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.

Friday, 1 January 2010

The first day of a new year

The answer to the mystery on the previous post is . . .

So well done Rhiannon and Moreidlethoughts - you were spot on :-) Yes, in a moment of seasonal goodwill (maybe madness fueled by a large measure of our 2007 vintage Damson Vodka) I offered a good home to a 6 month old Lavender Araucana cockerel. After a few days thought he's been named Tarragon, not because we have plans to cook him but because a) 'Tarragon the Araucana' sounds good to me; b) it's a good spicy herb to pair with the Spice Girls and c) Tarragon means 'little dragon'. Tarragon looks very much like a little dragon as he prances over the grass . . .

He's not fully grown, I'm looking forward to seeing how his adult feathers develop. Araucana cockerels don't have large wattles under the chin, but they develop a feathered beard and moustache; you can also see that his comb isn't flat and zig-zagged but instead it's a 'rose' and a lovely shade of cranberry red.

I now have an apology to make - yesterday I told you that the studio assistants were curled up asleep somewhere warm, well that wasn't quite true. Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in the greenhouse washing sooty mould off some of the leaves on our little lemon tree, the Tabby One was in and out, in and out, in and out of the greenhouse door - I lost track of were she was and when I'd finished cleaning the lemon leaves I shut the greenhouse door and went back to the house to spend the rest of the afternoon cooking. We then went to a New Year's Eve Murder Mystery Supper with some friends and came home in the early hours of the New Year. This morning after breakfast we wondered where the Tabby One was. As the hours passed mild concern became slight worry became worried enough to go in search of her. Cliff set off to see if there was a furry body in the road and I went to her favourite haunt 'The Wild Wood' - no luck. As I returned past the greenhouse a movement caught my eye - there she was in a box of shallots next to the electric fan heater.

She was very quick to get back to the house and check out the food bowl. If the Tabby One was writing today's blog post I'm sure it would be a tirade of venomous expletives aimed directly at me!

Did you have a White New Year? We did. Here is the under-gardeners' chalet and Tarragon's batchelor pad in the snowy garden. Tarragon decided to join the girls in their chalet last night and who can blame him!

I thought I drank very little alcohol last night but the combo of pomeganate juice mocktails, red wine, champagne and a very late night made me feel less than chirpy this morning. I made squash, chestnut and apple soup for lunch and afterwards felt I needed some fresh air - even very very cold fresh air. So I've just come home from a bracing walk around the village and along the footpath nearest to our house. The Hogweed seedheads were holding little pinches of snow in their umbels . . .

And the freezing fog held the world in a magical stillness . . .

Back home I joined the hens and Tarragon as they ate their corn for supper. The dynamics of our little flock is changing with the introduction of a cockerel - unlike introducing a lone hen, there has been no pecking or agression from the girls. Tarragon is wary and he must be missing his three sisters and all the other hens he used to live with, but he's growing in confidence every minute - I love watching him and so do Nutmeg, Saffron and Ginger ;-)

Best wishes for 2010 everyone!


  1. Isn't he handsome? I look forward to your future posts about his development.

    Poor Tabby One, is she speaking to you today?

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  2. What a stunning boy Tarragon is - will you have hatching eggs ;)

    Happy New Year !

  3. Oh my goodness, he's absolutely splendid!

    No snow here, and I'm hoping it stays that way as we have a long drive tomorrow - the last of the Christmas visits, hurrah.

  4. What a handsome chap! Happy New Year Celia.

  5. Tarragon is destined for fame. Look at him strut - he's fabulous! Congratulations on the new arrival.

    That image of the hogweed seedhead is beautiful Celia.

    Happy happy New Year!

  6. Yes, a handsome chap, indeed. And, since you've acquired him so young, he'll grow up with impeccable manners.

    Geiger says to tell Tabby One that she sometimes gets shut in the car, which could be a real worry in hot weather!

    And Sporran says if Chester had his own blog he could rant in grand style!

  7. Happy 2010 to you!

    Tarragon is sure to be a fine model ... think that you'll be doing lots of drawings and perhaps even making some prints.

    Your snow scenes are beautiful ... perhaps not so beautiful to a certain tabby.

    And, finally, the soup must have been so delicious. Is it difficult to make?

    Best wishes for the New Year, full of creativity. xo

  8. my that was a fast tail the tabby one was flying past you! stunning rooster--my g'ma had bantams & auracana hens, but never roosters. i look forward to seeing if his lavender shade deepens as he matures. glad you has a nice new year's.

  9. I couldn't believe the 'spot the cockerel'! In the original photo the undergardeners were looking so indifferent to 'its' presence that I thought it must be a garden gnome!

    Happy 2010!

  10. What a handsome chappie - and no doubt soon a happy chappie with all those women in his harem. I look forward to hearing about his future exploits!

  11. Tarragon is a lucky, lucky boy and a handsome one! Look forward to following his progress.

    Oh dear poor Tabby One - are you friends again now?!

    We did have a White New Year and a rather splendid one too. Took a wintry walk in Ickworth - will be posting some photos soon.

    Happy New Year to you all!

    Jeanne x

  12. Just a thimbleful....

    Handsome Tarragon - what a thrill for the Spice Girls!
    I know that awful sinking feeling when a cat goes missing even for a day - I am so glad he is safe and sound and making up for lost time in the feeding bowl.
    Happy new year - and many more lovely posts, please!

  13. What a handsome lad! Quite a nice addition to your beautiful little flock.

    Happy New Year! It looks like you were surrounded with beauty for the fresh new year!

  14. Tarragon has some good moves, that's for sure, and it sounds as if Tabby One didn't move fast enough!! :)

  15. Hi Everyone, you'll be hearing lots more about Tarragon. He's settling in well despite the very cold weather and strangeness of his new surroundings.

    Hi Toffeeapple - The Tabby One is aloof at the best of times and she definitely showed her mood by the swishing of her tail! But as I type this, she's in her basket in the studio just behind my right elbow, and looks pretty content!

    Hi Feltmaker - I think that's a possibility ;-)

    Hi Dottycookie - take care in the snow.

    Hi Gina - I'm as smitten as the Spice Girls!

    Hi Silverpebble - snow transforms the simplest things.

    Hi Geiger and Sporran - The Ginger One says he gets shut in the garage sometimes :-( and he's far too lazy to write a blog.

    Frances - the soup is very easy - swaet some onion, add some roast squash, cooked chestnuts and chopped apple. cook for a bit then add water and simmer until soft. Liquidise, adjust seasoning and enjoy!

    Hi Petoskystone - this is our first cockerel, it's going to be interesting!

    Chrissie - you comment is priceless!

    Hi Veg Heaven - he's been very polite with the ladies so far ;-)

    Hi Cottage Garden - Ickworth is the perfect place for walk in the snow. I fest very guilty that I'd shut the Tabby One in the greenhouse - she's saving her revenge for later!

    Hi Mavis - a thrill indeed! The Tabby One is very good at getting herself locked in!

    Hi Dowhatyoulove - I think Tarragon had potential so we gave him a home.

    Hi Monica - the Tabby One loves hiding! and Tarragon is a splendid chap who is going to take time to tame!


  16. We have two cockerels - everyone told us they would fight but, perhaps because we raised them as chicks, they seem fine with each other. Yours is just beautiful. I wouldn't be without one. I think they make the flock much calmer and less aggressive.

  17. Hello. I have heard your name before, in fact I had one of your cards from Gina but I didn't know where you hung out. I have been enjoying a good nosey but I had to leave the comment here for obvious reasons. I am now officially a 'reader'.
    Oh..I see Emma has spied the same picture!


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