The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Happy New Year

photo: Peace and Hope

photo: Peace and Hope

Danny is on chicken shepherding duties this week.
“If we go with the names Peace and Hope, the one that pecks would have to be Hope. Arsenic and Old Lace are by far the most apposite names.”

“Miss Pecky will calm down. She’s just rattled because she’s being bullied. Holly and Ivy would be good. Miss P could be Holly. Difficult to pick up. We need to find your gauntlets so that when she pecks you it doesn’t hurt so much.”

“I like Frankincense and Myrrh but I’d rather reserve that for new pair of chickens. Frank is a great name for a cockerel.” D has a thing about the F name.

The new Wyandottes are slowly settling into their new life in the cottage chicken run but they refuse to go up to the chicken house dormitory at night. They want to roost on the roof. This would be OK in the summer but with sub-zero temperatures we prefer to put them into the house. The gentle one is fine. Miss P gets very annoyed that she is being manhandled.

“Perhaps Gin and Tonic are the perfect names? Gin referring to the old fashioned gin traps. Miss P did draw blood last week.”  I did not like the surprise attack.
“How about Miss Haversham and Estelle?”
“They were both so weird.”
“Yes you’re right. Ours are just odd because they are new.”
“I saw the movie when I was about five years old. I had nightmares for years.” (I’ll never forget those scary nights).

The new beauties don’t like using the stairs. In the long term a chicken lift is a no-no, so each morning I open the nesting box and they fly out into the run. Beautiful timorous creatures, they look stunning accompanied by our colourful elegant young cockerel. Their black and white feathers are as chic as classic Chanel suits.

“Why not Ebony and Ivory?” I was reading the comments the next day.
I loved those 1960s Chanel suits but how about something a bit more individual and outrageous like Vivienne Westwood?
“What about Sequin and Lace?”
Danny hadn’t cottoned onto the great Punk fashion movement. But he had heard of Cagney and Lacey.
”Which one was the more dominant?”
I couldn’t remember. It was so long ago when I settled on the sofa to enjoy their exploits.

So the next morning I passed the names Angel and Fairy onto a semi somnolent D. He was all for his latest picks. X factor has nothing on Cottage Smallholder.
“Well how about Sloes and Ginny?
“Good names. But neither are slow. They move so fast. Nifty and complete.”
“We have a new suggestion here. Mary and Magdalene? Mags for short.”
Danny’s eyes remained fixed to the window until I mentioned Pamela’s suggestions. Pudding and Pie got the thumbs up. He also loved Emmylou.

“I love country music so Tammy and Dolly really appeal. Tammy would have to be the one that attacks me as any creature christened Dolly has to be benign.” D is a silly softie at times.

I hate country music but I have a lot of time for a true live wire like Dolly Parton.
“Amity and Felicity sound like country music singers too.”

We adored Pamela’s last jokey suggestions- Turkey and Goose.

It’s New Years Eve. 2009 is waiting in the wings and these small bantams need  to be named.

Our precious new hens have been christened Peace and Hope.

Thank you Micelle Sheets your prize will be winging its way across the ocean as soon as my mini sewing machine can cough into action

Thank you everyone for joining in the competition

Best wishes for everyone in 2009. Let’s hope that it’s a good one.

  Leave a reply


  1. Belated Happy New Year! That’s blown my cover, giving away the fact I only ever check in when I’m, ahem, working…


  2. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    A very Happy New Year to you both, & to the CS menagerie. And thanks so much for that wonderful e-card you sent us, it really made our day. I just wish my plants would grow that well…..!

    I sympathise wholeheartedly regarding your trials & tribulations with Peace & Hope. I transferred our Silkies into a new Ark recently; & they STILL won’t go upstairs to bed. I spent a few painful evenings attempting to catch them & enclose them more safely in the upper storey – but had my hands pecked to ribbons in the process.

    I’m determined not to give up so will have one last try & leave them locked in upstairs again for 24 hours – however this ‘tried & tested’ method didn’t work earlier in the week so I suppose I’ll just have to leave them to it. Funny: my other, larger hens have never pecked us; yet these diminutive devils have proved nothing but trouble, flying around the barn & attacking everything in sight. I’ll keep the Mother Superior as she’s such a fantastic broody hen, but as to her ten chicks….poussin, anyone….?!

    Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2009, may your garden grow & overflow with fruit, flowers & vegetables in abundance.

    Best wishes,

    Jo, Tony, & all the furred & feathered bunch here at LittleFfarm Dairy.

  3. michelle sheets

    Happy New Year Fiona and Danny!
    Thank you so much for picking my suggestion, I think Peace and Hope suit such beautiful girls very well.
    I also want to thank you for sharing your life with all of us, your perspective is a wonderful break, and your recipes widen my cooking experence by leaps and bounds.
    I hope 2009 will be very good to you both,

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