Compassion in World Farming

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A spiritual shift.....

I have created to an altogether more witchy blog over at Hedgewitch Heart.......

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Sunny days


Well this unseasonably warm & sunny Bank Holiday weekend is absolutely glorious!  However, the grass in our little field seems to be receding rapidly & bare, dry earth is gaining ground so today I need to get the sprinkler going as the geese are beginning to look decidedly fed up!  The chickens seem to be enjoying the sunny weather, taking leisurely dust baths & generally slowing the pace of their lives down just as we two leggeds are doing.

In the garden the vegetable & salad seeds that I’ve planted are sprouting quickly, but it becomes a battle to keep the little seedlings from immediately expiring from thirst.  As the back garden needs to recover from a couple of years of abuse from ducklings & various poultry growers, this year I just have a 2m x1m raised bed & various pots sown up in the front garden.  I have mange tout, french beans, broad beans, radish, tomatoes & lettuce sown, with rather sad looking rhubarb, blueberry & gooseberry plants rescued from the back garden in a hospital wing being nursed back to health.

I’ve also popped more plants into the garden, including foxgloves & ornamental grasses from my lovely friend Andy at Chicken Street. Andy is a fellow poultry fiend who I met through Twitter & recently hubs & I spent a thoroughly pleasant afternoon with him at his place in Shropshire.  He breeds some stunning poultry, including rare Owlbeards & Ixworths.  My absolute favourites are his amazing Brahmas! I have totally fallen for this huge, docile breed & have my heart set on getting some Red Pyles from him at some point in the future.

I have had the joy of keeping several breeds of chicken now & I have to say I seem to be particularly drawn to the very smallest & very biggest of breeds.   I adore my little pekins & have a mixed pen of about 14 (Lemon Cuckoo, Black, Lavender, Lavender Mottled Frizzle & Mille Fleur)) segregated off so that I can sell hatching eggs when I a little more organised.  I also have a couple of teeny weenie rare breed Nankin hens who are such sweet little ladies that they own rather a large piece of my heart.  And then, of course, there are my beloved Polands.  My biggest birds are my Croad Langshans,huge & stunning but docile,friendly chooks that I hand reared last year.  I’m hoping to pen them off soon for a short while at least as Andy would very much like some hatching eggs from them. 


SAM_4127 OO7 & Angel my Croad cockerels going for an evening stroll together.

SAM_4108 Mr Dorking,my Silver Dorking, & Spicy, Welsummer cockerels.

As well as all the chickens & George & Mildred the bronze turkey pair we have a fair few ducks now after hatching some eggs last Spring, with hopefully a couple of lavender Muscovy girls to be added shortly to raise our duck:drake ratio slightly. 

SAM_4134  Gorgeous George turkey!

In family news eldest son is home from Uni for Easter before he takes his final year exams.  He has several job interviews lined up so it’s a very exciting time for him.  Middle son is about to take his A2 exams & is planning to go to Leicester University to study Computer Science & youngest son is about to take his GCSE’s before entering 6th Form at school.  Mum is happily retired now & as Dad’s Parkinson’s disease seems to have advanced rather rapidly it is good that she can be there for him, although sad that her retirement plans are now limited in terms of what Dad is able to manage these days.  Also they are having to deal with the news that their greyhound Jane may have bone cancer & are awaiting a follow up x-ray following an intense course of anti biotic treatment to see if she will require an amputation.  Poor Jane dog!  We are all keeping our fingers crossed that it is a bone infection, rather than the worst case scenario. 

Well, the sun is shining brightly again & my garden is calling me so I will wish all of you who celebrate it a Happy Easter & return shortly with news of my Beltane celebrations.

Bright blessings,


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Something beautiful to share with you.....

I just had to share this with you. I find Jason's words & photography very inspirational. I was lucky enough to meet up with him recently & it was an absolute pleasure to be in the company of someone so connected to Nature :o)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Dinner time

Meet Hilda Ogden & Norah Batty the Transylvanian Naked Neck chicks that are the latest birds to join our big happy family. Hubs fell in love with them during a visit to the Domestic Fowl Trust. Now I know they're not everyones cup of tea, looking as they do like baby vultures, but they really do have the sweetest of natures.

A chance snippet of information I read about them that suggested that they are eaten a lot in France (gasp!) got me thinking about the whole issue of eating meat again. I've yet to find a diet I'm happy with both health & conscience wise. I recently tried veganism, but with 2 meat eaters & a vegetarian in the house already it just seemed impossible to sort meal times so everyone was happy & my diet was healthy enough. I did start to feel unwell. I don't enjoy milk & don't want dairy produce to be a part of my diet. Cow's milk is meant for cows & I detest the dairy industry, so that's sorted. But meat? Is there a way for me to be able to eat meat occasionally & feel happy with myself?

There's no way I could eat any kind of battery farmed meat without needing to flog myself with razor blades. The enormous suffering of battery farmed animals (not just chickens!) makes me want to weep & scream in equal measures. When I originally starting keeping chickens it was with the romantic notion that I would rear my own meat birds. Ha! That didn't exactly go to plan did it? I believe it's wholly perverse & wrong to kill any creature you bond with & that trusts you. I was talking about this subject to a friend of mine who spent some time living with North American Indian tribe that believe that if a deer looks you in the eye you can't shoot it. I get that.

One thing that is puzzling me at the moment is that so many people are getting emotionally involved in the lambing season. People get moved to tears if a little lamb loses its life. Yet these same people feel no emotion towards the same creature just a few months older shrink wrapped in a supermarket. Are they wrong to remove that emotion towards that lamb? At what point does an animal go from being a creature that inspires love & compassion in us to just a slab of meat?

There are no easy answers to these questions & I certainly don't judge anyone for their choice of diet. The mass over population of the human race on this planet makes humane eating extremely difficult. Of course Nature's way is the way of the hunter. But there simply isn't enough wild prey for all of us to hunt, even if we had the time in our busy modern day lives to try.

At the moment I am considering a vegetarian, dairy free diet with the inclusion of a limited amount of organic, free range meat. I just need to find a source of this organic, free range meat reared with the kind of ethics that fit with me, else take responsibility for rearing my own meat as I intended in the first place but without forming an attachment to the animal. Hmmmmm. I'll keep you posted.....

Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring fever!

Today I feel my heart could literally burst with the joys of Spring! After an uplifting dog walk of dappled sunshine, sparkling dew & daisies opening their petals to the morning sun I couldn't have felt happier. *sigh*

There's a special secret hiding along my daily walk right now. Tree blossom! I don't just mean the very obvious, blousy blossoms of the likes of cherry trees but more delicate & equally beautiful blossoms that Jackie & Jason at Essence of Wild opened my eyes to as I went on my very own Tree Blossom Quest as part of my Ostara celebrations. Why not take a peek yourself & immerse yourself in their special, effervescent energies?

Bright & joyful blessings

Sara xxx

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Writer & blog reborn

Well it's been such a long time since I updated my blog! Sometimes, when you're going through a lot of changes personally the language of your heart changes & it takes a little time to fathom out how to put this new you into words. But finally, at this beautiful sabbat of Ostara, I feel the confidence to be able to convey my thoughts, feelings & musings with clarity.

So what's been happening in my world? Well, my family of feathery friends has increased somewhat for a start! There have been up & downs as I've lost old friends & welcomed new ones. But I'm incredibly blessed to be able to see lots of happy, healthy birds out in our little field & our back garden. Birds of all shapes, sizes & breeds. Stately Croad Langshans right down to teeny weeny Nankins. Each one is special to me, each one an absolute joy. I promise to share lots of pictures & stories soon, but here's a favourite snap of 2 of my Croad Langshan boys, Angel & Jet, with a couple of ex batt friends:

Spiritually I've been journeying down my solitary Pagan path, learning & growing as I go. I've met some incredibly beautiful people along the way & my heart has been opened to a myriad of new experiences, feelings & truths. At this stage in my life I feel very comfortable in my skin, happy that I have found my place in this life & thirsty to learn more. I have been drawn to crystal healing for a while, but now I am exploring herbal & flower healing. I am reading about animal healing in particular. There's so much I want to do - I want to become a Reiki Master; I want to become a holistic animal healer; I want to learn how to make my own oils & incenses; I want to spend every day connected to Mother Nature. I have never been so joyful!

Sometimes our goals & circumstances don't quite match up & for now I am only able to journey slowly. My sons are at very important stages in their lives & take absolute priorty right now. The usual monetary restriants come into play, etc., etc. But I have learned patience. I have learned that to walk at a slow pace is good bacause sometimes when you rush along you miss so many details & opportunities.

So here I am. As I sat under the incredible Full 'Super Moon' at the weekend I felt a kind of baptism. I hope the incredible serenity of the Lady Moon washed over you too.

Bright blessings

Sara xxx