Friday, 16 October 2015

Winter overnight.

It seems to happen up here every year.   We have a long spell of days when the weather is quite warm, when there is little or no wind and when the last of the Summer flowers flower their hears out.

Then one morning you wake and it is seriously cold.   Today is such a day.   Gone is the pleasant Autumn weather and in its place is a sunny (finally) but breezy and cold day.

In town this morning for our usual coffee meeting, I intended to buy bulbs to plant for Spring in the large tub the farmer prepared for me with totally new compost as the old stuff was choked with weeds.   I planned to make groups of various dwarf narcissus interspersed with purple striped crocus (my favourite).   Alas the crocus were just not available anywhere in the town, so I bought three lots of dwarf narcissus (different varieties) and must now leave them until I can find some crocus.

Because it is so cold I can't say I am all that sorry not to be out well wrapped up and busy planting.  Tomorrow is another day as they say. 

Do you remember that a couple of weeks ago we bought ten new pullets?   We have finally let them out and they are happily foraging round the paddocks near to the house.   The farmer has rigged up a light inside the hen house (low wattage), just enough to fool the hens into thinking it is daylight for a little longer.   Now we have eight or sometimes nine of the pullets laying.  The light comes on on a time switch so is no effort.

The eggs are small, a deep brown in colour and a delight to eat.   Because the older hens are really old the white in their eggs does not coagulate well and any attempt to poach the eggs is doomed to failure as far as a neat egg is concerned.  These new ones make such a tidy round egg when poached and when boiling them (my favourite way of eating them) the white is strong and firm and the yolk is still runny - perfect.   They have fitted in so well with the existing hens and are now all sleeping in the same side of the hut (although the new hens refuse to go anywhere near the perch, they sleep on the floor!)


donna baker said...

Pat, as a chicken keeper for more than 20 years, I've learned something new. Didn't know that about the egg whites. I can't abide any runny white in my eggs (nor I'm embarrassed to say those nasty cords), so do tell how long you cook yours so I will get the firm whites and runny yellow. I just gave my entire flock away as I'm going to be spending more time in the city. I think the barn cats miss them.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Is your light on in the shed mornings or evenings to extend the hours. Because if it is evenings and the light suddenly goes off the chickens won't be able to find their way to the perches. We always extended hours by having the light on early and then the chickens go to bed by themselves as it gets to dusk.
Col used to lift new hens onto their perches for a few nights to show them what they are supposed to do - small brains!

Dawn said...

Thanks for the reminder, I have a small solar power light that I used last year for the chickens must get it out and set up again, hubby likes poached eggs I dont prefer mine boiled with a nice runny yolk :-)

Anonymous said...

You're making me miss my hens, or the eggs at least. Shop bought eggs are never the same. Temperature has dropped here too.

Terry and Linda said...

I hope winter stays away from here for several more weeks!


Frances said...

It's beginning to get just a bit chillier around here, too. So far I am relying on thick sweaters or light sweater plus jacket and scarf outdoors. I am not yet ready for mitts, hat or a true coat.

I love the idea of the hens having an extended hen-daylight time, courtesy of the Farmer's skillfulness.

Now you've really got me dreaming of having some this lifetime, though obviously not in this city environment.

Happy weekend!

Barbara said...

Our first taste of winter's cold is supposed to arrive tomorrow night. Hopefully, it will just be a tiny taste and the weather will moderate again. There is still a fair amount to be done before the snow flies.
I'm so glad your pullets are adjusting so well. There's nothing like fresh eggs!

angryparsnip said...

So happy to hear about how the new hens are doing.
How wonderful that they are all getting along.

cheers, parsnip

Hildred said...

Chilly nights here, but the days are marvelous. Warm and sunny and still great colours in the trees and shrubs. Son-in-law has promised me a drive through the hills on Sunday, so hoping the weather stays as beautiful as it is now.

Cro Magnon said...

We had frost yesterday morning; quite a shock.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cro - our thermometer has been hovering on zerofor a few nights but sweet peas and runner beans still going strong.

Sue in Suffolk - thanks for the advice - I shall get the farmer to read this when he comes in. I am almost certain it is at night time that he leaves the light on.

Thanks for the visit everyone.