Another change to the bedtime line up

Last night the silky girls managed to join the bigger girls at bedtime. I think as it is getting colder they don’t want to perch on their own. Last winter all the little girls joined the bigger girls on the back perch for the duration of winter.

The line up was a bit different then due to changes in the flock. This is the first winter for the silky girls and the amigos. I think the five amigos are a large enough number to keep each other warm.

Last year on the back perch were Emerald, Speckles, Rusty, Freckles, Dandelion, Cinnamon and Apricot.

This year we have Speckles, Ebony, Flame, Dandelion, Cinnamon, Sienna and Jasmine. It’s the same number but different girls due to losses and new arrivals.

The line up at the back

I notice that Dandelion has still managed to perch as far away from the silky girls as possible whilst Cinnamon is in between them.

The five amigos

I have also noticed that is always Spangle who ends up with the outside position.

With two bigger groups perching together I am happy that they will all keep each other warm. I think they have it all nicely sorted out before winter arrives.

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Buds opening

This plant has been in bud for three months from tight buds to almost all open. It’s been unbelievably slow.

Starting to open

These were the buds after two months.

Almost all open

These are the flowers after three months.

As open as I think it will get

I have forgotten what this is. We chose it for a bit of height and didn’t realise it would take so long to flower but late summer colour is always welcome. It has quite a delicate look about it.

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Last night

Last night when I checked the girls at bedtime Cinnamon had joined Dandelion with the bigger girls.

The silky girls

Cinnamon joins Dandelion with the bigger girls

Ebony and Cinnamon appear to be wondering what on earth Flame is doing!

The five amigos

I sometimes wonder why the silky girls are not so popular, but in fact, they don’t get bullied or chased and they are at ease within the flock it’s just that they are not favoured. It’s lucky that have each other and they remain inseparable.

Dandelion and Cinnamon have been with Speckles the longest and as Speckles accepted Ebony and Flame as kindred bigger girls it seems that Dandelion and Cinnamon accepted them as part of their group too.

The silky girls came along a lot later than than Dandelion and Cinnamon and so are further down the pecking order and then the amigos later still so they are at the bottom of the pecking order. The odd thing is that Dandelion is happy to seek out the amigos company but not the silky girls.

I guess like us the girls have preferences as to which characters they want to spend time with. I am reluctant to say Dandelion likes or doesn’t like another girl within the flock because I know we can’t humanise the way they think or feel but it’s definitely obvious that Dandelion doesn’t favour the silky girls.

As the silky girls have each other I don’t suppose they are bothered. It is interesting that within a bigger flock these groups have their own cliques and yet as a whole they are a happy flock and get along together harmoniously.

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Dandelion’s eggs

Three weeks ago Dandelion laid a long egg. She looked a bit down for the day before she laid it but bounced back once she had laid. I have no idea why she laid such a big egg for her as she normally lays tiny eggs.

The next egg she laid was in between the bigger egg and her normal size. The following two eggs she has laid have been back to their normal tiny size and she has looked back to her normal happy self.

Dandelion is only laying two eggs a week at the moment and Cinnamon hasn’t laid for ten days. All the little girls are dropping a few feathers.

As Cinnamon hasn’t laid for a while I don’t have an egg from her as a comparison so below is Dandelion’s long egg and then I took a photo of yesterday’s tiny egg with Ebony and Flame’s egg. To my surprise these two girls are still laying almost every day.

Eggs

Dandelion’s long egg is on the left, Cinnamon’s is next, then Ebony’s  and then Flame’s on the right.

Dandelion’s latest egg

On the left is Dandelion’s latest egg which is her usual size, Flame’s egg is in the middle and Ebony’s on the right. No wonder Dandelion wasn’t happy about laying the bigger egg. I am pleased that she is back to laying her tiny eggs as she looks much happier.

Dandelion

And here is Dandelion looking lovely. She has a lovely red face and comb. She is looking great.

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We are buying a car

After twenty years of driving vans we have decided that we would like a car. The main reason is that we would like to be able to take our grandchildren out or even just collect them when they stay with us rather than them having to be dropped off. The disadvantage of vans is that we can only have one passenger.

The thing is neither of us has any interest in modern cars. Suddenly it came to us that what would suit us is a classic, vintage, car. We only need a car for local journeys, for fun and for collecting the grandchildren. It doesn’t need to be a workhorse as we have the vans for that.

We started looking through classic car magazines and my husband was taken with the idea of getting a morris traveller. He found a garage an hour away that works on morris travellers and rang them. It just happened that the man at the garage services a morris traveller for a lady that was thinking of selling hers so he put us in touch with her.

The lady was ready to sell her car after owning it for ten years. Her and her husband had just bought a camper van. They had retired and wanted to travel and she no longer drove her car which she felt was sad for the car. She wanted £5000 for it which was very reasonable if it was in good condition. She said we could go and see it on Saturday.

As we had no lunches to deliver on Friday, giving us an unexpected day off, we decided to to visit a classic car garage that we had found in the magazine that was also an hours drive from us. It didn’t have any morris travellers but had some really lovely cars.

I totally fell in love with a black A 30. It was small which I like, sort of like a bubble car and in good condition. It had spent a long time in someones garage and was in the process of being brought back to it’s best and was also £5000.

I could have bought it there and then but I knew my husband really wanted a morris traveller and we had one to look at the next day so we said that we would bare it in mind.

On Saturday we went to see the morris traveller and it was in really good condition. The lady had looked after it and had all the paperwork for it’s history. It is 52 years old and had had an M.O.T. each year, most recently just a few months ago. We said that we were really interested but would like to think it over for a few days and then would give them our answer.

We thought about it and decided that much as we liked the A 30 this car was much more practical for us. It had more space and the seats fold down to give loads of room in the back. We could even deliver our vintage afternoon teas from it.

The timing of them wanting to sell and us wanting to buy felt like fate.

We contacted them and agreed to buy it but the couple are away for a week and we have a busy spell coming up so we agreed that we would set a date to collect it when they return from their trip away.

Our drive is narrow but long so the plan is to move the pots from in front of the wall to above, in front of the windows and put the morris close to the wall and then my van in behind it. We will buy a water proof, breathable, cover for it.

Our vans

My van is on the right and could pull further up the drive to leave a space behind it, although it would be the other way round because I would park my van behind the morris, but it gives you an idea of the space.

Vans from the other direction

Looking from the house you can see that we have space for another vehicle. At £5000 we feel that we can’t lose on it. Parts are easily available and inexpensive and classic cars have such simple workings under the bonnet that they are easy to fix if there is a problem. We also have joint AA membership.

We are feeling quite excited at the prospect of owning a classic car. I will photograph it once we have it. We are looking forward to it.

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Bedtime is sorted

We had a manic, busy, weekend so I didn’t have time to blog. A few evenings we were back after the girls bedtime and they managed to sort it out for themselves so from now on I am leaving them to it.

Sometimes Dandelion perched on the back with the bigger girls and sometimes she perched with the amigos. I really don’t mind where she perches as long as they all perch. Dandelion obviously doesn’t favour the silky girls!

This photo was from a couple of nights ago when she perched with the amigos. Last night she perched on the back with the bigger girls.

Dandelion is perched with the amigos

I think they are probably happy to have her with them because they don’t like perching on the outside. They jump all over each other trying to get a middle position whereas Dandelion is used to perching here on her own so she is not bothered by being on the outside.

From now on Dandelion can choose where she wants to perch. As long as everyone perches I am happy with that.

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The next night at bedtime

Last night I repeated putting the bin bag over the amigos perch and once more Dandelion perched on the back perch. This time I decided to leave her and see what happened so I removed the bin bag and kept checking back to see what was going on.

The bigger girls made their way in and Dandelion stayed put and they took no notice of her. Cinnamon and the silky girls perched on their side. The amigos soon settled on their perch.

Dandelion is on the back perch with the bigger girls

The amigos have settled on their perch

I have decided that if Dandelion would prefer to be on the back perch with the bigger girls and they are not bothered by her being there then it is best that I just leave her to it. I think she prefers their company to the silky girls.

It is best that the girls sort themselves out with me interfering so I will just carry on with this and see if this will be the new routine. It seems that they have their own ideas of what they want and as long as there isn’t one girl on her own I am happy with which ever position they choose.

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Last night at bedtime

I put a bin bag over the amigos perch to deter Dandelion from perching there but it didn’t exactly work out as I planned. Dandelion perched on the back perch instead of the other side.

I moved her across to the side perch. In hind sight maybe I should have left her to see if she would move on her own. I will see what she does tonight.

I checked a bit later and the bigger girls were on the back perch and the four older, little, girls on the the side perch.

The amigos were on their perch with the exception of Marmite who was on the back perch again. I could now see that the amigos perching on the back perch wouldn’t work because Flame shuffled across the perch and pecked at Marmite until she was forced down. Marmite then made her way to the end of the perch nearest the door and jumped up.

The four older, little, girls

The bigger girls at the back

Marmite is last to join the amigos

I am sure it will work out soon. I will keep trying to train Dandelion to perch on the other side and hope that this will help the amigos to perch easier.

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The bedtime routine continues

Last night I managed to get the timing right. I moved Dandelion from the amigos perch to the other side just as the amigos were about to go in. I watched them with my camera at the ready.

They perched up quite quickly but Marmite was perched on the back perch. Again I kept both photos because I find it amusing to see them looking down. I have taken numerous photos like this over years and I always wonder what they are expecting to see below them.

Marmite is on the back perch

Marmite is looking across at her flock mates

At this point it was tempting to move Marmite but I decided to leave them to it and see if she could work it out for herself.

I returned five minutes later to find that Marmite had joined the other girls. As she was at the end nearest the door she had obviously jumped down from the back and come over to the near side of the shed to jump up to the gap.

Marmite has joined her flock mates

I was glad that I had left them to it as it shows that they can work it out for themselves.

I now have a plan to sort out the Dandelion problem but it means getting the timing right. I am going to hang a bin bag over the amigos perch so that Dandelion will perch on the other side.

Once Dandelion is perched I will remove the bin bag so the amigos can perch. Last time I did this it only took two nights to train Dandelion to perch on the other side so I hope this will work again. It will then leave the amigos perch free and make it easier for them to get settled.

I don’t know why Dandelion switched back to perching on the amigos perch as she had been perching on the other side for quite some time. I hope that if I can train her back to perching there, it will mean that if she changes back again, the amigos will by then be able to cope with her being there too.

Time will tell how it will work out but I am sure it will settle eventually. As I keep saying it is a work in progress.

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September in the garden

I was surprised that our hollyhock has just thrown out another bloom.

A late hollyhock flower

A splash of colour in the chicken’s strip

We planted this in spring and it’s been in bud for months.

In bud in August

Still in bud in September but beginning to open

This must surely flower soon. We are interested to see what it will look like. The buds have reminded us of broad beans and have been taking forever to open.

I haven’t got much further with the amigos at bedtime. Their going in coincides with me getting our evening meal ready at the moment. The problem is that Dandelion insists on perching on their perch. The last two evenings I haven’t managed to get out in time to move her before the amigos go in.

Dandelion being on the perch at the spot where they jump up makes it difficult for them. She doesn’t intentionally put them off but they can’t easily find a way up and a couple will be trying to get up, one or two will try the back perch and then one or two will start to settle in the corner.

I move Dandelion to the other side and to speed things up I have perched the amigos on their perch where they quickly settle. They no longer attempt to jump down and I can tell that they want to perch here but Dandelion obstructs them.

It’s a shame Dandelion won’t perch on the other side. She never attempts to move once I move her over there but on her own she chooses the amigo’s perch. I know that if Dandelion didn’t choose to perch there this would be sorted by now.

As they go in earlier it will become easier for me to move Dandelion before the amigos go in but longer term I am not sure if they will be able to work it out for themselves. I don’t really want to have move one girl each night but I am not sure how it will go smoothly otherwise.

It’s such a pain because Dandelion perched over the other side for a while but seems determined to perch this side at the moment. It continues to be a work in progress. I am sure it will all resolve itself in the end.

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