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.
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.
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.