After a spectacular summer, I’m ready for cooler days, darker evenings and all the riches that the season brings: apples, hedgerow fruits and nuts, woodsmoke, burnished leaves, woollen jumpers, corduroy… One of the disadvantages is that our Araucanas shut up shop until February (when there are once again enough hours of daylight to inspire them to start laying again). However, Audrey and Margot have done their best to furnish us with pale-blue and -green beauties until now. We’re a tad disappointed with the performance of our Black Araucana trio, however, who have laid no more than a couple of eggs since we brought them home at the end of May. Either that or they are creating an egg mountain we are yet to discover (it has been known).
On the theme of stockpiling, James and I spent the best part of Bank Holiday Monday afternoon stacking logs under the lean-to – a lovely outside-but-inside job to do when it was lashing down all day. Also in store is an abundance of windfall apples kindly donated by friends and family – the most generous offering came in an old potato sack from James’s colleague Norman the other day. This lot will keep our three Oxford Sandy & Black weaners happy for some weeks if we keep the fruit cool and dry.
Our Ixworth cockerels have been enjoying our garden’s surplus runner beans, blackberries and courgettes and have grown into fine, large chickens. Their female counterparts are also laying excellent eggs – the shells may be rather dull, but inside are magnificent large orange yolks, which more than compensate for their outward appearance.
Jeffrey, the Araucana cockerel we’ve raised from a few weeks old in the layers’ run, is growing into a fine specimen, seems to be enjoying the all-female company and displays very gallant behaviour, allowing his ladies to eat and drink before him – so far.
The manners of our young pigs don’t bear comparison with those of Gentleman Jeff, though. They practically mugged me every morning for breakfast, so I thought I’d catch them on camera this morning!