Sunday, 28 December 2008

Grave matters

A while ago, I blogged about a gravestone or memorial for William Ison, a shepherd who died after being struck by lightning.

The stone, in the middle of a fen field, was looking a bit weather-worn and its carved wording was becoming hard to read.

One of our walks took us past the site this weekend and I'm pleasd to say the stone has been the subject of a bit of tlc and is now looking quite smart.

William Ison


Ison new


A touch of frost

Christmas Day was, as usual, grey and dank, but we've had some lovely crisp, frosty mornings since. I've been out for a couple of long walks with the dawg this weekend and I think she's enjoyed stretching her legs a bit.

We didn't see too much wildlife on these walks - a nice, skittish fox with a huge brush tail, loads of herons, a few deer, a kingfisher, lots of redwings and not much else, though the mute swans on the river are looking particularly clean, crisp and white and the moment.



The thing I most like about these cold mornings is the lovely white dusting of frost that forms on anything it touches, especially the teasels in the hedgerows and, as usual, I can't stop myself taking pictures of them (even though I have dozens already).



The hips from dog roses are also really beautiful . . .

Rose hips 2

Rose hips 1

Chickens at work


The hens have now settled in and we have quite a good routine. I feed them and change their water every morning, they get a handfull of corn and grit every afternoon, I move the run to a new patch of grass twice a week, I scrape out the droppings tray twice a week and they get a good clean every Saturday morning.

In return, I get a near-overflowing compost bin, a wrecked lawn and, more positively, roughly an egg a day.

Here's their production over the Chrismas period . . .

xmas production

However, I'm fairly sure it's not Sybil who's laying as she's decided to moult - not the best time to be doing this, with regular frosts etc, but I suppose it is a female's prerogative to change her outfit as and when she wants to!

I am giving her a bit of a 'tonic' which is added to the food but, of course, all three of them are getting it - there's no way for each one to have a separate food bowl. It's a means to an end - a bit like trying to 'get to know' a girl in a bar by buying her drink, but having to get them in for her two ugly friends as well.