gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Lucas stands guard

The Gillybirds were already in residence when Lucas arrived as a puppy nearly three years ago,so hens have always been a constant in his life. He did cry with confusion when Apollo and Darling disappeared only to be replaced by these exotic looking newcomers. He is very curious about the hens, but would never bark at them, unlike Mr Buttons whose deep bark sends them running for safety at the very back of the coop. It’s enough to put anyone off laying!

They have all got used to each other’s presence very quickly and he is always out having a chat in the yard with the new girls, and patrolling on fox/cat alert too!  

   

Lucas and Mary deep in conversation  

Lucas checking everyone is getting enough fluids. 

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You are radiant with charm

Were you ever aware of the Victorian language of flowers? Lilies symbolised beauty. Roses represented love. If your suitor gave you red roses you knew he was mad about you, if they were pink you could be assured of his affection, if yellow roses arrived he was only interested in friendship. And black or dark roses – well, make sure you put your affairs in order as someone wanted you dead. Flowers were used to say what could not be said in those more formal times. A bouquet given to you upright sent a positive message, and beware if you were given flowers facing the opposite direction. Mind you nowadays if you get a bunch of Bonnie Jeans from the garage from your gentleman caller I would maybe encourage him to try a little harder!

Anyway, while on a recent holiday in France I was entranced by these beautiful flowers in a restaurant.

  

These are ranculus asiaticus, a cousin of our buttercup. A Victorian maiden would blush with pleasure at being told, without words, that she was “radiant with charm” should she have been presented with these. Whereas Mrs G headed straight for Amazon.co.uk and ordered a delivery of ranunculus asiaticus bulbs in an attempt to cultivate these very special pretty paper-like blooms in time for the summer.

When the bulbs arrived they looked anything but charming 

Actually they reminded me of the hens favourite snack of meal worms. They had to be planted with these little “fingers” pointing down. I worked very hard, filling pots with soil,  planting bulbs and watering.  Only to discover that Naughty Lucas had jumped into a big pot and dug out and scattered its entire contents when I was tidying up the tools.  The Victorians would suggest he should give me a purple hyacinth to ask for forgiveness.

For now, here’s hoping by the summer I will be posting pictures like this 

there are no words for such beauty 

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Please Look After Kai, thank you.

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This sweet dog, Kai, has become an overnight internet celebrity. For all the wrong reasons. On 2nd January Kai was found tied to a railing in a railway station in Ayr, Scotland. Beside him was a suitcase with a pillow, bowl, toy and food.
Kai, a Sharpei cross, was abandoned. His microchip gave details of his name, and a previous owner, who had sold him in 2013 and had no information about his current owner.
The Scottish pet welfare charity is looking for a lovely new home for this healthy, handsome young dog and offers of love, belly rubs and long walks have been made from all over the world.
The similarities to the story of Paddington Bear, from Darkest Peru, found in Paddington railway station with a suitcase and a label requesting that someone “please look after this bear thank you” are remarkable. But Paddington bear is fiction.
Kai is a real living, loving animal. Someone for whatever reason has chosen not to take responsibility for him any more.
Kai, we here at the Coop hope you find a new safe secure home really soon.

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Writing 101- My Fears, with apologies to Dr Seuss

We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

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Lucas and I, we go for a walk
In the park daily
Just him and me
And we like to talk,
About the things that we see.
One day we chanced upon
Balloons in a tree
A bunch of balloons
So pretty to see
Red, blue and yellow,
Purple and green
Such shiny balloons
Had never been seen.
I do not like them!
I really feel sick!
Said I to young Lucas
I’m globophobic!
There’s nothing to worry
You silly old thing!
It’s a bunch of balloons
All tied up with string.
But they go with a bang!
And they burst with a pop!
All this sudden noise
Could make my heart stop!
My Dear Mrs Gilly
Mrs Gilly my Dear
There’s no need to worry
There’s nothing to fear
It’s only a pop
It’s only a bang
It’s not like a bell that goes with a clang
Or a gun with a bullet that goes with a crack
Or a firework that screeches
Or thunder that booms
They are wonderful, colourful latex balloons
I think that you’ll find
There’s no need to swoon.
But if I walk past them
They’ll surely explode!
How can I walk past them?
Let’s find a new road.
Stop it! Please stop it!
Don’t be so scared!
Those bright coloured orbs
Mean that someone has cared
A birthday, a party,
A hullabaloo
Those bright shiny orbs
Bring happiness too.
Remember the movie,
The film called Up?
A boy, an old man,
A talking pup?
A house that took off
Half way to the moon?
A house and not one
But a million balloons!
So here’s what we’ll do
You silly wee miss
We’ll let them down gently
They will sigh with a hiss.
So we carried on walking,
Just him and me
To the end of our walk
When it was time for our tea.
And after we walked we rested our legs
And dined on our dinner
Of green ham and eggs.

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My sincerest apologies to all lovers of poetry and Dr Seuss!
This post is part of the Writing 101 challenge by the Daily Post

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Mr Buttons and Naughty Lucas. Our Dogs.

Writing 101 challenge – Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.
Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

You’re sitting on my side of the couch.
no I’m not
You are too.
no, really I’m not!
And get your skinny leg off mine
why are you so grumpy anyway?
I’m older than you, can’t you give me some respect?
but you never want to play! You’re boring
You’re annoying!
Why won’t you play with me? I think you’re great
It’s been nothing but trouble since you arrived. You’re so cute and playful. I’m just old and stiff. I think they love you more than me
but mum adores you! You let her stroke you when she is sitting reading quietly. You protect her from everything. I just drop chewed toys in her lap and steal her yarn. That makes her crazy
Fair point Lucas. That’s all true. Do you remember when you chewed that first edition signed book she gave dad for Christmas?
how can I forget? No treats for days for me
Mind you, I was in the dog house – literally – when I bit dad for trying to kiss mum and he had to get a tetanus shot.
how could you do that? I love dad so much. He throws the ball for me for hours
Chasing a ball is so dull. What’s the point? I’ve never understood it. Best thing to do is lie in the sun waiting for the postman. He loves a surprise!
and squirrels.
Yes! Squirrels!!!
lets go and chase some now. Come on! You know you want to!

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Monday Morning Mayhem

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Enjoying the last official day of Summer 2014 Naughty Lucas got carried away off lead jumping through tall grass and splashing across a large stagnant pond.
A quick wash in the sink has left my laundry room in serious need of a wipe down and a trail of mucky paws across the kitchen floor.
Happy Monday!

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Blogging 101

For the next few weeks I am taking part in a blogging 101 course hosted by the Daily Post.
Today is Day One.
Allow me to introduce myself…on this blog I refer to myself as Mrs Gillybirds, a play on my actual name, and the fact that I am an urban hen keeper.
I live in Ireland, with my husband, Mr Gillybirds, my four sons, the Gillyboys, two dogs – Mr Buttons and Naughty Lucas, and my three hens – Apollo, Darling and Colonel Saunders.
The Daily Post suggests I address you, the unsuspecting first time reader, on the matter of the following questions
Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
What topics do you think you’ll write about?
Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Those of you who have been with me from the beginning know that I have actually been blogging since April 2012. The hen keeping was a completely new interest and blogging seemed to be a good forum, as I could not only keep a diary of my efforts, and also seek on line free guidance and encouragement from more experienced chicken keepers.
Apart from that, I can be a bit of a show-off and love an audience.
Keeping a hand written diary in a beautiful moleskin book would never get “likes” on social media. It would just get chewed by Naughty Lucas.
My blogging topics started out primarily about the Hens, or the Gillybirds as I refer to them, but this blog has morphed into a more random account of our family, dogs, my heros, my new found compulsion to run, holidays, cooking, lack of eggs being laid, and life in 2014.
My other keen interests are crochet and card making, and I have blogs specifically geared towards them – Crocheticipation and Angillcards. Also in 2012 Mr Gillybirds cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats and I kept a blog of his epic journey to keep his poor worried mother up-to date with his progress.
Through all three blogs I enjoy responses from family and friends near and far, hen keepers, crocheters, card makers, crafters, anyone who stumbles upon my ramblings by accident. I have made genuine friends through my blogging.
We live busy lives and if someone gets a laugh, learns something new, is challenged to try something different, finds a new recipe or book to read, brill!
Thanks for taking the time to stay on my page. I’m honoured. Of all my followers, the crocheters are by far the most responsive. Thanks ladies!
Blogging over these past years has been a wonderful way of sitting down, taking stock, cataloguing highs and lows, good days and bad, all the changes that occur as part of life in all it’s richness and fullness. Of course, it’s very easy to self edit and paint a rosy picture (or not) and I have to bear in mind that Grandma and Grandpa Gillybirds are keen blog readers and some of our crazy family stuff is best left unwritten
Having a small soft voice in the blogosphere, writing hopefully wholesome, happy things (most of the time), bringing positivity when there is so much darkness, sadness and destruction online, on TV, beyond my front door. I’m not Pollyanna, nor am I the Great Oracle.
To misquote Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill”….I’m just a girl, writing in a blog, asking you to read me

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Guard Dogs

Of course no blog update would be complete without photos of the ever vigilant Mr Buttons and Naughty Lucas who were able to eyeball the hens while they were at the Beach Club

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The adorable Henry

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We visited with our farming friends at the weekend and they have a new dog- a jack Russell/miniature daschund cross called Henry.
Henry is the cutest dog EVER. He has big soulful eyes, long elegant paws and a very waggy tail. Add to this an ebullient personality and tonnes of character. It is impossible to capture all this in a photograph.
They had to check my pockets to make sure I hadn’t smuggled him home.
A lasting memory will be walking across fields of high grass as Henry bounded in great leaps in front of us, all we could see were two black ears flapping with every leap.
Such a cutie.
I think I have a serious case of puppy love.

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These is My Words

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Now that school is out and life is a little less frantic it is time to flex my holiday reading muscles.
First on the list was ” These is My Words, the diary of Sarah Anne Prine” by Nancy Turner.
I have blogged before about pioneer women – Laura Ingalls, and the sweet hen lady Nancy Luce, and now I have a new pioneer voice Miss Sarah Anne Prine. If you enjoyed the Little House books, and the sharp dry voice of Mattie Ross in True Grit (another great book) you will love following the journey of Sarah with her family by wagon from Arizona to Texas, and their trials and hardships as they settle to life there. Along with tragedy there is romance, courage, faithfulness, a desire for knowledge, a heart that seeks true love and an indomitable spirit. I loved every page. It made me cry several times. There are two great dogs in this story, and also Sarah keeps hens and is very worried about them when the weather causes trouble. (Sorry no spoilers)
I was thrilled to learn there is a sequel! Hoping Mr Postman with deliver it soon.
“My life feels like a book left out on the porch, and the wind blows the pages faster and faster, turning always toward a new chapter faster than I can stop to read it.”
― Nancy E. Turner, These Is My Words

This copy was sent to me as part of the Good Reads First Read programme. I can’t wait to pass it on to the next lucky reader!
Thanks Good Reads 🙂

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