Thursday, 31 December 2009

A year inside the chicken coop




I was going to end the year by pulling the plug on 'Inside the chicken coop'. This blog started as a fun experiment, to see if I could join the world of blogging and write something on a regular basis. I have gained so many useful tips from people and enjoyed capturing the girls getting up to all sort of mad things for an entire year inside their world. I have made contact with so many lovely fellow bloggers and it was all because of my beautiful little hens who continue to inspire me in my writing.

It is because of this I shall continue with inside the chicken coop. The girls will will be making an appearance during 2010 but it will never be as often as most of you fellow bloggers. I admire you all at how often you make the time to post wonderful, interesting and informative blogs which are a pleasure to read.

I only hope that I can achieve this with my new blog which I am launching tomorrow.

Until then, Happy New Year to you all and hope you enjoyed a year inside my chicken coop.

Di

Thursday, 24 December 2009

All creatures great and small

I couldn't believe my eyes earlier on to find this going on inside the chicken coop! How lovely of Father Christmas to deliver a present for the girls. It shows how he loves all animals too, however great and small.

Luckily he didn't see me. I crept up and took a photo whilst he was talking to my hens.

Believe . . . It's the one precious thing that will not cost you a penny this Christmas.

Wishing everyone a very magical Christmas
Di
x

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Breathing places

This post has nothing to do with chickens, but it was so lovely, I had to share it with you all



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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

One month to go!

I reckon my girls must have the same enthusiasm for Christmas as me! I let them out in the garden for a run in the brief show of sunshine we had this afternoon, but within minutes they were peering into my summer house where I was pulling all the boxes of Christmas decorations out. It may have been the sound of the tinsel or the bells ringing but they were more interested in being there than pulling up worms.

I love this time of year when we start preparing for the magical season. But it's not just the preparation, it's when we all start to want to gather together and do nice things.

I always wonder why only Christmas seems to give us this sudden urge to have some goodwill to others. Some may think it's too early to start thinking about it, but in the spirit of the great Charles Dickens himself, I believe we should keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all the time.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Green Cow

One Hundred Ways For A Chicken To Train Its Human has found yet another most suitable home.The Green Cow farm shop is opening on Saturday 14th November in Tasley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire. www.thegreencow.co.uk/ It's a wonderful outlet for my little book and I was so excited when Sally, one of the owners contacted me with the idea of selling it at the shop.

This place is a must for any food lover. With an impressive range of fine foods from cheese to fish, from fresh vegetables to fresh meat, not forgetting the wonderful selection of pickles and other delicious things to tempt you. It also has a range of of gifts and a lovely cafe area, so would be an ideal place to visit on the build up to Christmas or any time of year.



Sally mentioned that they will be having all sorts of events such as food tasting, demonstrations and even the odd book signing! Fingers crossed that my little offering will go down well.

Wishing the Green Cow lots of luck on it's opening day and for the future.

It just proves that with determination, even during a recession, wonderful things can happen.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Hopefully there is no Gunpowder or treason within the chicken coop - but there is certainly some plotting! I have wondered for ages how they get out of their run when my back is turned, and the other day I discovered their secret. They get on top of the arc which gives them height and then they fly over. How clever is that? I bet they are plotting all the time how best to get what they want!
Tonight, my little hens will be safely tucked up while all the madness of Bonfire night goes on. I hope all animals are safe tonight.

However, my girls will enjoy the cold ashes of my bonfire which I intend to light this weekend. They love to scratch around in the cool grey powder after a bonfire. Goodness knows what they find there, but they love it.

And while my little hens were sleeping - this was going on!

Have a fun and safe Bonfire night

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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spooks in the coop and a writing potion spell

"Boo! Did I scare you?"
"Don't think so, titch, you're are out numbered here, and you should see what is behind you."



"Who are you calling pumpkin head?"


"Where is the rest of you? I heard of a headless chicken, but is that all you can do?"
"Look at this!"



Happy Halloween to everyone - and now, to all you writers out there, try this this spell. I dare you!


Ye olde spell for successful writing!

  1. Find some time, this is the most precious ingredient of all.
  2. Transport yourself to a special place where you will not be disturbed.
  3. Pour a good measure of imagination into a large cauldron
  4. Add some very carefully chosen words.
  5. Dollop some determination into the mix.
  6. Let the creativity simmer, or even boil if you wish before returning to it and giving it a good stir.
  7. Sprinkle with a little bit of good luck
  8. Cast your fears aside.
  9. Spread over a clean piece of paper, or a computer screen if you wish.
  10. Continue with this spell until you are happy with the potion you have made and then send it off to an Editor!
Good luck !

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Last of the Summer Wine - inside another chicken coop

Nora, Ivy, Pearl, Edie and Glenda are very lucky ladies! They have recently moved to a new home. Mike Taylor has recently rescued these five little ex battery hens and now their life is quite different to how they had been living in the past.

Mike prepared their new home well in advance and made a new coop out of a combination of a rabbit hutch, an old wardrobe and a chest of draws. His clever recycling has given these lovely ladies a cosy new home and he has even gathered old logs to make their run more interesting as they love to peck at the small insects that climb all over them.

Mike approached the Battery Hen Welfare Trust ( http://www.bhwt.org.uk/. ) They put him in touch with the local representative for his area and they arranged for delivery. Within a few weeks Nora, Ivy, Pearl, Edie and Glenda were settled in their new home.
"They arrive in a wide range of conditions" Mike said. "Some of them had very few feathers at all, but some were not too bad." But already Mike has seen an improvement as they grow healthy again and he is even getting a few eggs every day from them.





This one had very few feathers, but she seems doesn't seem to bothered as she explores her exciting new run


Mike is very handy with making things and he even rigged up a way of opening their coop in the morning while still enjoying his morning cuppa. He tied a ball of string to the door of the coop then ran the rest of the ball all the way to his house and tied it next to the window. This means on dark winter mornings he just opens the window, pulls the string, and the ladies can be free to roam for the day. Ingenious!
I was curious at how he had come up with their names, Mike is a massive fan of Last of the Summer Wine, so it was the obvious choice. Mike just saw his feisty little hens and immediately named them after the characters from the hit TV series. Nora is even playing up to her namesake by becoming the bossy one of the group. So the pecking order is well and truly established.
It's a wonderful feeling to think there are people like Mike who make the decision to take on these poor bedraggled little creatures. But with a bit of love and care, these ladies are now set to make a full recovery in their happy new home. I can't help wondering now if Compo, Foggy and Clegg may make an appearance at some time!












Friday, 23 October 2009

An extra hour in bed


Tonight, Saturday 24th October, we put our clocks back to mark the end of British Summer time. And what a Summer it's been!
My four little hens have inspired me to write numerous blogs and get into the garden while they play. I have loved their company while mowing the grass or trying to dig the garden as they look for worms. They are always there, like four little puppies following me around.
That is the only draw back about the long winter nights as when I get home from work they have already taken themselves to bed. However, there are so many magical things to look forward to in the next few months, I am sure they are already preparing for Christmas inside the chicken coop.
As for the extra hour in bed , I shall spend mine writing and editing my next article.
Enjoy your extra hour - however you choose to spend it!

Friday, 16 October 2009

A cluck back into the past

I took a magical step back in time yesterday when I paid a visit to Acton Scott farm museum. The animals completely make this place, and I was in heaven strolling around the stunning countryside watching all the creatures living side by side ( mostly in harmony ) except for the sheep that kept headbutting each other!

Acton Scott was used for the TV series 'Victorian Farm' and I got to meet 'Clumper' the wonderful horse who worked so hard during the programme, along with some Gloucester old spot and Tamworth piglets.

Below is the old shepherd hut.
This lovely chicken house was full of chicks, with the beautiful Acton Hall in the background, it was a stunning setting.
I Wonder if these chicks are establishing the pecking order already?


These lovely little birds were content to roam about next to the ducks and turkeys.


And this handsome chap kept appearing all over the farm. He was first seen outside the public conveniences!



Then he turned up in the hay barn, later to make his way to the gift shop!



It was crammed full of old farm machinery - an adventure playground for some chickens!



These two were playing tag, but it seemed a bit unfair to me as the size difference is quite obvious . The poor little thing, that huge brute chased it all over the patch.




The geese showed their annoyance as the humans invaded the threshing barn where they were just off to enjoy some corn for lunch. ( the geese that is)



But they went off in a very orderly fashion once they had finished eating, I suspect to terrify some more humans!



I couldn't mention the 'C' word to this one! No oil painting, but amazing to look at.




But when I wanted to sit down for my picnic, I felt like swearing at this lot who made no attempt to give up their seats!



Well worth a visit if you want to see animals living the good life.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Painting

Over one hundred years ago, there lived a great painter. He painted pictures of Kings and Queens and beautiful landscapes, and his work was displayed all over the country.
One day he saw some hens scratching around for worms and decided to paint them. Unlike all the rich people that paid him to paint their portrait, the little hens lived a life of sadness, they hated the place where they lived, as they had no freedom to roam in the sunshine and dig for worms in the lush grass. He captured their image for ever in his painting as they struggled to find a morsel of food.
Because he was so famous, the painting was hung in all the famous art galleries and sold to wealthy art lovers for years, but everyone who owned it never knew that behind the painting, the little hens were so unhappy.
After several years, people's taste in art had changed, and the painting of the hens became less popular. It was soon discarded from the galleries and ended up in a boot sale where it was bought for a fraction of the price it was worth. The people who bought it, left it in an old coal house where it lay for the spiders to weave their webs around it, and just like the little hens - it was neglected once again.
Then one day, someone new moved into the house where the painting lay. The new occupants uncovered the painting and placed it outside in the garden, along with the rest of their belongings. When their back was turned something magical happened. The little hens came to life! They could see a beautiful garden and they could hear children laughing, and they wanted to be part of it!
Blodwyn, the bravest hen took a step forward. She escaped from the painting! At last she was on the other side!
Soon, the other hens followed her.
They found a lovely garden where they could play and dig for worms in the sunshine. At last they were happy and they were free.

The new owners came back to find the four little hens. They made them their own, never to return to their old life.
And the painting became just an empty frame to capture nature as it should be.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

World Animal Day


For all the Chickens in the world that don't have a life like this.
But perhaps, one day they could, thanks to people like this - www.bhwt.org.uk/

Thursday, 1 October 2009

A mystical time of year

I realise some people dread the end of Summer, but this really is a magical time. I try to see it more as regeneration. I like to believe it's the start of something new and productive, so I plan to spend my time writing and doing just that.

The trouble is, I think the girls are thinking the same thing, they seem to have adopted an interest in my writing magazine. I now wonder if they will be spending the dark winter months inside their chicken coop writing about me!
























Sunday, 20 September 2009

Time Team at the Chicken Coop

After being out for a few hours the other day, I got home to find that my hens had exposed an entire dinner service inside their chicken coop! Well perhaps I am exaggerating a little, but it was amazing to see that in a few hours they had taken part in their own little dig to find a hoard of pottery that has been burried there for years.

Blodwyn seemed very proud of what looked like an old chamber pot

Over the years they have found quite a lot of stuff, none of it is treasure, but it's interesting to see what they discover. I often find bits and pieces when digging my veggie patch, part of my garden was an old railway which backed onto the quarry workers cottages, so as with many households of the nineteenth century, the rubbish was thrown into the garden and left for little hens to find years later! This is a small collection of their 'finds'










My own little time team seem eager to dig up the past. Blodwyn used careful excavation techniques to unearth this find. I think she would be a valuable member on any archaeological dig!










You never know what's inside or burried under the Chicken Coop! However I am still waiting for them to discover a treasure trove! Keep digging girls!





Monday, 7 September 2009

As Many As Will

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I made this little movie after listening to an excellent Folk CD by a band called 'As Many As Will'

I have the privilege of knowing one of the band members - Guy Nutting, who kindly gave me permission to use one of the tracks from their CD - 'A Bit On The Side'.

The track I have used fitted so well with my own happy little band of hens, who appear to celebrate life on every occasion when they are allowed to roam free and enjoy the garden.

The pictures and music capture their personalities - they could even be dancing in the first few images! Then they continue to display their lovely and unique characters whilst enjoying the end of Summer.

If you enjoyed the music as much as I did, you can get more information about 'As Many As Will' at www.myspace.com/asmanyaswill

Thursday, 27 August 2009

A Dragon Inside The Chicken Coop

As I did my usual check on the girls tonight, I thought there was a little wild bird inside the chicken coop. They didn't seem bothered by the fluttering of tiny wings hovering above their heads, as quite often small birds get inside their coop, yet soon escape.

As I entered the coop, I discovered that it was in fact a Dragonfly. It was trapped by a single thread of a spiders webb which was hanging from the roof. It continued to fly around in a mad frenzy, still attached to it's silken leash, despite only having one wing free.

I wanted to take a photograph to capture it's beauty, but my conscience took over. I could not let it suffer any longer, as I was not sure how long it had been there.

I felt quite emotional as I broke the tiny strand of web that confined it, opened the door and watched it fly off.

I was amazed that such a large creature could not break free from what looked like an almost invisible strand of Cotton, hanging from the roof of the pen.

The hens, quite unmoved by my actions - continued to tuck in to their supper.


'Nature never ceases to amaze me, and hope it will continue to do so'.

Di

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Cock-a-hoop at Ashes win

Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. This is how my 'Barmy Army' celebrated England regaining the Ashes.


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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Fowl Football

With the Football season kicking off, I have to take my role of managing the 'Magpie Rangers' very seriously. I started off their training by a few warm up exercises, but they were not very willing! When My main striker could not even get on the right side of the goal post, I became even more concerned with how this season would turn out.



But then at least my Goalkeeper seemed to appreciate her role.


Things started to pick up when my main Striker came back on the penalty shootout practice, but then the Goalkeeper roamed off.


She came back, but this looks like a foul to me, she was more interested in the pecking order than saving the ball.




Then the whole team got confused and went into a scrum, thinking they were playing Rugby!





During half time I gave them a talking to, they came back much sharper and focused on the game ahead. I did threaten that they would have to go without corn for the whole season if they did not improve.





And as for my Goalie - what a save! I think they may be in the premier league very soon!