Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Dark doings down on the Farm...
It seems pathetic that I cannot kill my own chickens. I will go to great lengths to avoid it – my usual excuse being that we never meant to have any chickens in the first place. However, they came with the house.
I remember first seeing this place. Dear Charlie’s best mate P had returned to Suffolk a year earlier and was looking for a suitable home for us while we were in London and then in June just after we had moved into rented accommodation he loomed large at the door while I was de-fleaing one of the cats at the kitchen table.
Him: “You pregnant yet?” (back then P was very keen that we had children as quickly as possible perhaps because he needed Dear Charlie to join him as a new dad to bemoan the sleepless night that he was clearly suffering).
Me: “You found me a house yet?”
He had just heard that this place was coming onto the market begged me not to get excited and: “For god’s sake don’t say how much money you can spend!”
Both bits of advice went in one ear and out the other and I dived headlong for the car leaving P to handle an extremely explosive cat still in its towel vice.
Although I couldn’t actually look at the house; I could drive past it, which I did several times – we’d been looking for so long it seemed and nothing we had viewed was ever quite right. Could this be it?
Then I saw the most extraordinary sight. Just after the turning for the house and before the 90 degree bend in the road, a massive great lorry had ground to a halt; it sat there a-huffing and a-puffing and not doing very much. I stopped the car – what was going on?
Then I noticed that just in front of the juggernaught a chick was quite unconcernedly was pecking away in the middle of the road at some fallen grain; then I looked again, there was whole group of them plus a very harassed motherhen,who had quite literally taken on the lorry. Her wings were aggressively spread, her neck all ruffled up. The HGV didn’t stand a chance. Minutes later all the chicks were across the road and into the corn field then the hen swivelling on short bright yellow legs, dark chestnut and black feathers immaculately in place, strutted after them. My first encounter with the Rookyard brood; how I would grow to love them and to curse them over the next eight years!
As far as looking at the house was concerned I could hardly see a thing just a glimpse of Suffolk Pink up a dirty concrete drive massively overgrown with jungle like vegetation – I just knew it would be ours and drove off in a hurry to tell Dear Charlie that I had found our "Forever" house.
I don’t know why I feel I need to tell you about how we got this place and what it meant but if I don’t, then it will all be forgotten. I need to bring you up to speed so you’ll know what I’m going on about – it’s not really a blog. But if you don’t know the story of the hens, the house, the children, the dogs etc you won’t know me…
That hen with her chicks was what I wanted to be – a mum.
Now as a responsible chicken owner I need to protect my brood and too many cockerels is not a good thing. I will grab next-door neighbour Roger and we will do the deed tonight!