Sunday, August 5, 2012

Introducing the ladies

It is a sweltering day in LFP and I'm feeling a bit wilty so I've decided to disregard my original, long 'to do' list of garden projects and have seeked refuge in our house. I am enjoying pottering in the garden of an evening and experiencing the different scents, the sweet peas have done me proud this year producing an abundunce of blooms that have graced our living room with their charm and perfume for weeks now.  The scent of the oriental lilies drift on the breeze and smell fantastic from our sitting area but if you get to close they pack quite a heady punch that's not for the faint hearted and we should perhaps put a warning sign a few feet in front of them. Finally, the lavender is in full bloom, intertwined with marjoram and I don't seem to be able to go past with crushing a leaf or two between my fingers.  Talking of Lavender, don't honey bees love lavender?  I have passed lavender bushes in the past literally buzzing with masses of bees, but I barely have more than a handful on my bushes.  Last year I thought the lack of honey bees around was due to Colony Collapse Disorder, so we got a bee hive, 3lb of bees and a queen and .... still not as many bees around as I would have expected. They do seem to adore the Eryngiums and alliums though, so at least some of my bee planting is appreciated.
One of our girls about to make a landing in the Eryngium patch.
When we last checked on them they seem to be doing fine and we see a lot flying around with great purpose so I guess they are doing their bit to pollinate the whole neighbourhood, not just our garden. I have noticed a lot of different types of bees in the garden this summer so I may put a bee identification book on my wishlist.

An integral part of our household, from the first few months we moved in, are our chickens.
Left. The chooks looking resplendant.
Itsy is the Barred Rock, she is shy but very alert and clever. We also have two Rhode Island Reds, the friendliest, Flo is on the left, and 2 Buff Orpingtons, the pretty girls who like their grain and not fruit, Heidi Plume is on the right.Below shows Itsy, Flo, Heidi and joining them to complete our flock is Maggie Scratcher (a Buff) and Betty (a Rhode Island Red)
The Ladies enjoying the fresh green grass shoots this Spring.
I may sometimes swear at the chickens as they uproot a blueberry bush while they are dust bathing, and I would never have thought they could have defoliated an Azalea so quickly, and with such purpose but they do a lots of good for the garden too.  Their coop gets cleaned and put in the compost heap to help our vegetable patch and dahlia patch flourish, they 'recycle' the weeds I put in their coop from the garden, they provide us with all the eggs we need and a few extra, they entertain us with their clucks (and if you don't know, chickens don't just cluck, they make a whole array of noises), and they just look so damn cute happily scratching around our grass cooing to each other.  It's been worth it, even if they have sometimes left a trail of destruction behind them!