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easter chicks

foster hen

The eggs we set just before mothers day have hatched. These were from my dark brown layers – the French blue marans – resulting in a mix of blue, black and splash marans, which we then fostered onto our old reliable broody.  She’s a good girl and very defensive of her babies.. all fifteen. At first we don’t get to see them, unless they cannot resist a peak from the safety of  her feathers, but then she will bring them out to show them the food and water.
2014-04-17 10.40.25
We moved them out to a pen this morning, and they enjoyed bathing in the warm sun.

All in time for the Easter weekend.

 

happiness…

…comes from enjoying the simple things.

Such as sunshine and dry ground when I leave the house to check the animals.
cats keeping company

The cats like to keep me company, Molly because she follows me everywhere, Pete because he tries to herd me back to the house to open a tin.
flowering currant

The red flowering currant that is tree like in proportions and leans over the lane, a surprise burst of colour to me everytime. Always heaving with bees.
pear blossom

The pear blossom. The pears are fairly useless, and the tree crooked and beyond pruning back into shape, but the blossom every year makes it all worthwhile.

bluebells

Bluebells in the lane, English ones too.

pigs exploring

Finding the little pigs out exploring their domain

eggs and coffee

I never tire of collecting eggs, still a pleasure.  Then back to the house with my baskets, a break and  a cup of coffee.

Wells and Nunney

Wells cathedral
For the last few weeks, our house is going through a major renovation: getting a new roof. It’s great.. but stressful, messy, and whilst the house is surrounded with scaffolding, we have taken the chance to work on the walls, so tiring too, so today we left the trusty roofers to their work and ducked out for a family trip.

sunlight in Wells cathedralWells cathedral is lovely – and I am not normally mad for churches etc., but inside was so light and airy and peaceful – it really felt like a sanctuary.

 

The cloisters were beautiful, and the sunshine pouring through the windows was beautiful.

Bishop's palace Wells

Next door to the cathedral is the Bishop’s palace – palatial indeed – this is just the gate house!
nunney castle
Having enjoyed lunch in Wells and a mooch about, we moved on to Nunney castle – somewhere I have meant to go to for years; it is the ruins of a fairytale castle, including moat, turrets, the lot, sat next to the river in the village of Nunney – well worth a visit if you are passing.
nunney castle 2

spotty pigs

spotty pigs

It’s all go here at colouritgreen towers, chickens and ducks are laying eggs a plenty, we have chicks and more eggs in the incubator, the veg patches are being planted up, the greenhouse is filling, the new greenhouse is on order, we’ve sold some birds at the poultry auction, kitchen renovations are still underway and I am trying to keep the shop side of things – online and gift shops, full of stock.   On top of all that, we are having a new roof and the hung slates on the wall replaced, so major works.   So of course we did the obvious thing and got some pigs – little spotty ones.

F this year – Feziwig and Finnbar.    They are Oxford Sandy and Blacks cross with Gloucester Old Spot – so a change for us as we have had Berkshires in previous years, and this time we have boys rather than gilts (last two of the litter) ,; it will be interesting to see if we feel there is a difference.  They are still settling in  and have had a good rummage in the mud.

mothering

incubator full of eggs
Easter is a moveable feast – and this doesn’t mean you can eat your chocolate egg at home or in the park (although you can, it is up to you!), it means it is calculated on the moon phases, to be exact, it is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  Bit of a faff eh?  and then all those other dates tie into it – such as those we do celebrate:  pancake day, and a whole bunch of others we don’t observe in this household.  One we do nod at is Mother’s day, which moves about in relation to Easter, being on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and therefore always three weeks before Easter.

In my mind Easter  is all about spring, fertility, new beginnings, new life etc and I have waxed on before about my opinion that the whole ‘no eating eggs’ in the few weeks before Easter means it gives the hens the chance to raise some chicks.  Not a bad rule of old to live by, if you want to keep your poultry stocks up.  To me the whole mothering thing seems also tied in with spring,fertility, new life.  A coincidence perhaps that the time between mothering Sunday and Easter Sunday is the same amount of time it takes for an egg to become a chick.  If you want chicks for Easter, always set them on mothers day.

I set some a couple of  days ago and hoping for chicks come Easter.
broadbeans
Today does seem suddenly full of hope and new life – helped along by the clocks changing, and a day of hot sunshine.  Seedlings are popping up in the greenhouse, older seedlings being hardened off, and some making their way into the veg patches.

green patchwork

green patchwork cushion
Today the new roof begins.  Well today the house became clad in scaffolding, the new roof should follow.  Fingers crossed for no more nastier surprises than the ones we have prepared ourselves for.  Still I guess they wouldn’t be surprises then…  Anyhow, it is going to be stressful, and expensive. But necessary. And hopefully it will fix various damp problems too.

The cats were not very impressed and spent  a lot of today glaring at the men through the window – on every level of the house too!, and I admit they had a point, it was very inhibiting, venturing out wondering if  a scaffold plank will land on my head.  I did enough to check the sheep and poultry, and making rounds of tea, then stayed in and indulgently sewed this cushion.  Green is my favourite colour – no surprise there then, but it also seemed an apt colour choice  for St Patrick’s day.

shoebox of chicks
I’ve been very good and held off hatching all through the really horrible weather but suddenly having two broody hens pushed me into action, and a good opportunity to see how  Eddy, my new Rhode Island Red cockerel was getting on with his girlfriends. The result is these ten RIR chicks.

As per my preferred method of hatching, we set the eggs in the  incubator, then fostered them onto the broody by sneaking them under her at night.  Always a worry that she will reject or worse attack them, and as this is a new, young, inexperienced broody, worse so – but how else do you establish if you have a good hen unless you give her a try?  So we carried out the box of chicks and under they went.
fostered chicks
This morning the hen is doing a good job mothering them, telling them about the food and water, brooding them to keep them warm and generally telling us to go away.

I’m plotting my next hatch now…

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