Charlie has been complaining to me that his 12-month tour of duty was completed a fortnight ago, and it’s high time he was relieved. He really has been getting a bit down-at-heel : the other day I found him lying flat on his back, his work clothes in tatters, and just a few feet away was the remains of a chicken eaten by a raven or perhaps an eagle. One really can’t be expected to do one’s best without being decently clothed!
This morning, William (see photo … no, him on the left) reported for duty, here at the walled garden. After lunch, Jonathan (him on the right) took William to the croft to get to know the chickens – before they all went to roost for the night, and to settle in himself. Tonight, Charlie will show him the ropes, then from tomorrow morning, it’ll be just William watching over the poultry.
Charlie will be looking forward to a bit of R&R in the croft store. I’m told that involves screwdrivers, bits of wood and tins of paint. J says that’s Charlie’s idea of R&R : afterwards, he’ll feel like a new man.
Really, J can be very obtuse with his explanations.
My belief is, what Charlie really needs is a bit of retail therapy – at the thrift shop. I’m sure there’ll be a half-decent boiler suit in there. Perhaps two – it’s not just William who’s in want of a sartorial upgrade.
Here’s my new helper! It’s Lucky. In recent weeks she’s got into the habit of flying up on to my back, when I’m bending over in the croft hen house, scraping the floor, or whatever.
When I stand up, Lucky scrambles up to look over my shoulder, adjusting her stance and grip on my boiler suit as I go about my morning routine.
When ‘breakfast’ is served up, she’s off: her little wings flap against my ear as she launches herself over my shoulder, into flight, landing clumsily in the midst of the feeding frenzy.
In fairness we don’t know for certain that she’s Lucky. But it’s likely, because this pullet doesn’t seem to be close-knit into any social group.
Today, 1 March, Spring has arrived. And not just officially! Today we’re revelling in blue skies, warm sunshine and turquoise seas. And the forecast encourages us to expect more of the same for the most of the coming week. Outdoor tasks beckon, and we follow gladly, casting off warm layers and headgear and turning on their heads the winter-time excuses to hasten back indoors. Freedom under the sun, indeed!
Overnight, Jack Frost left his hallmark on the windows and windscreens [windshields]. We’ve seen little of him in recent years – this is only his second visit this winter – and probably his last. He didn’t stop long, though, as he’d got word that Sunny Boy was on his way!
The UK-wide poultry lock-down order expired yesterday, along with the month of February – and Winter. Exceot for a few localized problem areas in England, birds can now range freely outdoors, providing a number of precautions are observed.
The sheep seemed pleased with themselves, waiting for me in the middle of the road, satisfied with the warm sunshine on their backs. Later, just as I was packing up to head home for lunch, Primrose left the others, trotting over to see me, skipping with delight.
Even the harbour seals had grounded themselves on rocks to spend the middle of the day basking in sunshine. These are young seals. Can you see an older/darker one on the right having to make do with the lower shoulder of the rock. First on – Last off!
Back at the walled garden, Denise was washing and disinfecting in Greenhouse 4, working around the two remaining spring cabbages. (My but they’ve been tender and tasty!) Washing on the line under blue skies provide the final dash of light and colour that I’ve been painting for you.