What came first- the chickens or the blog?


on June 5, 2012

The past few days have seen the massive celebrations for Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Diamond Jubilee, locally and nationally. Also there has been a big deal made with the Olympic torch relay which came to our small damp corner of what remains of the British Empire very early on Sunday.
Of course here at home we welcome any event worthy of celebrating and yesterday under threatening skies we had a bit of a family garden party and barbecue, with most joining in the spirit of the occasion and dressing in red, white and blue. Faces were well painted, the remains of which are embedded in the best towels left out for the use of visitors. It’s lovely to have any excuse to get together, and even better that my mother in law who lives abroad was here for the weekend too. The rain stayed away so we had al fresco garlic and chilli prawns and Angus beef burgers which were delicious and finished off with red, white and blue pavlova and a Union Jack trifle.
I did have a bit of a mishap with the trifle, my dad had crushed garlic with the back of a spoon, unknowingly I used the same tainted spoon to smooth the custard on the trifle. So far no one seems to have noticed. It reminded me of one of the boy’s birthdays when I had decorated the birthday cake in an Olympic theme, must have been 8 years ago. Number four son who was then aged 4 got into the party room and picked every last it of icing off the top while we were in the garden playing games. When the crime was discovered, with great presence of mind I flipped the cake over and quickly iced the reverse side in a similar theme. And told no one.
Not to be outdone in the festivities, the hens celebrated by laying their 25th egg, a little silver jubilee of their own. An extra treat of corn was provided.

Here they all are looking very patriotic, standing to attention, when in reality they are just being naturally inquisitive. They only have to hear the sound of the kitchen door opening now for them to rush to the back of the coop looking to see who is coming and what tasty treat they might be bringing. Hens are very attracted to the colour red, a treat of cherry tomatoes causes a near riot within the coop. They also love dandelion leaves, the stalks of cauliflower and corn cobs. Thinking they would be like budgies in their tastes I bought a pound weight of dried millet at the pet store, but they look one disdainful look at it and walked away. Their daily diet is “layers pellets”, a bit of a misnomer as only Violet is actually laying at the minute. The pellets look most unappetising. Hens also need to have grit in their diet to give calcium to their shells. I love to watch them drinking, they take delicate little sips then tip their heads back to swallow. I watched Apollo daintily drinking the dew drops hanging on the bars of their run the other morning. Also hilariously they chase any flying bug that comes into their area. It would be good to stake out a larger run for them, but recently a magnificent fox ran right across the back of the garden in the middle of the afternoon, which made me fear for their safety if they were less protected from predators than they are currently.
As for the dog, he still takes an immense interest in the hens, guarding them jealously when visitors come to inspect them,but also barking wildly when they fly from the door of the coop to the ground. I have no doubt that given the opportunity he would help himself to a fresh chicken dinner. Yesterday though he was on his best behaviour, with the promise of left over burgers he joined in the celebrations, if only in honour of the Queen’s corgis.


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