gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Antique Antics

this blog post is written in response to The Daily Post’s blog challenge on writing about the oldest object in your house, from its point of view link to daily prompt on WordPress

Where once I was carried and cuddled, cherished and beloved, I was almost consigned to a bag in the far corner of the attic, banished, cast out, a creature of shame.
Back in 1969 I was stitched with love, red, blue, black, a jaunty bow tie, tail coat and a cheery smile; a gift for a four year old girl, made by her mother, the gentle click of knitting needles soothing the child growing within her, a longed for second child, a brother to the freckled, pig tailed, eager future big sister.
I was to become her companion, firstly as her mother disappeared quickly in the night as the pains of birth grew strong. Proudly brought to hospital to meet the wrinkled brother, I became more of a playmate than this useless squealing boy, my long knitted limbs climbing trees, tied to scooters, always off on adventures and picnics.
I had a second exciting trip to hospital, bringing comfort as the ache of tonsillectomy went undiminished by ice cream and jelly.
As she grew my smiling face and jolly clothes always brought a smile. Stabilisers came off and my soft stuffed limbs shook in the bicycle basket. I was a friend. I was loved. I belonged.
When my seams spilt my creator quickly sewed me up for my absence was noted. I was refilled and once my happy smile underwent a speedy repair.
The brother grew, and another came along. There were other toys, teddies, dolls, space hoppers, etch a sketch, Mastermind, Rubik’s Cubes, but my girl remained faithful to me.
Over time though, something changed. Not her, but those around her. The world turned and suddenly almost overnight I was banished from the street, hidden upstairs, out of sight, no longer welcome. People began to talk. My smiling jolly face was racist, reviled, contentious.
But her love remained. I sat quietly upstairs, where other toys were dispatched, thrown away, replaced by posters of pop idols, make up and white stilettos, I watched and waited as she met a boy, fell in love, got married.
As she packed to leave home she shook the dust from my curly black hair and gently placed me with her most precious things. She remembered my arrival, the curve of her mother’s full belly, my reassuring smile and soft hugs. And all the years in between.
And so I found a new home. And discovered that this new smiling man in her life also had a lifelong special companion who looked just like me. His stuffing may have long since disappeared but we are a match made in heaven it seems.
24 years, four sons, two dogs and three hens later, we are together, still smiling.

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Learning New Tricks

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Well this year it has taken until September to fulfil my New Year’s Resolution! When September comes round I like to learn a new skill or two. At the start of 2013 I promised myself I would have a go at crochet and finally Miss CC found me a beginners class to go to at the recently opened The Textile Studio run by the lovely ร…sa McDowell.
For four mornings two of us learnt to chain, slip stitch, make doubles and trebles and complete granny squares. Which when joined together make lovely blankets and throws. It’s been tremendous fun. And my kitchen has a cosy new throw, and the Second Gillyboy is packing a throw for his bed at Uni.
So as the trees turn golden, the Gillybirds are carrying on laying though the days are getting shorter, the dogs are enjoying a new comfortable throw to lie on (grrr), and new crochet friends are tasting free range fresh eggs from the coop.

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A Shaggy Dog Story to Warm Your Heart

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A lovely story to start your week with. The kind of story I will remind my dogs of when they are not getting along!

This is Eve and Dillon – Two ears and one eye between them! The deaf one-eyed rescue dog who is inseparable from his blind best friend.
Two special dogs who were abandoned as pups formed a close friendship when they were both rescued by a dog shelter, and now the two have been adopted out together to a new ‘forever home’.
You can read the full story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2383783/Two-ears-eye-The-deaf-eyed-rescue-dog-inseparable-blind-best-friend.html

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A Four Egg Day

At last, the day has arrived! Four eggs in one day! I lifted one this morning, then let the girls out to run around the garden which has dried out considerably. They had a great time for around half an hour. Late in the afternoon I sent smallest son and his mate out to check the coop, and they came running in with 3 eggs! These were poached and scrambled with hot buttered toast for tea.
I gave away my first box of eggs this evening to a good friend who called by with chocolate and sound advice. I hope you all have someone who can help get perspective on life when you need it. Which we all do every now and again.
So let’s celebrate a Four Egg Day, and give thanks for good friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Paws for Thought

There is a sign by my kitchen sink which states “Always try to be the person your dog thinks you are”.
I consider this to be sound advice.
My dog thinks I am the greatest friend, companion, provider, soul mate, he is completely devoted to me, I am the centre of his little canine Universe. Where I go, he wants to go; where I rest, he will be lying snoring beside me within a couple of minutes. Even as I type this blog his paw is hitting my hand looking for a gentle scratch on his ample belly. He is jealous of others who compete for my attention. This is not always a good thing. Should Mr Gillybirds show any sign of affection the dog acts as the most diligent chaperone. A chaperone with a fierce bark and a set of fine sharp teeth which he is not afraid to use.
I didn’t even want a dog. I don’t like dogs. As a child I was terrified of dogs. I was a cat person through and through. Nevertheless when the oldest son, then aged ten, bought a plastic dog bowl and started cutting out puppies for sale ads in the local newspaper I responded to the old saying “Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one”. After a bit of research we went to pick a Tibetan terrier puppy, one of a litter that had been born on December 25th. In the spirit of Christmas, with Tibet being a bit east of here, we decided to call him Caspar after one of the three Wise Men. Craftily the dog breeder lifted him from a heaving mass of wriggling pups and laid him on my chest as if I had just delivered him myself. One look into those deep brown eyes and I was a goner. Sadly Caspar died after only a week from Parvo virus and it was shocking just how attached we had all become to the little pup. As soon as we could we picked another pup from a different breeder, and so Buttons came into our lives just over seven years ago. The Vet refers to him as “the zen dog”. He is very chilled out, but is quick to find his Inner Canine should there be a bone, a squirrel or a postman. Not being one to boast but I should mention that one of his distant cousins, who answers to the wonderful name of “Fabulous Willie” won Best in Show at Crufts a couple of years ago.
So how can I become the devoted, loving, friend and all round decent person he believes that I am? I have no idea. Just try to be myself, but better. But perhaps I should bear in mind the words of Ann Landers – “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful”.

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How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Well, surprise surprise I arrived back after a wee coffee with a friend to discover AN EGG on the grass! I couldn’t be more proud if I had laid it myself! ๐Ÿ™‚ Unable to finish my cherry scone I was pleased to have a real treat for the mystery egg layer and an encouragement to her feathered friends to get laying!
These ISA Brown hens should lay 310 eggs each a year. That’s a fair few. Just delighted. Hope this means they are settling in.
We had a pastoral visit from J, our pastor’s wife and from C a dear friend who bought me fresh sushi for lunch and offered to mind the girlies when we go on holidays!
I forgot to mention that Violet rather boldly flew from the door of the coop down into the hen run first thing this morning. Quite a sight to behold, all those copper and white feathers fluttering and flapping with more enthusiasm than grace.
So now I have a dilemma – what do I do with the first egg? Boil, poach, fry, scramble or wait for more and make a celebration cake ( hen themed of course).

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The lights are on but no one’s home

What an interesting week it’s been. Since my first ever blog was posted on Wednesday friends and acquaintances have been in general very positive about my journey into the world of hens.
It’s a bit like those last few weeks of pregnancy or when you have a car crash and everyone has their own stories to tell. Those who have their own birds are very keen to recount tales of their feathered friends – names, natures, quirks, feeding habits and diet, the pros and cons of getting a rooster, the superb quality of home fresh eggs etc. Non chicken keepers generally look at me like I’m on the next bus to crazy town, or get a wee wistful look in their eyes as confess it’s something they’ve considered but never been bold enough to try. “let us know how you get on” they add. Exactly I reply- that’s why I’m blogging.
Still, there is one thing missing. No hens yet! The Hen Man remains silent. The chicken coop lies vacant in the garden only to be assaulted by the occasional misplaced football. The Heyns Chicken Manual continues to be bedtime reading, and to keep me amused for now I am making a very pretty hen cross stitch and have produced a whole new range of hen based greetings cards.
So thank you all for your feedback and comments. I hope that as I have found a whole new circle of friends by owning a dog, I will equally find new friends by joining the hen keeping community.
I also hope that the silent coop will become home to some real characters in the next few days ๐Ÿ™‚

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