Finally, the weather turned from the Antarctica to something resembling the Mediterranean. It really feels like spring is here when I can let the animals out early in the morning, dressed in my pajamas. It's faster too, not bundling up in down jackets and winter boots, just to walk over the yard.
It seemed like the lawns and fields turned green overnight and now the trees are also joining in the fun. The gardening season can now start in all earnest and it feels like summer is just around the corner.
Our dear animals are in a brilliant mood and eating themselves into a stupor. Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My are the size of large barrels, all of them happily rolling around and enjoying life to the full. Ebba the dog runs around trying to catch anything and everything that flies, crawls and hops about. Bumble bees and snakes are going to be our problem this summer as our dear dog is very quick off the mark. Shielding her from stings and bites will be a full-time job, we fear.
The hens are finding worms again and the whole village can hear our dear Monty. Can it be that him being a father of eleven chicks has made him an extra vocal cockerel? It can't be the light as that's been around for a while, but of course the warm weather might have something to do with it. Maybe he has extremely warmed up vocal cords this week and has decided to do an endurance test on them. Whatever the reason, all we know is that he is loud.
Our older hens don't seem to mind that, but keep running away from him as green grass, bugs and slugs have sent Monty far down on the list of interesting things in their life. Maybe his pride is hurt and that's what he's tooting about? Who knows....
The dry, beige tinted grass, left from last summer around the stable looks like it's alive and moving in waves. That's where eleven chicks and their mothers spend their days. As I've told before, we leave it on purpose as it's such good camouflage for our beige, brown hens to move in. We do have a lot of pray around, waiting to get at our animals.
The two groups of five small chicks move side by side with their edgy mothers muttering threats to each other. Trisha's five, who arrived first, have already changed into their first set of coloured feathers. It seems we have three of her own and two borrowed young ones in that group, as they have Trisha's very distinct colouring. At least two birds in that group look like cockerels so joy, oh joy when we have young ones with their mother's feisty temperament and their father's dizzy look on life. We will have to move.
Pippi does what Pippi does best in life: - she tends to her one chick, feeding and fending for it with such concentration that nothing else matters, for the moment. If anyone comes too close, she sends them away and this year our dear sheep aren't even allowed to help her look out for the little one. We are keeping fingers, toes, eyes and everything else crossed for it to finally being a little hen that she is nursing. So far, she has brought up two cockerels and it would be nice for her to get a daughter for a change. Feeding a little cockerel is demanding work and as she likes to do everything herself, she does get tired out. Hopefully her almost over the top care is a sign that it's a small girl that she is fending for.
Jane still sleeps with her five fluffy chicks in the maternity ward at nights. We must keep them separate as the youngest one is still very small. Still, she got wings in record time, probably due to the wintry weather, but that affected her balance a bit. She eats, beeps loudly and runs almost as fast as the others, but I fear she might get trampled by the older hens by mistake. So, Jane lives like royalty for the moment. Our young mother is not complaining but I do hope it does not make her very "high and mighty" towards the other hens. Time will tell.
I had plans to name all the young ones this week but that will have to wait. They change every day so as soon as we know who's what we will have the name giving ceremony. For the moment it's more about food, water and love.
Our neighbor, the friendly squirrel that has lived all winter in the hay barn had her first litter of babies. I met her one morning this week, carrying small brown bundles out on to the road. There they sat, long spindly tails and big eyes, blinking in the sunlight. One small one looked hopefully at my leg but I steered it to the closest tree, where it started it's climbing career. Having a tame squirrel in the house would not be ideal as we already have Ebba, the world’s best fixer dog. What a small climber friend and a large jumping dog could get up to, is more than we could cope with.
(Dear Monty just ventured into Ebba's empty paddock and is now trying to remember how to get out again. I know that one of the hens will soon show him the way as this happens on a very regular basis. Dizzy....)
The sun is up, the animals are grazing and it's time to start the day. Let's hope it's a good one, for all and everyone.
My aim this week is to learn how to make a gluten free rhubarb crumble. It does not sound like much, but as I'm a disaster in the kitchen, it will be a bit of a project. At least the hens can eat my failed attempts and I do have written instructions. Let's make it a gluten free week-everyone should try to make something and then we can compare notes. Good luck, for I know I will need it.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.