There were three ponies grazing there. Two were in the meadow and another one was right by the river munching on wild garlic. The ponies have trampled down or eaten a lot of the vegetation but it is still a beautiful place and anyway horses are just as wonderful as plants. I wished I'd brought my camera.
After work the first thing that caught my eye was Attracta out pecking for insects and grubs in the evening sunshine. She looked so busy and intent on her task. This delighted me as she was getting the chance to live a proper hen's life at last. I'd been feeling fine before but seeing that wee chicken foraging in the sunshine upped my mood from fine to happy.
Soon afterwards Bert returned and he was happy too. He'd just come from the practice nurse after having his ears syringed. I know I never mentioned that he'd gone deaf for I was too preoccupied with my own woes and anyway it was a blessing in disguise for me for his (temporary) deafness meant no tin whistle or clarinet for a week. He plays by ear y'see. The evening being so fine he decided to get a move on with the vegetable garden. Pearlie came out to watch.
Pearlie and Penny oversee the vegetable planting
I was telling her about how happy I felt when I saw the hens starting to venture out. She said,
"Ye've little need o'them hens! They'll only bring the fox and he'll ate the lot of them. There's far too many trees about the country now. Farmers planting woods all ower the place! It only encourages foxes and then folk cannae keep a hen or two running about the place! There's nae need o' them oul woods a-tall!"
Then to lighten the subject I said to her,
"Isn't it great watching a man working?"
"Huh! He's only lossing his time at that oul carry-on. Them hens'll soon scrape that lot out when they get the length of this garden. It's naethin' but a waste o' time that!"
Thankfully a car arrived. It was my home girls and their boys. Hannah and Jamie were out to pick up their car from Ploppy Pants and Zoe and Dave were out to borrow Rosie to take on a walk with their pup Gracie. It was Gracie's first experience of chickens and she wanted to play chase. A bit of impromptu dog training took place but Pearlie didn't see the point of it.
"Och no matter what you do that wee dog'll only be after those hens to kill them. She has terrier in her and that's what terriers do. Kill chickens!"
"No Pearlie. She can be trained to let them alone."
"She's got terrier in her and it's bred into her! She'll kill those hens first chance she gets."
So there you go. According to Pearlie all our attempts at self-sufficiency are doomed to failure. The hens will scrape up our vegetables. We will be unable to console ourselves with a lovely fresh egg because Foxy will ate the hens. Should any hen survive Gracie will rip it to pieces. Because it's bred into her.