Our rose is at it’s peak

Our rose always peaks for my birthday and it is quite spectacular at the moment.

Our rose is looking beautiful
Our patio with rose and honeysuckle
Looking up the garden path
Looking down the garden path
Towards our back door

It is so beautiful. This is probably the most spectacular moment of the year for our garden and always happens for my birthday. How lucky is that!

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

My 60th birthday

Yesterday ( Monday 25th May ) was my 60th birthday and I had a wonderful day.

A year ago my boys said that we must all get together for my 60th and being a bank holiday there would be no excuse.

Sadly, corona virus came along, followed by lock-down. I felt sad that we couldn’t be together.

But I had an amazing day. It was a gloriously sunny day and I love the sun. Parcels and cards had started to arrive.

My day started with a birthday message to my phone from my mum and I called her for a chat. Then after breakfast I went into the garden and my neighbour had put a gift and card on our wall and we chatted. I then got a video call from my eldest son and had a chat with my three year old grandson.

Next my youngest step son had cycled over to leave a card and cake and have a distanced chat. That was followed by my eldest son and daughter in law arriving with a card and gifts and another distance chat.

It was then time for lunch followed by a call from my husband’s cousin and a long chat. This took us up to our next meeting.

Our lovely friends opposite had invited us for a distance birthday drink at three o’clock in their large front garden. They had set up a table and chairs for us in a sunny spot and another for them at a distance and we each took our own prosecco and glasses.

While there I had a birthday call from my eldest step son and several text messages plus our friend’s neighbours came out to wish me a happy birthday.

We came back home at seven o’clock and our neighbours the other side called to me to wish me happy birthday and see how my day had gone.

It was then time for a later than usual evening meal and afterwards a few more text messages. There had not been a gap in the day from start to finish and it worked out better than I could have imagined.

I have had lots of lovely gifts but will just show my flowers here.

Wild flowers from the allotment from my lovely husband
Flowers from my lovely eldest son and family delivered the day before my birthday
Flowers hand delivered by my lovely youngest son and daughter in law
Flowers from our lovely friends opposite us
Birthday flowers and cards

Because of the bank holiday I have been told that I have another parcel and some more cards to come. It is spreading my birthday out nicely.

My lovely husband also did me a B.B.Q. the day before instead of me cooking the usual Sunday roast. On my birthday I had organised a seafood cocktail for our evening meal because we knew we might be late back home.

We have said that we will celebrate together next year but this birthday will always be memorable. It has been amazing. Thank you to everyone.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments

This and that

Over the last few days I have seen a fair sized slow worm on the path. Most times it had gone by the time I got my camera but eventually I just managed one photo before it disappeared.

Slow worm on the path

Our rambling rose is just getting started. I took a photo of it against the blue sky.

The rose against the blue sky
This clematis is a beautiful colour

In chicken news Smoke came out of being broody nearly a week ago. I decided that as Smoke was no longer broody I would close the nest boxes at the end of the day to encourage broody Flame to go in the chicken shed at bedtime.

Flame would then sit on top of a nest box.

Flame sits on top of the nest box

Despite this Flame still went and perched in the chicken shed at bedtime. This makes life easier as I don’t have to lift her at bedtime and it is also less disturbance for her too.

After doing this for a couple nights I decided to close the nest boxes during the day once the laying girls had laid their eggs. I was pleased to find that Flame stayed out in the run instead of sitting on the nest box.

I have now been closing the nest boxes for the last couple of days and I am hopeful that Flame will soon give up on being broody. I am also expecting Smoke to start laying again soon.

It is always good to have a bit of respite between broody girls.

Posted in Chickens | 2 Comments

A second allotment plot

The three of us sharing the allotment plot have just taken on the plot next to ours. It had an older couple sharing it with their daughter but she has now moved away and they couldn’t manage it on their own.

It is overgrown but it has the advantage of having a row of mature raspberry canes which is an absolute bonus for us all.

T has been going up early in the morning and digging it over and is doing a great job. We went up yesterday so that I could take some photos of both plots. I wanted to photograph the new plot before it’s cleared so that I will have before and after photos.

Our new plot which T has started digging over
It has this row of mature raspberry canes and looks over to our other plot

Some photos of our first plot.

Our artichoke plant has artichokes on it this year
Potatoes have been planted on the right
We have beautiful views from our plot
Our strawberry bed is looking great

We feel so lucky to have the allotment at the moment. We feel that this year will be even better than last year as we have learned a lot and we all have plenty of time.

We are looking forward to seeing how much produce we get this year, probably enough to keep our neighbours supplied too, but the main thing is that it gives us all a lot of pleasure.

Posted in Chickens | 2 Comments

Colour in the garden

There are lots of lovely splashes of colour in the garden at the moment. I thought I would try to capture a few.

Lilac and blue sky
The first big poppy of the year
Pale pink spikes
And my husband took this photo of a young male pheasant in the garden

The garden is so lush at the moment and we feel so lucky to have the garden. All birds are also welcome visitors to the garden too.

Posted in Chickens | 4 Comments

Two broody girls and nest box shenanigans

Smoke has now been broody for two weeks and Flame went broody four days ago. Once again our best two layers are broody together but as we have been getting plenty of eggs it’s not a problem at the moment.

Smoke and Flame have taken to sharing a nest box quite a lot of the time and at bedtime I have to lift them both from the nest box and put them on the bedtime perch.

A few days ago Marmite looked a bit down again and I knew she was leading up to laying another egg. The next morning her egg was in the run and the shell was fine. Marmite always looks a bit down the day before laying which must be when the egg is at an uncomfortable stage. When she actually lays the egg she seems unaware as it has been on the patio or, this time, in the run.

Marmite then goes to sit in the nest box showing that she is unaware of having laid her egg. We have seen this behaviour before with Amber in the past and with Salmon last year so it seems that the pattern is discomfort the day before but no awareness of the egg being laid.

Marmite really wanted to sit in the same nest box as the two broody girls. Obviously if they were both in one nest box then that had to be the best nest box.

Marmite wants to join the broody girls

Flame is a tolerant girl but Smoke isn’t. Smoke had pecked Marmite away every time she got too close to her. Smoke is happy to sit with broody Flame but she doesn’t want to share a nest box with any of the little girls.

Marmite gives up and leaves the nest box

Smoke got fed up with all the intrusions and moved to the nest box next door. In the meantime Ebony was ready to lay her egg and her current favourite nest box is the one that Flame was occupying.

Ebony and Flame share the nest box

I don’t understand why Marmite wants to be in the same nest box as Smoke because Smoke clearly doesn’t want her there.

Marmite would like to share with Smoke

Marmite spent ages stood on the ramp to the nest box Smoke was in. Every time Marmite stepped over the threshold Smoke would peck her away.

Once Ebony had laid her egg, and I quickly removed it, Marmite decided that it would be better to share with the more tolerant Flame.

Marmite decides it is better to share with Flame

Soon after this Marmite gave up on laying the egg that she had in fact already laid and left the nest box. This gave Smoke the opportunity to take up residence with Flame once more.

Smoke and Flame resume their usual position of sharing a broody nest box.

The two broody girls were still together like this at bedtime when I moved them to chicken shed once the pop hole door had closed.

It would seem convenient that these two are happy to share a nest box leaving the other two free but in fact it doesn’t help at all as the rest of the girls want this nest box too. Sigh. That’s chickens for you!

Posted in Chickens | 8 Comments

Our wedding anniversary

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary ( Tuesday 12th May ). It was also my grandson’s third birthday and my new grandson ( his sibling ) is now three weeks old.

We have been coping with the lock-down well but the one thing I really miss is visiting my three year old grandson and being able to hold my new grandson. I will never get to hold him as a new baby.

However his birth went smoothly and they are all well and happy so that is the only thing that really matters. My eldest son has been sending me photos from the moment of new baby’s birth and we have kept in touch with google hangouts so that I could watch the new baby as I chatted to my son.

Yesterday we did a video call on whatsapp so that I could watch my three year old grandson open his birthday present from us which we had posted to him. It was lovely to see him and chat to him.

We are lucky that during these difficult times we have the technology to stay in touch and I look forward to a time when I can see them again in person.

As I am the one doing the shopping for us I bought an anniversary card for both of us and said in it that we were lucky that if we had to be locked in we were locked in together.

I bought some posh chocolates and for our evening meal I bought smoked salmon canapes as a starter and cooked ribeye steak, mushroom and chips.

My lovely husband surprised me with a home made card and some wild flowers from the allotment.

Wild flowers from the allotment

It was lovely and just shows how we can still do special things in very simple ways.

We are all having adjust to these strange times and must make the best of what we can. It was a happy day.

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments


The girls, just like me, love sunbathing. I love to see them them spreadeagled and soaking up the rays.

Marmite and Salmon sunbathing
Soaking up the sun
A few moments later Ebony joins Marmite and Salmon

This is always joyful to see. One of the things we have in common is our love of the sun.

Posted in Chickens | 8 Comments

Another veg frame

My husband has now made a smaller frame for the cabbages. They need the same protection as the broccoli but don’t need so much height.

Another frame planted with red cabbages

We are looking forward to a productive year from both the allotment plot and our own veg plot. Of course we have much more time to put in the care this year.

Posted in Chickens | 2 Comments

Salmon has a bit of a blip

While Marmite has recently been struggling to lay her eggs Salmon had looked better than ever and had been laying much more frequently than ever before. Salmon has sometimes been laying two days running which had only happened on rare occasions the year before.

Last week Salmon and Flame were sharing a nest box. I thought they looked so sweet together that I took a photo.

Flame and Salmon share a nest box

When I checked back a little later Flame was out in the run. I checked the nest box and couldn’t see an egg so I lifted Salmon and found that she was sitting on Flame’s egg.

I wondered if Salmon was going broody or if she had just decided to sit on Flame’s egg while waiting to lay her own. I removed the egg and left Salmon to it.

A little later I checked again and Salmon had laid so I took her out of the nest box and she stayed out. Perhaps not broody then.

The following day Salmon looked poorly. She looked just like Marmite does when she is struggling to lay. I couldn’t understand why Salmon should be struggling when she had laid her egg the day before with no problem.

Salmon looks poorly

Salmon had the same posture that Marmite often has and her eyes kept closing but she opened them when I took her photo.

I hate to see the girls like this and feel so helpless. I can’t understand why this should happen as nothing has changed in their diet. Salmon looked like this until she went in at bedtime and from experience I knew that she would probably get her egg laid in the morning and hopefully bounce back.

The next morning Salmon looked back to her normal self again. I found half a soft shell on their patio area and the rest of it in a sticky mess in the chicken shed. I think they must have managed to get half the egg outside and eat the contents.

Later that day Salmon spent time in the nest box and I knew that she hadn’t realised she had laid her egg as this often happens after a soft shelled egg. I always think that it is odd that the girls look so poorly before they lay the egg but then when they actually lay it they don’t seem aware of it. A little later Salmon left the nest box.

The next day Salmon was back in the nest box again. This time she was in the nest box for a long time and when I checked on her she raised her tail like the broody girls do and had an angry glint in her eye at being disturbed. Once again I wondered if she was going broody.

Salmon is behaving like a broody

Salmon has never been broody but then again she has never laid so well as this year either and it tends to be the better laying girls that go broody.

I lifted Salmon out of the nest box and she went straight back in again. I decided that if she was broody it would be a good chance for her to take a break from laying.

However the next time I checked on Salmon she had laid a good shelled egg and was back out in the run looking perfectly normal again.

It seems that it was just a blip and Salmon has looked her usual self since then. These girls do like to throw a bit of drama our way every now and again.

The day after Salmon looked poorly Marmite looked poorly again. Here we go again, I thought! The following morning Marmite had also bounced back and there was her egg on the patio just outside the pop hole. It looked perfect but when I picked it up the shell broke in my hand. The shell was really thin.

A few days later Marmite went into the nest box without looking poorly. This time Marmite laid a good shelled egg. While looking poorly Marmite always goes to the grit so she knows what she needs. It seems that she is taking grit and oyster shell but it doesn’t seem to be helping her form her shells properly.

I hope that after laying a good shelled egg Marmite is now improving. It seems to be one drama after another with these girls at the moment. Today both Salmon and Marmite look happy again so I can only hope it stays that way.

In other news Smoke has gone broody again. She has laid nine eggs in twelve days. Sigh!

Posted in Chickens | 6 Comments