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Two Randoms Today – An Egg And A Website


So here is the egg of the day, a brown beauty I found nestling in the coop.

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I am unsure whose this is but to be honest that is probably okay, otherwise I could be accused of stalking my chickens. Today is the day for cleaning the coop and I am waiting for the chance to get in there without pissing everyone off who is trying to lay. As with comedy and sex, timing is everything.

The weather currently is a blanket of grey cloud from horizon to horizon and a dank but not cold atmosphere. Again we had quite a bit of rain in the night, the stuff that I guess is bothering Cornwall right now.

Random Website
So, on to the next part of this post. A bit like the egg of the day, I have decided to start an occasional series where I enter a letter in Google and pick a website from the list at random to look/talk about. Having looked at Google, it seems their random option is gone, so I have started with the letter A and then selected a Google page at random and from there a random page item.

Okay, here we go:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/13/bible-belt-conservative-year-gay

An interesting article about a strict, gay-hating Christian, Timothy Kurek, who decided if he was to understand what he hated he should “walk a mile in their shoes”. He came out as gay, had a pretend boyfriend, went to gay clubs, worked in a gay cafe and joined a gay softball league. The book is the tale of how he cam to do this and the effect it has had on him, changing him from a card carrying gay hater to an accepting Christian. It details the trials he has gone through, the friends he has lost and the friends he has gained.

Because I am unsure that deep down the process to get to that article was truly random I am adding wikipedia to my random selection. Wiki has the ‘random article’ option so I shall select that.

Here goes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_Hill,_Illinois

Willow HIll is a village in Jasper County, Illinois, population 250 in 82 households of 65 families. Willow Hill is now the setting for my film treatment, The Brown Dirt Vampire, the charming story of a cowboy in the 1860s who is bitten by a vampire cow and must live by night sucking the blood of the innocent and eating hay. He survives well enough, hiding in a cave by day and roaming the fields by the night, until he shot, beheaded and cut into steaks for a local restaurant. It is over the space of a week that our cowboy/cow vampire comes to infect half of Willow Hill and set the story up for an epic battle between cow licked bovine blood suckers with hooves and the remaining God fearing residents of this little village. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are ON IT.

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Maid Marion, she does her best – bless


Once I had finished the start of my sausage meatball pasta sauce (the local store’s saucisse a l’oignon is great for this), I popped over to the coop for today’s egg haul. Happy to find four eggs in the nesting box, two from Heatanda, one from Tallubitha and one from Marion, our young Maran.

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As you can see, the far right egg, Marion’s is none too big. Poor girl, she started the latest in the egg production department and she has failed so far to make anything matching the others. Still, we don’t hold it against her, she’s sweet and she is making an effort.

Today’s weather is dry at the moment, sun peeking round from some dark grey clouds. Last night was the weather England has now, so pretty much solid rain all night long. The back garden is awash with water.

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BTW, I don’t know if anyone else has checked but I looked through the whole of the Malay calendar for 2012 and apart from Muslim New Year on 15th December I don’t see any entry for an apocalypse. So, you heard it hear first folks, tomorrow’s gonna be just fiiine.

I Saw Three Eggs Come Sailing In…


Every morning the alarm goes off. Every morning I say, “just a little bit longer”. I turn over and get more comfortable, snuggle down some, all in the knowledge that I set the alarm ten minutes early and I have time. The alarm has been like that for a long time. When the ten minutes is up, assuming I have not overslept that is, I say to myself, “Well better get going, then” and I rise. Every morning I do this. Without fail. I have been doing it so long I am aware of myself doing it as I do it, my mind prepares for when I am going to say, “just a little bit longer.”, listens as I say it, comments that I say that every morning.
I guess we all have our rituals, though currently I’m unsure why I have this ritual. I’ve always thought of rituals as a way of codifying something more spontaneous, keeping hold of the good luck or improvement by making what is connected with it a spell to keep bringing it forth. Of course this all sounds more like superstition, so maybe I mean that. Except don’t because what I do as a ritual is nothing more than a little piece of mental theatre I repeat to myself. It’s the comfort I crave then? A ritual is repetitive by its nature, it gives stability and fixed points in a day, a life. The other option is habit, perhaps I just have this habit of saying the same things to myself of a morning. Which starts to sound a lot more like OCD that anything else. On the subject of OCD, I will confess to being a grammar nazi, though I am a reluctant and tentative one, for the simple reason that I worry that my grammar is not up to snuff. I rarely criticise unless it is obvious and for the obvious at least I can thank the internet. At this point I should put a semi colon and closed parenthesis to show I am winking and also smiling. I am the type of person who watches Only Connect and determines to try and not use agenda, candelabra and data, all plural terms, for the singular. I would also not tell anyone I was doing so, just let my erudition shine forth. That may be scuppered by my writing it down here. Of course that is my intention, to reflect upon an action, to explore it as something revealing but to write with an audience in mind. What we end up with is good old existential bad faith. I should be what? chagrined? guilty? or perhaps just relieved that, as an occasional blogger I have already totted up a good few words and I haven’t even got to the egg of the day or any musings on other subjects of the day.

Three eggs together in the new coop (the ‘chalet’ we call it) and I cannot pick a winner so here are all of them

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The two browns are the efforts of Heatan and Jenmanda, our most regular and productive birds. The middle egg is from Tallubitha, the other Tallubitha, not the old coop Tallubitha. A little later on I shall go check the old coop.

Artistic Egg of the Day


Try as one might it is pretty hard to make a picture of an egg exciting. I mean once you’ve seen one, right? Here’s my first attempt at something a little more artistic (autistic?), to try and vary it up a bit. You may disagree, that is your right, I may disagree, that is my split personality. Anyway, here she be:

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Okay, I agree (or at least one half of my bipolar ice cap agrees) it is rubbish. It is ridiculous. Of course there are those who would say the point of art is that it can, and sometimes must, be ridiculous. No doubt that this pic does not fit into that category. I’m better off looking after chickens.

Along with the egg of the day, today’s tea of the day is Orange Cannelle courtesy of Twinings. For those that don’t know, Cannelle is french for cinnamon. It’s a perfect tea for Christmas time, with it’s warming spice and orangeyness (word?) I sit here typing this in the kitchen listening to the darling Prince telling me I’ve Got The Look. Well at least he did. Now it’s the Trashmen and Ghost Riders in the Sky.

For our nine chickens (one cockerel and eight ladies [three are retirees]) a breakfast of pasta left over from last night – Torsades, which are the smaller spirals. Although it is not really obvious in the next photo, we really do have more sunshine today. As is the way in our French winters, the sun, clear and sharp, slants low across the land, lending all the shadows length.

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Pedro is in the background and, for a chicken that started out as a girl (or so we thought) he really is a very considerate leader of his little gang. Apart from the morning fuss when he’s ready for his “sexy sexy time” he keeps a constant eye on his charges, talking and singing to them all the time. It was only the other day I trudged up our muddy back garden to check the old coop for an egg and disturbed Tallubitha when I lifted the roof. Now normally that’s not a problem, I put the lid back down and they carry on but this time Tallubitha took great umbrage, shouting the odds through the pop hole, tripping down the ramp and squawking like I’d attempted to interfere with her. At the first sounds of distress, Pedro was racing up the garden, chest puffed out cockscomb waving redly in the breeze. He fronted me up and fixed me with an accusatory look. Of course the threat lost its power somewhat when I stepped forward and his stink eye stare turned to a panicked look for a safe retreat. He looks magnificent but he’s a real softy at heart.

I leave you now with the strains of The Raveonettes’ Heartbreak Stroll ringing in my ears.

Egg of the day


As the first of an irregular series, please see below today’s egg of the day:

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This beautiful egg was laid in the coop by Tallubitha. Unusually for her this egg is not as speckled as she normally produces but the size is typical. She manages to regular push out ova you could happily use as a hand grenade, the brown speckled loveliness filling the palm easily. Tallubitha’s name is a conflation of Tallulah and Tabitha as I have given up on trying to tell them apart. Tallubitha is also described as a a portmanteau word I believe, which is funny as I thought portmanteau was a word for getting drunk on port in front of a mantelpiece. As a layer of eggs she is one of the more dedicated and focussed of our small flock (flock? a peck of chickens would be better). God forbid I should be even a minute late from opening up of a morning. To see her shoot out of the pop hole and down the ramp, waddling with speedy purpose up the garden to the old coop, muttering darkly about lateness and laxness like some elderly maiden aunt complaining about the trains is a sight to behold. She could easily take a part in Downton Abbey, perhaps if Maggie Smith falls ill.

Finally this morning we have some sunshine in our little corner of France. The past three days have been a diet of constant rain. The back garden now looks as if we have three ponds, not one. This winter has been the wettest we’ve had since moving here and it certainly shows in the mud everywhere. Three times so far I have contemplated starting tree felling only to watch the weather change from dry to driving rain. I hop January is freezing cold and dry, I will be able to really get on top of the wooding then.

Nothing new or exciting; no, really, I mean it – just saying…


Many apologies to all my fans for not writing more over the past months, I’m sure you have been tearing your hair out whilst waiting for another chicken/wood/gardening/France entry…what? Oh.

Anyway, here I am, post drop scone style pancakes, coffee and orange juice, ready to collect today’s eggs from the girls. I have to wait some as Heatanda (I’ll explain the names shortly) has been replaced by Tallubitha (no, I will explain, I promise) who is now producing. We have moved the chalet (our name for the very expensive coop) to the barn to help protect against winter weather and the net result is that Marion has started using the top of our pile of hay (for the nest box) in the barn as a nest. This means that I have to now climb to find her eggs – which are a little on the small side. The names – now pay attention as this will go on a bit;) Heatanda is a conflation of Heather, Tanya, Jenny and Amanda, four lovely friends who we blessed (not necessarily the right word, ‘blessed’) with the naming of two of our chickens. We put Heather and Tanya together, Jenny and Amanda together and came up with Heatan and Jenmanda (completely rubbish, I know, but it gets worse). Now the two girls have grown into more adults birds, I cannot for the life of me tell which one is which. Consequently I name them both Heatanda and leave it at that. To make things worse two other girls, Tallulah and Tabitha, have also merged in my eyes into one. I understand now that this is called ‘meshing’ and is the hot new thing among Hollywood celebs who marry – albeit they tend to mesh their surnames. Now that we have eight chickens (and one handsome cockerel) we are getting an average of 3/4 eggs a day. P has now taken up baking and I tend to scramble.

On a completely separate note, in my last post cancer visit to the doc for a check up and he says my recovery and rehabilitation is remarkable. All is well so far and the next scan is not until January.

I will endeavour to post more regularly, to go alongside the novel writing and the small books I am constructing from my cancer blog. Tata for now, folks.

Woody stems and clearage


Today was a day of wood work, clearing brush and logging. This morning, as per usual, I let the chickens out and was greeted by two eggs, one of which was a beautiful shape and size and felt solid and hefty in the hand. The only down side to it was that it was no longer warm; nothing feels more satisfying than a freshly laid egg sitting in the palm of your hand, warm, smooth and weighty. On a side note, Blackie is continuing her policy of staying in the barn of an afternoon and getting carried to the chalet. By the way, here’s a picture so you get an idea why it’s called the “chalet”:

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Impressive, huh? Not cheap but an excellent home – dry, draught free and spacious.

Down in the wood I logged a few trees which were more horizontal than vertical. The amazing thing about willows is that they are very fast growers, can form root systems from cut wood and can grow at any angle. The problem with the horizontal is the tendency to sprout along the trunk, making for a “hairy” tree that clogs up the space it is in. Ideally we would have more oak and other types as they tend to be better burners but we work with what we’ve got. Although we have had some good sunshine today, this morning was decidedly cold and foggy. Not a problem though, the quiet is uniquely calming and the cold helps to keep my body heat down as I huff and puff with logs up and down the slope. Description: the wood lies between our field and the canal. Dividing wood and field is a raised path which used to be a narrow gauge railway. The tracks are long gone and the bed is now a public path for ramblers riders etc. Of course that includes hunters but the season has now ended so we (for we read my darling P) do not worry about letting Flynn out. Although the path is level with the field, you must descend about a metre or so down a slope to the wood itself. Nothing improves your strength conditioning like hefting logs up a slope. After a while I plugged in the pod and cut trunks into logs to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen, Volbeat and Inspiral Carpets. Saturn 5 by the Carpets is a great song! Once the trunks are logged into approximately 45 – 50cm lengths, the thick ones are split. I have two wood splitters especially for this process. It makes me laugh to watch movies with the hero in the woods, or by the log cabin splitting logs with an axe. Although an axe can achieve it on occasion you mostly find it gets stuck in the log and you spend most of your time levering the axe out. Most wood splitters look like axes but the edge wedges out at a greater angle, to about the thickness of a sledge hammer (exactly how any “edge” words can I get in this sentence?). This means the log is first cut and then forced apart to split down its length. My other wood splitter is a wedge without a handle, designed to be hammered into larger, thicker logs to split them. The advantage is both the fact it can be hammered in with greater force than a swing of an axe and that the wedge also has a twist along its length which applies extra force to the log. It’s a great feeling to swing the splitter, feel the sun on your back, sweat on your brow. You stop, take a drink and you can contemplate the growing pile of split logs for stacking and drying, see the birds in the trees, feel the breeze on your face and listen to the breeze soughing gently in the willow tops. At these times it is good to be alive, feel the ache in your back.

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