-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Friday, June 29, 2007

idea for fire fender

idea for fire fender
Originally uploaded by lynetter
I found this on Ebay and I would have bid except it's in Sydney and so delivery to Melbourne is going to cost a fortune. A pity. But, wanted to keep a copy of it here as it's a great idea and I reckon I could easily make something similar.

I've been looking into getting fenders with seats to go with the fireplaces... they're really expensive. This could be our solution. I also like how the seats are boxes, I can see that'll be really handy for storing all the kindling/other stuff that accumulates when you have a wood fire.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Our new hen

After the sad demise of C1, we were intending to rescue a battery hen as a new companion for C2. But it turns out there's a 2 month long waiting list!

After seeing how despondent poor C2 was, we decided it wasn't fair to wait. So, I took a day off work to find her a new friend. After a morning calling round various shelters, I discovered a community farm in North London who agreed to sell me a lovely little hen who had just come into lay.

Here she is!
Our new C

We don't yet have a name for her, for now she is "new C" or "little one" because she is much smaller. C1 and C2 were OK names despite sounding somewhat clinical, because really they were named in honour of the Bananas in Pajamas. But I want new C to have a proper name, I just haven't thought of a good one yet.

Our new C

She is clearly a different breed, although I don't know what kind. She is smaller and has a funny shaped crown - it's more like a plate actually, with lots of little pointy bits on it. She is very sweet but best of all she and C2 seem to be very good friends already. C2 was so happy to see another chicken she did friendly chirrups for about half an hour! There was a little bit of pecking but nothing like I feared and after a few hours they settled down together quite happily. So, crisis averted, C2 is happy again.

But I felt very guilty because we'd not rescued a battery chicken. So, to offset that (and also as a reward for some great news that I can't write about yet) I've ordered a new chicken house that will let us keep up to 10 chickens! Here's a picture of it from the Omlet website:

In terms of size, it's 3 metres long by 1.6m wide. It is about shoulder height so there's room for them to do play jumps inside from the ladder... I wish we'd had this for C1, she loved pretending to fly.

The house is due to arrive in August and we are on the waiting list with a battery hen rescue shelter in Essex to adopt 3 hens in September. Even though we have space for up to 10 we don't want to be deluged with eggs and also want them to have more space.

broadband plans for rural Australia

Some good news... they've announced plans to seriously up the availability of fast broadband in rural Australia. Supposedly within 2 years but of course it'll be delayed, but hopefully within 5 by the time we get back. Yay! maybe we won't have to resort to satellite after all!! Of course, fast broadband is only part of the problem, also they have to put decent charging structures in place so you can actually use it to the full potential but hey, baby steps... ;-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sad news: C1 has died

We're in Spain on holiday with friends and today got a very sad phone call. Our darling C1 chicken died in her sleep. Roger, the "animal uncle" who house sits and looks after everyone called this afternoon with the terrible news.

closeup of C1

C1 was a lovely chicken. She, along with C2, inducted us into the ways of Hen... an important learning for our eventual move to Amherst. She was the first to lay, she even laid an egg in the box that she was delivered in! She was like clockwork too, laying lovely little brown speckled eggs that tasted divine.

C1 had a big character and warm personality. She loved being around people and had a full range of chirrups for every occasion. She taught C2 how to eat redcurrants, jumping up like on a pogo stick to get them from the bush. She taught C2 how to find slugs hidden under the leaves of plants. C1 was a very special chicken and we are glad to have known her even only for the few years.

We knew she was getting elderly as she had stopped laying entirely this year except for the occasional one or two a month, never having started up after the winter moult. We'd hoped she would be with us for longer, but it was not to be.

C1 was, we think, around 4-5 years old and she certainly had a very happy life while with us. It doesn't seem long but for a chicken I think is a reasonable innings. We will have her cremated and she can come to Amherst with us when we finally get to move there and have a memorial stone and bush planted in her honour, like all our other little ones who've passed on.

Rest in peace darling C1, I hope you are somewhere now with lots of marmite toast, raisons, spaghetti and pizza to eat to your heart's content.