Let me tell you, what a racket these hens make! Apparently chickens can recognize up to 100 individuals and in the case of our lot, this must include our car too! Each time we arrive home, they come running up towards the car and start screaming.

Born with a silver spoon in her beak
November 2021

Yes, you read that right, they literally start screaming, so I start screaming back at them as soon as I step out of the car. I’m not sure if this is something I should be doing or not, but it’s fun and as we live in such a remote location no one is going to hear me anyway. Plus, it can actually be quite cathartic after a particularly busy day!

The thing is, our chickens just love their porridge and they know that I am the ‘porridge-provider’. In the morning when I open the hatch, I make a porridge from their usual pellets and Aberfeldy oatmeal. They watch me mixing it impatiently, drooling (do chickens drool? I’m not sure!). The noisy rabble shuffle up to me, until they are as close to me as possible. Hank has been known to leap onto the table in her bid to be the first to be fed.

Eventually they all calm down as they start eating and some peace and tranquility is finally restored again. They are so sweet and as quiet as anything, occasionally looking up at me contentedly with porridge coated beaks. I find this particularly cute. If they were cats, they would be purring.
The funny thing is Hank must have been born with a silver spoon in her beak as she is the only one who likes to eat from a spoon (silver or otherwise)! I kid you not. If I still have the spoon that I’ve used to mix the porridge with in my hand, she actually starts to eat from it and waits for me to scoop up another spoonful before gobbling up some more. Posh chicken eh?! Or maybe she just likes being fed like a baby?

The garden looks pretty empty and barren just now with only a handful of carrots left and a couple of turnips, but it also means there is less to do in the garden and more time to relax. The carrots were funny this year. The first lot we planted didn’t germinate at all, so I sowed them a second time. These did eventually germinate, but very slowly and now months later, the carrots are actually a respectable size and are the envy of our neighbours. Mind you, they claim they’ve got the biggest turnip this year, which wouldn’t surprise me at all because ours is the size of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Can’t win ‘em all!

Of course, I’m not forgetting about the birds and I’ll keep feeding them throughout winter, after all, they’ve helped me to control the number of aphids and caterpillars in my garden, so they deserve a treat. There is an easy bird cake recipe in this newsletter which you can make at home yourself. And if you had sunflowers in your garden this summer, do keep the heads, as tits love to eat the seeds they contain. That’s the good thing about growing sunflowers; they are beneficial to a multitude of living things. First, when they flower they produce nectar for our bees and bumblebees; we humans enjoy the sight of them, finding them pleasing to the eye; and when they have finished flowering, the sunflower seeds are particularly popular with birds: triple bonus! And I haven’t even mentioned the tiny little beasties living in or on the sunflower plants that birds and other creatures might enjoy a nibble on!

If we just left some more seed heads for wildlife to enjoy, we will be doing nature a huge favour, so with COP26 happening over the next couple of weeks, why not decide which corner of your garden you can leave for nature to ‘do it’s own thing’ and thrive, and chuck away that nasty little bottle of ‘Roundup’ at the same time? Of course by that I mean dispose of the contents safely and recycle or reuse the bottle!

If you spend some time each month or so just looking at your little patch of wild garden, you will notice changes big and small. It’s fascinating and satisfying; your own little rewilding project!

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