Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mind over Matter

Florence, our lovely huuuuge Australorp that we hatched last year, has absolutely NO idea that she is a Giant.

When we started to merge the 4xOld Girls with the 4xLittlees,  she was bigger than everyone else.  If one of the Oldies pecked her, she would run off shrieking.  It didn't occur to her that all towered above everyone else.  

She reminds me a bit of Miranda Hart.  She's bigger than her companions, lumbers when she runs (she reminds me of Miranda galloping), but is actually really lovely.

Anyway. This complete lack of self awareness has continued, and it's amazing how her belief that she is the same (small) size (height AND width) means that she possesses superb "mind over matter" skills.

The latest example is when Lily manages to escape, and Florence just follows her.  Lily has two escape methods. Occasionally, she escapes by flying, but usually her skill is to find a tiny gap, line herself up, and get through it.   Florence, who is about five times the width of Lily,  sees Lily walk through a gap, and she just follows.  As long as her head gets through the gap (which it does, it's the same size as Lily's) then the rest of her body just squeezes and squozes until it's through.

She's such a lovely girl.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Lilibet, or Lily, is a White Ranger.  She and Daisy (Amber Star) joined us in January 2009, when they were bith about 16 weeks old.

White Rangers lay large china white eggs.  They lay6 or 7 eggs a week for most of the first year,  taking a break for a week or two when they moult.  They are supposed to lay about 320 eggs in their first year.      This is an enormous number.

Hens, irrespective of breed,  have about the same number of eggs.   Pure breeds tend to lay less often, and take the winter off.  They tend to lay for more years though than those hybrids that are developed to churn out eggs. 

Lily laid her first egg on 15th March 2009.  She hasn't laid any eggs for a couple of weeks - she just stopped. Suddenly.    I've seen her in the nestbox a couple of times, sitting on other Girls' eggs.   I've checked to see if she's eggbound (doesn't seem to be).  She was wormed recently, so it's unlikely to be that.  She could be going broody, but she's not showing any other broody symptoms.  She might be taking a little holiday.   Or she might be going through the henopause.

I don't mind the lack of eggs.  I'm just concerned that it may be the beginning of the end for her - White Rangers tend to have a fairly short average life span,  and she's already 2.5 years old.  She looks fine, is eating well;  she's taking a few more rest breaks than she used to - although no more than anyone else does.

Bless her little cotton socks.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Egging on

Eggs are in the Incy. We're also hatching some more for our friends R&C.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Goodbye Mrs Flint

Our last original Allotment girl, Mrs Flint, died today.  It was very quick, (thankfully), and not at all expected. She was absolutely fine yesterday.

I'm sorry to see her go as she was a lovely girl. Didn't like being handled, very bossy, but really pretty, and really soft.   Her 3 daughters - Siouxie Sioux, Norman and Not-Norman - are fine.

I guess we'll need to think about increasing the Laydees flock later this year. 

Friday, 18 March 2011


had a migraine Saturday AND Sunday and part of Monday. Spent Tuesday in bed. Migraine gone,  realised it was caused by shoulder/neck problems.  Have seen Chiro twice and have been taking anti inflammatories.   Have been limiting my time on the 'puter.
Will update properly soon

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Hamming it up

The ham has been removed from its Wiltshire cure. It's very black, which isn't surprising given the ingredients (treacle and bitter, for example).

It has been rinsed and is currently hanging in muslin to dry a bit. Then it'll go up into the loft to finish off.

Bye Bye Delilah

Delilah, the last of my 3 original hens,  died whilst dustbathing under the pampas grass.

She was a gorgeous Bluebelle, a bit under 4 years old.  She'd been slowing down a lot over the last few weeks, although was always bright and alert, so we've been expecting it.  It was still a shock to find her, and I' afraid I stood in my garden blubbing like a baby.

'Lilah really was a lovely looking girl, and I'll miss her. 

Saturday, 12 March 2011


We're starting to collect fertile eggs for incubating next weekend.

Just one batch this year,  but a big one. We'll have 2 Incys on the go.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Funny little girls

Ever since DH let the Girls "help" while digging,  they've rushed over to him every time he goes into their pen.  He often can't move without risking treading on an Expectant Hen.

We rearranged the netting the other day. Now that the grass is growing we wanted to give them a fresh piece and rest another piece.   Poor DH had to move hens every time he was about to put his foot down to press a post into place.

On a separate note,  Roobarb - who up till recently was the least approachable of my Girls - has become obsessed with me.  Every time I go anywhere near her, she starts quivering and then crouches.    SHe won't let me go without me stroking her back, or tickling her neck.

And finally, a couple of snaps...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Pork update

Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam. 

Although we've had a lot of pork lately, it's been in various forms so it hasn't been getting tedious.   Saturday was roast pork hand,  Sunday was the shredded pork in pancakes with hoisin sauce,  Monday was sausage burgers,   Tuesday was ribeye steak (so not pork at all),  Wednesday was home made cannelloni, and tonight was Toad Out of The Hole.

Downside - if there is one -  is that I had cannelloni left over, which I put in the freezer,  and I made the leftover filling into meatballs, which I fried and froze.  We also had to find space for the brawn,  so the freezer is still full to bursting. 

We're low on beef (we ate quite a bit before we butchered the side of pig, so we'd have space in the freezer), and I'd like to order some more... but we need to eat a space first. 

I think we'll have something unfrozen tomorrow, and then see where we're at on Saturday.