a back seat to production over the 11 years I have been in business.

Because of this, I will not be taking any orders for an extended length of time. Any previous orders that have been finalized will still be honored, and I will continue to stock my etsy shop periodically. I have a small coop/preorder scheduled for late summer that will still take place (through The Squirmie Worm on facebook), however, I will not be attending any shows this summer, and I will not do the holiday custom order this year.

Since creativity is an imprecise thing, I cannot put a definite date on when I will bring RSE back to full throttle again, but I do plan on doing so, hopefully by this time next year.

Thank you to all my customers and friends!

-June

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It’s been awhile since I blogged- how have you all been?  :)  I have been wrapping up some large orders and getting ready for this upcoming show!

The Rhode Island Sheep and Fiber Festival (here is their website ) is held at Coggeshall Farm in Bristol, Rhode Island.  It’s a lovely place to visit at any time, with all sorts of heritage farm animals, buildings and activities.  The Fiber festival is a great place to stock up on lovely handmade, hand dyed or handspun yarn and fiber and also fiber related crafts of all sorts!

I will be there with my pottery with a larger than usual selection of yarn bowls and sheep- and fiber-related mugs along with my usual offerings.  Hope to see you there!  It will be held rain or shine.

 

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