Monday, 6 November 2017

The invisible chicken & a recipe that came home to roost.

Pepper has 5 progeny and she keeps well to "her" side of our border. She thinks I don't know she's there. But her clucking is very different to Brown hen and her 13 rowdy nuggets (bigger than pom poms now).

Here she is hiding from me and playing statues in the undergrowth.

And completely off the chicken topic, this morning a university friend sent me a photo of her recipe book with my mum's recipe for Golden Crunchie biscuits in it. My mum gave it to her about 30 years ago, and somehow had omitted to give it to me. My friend sent a message with the photo "am about to make these again for the millionth time". Well she has 4 children, and I think the quantity isn't so far off... so today, I made them too and am delighted with the result.

In between baking and chasing chickens, I have been unpacking boxes with items from the UK. I feel that finally all of my history is safely tucked up with me in the mountains, and the feeling is very good.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Paddock Diary

The foxgloves are sprouting everywhere, and the plum trees have some very delicious new leaves right at the very top. One of our local Kereru just chomped its way through some as a "side dish" with me underneath the tree telling him off!

The boys heard me giving the pigeon a telling off and came to join me. Mango got a bit stuck in the "V" of the plum tree branches, so decided the fence post was a better option - just; he is rather large!

Both boys are now patrolling the rest of the garden, checking for pheasants, chickens, rabbits, mice and rats. Her ladyship is resting in a box from the supermarket - clever girl.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Battle for the Post Box, year 4

For the last two years we have succeeded in preventing starlings grabbing our Post Box for their nest. Year one was a disaster, three months of dirt, twigs and dead progeny, not to mention a very smelly box afterwards. They nest in our trees, our eves, our verandah, but I draw the line at the Post Box.

This year, we may have cracked it, due to the innovation of our next door neighbours. Their eldest boy made a scarecrow and parked it next to their letter box. We are hoping its effect will carry over to ours.

Later in the afternoon, number two scarecrow arrived.

Sadly, it won't deter Egna the Hen who has now decided to take her progeny on a tour of our garden, which includes the newly dug over veggie patch!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Learning to perch and something to perch food atop

The pom poms are growing bigger and louder. Today they were practicing roosting on some of the old flax stems. They tried it out tentatively, one at a time, like kids hopping on stepping stones in a stream.

They happily slithered off when mother hen called them.

And in other news - home made digestive biscuits. Although quite why I decided to bake when we are already baking in 24 degrees in the shade inside the house, I'm not sure.

So tomorrow, friends for lunch and lots of toppings for the biscuits (of which there are several dozen!)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pom poms at large

It's not that I don't trust our cats. Two out of three are capable of taking out rats, mice, rabbits and possibly chickens, it's just that the mother chuck KNOWS there are cats on this side of the hedges, but she still insists on teaching them to peck and forage here. I guess that's where the expression "Chicken run" comes from!

They look as if they all take after Reginald from a distance (i.e. they are white) but when you get close to their peeping cheeping, you realise it is baby fluff and they are changing to browns and blacks. 12 out of the original 13. I hope it stays a dozen, or I will be looking at guilty whiskers VERY closely.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Momma and the pom poms

Our neighbours chickens have hatched 13 very active pom poms. We saw them being taught how to scratch in our borders. Momma Chuck appears to have a second sense about my camera. The minute I lifted it to take a photo she shooed them off into the undergrowth.

Now to keep them away from les chats....

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The owl with the winceyette feathers

A work in progress.

But a rather nice thought, a wise owl to keep warm with winceyette feathers!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Single spelling, double meaning

I recently acquired this postcard. I thought it was romantic and the boat colour reminded me of the nursery rhyme:

"The owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat"

But then I realised it could also mean "Let's fight all of our lives". Funny how the romantic gloss was suddenly lost!

And speaking of romance, I have been corresponding recently with family in Canada and reflecting on events that took my Great Aunt there to find her fortune. Encouraged by her older half brother, she ended up emigrating, going to work for Sam McLaughlin (of General Motor's fame) and eventually marrying another immigrant who was originally from the East End of London.

Here is my great aunt in her uniform working at the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa Ontario. She is on the far left.

and here is her brother dressed as a cowboy. In fact I am told he loved to hunt, so holding a gun wasn't just for show.

and here in his WW1 uniform and later as best man at his sister's wedding

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Post election blues

Well, the election is over, but we still don't have a final result. Let's hope we don't do a Belgium or a Northern Ireland.

The cats tried to participate, but it was all a bit much and after a hectic day sofa surfing, two out of three took to their bed.

One was still on Rooster Watch. He is relieved that the rooster has vanished, and it sure is quiet around here since. I miss him, but the Terrified Tabby doesn't.

Our neighbour lost two chickens on the same day that Reginald disappeared, so we think he has eloped. His brown feather dusters really miss him.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the day the noisy boy vanished, our rosellas returned to the garden to destroy our cherry blossoms.

Friday, 22 September 2017

fungi rumba

Our property has quite a few trees. Some have come down in storms, others drop branches when over enthusiastic native birds capture nectar from their blossoms. Others die off and branches slowly rot in the shadow of other trees. That's when the fungi likes to dance and do the rumba!

Here are two examples I found today, cha cha cha-ing in the little glades and hollows.

And in chicken news, our next door neighbours' white fluffy chook confection is currently sitting on blue eggs under their house, so there will be baby pom poms soon.

Here is the father. Doesn't he have lovely chucklewobbles?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Cool running

There is never a dull moment along our road. After the rather bad flooding of a couple of weeks ago, I sent photos to our local council showing them that the "work" they did in 2015 to ease the surface water, cough cough, didn't work.

A week ago, the bulldozers arrived and started digging channels EVERYWHERE, including behind the embankment which had previously had been a Niagara falls type water feature.

Now it looks like the local council want to nominate us for the Horowhenua bobsleigh team. The channel would certainly take a sled and the incline is steep enough...although the finish line looks a bit brutal. The sad fact is, the drainage that will be laid runs down another incline into the same field that was transformed two weeks ago into a duck lake. I have a feeling that in a few more weeks I may be writing to the council again about their rather erratic engineering.

And as if this kind of reshaping wasn't enough, the logging season is upon us. Our outlook will soon be very different when the hill opposite is shorn of the radiata pine. 5 months of logging trucks along the road I believe. Sigh.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Surprise visitor from California

We continue to be delighted by the antics of our next door neighbours' chickens. They love our garden, and certainly the soil is enjoying their scratching ministrations. Each day they do a particular circuit, which includes the woodpile, the veggie garden and the garage (if the door is open!) In the last few days they have discovered our copse, and are happily hiding in its shade crowing, scratching and very possibly laying eggs. I was amused this morning to see the guilty looks when I started to take their pictures.

But the big event this morning was seeing a plump Californian quail running around our lawn. I can't make out if it is wild or an escaped pet. But that baby sure can run. It is an adorable creature with its bobbing "fascinator" feather on its head. They are somewhat out of focus, again due to the long lens setting required. Also I suspect quail constantly hear the words in their head "run Forrest, run!"