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.

Bon voyage

Right that’s it. Waved five girlies off down the long road to France. I’ve got a week to make this happen. Wish me luck.

All cooped up

It’s been a quiet week. All the items on my shopping list have been claimed by siblings, parents and grandparents. I collect of it on Sunday when I go to look at the hens. All that’s left to buy is the coop.

I’ve found Hen House World. They have a range of coops and runs at good prices, so I’ve picked one I like the look of best. It’s big enough for 6 birds, which gives us room for future expansion. All the books I’ve read insist this is an addictive hobby, and for a few quid extra it seems daft not to give ourselves a bit room to grow.

 

A quick call to the firm, and it’s booked onto a lorry for delivery next Wednesday. I’d rather it came Monday, and gave me the whole week to put it together, but you can’t have everything.

Location services off

When I first set out to make this present happen, I told Sylvia that there was a chance I might not pull it off. I said that if I hit an insurmountable obstacle, she’s just getting lavender bath salts.

So this morning, I turned off the GPS on my phone, just in case someone had ideas of tracking me, knowing full well that I was going out to buy a present. After a heavy downpour, we both ended up in the shopping centre at the same time anyhow. So I had to accept that she’d know it was something from somewhere in the Arndale. But my trip to Bodycare remained a secret nonetheless. After paying out the princely sum of £1.29 (yes you’re worth at least that much baby), I now have a little cone of three lavender bath bombs. Hopefully I can get a sister to take them to France. Ha, that’ll keep her guessing!

Bit of flight reading

I ordered a book off Amazon the other day. The library books are great, but we can’t keep them forever, and we’re bound to need some sort of reference book. So the book I chose arrived today.

Turns out you get what you pay for. It’s not awful, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough for us. Also it smells. Of cheap paperback. So I’ve ordered a new copy of one of the library books to keep. This one I know is a good read.

Shopping List

I’ve made my shopping list.

  • Chicken coop. Need to find one I like that won’t take up the whole garden.
  • Hemcore – A biodegradable, compostable, hemp-based bedding. Very sandal-wearing.
  • Mixed Corn – This is a treat food. Apparently it’s like chocolate to hens. I’ll take their word for it.
  • Layer Pellets – This is the food they get their nutrition from
  • Feeder & Drinker – fairly obviously I guess
  • Mixed Grit – hens teeth really are rare, they have none. They use grit in their throat to grind down their food. Weirdos.
  • Cider Vinegar – Goes in the water to make them hungrier. One assumes well-fed chickens lay more eggs. Or summat.

I’ve decided I definitely want to buy the birds and coop myself, but help for the rest of it is gratefully received. I’ve sent out the list to all the people that are “in the know” so far to see if anyone wants to chip in and get something for Sylvia’s birthday.

Pick a colour

I’ve looked at a few websites, and now know a little about hen breeds. My discoveries so far. Poncy looking frilly birds don’t lay many eggs; normal-looking ones lay lots. I want hens that look like the ones in the kids story books. So turns out that that will work out well!

People suggest getting a mix of different breeds for variety. So I’ll have a white one, a black one, and a couple of brown ones thanks:

  

Having decided on three hybrid breeds that lay plenty of eggs, I rang Happy Chicks as suggested by John. They don’t have any of the white ones in, and suggested Pear Tree Poultry in Broughton. A call to them confirmed that they have all of those breeds in stock. I’ve arranged to go down the day after Sylvia goes on her holidays to have a look at what they have.

This evening we went shopping with another of Sylvia’s sisters. Eggs were on my shopping list, and so obviously I couldn’t resist telling Rosie what I was planning. We had a good giggle round the shop. Hope these sisters can keep a lid on it!

Light reading

Not much going on today. Wandered into town nursing a hangover. Monged out in the library for an hour while the world stopped spinning. Got a couple of “Keeping Chickens” books out. That’ll do for today. Everyone needs a break sometimes.

Chickens

If I’m going to make this happen, I’m going to need some birds. It’s all good and well clearing the garden, but it will all be a waste of time if I don’t actually buy some birds. I need someone who knows about animals.

Meet John, of JC Country clothing store. Fantastic little shop and cafe, run from John’s working dairy farm. We look after his website at my work. If anyone knows where to go, it’ll be John. A quick email to him and he’s turned up Happy Chicks in Preesall. I’ll give them a ring once I’ve decided what I want to get – need to look at what breeds there are.

In other developments, a lady’s put a bag of straw on Freecycle. I’ll have that thanks, sure it’ll come in useful.

Cary on regardless

Our garden really is not big. But I do my best to make it even smaller. In the spring I spotted a 16ft open canoe on the Lancaster Freecycle mailing list, a tool for people to pass on stuff that they no longer have a use for, and keep it all out of the landfill.

So, being a bit of a berk, I decided to take it. With the best intentions of course. I had visions of myself paddling up the canal with my son, eating jam sandwiches whilst watching the kingfishers dart past.

Of course, what actually happened is it got dumped in the yard, and became a new obstacle for the weeds to negotiate. Sorry Freecycle. So, it’s time for it to go. I stuck it back on the list this morning, and within minutes I had a flurry of responses. Clearly I was lucky to get it earlier in the year. This makes me feel even worse for abandoning it for so long. Anyhow, a lovely American gentleman by the name of Cary turned up this evening to take it away again. I hope you enjoy it more than I did Cary.