Springing into action

Audrey and Mabel
Audrey and Mabel waiting at the gate this morning

It’s been such a busy week with the Fair (countrylivingfair.com; on till Sunday) that the spring equinox yesterday went virtually unmarked in CL HQ. At home, however, you can’t ignore the signs that the new season has arrived – there is no denying the array of daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and blackthorn blossom, hawthorn leaves, birdsong, courting and nest-building. Just as obvious is the fact that, so far, we seem to have escaped any severe cold so far this year in East Anglia and most of southern England – though, of course, the floods were devastating enough. There is a slight sense that we haven’t been hardened off sufficiently and that despite spring’s unmistakable advent we will pay for the mild winter in some way. However, free from such speculation, the chickens seem only too delighted with the longer days and, for the first time since autumn, are clamouring at their gates and pop-holes to be let out at 6am. A refreshing change to the dark winter mornings and evenings  when we didn’t actually see them Monday to Friday. Back then, I would lift up the nesting box lid of the house where Audrey and Mabel live and peek inside and see them snugly snoozing in the straw. Now they’re loudly protesting to be let out (they may be small but they’ve got big voices) and, as it was fully light outside when we left the house this morning for work, I’ve allowed them to free range around the whole garden today. Another springtime activity happening at the Smallholdings this weekend is chicks hatching (hopefully!). As the old saying goes, we mustn’t count them before the big day, but I am so looking forward to those Ixworths emerging from their buff-coloured eggs. Will be setting up the camera, kindly lent by the Simon King Wildlife team to film the event this evening and should hopefully have some footage to share next week on this blog. Anyone else incubating at the moment? If so, would love to hear how you get on.

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