Garden helpers – Light Sussex style.

I’ve just realised that the new post sitting ready to go is another on the subject of painting – as that makes three (almost) in a row I thought you all deserved a rest – from my all too frequent obsession.  Although in my defense it isn’t about paintings:

1. I own,

2. I want to own,


3. are in pursuit of (well not in any real sense).

Rather I thought it time I introduced the chickens – Minnie (Caldwell) and Ena (Sharples).  They are rather pretty Light Sussexes, although one is mid-moult and isn’t looking her best.  I chose the breed because it’s an old one (Ancient Roman but very vogue Mid-Nineteenth century) and because they are supposed to be a quiet bird, suited to what is a rather small section. Then there’s the observation that Debbo, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and keen chicken fancier is a fan of the breed. The key reason is of course that they’re decorative – and make a nice addition to the garden of an Edwardian house – particularly in you can’t have peacocks – and the Council says exactly that – of houses in our area.

As it happens they’re not particularly quiet and they certainly aren’t small – capable of giving local cats a short shift when required. They are unusual in that they have absolutely no sense that they can fly and sit and fret about how to get down off the porch or a park bench and instead just opt to sit on the back door step, in front of the cat door, all day long.

Although it took them a while to start laying (worrying all round) they have settled in and are part of family life producing eggs for lunch most days. They live a life of pampered luxury and free range most of the time – something the neighbors have been universally sweet about. Because of this they have developed a particular interest in gardening as a hobby (when not dodging cars on the communal drive). Favourite pass times include – pruning the leaves of the rhubarb, thinning the strawberry crop and raking (or is it un-raking) piles of leaves. When this all gets too much they take a refreshing drink from the throat of the bromelaids before returning to tend to new shoots. We in turn are learning to plant differently, noting plants chickens have no apparent interest in (buxus, agapanthus, ajuga, parsley, artichokes and rose bushes), and planting great swathes of them.

However unlike the cats who just sit and watch, these two are happy to help out with gardening jobs and enjoy being near-by, working over those areas of the garden you’ve just weeded. Being white you can spot them for miles in the undergrowth, which  given how fast and far they can move when the mood takes them, is a distinct advantage.

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1 Response to Garden helpers – Light Sussex style.

  1. Ian MacNeill says:

    Indian Runners are practically silent.

    I M

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