Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quick Update

Someone was supposed to update us on the betta fry this week, but he's been busybusybusy working on his thesis, entertaining his whiny girlfriend, and trying to get a batch of orange betta fry.  :)  I thought I'd take a moment to show you a picture of the cute little critters.  I think they were two weeks old in this photo.  They're already feisty little buggers!

I was also hoping to have a sweater to present to you (and to my cousin) today, but I clearly went brain-dead when I picked up stitches for the button band and it's all kinds of messed up, haha.  No worries.  A few more days and it should be sorted out.  I did finish a mitten today!  It's cute!  You can't see it until the other is (at least mostly) done.

It has been a crazy week!  I've been trying to train for a 5K race in April, but the weather will just not cooperate!  I have a stack of papers that are a week and a half old that I've only just begun to grade and speeches to start on Monday.  I had to take Spike to the vet yesterday because of a bad bout of diarrhea and now he needs a dropper-full of antibiotics twice a day and he HATES to take it.  Sweetpea has a sore on her foot that comes and goes, so I've been keeping an eye on it and washing it nightly.  I shouldn't have gone out of town this weekend because I won't get any of my homework done, but I did (go out of town).  It was nice.  I think I needed it, really.  I do miss my boy terribly, though....

Here's to a good and productive next week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm a sappy folk who likes Valentine's Day.  It's been pretty cute here between yellow roses, yummy chocolates, and cuddly bunnies!

But I won't carry on about that.  This is a knitting/bunny/betta blog!

Therefore, I thought I would finally take some time to tell you what's on my needles.  I have a lot of projects in progress, so I'll tell you about my big one for the moment:

Alicia's Vintage Treeline

Two years ago, I promised my cousin and my aunt each a sweater for Christmas.  I have two mostly-finished sweaters lying around.  Since I used some squeaky Lion Brand yarn (for wash-ability and cost-effectiveness), I'm not a fan of them.  They have been languishing under the couch for a long time.  My local yarn shop recently received some Berroco Vintage that I could not pass up.  I got it into my head to make my cousin a sweater not unlike one I made for the Ravelympics last year.  It's a modified Treeline Striped Cardigan.  I love mine, so I'm sure she'll love hers!  I picked some really amazing colors for her.  How am I ever going to give it up?!  Is it wrong that I want her not to like it so I can have it?  :)  It's okay, though.  I bought a couple other great colors of Vintage that I'll keep for my self.

You'll be seeing those sweaters soon enough!  And this one too.  VERY soon, I suspect.

Hopefully I'll be finishing up a few projects to share with you soon.  I finished two sweaters in the week before we started the blog and I am refraining from starting anything new until this sweater and a very large double-knit commission are done.  It's so hard to wait with piles of beautiful yarn scattered about the couch, just waiting to be cast on!  I'm a quick knitter, though, so you won't have to wait long to see all the goodies I have planned.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Betta

Hello everyone! My name is John and I am Vanessa’s bf. We are jointly creating this blog to exercise our creative side and to do something cute together . . . awww ;) Her posts will be mainly directed at (but not limited to) her knitting projects and her emotions about said projects which are usually positive but may swing towards insanely frustrated; her bunnies; and whatever else she deems worthy to include. My posts will focus on my fish hobby and may include other noteworthy things if I think others will find them interesting. My first series of articles will follow the life of my newborn bettas, through their adult years. I hope to include a pictorial history as they progress through their lives.

As mentioned a second ago, I have a fish hobby. Hobby is a nice word but is not entirely satisfactory in describing what I have. Most days I feel that addiction or obsession hits closer to the mark. I collect and spawn halfmoon betta splendens (simply known as bettas).
As I never tire pointing out, halfmoon bettas are far above the ordinary Wal-Mart or local pet store betta in finnage quality and beauty. There is little comparison between the length breeders go to in order to perfect the ideal fins and color in a strain of halfmoon and the thoughtless spawning of hundreds of thousands of the lesser veiltail (Wal-Mart brand) bettas. Some people think I get a bit pretentious talking about my fish, judge for yourself ;) Although I am quick to promote halfmoons, I need to admit that my hobby began as a simple Wal-Mart betta named Artulious (after his favorite movie, King Arthur). I also spawn angelfish, but to a small extent as of yet.
SO, introduction aside we can get on with the main topic of this post, my newborn bettas! Although this is not my first successful spawn, I feel that I know enough now through trial and error (error, meaning all the fry passed to the great pond in the sky) that I will be able to keep most of them alive and thriving. The parents, black and gold in honor of my alma mater, the University of Iowa, were conditioned and placed in the spawning tank last Tuesday (see picture of the male). There are TONS of boring details about the ideal conditions of the water, how long they are able to see each other per day, and so on that I will leave out. Suffice to say that the process needs to be done correctly; a failure could mean the death of one or both of the fish. In case you didn’t know, bettas are FIERCELY territorial, which is why only one betta can be kept in a single tank. This is a self-fulfilling rule, if you put two, three, four in an aquarium you will end up with only one (who will probably die from his battle wounds).

In any case, after proper conditioning they engaged in the elaborate spawning practice and resulted in 100+ eggs that turned into the tiniest fry you can imagine. Imagine a size 11 Times New Roman font comma, that is about how big they are (the picture should give you some idea). More like swimming gnats than fish. At this point in their development they remain in the bubblenest the male has built. I have removed the parents so the fry do not turn into snacks, and they have the tank to themselves. However, they remain floating under the nest for a few days.
Two days later they have almost doubled in size and now explore the tank. They zip to and fro looking for a tasty morsel which I add 3-4 times a day in the form of brine shrimp. The only thing smaller than baby bettas is baby brine shrimp, which are perfect fry food because they swim all over the tank and allow the fry to snack as they get hungry. If you have wondered if baby bettas get along, they do! Although not exactly socialable, they enjoy chilling out by the tank heater and chomping on any brine shrimp that flitter by. Not a bad life!
Next post will detail the fry’s one week birthday! As of now almost all of the 100+ fry are alive and well, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that they all remain healthy and happy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ness' Welcome

Hi!  I'm Vanessa!  Most of my friends and family call me Ness.  I have created this blog to share my love of four things with whomever choses to read it: knitting, bunnies, bettas, and my boyfriend John (awwwww!).

I have two big ol' buns, which I rescued from local shelters.  I've had Spike for a little over a year.  He's a 5- or 6-year-old Californian with a temper!  With some lovin', I calmed him down a bit, but it was the sweet little girl I adopted a couple months ago who turned him into a little teddy bear.  Her name is Margaret Nibblet Sweetpea (she's a little trouble maker), but we call her Sweetpea.  She is just the sweetest little bun you've ever seen!  She was attacked by a dog at the shelter and I have determined that the toes on her right feet are paralyzed.  You wouldn't know it if I didn't tell you, I'm sure.  Spike has helped her get around much better.  He's also a good pillow for her when she gets to leaning (a thing she does often because of the weakness in her right side).  She's about 2 and a half years old and if you can guess what kind of bunny she is, I'll thank you, because I don't know.   The best guess I've heard is some kind of lop.  I know, I know, her ears stand up!  But look at how HUGE they are!  And the very tips are pretty floppy.  My buns are madly in love.  It's an awwww-fest at my house.  John could tell you!

I've been knitting for about 4 years now.  I started with a couple scarves, got bored, and went straight to leg warmers and a sweater.  I've been pushing myself ever since.  I knit like there's no tomorrow!  I'll try anything once, if I haven't already.  I used to work in a local yarn shop (Crazy Girl Yarn Shop).  I miss it a lot, but I couldn't balance it with school.  I've been doing commissions here and there and I love to seam (I know!  Send it to me, I'll do it!).  I'm only just now getting the hang of gauge and my bust measurement.  I've got some embarrassing pieces in the closet, haha.  I've got some really great ones too, though.  I have a Ravelry page (the feed for it is over there =>, I just need to find a cute little button to link it), if you want to check it out.  I've been told my notes there area joy to read.  I'm hoping I can carry that over here.

I can't tell you much about bettas except that I love them.  This is mainly because John breeds them, but I'll let him tell you about that.  I have one that lives at my place with the bunnies.  Her name is Corinna (Ovid's girlfriend. I don't suppose I mentioned that I'm a Classics Ph.D. student).  She's a big, beautiful yellow-orange halfmoon betta.  I absolutely love the colors and the attitudes bettas have.  They are so suited to the aesthetics of a knitter that I know any knitters reading this blog will be interested to read about them and look at them as well.  I can't say the same for betta-lovers about my knitting, but I foresee this venture as a well-balanced account of both (with bunnies tossed in from time to time because who doesn't love cute bunnies?!).

John and I are co-writing this blog, so I'll let him tell you about himself and his love for the bettas.  We are both very excited to embark on this venture together and hope we can amass a group of interested readers.

Bear with us (me, really) as we get the bugs worked out and the background and banner plastered up.  Thanks for reading!