Posted on May 25, 2015
Spring Chickens and Flowering Things
First off, I discovered I had not used good proofreading skills last week when I published my Bread Machine Naan Bread Recipe, and it was missing one of the ingredients! If you tried it and the dough was too dry, it was completely my fault! Please have a look at the updated recipe here.
Anyway, spring has definitely arrived here, but it is a different kind of spring from the one we are used to! We have had a few laughs from locals, or others who have moved to the island quite a few years ago, when we have expressed surprise at how changeable the weather is! We knew that things could get a lot more stormy here, but until you’re living here and experiencing it, it’s not quite so real.
For example, last Saturday we took the children to a beach which is a couple of minutes’ drive from our house. It was sunny, blue skies and relatively warm when we left the house. We got in 10, maybe 15 minutes of kite flying, then the heavens opened and a curtain of torrential rain soaked the lot of us! Back at the house a few moments later, all was sunny and dry again. I, in my naivety, hung out some washing (somewhat suspiciously, on a clothes horse, rather than on the line), and continued on with some housework. Less than 10 minutes later, I was hauling the clothes horse back into the house, while being pelted with hailstones. It is possible that I may have learned my lesson this time, although I am not 100% certain. We had more 40-50 mph winds at the weekend, but certainly not as fierce as it was back in February and March, and I know we moved in here after the really severe storms of January.
Anyway, we do now have some lovely bluebells flowering in our garden, and we have been hearing two cuckoos nearby, something that reminds me of growing up in Argyll, further south on the west coast of Scotland. The leaves are opening on our trees and we have a grand total of two tulips which are flowering!
This leads me to update you on how our chickens are getting on. Said chickens, which I originally mentioned in discussing how were are planting a vegetable garden from scratch, yesterday took great delight in eating several tulips- flowers, stems, bulbs and all- where we had planted them in the part of the garden we have been allowing them to range in. Note to self: do not plant any more flowers in front garden. Apparently daffodils are poisonous to chickens, the bulbs in particular, but the chickens do not seem to have suffered any ill effects from the tulips. Yet.
Another surprise from the chickens in the last few days has been that we think Mrs. Marans (yes, we have named them!), is actually Mr. Marans. He, (and the other cockerel), are not old enough to begin crowing yet, but we think from the size of him, and his large comb and wattles, that he is more likely to produce a “cock-a-doodle-doo” than an egg. I will keep you posted.
The hens are not laying yet, but we are getting the hang of looking after them more, and are looking forward to actually getting something back from them soon. The free online ‘MOOC’ course on Chicken Behaviour and Welfare that I did through Edinburgh University has finished now, and I have found it very helpful. If you are interested in the course yourself, you can see more information here.
It has all been very encouraging, to see the beautiful colours of spring after a cold and dreary winter, and it looks like I will not manage to kill every plant in the garden, so hopefully it will be productive to a certain extent. I am not expecting us to manage to grow all our own food, particularly with this being the first summer after our big move, but it will be nice to be able to eat at least a portion of our summer salads and vegetables, knowing that we have grown them ourselves, and that they are not full of pesticides or whatever else.
How are things looking in your garden? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section.
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