The girls have started laying in mysterious places, so mysterious that I’ve been unable to locate their eggs over the past week. Normally they happily free range by the sheep yards and if they aren’t laying in their nesting boxes then I can usually find the odd improvised nest in the barn.

Out of 7 hens I’ve been getting one egg (from the white silkie who is obviously a good girl). Another hen is currently sitting on a batch of fertile eggs which should hopefully hatch around Christmas. One of the red hens  lays an egg with a very brittle shell (so far shellgrit hasn’t fixed the problem) so her eggs are usually a broken mess. Still I should be getting at least 4 -5 eggs per day, 3 on a bad day, out of the 5 remaining hens.

The egg shortage is causing chaos in our household. Any we do have I’m saving for baking Christmas goodies. On Sunday night we had bacon and salad burgers as a quickie dinner. Alpha Male wanted eggs on his (2 burgers, that’s TWO eggs, I don’t think so bucko!!). He was very annoyed when I said no, we just don’t have enough. Got right snarly in fact and I had to listen to a lengthy tirade on the lack of eggs and how he should be able to have eggs whenever he wants because he doesn’t just work for the fun of it (this lecture is usually reserved for when we don’t have any ice-cream in the house, such dramas, the poor boy, yawn!). He wanted to know why, if I knew we didn’t have any eggs, didn’t I  purchase some when I went grocery shopping. “Well we have chickens”, I shot back at him “Why on earth would I buy eggs!!”. By golly he is frustrating! Hee hee!

So a few days ago I decided to lock the hens up in their coop until they learnt to behave. The next morning 2 eggs. Today 3 eggs. If only I could find their secret stash, then we would really be rolling in eggs!

Bit of a drama this morning. Alpha Male discovered that the steers had NO WATER. This explains why yesterday whenever I walked past their paddock (which I did on about 10 separate occasions while refilling the knapsack and spot spraying) they would all follow me along the fence line and moo. I had checked their water in the morning because the ballcock on that particular trough occasionally sticks and the water overflows, but all was good so I didn’t bother to check again. I’d also emptied and refilled 3 other troughs and not bothered to check that they had filled okay.

Can you see a bit of a pattern occurring? General slackness and apathy perhaps? Obviously a routine I need to train myself to get into, especially with summer approaching and animals get hot and thirsty. My first thought whenever the cattle bellow and chase me (apart from fearing for my life) is that they are hungry – always my mind turns to food! So that is what I thought yesterday, that they had chewed the paddock out enough and wanted moved on, even told them that I would mention it to Alpha Male that night. Would explain their foot stomping and head shaking, they were saying “No, no, you stupid girl! We want water, W A T E R.”

Alpha Male was mega-stressed, while he did temporarily rectify the situation he is still stumped as to what is the root cause, plus he got cranky because he yet again tried to explain to me how our water scheme works, and I yet again failed to understand exactly what he was talking about. Just like he fails to understand why we don’t need ice-cream 24/7.




I’ve created a monster! A big black mooing monster. Alpha Male’s father has loaned us a couple of cows so we could mother-on some extra calves. One of the cows, lets call her Myrtle, already had a calf of her own and Alpha Male put another two calves on her, but I decided that she was looking a little on the skinny side so took it upon myself to give her a small feed of calf meal each day. Myrtle just loves her daily treat, when she sees me coming down to feed the chickens she rushes over to meet me at the gate. She became quiet very quickly, I mentioned to Alpha Male about milking her (him, not me!!).

So I don’t mind Myrtle and her friendliness, just as long as there is a fence separating the two of us. There has been the odd occasion when the gate’s been open and she’s galloped over to greet me. Once when this happened I spent 15 minutes cowering in the chicken coop while she alternated between devouring the chook food and squishing her nose against the wire mesh in an attempt to eat me (or lick me, I haven’t quite worked out which!).

This morning she was being playful Myrtle. After she finished eating she decided to roll the container over and over, until it went into the middle of the paddock. The laugh is on her though because I wasn’t about to brave her and the bull to go fetch it which could just mean that tomorrow morning Myrtle won’t be getting anything.

Today I spent about 4 hours spot spraying thistles and docks. Lots of walking and sore shoulders from carting the knapsack sprayer about but was totally worth it for the serenity. I mentioned to the children that I was going, vaguely waved my hand over the farm map in a large circular sweep and mumbled that I’d be about here-ish if they needed to find me.

Bliss. Nothing but the chirping of birds, the baaing of sheep, the snorting of cattle. And only occasionally would the muted screams of fighting children drift over the hills. They came looking for me once but I stood extremely still and pretended to be a tree.