Monday, April 09, 2012

For The Love Of Chickens

Anyone who follows my Flickr photostream will have realised that Nelly's got a brand new printer/photocopier/scanner to play with. Well - I say new but actually it was given to me by Les, who occasionally gets free range eggs from us and a wee bit of ground to grow things on and then, in return, we get blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes (wine) and chillies (yummy) which is much better than going to the shops and buying things.

Last night, while going through a packet of Pearlie's photographs I noticed a theme. Bert's female relatives have always been very keen on keeping chickens. The first photograph shows his Great Aunt Maggie feeding her little flock. I like the look of Maggie. She is, in Ulster parlance, a tidy wee woman and she has a very kind, sweet face. I also like that she is doling out the grain very generously indeed.

And this is Bert's Aunt Annie, who, when she was a girl and lived on this very farm. Those chooks are living where pigs hang out these days and I note than chickens keep a far tidier house and yard than Rusty and Lily do.

This is a shot of Pearlie and her dog taken a few years ago. That shed to her left is gone now. You can just make out to the right of the flock little Bernie the black bantie who lived for many years, until the fox finally grabbed her as she was minding her one and only chick. Bernie was the only one left when we came to live here and when I suggested getting some laying hens, Pearlie protested, "What need d'ye have of a lot of oul hens?" which I thought was rather unreasonable. We ignored her and got them anyway. Free range eggs are better by far.

And now, thanks to Les, I am able to scan these old photographs and give the originals to the grandchildren and children of their original subjects. Pearlie thinks that is a good idea too.


Brighid said...

Chicken wrangling must run in the blood for you as it does for me.
I raised them as a kid, then went many years without as we moved twice a year with the cattle. I've been back to chicken wrangling for a while now, heavenly hens!

Nelly said...

We had a fox in the hen run yesterday. Little brute dug its way under the wire. Luckily our young friend Ben heard the commotion and Bert was able to chase Foxy off before he harmed any of the girls. The boys then took to the fields with the rifle but no kill.