It's been one of those perfect weeks of May, weather wise. Sunny and warm days that brought out all the colours and all the smells of the summer to come. Ebba the dog stood listening intently this morning and it hit me that we can once again hear the wind play in among the leaves of the trees.
Sadly, we lost a cockerel chick this week. It must have been a bird of prey as they are the only ones that get so close to the stable, without a sound. It's worrying, how they can squeeze themselves in to small spaces and still manage to kill. We had a sad day and Trisha is now tending to four round young ones. They are turning six weeks of age tomorrow and Pippi's little one is right behind them. Jane's chicks are only a few weeks old and are still sporting yellow fluff combined with long feathery wings.
Trisha and Pippi have started teaching their lot to climb trees and to fly longer distances. The taking off bit is quite under control and the flying looks good but the landing can still be a bit tricky. We must duck for fast approaching feather dusters at times, but it's all very sweet. Our dear sheep are getting used to being the landing place for flustered chicks and the mother hens are not so protective, to the point of hysteria, anymore. This leaves the field open for us to start interacting with the funny bunch without being pecked by anxious hens.
It's about time too, as we should start picking the chicks up and making them feel safe with us. This is just one way of making sure that the hen house stays a calm and happy place. Half wild hens make the winter months feel even longer as everyone gets restless if some of their friends are going hundred and ten around the stable.
Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My are already putting in their hours on this project and they are doing a good job of it. I keep having to wipe goo of their beautiful faces as small birds have been landing on them, first thing in the mornings. It seems that visiting the sheep is part of the morning routine for the young ones and sometimes the landing.
Our kind sheep have started their nomad life, once again. They wake up early and head off, munching away until midday. That's when they have introduced taking their siesta indoors and we are kind enough to oblige. After a few hours nap they head off again and if the evening is nice and dry, they can stay out for a long time.
This all sounds a bit over the top, but they are already four middle aged ladies so why not indulge them a bit? They feel safer sleeping in the stable and it's cooler for them, in there. This, of course means that we still end up cleaning their pen twice a day, but there are worse things in life. Plus, our guest hen that stayed on, loves to help with the mucking out and finds this system to be highly recommendable. She hurries over to assist when she hears that the wheel barrow is moving about in the stable.
This is fine, but when we had a rainy morning and all the chicks decided to help out, I could hardly move for small feet everywhere. Small birds beeping and milling around your feet can make you a tad sea sick, I've noticed. That and the fact that hardly anything gets done briskly makes you wish for a very dry and warm summer to come. Or hoping that our young hens will soon start to enjoy a spot of rain.
The month of June is just around the corner and I must start digging and sorting out the vegetable patch. It should all be done by now, but time flies and we will get there, just with a later time table. A friend of mine commented about the same problem at their end and said that things do not always have to be done the same way, every year. That's a very healthy way to look at things, when you think about it. The hens will help me turn the soil and our dear dog can dig holes for me.
I pruned the grapevine last year to the brink of extinction so that's done, at least. It really peaked from that harsh treatment so I was very lucky. It's an old and dear wine, just neglected at times. This year it's getting a new bed of horse manure and lots of love and care from our hens. They pop by to check about the worm situation and once the manure has been spread out, the hens will think Christmas has arrived early. Our dear sheep will not be interested in this project until there is growing evidence of tasty times to come.
My week was one of those where time ran away from me and things did not get done. This was a good thing, in some ways, as dear husband stepped in to help (with this as with everything else.) and made us a wonderful gluten free rhubarb pie. Almond flour, cinnamon and not too much sugar made the rhubarb taste fresh and light. If I did not love bread so much I think I would turn down gluten altogether. I'm sure it would be a healthier way to be, but as we are the country of rye bread and butter. Did you make a gluten free treat?
Ebba the dog is now informing me that it's time to go to bed. She is a whimsical and a full-on dog in many ways, but her sleeping patterns are very organised and strict. So off to bed I will have to go, as I'm very well trained.
Be well and let's try to have a Happy June, everyone!
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.