Tag Archives: chickens

On the Cusp of Spring


Through the open gate and into the garden.

If there’s one thing that makes it evident there’s a seasonal transition going on, it’s got to be the recent mud. A couple wet days and the heavy soil makes for clumpy boots, sticky shovels, soupy paths and a pigsty chicken run. It definitely reminds me of the spring thaw back in Maine.

Hearing one’s wellies squish squash while walking, brings awareness to the quiet cusp of winter-spring. No whirring lawn trimmers and zooming tour buses polluting the air with their constant background noise.

Quiet, but not silence for the birdsong in the background is pleasant and welcome and so uplifting that I felt a literal spring in my step, quite the opposite from that of having the bottom of my feet suctioned into the earthy mud. Continue reading

H5N8, Because Numbers Are Great In A Title But Bird Flu Virus Is Not

Day twelve and last night’s rain has made the chicken run very muddy. We locked both the chickens and ducks in on January 13 after Ireland’s second case of bird flu was confirmed in Galway.


“H5N8 is the cause of recent outbreaks of bird flu in the UK and across continental Europe and is highly contagious among birds although it poses a low risk to humans” from an online RTE news report.

The law regarding free range backyard poultry keeping is that all birds in premises located within 3km of an infected bird would be required, by law, to be kept indoors. So we don’t have to keep them contained, we just aren’t sure that they’re not at risk if we don’t. Continual reassessment and watching how the flu progresses is what we’re doing. If you’d like to have ‘All your questions answered on ‘Bird Flu’‘ then here’s somewhere to start.

I’ll update on the state of the flu, as well as the state of the poultry run.

Melissa Xx


It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day

Every day won’t be the best ever, but there’s a best part to each and every day.  It may not be what you hope or expect.  In fact, better on these less than best (hard) days to stop expecting and instead wait with optimistic anticipation for the completely unexpected joys that appear out of seemingly nowhere from unlikely people, places, and things.

If there’s something ostensibly big keeping you from your joy, focus your attention on something small.  There are little miracles everywhere in nature just waiting to distract us from our thoughts of ourselves and our worries…

💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛 Continue reading

A Late Arrival

chicken and dragon

invite oviparous friends

to just lay around


Dragons lay eggs.  Thankfully.  That little fact was helpful to know when trying to harmoniously combine Ronovan’s haiku words ‘dragon & invite’  this last week into my photo/haiku combo.

I had a bit of fun with the photo word ‘layer’ as it’s an accurate description of our chickens– they’re all very good egg layers.  And when they’re not laying eggs they like just laying around, particularly in the holes that they scratch for themselves.

I had this post nearly ready to go last week but then my son became ill.  He is fine now; not his appendix.  Another thing to be grateful for, this one more meaningful than the bit of trivia I shared above.

One of the disadvantages to living on an island is that a trip to the mainland hospital isn’t uncommon if there’s any uncertainty as to what’s ailing one.  The flip side to that coin is that we have constant access to competent and caring medical professionals here.  

More often than not, when we find ourselves in the hospital we arrive back home knowing only that the cause of discomfort or condition is not life threatening or serious.   This, after a night or two in the hospital because, after all, if there’s a chance it could be life threatening or serious, they can’t be sending us back to the island.  Always relieved to be sent home eventually, but puzzled that no definitive diagnosis is made.   Maybe this is par for the course with children?  Anyhoo, happy to toss my overdue haiku/photo into the mix. 

Melissa Xx

p.s. Go here to see how other’s interpreted the photo word and to the comments of this post to see what other’s wrote for their haiku.

January’s Garden


Last week, in the bright sunshine, I did a walk through the garden and took a few pictures.  It was the first time all winter I’d gone in with the intention of really looking and not just grabbing veg and hurrying back in the house to escape the wet cold.  I never got around to posting those pics so out I went today…it’s helpful to document these things before the growing season begins.

Everything is looking quite bare, especially with the tunnel plastic off for the entire winter, but the earth previously contained for years by the polythene cover is now enjoying breathing the fresh air and drinking rainwater.  Next month the new plastic goes back on just in time to start seedlings.  We lengthened the tunnel by adding two extra hoops which adds about sixty square feet of additional growing space.  There’s plenty of work ahead of us this spring, which in Ireland begins in just a short week and a half from now. Continue reading

New Potatoes, New Chicks, & A New Cousin


The potatoes Johnny sowed in the tunnel at year’s end 2014 are completely out of the ground and the space is now occupied by lettuce and cucumbers.  He reckons we got 25 to 30 kilos. We’ve given a few away, bartered some for car repairs, and the remaining should last us a month or so, but only if we alternate with some rice and pasta on occasion. Continue reading

A Run-On Sentence

20150430_151749We’ve kept chickens for a while yet it’s never felt like we had pet chickens–ones we can tell apart from each other and can notice the unique personalities of.  Currently we have a flock of thirteen Black Australorps, lots of the same looking birds. We want different birds so we can name some of them. Tagging these chicks with colored leg bands would work.  One already stands out from the crowd, more golden than blonde.  We were told they were all males, but are hoping that some are female.  The person who gave us the chicks also gave us a half dozen or more fertile eggs of a couple different gorgeous varieties.  I’m kicking myself now for not taking pictures of his beautiful flock. As well as the eggs, he loaned us an incubator and they are on day three or so of incubation.  We also have a couple chickens who are broody and nesting, one of whom is sitting on duck eggs.  Johnny is in charge of all things chicken and egg related.


We’re hopeful that one of these little guys is actually a gal.

First lovely chickens

each one looked like the last one

this time not so much.

I wrote this Haiku as a run-on sentence, three run-on sentences in all, for Ronovan’s challenge using ‘love and last’.  Jamie’s photo word of the week is ‘hope’.

baby chicks

Remember To Burp Your Kombucha

Some people showed interest in the fizzy, soda-like quality of kombucha tea so I decided to post a video of a bottle being opened after being at room temp (around 60°F), having intentionally not been burped for about 18 hours.  The flavor is green tea second fermented with ginger and apple–that’s what the dancing bits are in the bottle.  Not all flavours get this fizzy.  I didn’t expect it to be quite so active…

Writing 201– Poetry Day 2: Combine ‘Journey, Limerick, Alliteration’ & Other Works In Progress

limerick poem

Writing 201 — Poetry Day 2: Combine ‘Journey, Limerick, Alliteration’

I’m really enjoying this week of poetry.  This limerick came easy for me…maybe the Irish influence 🙂

My fourth sewing tutorial is in edit and nearly ready to be published along with another recipe and my 52 weeks of photos/RonovanWrites combo post.

So many things are composing themselves in my always busy brain.  With my change of plans, we have refocused on this years garden and have just ordered some great seeds to grow veg and flowers for ourselves and for selling.  Regarding the animals, we are due a couple of our first spring kids any time in the next week or two.  The chickens are loving the extra daylight and celebrating so by giving us more eggs.

I am bouncing around in joy today after receiving a text last evening that my favorite swim pal in the world is coming to the island for the next three days with her four gorgeous children.  Got to love spring break…now bring on the sunshine.  But rain or shine, we’ll be taking a dip or two–she’s tough as nails and a great motivator!

May you all enjoy this Happy Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras wherever you are.  We’ll be having sweet potato pancakes for dinner, hopeful to be served aside some fresh fish.  Johnny and I are off to go fishing now, so with luck on our side, we will have something for the table and freezer upon return.  Take care, Melissa Xx

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