The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Keeping chickens – the flip side

Posted in Chickens | 28 comments

Keeping chickens – the flip side

“There’s something wrong with Florence. She’s looking odd, not eating or drinking. She’s isolated herself from the others.” “Let’s put her in The Emerald Castle – with food and water of course. Away from the rest of the flock she can relax and concentrate on geting better.” Wise words from Danny that apply to any ailing chicken. It’s strange but it usually seems to be my favourite birds that keel over. As in any group there are some that have more attractive personalities. I still miss Mrs Boss, Carol and...

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Sometimes there is a balance

Posted in Chickens | 14 comments

Sometimes there is a balance

This morning I woke late, having snoozed past the alarm. I now know that a snooze of an hour or so is a dangerous path to consider. Especially as I have chickens, dogs and Danny to feed and water, plus I need to shower and dress and check the greenhouse and heated indoor propagator and go to work. The morning buzzes with questions. Have I made the thermos and lunch for work? Will Danny discover his breakfast toast after his conference call? When will our leeks finally germinate? I shot down to the chicken run and saw a fluffed up body in the...

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Friday the 13th

Posted in Cottage tales | 45 comments

Friday the 13th

My stepfather had an uncle who always stayed in bed on Friday the 13th . “The whole day?” Aged nine, I was amazed. “Yes, all day. He also used evaporated milk in his tea. To avoid too many trips to the shops, I expect.” My stepfather never revealed the name of this uncle but I had a clear picture of him. Firstly the bed. An single iron bedstead with stretchy mattress (no wife would put up with the evaporated milk). The carpet slippers nestling on the lino under the bed ready for shuffling trips to the kitchen. The chipped teapot, its...

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Poultry in the snow

Posted in Chickens, Cottage tales, Guinea Fowl | 11 comments

Poultry in the snow

Sara at Farming Friends warned me that Guinea Fowl hate snow. This week’s snowfall is the first since they hatched in July 2007. So I was interested to see how Thunder and Cloud would react when I opened the hen house door. The feel of snow underfoot is always a pleasure for me. The crisp squeakiness takes me right back to our childhood winter garden. The shock of the cold and brightness.  And there are always the footprints. “Are those really my steps?” As I walked down the garden I remembered my ninth Christmas. I was given a...

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