21st May, 2008
The weather has been fantastic for the past month, each day the sun has been shining and the skies have been blue. The happy farmer has been able to turn his attentions from the frustrations of an appalling lambing to his building project and is really making progress with the extension. The walls are all built and he has been busy coating them with cement, as his tractor radio blares out across the farmyard. What an achievement in years to come as each brick has been carefully laid with his own bare hands, every bit of the building his own work.
We lost a lot of lambs this year; the weather was cruel, bringing icy cold winds and frequent hail storms. To make matters worse all of the sheep the happy farmer had brought at the market last autumn were ‘yelled’. They did not produce one lamb among them. Those girls have spent the last few months in the fields, getting extra attention and daily rations from the happy farmer, as he prepared them for lambing. They were in tip top condition. When he gathered them all in at the end of lambing, not one lamb among them, to dose them and jag them, his face was a picture, as each of the yelled ewes gleefully skipped and jumped high in the air as they left the fank for the hill. Much later I heard him on the phone to Farmer T offering to sell him some sheep, fantastic sheep, guaranteed to give you an easy lambing………because they don’t carry lambs in the first place!!
We have been ever so worried about Charlie chicken over the past weeks. Lola, her constant companion, was lying dead, perched up on the fuchsia last month. Those two chickens went everywhere together, on a hot day you could see the pair of them sunning themselves on top of the flowers in the troughs at the door of the Millhouse, or digging for bugs in the newly seeded flower beds that border the farm yard.
Charlie cut a lonely figure without her companion, and began following us everywhere. We were heartened then when one of the Blackrock hens left the hen run in the field, and flew over to the farm yard, abandoning the other hens to join Charlie. For a week she followed Charlie everywhere, even giving up the comfort of the hen house to perch precariously on the fuchsia bush with Charlie at night. Charlie however was having none of it, the seemingly lonely chicken did not take kindly to her new companion at all, and fluffed up her feathers and squawked threateningly every time the black hen dared to come any where close to her. After a week or so of persevering, the black hen gave up and went back to the hen house, leaving Charlie alone once again.
The farm yard seemed empty when Charlie suddenly stopped appearing too, but there was great excitement when we found her sitting, all puffed out, on her nest behind an old iron gate. Charlie was broody. We carefully swapped the eggs for some fertile eggs provided by the hens in the run, and yesterday when the happy farmer pulled back Charlie’s fluffed up feathers there was a small yellow chick among the rest of the eggs lying in the nest. Hopefully by now there will be a few more additions, but we will leave Charlie in peace so as not to disturb her from the nest, but she is no longer alone, and this time she will enjoy the company.
Until next time….