What are we all about?

The focus of this blog is simple - and that's the goal too. A more simple way of life. A life in tune with the rhythms of nature and of human nature. Where everything has its time and place and purpose, including us.

We have left the rat race behind and taken on new challenges. We aim to tread as lightly as we can upon the planet, to reconnect with nature, to eat good food, drink excellent wine, enjoy the best of company.... even if that is sometimes just our own! Please feel free to eavesdrop from time to time on our lives and see how we are doing and if you are ever in Extremadura... drop us an email and we'll give you directions.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Cock a Doodle Dooooo!

The last round of chicks that we had turned out to be three cockerels and two hens.  We were very disappointed to see so many cockerels - but unfortunately its the way of things.  As the cockerels grow they start to challenge each other and then, when they feel brave enough, they have a go at Raul our 'head' honcho.

The disruption caused by teenage cockerels on the main flock cannot be underestimated.  One hen has obviously been getting stressed and has started pecking feathers out of the backs of the others.


The two full grown black hens stopped laying and since they weren't broody I could only assume that they were also stressed, whether because of the feather pecking or the presence of three young cockerels I don't know.  We assume that the one brown hen who still has all her back feathers is the one doing the pecking.

Raul taking guard duty very seriously.

The last time we had cockerel chicks we left them a little too long before culling - even though the extra couple of weeks added quite a bit to the size (and the meat was delicious) it also caused havoc with the dynamics of the flock which resulted in a hen breaking a leg (and therefore losing her life) when she got caught up in a fight between two young cocks and Raul.  This time we were determined to forestall any fighting and cull the cockerel chicks in good time.



We are capable of doing the job ourselves but its always nice to have help.  It isn't a fun job and really you have to just not think about what you are doing until its all over.


As the fates would have it one cockerel got away and we couldn't catch him so we only did two.  They were a bit small but put together in the same pot will make a decent coq au vin.  They await a special occasion in the freezer.

Already the finca seems calmer.  Raul is crowing less often and the remaining young cockerel is shepherding his two sisters away from Raul and in general they are behaving like two separate flocks.  If things stay calm and the feather pecking stops we may simply allow the young cock to live.  Although with a practical farmer's perspective he is totally useless and is eating hen food which costs money.  From our point of view, we seem to be feeding a huge population of sparrows (which fly into the hen run and help themselves to the feed) and get nothing in return so the extra cockerel is neither here nor there.






The hay making progresses although it has ground to a halt today because of rain - the joy of rain!  We woke in the night to flashes of lightening and the crash of thunder and the coolest of breezes that had us reaching for the top sheet.  A day off is welcome as we know the sun will be out tomorrow (isn't that a song?).  The number of haystacks on the finca are growing.  Everywhere is gold and bronze and we find ourselves sighing at pictures from friends in the UK who post their 'rainy day' shots of green fields and lush forest undergrowth.  No we wouldn't swap with them but green is very soothing and we look forward to our autumn rains that send new green shoots poking up within a day or two.


The Oleander is in full bloom which adds a touch of colour.  Many people dislike the Oleander because it is so poisonous but I love the bright colours and it is so easy to grow here, where getting anything to flourish through the extreme summer heat is a feat.  No one is going to eat it, we don't keep horses and the cats and dog leave it alone so I think I may plant more of them.

But the summer heat is still to be endured before I can do that.  Its not a long summer really... 8 or 9 weeks maybe before temperatures start to come down to bearable but it always feels like its going to be a long haul when things first get really hot.  We are talking about temperatures starting in the low 30C and reaching 40C in late July/August.  I am prepared.  I have a dozen trashy novels on my kindle - I have started the first, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  A Scottish historical romance with the twist of time travel... a bit silly but very compelling and easy to read and I am really enjoying it, the perfect 'hot-lazy-nothing-to-do' weather reading.  I have some sewing jobs still to be done and I am continuing with the washing and combing of sheep fleece in anticipation of spinning and knitting next winter.  But the best thing of all about the hot summer is that it is a guilt-free perfect excuse for doing almost nothing but resting.  That has to be something worth crowing about!

4 comments:

  1. We are already in the thirties, but getting thunderstorms occasionally too and everywhere is lush and productive....especially the super-weeds! But, like you, I spend the hot times indoors, usually preserving. I try to do at least an hour's weeding early morning and get dreadful bites when I forget the repellent. Maybe something not so bad in dry Spain?

    We have been lucky enough to re-home the boy chicks before all out war with good natured Sevi. But the time will come.....

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    1. We tried very hard to get new homes for our cockerels but no one was interested so sadly they had to go... once its done I don't feel too bad but I really don't enjoy the prospect beforehand. If we allow more chicks to be born we will probably have to cull the girls as well as the boys since there are only so many eggs you can get through. As for the bitey things... nah... it might be dry here but we have plenty of those too. Bug repellent and after care creams and lotions are the mainstay of our first aid box.

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  2. Those cockerels are certainly feisty. Hope peace has been restored!! I don't know how you can stand it when it reaches 40 degrees. It's been 30 degrees here for the past week and it is just too hot. Back in the day I loved the heat. It was never too hot for me to wear a cardigan. Not any more! The older I get the less I am able to tolerate the heat. The joys of getting old!lol We are getting a break though. For the next 4 days it is supposed to be around the high teens and rain-then we'll be complaining about that!!

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    1. Our temperatures have plummeted the last couple of days and its hard to remember that it was so hot before, but the forecast is for high thirties again by next week - I prefer the hot to the cold truth be told but I only really get grumpy if I can't sleep. We are getting better and better at finding ways to cope.

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