Chicken update

Well now our “little” chicks are about 2 months old and they have grown so much! We sadly lost two of them the first week we let them out, a neighbour cat that wasn’t scared of anything but after chucking a bowl of cold water over him the others have been left alone. I hope it is one cockerel and the rest hens but you never know how it turns out. The little black Ayam cemani chick is everyones favourite. She was a runt from the beginning and I didn’t think she would survive but she/he is shaping up. Her name is Lilja/Lilly and she is gorgeous but really stupid. She keeps getting lost from the others and spend most of her days desperately calling out to the other chicks, even if they are just around the corner. There is one sure cockerel. Tiger, the orange one, I thought of as cockerel but now I’m not so sure because they are different breeds that we haven’t had before. The two older ones that hatched in May, Bert and Betty, are pretty much surely hens. Bert looks like a cockerel but after asking on Fb everyone said he is a hen, a Maran. The only two I’m sure about are Gullan, the white chick (named after my grandmother) and Scilla a Maran hen. They have been so spoilt that every evening now they come up to the door next to our living room squeezing for food and even trying to jump up on the window sill. One thing for sure, if Lilly turns out to be a cockerel the whole family will be heartbroken. On the more positive side if she turns out to be a he we can probably sell him on because it is such a rare breed. The other evening I had a great photo session with them. Started out with my mobile but ended up bringing my proper camera and shot 2 rolls of film in 15 minutes. Tomorrow I will develop the films and hopefully soon have real pictures to post!

Have-to’s and want-to’s

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Just got back from a two week holiday on another island, the Isle of Wight, and feel very rested for a change. I must admit I didn’t really want to come back home. I had this big dark cloud of “have-to’s” at the back of my mind but then my daughter asked -So mum what is it that you really have to do when we get back? Started thinking and realised that there wasn’t actually anything that urgent, it was all in my head. Now we’ve been back for a week and I’ve spent most of that time in the garden, not because I’ve had to but I’ve wanted to. Also the best thing I did before going on holiday was finishing the hammock! Tried it yesterday with a good book and it was perfect for doing nothing in. We have also extended our family. 7 new little chicks arrived a few days ago(sadly we lost one today) and they are irresistible! All different breeds so they will lay different coloured eggs, if they turn out to be hens. We’ve had a really bad turn out lately though. Peanut and Astrid we were quite sure were hens, then Astrid started cockadoodeling for hours day before we left so she got sentenced to the veg patch. Then gorgeous Peanut also started but at least he doesn’t do it that often so we’re keeping him on for now. The two younger ones Betty and Bert are great, so friendly! They come for us when Peanut bullies them and jump up on our laps or shoulders and fall asleep. Tomorrow we’re building a bigger chicken coop for the little ones so we don’t loose more. They are still too young to stay in the henhouse(this is Swedish summer after all) so we’ve been keeping them in the basement under a heating lamp apart from during the day when we’ve been taking turns keeping an eye on them(obviously not enough).

Spring surprise!

Feels like spring has been going on forever this year. It got really warm and then suddenly snow, rain and cold winds. Always a nice surprise to see what I planted in autumn though. I’ve completely forgotten and now loads of pretty flowers are blooming. The little chickens we got have turned big. They follow me wherever I go because I’ve spoilt them rotten feeding them overtime I go out, they are so cute! Definitely not the breed we were told but we love them anyways. The little white&black one is called Astrid and the white&brown is called Peanut. We waited a long time to name the black one, it’s most likely a cockerel but we decided on Woody. Today Maggie decided she wants to become a mum so we’ve ordered some fertilised eggs. The garden is coming along nicely. I built a frame in the crazy-always-overgrown-by-weeds-veg-patch and planted loads of vegetables and made sure to make it chicken proof. Started building a greenhouse a while ago, put hours and hours into it then someone came along the other day and asked :Is there really going to be enough sun in there? …after a few days of thinking I realised that Nope it’s not. So now I have to move it. Oh well, start over do it right! Today was sunny but a very cold wind so I changed plans from going out in the nature reserve to staying home having a bbq for lunch and then watching movies and pretending it’s Friday.

Creeping up on me

Every autumn I think next year I’ll calm down a bit with the planting but by the time xmas is fading my fingers start to itch. My first chilies are popping up and I’ve ordered some veg seeds and flower seeds who need an early start. A little while ago I received the new seed catalogue for 2017 and skipped happily towards the front door only to glance at the flower bed at the front of our house. 3 happy chickens sand bathing in where they had dug big holes in my flower bed. My happiness was momentarily quenched but now I’ve decided to not go through another summer without a green house and that makes me happy again! Just need to build one. As well as extending the henhouse and building a smoker. 2017 bring it on! Same with photography, I always switch off over the holidays but now new ideas are popping up like mushrooms without me even trying to think. Still haven’t spent any time in the darkroom since before xmas but today I played around with my phone, taking pics of the chillies(yes, all the people who know me as the most analogue person out there are laughing their asses off right now) with my xmas present. It’s a macro lens that you attach to the mobile with a little clamp. I must say I am quite impressed with what the phone can do with just a little add on and it’s a lot of fun. Only problem is keeping the phone still, never thought I’d say this as I don’t even own a digital camera but maybe I’ll have to invest in a phone tripod…

Chopping chicks and sticks

one little quince sat in a tree...

one little quince sat in a tree…

Not much left of Maggie, same as last year

Not much left of Maggie, same as last year

Sookie

Sookie

Zappa

Zappa

A modest but colourful harvest

A modest but colourful harvest

With the little chicks almost grown up it feels like the whole garden is a hen farm. We did get rid of Vivienne who got really good a cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. It was much harder than last time. He was so fluffy it felt like killing a cat. The morning after we woke at 5am to a loud Kuckeli kuu! My husband goes -But we killed him!? Turns out it was Esme again who had snuck up in the cherry tree when all the others had gone in to the henhouse the night before. Apparently she likes to live dangerously. On the other hand if she only does it once a month or so it’s not the end of the world. Now I always check if she’s in the house before I close the hatch. There are still too many of them and I am planning to sell two of the older hens and two of the silkies. It’s taken a lot of thinking and discussing to decide on selling Bugget and Scruffy. It is so hard when they all have different personalities. I would sell Esme in a heartbeat but the kids won’t let me. Not for being noisy but she is quite mean and picks on the silkies a lot. I wonder if the kuckeli-kuing adds to her value or deflates it? With the silkies we are keeping Punken, now re-named Sookie, and Ronnie Biggs/Bigsy, now re-named Zappa. I spent the morning in the garden with them trying out my new stick grinder. The advert stated it would grind branches up to 40mm, turns out it’s more like 4mm before it squeaks and stops. Terribly noisy to! Also it only works with fresh sticks so my big pile from cutting the hedge this summer will not shrink at all. It will help me cut down most of the big cherry tree branch that I accidentally broke off in my wild chase for Esme(dressed in my morning robe). I’d forgotten about the greenhouse for a while, thought all the plants would be killed by the cold and wind but there is hope yet. A nice little colourful harvest and the chilli plants seem to be doing ok!

New energy!

Fresh paint on window seal and frame

Fresh paint on window seal and frame

Oggy got it

Oggy got it

Vivienne

Vivienne

Oitilia happy in the new nest

Oitilia happy in the new nest

Wow what a difference a couple of weeks holiday can do! I came back from England a week ago and feel so motivated. Yesterday I built a wind breaker in the front garden, a nest for the chicks and painted the window seals on the barn. I also improved my “greenhouse” because it was on it’s last legs. The plastic was just flapping in the wind and no silver tape could fix it so I added a wooden frame to keep everything in place. Before I left I filed a builders permit application, not that I’m changing much in the barn but I apparently need a “change of use” permit to open the gallery. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be ready end of summer… Now I have lights for the barn, I will try to put them up but will pay for a professional electrician to come out and have a look before opening. I’ve decide to paint parts of the inside, not the actual gallery space but in the “garage part”, probably just a chalky see-through white. Need to give it a very good tidy and clean. I cut one of the old beams that was part of the old floor and will try to use it as a support for the main beam which is splitting a bit. I also have to fix the side doors. I really like the old hinges but they are too weak to hold the doors so I will buy new strong ones and put them on the inside. There will be a ramp as well, wide enough for wheelchairs and prams. After that it’s done! Saying that I think the Gallery will never be “ready”, after opening I will keep improving on the place. That’s fine though, as long as I get it started. Then I can go on to my next projects: fixing the windows of our house, the railing, the roof, the gardening, extending th henhouse and building a greenhouse etc etc. I’m like an energy ball craving new jobs but I know it won’t last for long so I’d better prioritise what I want to get done and right ow it’s the Gallery. I sometimes think that our cats are smarter than us going out for short moments and then coming indoors to sleep and relax most of the day.  Can’t ignore the chicks though. While we were away in England sadly our favourite chicken died, the white one called Kiki. We suspect foul play involving a young child but don’t have any proof so I’m leaving it at that. So sad though because Kiki was the most tame one and so pretty. I love the hens but right now I feel that 9 hens and 5 chicks are a bit too much for the garden so I will try to sell off two of the hens but it is sooo difficult to choose.