Saturday, July 24, 2010

Let's just call them Yogi and Boo Boo

We had a picnic out in the garden this lunchtime with free-ranging chickens. We thought it would be lovely. Leigh and I both had sandwiches, the boys have toast and crackers with some grapes, apple and pear puree for afters. Leo also had some tomato.

We sat ourselves pretty close to the blueberry bush so when the chickens came up behind us and started pinching blueberries we thought nothing of it. Then they began circling Leo who had a piece of toast in each fist. Correction. Did have a piece of toast in each fist!!! Bubbles was very interested in it and eventually managed to snatch a piece out of Leo's hand. Then as we were trying to fend off Dax, she ran across the picnic rugs, straight over Zachary's crackers and tipping over the pot of pear puree. Although that wasn't so bad as she then ate the spilt puree from the rug and cleaned it up. Next a piece of toast was half-inched from Zachary's plate and the birds chased each other across the lawn for it! There's something about toast which just sends them completely mental. Leigh had a small amount of a nut, celery and apple salad on his plate. Dax pinched the last peanut, ate it, then daintly wiped the mayonnaise from her beak onto the rug. All during this we were trying to keep both chickens away from Leo and his toast and The breadstick got snatched and then Dax had a go at Leo's toes!!! Picnics with the chickens? Never again!!! Well...never on the lawn again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're not expecting any blueberries this year..

The combination of free-ranging chickens and a blueberry bush in the garden is proving to be an interesting combination. First they began by just pecking off the unripe berries from the lower branches. Now some of the berries are ripening, so they're pecking off the ripe berries from the lower branches. Okay, so we're thinking that the higher ones are pretty safe. Wrong! Chickens can jump and flap quite effectively...

Ready -

Set -


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some milestones

Leo's hit a few milestones over the last few days. His first tooth is making an appearance - at least we can see the place where it will come through, although it doesn't seem to have actually cut yet. There are also strong indications that he's thinking about crawling - he got onto his hands and knees in the bathroom this evening and I don't think it'll be long until he works it out! Two on the move. Not sure how good that'll be!!!!

He had his first swimming lesson on Friday and that was ace. He really seemed to love being in the water and spent most of the lesson splashing around. He was also very calm when he had to lay on his back and I'm so pleased he's taken to it well. It's really important to me that even if the boys can't swim for a while yet, that they're confident in the water and understand simple water safety. Finally this evening Leo managed to vomit in Zachary's hair. That's never happened before. And hopefully never again!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

My little magpie

So this morning in Zachary's bed I found him (obviously!), Leo's spare sleepsuit and muslin (which started out the night on Leo's cot), a tub of Vicks and a packet of baby wipes (which started out the night on the shelves). Hmmm...night time shenanigans.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Meet the girls!

Here are Bubbles and Dax - new arrivals today.

Bubbles is the black hen, she's a Miss Pepperpot. Dax is the ginger Gingernut Ranger and they're great. An Omlet chap brought them and the chicken coop this morning, set it all up, explained how to work and clean it and even clipped their wing feathers. It was great. They have to stay in the run for 5 days to acclimatise and get used to going into the house to roost at night, but then we can let them out to run in the garden. The wing clipping is only done on one side so that the chickens are unbalanced if they try to flap, so hopefully they won't be able to jump the fence!

We were warned that they may not lay for a couple of days and that the first few eggs might be quite small or the shell not formed properly, but a couple of hours after they arrived, look what Leigh found in the nesting box!

And it was a double yolker!

The first day has been really good.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Under the sofa

Decided to clear under the sofa this evening. We held a small competition - winner being the person who guessed closest to the number of items under it. I guessed 25, Leigh 18. There were 36 - more if we'd counted each individual raisin rather than all of them as one group! Other delights included a fluffy ball of playdough, about £2.50 in change (including a £2 coin so not that huge a number of coins!), playing cards, half a cabbage (plastic!), a crayon and hair clip. Good job done.

Experimenting with alcohol

So recently I've tried Amaretto with cherry Coke (lovely), toffee vodka with Coke (also yum), and today - Pimms with Lilt. Yep, ran out of lemonade. Think I'll stick to lemonade in the future.


The chickens arrive tomorrow! It's all very exciting and a little bit scary too. Leigh's been talking about getting chickens for a couple of years now and finally the time seems right. We're getting 2 and an Omlet enclosure which should hopefully keep the local foxes out.

We have friends who have chickens and they seem to get on really well with them, and we went to a demonstration of the Omlet coops last year so we have some idea what we're letting ourselves in for.

The most tricky thing so far has been deciding on names for them! Leigh wanted Dax and Kira to start with but that was a bit too Trekky. Although I can hardly talk when my suggestion was Jane and Hercule. Leigh reminded me that they're both girls so I suggested Tuppence (as in Beresford - Partners in Crime) and Jane. Jane didn't seem all that popular however - Zachary's suggestion was Bubbles, though as Leigh was washing up at the time, it may not be that reliable!

So for a while it was going to be Bubbles and Tuppence...until a friend pointed out that 'tuppence' is Derbyshire slang for lady bits. Um. Bessie and Bunter were considered but Leigh pointed out that if we pick a pair of names and one dies, that won't be great. We have now determined on a pair of names...but you'll have to wait until they're here!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A glut of strawberries

Went fruit picking this morning and it was great! We tried to find some PYO last year but failed miserably - this year however, Leigh's excellent searching turned up Scaddow's farm, which is just outside Ticknall on the A514. Not too far from us.

So off we trotted and found strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries aplenty (well, there will be more raspberries in a couple of weeks). Leigh was anxious that we got plenty of strawberries, so despite Zachary eating them almost faster than we could pick them, we managed a full punnet. Discovered Leo also likes strawberries and raspberries. Well, what he enjoys is squashing the fruit in his fist until it is almost just juice and then jamming the whole thing in his mouth. Funny and very messy! Both he and I tried to look nonchalant as we passed the paying area - Leo with a juice covered face, and me with a juice covered shoulder where he'd rested.

We ended up buying 2 kilos of strawberries. Far more than were actually needed. So this afternoon and evening, Leigh has made 2 lots of strawberry icecream, one lot of strawberry frozen yoghurt lollies and a double quantity of mixed fruit jam. It all smells fabulous, and there's still a huge pot of very ripe strawberries in the fridge. Good job we have guests tomorrow!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Yet more roof

Well, it's still going! Roofer reckons another day's work and he should be done our side - bar the chimney which affects boths rooves. Next door is having 4 skylights put in so roofer has been focussing on finishing us so that the scaffolding at the back can come down.

There still seems to be some edging to do and finishing off bits, but it's looking good!