Thoughts

Chickens at the windows

I have always enjoyed keeping a couple of hens, they make even a small garden a much more interesting place, and these two girls, (originally three until Mr. Fox did his worst) have kept me very amused and entertained over the last few years.   Now, having been brought up in a small city garden, they think they are in Chicken Heaven and are looking healthier than ever.

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Sadly we don’t own the land around our Peak District home, and the girls may well be on borrowed time as they enjoy their free-range life,  but for now both they and I are enjoying their new-found freedom, and washing the dishes is much more fun with a little feathered face staring back at me through the window.

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I would even go as far as to say that  ‘Happiness is a Hen pecking at the kitchen window’ but I’m afraid that isn’t going down to well with the ‘lord of the manor’, so go carefully, girls.  We don’t want Chicken pie on the menu now, do we?

There are windows everywhere filling the cottage with light, so I get to keep a good eye on the girls as they peck about their day.  I’m quite sure that they are delighting on feasting and foraging on all the various new flavors,  found in an open field.

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If you are contemplating the idea of keeping a few chickens I would say  ‘GO FOR IT’.  They are easy to keep, highly entertaining and the taste of a freshly laid egg every day, well nothing beats it.

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Hi girls,  that’s it,  keep me amused but NO PECKING! or there will trouble ahead.

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Happy Sunday everyone

 

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Happiness is like a Butterfly.

 

Happiness is like a butterfly.

The more you chase it, the more it will elude you.

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But if you turn your attention to other things,

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It will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

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‘Henry David Thoreau’

 

 

 

Love Alison.

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Thoughts

Mangetout and the menagerie

For those of you who havent read my post Cottage life. I live in a mid terrace on a part owned council estate in the midlands, but to me it is my cottage in the countryside. It comes complete with the sweet sound of humming as the bees lovingly collect their nectar, and is surrounded by trees which exude birdsong from morning till night.  My two hens cluck happily away as they scratch and peck at the ground, and I happily consume their fresh produce for my lunch most days.  I have a lovely dog named Jess, a family of sparrows in the eaves and my two hens Ginger and Cilla.  Generally we all tick along with each other just fine.

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Well I did say generally!!  Jess is normally a little hen-pecked by these two, but on this occasion I’m afraid  ‘sharing’  wasn’t an option and Jess was definitely the ‘cat that got the cream’  if a little more canine than feline.

Even with just two hens there is a pecking order, and Ginger likes to think she is ‘Top Dog,’  cheekily pecking both Jess and Cilla if they get in her way,  and often found trying to escape.  Jess knows where they should be and has started coming to fetch me when this bundle of feathers is doing her dare-devil act.

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I have always wanted to grow vegetables, but with my love of chickens in a small city garden this has never been easy.  This year I have managed to grow my first lot of Mangetout against what is affectionately known as my ‘Mexican Bar’,  a pallet construction which primarily serves to keep my dog away from the neighbours’, and although my feelings aren’t totally shared, I rather like it, especially now that it lights up at night.

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Having never grown vegetables before, I was filled with a childlike excitement on finding this beautiful flower yesterday which I’m guessing is a good sign that my Mangetout are developing as they should, although some more hastily than others.

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I was struck by the vibrant colours, symmetry and sheer beauty of this flower,  and no way are those greedy hens gonna destroy this little moment of victory.  They have on two occasions already tried to make a quick meal of my Sweat Peas which I try to grow every year.  This year they are planted in an old pine kitchen cupboard, which with the door taken off and placed on its back,  has made an excellent planter.  It should last a good few years, and was even given the seal of approval with a “that was one of your better ideas”!!  Hmmm!

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I love finding new uses for things that I’m not quite ready to throw out.  This chopping board has made a cute little shelf and was saved from the scrap heap for a little longer,

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and for anyone who has read my Who sacked the Teapot? post you will know that there is always a use for a lidless pot.

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I love my little garden and its inhabitants, and the things I’m learning in my small corner of the world.  Yes of course I have dreams,  but learning to appreciate what we have and being able to make the most of it is so life enhancing,  and definitely the way to contentment.

And anyway don’t we all know that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, although something tells me that Cilla would beg to differ!

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Love Alison xx

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Thoughts

Spring Sparrows.

The world outside my window is getting noisy again, and that can only mean one thing.  Spring is around the corner.  These little guys are chirping away every morning, flitting happily between their home under the eaves, and the magnolia tree in the garden.  It’s a welcome sight,  and I love waking up to their sweet happy voices as they go about their business.

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The house sparrow mates for life and never goes far from home, choosing to return to the same nesting place year after year.  This means that I get to enjoy them at close hand, as I have a nest right outside my bedroom window.  Apparently, they use a set of postures and behaviours to communicate with each other. I wonder what this chap is trying to say!   Come on girls I’m waiting!

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I caught this one nest-building last year and thought that she had the look of a certain favourite detective of mine.

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Breeding starts in may, although I’m sure my sparrows start earlier.  They will have 3 lots of chicks, laying 3 to 5 eggs each time.

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In years gone by  ‘Sparrow Pie’ was a delicacy known for its aphrodisiac properties but I can’t imagine this chap on my dinner table, even with the prospect of an added promise! I think I would much prefer to just enjoy him in his natural state.

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Spring is coming…

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Chicken Fun.

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‘Which came first’.. the chicken or the egg?  I’m sure we could get into a long scientific debate about this,  but not claiming to be one I think I’ll leave that to the scientists for now.  As for me I just think Chickens are fun to keep.  The eggs taste great, are a great source of protein, and nothing beats walking back into the house with a warm egg cupped in my hand.  I only have two chickens so a basketful of eggs is just something I dream about.

Last week I introduced you to Jess, the furry member of the family and this week i’d like you to meet Ginger and Cilla, the feathery ones.  A little camera-shy I’m afraid.

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My first introduction to chickens was at 13 years old when my boyfriend placed a tiny chick in my hand.  Within seconds it had left me a little present, and I don’t mean an egg!  It was love at first sight with both the boyfriend and the chick,  although sadly the chicken keeping lasted longer.

During my teenage years, my mum kept a few Bantams.  I will always remember the devastation I felt when ‘Mr Fox’ came and did his worst,  but it never put me off.  Even though I only have a small city garden I have managed to keep two or three hens quite happily.  They have always given me a lot of fun and pleasure,  and just like Jess their funny ways and antics provide plenty of daily amusement.

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Sadly in a small garden its difficult to be proud of your floral display and let the chickens roam free, so my flowers when I’ve tried to grow them have generally lived a short life. Forgiving my girls for the destruction comes easier when a freshly boiled egg is on the breakfast table.  What a delight!

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Due to a bad back this year I have spent a lot of afternoons watching  ‘Escape to the Country’.  So many people are wanting to escape city life for a more rural lifestyle, and keeping chickens is often at the top of their to-do list.  I’m grateful for the fact that even though I don’t live on a farm,  or even in a real  ‘Country Cottage’ that I can still experience the simple pleasures that country life brings, and my life is the richer for it.

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Love Alison x

 

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