What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Beach Babes

The garden work is now well into week 4 and coop construction has begun! So excited!
The lawn area has been sanded in anticipation of turf laying, so while their home is being built, the girls spent two days “at the beach” on the fresh sand which they appeared to enjoy, especially an unobstructed view of all the chaos going on round them.


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The Chickens of the Shire, an unexpected pleasure


There is great excitement as it is only a week to go until the release of the first part of The Hobbit movie, “The Hobbit, an unexpected journey”. Gillyboy number 4 was too young to experience The Lord of the Rings at the cinema, and having read the Hobbit over the summer, he is as excited as I am. Comfy seats, a bucket of popcorn and a few hours of escape to the Shire await!
Friends often send me hen related articles and I loved seeing this Hobbit hen house. (Thanks to my saxophone teacher for this one) Some people have amazing imaginations, and great woodworking skills. I hope their hens appreciate it. Bet those pretty flowers didn’t last too long.
I was thinking were there any similarities between hens and hobbits. I can just imagine Apollo bravely packing a wee backpack and setting off on an adventure, like Bilbo Baggins. She is very much the spokes-hen of the coop, and loves to explore the garden. The other two prefer to hang back. Like hobbits, they all love their food.
The big dissimilarity is feet. Hobbits have large hairy feet. Hens have tapered elegant legs and talons, with magnificent curved nails. I’d love to have nails like a hen’s. I find it hard to believe though that in some countries chicken’s feet are a food delicacy!


Then in the corner of my eye I spotted Gillyboys 4’s hobbit style slippers

20121206-160441.jpgand my own well used wellies. Not so elegant but necessary to avoid getting bogged down in the muck on the way to the coop. And that made me think how much variety and pleasure those hens have brought to me since their arrival in May. An unexpected pleasure.


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The Grass is Always Greener


With one of our sons a keen garden footballer we have never had the best lawn, it tends to be boggy, has scorched patches where it is used as a dog “convenience”, and for several months of the year is buried under a huge mound of leaves from our large beech tree. However this season a number of factors have resulted in a sorry mess. Firstly it has done nothing but rain all summer; at the end of June we had a serious flood and the grass has never had the opportunity to dry out. Secondly the hens have scratched and scratched away the grass and the roots, despite me moving the coop around at least once daily. Mr Gillybirds dreams of a lawn something like Wembley Stadium and the Centre Court at Wimbledon. So this weekend positive action was taken. All hands on deck we transported the coop and run into the lower part of a shrub area beside a large bamboo plant. I mowed the lawn (what’s left of it) and promised to obtain and sow grass seed. Fast growing seed- hopefully before the hot wet season changes to the cold wet season the lawn will be more presentable and ready for a father/son football game.
I did notice however that where the coop has been resting there are areas of lusher greener grass, obviously enriched by the nitrogen rich chook poop. Every cloud has a silver lining.