Sunday, 4 December 2022

Wet (ish)

 Not snowing but promised.   Not at all Christmassy here - a fine covering of snow would probably help, although it is far too early anyway.   But these are the thoughts of somebody who finds Christmas almost too much (this is likely to be the last year that I send out cards).   I don.t possess a single decoration and have thought  I might buy some battery operated lights to put along my sitting room window ledge.

I think back to Christmas and New Year when the farmer was here and we had a house full and I cooked a turkey and had parties at New Year (most of the folk who used to come now long gone). 

And sitting thinking about it all I suddenly remembered an incident which will probably amuse you.   When we were newly married and I was 'playing' at being a farmer's wife I thought hens might be lovely wandering about the place (well you need hens on a farm don't you?) I bought a dozen free range hens (we soon became inundated with eggs and living on a lonely road it wasn't easy to sell them at the gate - we almost lived on delicious quiches- until we found an outlet for them.)

Then I bought a clutch (two hens and a cock) of bantams.  My farmer's dad was still alive and was not amused.   When they laid their first egg I took it round for  the farmer's mum to boil it for his tea!  By golly how they ruled the roost.   Then two ducks flew in from nowhere and adopted us (attracted by the food I suppose.

Farming friends had geese,   When one of my hens went broody he gave me two goose eggs for her to sit on.   she  produced two adorable fluffy chicks.   But oh dear - baby geese might be adorable but adult geese are a different matter.   The only things they took notice of were the bantams - all other feathered things and also the farmer's wife were easy meat (I was scared stiff of them and they knew it).   My dear farmer said nothing and the geese did as they were told when he was around.   Finally I got so that I dare not go down the yard  when they were around.

One day the goose farmer rang - he would love them if I no longer wanted them.   I couldn't get rid of them quick enough.   It was suggested we had roast goose for the Christmas party - but no thanks - I wasn't that hard hearted.


 

30 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

That sounds like a lovely life to a towny. I have a friend who is scared of chickens. I used to laugh at him until I was attacked by a large cockerel. I still have the scars on my legs.

Brenda said...

Love this memory…

Rachel Phillips said...

Funny how you were playing at being a farmers wife. It says so much.

JayCee said...

I would have eaten them - just to get my own back!

the veg artist said...

When I was around 4 or 5 my cousins used to take me to the edge of the village then run back towards their home, knowing that geese would come out of a gateway, leaving me trapped on the other side. I only fell for that a few times!

Librarian said...

Geese make very good watch dogs, and I would not dare going near them when they have little ones.
Usually, my Mum made roadt goose with all the trimmings for us as a family, always a culinary highlight in November. Not so this year, and maybe never again. It‘s just not the same without my Dad.

Susan said...

I bet you made a lovely farmer's wife. Adding the chickens and geese were just the frosting on the cake. (So to speak.) I've had one encounter with geese when visiting an antique clock dealer in the countryside. This dealer converted a large barn into a clock workshop and showroom. 5 beautiful white geese approached the car when the dealer welcomed us and then commanded the geese go away. He explained the geese guard the barn/clocks and do a very fine job. He added, nobody gets by the geese without his personal approval. These geese must be all the same!

Derek Faulkner said...

I can sort of understand you "playing at being a farmer's wife", it must be a difficult life-style if you don't come from a farming or countryside background.
As for you beginning to lose interest in Christmas at your age, well it's certainly took a long time. I'm 75 and I decided that I didn't like it when I was in my early 20's - so much falseness about it from people.

Debby said...

Geese are quite fierce. Who needs a watch dog if you've got geese patrolling the place? And the mess they leave. Everywhere. I would not be a fan of geese, thank you.

Anne Brew said...

I have just decorated a set of nice bare branches with small lights and nice silvery baubles and I'm enjoying the result.
But I agree with Derek above; Boxing Day can't come soon enough.
I dislike the "bump" in routine, the illusion of excitement and goodwill put out by the TV ads, the pressure to buy stuff and worst of all the music!

gz said...

I agree about Christmas..not what is was, mostly and families all spread about.
I like the little arch of lights you can get for a windowsill or mantelpiece. We need more light at this time if year.

thelma said...

I remember a wicked Welsh farmer when I was a child, killed the chicken for us to take home and offered it to me to carry to the car. As I grasped its scaly legs, it was enormous, all of a sudden it flapped its wings. The two farmers giggled away at the trick they had played on me, it was just a reflex action of the muscles. But I loved my two little bantams and still miss them and their eggs.

Heather said...

A lovely post that gave me a chuckle. I find geese a bit nerve-wracking and believe some people keep them instead of guard dogs. I had no idea that bantams were so bossy.
I have precious memories of Christmas past and think that many others of our age must be the same. I have a few lights and will put some decorations up, but it is a much quieter time than it used to be.

it's me said...

I have a similar memory of a gifted turkey who would perch on tall fences, etc and fly down to attack me. The farmer who gave it to me was kind enough to take him back.

Red said...

Good that you can remember stories like this from past Christmases. I've been away from family from the mid 60's. My own kids have been away since about 2005.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

A Welsh relative lived on a farm. I remember as a young child visiting, as this terrifyingly jurassic looking Muscovy Duck called Rocky ruled the yard, and took a large chunk out of my grandfather's leg

Joanne Noragon said...

I thought you would say the farmer killed them to save you from them. I think my father would have done that.

RITA LOEHR said...

Loved your memory! Brought a big smile to my face. My neighbors had geese and they would come over and chase me and my children. They are quite fierce. We learned to go from car to house had a rapid pace! I am in my 70’s and do less and less Christmas decorating every year. The grandsons help decorate so as long as they want to I am going to continue to get out the decorations they enjoy. Merry Christmas to you Pat, I look forward to reading your blog, enjoy your memories and thought provoking questions!

Barbara Anne said...

I had to chuckle at you memories of the geese who bullied you. You aren't alone. DH remembers being chased by his great-grandmother's goose when he was a very little boy so there was no chance of us having geese, ever.

As a city kid, I didn't want the bother and mess of chickens either and my hat is off to all who choose to have chickens and/or geese!

Wishing your part of the world a white Christmas, with snow not so deep it's a bother but definitely deep enough to cover the grass.

Hugs!

Hilde said...

It is 7.30 AM here and we got about 7 cm very wet and heavy snow overnight. As shovelling snow is my only winter sport, I am going to bundle up and go out soon.
Hilde in Germany

The Weaver of Grass said...

Tom - when I was a child we had a huge white cockerel who took a dislike to me. Finally he attacked me once too often and my Dad killed him and we ate him for Sunday lunch - a real treat.


Thanks everyone for your interesting replies.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in the suburbs and country and had chickens, or chooks as we say here in both places.
In the country a neighbour's rooster used to fly over into our chook pen and give the hens merry hell. I always saw our own resident rooster as a gentleman.
We have always spoilt our chickens, but I remember growing up in the suburbs and being appalled at the dirty smelly chickens that always seemed to be moulting in their very basic housing at the back of a neighbours house.
My mother-in-law used to 'play' at being the university faculty wife. She became quite the 'Hyacinth Bouquet' at one stage, to my father-in-law's Richard, to his quiet amusement.-Pam, Aust.

John Going Gently said...

Lovely memory
All my white cockerels ( apart from Jesus) were aggressive

marlane said...

One of my first experiences a a kid in England, where I grew up was being chased by a male goose, the gander. Since then we had just one female goose and many many chickens over the years. You just end up giving eggs away, I have even had to flush them down the toilet.

Cro Magnon said...

When I first moved to France we had a pair of Peacocks suddenly arrive. They lived with us for a year or so, then I think both came to sticky ends. All my hens were killed by a Fox.

Melinda from Ontario said...

I loved your post. I've always had an itch to have chickens. Many municipalities in Ontario are changing the bylaws and allowing chickens in suburban backyards. I even discovered a company that allows customers to rent a coop and four chickens for the warm months. They remove everything before the winter cold hits. It's a great way to allow people like me to see if they really want chickens or not. At this point I'm leaning towards not having them. Your story, along with many others I've heard, serve as a reminder that there are negative aspects to keeping chickens.

Rachel Phillips said...

One thing you cannot do is play at being a farmer. And for those who think it would be lovely to keep some chickens beware that where there are chickens being kept at the bottom of the garden with their food troughs on display and their sack of food in the garden shed rats will never be far away.

marlane said...

for Melinda. The main advantage of having your own chickens is you get organic eggs. The cost of the feed however my negate that.They are susceptible to predators especially at night and of course extreme temperatures.However the experience of seeing them first had is invaluable. You would need two.

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