Life in the Countryside

So what’s been going on?

It has been a long, long time since I last wrote. Too long. Life living in a caravan whilst we did our home renovation took it’s toll, we made it through but it exhausted us. We finally moved in just before Christmas 2019. Then, in March 2020, the country went into lockdown. I don’t want to dwell on the pandemic and all the negatives it has brought about, there’s too much out there about that already. Instead let me talk about some of the positive developments in our little corner of the countryside.

We have lost some animals (the curse of the countryside fox) but have gained some more. We now have two different breeds of duck, Silver Appleyard and Cherry Valley. The Cherry Valley were re-homed in January from Fresh Start and after a couple of weeks have finally settled in. They still make lots of noise and run away when they see us coming but they also seem to realise that we provide the food and water. They have also started going to bed with the others without needing to be caught individually and put inside their house (not a fun thing to do in the cold muddy dark January evenings). We did breed our Silver Appleyards last Spring which enabled us to replace some of our lost flock and process some for the freezer. I think we have a total of seventeen ducks now (3 male, the rest female) and are looking forward to breeding some more in the Spring.

Bringing our new ducks home, bad choice of box!

During last summer we lost the last of our chickens to the fox so ended up starting from scratch with them again. Having been entranced by the Pekin Bantams we saw at Chatsworth in the summer (highly recommend a trip if you’re ever in that part of the world) we decided to acquire some Pekin Bantams (1 cockerel and 5 hens). Although the cockerel is very possessive over his ladies and tries to peck at us when we first approach, they are overall very friendly. Hopefully they’ll start laying soon and we can breed them some more friends in the Spring. At the same time we got some Cream Legbars (1 cockerel and 7 hens) chicks. Hopefully they will start laying at some point, although as a pure-breed they are more seasonal in their laying. The cockerel is also very possessive of his ladies but is great at making sure that they are all in bed before he goes up.

We still, of course, have the dog and she is still as mad as ever. She generally gets on well with the birds but occasionally wants them to play with her, they are less keen and it generally ends up with her running towards them and them scattering as quickly as they can (commonly referred to in our house as chicken bowling). Our toddler is no longer a toddler, she’s in her second year of primary school and has coped amazingly well with homeschooling and not being able to see her friends and family. My husband is still around, spending most of his days working from home in his office in the field. We’ve been together for over ten years now, scary how much has happened in these ten years. Well I’m going to go for now. It felt good to do some writing again, to focus on the positives and to look back as we start to look forward.

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