Wednesday 15 August 2012

When is a broody hen not....

Into the start of August we finally get some decent weather and can start spending proper time in the garden. Wandering Wendy decides this is also a good time to go broody and is spending long sessions on her eggs in the nettle patch. On the 2nd she's out there from 0930 and still sitting there at the end of our day's gardening at 1630, so Mum and Dad decide she's now serious. We believe she's got a clutch of 6 eggs in there or maybe 7. There were 6 in there yesterday and she's been sitting all day. It comes on to rain a bit, so M+D decide to gather her and her eggs up and move them to the safety and dry of the calf house. Dad creates a 'broody box'  and lines it with new hay. Dad grabs WW and Mum the eggs and we all process back to the calf house. WW is not too happy with this disturbance and 'growls' at Dad in the special way broodies have. This is a GOOD SIGN.  WW is settled on her eggs after a bit of a battle of wills and we retreat quietly to await developments. Will she stay put?

Meanwhile, as I said, we all enjoy some good gardening time.  The two big old perished tractor tyres we inherited from TK Min get that cliché, white paint on the treads and are filled with soil from the inherited pile as planters. One gets a purple verbena which will be, we hope, mother of many a self-seed, the other a perennial wallflower. They will get other stuff, or course but they look quite nice sitting down by their gate pier.

We have almost written off the 'Secret Garden', Dad's first attempt at veg plot, done before we knew just how shaded that would get under the trees, but also before Mike-the-Cows ploughed the ground for the allotment. The beans and other stuff there in has grown weedy and thin and wasted away in the shadows, but the spuds, surprisingly have survived and avoided blight, so we have hopes that we may, after all, get a few tiddlers off the patch. Various new climbing roses appear along the hay barn wall and in the kitchen garden (New Dawn, Joseph's Coat, High Hopes, etc) and the tubs in the yard get love-in-a-mist, Lucifer crocosmia and a yellow potentilla.

By lock up time, Wandering Wendy has abandoned the eggs and made her way through the outbuilding, including climbing over an internal wall, and is with the other 'hins' all be it outside the wire. Dad gives up on her broodiness for the night and allows her back in to sleep with her sisters, The eggs get moved to the nest box in the coop, in case she should show an interest tomorrow (She doesn't). Dad's internet poultry discussion-group all seem to be saying that this weather has made a very bad year for anything going broody. These are very young 'hins'. Maybe next year. The eggs are gathered up and used up in the normal way, first checking each one in case of the start of baby chicks.

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