Toasting the Tootsies & Pondering Poultry!
I wrote in a previous post about having no heating for nearly 10 days in the recent freeze up. I had natural gas for heating and cooking ,electricity from the ESB (Electricity Supply Board) which is our state owned/run utility company.When I came into this house 14 years ago, there was only an open coal fire which heated the water in the tank only. We spent one winter freezing, going to bed putting more clothes on than we had taken off, hot water bottles and piles of bedclothes. I got in the gas heating and also took out the solid fuel fire and had a gas fire put in for convenience.It was rarely used ,maybe around Christmas more for atmosphere than anything else.
When I had no means of heating the radiators as the fan in the boiler had given up the ghost the same gas fire could not heat 3 ft in front of it without the back up of the radiator.
I decided then to get the gas fire taken out and revert back to a solid fuel fire as an independent means of heating without being completely reliant on an outside supplier.The heating is now back more efficient than ever but for the last 2 weeks I am enjoying the benefits of an open fire!
I am burning turf at the moment which is beautifully atmospheric as the flames dance with different hues and the smell adds to the enjoyment!
I have not being doing much of anything else really!
My random dyed socks were knitted last year from yarn bought in Aldi, I had not knit socks since being in school but decided to give it a try. There is no wool in this yarn which on hind sight is essential for socks for warmth and keeping their shape in wearing.
The pile of containers to the right of the pic are all empty and for the small Grandchildren to play with when they are here. They make noise and roll and fit into each other and I have always found they give hours of fun to smallies!
Gardening is marking time until the weather allows us outside, severe frost again tonight!
I have been thinking for some time about having some hens?!
I would have them at home in the back garden, 2 or 3 would be more than enough for me and I have been studying houses and runs which come in all shapes ,sizes and prices!
To my way of thinking there is no point in having hens at home if they cannot be free range which to my mind means spending as much time as possible roaming and foraging for themselves. All of the hen houses/runs seem to confine them within their boundaries.
I really know nothing about them, even though my late Mother did keep hens for some time a few years ago.I have been to various websites but they seem to work on the premise you should know what you are looking for and know a certain amount about poultry?!
I need an Infrequently Asked Questions column!
If/can you leave them out around the garden all day if you are at home?
How do you get them rounded up and back in the house at night?!
Are there plants/flowers that they like/ are good for them!
" " " " " " don't like/ harmful to them?
What is an ideal number..2? If I have 3 is one going to be an outsider and hen pecked ?!
Remember those pictures of the Little Red Hen with her pinny tied around her? Not true, hens are very unhouseproud and create a lot of.....um...manure!
Great for the garden BUT can it be used straight away on the garden, added to the compost bin or left to stand for some time before using? If it needs to be left in a pile for any length of time then it is not suitable for a small garden in a built up area.
Do hens HAVE to have a rooster in attendance, I don't think my neighbours would take too kindly to a rooster crowing at 5.30 am!
They lay eggs in a nest box, should it have straw/hay for comfort/cleanliness/whatever!
Eggs may need to be washed before using for hygienic reasons...how?
What happens to hens as they get older:
How long do they lay eggs for..months/years?
When they stop laying eggs, are they retired gracefully?!
Do they die a natural death?
Are they killed and eaten?!
Am I analysing this whole thing too much?
I think it is the fumes of the turf fire!
All suggestions/helpful hints/advice appreciated.