Back to me wittering on about chickens, the weather, wildlife and gardening - but not necessarily in that order. Mind you, there is not a lot of gardening going on right at this very moment as it’s winter time just in case you hadn’t noticed. But there is plenty of weather and wildlife to make up for it!

Weather and Birds
January 2022

I’ll try not to bore you to tears with facts about weather as the current block of my Natural Science studies is concerned mainly with weather systems. Regular readers know how much I like my extreme weather conditions! Despite the fact that my husband and I live higher up (around 250m above sea level), we’ve only had a light dusting of snow so far this year and I was excitedly looking forward to Boxing Day as the forecast for us was heavy snow. Unfortunately we missed out - not a snowflake in sight – so no white Christmas for us after all. I was so disappointed.

Never mind, I’m sure it won’t be too long before we’ll see some snow, and have to be dug out by our neighbour’s tractor again!

Last summer I left two kale plants in the garden which had been damaged by caterpillars; leaving the plants for them to finish. But they turned into butterflies before the entire plant had been eaten and to my surprise the kale plants have had a new lease of life and now I have two meals waiting for me to eat! Just another example of how, when you leave nature to its own devices, it can (and will) bounce back if it gets the chance.

By doing nothing, you can actually give nature a helping hand!

We also had a new arrival in our garden last month: a brambling visited our bird feeder!

These are small, chaffinch like birds which migrate from Scandinavia and Russia into the UK looking for food. I have been on the lookout for these birds for a long time, but failed to spot them up until now. It is super cool to attract this many different varieties of birds, 40 different species so far! But I am still waiting for waxwings though... maybe this year?

My dad, who passed away last month, was an avid DIYer and taught me various DIY skills too. Both my parents love gardening and wildlife and so I am making nest boxes in memory of my dad and to provide a home for birds. Did you know that not only do birds use nest boxes to nest in, but they also sleep in them especially when it’s cold? When I locked the chickens in a few nights ago I saw a blue tit hopping around one of the nest boxes and as I stood there, very still and quiet, I saw it pop inside! Mind you, it was only 1 °C and I wanted to get back into the warmth of my home too.

The chickens are generally okay, but Hester is not feeling very well, so she is on a diet of wet cat food, porridge and multivitamins for chickens. Hopefully she will be back to her old self in time for next month’s newsletter. She certainly seems to enjoy the cat food - the other chickens peer at her enviously through the chicken wire, eyeing up her food, but don’t worry, they get plenty of other treats to keep them happy, so they shouldn’t really complain.

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