Trees and sunshine

A day of sunshine… and there has been no rain for 34 hours so far!!

This respite in the weather has meant that we could get on with some outdoor activities today. We walk the dogs almost every day, just avoiding the very worst of the weather, but today’s walk took much longer than usual, because so many other people were out too. In our community that means stopping for a chat… and getting given sweeties by the wife of one of our local farmers!

A bit of a wallow

A bit of a wallow

Once home, we were able to allow the hens into a part of the garden that has simply been too wet for them recently. We want them to clear and fertilise some of the vegetable beds in anticipation of the growing season. Of course, as soon as the soil dries out a bit, they want to have a dust bath… I think it was more of a wallow today, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway.

The chicken patch at Station Road

The chicken patch at Station Road (chickens are hiding!)

Whilst they were busy on the vegetable beds, I was able to plant two trees that have been awaiting my attention. In the chicken’s main patch, I want to create a more woodland-like habitat (after all they are descended from jungle fowl) and I was inspired by the area in which Wade Muggleton keeps his chickens at Station Road, which has fruit trees. We do not have ground vegetation at present because of having to raise the level of the soil to stop the waterlogging, but now that we have solved that problem, I wanted to get started with a Kentish Cob and an apple tree.

Cob nut in the foreground with the apple and chickens behind.

Cob nut in the foreground with the chickens foraging behind.

The Cob (a variety of hazel) has been in a pot for a couple of years, because it originally arrived at a time when the soil was frozen so solid that we couldn’t plant it. The apple, however, came very recently from my dear friends Janta and Merav at Karuna – the variety is Ashmead’s Kernel and it’s grafted onto a dwarf rootstock, so should be perfect for our little garden. Both are now planted and will hopefully provide a great habitat for the hens and a harvest for us. Don’t be fooled by the woodchip on the surface in the pictures, it’s lovely and fertile underneath from the chicken droppings that have been slowly incorporated into the soil over several years.

The start f a little jungle for the hens

Happy hens with ‘their’ apple tree

Leave a comment


  1. you really know someone called Wade Muggleton? What a great name!! Glad you had a respite from the rain. We have had NO RESPITE from the heat. Temperatures are higher than ever.

    • Yes, he’s a lovely man… expert tree grafter and all-round fantastic gardener!
      Apparently the jet stream is now moving north from us so, maybe, this will have a knock-on effect and cool things down a bit for you.

  2. Nanette

     /  February 16, 2014

    Mmm, lovely sunshine, it sure picks us up. I’m always interested in other people’s chook pens….can you tell me about yours ….in the last pic are they garden beds there, and it looks like a platform the girls are standing on? My chooks have a jungle type run, I don’t think it will ever get like your friend’s, they scratch up the grass too quickly, but there’s a deep canopy overhead, plus citrus trees, a mulberry tree and small ornamental shrubs for them to go right underneath on very hot days or to hide from possible predators. Very hot and humid here, but thunderstorms predicted….some rain would be lovely.

    • Our girls mainly live in the area shown in the last two pictures. Because our garden had the soil removed when the house was built (way before we owned it), it is lower than the field behind and so water flows down onto it. To remedy this, we are gradually building up the level, The chickens’ patch, therefore is surrounded by plastic link-a-boards (which you can see at the front of the final picture) and we have been filling it up with sand and woodchip over a number of years. There is a bed off to the right in the last picture and before we had the chickens I used to grow squashes in here, which I trained up the fence. Since the arrival of the hens, I have planted this with a hazel and a Siberian pea shrub. The hens also forage under the hedge in the background. At certain times of the year they are allowed into the fruit cage and the vegetable beds to do a bit of ‘cleaning’ and fertilising.
      I am sending wishes for rain your way… we certainly don’t need any more here for a while!!

  3. You may need to protect the roots from your Girls’ attentions for a while. I found a circle of bricks around the base did the trick. The digging from the planting activities brought worms to the surface and they were on them like a flash. My former run was well shaded with a very large mature tree they could perch in, and there were a couple of volunteer fruit trees that gave the Girls windfalls.

    • They were so busy in the veg beds today, they barely noticed the new trees! I have some broken pieces of flagstone, that should do the trick tomorrow… thanks for reminding me 🙂

  4. Seems like the girls are moving into the executive suite now with raised beds on the way though you’ll never get a mattress to stay in the branches.They seem very content where they are and I’m glad hey’re back to laying again.
    What a wonderful day without all that rain.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  5. Yay for some sunshine! I’m glad you (and your pooches) were able to get outside. 😀

  6. We’d love to have some of your rain here in New Mexico! Even though it’s February, we haven’t had hardly a bit of rain all month… some snow in January, but that’s about it. That may sound lovely and all, but it hardly helps our drought. :-/ The rest of the USA is freezing their butts off, and we’re breaking out in an early Spring. Blah.

    Your garden looks great, by the way.

  7. The Editors of Garden Variety

     /  February 17, 2014

    I would love to see some sunshine in our neck of the woods. The temp here yesterday was 7 degrees!

  8. Glad to see you had a rain break. Your chickens are living large!

  9. How are your chickens enjoying the Siberian Pea Shrub? I really fancy experimenting with some, but have never found anyone who has combined them with chickens first hand!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: