Lotta’s chicks are now a week old. Today the small fluffy balls are sporting the tiniest tail possible. But it's a tail, they tell me. They already have wings so it looks like someone glued feathers on to a dust ball. Their legs are a rubbery sort of bright yellow and they have minuscule claws. It's all so small but perfect that it looks unnatural, in a way. Little Eric was tiny as well but as he was black, fluffy and green legged he seemed stronger, somehow. Eric had his fathers build anyway, so he grew faster than lightning into a magnificent youth.
The chicks go under working names as I learned my mistake and we have to wait and see. One of them is a day older and almost certainly a boy. He will be called Matti, a Finnish version of Matt.
The little ones will not go hungry. The baby-chick food comes in 25 kg bags, so there is enough for a few days. Someone thought long and hard of that little earner.... We live in hope that our neighbour's hens will get some small ones, as we can keep them in food, too. Our teenage hens looked on the sack of dry food with scorn, telling me that they are too old for that stuff. Monty will help out, though. He's a walking compost, bless him.
On day three of the glory of motherhood I asked Lotta if she had plans to pop out into the sunny yard for a while. I have never seen a hen move so fast. Chicks running behind, calling for her to wait up but Lotta was on a mission. I had to help the fluff balls over the stable threshold and then they found their mother, bathing in the sand, dust flying everywhere. Three weeks of more or less indoor life had made her long for a sand bath and fresh, dusty air, apparently. I had my work cut out, keeping our lovely sheep away. They so love a little chick or two... They smell nice, apparently and they sound so funny. Molly got too close one day and Lotta lost her nerves and attacked her. Poor Molly panicked, and started hopping madly almost stepping on one chick. You would hop, though, with a mad hen pecking at your face. Luckily I was there so I could pick up our tiny friends and carry them to safety. All Molly wanted to do was to say "Hello"....,
Otherwise Lotta's approach to motherhood is more laid back than Pippi's was, last year. Lotta bobs about, telling me how hard it would be, if she did not have a cleaner, a cook and a handyman around the place. Her nanny is important too but at least her chick's can manage the threshold on their own, now. I have not had the heart to tell our long suffering mother that she only has me and dear husband sorting out all that needs doing.
(Her handyman is a bit tired at the moment. He works nights, most days and takes part in a summer theater production. Dear husband has the role of a charming collector of women and does it very well. This plus everyday life has given him a slightly rugged look... His mantra seems to be " We'll rest in July...")
At least Lotta lets us help out. Last year Pippi behaved like a manic woodpecker, if you went too close to her little Eric. It's a wonder he turned out so nicely with her stressing about the place.
Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My has chosen to ignore Lotta’s threatening behavior and have started their own nanny service for the little bundles. Yet again they squint away, following the little ones around the place. I find it helpful as they keep other birds away. The magpies are curious and we do have birds of pray around our yard, from time to time.
This was the first night that everyone slept soundly in their own beds, in the stable. We closed the door on the little family for the first week, shutting the rest of the hens out of the hen house. It did not go down well with poor, tired Monty, who loves his own bed. Still, you never know how the rest of the gang will react to new members of the family so it’s better not to take it too lightly on the safety issue. This morning Monty had a spring in his step and Lotta and her chicks were the first ones at the door, ready for a new day of adventures. Fingers crossed...
I wrote this little text while my table snored peacefully, dreaming of bears, hares and whatnots. Mr. Chip knows that today is Midsummer's Eve, a day for celebrating and strawberry, cream cake. In order to have energy for all the eating, you have to sleep in and get energised. He is the sweetest dog and cute as a button, when he sleeps. Mr. Chip looks like a toy dog - loved and hugged to the point of scruffiness. He is very dear to us but we know he's winding down... It's a funny old life, new beginnings and slow farewells. You just have to hope the goodbyes take a long, long time and to enjoy what you have. And not to mind that the old dog in you bed do smell a bit.
That was the month of June gone, time flies in the summer..... Happy midsummer to you all!
The grass snake is back. It needs a place warm enough to hatch the eggs in (21-28 degrees) and therefore loves a good manure heap. I had high hopes of seeing this lovely snake again after many years of absence and last week I saw them. They can have up to 40 little ones... Lovely!
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.