Not A Good Morning OR Sideways Rain And No Blessings

This morning did not go according to plan.

I’d hoped to be blogging about this year’s Blessing of the Animals at our local church in Nouzerines. We’ve been a couple of times before. I took Brendan the alpaca for a walk yesterday in readiness for trekking down to the church for 9.30, the usual kick-off time. Well, there was sideways rain this morning and I didn’t fancy turning up at St Clair’s with a very large drowned rat, and looking like one myself too. Plus it would not have been pleasant hanging around in the wet and cold outside the church for an hour while the service went on. Whilst all animals are welcome at the service, not all of them are welcome in the church itself for obvious reasons!

So we went to Plan B. Rors chose a couple of his favourite guinea-pigs which we put in a basket and we headed off in the car. I’d tried to get my budgies in, but their cage is so tall it wouldn’t fit through the either the doors or the boot! They would have to remain unblessed.

maple syrup cage

The church was quiet and empty. Either we’d got the time wrong, or it had been cancelled, but nothing was going on. So we went back home. I was going to check online to see if it was scheduled for later in the day, but first I went to find Chris who was checking on the anglers on Alder Lake. I saw him and Tobi coming up the path through the field so called Tobi. Now I was in my bright purple raincoat and had the hood up, and this seemed to totally freak Tobi! She shot off like a startled deer and vanished. So for twenty minutes Chris and I walked around, me now without my scary coat and so getting soaked, calling for Tobi but not finding her. It turned out she’d gone back to the house. What set her off, I don’t know, but she now seems to be OK with that particular coat. Anyway, by now I was soaked to the skin and thoughts of church services receded fast. Instead, since our coffee and milk supplies had reached a dangerously low level, and the morning was already messed up, I went shopping. And as you might now by now, I hate shopping! Not a good morning.

Anyway, the afternoon hasn’t been too bad, apart from the fact that winter seems to have arrived, and I don’t like it. I want the sunshine back! We’ll adapt soon enough but we’ve been spoilt for so long with this lovely sunny late summer and early autumn we’ve been having that it’s a bit of a shock. And it’s probably the end of the swimming season which, for a swimaholic like myself, is a shame. But, on the bright side, we haven’t needed to light the fire yet and we’ve been busy working on the wood supplies this last week – chopping, splitting and stacking – to make sure we’ve got plenty for the cold weather that’s sure to come soon…

Chick Blog

It’s a true delight to watch not only one but two sets of chicks pottering around the farm. Anastasia has her five chicks in an assortment of beiges and greys, and Shirley has eleven that are all either golden or yellow, apart from the little stripey dude! We suspect that another hen nipped in to lay an egg when Shirley was on walkabout one day. We’ll see what Stripey turns into as he/she gets older.

shirley chix stripey

Seeing them snuggle under mum’s wings or come skittering over when she gives her ‘here’s some food’ cluck has got to me to thinking that chicks like these, brought up by their mother, must be completely different from the chicks hatched en masse in incubators and that are left to bring themselves up. They’re given the warmth, food and water they need, but no one’s showing them how to be a chicken. Our home-grown chicks are seeing how their mothers behave, how they scratch the ground, see off potential threats and establish the pecking order. It will be very interesting to see how these chicks turn out – whether they’re more confident and assertive when they grow up.

ana feeling brave chick

Of course, the mother’s personality will have an effect too I’d imagine. Of our two first-time mothers, Ana is by far the pushier. She’s older by a couple of years so perhaps that makes a difference. Anyway, she’s not a chicken you mess with. She sees off any other animal that comes too close to her babies, no matter how big it is. She’s not mad keen on us being too near to her babies but they come running over to see us now, so she can’t do much about that. She’s not quite as aggressive as Gracie, the grey chicken formerly known as Grey Chicken. When she was bringing up her foster ducklings, the henlings, I made the mistake of going to pick up one that had got stuck on the wrong side of the fence. Next thing I knew, a fiercesome vision of erect grey feathers, sharp talons and fury exploded in my face. Gracie had leapt several feet in the air, claws first, to keep me away from her baby. I’m lucky to still have both eyes!

henlings1

Needless to say I’m careful around chicks now. However, Shirley is very laid back in comparison. She isn’t as strident as Ana or nearly as psycho as Gracie in seeing off outsiders, which may mean her littluns are more vulnerable, but at least it’s meant we could treat a chick who had a sore patch. She’s good at the cuddling part and so far is coping well with her large brood.

 

Striding but not strident - this is Shirley

Striding but not strident – this is Shirley

Fingers crossed all these little feathery bundles will continue to thrive.

allchix

PS Caiti is becoming rather concerned that I’m turning into a crazy chicken lady and that my ever-increasing poultry flock may turn me to the dark side. She came up with this for me!

apocachicks poster