Hard at work swotting up

Sylvia is clearly taking the need to learn about chicken keeping very seriously…

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Surprise!

So, tired and sweaty from the plane I come home to find all my family and friends in my nicely tidied garden next to a coop full of chickens. Best birthday surprise ever!
So now that the shell shock has worn off I have a lot of reading to do! Of course I already have the books as Matthew the devious man has explained. I have also come to the conclusion that I can no longer trust any of my friends or family anymore. Hehe they’re all too good at bluffing!
In other chicken news, today I named the chickens!
There is Honey Mustard, Honey for short, the little white ‘white star’ and Popcorn, Poppy for short, one of the brown ‘Rhode Stars’.

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Peri-Peri, or Peri, the beautiful green and black coloured Black Stone chicken

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And Sweet and Sour or Sweetie for short, the other Rhode Star..

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Already starting to see some personalities shining through and I’ve had a good go at cleaning out and some of the other day to day stuff of keeping chickens. So now my shoes smell of vinegar because I dribbled a bit and my knees are a bit dirty but altogether a good day to be in our garden!

And now we wait

Right, well that’s it. I can do no more now. This blog needs printing first thing tomorrow morning so Sylvia can read it over a burger in the garden with her new chickens.

Of course there’s every chance something could still go wrong. The car might break down en-route to Preston. Leaves on the line may delay me picking Beth up from the railway station. I might get hopelessly lost. Again.

But, the garden is (just about) accessible. The coop is built. The chocolate egg cake is chocolated and egged. I have my shopping list ready to go. Friends and family are briefed on arrangements for tomorrow. Those who can make it early will hide their cars and then hide themselves in the garden. Those who are coming back in the taxi with Sylvia and Eve will pretend to leave after dropping her off, then sneak down to the garden – somehow – while I’m giving Sylvia her first present – a DVD of the first series of The Good Life in the house, a recommendation from my friend “Kendal Gemma”. She laughed lots when I told her about my sustainable present to my favourite sandal wearer and clearly expects me to be managing home farm before the year’s out. If the penny doesn’t drop then, then the second and third presents (two chicken books from Amazon) ought to give the game away.

That’s all assuming a two year old boy can keep his gob shut about the fact there are 4 new chickens in his garden. And assuming 4 18-week old hens can keep their beaks shut while I get the girlfriend indoors. Who knows, it might all go wrong. But I tried. Four weeks ago when I first had this silly idea, I couldn’t see it happening. But, happen it has. Now it’s time for me to hand over the reins of the Idris Eggs blog to you Sylvia.

Happy birthday princess. I love you.

Finishing touches

Last night I had my brother Chris and his girlfriend Nic round – with every intention of clearing some weeds in the garden to make more room for people on Saturday. However nature had better ideas and gave us almost constant heavy rain. We retreated to the kitchen and made a toad in the hole instead.

Incidentally, how do you make something better? Usually, the correct answer is “add more chocolate”.

 

Supporting local traders. Not many supermarkets will have mini eggs in stock in September, but the sweet shop on Yorkshire Street in Morecambe does.

 

 

Much better.

Meet my accomplice

I had to keep this all quiet from Daniel. Never trust a two year old with a secret. Or jam. Especially secret jam. Anyhow, I digress. Once Sylvia was safely driving down the street, I told him everything. Take a look at how much he’s remembered:

Plan Bee

Facebook informs me it’s Sylvia’s friend Cheryl’s birthday this Sunday. I wonder if that means Cheryl and her other friend Beth are in town this weekend.

A quick text chat finds out that Beth’s not. And Beth thinks Cheryl’s in Glasgow. Bugger. I’ll let Beth know what I’m up to anyhow. I know she’ll be able to keep the secret.

Result! Beth’s so excited about it that she’s booked a train ticket before you can say Richard Branson, and she’s checked and Cheryl’s down here still too. This just gets better and better!

I’m going to try and get as many of our family and friends round on Saturday to celebrate Sylvia’s birthday. Can I really fit two BBQs, 20 people and 4 chickens into that little garden? We’ll see.

Nom nom nom nom

What else can I do to keep busy while the girlfriends abroad? I know, a cake.

Chocolate, of course.

Chicken shaped?

No, too complicated.

Egg shaped? Yeah I can manage that.

 

 

 

Mmmm. That is all.

It all becomes real

Right at the lights, down the road a mile, then left, left again at the bottom, left at the pub, and follow the track to the farm.

Can’t be that hard to find.

Shit.

We’re lost.

Why didn’t I print a map?

A quick check of google on the trusty old phone and we finally find the place. The lady sorts us out with all the items on my list. When I ask to see the hens, she gestures over to a pen in the distance. I didn’t bring the right footwear for this. My friend Adrienne is even less well equipped, in little diddy shoes. They have spare wellies to fit her, but my size 13’s and Daniel’s size baby-7’s are just gonna have to get muddy. Never mind.

Apparently, they only have 1 of the white ones in stock. So that one should be easy to spot.

This is not it. There are lots of white breeds it would seem. Never mind, I’m not trekking back across that field to take another picture. It’s in here somewhere!

Right, so that’s all the stuff bought and loaded up, time for a father & son day out. There’s hills that need climbing.