I have another winter project, but (hee hee) this one involves money as well as garden energy. I am 're-chooking' Henworld (the foliage garden next to the old hen house), since my original flock of ceramic poultry is much depleted.

Sunday 12th July

Today a fattie hen was introduced, carefully, to my new slim-line rooster. No problems! They are both made of metal, and have proper chook feet. Now, whenever I see a metal chook that I like, I'm allowed to buy it. And that includes online, hee hee. Spammers! Try and sell me metal chooks and your deepest desires will be fulfilled!

 They seem to be getting on OK...
Hello Hen!

Yesterday afternoon I made a scratchy (?) start on cleaning up the Hen House Gardens themselves. At this stage it's just the typical winter trim - cutting sedum stalks and dead Phormium leaves, plus cleaning up the Eryngium yuccifolium (I love this plant, but it rarely flowers). Thick layers of gum leaves need raking up, too.

 Not expecting it to last very long.
Ice on the Pond

Busy, Busy...

The netting enclosure around the Hen House itself is more of a challenge. But in mid-winter one needs brisk, energetic work to basically keep oneself warm. That could be one of today's tasks. I do have a couple of other things to fit in - a short morning brick-digging and stacking session in town, and a wake to play groovy music at later this afternoon. Meanwhile Non-Gardening Partner has gone ski-ing. Right. I need to get started. Busy, busy...

Ten Minutes Later...

Aargh! It's ridiculously way-too-cold for gardening, at only minus four degrees Celsius. Even for me! And my pond has completely frozen over, with three puzzled dogs trying to have a drink. I wonder if I can take some coldness photographs? Will try. The dogs enjoy these bracing frost-trots. Brr....

Aha! It's just past eleven o'clock, and four degrees! Yippee! I'm off with the dogs to dig some bricks.

 Shining dog-fur in the winter sun.
Escher in his Feral Chair


Unfortunately bricks are not easy to dig or scrape half-clean in low day temperatures. With the dirt around them almost frozen they stay slimy. I know this because I loaded up the front seat of my little car with spares for my garden. Oops. Should have put down plastic first. No-one will want to be my passenger again.

While I stacked another pallet - only one hundred bricks this time - the dogs were happy just hanging about with me. Winnie dug the hugest hole in the sand-soil, well past her dog-hips. Meanwhile Escher sat in his 'feral' armchair in the sun and thought he was doing something. Hmm... Brown dogs are easily fooled, methinks. You wouldn't catch a border collie out like that.

Monday 13th July

It's too frosty to do anything just yet. No gardening, definitely no brick-digging. No driving until the roads have 'warmed up'. Then I'm off to buy a crate load (well, that may be an exaggeration) of bird feeders for my birds who are mainly fat, fluttering wax-eyes. They've been on a banana diet for the last two days. One whole peeled banana lasts one hour - amazing! The apples last longer, but the frosty pineapple slices are picked clean. Yeay! My birds like me - they're getting quite tame.

 Does it look cold? It jolly well is!
Wax-Eye Birdies with Banana

And then - back into the Hen House Gardens, with gusto! No more chooks as yet, but I'm looking. The cute-garden-gift shops are likely targets...

 Harriet and Hilda in the orchard.
Two Striped Hens

Tuesday 14th July

OK. Some things are very day-time temperature dependant. The rest of this week is supposed to be non-frosty, and therefore warmer. Exit Chook-Woman, she who has been looking for metal chooks to buy, clearing the Hen House Gardens for their arrival. Welcome back SUB-Woman, namely Stacking-Used-Bricks Woman. All I need are four more hours of daylight and I could toggle myself between these creations. I could even get a different costume for each...

The dogs and I have just come back from the dog-park, and now we are off to finish digging up courtyard bricks. There's also half a brick house-wall I could pull down. Tempting (one does get into he swing of such things, hee hee). Chookwise, I am bidding for an online rooster. He is mainly black and white, and has proper chook feet. Perfect.


I know, I know. I could get some real chooks. I've had real chooks, and they were so much fun. They free-ranged all day in the orchard and retired into their hen house for the evenings. Alas, one day when nobody was home a dreadful chook-massacre occurred (either rogue dogs or ferrets). Years later, I still feel bad about it.