Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

One year on . . .

I'm twixt projects this week ('twixt' the local estate agents love that word . . . "situated twixt Newmarket and Haverhill" it always makes us smile.) More time to do some extended lunch time gardening and enjoy being outdoors.

We're having amazing mild weather at the moment, so I decided to check what I was posting about a year ago and see what the weather was like in late October 2008 (frosty actually). But :-O ooops! I had completely forgotten! Exactly a year ago last Monday the Spice Girls moved in to live in our garden and started work as trainee under-gardeners.

I think that's what Ginger has been trying to tell me every time I go to the out-house to get my gardening gear.

OK Ginge' what would you and the girls like as an anniversary treat?

"To do whatever we want in the vegetable garden, please!"

There was certainly no hesitation when I opened the green door in the garden wall . . . LOL!

And they soon found lots to do . . .

I suppose I ought to give the Spice Girls a one year appraisal, have they been working hard?

Nutmeg is fast and nimble, she can even steal a crust of bread from head girl Ruby, this is admirable given that she is bottom of the pecking order! She also lays the most beautiful pale turquoise blue eggs. However she tends to go broody quite frequently and when she does her behaviour disrupts the whole flock - so much that they stop laying in the nest boxes and hide their eggs under the hedge to avoid a confrontation. Nutmeg needs to address this issue before next summer.

Saffron is a quiet and unassuming hen, but her character has developed over the months and she has an independent streak - laying her pale teal-blue eggs in 'the other nestbox' and standing up for herself against bullying from Phoebe. She has been broody and stubbornly refuses to leave the nest but her behaviour is tollerated by the other hens. She has also been through the moult and is now laying again. Safffon is still quite nervous, although recently she has been learning from Ginger to be more sociable, this is something she can build on in the future.

And last, but in no way least, Ginger - an extremely confident and quick witted hen, a born leader (but with Ruby still very much in charge her chances of promotion are slim). Ginger hasn't been broody or been through a major moult, she consistently lays large sage green eggs of very high quality. She enjoys learning new skills and has great potential beyond her current job as an under-gardener.

Well done Spices! We've enjoyed the past year, hope you enjoyed your anniversary treat :-)


  1. I miss our ladies and their eggs :(

    Lovely to read about yours though!

  2. What a great post. I would love some layers of blue and green eggs to go with my Welsumers and wyandottes!

  3. This post has brought a smile to my face. I love the thought of the hens (sorry trainee under-gardeners') having an appraisal after their first year! After all their multi-coloured egg laying I think they deserve a treat in the veg garden!

    Jeanne x

  4. As a city-dweller with no hens anywhere nearabouts (that I know of) I was captivated by your annual report on the Spice Girls. Just to think of those beautifully colored eggs makes my imagination take off.

    Thank You!

  5. Lovely pics, I love hens, it's made me miss mine...

  6. Your girls are gorgeous. Ours are due for a forage in the veg plot soon. I just need to remove the last ofthe outdoor toms - they'd kill me and each other for a tomato - then they can have weeding duties for a day or two!

  7. Hi. I wandered into here from ...?oh heavens, where on earth was I?!, and I'm very glad I did - I've had a lovely time reading all your posts - I love the concept of Unauthorised Gardening Projects! We have them, but they tend to be cat, squirrel, fox or badger related - all totally useless as under-gardners!

    I'd love to keep hens, but given the variety of animals in the neighbourhood I don't think they'd last very long! :(

    Thanks for a great blog.

  8. such happy spice girls when the magic green door opened! :) between your narrative & the HappyHens photos this post made my day. maybe nutmeg wants to be Queen?

  9. I was just directed here by Dinahmow to read about your chooks. We have a Ginger and a Ruby, as well as Black Bob, Brown Bob and Lizzie. Ginger, Ruby and Lizzie are definitely the under-gardeners and the Bobs are in charge - nothing is safe from their busyness. Except when Ginger is broody, we get 4 or 5 brown eggs a day and we love their company. I enjoyed your post and will be back later to read everything. I can see lots of things to like.

  10. What a fun post. I love the picture of the 'great escape'. Wonderful appraisals too.

  11. lovely ! just getting to know my girls different personalities . Ruby the Rhodey was up a tree with one of the cats earlier with one of the dogs looking most confused !

  12. I enjoyed this post immensely although I'm afraid I might have to put one of mine on probation! Did the lovely ladies of spice agree with their appraisals? Sounds like you're up for a bonus with Ginger - hope you've got it in the budget.

    Enjoying seeing how the seasons are changing for you - it's always a bit comforting going into summer here to see the autumn views.

  13. as you know, I absolutely ADORE your under gardeners. Gosh, they lay such pretty coloured eggs! I didn't realize they were spicy in their egg laying as well as their personalities.
    That beautiful green door is a work of art, by the way. I always love the view from your spot on the world.

  14. Love this! Good to see your girls, and hear what they have been up to.

    I think I might need to asses our chicks. We have about 150 banty's (hens and roosters) and currently are only getting 1 egg a day...... I need to go have a chat with those girls.


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