Hope you had a good week.
So, last week I said spring is coming, of course it is, it’s inevitable, but Mon Dieu, it’s taking its time, this week has been so cold. Next week will be worse if we can believe the weather forecasts. In Paris they are saying it will reach -6˚C (20˚F) and even in Provence and the French Riviera the temperature is due to dip below freezing. Eeek. Just when I was thinking of putting my long johns away!
Cold weather for me means extra vigilance in the garden. For my pet chickens, ducks and geese (all 55 of them) it means a bit of extra care and attention is needed. They’re always excited to see me but on very chilly days they are utterly joyful when I open the back door and they see I’m about to take care of them. A cacophony of clucks, quacks and honks fills the garden prompting the wild birds to stop pecking at the fat balls and seeds I put out for them and look around in wonder. I do all the usual things like making sure there’s plenty of dry straw in the coops and ferrying buckets of water from the house when their troughs and ponds freeze. Some days, when I really feel sorry for them, I’ll make them some rice or porridge and serve it slightly warm.
My neighbour Bernadette, an experienced poultry keeper, once told me that I also need to check and make sure each bird is mobile, as when temperatures are so cold, it’s not unusual for a bird to find its feet frozen to the ground.
“I’ve had to chisel a duck out of the icy mud many a time” she assured me.
“Surely not” I said, “that must be a joke?”
“Non” she said firmly “It happens. You must check that none of your birds get stuck in the ice”.
I told my husband Mark what Bernadette had said.
“Surely not“ he said “that must be a joke”.
“That’s what I said” I told him.
But, as neither of us are completely sure, we’ve taken some old wooden pallets down to the pens to give the birds somewhere to keep off the mud.
I’ve been checking but I’ve not seen any indication of Bernadette’s prediction coming true. The birds love jumping on and off the palettes though and playing chicken king of the castle!
Wishing you a very Bon Weekend
bisous from France
ps top photo, the horses at the bottom of my garden looking over the fence at the chickens playing on the pallets!
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