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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Cagney has gone broody...........

Just a few days ago I was thinking what a lovely relationship has developed between Cagney and Chubba since Lacey died. They were spending a lot of time together. Now all that has changed and Cagney has gone broody. We have worried and agonised over what to do about it, whether to break her broodiness or let her sit. But after the saga of the malfunctioning incubator we have decided to let her have some Shumen eggs to sit on. We then had to decide where. Ideally the nursery would have been the logical place, lots of space and quiet. We kitted out the dog crate (because we have babies in the room) and tried to settle her in there, but she was having none of it and squawked the place down, terrifying the babies and setting Sevi off as well! Moved the crate back into their shed and peace reigns. Now she has accepted that this is a nice place we have given her eight shumen eggs. She has plucked her breast so that it is easier to keep the eggs at the right temperature. She comes out (with a bit of help from Dave) for a poo, feed and water then fusses and bustles back to her eggs. As we don't have a lot of hens in the house we will leave the crate in there as things seem settled. We will worry about three weeks away later.
Cagney and Chubba

Which leaves Chubba needing a new friend to share her broken eggs with. And Mandy appears to be the chosen one. They are now sharing a dust bath. They are very fickle these ladies.

Chubba with her new friend, Mandy

Darcy with the twisted feet has joined the grown ups and started laying regularly bless her, and the way Pearl is behaving she will not be far behind. I am going to make some Scotch eggs out of her little offerings.
Darcy laying her first

Such a clever girl

Meanwhile the replacement araucanas have arrived and been set into the now behaving incubator. There are some shumen eggs hatching at the moment but they have been moved to the other incubator so that humidity can be maintained as turning the eggs not hatching yet dries the atmosphere. We have tried to order some more maran eggs but have not had confirmation yet. So far we have five shumen babies, one on the way and an araucana which was hatching but seems to have given up at the moment, so we'll see.

It looks as if we now have a home for the last remaining cockerel, the late developer who Sevi is now starting to resent. He will be going to the home of someone who's blog I read when I was researching Bulgaria, and who's warts and all story I found extremely useful. He will have some nice young girls who will hopefully ease him into the life of a young cockerel.

As spring progresses there is a very quick change to the landscape. Much of the blossom is fading and verges and trees are taking on a green hue and blocking the views from the car. The crops in the fields have put on a real growth spurt as we have had warm days and a little rain, and the rape fields already have a definite yellow haze over them as they start to flower.

Two stork nests

And the swallows have made an appearance! A real sign that spring has well and truly arrived. Their twittering is a pleasure to hear. There are storks everywhere, all trying to tidy their nests, and there have been reports of hoopoe sightings. We definitely heard an oriel sing when we were at the river yesterday morning and watched a magpie tidying a nest while his mate drew a marten away and harrassed it up the hill. Unfortunately it all happened so quickly we couldn't get the cameras out in time. Much to the amusement of one loal resident!
First swallow


Another sandpiper

Stork woz here!

Ha ha very funny.

We had a disaster with our shopping the other day, went to Kaufland for the monthly shop and found that the butter I buy was on offer, so decided to stock up as I plan to make some biscuits for car boot sales. Unfortunately when we tried using some we found that all ten packs were rancid, tasting strongly of blue cheese. We should have taken it back but it is quite a journey in a thirsty car and it just wasn't worth the diesel. They have had a bit of bad press just recently and their storage system has been questioned, so I think we may give them a miss for a while. There is nothing we can't get locally or in Lidl.

What I did get in Kaufland though was a pack of wild garlic. What a find. I did bring a few bits to plant from my sister's garden, but it seems to have died a death, so I was quite excited to find it sold in a supermarket. It has all gone now, added to pasta, omelettes, wilted with some of our own chard. How I wish I had bought more and made garlic butter and pesto for the freezer (though not with their butter!)

Today we went to the area's largest car boot sale to see what was available and suss out if there is anyone doing cards, which there aren't. There were a few really bad paintings but nothing decent. So now I have booked a pitch in the first car boot sale in the next village, which is next Sunday, and another a week later by the waterfalls. Dave will take some paintings, mainly to show, but with some he has done quite quickly which he can sell cheaper. I plan to make some biscuits to see if they will sell. We did buy some perennial plants there at a very reasonable price, and the chap who sells them might have a Bramley apple tree for us next week. I was tempted by a stall selling British foods, they had some Bisto gravy granules, but I resisted and told myself not to be lazy. At the equivelant of £3.50 it was steep to say the least!

The smattering of rain has really got the garden growing. The peas and broad beans are growing away well, Dave's sweet peas are making an appearance, the potatoes are just breaking the surface and the lettuce are taking some keeping up with. It is so nice to be eating stuff from the garden, the chard is growing really strongly and it is now easy to pick a big bowl rather than scratching around to get enough, we have had planty of fresh herbs and some spring onions planted last year. Today I have transplanted some land cress and am hoping for a bit more rain to get that going. We have some more plants flowering, the larger anemones and some really cute scented narcissus. I am so glad we didn't spend any money on spring bulbs...apart from anemones. We have planted up troughs with flowers and tomatoes to place around rather ugly garden structures.
Strawberry flowers


...and a huge juicy bowl full
Our next door neighbours have been worrying about their cats coming into our garden and being chased by our vicious hunting dogs....but I don't think they need worry..................That's Flopper their ginger cat against the wall.
Behind Bonnie's head

Wot's up Flopper?


  1. You seem to be really enjoying your new chosen life. Love reading your blog.

    1. Rhanks Maggie. We are loving it. Of course there are niggles, nothing is perfect, but in comparison to our former lives......well, there is no comparison.