Sunday, 28 June 2009

Anyone for Tennis?

Yipee - It's Wimble'd -Hen!

'I think I'll just check the net before we start the game, don't want any 'fowl' play in this championship.'

'That ball was in! Chalk dust - everyone could see there was chalk dust! Right where is the Umpire?'

'You cannot be serious! Did you have your eyes closed? That ball was in!

'And just how many ball girls do you need?'

'Oh no it's raining again! Typical of the English weather - I'm off.'

'Where's she gone? I can't win this championship on my own. '

'Where do you think? When there are strawberries and cream on offer inside the chicken coop, why on earth would I want to run about a court for hours chasing an odd shaped egg?'

'That girl has has no willpower, and that cream will go straight to her hips. You have to be in it to win it. I think I will spend the time polishing my trophy! It's great for my bingo wings!!

I declare myself the winner, so that makes me the 'Great Brit-Hen' champion of this major tennis tournament for this year - watch out Andy Murray!

Friday, 26 June 2009

A friend like Ben

I could not let today pass by without paying tribute to Michael Jackson who died yesterday. It was such a shock to learn of his death and I admit to weeping when a clip was shown of him singing 'Ben'. It was from the film about a boy who befriends a rat, only he could touch the hearts of people by singing about a creature that most people despise.

I went up to see the girls and sat for a minute inside the coop. It was all so still, then suddenly my own resident rodent appeared. I usually scream and run from the site when I see a rat but today I saw him in a different light.

It's not ideal to have rodents near by, but when you have chickens, it's the norm and I realise I will have to do something about it, but today that little rat touched my heart and it was all because of a legendary pop icon. His memory and his music will live on.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Summer Solstice

Who needs Stonehenge when there is an equally magical stone circle inside the chicken coop?

This morning thousands of people flocked to Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The girls were up at the crack of dawn too ready to see the sunrise on this magical day.

This astronomical event occurs twice a year when the earth's axis is inclined towards or away from the sun. This is considered to be the beginning of summer, and in medieval times, healers would gather herbs and plants considering them to have miraculous healing powers.

I think Braith is just happy she has longer to scratch around for grubs and worms.

But Branwen got into the celebration of the sun and went totally bonkers!

Elizabethans believed that this was a time when all sorts of magical things happen and an old tale states that if a maiden sets a table with a white cloth, placed bread, cheese and beer upon it, then the man she was to marry would join her for supper either in person or his ghost.

It appears some were less superstitious - Branwen got stuck in on her own and within a few seconds started to demolish the bread without even waiting to see who turned up to join her!

I think she even drank the beer!

Of course our most famous Elizabethan - William Shakespeare brought the celebration to life with his play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Could this be Titania , queen of fairies sat under my maple tree? And are those her little attendants, Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth? But where is Mustardseed?

There she is - showing off again.

On a magical day like this - nothing is impossible and sometimes fairy tales come true.

Happy Summer Solstice - enjoy the day.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Meet the ancestors

I wonder if Blodwyn realises, she may have just met one of her distant ancestors.
Scientists are finding constant links that our modern day chicken could be related to the incredible dinosaurs that enjoyed a 'free range' of our world over 100 million years ago.

The terrifying Velociraptor, made famous by the film 'Jurassic Park' was believed to have a fine covering of feathers and possibly not much bigger than a turkey. The picture of Branwen indeed shows a more ferocious side to our feathered friends.

If she was any larger, I think she would certainly be a match for any Velociraptor!

Feet are a great clue to their past. These pair belong to Branwen. Note the sharp claws at the end and scaly skin. Not unlike the Archaeopteryx below - one of the first fossilized birds.

Then there is the Gallimimus which is closely related to the ostrich. Part of the Ornithomimids group and very similar to our ground living birds with a lightly built skeleton, long neck, compact body, small skull and beak.

Note how long my hens necks appear on this photograph and quite similar in structure to the ancient Ornithomimids.

That's the science bit - now for something eggstra!

Dinosaurs laid eggs to hatch their young - just like my girls - I am a little concerned about what is hatching inside the chicken coop though.

Could this be the start of something new? There are dinosaurs all over the place.

Blodwyn is not too happy about sharing the coop with a stegosaurus.

That may be that he is not such a close cousin as the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. At least she has the upper hand now, as after 100 million years, she is a lot larger, so he is no competition for her.

The Dinosaurs may be extinct, but some of their characteristics live on in our feathered friends. Watch out for that broody hen or the ferocious cockerel next time you go inside the chicken coop.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Birds of a feather flock together

'Birds of a feather flock together' - but this little thrush was not too keen to join the hen party!