Hello January 1st with your dark sky and wintery rain. My garden has taken on its usual slippy slidey muddy winter form courtesy of the London clay below. But the fruit trees are filled with chaffinches and house sparrows feeding frenziedly on the various fatball feeders I have hung out for them. And signs of spring are already out there - rich red buds are swelling on an ornamental quince.
Hello Christmas reads with your inviting covers and promise of homegrown bounty. There seems to be a smallholding theme developing... maybe I'll be needing to modify the title of my blog in 2012 if certain discussions come to fruition? My Gardeners' World subscription was renewed by my lovely in-laws so I'll be taking in all Monty's and Carol's ideas again this year. And the Versailles book? Well, it came with an invitation for a weekend visit to see the gardens for myself! I can already feel the parterre envy stirring deep within.
Hello new chickens with your pale combs and scantily clad wings. You three seem to have settled in
well since we brought you home on Dec 29th, but if you could just stop bullying the two chickens we already had, then life would be even more lovely. We re-homed you from a battery farm so that you could enjoy a carefree and free-range life, but that means you have to do the same for Chicken Licken and Ruby who have spent the last 2 days having their homelife turned upside down.
Hello EU barren cage ban. Though some European countries have failed to meet the Jan 1st 2012 deadline for removing all barren cages from their egg production industry, I am proud to know that the British egg industry is now barren cage free. Intensively produced eggs in the UK will still come from chickens kept caged, but the enriched cages do at least allow the birds to exhibit some natural behaviours such as stretching wings, perching and laying eggs in darkness. The British Hen Welfare Trust has been very busy in the past few months re-homing as many ex-battery chickens as possible in the approach to the ban - in order to prevent them being sent to slaughter. Only this morning I came across this lovely story of a rescue. If you can spare anything, please make a donation (details in the post itself), if you have room to offer a home to some ex-batts, please go to the BHWT website, and if you buy eggs, make sure they're British. We can hope that the momentum behind this campaign continues to improve the welfare of animals within our food industries.
My best wishes to you all for 2012 - may it bring you happiness, laughter and joy.