Poor Punky! Remember how we lost Caramello last month and how Punky stayed by her side right until the end?

Mourning Chickens
December 2019

Well, I think Punky is still mourning the loss of her friend; she doesn’t come out of the run to join the neighbours’ hens and she behaves as if she’s feeling under the weather. She eats and drinks like normal and still enjoys the odd titbit every now and then but she just doesn’t seem like her old self. So, the only conclusion I can draw is that she is feeling slightly depressed. She is also the bottom of the pecking order which doesn’t help, so she’s prone to being bullied by the other hens and this may be part of the reason she doesn’t want to come out of the run. I can’t blame her. We only have two hens left now, Tufty and Punky, and unfortunately Tufty wants nothing to do with her. She’s too interested in going out into the fields and having a good time! I’ve tried to dangle some food from a string so she needs to work a bit for her food, but she is just too stupid to understand, and just stands there looking up at me! So that’s not working either! What more can I do?!

Not much is happening on the vegetable front of course; we’ve had the first snowfall of the year, which is a little bit later than usual, because we normally get the first sprinkling of snow in October which melts straightaway. This November, however, the snow stayed for a few days, nothing serious, just a light dusting.

I couldn’t harvest the last of the parsnips either with the frost we’ve had, but now we’ve had a milder spell I’ve been out and got them out of the ground as quickly as I could before the cold weather sets in again. As mentioned in earlier newsletters; the potatoes weren’t very good this year; we had blight in one crop and a severe infestation of wireworm in another. Wireworms wriggle themselves in, burrowing into every corner of the tattie, leaving dark, inedible tunnels. Sometimes while peeling the potatoes, I feel like I am making a jigsaw puzzle!

This year the onions seem to have dried sufficiently to keep them stored. I tried my hand at stringing them up and as you can see in the picture above, I did pretty well! I didn’t like doing it though, so maybe next year, it’s back into a box the onions go!

It’s funny how sometimes I go on and on about something which is high on my priority list and then all of a sudden it becomes big news and fashionable. Like planting trees! For years I have been trying to urge people to, space permitting, plant a tree or more in their garden and now tree planting is everywhere! Well, trees are pretty important for the survival of our planet as they take up CO2 from the atmosphere and give us oxygen to breathe in. Trees are an important measure against flooding, too and they also have a cooling effect on the planet. Together with my nieces, who are 18 and 20, I sowed chestnut conkers last autumn and we are now the proud owners, (or should that be parents?)  of 4 chestnut saplings. This year I have placed my tree saplings under the veranda, because I lost saplings due to very late snowfall some years back and this way they are more protected. They don’t need much water either, as they are dormant during winter time, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed they will survive the winter!

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