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The New Girls

The New Girls

This is a happy update on my last post. After the fox visited we set about reinforcing the chicken run. We could have given up, but we’ve come a long way down the chicken keeping road and the garden seemed terribly quiet without them. So, the run is now the poultry equivalent of Fort Knox and today we’ve picked up four hens, courtesy of the British Hen Welfare trust.

Apologies for rubbishy phone pic but here they are; (L-R) Betsy, Henrietta, Camilla and (front) Winny.

They were rescued from a caged farm in Preston this morning, and have travelled down to Allesley near Coventry for rehoming. Bit of a mare of a day for them but a million trillion times better than the slaughter wagon!

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A short post about foxes and chickens

5 days ago a fox forced its way into my chicken house and took all four of my girls, leaving a trail of feathers and mangled chicken in its wake.  I know that’s a horrible description, but that’s how it was.  My four lovely little chooks.  Em, our veteran hen, who’d survived our first attempts at hen keeping and laid us countless pure white eggs over the previous 3 years.  Little Amy, such a character, the youngest hen but so determined to find her way to the top of the pecking order.  Placid speckledy Kate, who was just recovering from some unpleasant bullying, and Bella Big Bum (below), my beautful, fluffy, stroppy, determined and huge bluebell.

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My husband and I were obviously mortified – we were responsible for these creatures.  What had we done wrong?  What else could we have done? I knew I’d been the person who’d put them to bed the previous night and I’m still going over and over it in my mind – were they secure?  Would they still be chuntering at me in the garden if I’d checked it one more time?

 

Fact of the matter is, probably not.  The fox is known as a wily beast for good reason.   But I cannot be beaten.  We’re investing (even) more time and money in the coop and run and we’ve reserved 4 ex battery hens who will arrive towards the end of the month.  I hope that as we ‘recharge’ them I can come to terms with what we discovered last Wednesday morning and hope that in time I’ll be able to relax and have confidence in the Fort Knox-esque chicken run we’re creating.

 

 

Finding Inspiration and Finding Time.

Excuses excuses.  I’ve been busy.  I’m tired.  I have writer’s block.  These are the reasons I haven’t been blogging. The truth is a combination of those – lack of energy and time have had me out of the mood for far too long.  Today, I force myself, because I DO want to blog.

What is inspiration?  I am fortunate in that I love my job, most of the time, but the last few weeks have had their challenges.  I’m not going to go into it here, but I have felt undervalued at times, not by my peers but by ‘the powers that be’.  So instead of grasping life with both hands and getting excited about stuff, I’ve moped and moaned and whined and whinged to the extent that I’ve got on my own nerves let alone others’! It’s hard to find inspiration in the doldrums.

But good things do happen. I’ve kept up with my photo-a-day and it proves that there’s a moment of wonder in every day, you just have to look for it.  I’m perfectly capable of finding the positives in life. I am an optimist at heart, so 7 students out of 20 handing in coursework early, finding that Weetos cereal bars are really low in calories and fat (as well as being delicious), counting eight bees on my lavender all at the same time, these make for good times, and in this blog entry I resolve to once again find the time, find the inspiration and see the moments of wonder.

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”

Anaïs Nin

On trains – an open letter

Dear London Midland Trains,

Your ‘Great Escape’ promotion is such a great idea – a ‘rover’ ticket for the whole of your network for just £10.  The Bloke and I thought it was such a good idea we’d book and go to Shrewsbury, from Acocks Green in Birmingham, just for a mooch around.

We had planned the visit with almost military precision, as is The Bloke’s way, but at Smethwick Galton Bridge Station we hit our first snag.  The train we thought would take us to Shrewsbury was not a London Midland train, so we couldn’t board it.  The online timetable we had consulted hadn’t made us aware of this. Never mind, it was a short wait for the next train to Wolverhampton, and we could get our connection to Shrewsbury from there.  And we did.  And very nice it was too.

The journey home was less pleasant.  I realise that you cannot police this, but the constant chuntering from people having loud conversations on mobile phones does not make for a pleasant journey for other passengers.  Neither does the incessant whine which escapes from ipods.  We arrived at Birmingham New Street a little frazzled and made our way through the crowds to Moor Street to get our train home.

We were pleased that there was just a short wait for our train to Acocks Green but when it arrived it was very full.  It pulled past us and further along the platform and we joined the queue to get on.  There were many people boarding ahead of us, and despite the fact that people were asking others to move along the train so those behind them could get on, there was a bottle neck at the door. We heard the warning telling us that the doors were closing, and we remained on the platform, flustered, frustrated and annoyed.  We managed to speak briefly to the guard as the train pulled away and he told us there was another train along soon.  I was surprised that the guard and station staff made no effort to ask people to move along the carriage to clear the crowd near the door, and I was also surprised that the train was allowed to leave before everyone had managed to get on. It didn’t make for a pleasant experience and will make me think twice about using the train for leisure in the future.  I have blogged about train journeys before, and as you can see there’s a sort of pattern emerging!

Anyway, Shrewbury was nice – a very pretty place with a beautiful park and some interesting little nooks and crannies (great word, crannies).  Next time though, I’ll drive.

Yours,

Raynah

Getting busy with the garden, and buzzy with the bees.

You may remember that ten months ago or so I confessed that I didn’t like gardening.  Well I have an update. This year, I feel like I’m finding my way.  I’m growing stuff.  I’m enjoying going out there and looking at the things that are blooming.  I’m watching, eagerly, the growth of my sunflower plants, and I’m excited by a trip to a garden centre. I’ve even watched bits of the Chelsea Flower Show with interest, and have bought, in advance, tickets for the Gardener’s World and Good Food Show.  We went there last year, but it was the Good Food bit I was most interested in.  I’m finding myself quite looking forward to the gardeners’ bit this year too.

One of the things I’m loving most this year is the bees.I’ve spent hours out in the garden trying to get good shots of them, and today, in their post-rain frenzy round the rhododendrons, I got some shots I’m really pleased with.

p.s. I’m still not digging the digging, though.  That can still be The Bloke’s job.

Lazy Blogger!

I haven’t been here for ages!  Busy times – between work (impending Ofsted) and a jam-packed holiday I just haven’t got round to blogging.

So, here’s a photo-montage of some of the things I’ve been up to.

A Sunflower Haiku

by me.

I love haiku – seemingly such a simple form but the enforced economy of words makes the meaning so intense.

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