Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January 2016

Belated Happy New Year!

The plot is what can only be described as a mud bath at the moment. The tail end of December saw the worst flooding the North has seen for a long time, the River Ribble near to where I live, burst its banks which it has not done in those parts for years due to flood defences that were put in place, but boxing day saw the roads and houses nearby flooded. The reality though, is that we didn't get it half as bad as some places such as Hebden Bridge and Clitheroe, and with the seemingly never ending rains of normal winter weather, well, there's only one thing for it on the allotment; suck it up princess and get muddy, there's chickens to feed and coops to sort out!!

Mud bathing hens!

Trying to keep the mud to a minimum in the coops - I really should go for shares in Sawdust the rate I go through it in Winter!

A couple of weekends ago we had snow. Snow that started at about 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and didn't stop until the early hours of Sunday morning, and we woke up to a blanket of white. Boo finished her breakfast in 'extra quick time', donned her waterproofs and came to the allotment (never have I seen that child so excited about going to the allotment - I haven't seen that excitement since either come to think of it!) She lasted all of half an hour before her gloves where thoroughly soaked through and she wanted to go home!

Miss Boo

The hens precociously stepped out of their coop with a look of what I can only describe as 'what in holy hell is this white stuff, its freezing' - and then went back into to the warmth - wimps.

Clearly not wanting to get their feet cold!

They were not even bothered about coming out to meet the chicken new tenants a couple of bantams - Franco and Maude, given to me by a man on the allotments who has too many hens (named by me, not him.) Franco is a lavender bantam and Maude

Franco and Maude in closed quarters.  

The new tenants are doing fine, seem quite happy and to be honest quite comical to watch ( I think I may get some more bantams). They have totally no fear, on the first day after the snow had gone, I let them out of the coop armed with a garden cane, in case I had to separate any hen fights and also slightly unnerved about how I'll catch them if needed (they are really fast, but to be fair, over the years, I've become a bit of rocky balboa when it comes to chicken catching.) but they just walked straight on in to the original set of chickens (what is a group of chickens called?) and there was not a bother from any of them - until 10 minutes later when Franco and Billy the kid got too close for comfort.

Because you see, do you remember the egg that Martha Hen hatched at home back in June well that lovely adorable chicken that was going to adorn my kitchen with more lovely eggs to eat, turned out to be a not so adorable, but extremely beautiful (and noisy) cockerel!! He seemed to discover his vocal chords about 3 weeks ago and has not shut up since, he also around the same time seemed to discover his lust for the ladies....and the ladies for him!  He struts around the plot crowing and the ladies literally swoon at his presence, hussying at any opportunistic moment.


Billy the Kid looking for the laaaadies!

Billy and Franco usually last about 15 - 20 minutes out with each other before they stumble across each other and Franco starts a scrap, invariably one of them (usually Franco) ends up locked in Borstal then the crowing starts; one, then the other and so on and so forth.  In a nutshell, they're acting like a pair of .... (you can fill in the blanks using your imaginations I'm sure!)  I have no idea how to combat this fighting problem so you know any advice would be greatfully accepted!?!  (I fear the dispatching of one of them (Franco) may have to come into play)

Billy and Franco squaring up to each other.

 So for now, its all about the hens, the weather is so cold and the soil is so wet,  I've been doing the odd bit of weeding and pulling up of old plants but to be honest most my time down there is spent sat in my shed, drinking cappuccinos and watching hen behaviour, though I'm slowly making an effort on deciding on what to plant in 2016 and where.

Until next time (and I promise to blog more often!) bye for now and happy planting. xx


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