Chickens.

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Rain with joy.

The Canberra’s writer’s festival would not have been happy with the latest political turmoil. Right bang in the middle of Canberra too. A most astonishing election for a new Prime Minister. Life is never dull. We were drawn to the Telly like horse-flies. Crackers and Boursin cheese at the ready.

Our neighbour also happen to be the Artistic Director of the Canberra Writers Festival. https://www.canberrawritersfestival.com.au/what-canberra-writers-festival

They kindly asked us to feed their three chickens and cat named ‘Brambles’ while they were in Canberra. The chickens have names but I can only remember just one, a white chicken ‘Blanche’. So each morning and afternoon I go and feed their animals. In return we get the eggs. I am astonished how prolific egg layers the chickens are. Blanche is the only white one. The other two are brown. There is something so beautiful about feeding chickens. A primeval call to what we perhaps ought to enjoy as part of normal living. Tending animals is of course an activity that most people were engaged in during past centuries.

Even in my birth city of Rotterdam and later on The Hague, it was fairly common to hear chickens cackling. Even highly urbanized cities in Europe still clung to people having chickens. Egg were shared.

In our everyday life we never chuck out food. We always eat leftovers. The Dutch hunger winter of 1945 taught us never waste food. However, the last few days we have given our scraps to the chooks. I don’t know, but Blanche must have laid two eggs in one day! I assume the brown eggs are laid by the two brown chickens and the white Blanche laying white eggs. Yesterday there were two white eggs! I felt like clapping.

The rain has come as well. It pelted down and gutters overflowed. One could hear the garden drinking. A standing ovation from jonquils, daffodils and burgeoning Japanese windflowers. Sighs of relief from the clivias. Everyone is hoping the farmers will get a bucketing and green returning to bleached baked paddocks and water flowing into barren dams.

As for our New Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. He is the architect of Nauru and Manus island torture centres. Let’ not go there.

Let’ not spoil the delights of the chickens.

 

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32 Responses to “Chickens.”

  1. Julia Lund Says:

    We buy our eggs, but this week, through a mishap in communication, have ended up with three dozen. Rather a lot for two people. As for rain, we have had overflowing gutters today. And politicians – don’t get me started …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. freefall852 Says:

    Delightful observation about the chooks…we too have chooks..the expression, I believe is to : “keep chooks”…I dunno why it is said like that…”oh..we keep a few chooks…in the yard out the back..” is commonly spoken…and yes..the eggs fresh from the nest is the best way to go…but we have fox troubles here, so the hens have to be “kept” yarded..

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      On the farm we had lots of chooks. One day a butcher-bird got in and Helvi went in with a broom and chased it out. Two chooks had been pecked to death. We had to put in overhead wiring.
      The fox got them on several occasions as well. We bought a fox-box trap. But who would get caught inside? Our Jack Russell, ‘Milo’. He looked a bit sheepish. Never ever caught a fox.
      Twice a fox got the chickens next door. I believe there are foxes near Sydney’s harbour bridge.

      Like

  3. Big M Says:

    No rain on the east Coast, yet. We had chickens. The last one died about a year ago. We should put them down when they stop laying, but Mrs M won’t have it! We have euthanased a couple, mainly due to such severe dementia that they stopped eating and drinking, and just lay with their necks across the chopping block.

    We also have fox/feral cat problems, not a few km from the centre of Newcastle. The buggers seem to think they have carte blanche to run through yards and public parks.

    Many city folk are taking to keeping chooks and bees, and some councils are planting fruit trees in public spaces. How forward thinking!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Had good rain here, Big M, more coming we hope. Yes, if a chook puts their head on the chopping block, it is clear their egg laying days are over.
      Just now I fed the chooks next door. One was so grateful it squatted down, perhaps wanting to be patted. Either that,or, in urgent need of a fine rooster?
      Yes, in some suburbs the council provide elevated growing boxes on the nature strip for the locals to grow herbs and vegies. A good idea. Better than using the nature strip to dump rank smelling matrasses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Big M Says:

        It started raining here, just after my last comment. Yes, I think some chooks do like a bit of affection. Some breeds like ISA browns will jump into your lap,,and lay about every 23 hours, so the odd day with two eggs. I guess feeding the neighbour’ s chooks is a pleasant diversion to the news.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        The Isa Browns are supposed to be the Rolls Royce of chickens. No chicken has as yet jumped in my lap but there is still time for that. How are you and B going? Hope all is well.

        Like

      • Big M Says:

        We are both well, thanks, Gez. Good rain here now. Quick trip into a favourite pub for lunch, but the silly toy train the government is installing into Hunter Street annoys everybody. The ISA browns were only bred last century for laying and docility. The often die quite quickly as soon as they hit menopause.

        Like

  4. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    We’ve had a pitiful 1ml here, but I’m still hoping for more. When I was a child, people used to say ‘I had a nice brown egg for my supper.’ In those days a brown egg was a sought-after thing. Now, it seems that most eggs are brown. I wonder why that is? The less said about politicians the better- opening the floodgates otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I too wonder about eggs being brown. It might have to be with the brown chooks being the best layers. I thing the Barnevelder is a brown chook with prolific laying capabilities.
      Yes, stay away from politics. To think we are one of the very few ( dodgy)countries that have compulsory voting. As if we are so proud of the Duttons et all of this world.

      Like

  5. lifecameos Says:

    I do hope your farms get plenty of rain. Their dire situation has been on our news here too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. auntyuta Says:

    You say: “We were drawn to the Telly like horse-flies. Crackers and Boursin cheese at the ready.”
    The same thing happened to us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Andrew Says:

    The change of leadership in Australia just about made the news here. I assume a diary note comes out: “Change leader. Time for a coup “. The chickens are for more interesting. HK-ers can no longer keep live chickens because of the outbreaks of disease. We used to go the wet market and choose a live chicken to be sacrificed for our evening meal. I did not enjoy the experience and neither, I suspect, did the chicken. Such is death. But eggs I like. Brown. Speckled. Large. As part of a full English breakfast there is no better start to the day. Unless it is seeing your leader toppled.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      5 prime ministers in 5 years. All giving tax breaks to business by taking money away from pensions, health benefits and social benefits.
      My dad could never eat chickens. He felt they were too much like human beings. I never understood how he came to that conclusion. He was always a bit mysterious.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Nice post, Gerard. I am very fond of chickens. Some make very loving pets and love to be cuddled. An allergist MD told me I could eat chicken as my only meat source. That was years ago. Now I eat chicken sparingly. Just can not stomach the thought of seeing how the chickens go to market in the summer heat and winter cold. They are crammed into small cages and loaded onto an open air semi truck It is disgusting and inhumane. I buy organic chicken but then the chicken’s journey is probably the same. So, I eat mostly vegan.

    It is nice to get those fresh eggs and I hope you enjoy them while you can. They are far tastier.

    My children had a few chickens growing up and I kept them all until they eventually died of old age.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Ivonne. Feeding chickens is a very essential part of life. There is something very basic about that ritual. I sometimes wonder though what the chickens make when their eggs get taken away all the time.
      Don’t they wonder what and why that gets done? Just imagine your wallet gets taken each day or your toothbrush?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. stuartbramhall Says:

    Condolences on your new prime minister. About a week ago there was talk of Australia being a failed state and that New Zealand might need to invade to rescue you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I wish that was true, Stuart. I would be the man laying down the red carpet.
      We have sunk so low. This new PM is no improvement. He is forever talking how everyone will and should become a winner, pitching man against man till the bitter end, and underneath the railway-bridges.

      Like

  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    The morning telly introduced us to your new prime minister. I wasn’t sure if I should clap or cry, so I changed the channel. We need a few chickens around here as the atmosphere grows increasingly hostile in Washington. There seems to be a lot of cracked eggs running this country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, our two countries are running in tandems. Giving endless tax breaks thereby guaranteeing more people will end sleeping on the footpath. It’s enough to drive one to drink.

      Our neighbours left a fridge full of beer and wines as well as pet mince and chicken feed in the chicken shed.I am tempted to go on a bender.

      You can you imagine the headline in one of Murdoch’s newspaper; ” Missing pensioner found inebriated in neighbour’s chicken shed”. There would be the obligatory photo and arrow pointing to a chicken shed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Chickens and eggs and rain! Oh, my! 😀
    My parents were farmers and even after they sold the farm they still had chickens, gardens (veggie) and fruit trees. I enjoyed growing up in that environment.
    I love reading about your time with the chickens!
    YAY for Blanche! She is a very productive worker! 😉 😀
    HUGS!!! for you and Helvi!!! 🙂
    How is Milo doing?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Helvi was brought up on a farm in Finland. She could not have wished for a better childhood. She has nothing but good memories. Our fourteen years on own farm too was an enriching experience.

      Growing things and having animals is a very organic way of life. I can still taste the home grown lettuces, tomatoes, rocket, silver beet etc.
      I think Blanche must have laid an egg the previous day after I had done the afternoon shift and then laid another one the following day.

      Milo is fine. He had more dental work done. He is not the vet’s best friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    PS…Did you do that drawing?!

    Like

  13. shoreacres Says:

    One of my most cherished photos is of my mother and her younger sister feeding chickens at their grandparents’ farm. My aunt is six years younger than Mom, so they must have been about two and eight years old in the photo.

    We never had chickens, but when we went to Kentucky to visit friends, it was my job to go “pick eggs,” and eventually I was allowed to do the same at my grandparents. No chickens for me — hard to have in an apartment — but I buy eggs from a woman who has a lovely flock. Some of her hens are a breed that lays blueish green eggs. They’re the prettiest eggs in the world. Most are brown, though, and they certainly are better tasting than the ones from the stores.

    Brambles is a nice name for a kitty, but I confess I laughed at a chicken named Blanche. There’s no reason not to name chickens, but it’s something I’m not sure I’d do. As soon as you name something, it’s a little hard to put it on the dinner table; at least it has been for me in the past. I couldn’t dispatch Mr. MacBawk, the rooster. Instead, I sold him to a neighbor who wasn’t quite so squeamish.

    No chickens in my new blog post, but guess who is there? Queen Wilhelmina. I think you might have heard of her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      While living in The Hague we fed the scraps from our third story apartment to the chooks at ground level. It was somewhat risky for the chickens. You would not want to be hit by a baked potato or bacon-bone.

      The scraps would just be scraped from the 3d storey balcony straight down to the chooks who were looking up in expectation food was coming. As far as I know no chicken ever received a king hit.

      When my parents went back to retire in Holland my mum used to walk to a small creek and fed scraps to the ducks. I told her once not to feed chicken scraps to ducks. The genetic relation is just too close. But, my mum ignored this.

      Looking forward to reading about Queen Wilhelmina, Linda.

      Like

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