Thursday, July 06, 2006

Allotment Lady's faithful little friend

Today dawned dull, with rain forecast so you can guess where I was headed –it would be good to do some harvesting before it came.

First stop the girls, and two eggs but no real sign of any being eaten. I have been giving them some supplements in their water made by Battles. It looks the colour of redcurrant juice!

I let them out and decided to move the run over near the trees so that they get some extra shade. I had to get a strong screwdriver and a hammer to lever the tent pegs that hold the run down, the ground is so hard. Amazingly the grass paths that I sowed last year, and the meadow too for that matter is lush and green, everything else is turning yellow. Once again, although forecast, no showers of rain for us today.

The chicken’s water containers go green in a day with this incredible heat, so I wash them out each morning, and keep bottles of fresh water up there all the time – at least 8 litres, and usually more.

I have been putting extra Oyster shell and also aviary grit in their feed, which they have been eating, so their shells will be so thick hopefully, that a pneumatic drill will be needed to get through them. I also have some golf balls in the nest box – at one person’s suggestion, so hopefully the combination will work.

I have been letting the ‘girls’ have the run of the fenced off allotment – not just the garden and fruit area but right through. It is so nice to have their company, and they seem to enjoy mine.

Come on girlies.

All three came running along after me, and Adelaide does a funny low flying run as she gets distracted easily so then has to hurry to catch up in case she misses anything.

Today, Ginger kept by my side like a little faithful dog.

I was fruit picking today, and they were eating the raspberries that I dropped and some ripe ones that were on the ground - they make a nice little clean up team. I keep thinking how the bantams would love it up there; but with two broody hens and Pumpkin not the least bit friendly, it would not be practical to let them roam. The big hens are so tame, and always come when I call, so no problem wherever they are – even when I can’t see them or hear them, I just call and the start ‘talking’ to me and come running.

Adelaide and KoKKo went off for a wander on their own, and Ginger kept me company. Bok Bokking talking to me, pecking my wellies and shirt when she wanted my attention. I know that she is a really naughty hen – out of all three of them she is the one that gets up to most mischief, but she is so friendly.

She was with me and never left my side all the morning that I was in the fenced off area – about four hours.

She kept standing between my legs looking at what I was doing - this photo was not easy to take believe you me! I was looking at her upside down!

When I was on my hands and knees looking for ripe blackcurrants, I would watch her and she would find the ones underneath for me, which I could not see. She wasn’t of course doing it for me - but to find a nice ripe one for herself to eat – of which there were many.

When Geoff came the other side of the fencing to talk to me – all three of them rushed over to inspect him – then KoKKo and Adelaide wandered off t eat more raspberries, but Ginger stayed put.

At one point I went back to the shed, then started picking some loganberries which were outside the other fruit cage, and Ginger stood by the corrugated fence patiently waiting for me.

When I returned the other two wandered up and all three started pecking at a plastic compost bin. I couldn’t see what they were pecking at – no visible insects – but maybe there were, and I just couldn’t see them.

It kept them amused for a full fifteen minutes, then I opened the front of the bin for them to have a poke around in the compost for ten minutes before it was time to pack up and go home. Once again I just had to call them and they came running and flapping the 270 feet back to their run – which was all nice and clean and fully stocked with food, water, a small lettuce, some apple cores, and a bit of spinach!

I haven’t weighed all the produce that I picked today – but there was so much Pat had to help me unload the car.

Shallots -2 carrier bags full
Blackcurrants - ½ a carrier bag – 5 or 6 pounds and so many more to pick too
Raspberries - 2 large containers, three pounds I should think
Loganberries – a big bowl full - 2lbs at least
Redcurrants – 1lb or so
Wild strawberries – just enough for tea
Lettuce and salad leaves too – we still have plenty of potatoes.

I had a wheel barrow with them all in – they were too heavy to carry. It really is great to get such a yield and at last the past two years hard work is really paying off.

I noticed that there are more mange tout to pick, a late crop of broad beans, all the currents and berries except redcurrants (which are now more or less all picked) still have lots of fruit on the bushes to come. With the berries, it seems that the more I pick them, the more they grow.

I now have to find the energy to cook or freeze them tonight!

Where is that rain they forecast - not here!


  1. wish you could get rain, the chickens look happy. glad you are getting a return on your labor.

  2. MaryLou/TX9:13 pm

    Your little ladies are beautiful and so well mannered. What kind are they?

  3. Anonymous9:47 pm

    Patsy for some reason your comments section does not like my user name and password - don't know why.

    Just thought I would let you know that I have been reading your blog and trying to leave comments - just in case you think I was not looking any more

  4. I read on a poultry forum the other day that thin shells aren't always caused by a calcium deficiency, sometimes something goes wrong with the gland that is responsible for manufacturing the shell. And that sometimes it will just clear up spontaneously. Here's hoping your supplement helps.

  5. Oh this brings back memories of our years spent keeping hens.
    Now we just have Jo, our faithful gander.

    I am hoping that we will have a harvest next excited about the vegetable plot hubby is planning, I may even get the chest freezer I keep hankering for!

  6. HI AL,

    Sorry I've not commented much lately, but I've had so much to do at the house I've not always had the energy to surf afterwards. Still, I've been following your blog and laughing out loud at the chook photos - they are as gorgeous and cheeky as ever :-D


  7. Diana4:56 pm

    Hi there - no longer anonymous from NYC! Just wanted to say this was such a nice post with terrific pictures. Glad to hear of your wonderful harvest. I'll certainly let you know when I start to harvest my tomatoes. Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. They have made some changes to the blog - and one of them is on the comments section.

    I typed a long comment and posted it this morning, but it has disappeared.

    Here goes again.


    The hens are hybrids - Meadowsweet Ranger and Gingernut Ranger. That is the breeders names for them, but in reality they are rhode island red crossed with another good egg layer to get the best of the two.

    Thanks for all your tips, they now seem back to normal and laying light brown speckled eggs and none eaten. I think it might be safe to take the golf balls out now!

    Thanks for that, your house looks like a palace.

    I was thinking back this morning to the photos you had of your dad cutting down the trees, and how sad it all looked later when you had moved the fence and the garden kept flooding - those poor, but tough, broad beans.. What a difference a few months make.

    MRS N

    I am closely following your blog, and looking forward to seeing your husband getting on with the vegetable patch. Sounds like you might have an idea of selling some produce if you are getting your soil tested. Good luck with it.

    Nice to talk to a name, I can picture you now. Thanks for your lovely comments - and please do keep in touch with your harvesting and anything else you want to share. It is really nice to get feedback and to hear how others are doing.


    Thanks for the rain, it finally arrived today but not much. The chooks are definitely happy and really enjoying the fresh fruit they are eating - enough for all of us though

  9. Karen9:13 pm

    What is it tha attracts one to a certain Blog, Is it like minds or what ? I have looked through many Blogs and passed on leaving no trace no footprints or messages but somehow there is something about this one which attracts me again and again. Am I wishing to aspire to this type of lifestyle ? Is it the hens ? The personal touch ? Or some unknown force ? This is an absoulutely beautiful Blog and I see followings are increasing.

  10. Lottie your girls look so happy, it's how all hens should live their lives :-)

  11. KAREN - What a nice comment, thank you so much.

    My 'lifestyle' I never thought of it as that, it is just me, and something that I happen to do.

    Having worked hard like most of us do, at jobs that I didn't really enjoy, just to keep a roof over my head. It is lovely have got married again, retired, and now do what I want too - and what gives me a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.

    Which is growing as must food, and being as self sufficient in all areas of my life that I can.

    Just me, bumbling along in my own way. LOL


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