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Unfortunately I’m too busy working to get outside much.

I have inherited some new chickens (8 two-year old hens) and some of them don’t seem to have any trouble getting out. We regularly see one or two wandering about and needing a little convincing to get back inside the run.

Apart from this I found my bike had a flat tyre by afternoon which needed fixing and which kept me from going for another ride today.

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A short glimpse of sunshine for those who rose early today – it was gone by 8 am again. We decided to go to the movies today to get out of the house without risking the rain again.

A leisurely wander through the crowded Sunshine Plaza – somehow I can never see much worth buying there – and we enjoyed a Turkish pide-pizza lunch together before watching the latest Harry Potter. It was an enjoyable afternoon and more so when we drove back home and disappeared into the fog as we ascended the hills. The puddles on our driveway told us that we did miss another day of rains at home. And, yes, I gave the chooks extra rations again – they gave us five eggs in return.

Last night the Year 7 graduates had a party together – I bet it is rare for any school to have all the children in one class be friends and be respectful of each other. Small schools give children the opportunity to learn about those who are different to themselves and to be tolerant of differences as well as getting to know and value others for their differences. Most of the kids will move on to different High Schools next year and probably for the first time in their lives some are aware of being parted from friends… They’re growing up and also learning about letting go.

So after a late night we didn’t mind so much that it rained all day. I managed to catch up on a little more work and gave the chooks extra rations to make up for the miserable weather (food fixes everything, right?). No photos today either… everything is wet, wet, wet and I can watch the grass growing several inches by the day. So we made a cake… food does fix everything.

I have to dig deep for an exquisite moment today or use what’s left of the day to create one.

It’s been raining heavily today which puts a spoke into the wheel of my weekend beach plans. On top of that the stormwater drain at the end of our road, where my driveway is, seems blocked and the cul-de-sac is flooding. Me and the boys spend some time after school trying to clear it without success as the blockage doesn’t seem to be in reach from either end. I’m hoping it flushes free, otherwise we will have to use the kayak to get out soon.

But the worst news was confirmation today that I have at least 2 egg-eating chooks. I have been suspicious since returning from our desert trip – I’ve kept a close eye on them but not caught them ‘red-beaked’ until today. I spend the morning pruning the trees in the chookyard after I got back from school and have now separated them into three groups: 3 Australorbs (not certain if one of them has picked up a bad habit) and 2 Indian Runners (who I know are ‘good’) are locked in the pen, 3 red hybrids are in one small pen with some corrugated iron to keep them dry (I caught one with some egg, the others then joined in the chase of her, but it may not have been their idea) and the other 3 will be in a dome covered with a tarp (why is it raining so hard today?). Two of these have not yet convinced this is a good idea (even with cabbage leaves as bait) and I’m waiting for dusk to put them together (again, one is a known culprit, the other may be safe, she just laid under a tree, but she will remain under observation). The fact is that one started and a couple of others have ganged up – I don’t really know how to deal with them (other than eat them) but have decided to separate all culprits to start with. I know some of them do not join in, they get very upset at the ‘baddies’. Tomorrow I start with what I think is my ‘safe’ group in the pen and when I’m sure I will add one per day of the ‘suspects’ until I’m sure who is misbehaving. Then it’s decision time! A dilemma…

I feel responsible for this behaviour developing because we were away for longer periods over the last few month and they were looked after by neighbours. It seems this has placed them into temptation as the spring laying started and the clutches of eggs were probably often large and inviting and may not have been collected early enough or enough fresh greens provided to keep them happy. I will have to find a manageable solution, even if it involves solitary confinement to protect the good hens – there’s always the possibility of a separate tractor in the orchard for the 2 bad girls.

Now how can I save this day with an exquisite ending?

Luv at 501st sight

I had to get a few groceries and chook food today. On the way there, this happy little Citroen caught my eye at the side of the road – not strictly a part of Nature except in a sculptural way.

Being tuned into noticing the ‘small’ things,
I also found this sweet little orchid flowering
in my garden today.

The chookpen got a new door frame today, one that should last for many years. I’m grateful for my wonderful Wwoofer Karl’s efforts. He also added a few more stepping stones to my vegetable garden path – which will now invite me in to browse even on a really soggy day.

But I wasn’t too lazy today either, I spend three hours brush cutting the back of the property while a few of the chickens and a grey heron kept me company, hoping for some tasty morsels to be unearthed in the process. The grey heron was wary, but too tempted to be too shy and came so close we made eye contact.

The Life-Death-Life Cycle

The old lady passed away during the night. I knew as soon as I woke up because there was an unusual respectful quiet in the chookpen – not the usual calls of “Come and open the door…”

A natural respect and maybe an acknowledgement that this is the way of Life, that Death is part and parcel of every day and the old is renewed in the transformation.

I buried her next to the little oak tree which is unfolding its new leaves and thus affirming life. The rock that marks her resting place will hopefully deter any wild gravediggers.

A strange day which couldn’t make up its mind whether to be sunny or rainy or cloudy or warm or cool…

My Wwoofer and I went to buy some timber to replace the rotten door frame in the chookpen. He’ll be building me a new door frame and has also been busy moving some large rocks already. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t predictable enough to get started on the building, so the prep work will be all he can complete today.

My grand old Australorb lady is no better, but was sitting with a younger friend at lunchtime. I hope she is enjoying her possibly last days. As sad as it may be, death is a part of life, more noticeably so in my rural lifestyle than in a city life.

I do believe my domestic animals have a very nice life, although the odd one dies young from natural predators, others live out their years peacefully, scratching through the yard for scraps, even though they may not be as useful anymore as they once were.

Jaboticaba

I had a good walk around the garden today and was amazed at how much everything has grown in a few days.

The Jaboticaba, flowering for the first time, is already setting some fruit. This unusual South American fruit tree carries it’s fruit directly on its woody branches. The flavour of the berries reminds me of black currants, which do not grow in this area, and when they are ripe, I will use some of the fruit to prepare a fruit syrup, as well as some jelly.

On a sadder note, I think my oldest Australorb hen is not feeling well. She’s not eating and has given up the top rung of the perch. She’s about 9 years old, so it may soon be her time to leave this world for chook heaven, no coaxing seems to enthuse her to feel better…

It’s been raining today… all day, getting heavier too. I felt sorry for the chickens and gave them extra rations. Glad they have a roof over their heads to keep them dry.

Huntsman Spider

Everything is sheltering from the wet. We came home from karate just now to find an impressive huntsman sitting on the roof of the carport. These are pretty harmless for humans, but will eat other spiders – still, they’re pretty big, not always easy to catch and relocate (they’re very fast runners!) if they get inside and you better not have a spider phobia when you come across one of these… I’m just glad it’s outside, not inside.

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