Thursday, 29 October 2009

Pumpkin Pie!

On Sunday Mr M and I were on our own in the house, a rare ocurrence these days but DD and her family took the opportunity to go out visiting so we enjoyed the peace.

It was also a chance for Mr M to sit quitely and doze - his pulled muscle won't let him lie down to sleep so he has been sleeping while sitting at the table.

He had the TV on quietly so I took the opportunity to make a pumpkin pie. I have never made one before so I had scoured tinternet and found several recipes then examined the contents of the larder to see what I had that fitted the recipes. I roasted the pumpkin according to instructions and then pureed the insides - all the seeds and stringy bits went into a mash for my girls, more of that later.

The pie is gorgeous

a little overdone on one side - that's cos the oven is old and tired. We had some with Frank's icecream and it was delish!

Because there was so much pumpkin puree left after making the pie I also made pumpkin and nut bread. This is really a cake and is also delish. I used fresh eggs from my girls to make the pie and the bread and the rest of the pumpkin puree - and there is still about two pounds left - is in the freezer for the next batch of pumpkin baking.

I made up the mash for the girls with the pumpkin seeds and the stringy bits together with the skin and some of the singed bits. I put them through the mincer on the Kenwood Chef along with a cabbage that had been forgotten and a couple of ropey carrots and some bread rolls that were supposed to be for little Miss to take to school only she wanted "proper" bread. I added a drop of water and boiled it all up then when it was cooled I took it down to see if they liked it. They practically ripped the dish out of my hands! so pumpkin is a hit. They also like sunflower seeds. We have some sunflower heads and I cut one off and hung it on the wire of the run, they love it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Confined to barracks

The girls are confined to the little run because Slurpy showed off on Sunday and flapped her wings so hard she was able to lift herself up onto the roof of the nest box. From there it was a short hop onto the roof of the hen house and a simple step up onto the wall. If it hadn't been for my neighbour pushing her back across then she would have been into their garden and digging up the flower beds.
We have bought more trellis and tomorrow I will fix the chicken wire to it and then get it up onto the roof of the hen house. I can see that my back yard is going to be like fort knox with Slurpy the fly baby and Stephanie the escapologist.
The don't like being kept in the run but they have produced three eggs every day since Sunday so it hasn't put them off.
It was raining so hard today that I was glad I didn't let them out this morning. They would have got wet and cold so quickly because they are still growing their feathers.
I just hope the winter isn't too wet.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

New Feathers!

I know I said I wouldn't show any more pictures until the girls were better clad but I just had to take some this morning. I realised that even though we have only had them for two weeks their feather growth is now noticeable!

This is Mrs Pecky and if you look at her scrawny chest you can see the quills of new feathers.

The only thing more pleased than me is probably her!

This is Noisy, her feathers are darker but that's probably because she is getting outer feathers while Mrs P is growing her thermal layer first.

I have been introducing them to the concept of "mash". This is the way we give them all the kitchen food waste. The vegetabel peelings and the scrapings from plates as well as out if date rice and cereals.

Until AJ and family came back home to live we didn't have much waste food. I am proud to say that my portion control was dead good so the plates were usually clean after a meal. Not so now. It breaks my heart to see food left on plates and I don't understand why anyone would put more on their plate than they can eat. I probably eat more than I should but I do make sure that I only put what I know I can eat onto my plate. I can go back for seconds if I want to.

In other news my eczema has been really bad this week so walking has been extremely painful. So painful that when I wake up in the night and need to go to the bathroom I drea putting my weight on my feet. I have still managed to use the Wii Fit that Mr M bought last week. It keeps telling me I am unbalanced but that's because my right foot is worse than my left so I am favouring it at the moment.

I think it is the laughter that does me the most good because AJ and Si are also using it and watching them doing the step dancing or the ski jumping makes me laugh til my sides ache. They get to laugh at me too so it is very fair. I love the fact that I can jog in my front room - and I don't cheat and just wiggle the hand control about - so I have built up to half an hour every day and I will start the yoga exercises too.

Not much scrapbooking done this week just a DLO for a circle journal called Desert Island Discs

I could not think what to do for this until I was choosing papers to use and found this bown. "If only I had a suitcase diecut that colour" I thought and then realised that I had pencils so I should try to draw it. I could have put more stuff in the background but I do hate cluttered pages. The titles of my songs are on the labels stuck to the suitcases with my favourite one on its own on the flowery suitcase. The label thingy in the middle has my photograph on the other side but I didn't want to photograph a photograph - if you see what I mean. Some of the other pages in this CJ are so clever I just know that the person who owns it is going to love it, when it gets back to her.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Eggs, lots of eggs

The girls are really settling in now. Mr M went to Wicks and bought a trellis panel that he then fixed some chicken wire to, so now we have a perfect gate at the bottom of the steps and the girls can scratch and peck all day in safety. This is much easier for poor Stephanie as she has places to hide when Mrs Pecky and Noisy start chasing her.
The garden plants are receiving a severe pruning and the weeds are disappearing too. The black and white cat from across the street is fascinated by them and sits peering through the wire on the back gate. The girls immediately peer back at him and this he finds very disconcerting. He has tried getting up onto the wall but they just stare at him for a minute and then continue their scratching totally unconcerned. He knows by the look they give him that coming into the garden would be folly so he sits and watches - and they all watch him too.
They have now been introduced to mash and after a bit of a slow start they love it. I give it to them in the afternoon when they have had all morning to eat "proper" food. They know where I keep it and as soon as I open the cellar door they are standing outside on the step waiting for the bowl to appear. This will be handy if I ever need to get them into the run before they are ready to go because they scurry around me and all rush into the run to eat the mash.
They also like the noise the water makes when I wash their bowl and water container and they rush to peck the splashes.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


The girls have requested that I refrain from taking any more pictures until they have regained their beautiful plumage - and I keep forgetting to take the camera down into the garden with me. My S-i-L has promised to make the gate for the bottom of the steps tomorrow and then the girls will be able to go out in the garden all day unless it is raining.
They have lost most of their outer feathers so they are not weather proof yet, this can make them cold and of they get rained on they will stay wet for a long time.
For some reason poor little Stephanie McQueen is being picked on by the other three. She hides in the house all day until they go to bed when she nips out into the run and stuffs her face with food and water and then waits until it is dark before going back into the house. When they are out in the garden she can run away more easily so she scratches happily in the flowerbed, throwing clods of earth all over the place - including on Mrs Pecky - and she gobbles up the worms. She hates to go back into the run when the others are there so I have to pick her up and put her in.
Things will improve because tomorrow Mr M has promised to assist me in the wing clipping so that they can't fly over into next door.
I have spent far more time than I should just standing and watching them - very good for the blood-pressure.
Now I am going to start the double page layout of their arrival. These will go into the 2009 album.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

in other news

I have a dolls' house. My lovely next door neighbour gave it to me so I have been quite busy selling FRP figures on eBay so I can buy some furniture and people for my house. I have painted the outside a duck-egg blue
Since I took this picture the other day I have put the glass in the windows and started my wishlist of items from the Dolls house emporium catalogue. My goodness they have some wonderful things in there, all of which I desperately need.

The chicken Chronicles

Last night it rained, and the girls have never seen rain before. They don't like it. They rushed out of their house this morning and eagerly began scoffing. once their crops were full they looked out through the wire and realised that wet stuff was dropping down and some of it was getting onto them. They retired under the house, except for slurpy who beat it back up the ramp where it is both dry AND warm.
There was a third egg yesterday around lunchtime so only one egg this morning.

When I dredged the depths of my memory and went back to my agricultural college days I found this memory of being taught that chickens have a roughly 25 hour cycle for their laying. As I am pretty impressed with the fact that the trauma of all that travel hasn't seemed to put them off at all. They are eating well and they put themselves to bed when it got dark and if I open the window and listen I can here them crooning.
We had scrambled egg, bacon and Haloumi cheese for our meal last night and used some of our lovely fresh eggs. Today I am going to make a cranberry tea bread and I will be using another egg. No pictures because it is raining and I forgot to take the camera out with me and couldn't face climbing the steps just to get it.

Another two eggs at lunchtime today so they really are doing well - I don't expect it to last though

Monday, 5 October 2009

They all have names

I forgot to tell you that they all have names now.
Mrs Pecky you already know about.
Noisy is the name that Em chose for one of them and she really was the most noisy of them all. She has a bare chest at the moment so we can tell which one is her on the rare occasions when she is silent.
Slurpy Worm Burp was named by Carla who lives next door. Because she (the hen not Carla) suddenly became a confident pushy hen when we put some worms into the run. She shoved everyone aside, including Mrs pecky to get at them.
Stephanie Mcqueen is the escapologist. She tried to make a break for it when we were still at the place we collected them. She was half way under the door of the carier before we realised and nearly made it out and away. She was first out of the house this morning and spent the time in the garden looking for the way out. She will be first in the queue for wing clipping later this week.

And these are the names they have at the moment. I think perhaps that these will be shortened and changed and it will be more difficult to tell them apart as they get their new feathers and they start to fill out a bit.

New Adventures

Two more eggs this morning and the girls rushed out of the pop-hole as soon as I drew back the flap.

Mrs Pecky stood and tapped the wire while I filled the food container and then rushed about pecking everyone until I had cleaned and refilled the water container.

Simon and I then fixed the wire mesh to the bottom of the gate so that they can have a wander around the garden. I won't let them out without supervision, at least not yet, because there are a couple of cats that live around us and I don't want my girls spooked by a neighbour's cat. No if they are going to be spooked then we'll let Blue do it.

Slurpy decided to stay inside the house. She came out and stuffed her face with food when Mrs Pecky was out in the garden . Then Mrs Pecky heard he so she rushed back in to the run to guard the food so Slurpy went back inside.

Next thing Stephanie is scratching at the weeds so Mrs P had to rush out to see if there was anything she was missing so Slurpy nipped down the ramp filled her face with food and a quick drink and nipped back up just as Mrs P noticed.

Stephanie is by far the most adventurous, she spent her time looking up at how high things are and whether she can get under, over or though them, while all the time scratching and pecking.

When it was time to put them back into the run it was so easy because they are not afraid so they don't run. They were so easy to gently guide towards their door, no squawking, no flapping they just sauntered in and I closed the door quietly - marvellous.

I love it when they talk to me. I go down in the morning and all is quiet and then I say "morning girls" and they make that funny, contented sound to tell me they have heard.

Love it, love it, love it!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A thank you gift

Look what they gave us this morning, as a thank-you for saving us gift.

Aren't they wonderful?

When I opened the door to their house this morning three of them were in the laying boxes and the one with a bare bottom was on her own guarding the food container. I put them into their run - they will get the hang of the little door eventually - and when I had cleaned the c*** out of the food thing and given them fresh water I realised that three of them were hiding under the house while the one with a bare bottom was guarding the food thing at the other end.

Each time one of them got a bit brave and headed for the food Bare bottom would peck at them, She is now known as Mrs Pecky.

They will establish their pecking order but it looks so aggresive and violent while they are doing it.

In the mean time I have to go and cook something with really fresh eggs for the first time in 29 years

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The girls are here!

We collected the girls. Em decied on the way there that she would call one of them Noisy. We suggested that she should wait until they had been with us for a few days, until she could see what names fitted but she was adamant that one would be called Noisy.

We got them into the carriers and into the car and Em pointed to the one nearest the door of the brown carrier and said "That one is called Noisy", and she is right. It kept up a constant burble of sound all the way home and when we put them into the hen house she shouted for a minute or two just to let us know that she was in charge.
They are now settled in for the night with food and water and nest boxes full of shredded paper. Tomorrow we will put them into their run and let them find their way back into the house. This will give me a chance to see if they need a little help getting up the ramp. More pictures and a progress report as we go

Today is the Day!

OK, so I have only been awake for two hours. I am not excited at all, no really, I am calm and cool and ready to leave to collect my chickens. It takes an hour and a half to get there and our time for collection is 2.30pm - so, not at all eager to get there.

Mr M was supposed to be doing the driving but last week he developed a cold and on the Friday night he sneezed and felt a muscle "go" in his side. By Saturday morning it was painful, by Sunday he was in agony and on Monday he rang work and said he wasn't going in. This was when I really started to worry.
Then he rang the doctor's surgery and they asked him to be there at 3pm. He couldn't move his right arm without crying by this time so I drove our car for the first time. My legs are too short and my tummy too fat to drive anything with an airbag. Because it is a biggish vehicle (Kia Sedona) The seats are quite high so my little legs needed the seat pushed as far forward as it would go. This meant that if the airbag activated it would take my face off - possibly the whole of my head.
When I needed to release the handbrake I had to lean over so far I disappeared from view. This does not instill confidence in pedestrians or other drivers. The worst thing - and also the funniest - was when I was driving up the steep street next to our house. I found that the angle of the vehicle and my short stature meant that I was looking out through the curve of the steering wheel through the windscreen. I saw the face of a lady who was standing at the top of the street as she glanced towards the car and realised that she couldn't see anyone driving it. It has been so long since I drove anything that my confidence has quite disappeared, understandable really when I think about all that has happened in my life in the last ten years.
Anyway, Mr M is still not able to drive so My daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter are all taking me to collect the girls.
In other news, I have a dolls' house. My lovely next door neighbour asked on facebook if there was anyone amongst her friends that wanted one free because she wanted it out of the house. I said I would love it if she was serious and that evening it arrived. I have painted the outside a beautiful duck-egg blue - very soft and pale. and the next job is to fit the three staircases. It is georgian style with pedimented windows and quoining on the corners and I am really looking forward to doing each roomover the next 100 years. It will take that long because the furniture and stuff is so expensive.