As I have said before, I read an article by Alan Titchmarsh, that said if your leeks go to seed you can leave them as they are quite spectacular. He said to put them at the back of your borders. We decided to leave ours on the veg plot.

They are incredibly slow to flower and at the moment only two have opened. We were expecting a more spectacular flower head whereas they are like a larger version of wild garlic.

However as time has gone on we have decided that maybe he meant spectacular in a different way to what we were imagining.  Maybe it’s not about the flower head but about the height and the upright stance. The leeks now look like a dramatic, sentinel, row. The amazing thing about them is that although are very tall they are also very stiff and able to stay upright without any support. We are now seeing them in a different light and can see that they would indeed add drama to the back of a border.

A dramatic row of leeks that have gone to seed

Saturday was a really windy day with sunny spells, cloudy spells and sudden, huge, gusts. The leeks were able to withstand this whereas our prize allium snapped in the wind fairly close to the flower head.

I snipped it off and put in a single rose vase as it seemed such a shame to lose it when it was at it’s best.

Allium in a vase

I am now thinking that the leeks and the alliums are both dramatic, just in different ways.

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Chicken behaviour

Ebony has been broody for two weeks. At the end of the day I close the nest boxes and this makes broody Smoke go and perch up in the chicken shed. Not Ebony though. She sits on the top of the nest box until I put her on a perch once the pop hole has closed.

Ebony settles on the top of the nest box

Since the weather warmed up Speckles started wanting to sleep outside as she does every summer. After the first few days of doing this Cinnamon started joining her. This is something that Cinnamon has never done before. Since we lost Dandelion, Cinnamon has firmly attached herself to Speckles and I think it is a case of where Speckles goes Cinnamon goes too.

I think that because Ebony is broody this has stopped her from joining Speckles as she has done in the past and probably will do again in the future. It was still quite light when I took this photo but it was to show that this is where they settle and they are still here at dusk.

These two have taken to staying outside

At the moment I put Ebony in and then I go and collect these two. Because Cinnamon is so tiny I am able to take both girls at once. I pick up Speckles and settle her under my left arm and then pick up Cinnamon in my right hand.

I put Cinnamon on the perch with Jasmine and then use both hands to put Speckles on the perch with Ebony and Flame. This is the evening ritual for now.

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Speckles third egg of the year

Yesterday Speckles laid her third egg of the year just three days after her second egg of the year. This is amazing for Speckles. The year before last Speckles laid twenty four eggs and last year she laid twelve so I predicted that she would lay six this year.

After Speckles laid her first egg in March I began to think that six eggs seemed very unlikely. Now that she has laid three eggs I am thinking that six may yet be possible after all.

Speckles third egg of the year

On the right is Speckles second egg of the year, in the middle her third which is just slightly bigger and on the left is Flame’s for comparison.

Flame’s egg on the left, Speckles third egg of the year in the middle and her second egg on the right

It’s a shame that there aren’t any from broody Ebony to compare because Flame’s eggs are large, compared to Ebony’s and are a similar size to a standard girl’s egg. Speckles eggs are really big as they are longer.

Vanilla started laying again five days ago after a broody break of one week and is laying every other day. Marmite also started laying again five days ago after a broody break of two weeks.

Ebony has now been broody for nearly two weeks and is showing no sign of coming out of it. I lift Ebony out of the nest box a couple of times in the morning, a couple of times in the afternoon and again before bedtime when I close the nest boxes. This doesn’t deter Ebony and she sits on top of the nest box until I put her on the perch at dusk.

Smoke is also showing signs of going broody again after laying seven eggs in eight days after a break of just over two weeks since her last broody spell. Smoke is turning out to be a serial broody.

Jasmine took a weeks break since her last broody spell then laid four eggs in a week before going broody again. Jasmine sits in the corner of the shed so I decided to close the pop hole on the second day to keep her out.  This worked as she showed no further sign of being broody and was over it in two days. I will do this again in future. Jasmine has the shortest broody spells.

Spangle and Salmon have never gone broody but this may be down to them being the poorest layers. Cinnamon hasn’t gone broody this year and has never gone broody for more than a few days until last summer’s heat wave when she remained broody for weeks.

Speckles has never gone broody. Ancona’s are not a broody breed but are supposed to be good egg layers so Speckles is very much her own mix. It is said that the best egg layers can have shorter lives as they wear themselves out so I am thinking that Speckles should be a long lived girl. She is the oldest girl we have had so far and long may she continue.


Today Speckles has laid her fourth egg of the year just two days after her third. This is three eggs in six days which is the best she has laid in a very long time, three years in fact. Speckles seems to have a new lease of life!

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This and that

Our rose has gone from bud to full bloom very quickly this year. I think it’s because it has been so warm.

The rose is amazing

I decided to frame my chicken birthday card. I just happened to have a spare frame of the right size. Here it is before I framed it so that you can see a close up.

Birthday card

My birthday card in a frame

What I love about this hand made card is that I am sure it depicts seramas. There is fluff stuck to the chickens which is reminiscent of the silky feathers and the shape is so like my girls. These two could be Pebbles and Freckles. I think the different colours also points to seramas. It’s too pretty not to keep.

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Speckles comb

This is another post inspired by one of David’s comments. He mentioned Speckles comb being less red than it used to be and I said that I thought it wasn’t as big as it used to be.

I decided to compare photos of Speckles comb at this time of year two years ago and today.

Speckles comb in May 2017

May 2017

May 2017

I took the following photos this morning.

Speckles comb today

Speckles today

I was surprised to find that Speckles comb actually isn’t as different as I had thought it was. I think the differing redness depends on the light and the the size of her comb depends on the camera angle and shows up best in close up.

She doesn’t look at all bad for an older girl.

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Speckles has laid her second egg of the year

It’s all going on with the egg laying here at the moment! The day before yesterday Speckles was very vocal and at one point had a scratch around in the corner of the chicken shed. I had a feeling that she might be getting ready to lay again.

Yesterday she was settled in a nest box.

Speckles in a nest box

She came out of the nest box and there was no egg. The next time I checked she was back in the nest box and this time she had a little pile of pine shavings on her back.

Speckles back in a nest box with pine shavings on her back

The next time I checked Speckles was just leaving the nest box and this time there was an egg. It was a long, torpedo, shaped egg which seems to be a feature of a first egg after a long break.

Speckles long egg on the right

Smoke’s egg is on the left, Flame’s egg is in the middle and Speckles long egg is on the right.

Speckles and Spangle’s eggs

Speckles and Spangles eggs together to show that although they are different in size they are very similar in shape. I know it is probably boring to most people that I show a lot of egg photos here but I am fascinated by how different my girls’ eggs are.

When Speckles laid her first egg of the year in March it had a streak of blood on it. I am pleased to see that there is no blood on this second egg and it reassures me that Speckles is okay despite her lack of eggs. I am not sure if this will be a lone egg or if there will be more. Only time will tell.

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More bits of the garden

When we were originally planting this garden we put in a couple of groups of purple alliums. For a few years they looked amazing but then the original groups just vanished. However they self seeded around the garden as singles.

Then a few years ago I read an article by Alan Titchmarsh. He said that if your leeks have gone to seed you should leave them because they would give a spectacular allium display. This year our leeks went to seed so I left them in place. Well spectacular doesn’t really describe them!

A single self seeded allium

And another one

Leeks gone to seed

Hardly spectacular. They remind me of wild garlic.


The chives give a better display. I grew these from seed and they multiply each year.

Single white rose

Rose over the cabin

Adding colour to the chimney

This chimney pot had a grass in it which I liked because of it’s spiky shape but it had been here too long and was looking drab and tired. My husband said that he would like to see some colour here for a change so we bought this pot and just dropped it in and it’s a perfect fit.  It gives an instant pop of colour and it’s only just getting started. I may photograph this again later in the year.

I love watching the patches of colour develop throughout the garden at this time of year.

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Spangle laid today

Spangle hasn’t laid for a month but every now and again she would sit in a nest box for a while and then leave without laying.

Today Spangle had been sitting in the nest box for longer than usual and I felt sure she was going to lay this time. As I checked on her she was just leaving the nest box and there was a long, narrow, egg.

I am pleased that Spangle has laid again because it reassures me that there isn’t something wrong with her.

Today’s eggs

On the left is Flame’s huge egg, next is Jasmine’s round egg then Cinnamon’s egg in the middle, next is Smoke’s fair sized, round, egg and on the right is Spangle’s, long, egg.

Smoke and Spangle’s eggs

Spangle’s egg on the right is narrow and long which often occurs after a longer break in laying.

Marmite is also getting ready to lay again as she is very vocal and has been looking in the nest boxes. Ebony is still broody but at least egg production is back up again. well done Spangle!

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The garden in May

The garden is so beautiful at this time of year. I have taken photos of a walk up the garden but first a quick update of chicken news.

Vanilla has come out of her broody spell after only three days this time which I am pleased about. Ebony is still broody but she is docile and easy to lift and perches at bedtime when I close the nest boxes.

Smoke started laying again today so it is good to have another good layer back again. It is just over two weeks since she last laid.

Some of our pots were looking tired so we have just rejuvenated them with a bit of colour.

We have refreshed some of our tired pots

The rose over the cabin is just about to burst out

Our patio

This is my spot for sitting in the sun overlooking the garden. Not today though as it is drizzling.

Looking over our veg plot

Corner bed behind the veg plot

Looking up towards the chicken run

The rustic (home made) path by the chicken run

The patch of garden in front of the chicken run

The chicken’s strip

The chicken’s strip has really filled in this year. They still have a row of dandelions next to the weld mesh but they are now hidden by the plants. The fox glove and antirrhinums self seeded in the garden and I transplanted them to here last year.

I think this is my favourite time of year for the garden. Everything looks lush and full with splashes of colour. I love to sit in the garden in the sun but the garden desperately needed this rainy day.

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Vanilla is broody again

Yesterday Marmite came out of her broody spell just as Vanilla went broody. Marmite had been broody for twelve days. It really does seem that as one girl comes out of a broody spell the next girl goes broody and we seem destined to have two broody girls at a time.

The worrying thing is having Vanilla go broody again while a bigger girl is broody. Twice I have found Vanilla in the same nest box as Ebony and I have moved Vanilla to a different nest box. I really don’t want a repeat of what happened with Flame and Vanilla so I am making sure that they stay apart.

Vanilla had laid eleven eggs in sixteen days and had just laid for six days in a row before going broody. Smoke went broody after laying eight days in a row. It seems that when these girls lay for a spell without taking a day off it sends them broody.

I have found that when I lift both girls for a break from the nest box Vanilla stays out for longer than Ebony so I am hoping that she will come out of it more quickly.

In other news we have seen slow worms in the garden over the last few days. We first saw a large one on our patio but I didn’t photograph it as it looked injured. I think a cat may have got at it and it was slow so we feared that it wasn’t going to live much longer.

Yesterday after a rain shower there was a big slow worm on the path. I went indoors for my camera but when I returned it’s head was disappearing under a geranium. I lifted the leaf to try to get a better photo but it was gone in a flash.

A little later there was a slightly smaller slow worm on the same bit of the path but this time when I returned with my camera it had gone so I only have one not very good photo.

Slow worm on the path

We had a day of light showers and sun shine and a few rainbows. At the end of the day there was the best rainbow of the day.

Rainbow at the end of the day

The garden is desperate for rain but there was barely enough to wet the ground. Oh well, I suppose it is better than nothing. It gave my husband a day off from watering the allotment as our other friends are away this week.

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