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 ( ) 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 -

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!