Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Chickens: Feeling the community love

Our girls abscond on a daily basis.
They take a run-up, flap their clipped wings at a furious speed, and sail over the fence to the creek; they sneak through a gap in the retaining wall to our neighbour’s lush garden (with plenty of gorgeous green grass),  squeeze through loose palings and onto the road (where they’ve been found sitting, contentedly, in the warm sun), and have been found perch all-in-a-row on low branches in random trees.
With all the rain about lately, I’ve seen them huddled together in Ella’s doghouse (thankfully, without Ella in it), and standing, soaking, in the middle of the garden, staring wistfully at the sky. And it goes without saying - they take every opportunity to steal into the house, whenever the kids unwittingly leave the back door open, which results in a comical commotion of chasing and almost-catching and clucking and giggling.

There’s a layer, an almost layer, and two youngun’s who constantly jostle for a better hierarchal position in the coop, still growing their combs.
And, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m totally and absolutely in love with them.

The Coop, set in the back corner of our garden…

To love a chicken (or four chickens) is a strange thing, because before they arrived on Christmas eve, I was scared of them - and their flappy wings, sharp beaks and scratchy feet. I was absolutely convinced that they’d chase me, peck at me, and was horrified at the thought of having to actually pick them up to put them away at night. But they wormed their way into our family, with all their warbling and grazing and waddling. And in a surprisingly short time, I was in love – just like that.

What I didn’t expect though, was how accepted they’d be with neighbours and friends. Our next door neighbour talks to them when they manage to escape into her garden – I often hear her cooing to them as they strut and scratch in her lovely lush grass; another neighbour saves all her fruit and vegetable scraps, bringing them over in big plastic bags, or randomly throwing bits and pieces over the fence and into the run. Other neighbours have offered advice about compost and using chicken manure in our garden; friends have taken them onto their laps for a pat.

I admit it: I love this. Who would have known that they’d become such wonderful community pets?
Do you have chickens too?


Ps. No names yet; goodness, it’s hard finding chicken-appropriate names that everyone is happy with!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our new house

Right now, it's catering for a menagerie of wild animals. There’s a lion and a hippo in the bathtub, two lassie dogs tucked into the upstairs bedroom, and pigs and sheep climbing up the stairs. I found a goat in the kitchen cupboard, a cat sitting at the breakfast table with a camel, and a scary green-eyed gorilla thinking about using the toilet.

Our Lou loves her new dollhouse. And I’m often stealing away to sit down and play with her too.
Want to see how it turned out?
Here’s shell of the house, the week before Christmas:

And all shiny and bright, Christmas morning:

Are you renovating a dollhouse yourself and want some inspiration? Check out Steph at Mon Petit Poppet and Megan at Mousehouse – they’re amazing!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Holiday Lessons

Yes, we totally dropped off the radar.
Sorry, dear readers.

It actually all started when my computer broke down the week before Christmas. I was horrified at first, and then sunk into the lack of technology like a pig in mud. There is a lot to be said for taking a break from life for a few weeks – Dave and I played long treasure hunting games with the kids, swam, ate and ate, and had random afternoon naps; the kids rode their bikes for hours, we went on long drives, dug up the gardens, cooked the most delicious food, and watched lots of kiddie movies.
It really was heavenly.

And I actually managed to learn a few things while on our long, lazy holiday:

  1. Yes, it is possible to go back to sleep in the morning if you close your eyes long enough (and if there’s a pillow over your head to muffle the outside noise).
  2. Holidays = messy house, frequently empty fridge. It also means that no one really has the motivation to do anything about it, which makes it a lot easier to turn a blind eye and indulge in fantastic takeaway.
  3. You can never have too many swims in one day. And lazy after-the-kids-are-asleep swims are the perfect way to wind down.
  4. Holiday breakfasts may just be the best kind of breakfast: there’s very little guilt involved, you’re able to take your time (perhaps even read the paper or pour another mug of coffee), and can then crawl into bed or onto the couch for slow digestion.
  5. Having a little girl that loves pretend tea parties is really the most delightful thing. Thinking that we’d always have a tomboy, the emergence of the very girly Lou really is a thing to marvel at; and all those endless cups of pretend tea and cake, the tucking and re-tucking of dolls into makeshift beds, and a sudden obsession with pretty skirts and beads, adds a lovely (sometimes sparkly) shine to the house. 
Even though it may feel like an age ago, did you have a holiday over Christmas? What did you do?


Ps. I’ve been writing. A lot. And isn’t it a novel thing, to write with a pen on paper? I think it took me two weeks to write without an aching hand!

Image from here.