Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Gardening with chickens - a beginner's guide to (moderate) success

Spring is here - at long last!!  I'm chitting potatoes in my windowsill (well aware that other gardeners did that months ago and will be eating new potatoes not long after I got mine into the soil) and have spent my pocket money on seed packets.

Today I got the kitchen garden kinda-sort of ready.  It was sloooow work - partly because I twisted my knee the other day and can't really bend it. Or put much weight on it. Or climb stairs. 

But I digress (which is all too easy to do when you're wallowing in self pity). The other reason why it took a bit longer than usual was my feathered assistants.  So here are a few nuggets of wisdom, should you ever decide to employ chickens on your little plot of land.

Go to your kitchen garden and survey your plot. If you're a lazy gardener like me, you mulch your garden in winter - basically this means the soil will be covered with hay from your guinea pigs, whatever grass clippings that haven't rotted away, and perhaps bits and pieces of the Christmas tree.  The bonus is that this has blocked out most of the sunlight so there won't be as many weeds as there might have been.  But now the cover needs to go, so you can get the soil ready for planting.

Remove whatever weeds there are.  This may be a challenge.  You must do your best to be one step ahead of your chickens so they don't get in your way.

You will fail at this.


A chicken on an earthworm mission is basically like you, back when you were 16 and smoking cigarettes and riding in cars with boys: convinced it is immortal and totally unwilling to let anything stand in its way.

But try your very best not to, you know, injure it with a hoe or rake over its little feet.

It also helps if you have eyes at the back of your head (people with small kids might have an advantage here), so you don't accidentally trip over your chickens when you take a step backwards...


Gardening with chickens helps you build up a healthy degree of tolerance and patience. It is not uncommon to rake over the same ground several times because your helpers have a slightly different take on the concept "neat pile".



Now it is time to get firm with them.  If you're planning on actually growing things in your kitchen garden, you'll need to find a way of keeping the chooks out for the next few months.  For me, that means that whatever pocket money I don't spend on seed packets, I spend on fencíng.

Your assistants will not appreciate this. You will be at the receiving end of resentful glares. This is something you'll just have to live with.


With the main kitchen garden done(-ish), fenced in, and ready for planting you can move on to the raised beds, assuming you have some.  I do.

Start by removing the winter duvet on the strawberries.  Feel yourself surrounded by eager little helpers, again. Cruelly restrained from working on the main plot, they happily move on to new pastures. Chickens have short memories, bless 'em.


This is the point where you decide not to plant out the new strawberry plants until your helpers have gone home for the day.  Their hind legs would mean a miserably short life for any baby plants that got in their way.  Look at these drumsticks at work:


So you move on to the next raised bed. And are immediately joined by the work force who feel that the most interesting bit of soil is the one you're working on at any given time.


You may also want to discard your gardening tools altogether. At the end of the day, tiny rakes are for amateurs. No one can comb your soil more professionally than a motivated chicken.


So if you're wondering what I've been up to since my last post, it's this. Looking after my chickens. (Also I've squeezed in a trip to Hamburg, a long weekend in London, work-work-work, fun nights out, and plenty of Viggo cuddles)


"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" (quote: Cicero). "And if you add chickens, you have endless entertainment" (quote: The Blogless Sister)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Gingerbread house- at last

Der har været rejsegilde på årets peberkagehus!!  Som sædvanlig er det hyggen og ikke æstetikken der vejer tungest, og som sædvanlig er der indtruffet små ingeniørmæssige katastrofer undervejs, men NU står det her og spreder en duft af julekrydderier og lidt brændte kanter. Dejligt :-)

Klidmoster  anbefaler Støvring Bolcher til vinduerne - og det holder jeg med hende i, men det skal ikke være dem der hedder "Sure Kugler", hvor tiltalende navnet end måtte forekomme.  De smelter simpelthen i stuevarmen, hvilket også er årsagen til at årets hus står på et solidt fundament af smørrebrødsbakke fra Egtved Brugs. Det er noget klistret stads.  Så teknisk tip - hvis du ikke kan få fingrene i den type bolcher hun bruger, så er det smartere at bruge husblas, som jeg også har gjort på nogle af vinduerne.



@ N ~ without further ado, the Gingerbread House 2015.  As usual with a few technical glitches here and there (and a couple of pieces of decoration fell off so I superglued them back on - - note to self, do not eat this particular house). But super cozy (in my opinion) and it smells wonderful of all sorts of Christmassy spices :-)

PS - pics taken with iphone and the lighting isn't great.  I'll see if I can take some better ones later






Oh woe - the windows have melted. But hey-ho,
we will bring in a different glazier next year.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Anatomisk korrekt julepynt

Indre Lecia regerede i weekenden. Hun havde på formidabel vis haft held til at få mig til at takke ja til julefrokost både fredag og lørdag, og da jeg blev viftet om næsen med en koncertbillet til torsdag, lød der også et rungende ja tak.

Så hønsevagten blev udliciteret; jeg iførte mig portvin og kavalergang, og afsted det gik. Darjlig, darjlig weekend. Træt Tine i dag, mandag :)

Så lige nu har Indre Erna overtaget. Hun drikker også portvin (det gør alle de Indre Damer), og så hænger hun julepynt op. Desværre er hun en my uorganiseret - så efter at jeg har været hjemme på matriklen i 24 timer kan man nærmest ikke se, hvor smukt min søster (som havde hønsevagten) faktisk havde ryddet op efter mig.  På et tidspunkt håber jeg, at Indre Helga gør sin entré...

I mellemtiden er Scary Nissemand kommet på banen. Scary Nisse fik jeg af min eks-kæreste på et tidspunkt. Jeg ved ikke om han i selve købsøjeblikket var klar over præcis hvor ...eh, naturtro den nissefanden egentlig er. Den skal i hvert fald ikke bryde sig om at levere strømpegaver hos mig :-)

PS. Du må hellere scrolle lidt ned hvis du vil nyde synet. Jeg turde ikke sætte billedet på som det øverste. Hvis nu du er lidt sippet. Hvad man ikke vil kunne bebrejde dig.



@ N ~ I am drinking port wine and putting up Christmas decorations tonight. All should be calm and bright; the reality is that I'm creating an almighty mess in my wake. I blame it on too little sleep this weekend - I had Xmas parties both Friday and Saturday and Inner Lecia (who is, as you may recall, the party girl who lives inside my head) just loved every minute of it . Inner Erna (the little ol' lady who also lives inside my head) is now looking forward to a couple of early nights.  Inner Helga (ze very organised one who struggles to dominate the remaining space in my head; not very succesfully I should add) has gone AWOL.

I don't think I've ever delighted you with pictures of this particular part of the Christmas decoration scheme before?  It was a gift from my ex boyfriend and I'm not sure if he knew just how anatomically correct this dude was when he bought it.  But here it is. This one had better NOT leave any presents in my stockings though ;)


Ho Ho Ho. Merry feckin' Christmas 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Søndagsflid eller -dovenskab?

Jeg kan simpelthen ikke beslutte mig for om jeg er prægtig, fordi jeg støvsuger - eller umådelig lad fordi det pt foregår siddende. 

Hvilke dilemmaer jeg dog kæmper med...


@N ~ do I get ten points for Gryffindor for actually hoovering on a Sunday? Or do five points get deducted because I'm sitting on my bum while doing it?

Yes, such is my exciting life - oh, the dilemmas I grapple with ;-)

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Af æg er du kommet, til mad skal du blive...

Jvf forrige indlæg (dette, publiceret for ret præcis tre-en-halv-måned siden- jeg er da den gode, flittige blogger), så er jeg jo nu hønsefarmer. #TheChickenChick er mit nye kaldenavn, og ved I hvad - det er SÅ godt!! Jeg kan varmt anbefale alle at anskaffe sig fjerede venner.

Vi startede hønseholdet med fire kræ. Høne-Signe, Lille Pi, Pamela og Liselotte.  Så reddede min søster lige yderligere tre venner til flokken - Cecilie, Hønepøne, og Black Swan (til daglig blot kaldet BS).

...Men altså. Så drog jeg til USA i halvanden uge, og mens jeg var væk skete der det forunderlige at Pamela og Liselotte pludselig fandt deres stemmer og viste sig at være haner. Begge to. Så da jeg kom hjem var der en lystig galen i hønsegården, og om end jeg bor i decideret landlige omgivelser så er der dog naboer ganske tæt på, som (selv om der ikke indløb en eneste klage) måske ikke synes at hanegal ved solopgang er det bedste i verden.

Så. Altså. Jeg gik i Harald Nyborg og købte en økse. Søster og jeg lånte vores mors største gryde. Og så.... flyttede Pamela og Liselotte ind i min fryser.

@N ~ I haven't shut down the blog completely. But just realised that the post before last - the one about my new chicks - was posted three.and.a.half. months ago.  Yes, I've been remiss . And will probably continue to be so, but I blame it all on modern life.

Anyhoo. Four chickens moved in. Then I went to America on vacation (I was kinda-sort of near Portland. If you count Bozeman, MT, as close. It's only around 12 hours drive away...) While I was away two things happened: my sister added three more chickens to the flock. And two of the "old" ones - Pamela and Liselotte - turned out to be roosters.

They were very diligent roosters. Bossed the girls around and tried waking the village at sunrise. And although my surroundings are decidedly rural, I thought maybe the neighbours didn't appreciate the cock-a-doodle-do at the crack of dawn.

So. I went to the DIY store. And bought an axe. And Pamela and Liselotte went to sleep with the fishes moved into my freezer...



Vi spiste dem på min fødselsdag. Og jeg vil gerne lige sige - til dem der græder nu - det var ikke slemt. For jeg elsker mine pøner højt, men de er ikke kæledyr. De har haft et dejligt, dejligt liv - og de smagte også dejligt.  Dejligere end kummerlige burkyllinger, som vi alle sammen spiser, og endog dejligere end hundedyre økokyllinger. De smagte lykkeligt, gjorde de :-)

@ N ~ Pamela & Liselotte were guests of honour at my birthday dinner. Aka main course. And they tasted wonderful. Much better than your average too-cheap-to-be-true chicken. Better, even, than your organic free-range chicken. They tasted happy, of the happy life they've led.

It wasn't terrible (the beheading I mean. Not the eating). Much as I love my chooks, they aren't pets. And that feels good, in a selfsufficient, smallholding sort of way.

And just so you won't think I'm just an axe-wielding chicken murderer, here are a couple of snapshots from The Happy Life of Tine's chickens

MEN. For at I ikke tror at jeg er sådan en der bare går rundt og myrder løs, så er her lige et par billeder fra det lykkelige hønseliv.

Støvbad 



Hønens mås

Skrabehøne in action

Og nu til hvordan det går på resten af farmen. Det har været en lang uge på matriklen. Lufthansa har været strejkeramt, og som billetpusher har det betydet nogle temmelig lange arbejdsdage i Viggos Rejsebureau. Som det kan ses af billedet herunder, er kontorgrisen temmelig klar til weekend. Hav en god en af slagsen!

@N ~ it's been a long week at the office. Lufthansa's cabin crew staged a week-long strike and there was a ton of rebookings to be made, in addition to all the everyday stuff. As you can see, the office piggie is rather exhausted now :-)

Have a lovely weekend!





Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Ripple effect- amusing small minds since 2004

The first time I tried a sooperdooper skin-ripplingly fast hand dryer was at Los Angeles Union Station in 2004 (I wasn't there to catch a train, I just wanted to see the station. Because I'm like that.)

Fast forward eleven years and I'm equally delighted. I do apologise to the people who were queuing to use the bathroom after me. Time flies when you're having fun (it sure doesn't take much :-)

I'll let you know when I'm all grown up. Best not to hold your breath...


Thursday, 30 July 2015

New chicks on the block

Nå, men jeg holder jo så ferie. Det går ræddi godt med det; mit talent for afslapning er næsten på højde med Viggos.  Helt på den lade side har jeg dog ikke ligget - jeg har foretaget en mindre ommøblering i huset, ryddet op i garagen, malet, klippet hæk, og vasket omkring 50 gamle drivhusruder som (inshallah) skal blive en del af et hjemmelavet vægdrivhus i nær fremtid.

Og SÅ!  Så er der flyttet HØNS ind på matriklen! De har boet her et døgn nu, og det er simpelthen noget af det bedste man kan anskaffe sig.  Indtil videre er det dog ren "underskudsforretning" - dels er de ikke gamle nok til at de er begyndt at lægge æg; dels er jeg særdeles uproduktiv nu. Man kan sagtens tilbringe 20-25 pauser om dagen med bare at sidde og kigge på dem.

Hermed præsenteres damerne:

@N ~ the chickens have moved in!!  Technically they're my sister's  (long-ish story; will save for a later post) but they now live in my back yard. It's awesome!  They're not laying eggs yet; I think they look "grown up" but they're actually not that old.  I'm not sure if we'll get eggs this year as chickens often stop laying in winter (which is when these ladies will reach "adulthood"). No matter. They are marvellous little creatures.

Without further ado, here are the ladies.   Hatched in an incubator on my sister's kitchen table earlier this spring :-)

1: HØNE-SIGNE

Opkaldt efter et menneske ved navn Signe.  En meget hyggelig høne, som gerne vil tages op og aes

Høne-Signe (Chicken Signe) is named after a girl called Signe. She's the sweetest little creature and quite tame; you can pick her up and cuddle her (if you're not creeped out by chickens like my friend Iben is :-)


2: LILLE PI

 π   

Kær lille høne som gerne kommer spænende hen og spiser af hånden.  Opkaldt efter 3,14159........ (det er min søsters skyld; hun tog den matematiske linie i gymnasiet)

Little Pi is - well, named after the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter :-)  We are nothing if not creative with our nomenclature here, ha ha.    She is very friendly and happily sprints over to greet you when you bring treats


3: PAMELA

Den sorte høne med det hvide hoved. Hende er jeg meget glad for, for hun minder lidt om mig selv. Ikke verdens mest sociale høne, men hyggelig, og meget tilbøjelig til lige at nuppe en morfar

The black one is called Pamela. That is my fault; the first two chickens were named by my sister and then I jokingly thought of the names for the other two and once I'd said them - slightly ridiculous though they are - they stuck....  I like Pamela a lot; she's a bit like me. Not the most social hen, but sweetnatured and very, very fond of midday naps


3: LISELOTTE

Det er min skyld; de sidste to navne... Min søster navngav Høne-Signe og Lille Pi allerede da de var kyllinger.  Og så sagde jeg nærmest for sjov, at så skulle de to andre hedde Pamela og Liselotte ...og da det først var sagt, så blev det hængende.  Skrækkeligt altså, men sådan er dét bare. 

Liselotte er muligvis en hane, faktisk. Vi er ikke helt sikre. Men hvis vi pludselig vågner ved hanegal, så bliver h*n til tarteletter....

Liselotte is a girl's name here in Denmark. But we're actually a bit unsure if Liselotte might turn out to be a boy.  S/he's a mixed breed so it's a little bit hard to tell.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed - but if we are suddenly awoken by a 5AM cock-a-doodle-do, s/he will go to the pot....   



And here is the happy flock, siesta'ing under the apple tree.  Sorry for the branch that is in the way; it's actually quite hard to get a decent photo of them when they're lying down because the moment I approach the chicken run they rush over to see if I've brought any treats :-)

Middagshygge under æbletræet. Med en gren lige midt i billedet; beklager meget. Det viste sig at være temmelig vanskeligt at tage billeder af dem når de lå ned, for så snart jeg nærmer mig kommer de spænende for at se, om jeg monstro har en godbid med (de har som regel ret)