Thursday, 22 October 2015

Give Me A Home Amongst The Artichokes...

This is Angie on the left, and Bridget on the right, our old retired ladies.  They no longer lay eggs but they still help us out with eating bugs and turning over the soil in the areas we let them free range.  They are looking rather pensive in the photo, I wonder why.... could it be that they can hear clucking noises from a big cardboard box we've just carried into their yard?
Da-dum, meet our five new ladies, in the prime of their egg laying.  They are from a commercial egg place down here, not battery hens, but barn hens, although fairly crowded I'm sure.  They have unsuntanned white faces which makes them look rather odd, a bit like little feathered vampires.  A few feathers missing but they are in good health.  They were terrified for the first day, staying inside the henhouse, not game to venture outside.
The next morning they got a bit braver, and realised that it's fun in the sun!  I think they shall be Connie, Doris, Eva, Florence and Greta although I haven't got to know them well enough get to know which girl has which name.  There is one bossy one, oddly it's the one with no feathers on her neck, so she has moved from being henpecked to deciding she is the big chief!
 The best thing is we have fresh eggs again, yeehar!
The new bossy boots has been a bit mean to my Angie and Bridget, not vicious, but chasing them away and standing over them, being imposing.  They were right out of sorts with this behaviour, having lived in a harmony for a couple of years.  But they solved their own problems by distancing themselves to the artichoke section of the orchard.  The new girls aren't brave enough yet to venture out into the orchard, and one of Angie and Bridget's favourite hangouts is under the mass of artichoke plants, so they spent a lot of time dozing under there, stress free.
 Speaking of the artichokes, in a word - YUM!  We've grown heaps more than last year, amazing what a bit of watering can do. :-)
 A week has now gone by since the new ladies arrived, and all is harmonious.  The new girls have realised that they don't have to fight for every mouthful of food, which I imagine they did in an intensive poultry environment, so they have calmed down and are enjoying learning how to do chicken outdoor things.  Their faces are pinking up now they are getting some sun, they look more like proper hens now.
This morning a number of them were revelling in a dust bath in the sun.  It must be luxurious, the way they roll around in the dirt, getting absolutely filthy, eyes closed in raptures of delight.  The ones not dustbathing were up in the big shrub that grows in the corner of their yard.  I've pruned the bottom of the shrub so that there are a number of branches they can jump onto, and I think they like being king of the castle climbing up high to see what's going on elsewhere.
 Here is Bridget all fooffed out in the warm sand, having a lovely sunbath.
The frogs are starting to show themselves now the weather is warming up.  I have an old bath sunk into the ground in my garden, half covered with old bits of wood for protection, so the frogs can hide from kookaburras.  Now the shrubs have grown up around the pond, providing plenty of cover, the frogs spend a lot of their day just hanging out on the wood.  They are big fatties, and I was delighted to see some tadpoles in the water when I swooshed the waterplants apart.  Yay, I like to help to increase the frog population.
Here is Neo, exhausted.  One small frog made its way up to the house and plastered its flabby white belly to the outside of our bedroom window, attracted by the light that I was reading from presumably.  Neo spent over an hour trying to get that damn frog, throwing himself at the window, stalking it, trying to bat it, trying to bite it, while the frog, safe on the other side of the glass, just leisurely wandered around the window, putting frog belly smudges on the clean glass!
This kangaroo is Growler, so named as she is rather grumpy and growly, telling other roos off if they come near her.  I got a look at her little joey the other day, fascinated with the white markings on its forehead.  Looks a bit like a map of North America!  Normally the Western Grey kangaroos have a tiny white dot on their forehead, if that, so to see one with that amount of white was quite a surprise.  I wonder if any more of its body has white blotches on it, time will tell.
Turning to the gentle arts, I've finished my forest floor embroidery.  I had to make myself stop as I just kept adding things.  Looking at it now I think I've put a few too many french knots, oh well.  I think I'd like to frame it in a circular frame as I like the way it looks in the circular embroidery hoop.
Last week we had our five yearly Open Day and Exhibition at our embroidery group.  It's kept everyone busy preparing for it.  The day was a great success, we had over 150 people come through the door, and everyone gave us such positive feedback, about our embroidery and also the delicious morning and afternoon tea we provided.  We all went home very satisfied.
 Here's a few shots of some of the lovely work.  This is Romanian embroidery, isn't it lovely.
 And this is Brazilian embroidery, pieces done in a recent workshop.
 The house at the front is canvaswork, and I think the piece behind is hardanger.
 A lovely handmade, embroidered box.
Part of our wedding embroidery display, from the pieces we made last year for the WA Embroidery Guild's exhibition.
Some of the beautiful embroidered pictures.  I think the middle one is Elizabethan embroidery.


  1. There are some really beautiful embroideries here Dy, just lovely. Phew, so good to be back and able to read blogs again :-)