Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Hens

Here are four of the five chickens that roam freely around Te Horo. The missing chick is Blacky who is broody at the moment and is most unwilling to leave the coop where she is lovingly nesting four plastic eggs. The chicks in the picture are imaginatively called (from the top) Bluey (who lays blue eggs), Browny (who lays brown eggs) and Speckledy and Speckledy (who, you guessed it, lay speckled eggs). Here you can see them engaged in one of their most favourite activities: Messing Up The Tidy Garden. On this particular day Al and Jessica had mulched the long, heavily laden row of passionfruit with fresh pea straw. By the time they persuaded me to come out and admire their work, the chooks had done their very best to scatter the straw across the grass as you can see.

Usually we find the chickens have broken through the fence around the vegetable garden and are clawing up the seedlings, munching at the silverbeet and generally causing mayhem. They are also quite thrilled whenever I plant flowers by the winery steps. It's a bit pointless really for me to keep trying since they remember, even better than I do, that only a few months ago that bed was, for a couple of glorious weeks, a compost pit to which thrilling treats were added daily. Their nostalgia for those heady days of rotting food to scratch through are rewarded all too well by masses of worms today.

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