Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring and plastic chickens

Ms Tagalong sits contemplating her navel. She is doing a lot of that lately – she's certainly not in the garden or minding the chickens.

Funny, she ruminates, did she never notice how many of her old friends were equally besotted by chickens? One friend recounts how she thrust 5 precious freshly laid eggs upon a young lady she had just taken a pushchair off. Bartering, of course, alive and well in this neck of the woods. Retort, “I just bought some at the supermarket.” With gritted teeth my friend forced them upon her. 'Precious, they are,' she told me,'they are only laying a few a week at the moment.' Maybe LETS currency should be eggs?

Entering a small courtyard garden crammed with things growing in containers of all kinds, wooden boxes, old metal dustbins, watering cans, tubs and wellingtons,
Ms Tagalong smiled. There pecking amongst the flagstones were two chickens. No ordinary chickens these; white, frilled and well... stationary, made out of recycled plastic bags, they were good enough to assuage the chicken homesickness which has been threatening to engulf Ms Tagalong this week.

Spring has not yet sprung but snowdrops are out gracing the lane banks with their clumps of snowy cheer. Bluebells are pushing their luck, appearing in the woodlands before the last frost has even been thought of.

As Ms Tagalong crept downstairs this morning to the sound of birdsong, sweet smells assailed her nostrils. The clement weather has brought on the blue hyacinths on the table as they strive to outdo the bright primulas flanking them.

When Ms Tagalong was much, much younger she gathered primroses (country cousins to the primulas) in the copse , a soft yellow nosegay to present to her Mother on Mothering Sunday (March 18th this year). Unfortunately she proved herself allergic
to these blossoms and her Mother spent her day looking after a red, blotchy, swollen daughter. Carefully, carefully Ms Tagalong handles the pots today! It will be March 18th soon and no mother here to look after her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All things green

Mr Ideasman is sick of Ms Tagalong oohing and aahing over everyone's chickens although he was the one to spot a starter pack being advertised comprising a mini incubator, OvaView candling lamp, an Ovascope, Ecoglow 20 chick brooder and 1ltr drinker and disinfectant all for the bargain price (50 pounds off) of 149 pounds and eighty-one pence!

I think it might be cheaper to rely on chicken donations!!

So now to all things green. Ms Tagalong was amazed at all the beautiful vegetables in China, specifically all the Chinese cabbage varieties all fantastically displayed. Looking good enough to eat, Ms Tagalong's mother would say.

The small succulent bunches of bok choy are now grown out of the cities and brought in. Ms Tagalong was unable to verify their organic credentials but she did spot many growing in small plots, around trees, and in front of houses which surely were not subject to intensive farming. Readers may remember the method which the Satyananda garden used at the ashram at Mangrove Mountain. Buy seed in bulk, cast thickly and cut often. Looks like the way to go. Display those bunches from the community garden like these and everyone will want them!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

UK chickens

Ms Tagalong has been so exhausted from all her travels she has been very remiss in updating the worldwide vegetable and chicken goings on! So she has paused for a moment, removed the cool compress from her forehead and staggered over to the laptop.

So what could top a golden chook, one might ask? The sight of different varieties of lovely plump hens as Ms Tagalong strolled down her sister-in-law's garden? Ms Tagalong paused, taking in the misty hills arising out of the bracken covered land, brown and battered waiting for the gentle hand of Spring to colour them and inspire them to unfurl new green fronds.

Maybe the chickens in the vegetable garden of a friend at the bottom of Lewesdon Hill? Astute readers might remember a photo of these chickens in snow last year. Talking to Ms Tagalong as she brings scraps, the same the world over, fussy and forever looking for more! Attacking the spaghetti with fervour, ignoring the fresh vegetables until later.

So it is in chicken world. Funny, the chickens don't squat like ours, waiting to be picked up. Maybe a lack of little chicken holders?