Chickens of the wood

Now the weather’s a little cooler, we give the girls extra snacks such as leftover boiled potato, pasta and bread porridge. As soon as we start walking down the garden, they’re at the gate like a shot

We’d been meaning to order a load of firewood for some months, but when James saw the first frost a fortnight ago and it was clear the season had shifted to autumn and it spurred us into action. He rang our local timber merchant and arranged for two winters’-worth of hardwood logs to be delivered at the weekend, so when I returned from a shoot and interview day at the smallholding in Cambridgeshire (for Country Living next year, starting in the April 2013 issue), he was busy storing the pile of beech, hornbeam and ash which lay on the grass a the lean-to. It’s a much quicker job with two, so I threw the logs over and James caught them and slotted them into his neat rows.

There’s something so pleasing about a stack of wood, the round ends of the logs creating a stunning pattern of circles – I think it’s a beautiful sight. Audrey and Mabel seem to agree and enjoyed free-ranging over the assortment of timber, without worrying about the perils of logs flying over their sweet pom-pom heads. So we’re going to build a similar, but more stable, woody assault course in their run which they’ll be able to wander around any time.

Audrey on a woody adventure

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