Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday 6 a.m.

"It was the moment between six and seven when every flower… glows."  Virginia Woolf

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Diary of a Fluffy Bantam aged seven-and-three-quarters

It’s early summer and although I’m a menopausal bantam, or maybe because my hormones are all over the place, I’ve been feeling rather broody lately. Wouldn’t it be lovely to hatch out just one more clutch of chicks before I smooth down my feathers for retirement?

I haven’t got any eggs left to lay so I’ve been fluffing myself up and hopping onto any available egg in the coop. The trouble is, Mary barges in every day, slides her hand under me and snatches the egg away then tells me not to be so silly and anyway she doesn’t feel ready to be a grandma. She’s explained something complicated about not having a cockerel so the eggs won’t be fertile, but I don’t know, an egg’s an egg as far as I can see. 

24 May 

Mary came skipping along today saying “SURPRISE!” 
I don’t think it’s my birthday. 
She stuffed me into the cat box.
That was certainly unexpected and no way to celebrate... if it even is my birthday. 
I decided to go and sulk in the corner. 
There was a lovely pile of eggs all for me.

Evidently Mary had been talking behind my back with her friends who do have a cockerel and she borrowed some eggs for me. How thoughtful. Five beautiful pale blue ones from a Crested Cream Legbar and two small bantam eggs from “The Punk”... a quite ridiculous black and white bird with a brash tuft on her head. I do doubt Mary's judgement sometimes!

But anyway, I’ve got twenty-one blissful days for the news to sink in. 

Days 1-19

sit, shuffle, sit, sit, shuffle, sit, wiggle, sit.

Day 20

Mary will keep popping her head around the door and saying “peep, peep, peep”. 
I wish she’d give me some privacy. I’m absolutely fine, the last thing I need is a birth partner. She’d be much more use going to buy some chick crumbs.

Day 21

7am. For the past few hours I’ve heard faint peeps from inside the eggs.

10am. At first tiny holes and then big cracks and I can even see a beak.

Sometime later. Phew triplets before lunch and twins after lunch, all fluffed up to perfection and ready to meet Grandma. 
Sorry too busy now to write any more entries. 

P.S. Grandma is over the moon and is finally putting her nervous energy to good use. I can see her flailing around with hammer and nails making us a lovely new run.

P.P.S The bantam eggs didn’t hatch. I can only imagine the cockerel wasn’t going to be seen dating a mohican!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Up with the Lark

Wet weather stopped play on Saturday morning but at least I was up early to keep one step ahead of the approaching rainclouds. 
Just me, my trowel, the melodic quiver of skylarks overhead and the discordant bray of Sarah the donkey from across the neighbouring orchards.
I thinned my swede seedlings, planted a row of leeks, sowed some more carrots and then let the rain water them in.

A chance to pause and plan.

The lupins and foxgloves are about to hand the baton over to poppies and peonies. Beyond, there’s a war raging with nettles and ground elder. Blackbirds, exhausted by parenthood are squabbling over the mahonia berries but soon the wild cherries will be ripe and plentiful for all.

I have a rainbow of irises in a nursery bed. Last week I labelled the stems of the withering blooms with masking tape, so as I divide them up around the garden I'll have more of a chance of knowing what colour I have put where!

There’s still plenty of clipping to do but that job needs a dry day. So I’ve time to mull over the tuft I’ve left in the far right corner I think it needs to be sculpted into a bird.

I already have one batch of elderflower cordial underway, the hedgerows are teeming billowing with blossoms, but what I’m really looking forward to is picking the pinkish blooms from my recently planted black elder in the white courtyard. I’m jealously guarding the thirteen flower-heads  and yes I do keep a daily tally! 
There should be just enough for a very small bottle of very pretty pink cordial.

Friday, June 5, 2015

June in bloom

"I paint flowers so they will not die" Frida Kahlo

"Their beauty is beyond dispute. No velvet can rival the richness of their falls; or, let us say, it is to velvet only that we may compare them. That is surely enough to claim for any flower?" Vita Sackville-West, writing about the iris