What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Weather bombed!

Happily here on our damp green little island stories in the media relating to bombs are much less frequent than they used to be.
This week we were hit by a “weather bomb”, not a meteorological term I have ever heard before, but the sound of it was quite terrifying! Explosive cyclogenesis is the official term for a weather situation where a storm intensifies as air pressure drops at its core dramatically (over 24 millibars in 24 hours).
We had very high winds, hail, rain, sleet, black skies, very low temperatures and on the coast the waves were huge. This colourful picture shows the estimated wave height, the black area is the highest waves. Surfs up!


This photo shows one of our favourite family holiday spots being completely battered by HUGE waves!
Here at the coop, it was business as usual thanks to our sturdy structure and covered area. Egg production is back on track, the girls are full feathered again and looking well.
Due to the low temperatures we’ve been having a hot breakfast to kick start the day


The yard has been safely enclosed so on days where the weather is kind the Gillybirds get out for a rummage around the bins where there are always lots of critters to munch on



Apollo is photo bombed by Colonel Saunders in this one!
We don’t much like bombs here, weather ones or any other type. But we’ve survived. There is snow in the air, and Christmas is coming.

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Hurricane Gonzalo brings an End to Autumn Glory

It has been a most glorious autumn. Dry, bright, sunny, warm, long golden days. The trees have really been showing off.

We’ve had beautiful walks kicking through piles of pretty leaves

And making long shadows in the early mornings. Long legs, small dog!

All my spring bulbs are planted and our new garden has had a few extra weeks to get established before winter sets in for real.
Harvest was celebrated. This year I followed a rainbow theme on the Communion Table running the spectrum of red to purple in fruit, vegetables and flowers. It was only during the worship service I realised I had forgotten to cut open the water melon for the reddest of reds! Oops.


All the golden glorious-ness however came to a very abrupt halt with the stormy arrival of the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo which created such havoc in Bermuda. The heavy rain and wind cleared our avenue of trees of their leaves in a couple of hours.
Now the clocks have turned back. British Summer Time is over.
The hens rise after 7am in the murky dawn and tootle off to bed around 5.30pm.
Days are getting shorter. It’s less than 9 weeks to Christmas!


Meanwhile back at the coop

So while I was off skiing, it was very much business as usual at Gillybirds Manor. Ably looked after by my second in command, Gillyboy number one, the girls braved the persistent rain, protected by a newly added clear shower curtain and kept on laying.

It’s amazing that even their eggs are so individual and unique. I would love to know who consistently lays the long narrow eggs, they are huge!
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, is extra special when the pancakes are made with your own hens’ eggs.

On my return it appears that Spring is on its way in the garden, days are longer, and the sun has been shining, giving the girls plenty of sunny spots to dust bathe around the garden.


The have been some very pretty sunsets too.
I took these photos today. All the hens are looking really well, glossy feathers, bright eyes, nice red combs, it’s amazing how they have survived such a miserable damp mucky winter.


And Colonel Saunders pops up to say “hello Springtime!”


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Festive Feathers


So while all this birthday self indulgence is happening, the Gillybirds keep on laying like troopers! deterred by neither high winds, driving rain, sleet, large branches falling down round them or the occasional unexpected visit from a neighbour’s runaway dog (hello Charlie)
Today is Christmas Eve, we are in the tight grip of an amber weather warning, the skies are black, there has been a little skiff on snow but mostly wild wild winds. The girls had a quick scratch around the garden, the sun came out briefly while I cleaned the coop, giving lots of fresh straw and piling in more autumn leaves for them to work their way through during the short daylight hours. There is nothing a hen loves more than scratching through a pile of leaves. They were most displeased at being invited back to the coop. And showed their displeasure, one by giving me a nice scratch on my arm , and the other by…well, I won’t say…but I now have to wash one of my favourite jumpers. Thanks girls.


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Eggstreme Weather

If I told you that this day last year it was 21 degrees centigrade and we were all eating al fresco you just wouldn’t believe me! Yesterday was the first official day of Spring but we appear to have headed right back into deepest Winter. Lots of snow, sleet, high winds, rain, snow, storms. Did I mention snow? Severe traffic disruption, closed airports, power cuts, fallen trees – our little country has ground to a standstill.
But life for the Gilybirds goes on. Three lovely warm eggs this morning were my reward for slip slidie slushing over to the coop. And they were rewarded with a warm breakfast of porridge, noodles and mealworms. yum. A near riot broke out.
Now they are tucked up inside with extra straw for insulation as this terrible weather is expected to continue for at least tomorrow.
Gillyboy number 3 celebrates his 15th birthday tomorrow. He was born very ill and spent the first 8 weeks of his wee life in hospital, his birthday always reminds me of the wonderful caring nurses and doctors who cared for all of us during that difficult time. Now, he is definitely taller than his mum, a super sportsman and all round good kid and in perfect health.
One of the Gillyboys is playing trombone at a local wedding tomorrow. At least it will be a white wedding!

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Welcome to Narnia

It started to REALLY snow around 5pm last night and brought the whole city to a standstill. Winter Wonderland today. Bright, sunny and strangely warm, no wind, just the odd whisper of snow falling from branches. The Gillybirds have been eager to explore and have a thorough peck at the snow. I’m sure it’s quite refreshing.
I’m preparing to speak at an event on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a children’s book by local author CS Lewis and looking out it seems like the frozen kingdom called Narnia ruled by Jadis the White Witch has come to life. But then I see the spring bulbs pushing up through the snow and am reassured that the beauty and the inconvenience of heavy snow won’t last forever.


Genuine hen prints in the snow

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Weather Update


Well, it’s after 2pm and wet snow has been falling for about an hour and as you can see it is lying on top of the coop. Really windy too. We are officially in the Red Zone!
Didn’t appreciate the naughty puppy escaping from the garden and having to prowl around our neighbours trying to get him back for 30 minutes!

This is Lucas’ first snow, he is whining at the door to get back out. Or perhaps he is after the pasta the Gillybirds got for a warming lunch.

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Trimming the Tree Two

So I’ve made a few hen themed Christmas cards based on the Gisela Graham tree decoration.
You’d think I’d nothing better to do…
The Gillybirds are managing well in the sub zeros this week so far. Baked potato and porridge for hot breakfast this morning went down a treat. I hope the insulation in their house is keeping them warm enough during these long nights.



PS I hope you are liking the festive themed blog page complete with genuine authentic virtual snow.
Enjoy the season!

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Adapting to the season



It’s hard to believe that while in some areas of England people’s homes have been seriously damaged by flooding this week, here in our small damp island there has been no rains for days, and days, and days! We have been enjoying those bright crisp winter days and long dark evenings where the stars just POP out from the sky.
The hens are in great form, still laying two sometimes three eggs daily. They are tucked up in bed out of the cold by 4.30pm and I let them out around 7am when it is still dark. Despite a lack of rain the chicken corner of the garden is very boggy. My boots are getting ruined, so I have now put an ancient ladder as a bridge across the worse of the mire. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not, when its dark and you have a chicken under each arm, and are trying to balance on horizontal wooden rungs. It could all go horribly wrong.
I was clearing out the fridge today and had the idea to make fruit kebabs from grapes and cherry tomatoes. They were a massive hit with the girls.
In an effort to make the coop look a little more tidy I have been looking for some type of wood shavings and finally found some in a pet shop. I liberally scattered them over the run floor. The hens were delighted to have a new fragrant medium to scratch through and within half an hour the lovely clean fresh wood chips were all mixed in with leaf litter and dirt. Waste of time on my part. Really Mrs G, I said to myself, you must cease to think like Marie Anoinette and her laundered cattle, and be more like Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall down at River Cottage. ( Hugh is a tv chef with his own farm complete with animals who he ends up eating). I keep forgetting these hens are farm animals and so do not live ordered clean urban lives, they like to root around in muck and fallen leaves. It is what comes naturally to them. Mind you there are some boys in this house, mentioning no names, who would appear to thrive in similar bedroom environments.
Anyway, tomorrow is December 1st, we’ll be opening the first door of the Advent Calendar and the Gillybirds are thinking about how to tastefully decorate the coop for the Christmas Season, and thanking their lucky stars that they aren’t turkeys. 🙂



20121130-150808.jpg“Smart Chicks” they call it. Huh. I’m the dumb cluck that bought it.

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Breakfast Special

Woke up to a big freeze this morning so I’ve made the girls a special breakfast. If you have a sensitive stomach or are eating I suggest you read something else!

Porridge with pasta and rehydrated mealworms. Protein, carbs and a little bit of love!

And as you can see, they just adored it



It wouldn’t win Masterchef but I think they appreciated the new recipe!

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