Last night I dreamt that I took Astrid on holiday, she was roaming through rolling hills of green with lots of other chickens. There was a huge pond and a little island in the middle where the chicken house was. The hens all flew across to the island in the middle of the pond at dusk and no one needed to lock them in because foxes can't fly. It was a lovely dream.
Today I went to visit Mr Lavender and his sister...I missed Mr Lavender as he had just gone to a new home but I'm told he's happy and doing what roosters do best (ahem!) but I met his sister who looks just like him minus the saddle feathers and long tail!
Long story short, I've ordered a large, sturdy, completely fox proof coop that will be ready in a fortnight and I'll take Mr Lavender's sister home at that time. The current enclosure I have will be too small for her if she isn't allowed to free range every day during the time I'm at work now that I'm paranoid about foxes, as she is now a proper hen and no longer a baby! She is even laying!
I'm a bit shy to tell you that I also brought home three babies, about 8-10 weeks old. I couldn't help it, I fell in love!
This is Milla - she is a porcelain belgian d'uccle (pronounced 'dew clay') pullet, they are sometimes called mille fleur due to their markings and that's where her name comes from.
This is Odette, a very shy baby girl. She is an astralorp like my beloved Astrid was, but she is a blue astralorp not a black one. I don't think I could have another black coloured hen - not for a long while anyway - I could never replace Astrid.
And this puffball here is Florence. She is a frizzled pekin cross something...she is the youngest, still cheeps and looks rather like a baby eagle at the moment! She fell asleep in my lap tonight.
The girls are fast asleep in the laundry at present. I'm loathe to let them sleep outside for as long as possible because I'm still paranoid about the foxes.
I took a poke around the garden today, something I usually can't wait to do but have been reluctant this week knowing my flock were missing. The garden really needs work, I need to dig compost through all the beds and do lots of weeding!!
Does anyone know when to harvest fennel...? They've gotten nice and plump but I don't know when to harvest them!
The peas have grown so tall they are now tangled in the potato flower that overhangs the fence!
Anyone know what this is? I planted it but cannot remember what seeds they were...do you ever do that?
Chillies still producing despite the frost
Cape gooseberry are so mysterious! I'd never eaten one before until we went to Malaysia recently and I found one on top of a mini cheesecake!
So lovely to see buds fattening on the fruit trees, hurry up Spring!
Even in mid afternoon it was only 10 degrees...
The sage pineapple flowers are so generous, they are ever present
How cute - but slow growing - are brussel sprout plants!
It was handcrafted, screen printed and stitched by Sydney artist Carmel Killin, a most wonderfully talented lady.
Thank you Carmel for this amazing tribute to my bok flock. I can't wait to get it framed!
With the kindness, well wishes and advice from all of you I really feel so very grateful to have 'met' you all, thank you for your support and your messages and comments on my posts, you lift my spirits, give me perspective and are a real joy in my life. Thank you. I'm going to visit Mr Lavender tomorrow, I wonder if he'll recognise me - and perhaps I'll come home with his sister! I'll take some pics of him whilst I'm there so you can see how much he's grown. Hopefully he is looking properly 'roosterish' now!
Today I received the most wonderful thing in the post...
Magical 'Gem Squash' seeds!!
...but the most wonderful thing is that they were sent from Phoebe at Ballynoe Cottage who carefully grew, then collected, dried and packaged the seeds beautifully. She is one of those gorgeous talented people with elegant handwriting and an artful way of putting things together - it was such a pleasure to get her letter in the post!
Phoebe tells me they are a cross between a pumpking (the g is most important!) and a squash with a nutty flavour.
pic googled from claireslittlegems
I can't wait until the last frost is over so I can plant them in the garden.
Thank you Phoebe for brightening up my week!
Thank you everyone for your very heartfelt comments on my last post. I've missed my hens very much. This week I got a call from the lady who hatched Mr Lavender (remember this post?) and she has a bantam Araucana hen and wanted to know if I wanted her. She didn't know what had happened to my flock and was just calling to offer the hen before she sold her. People from my local permaculture group have offered me pullets too. So I'm thinking about it. I can't help feeling guilty that I'm thinking already of getting more hens as if my bok flock weren't special. What do you all think?
Not a question I ever thought I'd need to ask myself.
As we were leaving Malaysia, my sister rang to tell me that my flock was missing. She had been collecting eggs daily but yesterday she didn’t find the girls to lock them into the coop, she didn’t find them anywhere at all although it was raining heavily. She thought they’d been stolen and reported their disappearance to the police. To the police!! She thought they'd been stolen. She went out in brighter drier daylight next day to find feathers everywhere...which can only mean one thing…a fox had come during the day and carted off my girls one by one, not a single one left nor any bodies either.
Now coming home, I've gone into the garden to see the devastation for myself...I've cried my heart out, I can't believe I don't have the flock racing around after me when I step into the storm ravaged garden. I was so looking forward to seeing them, to having them greet me, to making their hot porridge and to putting their hot water bottle in with them at night as I locked them into their coop. I see signs of my cherished hens everywhere - where they've eaten all the rainbow chard especially the yellow and pink but have left the green, where they've dug up all of my carefully planted strawberries and where they've eaten all the salads. But I'd have them eat the entire garden if only they'd return.
See where they'd eaten all the tender greens and the yellow chard but left the darker chard? Oh hens I'll never scold you again if only you'd come back :(
We have a 6 ft tall smooth bamboo fence that a hox couldn't scrabble over. But it's clear Fox Loxy got in by jumping the shorter fence between the neighbour and ourselves and running into the long vegie bed along the driveway.
There are no bodies to be found and my sister didn't find any bodies or blood either - but there are lots of feathers in the garden.
And I still admire foxes - they are wily, cunning, but also creatures that are suffering a bitter winter and need to eat. Perhaps fat fieldmice and rabbits are scarce in the cold. I choose to believe that it was a Mrs Fox who came and quickly murdered my hens so they felt no pain and took them home to her little foxlets. I choose not to think that it was a greedy Mr Fox who just took as much as he could. Oh foxy loxy you are wicked indeed. I hope you gave my girls a painless and quick exit to chooky heaven.
Lots of broccollini went to flower but lots left to eat
Florence fennel got plump indeed
A lone fly in freezing melbourne! How did you survive the frost??
Camelias flowered whilst we were away
Who am I without my bok flock? Call I still call myself Mrs Bok? After all I have no flock to be guardian for any longer :( Can you believe I've dyed my hair the darkest shade of black in mourning. I really love my flock. I hope they are happy up in chooky heaven.
Laying eggs in odd places
Picnics on the lawn
Vale my beautiful Bok Flock we really miss you so much