Cosy Cottage is taking a short break from blogging. We hope to be back by the end of March (maybe earlier). See you then. 🙂
Cosy Cottage’s residents wish you a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2022.
From the Cosy Cottage Ladies – Jemima, Dottie, Mabel and Little Ava
From Tom and Tim
And from me. ☺️ We’re taking a Christmas break now and will be back in the New Year
Merry Christmas from all the residents at Cosy Cottage….
.. And all the best for 2021.
It has been a difficult year for many of us and this Christmas may feel very different but I always feel that this time of year is one of hope, both for religious/spiritual (Jesus’ birth) and seasonal reasons (looking ahead to spring). And so I send you my hopes that 2021 will be a better year for us all.
Cosy Cottage will be taking a break from blogging until January 10. See you in the new year. 😊
Following on from my previous post, a lot of work has been done since then!
The decking was all gone now. Some of the wood was rotten, but the rest would hopefully be reused in some other form.
Membrane was laid down for the path and then covered with golden flint and moonstone. Some of the decking was upcycled to create a border for a new raised vegetable bed.
On the left hand side, this vegetable bed was formed. This would be the new kitchen garden.
Before the revamp, it was a stony wasteland. I had tried putting various plants there. At one point, it was a herb patch. But it was so small and awkward to get to that the plants just got forgotten about.
Now, it was home to lettuces (grown from seed by Simon’s mum), tomatoes in two pots and various containers, previous citizens of the decking.
On the right hand side was the patio. I knew what I wanted on the left hand side – a place to grow vegetables and a home for some container plants. But where would the patio go? I needed a place for a table and chairs. Originally, I thought of a patio that would lead straight to the living room door, but a path linking to the main garden path struck Dad and I as a better idea.
This meant that the patio size would be petite – just big enough for a table and chairs but then again, that would be plenty enough for me and a guest.
Putting buff coloured flags was my dad’s first idea. They weren’t too expensive and would be fairly easy to maintain. But then my dad looked at all the unused decking wood and thought, “why not use this?” So the decking was upcycled as the floor for the patio. Two layers was laid down while a border was placed around it.
I painted the decking, my dad painted a second coat. The table and chairs were painted a lovely cornflower blue.
Eventually we got to a point where all that was needed was a tidying up and possibly a final coat of paint – when a dry day would finally arrive.
Merry Christmas to everyone from all the residents at Cosy Cottage. We hope you all have the Christmas you most want – whether peaceful or fun, lively or relaxing. I can’t believe a new decade starts next year! I was hoping to publish a few extra posts this month but time has once again escaped me. I will be taking a little break until January but hope to catch up with your blogs in the meantime 🙂
All the best for 2020 🙂
The Cosy Cottage citizens are lucky in that we live in a relatively temperate climate (usually), even in the winter. But life can still get very chilly, especially for these chickens who live out in the garden coop. Thankfully, they have a lovely fluffy thick plumage so that helps. But the more heating aids, the better…
Every morning these days I scatter porridge on the ground. It used to be leftovers from the pot but the stickiness was not pleasing to my hands or the ladies’ beaks! So now I buy porridge that’s reasonably priced and scatter it from the packet. The foraging helps stop them getting bored too.
Corn is given in the afternoon, a couple of hours before bedtime (although these days, bedtime seems to be about 3pm and getting earlier and earlier). To avoid rats, it is given in the coop when the girls go in for the night.
Plenty of straw is always needed for bedtime. Although I’m sure half of it seems to get kicked ‘downstairs’ when the ladies get ready for bed.
Keeping an eye on the water supply is always vital. No one can drink frozen water after all!
Making adjustments to the coop to make it warmer is useful to do during these cold months.
And lastly, a tip from the ladies themselves – early bed and snuggling together helps fight against Jack Frost.
“When are you expecting your babies?”
“Soon, I hope, Jemima. I’m expecting five, you?”
“Six, I believe. Not long to go now, Flo.”
At this point, Dottie shakes her head in impatience. It is the silly season again and there are no eggs, no chicks, no pregnancies, no potential fathers in the vicinity and yet three of her friends have, once again, gone ‘broody’, sitting around all day in the nesting area, clucking about nothing except their invisible pregnancies.
If you read my blog last year, you would have encountered a post called Brooding Buddies. I was hoping that situation would be a one-off but no, once again, we have a similar scenario.
For one day and one night earlier this year, Dottie was showing signs of broodiness.
Then she snapped out of it.
But Florence, after a hard-working spring, laying eggs every day, decided that she would like to become a mother.
So she sat down all day, every day – or she would do if her cruel leader of the pecking order – i.e me – didn’t keep taking her out and putting her next to water and food.
That’s the thing with broody chickens, all sense flies (pardon the pun!) out the window and they don’t eat or drink unless they’re taken out of their broody spot.
I separated Florence, put her in a hutch for a few hours, gave her a bath – none of these worked. Closing the pophole meant she would look for somewhere else to brood – like a plant pot.
And Florence hogged the nesting area unless I closed the pophole. Yes, there are other places to lay eggs but hens being hens, they like things just-so and just-right. That particular nesting area was for all of them and Florence’s behaviour was beginning to irk them.
Jemima started giving her little ‘I am the boss and you should behave yourself’ pecks.
Mabel started giving her dirty looks – which escalated to pecks when she came near her.
And then Jemima started ignoring Flo, and seemed to be more easy-going but actually it was only a precursor to having maternal feelings herself.
And you guessed it, the next morning she was huddled next to Florence in the nesting area.
Jemima had it bad last year so I was not surprised by this change from ‘head hen’ to ‘mother hen’.
So instead of Florence being given a ‘behave yourself’ or ‘snap out of it’ peck by Jemima, the two of them would now comfortably nestled together under the tree (after being ousted from their broody area).
So now there were three sensible girls – Dottie, Ava and Mabel.
Mabel was still angry at Florence but, oddly, ignored Jemima, who she still respected.
And then one day, I went to the coop to let/take the bantams out and Mabel, up on the top as always, fluffed her feathers up and made an angry sound at me. She even moved her head around to see where my hand was, was Mabel going to peck me?
Not you as well, Mabel?
I have resigned myself to a summer of lifting the three broodies out and keeping an eye on them to make sure they are eating and drinking. Little Ava and Dottie are, so far, behaving themselves … so far!
Florence was very privileged to be interviewed a couple of months ago by Doodlepip of A Guy Called Bloke’s blog. She gained permission from Head Hen Jemima to be spokeshen for the other Bantam Girls.
To see her interview, visit:
(And if you know of any furry/feathered etc pals who would like to be interviewed, visit the above website) 🙂 🐔
Earlier this year, a couple of robins – who usually wouldn’t go anywhere near each other – decided to set up home together and raise a family in a bird box in my garden.
It was a rather attractive abode, hand-made by Simon and painted a duck blue by myself. Last year, great tits lived in a different nest box in Cosy Garden but this was the first time The Blue Cottage would come into use.
I noticed one, if not two, of the robins every day it seemed. They were very busy, flying, eating from the feeder, perching on a garden table, surveying their territory.
And then one day, silence.
I didn’t notice right away. I assumed they must have been doing their business when I was out at work or somewhere else. Also I expected the mother to be sitting on the eggs so I didn’t expect to see her.
I continued to avoid the top part of the garden so I wouldn’t distract the pair.
The days went into a week and then another week passed by. Perhaps the eggs had hatched and the chicks had flown when I wasn’t around?
Eventually, I gave a little peek. Something I avoid doing as new and expectant mums hate being disturbed.
But there was no one there except five tiny eggs.
So what happened? To this day, the robins have not returned. Possible explanations I have heard were the adults were ‘killed by a cat or car’ or ‘the eggs were never going to hatch, they weren’t fertilised in the first place. So they left’.
I hope the robins weren’t killed, hopefully this time it just didn’t work and they will be back with more eggs and a successful outcome.
A few months ago, I came across a tiny egg. Now bantam eggs are small compared to the average hen’s egg (maybe about half the size) but this was a tinier than tiny egg. Was it laid by a quail? Or a leprechaun’s hen? Pictured above is the pixie egg next to a bantam egg. The bantam egg is half the size of a full-size egg so can you imagine how petite this one was?
I had never seen the like.
Just to make sure no fairy chickens had infiltrated my hens’ coop I looked for a rational explanation in my library.
And in Frances Bassom’s Chicken Breeds and Care, Frances reasoned why this may have happened.
She said, ‘When a hen is just starting out on her laying career, she occasionally lays very tiny ‘wind eggs’. They can frequently be as small as a marble and usually have no yolk’.
Why this happens is because of ‘a small leak of albumen into the oviduct’. A shell covers this albumen, thanks to the response of the ‘egg-producing mechanism’.
Once the chicken starts laying regularly, wind eggs are infrequent, concludes Frances.
So who was the culprit of this wind egg?
I reckon Ava, as, along with Mabel, she is the youngest of the girls and had previously only laid a few eggs before this cute but remarkable one appeared.
And no, I never ate it.