Tuesday 2 May 2017

Bank Holiday Sunshine

Cherry blossom against a beautiful blue
Mayday sky. 
In my previous post I wrote of the possible end of the road for the "Suzy's Six" batch of hopeful hens. We had hoped that at least some of these, if not all, would grow up female and be able to join our fox-depleted egg laying flock under the tutilege of our 2 roosters, Gandalf and Herme. Well, this was not to be and we managed, despite picking them out from Suzy's rearing batch for their 'hen-like' looks, to achieve the 1:128 odds of six roosters.

Nice clean carcasses but only achieving 1.1 to 1.3 kg oven
ready weights. 
We managed to find a home of one of these - he went off to lord it over the small flock of hens at our out-door archery venue, Con and Niamh's place. The other 5 were despatched, plucked and 'dressed' and have been either eaten or frozen.

The five new birds have landed and are getting used to
their new surroundings.
Our friend Sue cheerfully (and generously) offered to give us another batch to try, these more likely to be female as they were last year's birds and, in one case at least, already laying those tiny "Witch" or "Fairy" eggs. They currently have a mountain of eggs over there and think they have way too many chickens, so she'd be happy to sort us out some spares. So on the same run we made into "town" to drop the rooster off with Niamh, we diverted back to Sue's place and brought them home.

The new birds try a bit of free ranging
These birds look more convincing as hens than the last 6 ever did and they are a motley collection of cross breeds so they will fit in well here! 2 are red with dark tails so may have a bit of sussex in them. One is white with black hints so is probably a Sussex - this gives us a nice continuity from the recent loss of 'Enda'. One is grey and may be a Cuckoo Marans, The 5th looks mainly 'Araucana' and has a deformed foot, so has been named by Liz as 'Stumpy'. She gets around OK and even perches on the wall inside the coop. They will all do OK.

2 bunnies where there should not be any bunnies. Mutt and Jeff
in the yard.
Also new in the farmyard for this post are the 2 bunnies, Mutt and Jeff, bought for the express purpose of mowing the grass around the bee hives. These guys decided that they did not want to be out there on the periphery of our 2.5 acres and each escaped a number of times to come and take up residence in the farmyard and the chicken houses.

I have recaptured them and carried them back but they are quickly out again and I cannot see where or how they get out; maybe by flinging themselves over the 3' chicken wire like pole-vaulters. Ah well. The grass will not get grazed but they do not seem to be doing much damage so I guess they can stay for now.

Spot the cat.
With the Play and all the visitors done for now, we have been able to slot back into the relaxing routine of 'normal' life. This has, rather delightfully. coincided with a superb improvement in the weather. We have had dry days now for what seems like weeks and lately blue skies and no wind with a lovely hot sun.

One of our black spruces.
The May Bank Holiday weekend was especially kind. We have both been out in the garden weeding, topping off tall weeds (plantain, docks, nettles) in the orchard, brush-cutting the rough stuff in the 'woods' (ground elder, nettles, elder re-growth, cow parsley etc), rediscovering the caravan for use as garden shed. We have also been out (Liz in shorts!) just enjoying the balmy heat sitting in our 'Darby and Joan' chairs looking back across the pond to the house.

The new evergreen oak. That should get
away nicely. 
Tonight we have both been out - Liz off to Knitting Club and enjoying the fact that she did not have to race away from that to the next Play Rehearsal (till midnight). I have joined the Tidy Towns group so I have been out litter picking, cleaning signs and weeding in the Lady's Club flower bed in the Cemetery. I know. Rock and Roll.

When you leave the curry left overs with no lid and the cats
 decide to raid the saucepan in the night. 
May Day also saw my dear aul' Mum turn 90, entertained by my younger brother Mark and all his family down in Swindon. Happy Birthday, Mum (Pud Lady). Many more.

No comments: