The poor little sparrows are hungry on a rainy winter’s day (or any day) and come down to the feeder to forage. ‘Automatic feeders’, which make food available when the treadle is depressed, are supposed to keep the chook food safe from marauding sparrows. But the chooks are messy eaters who throw out the pellets as they search for other treats, and the sparrows come down to eat. So the scene of the crime was set.
The second feeder is metal. (I glued carpet to the treadle so it was more comfortable for their feet on a cold, or hot, day.) Food is less likely to be scattered from this one, but I have opened it on occasion and been startled by a trapped sparrow making a rapid escape.
All four chooks can feed from this second feeder at the same time – unless Popcorn gets bossy and chases the others away. When she does, the others walk off, the lid clangs shut, and Popcorn, who hasn’t quite got the knack of the treadle, stands bemused. Karma.
Today, we are toasty by the fire while the chooks huddle on the deck. They wander into the garage between showers, or forage in the garden.
In Winter, they prefer frosty mornings which are followed by sunny days. Then they can find a dusty spot under a tree and snuggle in.
On rainy days, like today, the dust baths on the lawn have become puddles.
The path to their house is swamped, and covered in cabbage tree leaves which blew down in the southerly storm last night.
Strong winds woke me in the night. I could hear the trees being battered and wondered what the wind sounds like for people living in houses with no trees.
I thought of the tender new buds and new growth and the apple blossom. The main victim, however, was a large artichoke plant.
Luckily, the crushed dome and silver beet sprang back when I moved the fallen plant. I probably won’t be able to save the artichoke, but a smaller plant beside it is still standing – and producing buds. I planted both at the same time and wonder why one grew so much bigger. Perhaps it was the chicken manure under the rhubarb beside it, or just a genetic quirk. I, for example, am of modest height while my siblings are tall.
The chooks, sensibly, are huddled under the outdoor table as the wind and rain continue. Little flocks of sparrows join them from time to time.
A lot of rain has fallen, making puddles on the lawn. I hope the grass, only ever mowed by the chooks, will be encouraged to new growth, particularly where it has gone to mud and required paving stones to protect it.
It’s raining at last. It was great to hear the rain bucketing down in the night on the dry garden. This morning there’s a mix of rain and sunshine and the garden looks washed, fresh and sparkling.
The chooks are sheltering on the deck where it is both sunny and dry – but only 10 degrees centigrade. Heat pump and woolly socks are on for us indoors!
Yesterday I was in the garden all day. It was warm but overcast. Then in the evening the sun appeared below the nor’west arch lighting up the trees and make the flowers glow.
I find myself singing Bring me Sunshine today, with its cha-cha rhythm, and playing the Morecambe and Wise version which I have added to a playlist of Make me Smile songs. When I joined Singing for Pleasure at the WEA I started a playlist of the songs we sing. Now I have several more playlists including Childhood Favourites, Drive (for long journeys), Shiver up the Spine, and even Chicken-themed songs. Every day I wake up with a song or two playing in my head.
Today’s song is apt because the sunshine can be figurative: “Bring me sunshine in your smile. Bring me laughter all the while. In this world where we live there should be more happiness, so much joy you can give to each brand new bright tomorrow…”
This couldn’t be exemplified better than by this wee chap whose photos, arriving regularly from my niece, bring a day full of sunshine!