Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring(ing) chickens!

Can you smell it?
Can you hear it?
Isn't it wonderful?

I am such a mama bear! I hate the winter, I wish that I really could hibernate. I thrive in sunlight and blue skies and colour, not in grey, dull, dark days.

Driving out this morning with LMB, it really hit me that spring is finally coming. It's not just the new life poking through the surface of the earth, it's the whole aura that seems to come along with it, a cleansing feeling, like a new soap or like that new pencil case on the first day back at school in September. It symbolises new beginnings and it feels like everything is fresh.

The mowers start up again on weekends, the smell of cut grass fills the village. The birds begin to sing when we wake in the morning and the light creeps in through the smallest of gaps in the curtains. I feel a need to be outside, outside, outside and hate being cooped up when the weather gets warmer. I need my hands in the soil and my heart in the sky!

Today, however, I've been chasing chickens. My beautiful vegetable garden has been chickened! Which, isn't a bad thing through the autumn and winter months as they have done a wonderful job on the soil, it is so rich and fertile. However, now we're back to wanting to plant things, we are requiring damage control. We bought some electric fencing to put around the area under the apple trees thinking that we could move this around and alternate where they go, thus limiting the amount of devastation they cause.

This plan appeared to work fairly well, albeit I presumed they would follow me this morning as they do every morning, when I rattled the food box and we Pied Piper-ed it over to the 'new' pasture! Ha! Of course, what the foolish pretending farmer forgot to think about is that the minute the greedy buggers got where there was new food to forage they'd not be interested in the pellets and corn anymore...oh no! So, point one to the chickens as it took me a good hour and a half in my pjs to 'round them up' and get them all over the fence and turn it off.

The chickens also scored point two as well as they had me running back and forth from the house to their enclosure over and over as I was concerned that we'd find that one or other of them had barbecued themselves on the wiring. After all, if it's meant to keep a large fox out, what would it do to a small wiry chook?

Point three was won by the sheer fact of cunningness. Fox? Hmmm, hello fox, meet my chickens! After about an hour or so of back and forth ensuring they were still on this mortal coil with me, I took LMB out as we had to run a few errands. I figured they'd be fine now and I wouldn't be long.
They say that dogs and cats know when their owners cars pull up the driveway before even setting eyes on them, well, my chickens, it would seem, are the teenagers of the poultry world and know exactly when my car  LEAVES the driveway. One by one I am sure, lead by the crafty leader of the troupe, they managed - don't ask me how, to escape.

Their wings are clipped on one side and there is no gap in my fence thank you very much, so I figure there must have been some kind of chicken cannonball system going on in my absence!

On my return...well, I don't need to tell chickens in the pen! Four chickens happily foraging under the trees in the garden, but no fifth! No feathers - which was my first reaction - Mr Foxy may have got lucky, but there was no evidence. As I donned my Inspector Clouseau mac and box of corn, I wandered off down the road calling her name and shaking my tackle box! My neighbours hadn't seen her in their garden, but we also live next to an allotment, so I decided she may have gone there to see if there was much in the way of anyone else veggie patches to annihilate! Twenty minutes later and still no sign or sound of her. It was quite a mystery. My girls are not pure breeds, and Molly, bless her, is the scrag end of the hybrid world too, so if anyone was going to pinch one, it wouldn't be her!

Eventually, however, she was found when I had a brainwave that she may have needed to lay and refusing my wonderful adaptation of a basket on its side filled with straw, she had decided to lay under the summer shed!
By now I am caked in dirt from scrubbing around on the floor and egg down today *sigh* cos there is no way I'll get that out from under there! She, on the otherhand, chose to come out when she was good and ready after having a laugh at me and my shaking stick on all fours crawling around in the mud!

The bonus point also has to go to the chickens today due to the fact that I then spent an hour earlier sweeping and digging over the veg patch, tidying it and repairing the damage, figuring that they'd be happy and safe in the new enclosure and I'd get my potatoes planted....they are currently back where they started having a wonderful time digging over this nice, clean and tidy garden! They better lay me some whoppers for breakfast tomorrow grrrrrr!

Still, tomorrow is back to the grindstone, with just over a month until the next set of exams I have to go back to the world of hard study as of tomorrow morning, so I'll leave you all with some Spring photos that I took earlier today. Enjoy x

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