Thursday, 5 December 2013

All Quiet

It's that time of year when quiet descends outside in the garden, and it finally feel I can make some progress before the plants see my attempts to curb their growth and raise their game accordingly. The hens are enjoying all the nettles I'm pulling up as a welcome bit of greenery, and the rabbits work their way through the apple tree prunings, while the ducks and starlings do a great job of clearing up the windfall apples.

I've had to swap the chicken coops around as Emu needs a more accessible ladder than the previous one he was in. He will now go in this one with Mary, and his other wife Emily will go in to this one with Simba and his two [called Honey and Hazel: I knew you were dying to know]. I need to make an extension for Simba though so I came up with a cunning plan! I've taken pallets and stuck willow whips in between the gaps, and woven them between the planks, then stuck them in to the ground. They should root, and provide a living enclosure and disguise the ugly pallets. I will put chicken wire (ugh :-/ hate the stuff) over the top for now, but if it grows well I could loop the willow over the top to provide a roof. It won't be entirely fox-proof so I will keep them in the smaller bit when I'm away from the house, but it means while the other hens are having their turn in the garden, Simba and his 3 girls will have a lot more room. Anything to reduce the amount of chicken wire I have to wrestle with!

I do love keeping cockerels - they are so beautiful and engaging to watch - and the hens prefer having a rooster in charge rather than an overly dominant matriarchal hen. However, it does mean a rota system for letting them out, and trying to encourage the boys to go and forage with the hens rather than posture and scrap through the wire of their pens with their rivals.

Christmas has now landed in our house, and we bought a really nice tree, although it's probably rather too large as the fairy is squashed against the ceiling. Last time we had a tree this big I could still actually move in the lounge as we had less furniture, but now the door has to be open or shut due to the large armchair that's been relocated to accommodate the tree, which means the dog spends his whole time whining to be let through and is driving me mad. How he can manage to lacerate the bathroom door with scratches or barge in to my bedroom when I'm getting dressed yet not manage to negotiate this door unless he has at least 3" clearance each side is beyond me. That and the long-running territorial dispute over the possession of the Michael Bublé Christmas Album amongst my children means the spirit of the season is sometimes left wanting but hey, we'll get there :-)

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