Over the Christmas holidays the whole family have been ill in one way or another. It started with a cold-flu bug my little boy, Izaac, brought home from school on the last day of term. And it ends, on the first day of 2011, with me and the kids being nearly better but Rob, my husband, nursing a deadly combination of man-flu & a post news years eve hangover on the sofa.
But all the house bound time led me to one sad, but inevitable, conclusion: my new chickens are really and truly waging a systematic campaign of destruction on my beloved garden. It had to stop, and so the last day of 2010 was a day spent in the garden, extending their run to create a double sized space in which they will be pretty much permanently housed. It is pretty spacious for four birds at over 10 square metres, but the guilt at their entrapment is pretty bad, made worse by the lingering bugs and the hangover from the night before. And the birds themselves are furious with me, they tasted the freedom of the whole garden and they want it bad. But in order for me to love both my chickens and my garden in this coming year it simply has to be. I plan a little supervised free time when I'm working in the garden, which I hope will amount to at least a few minutes most days.
On a more positive note, they are laying more and more eggs every day. So I guess they must be reasonably happy. The last 3 days have seen 3 eggs a day, and I am hopefully this pace will continue as the days gradually get longer, a few almost imperceptible minutes at a time. I have just given them their bedtime snack of corn and seeds and now as I type feel a real sense of optimism for the year ahead. This blog can now really get going and I can't wait to share the adventure (or egg-venture?!) with you. Whilst reading the papers this morning I read, as I always do, Fiona Beckett's wine column in the Guardian magazine. Not the best idea perhaps given that the excesses of the night before were ringing loud in my head but her words really rang true on a blurry morning. She advised, instead of people giving up all wine in January they think instead of making sure very drop that goes down is a wine worth drinking. Spend a little more, drink a little less and make sure every sip is a sip worth having. And I vowed at that very moment to do the same with food - to make sure I continue to create and experiment and make every single mouthful a mouthful to be savoured.
Happy New Year!