18 March 2014

A Garden/Chicken Post

It's that time of year again already - my willow tree is fuzzy around the edges with softest green budding leaves. :)
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Our garden flock is very happy and settled, there is less squabbling already, and they are laying around three eggs a day on average between the five of them in this warmer spell. June lays almost every day, as does Cinnamon. The youngest two Legbars seem to take it in turns. Bluebell lays about twice a week. We just started on our second bag of chicken feed (already). So our home-produced eggs were costing £2.60 per dozen at first, now down to more like £2.10 per dozen as the laying picks up (and as we have moved the feed bag to the top of the cupboards, so that the children can't keep sprinkling it all over the garden)!
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(The pastel blue-green eggs are from the Legbars, Cinnamon's are usually slightly pointier and greener in colour. The huge pink one top left is from Bluebell!)

They've very soothing, and amusing, to watch. I only seem to get pictures of them in the run, and then half of my shots are always of June trying to peck the camera. They go a bit crazy when I let them out to free range, but they run back in here when something frightens them (like their rain canopy flapping too much, or a dog barking a couple of houses away).
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Talia watches the chickens from as close as she can get, often with her nose poking through the bars. She comes back in saying, "Duck, nose, me!" and giggling, clutching her nose. I thought she'd soon figure out that it was better NOT to get pecked in the face, but alas. We learned by the end of the first week that we have to cable tie the large easy-access door closed, because it's just too tempting for the youngest three to let the chickens roam, and I'm determined to protect my vegetable garden!
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Between the nutty children and the nutty chickens, there are daily cries of "help! help!" from the garden, and it's always a toss-up between it being a child stuck in the willow tree, one sibling chasing another with assorted toy weaponry, or a chicken loose. It's always when I'm right in the middle of something - like the housing inspection (which went really well, and they're now officially leaving us alone again for another year), or when I'm up to my elbows in washing up, or lifting a huge batch of yarn out of the dye vat. I need to replace my bench so I can sit outside with my knitting a bit more, I guess! (Such a hard life, haha.)

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Maybe this year will be the year I manage to grow vegetables for more than one season. Maybe this year I will not kill half of everything I plant. Maybe this year I will finally buy a new bench. Maybe this year I will succeed in saving seeds from my veggie plants instead of buying more every year. I am nothing if not ambitious. So far at least is IS the year that I order from Real Seeds, and start off my first batch of seedlings in time. And it IS the year we finally get chickens again. And it IS the year that I plant some more soft fruit bushes.

Yeah, we'll get there. :)

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