A very belated happy henkeeping year, one and all. As excuses go this is pretty lame, I know, but this whole month of tardiness is partly due to our seven-month old baby Charlie’s distaste for daytime naps. I’ve found it a little challenging to get household chores done, let alone blog posts and such. At the Smallholdings, 2016 has begun very promisingly – we’ve almost more eggs than we know what to do with. During most of 2015 it was a game scraping just half a dozen together a week, while friends and family waited patiently on the side lines for any spare freshly laid beauties our hens could muster. Now our newest brown hybrids are cracking out one each every day, so we feel positively egg rich. The old guard, based in the Henmobile, are still knocking out a decent supply, too, and are chaperoned around the garden at all times by Jeffrey, the handsome Araucana cockerel (pictured below).
Whenever we fancy doing some poaching, scrambling, frying, baking or boiling there’s a whole line up on the kitchen worktop to choose from. So we’ve forgiven them for sleeping in the nest box, lining it with droppings, and just accepted their curious behaviour – as long as they’re productive, we’re happy to clean them out on a daily basis. What’s really remarkable though is that our silver-barred Araucana Margot laid the other week – almost a month before Valentine’s Day when pure breeds open up shop again. It was a pointy little number with a perfectly lovely yolk and white inside. There’s not been another from her since, so it was just a token offering, as if to say ‘I’ve still got it’. Love that hen!
Suffice to say, the fruit cage still isn’t up and running yet, but our plants have arrived, including two beautiful-looking cherry trees for fan-training. I’ve heeled them in and almost finished digging over the ground. The next task is to mark out the beds, prepare the soil and erect the frame. It all needs doing by March, so there’s just a month left now. I need to pull my finger – or rather fork – out and get cracking. Anyone else planning a project for spring?