Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hatches, matches, dispatches, thrill and spills!

Just to get the glamour picture out of the way right at the start!!

Well since I last blogged in October there has been such a lot to tell. The Broody Ronnie got sorted by simply denying her access to the comfy house for a few days and she turned from being Mrs Angry to being nice sweet natured old Ron once more.

At the end of October having left the house, the doos and the chickens in the tender care of Dan and his Mum, Herb and I headed off for a month long break in St Lucia. Break in this case was  very apt as will become clear later. We arrived in St Lucia after a good flight and also a welcome catch up with a very dear old mate from Brize Norton days.

 The plan was that after a couple of days with Jan and Jeff we would take over the care and security of the house, the dogs and the care of three lovely boats while they headed back to UK for Fionas Graduation ( she won the Sword at Cranwell!!!!), a haircut and lots of shopping.

                                          Getting into the swing of things with two arms!

We really enjoyed our first ten days but sadly one day when Herb was despatched to harvest the bananas I came cropper and managed to fracture my wrist rather badly and damage a couple of teeth to boot. This was all sorted in Tapion Hospital, St Lucia, things wired together by a wonderful surgeon by the name of Dr Horatious Jeffers! Thereafter things were not so comfy for me but Jan and Jeff duly came back with Fiona and after a few discussions it was decided that Herb, Jeff and Fi would do the planned sail to Mustique and Bequia whil Jan and I did relaxing stuff at home. We were lucky enough to be able to celebrate Flying Officer Bullens birthday while there and the champagne for breakfast complimented the pain killers admirably!

                         This is the skipper and crew drinking MY cocktail at Basils Bar on Mustique.

Once the sea dogs got home we set about catching up  on socialising and we ate the best Coconut Prawns I have ever had in a strange restaurant perched high on a hill with an assault course to get to the loos, I decided that I would forgo the experience but the others all made it unscathed.  We also met up with an old mate from Herc days, here seen with the whole gang at a lovely bar called Chatea Mygo.

We all had a good time doing our stuff and all too soon it was time to come home, no amount of grovelling would get us an upgrade but we got good seats for the disabled and the flight home was uneventful.

Once home it was great to be met by all the boys especially Murray who was home on mid tour leave. We had great time all together, Morrisons had put Bolly on at half price for the occasion so we bought lots of bottles, drank them all and saved none for Christmas. Since I have nbeen back I have had two new casts, the first a rather bright shade of pink but the latest is up to the minute purple with glitter, all courtesy of the NHS!

The first night back we had a bit of a disaster as VooDoo our Lucian Doo was attacked and scalped by the Bloody Hawk, it removed all the flesh down to the skull bone and also did irrepareable damage to his wing. I decided that with only one arm I would be unable to care properly for Voo Doo  even if he survived infections and stuff and reluctantly we decided to cull him. On a brighter note we have had three new babies since we went away, not quite planned, the china eggs fooled nobody and they had all been unceremoniously dumped out ofthe nesting boxes. The new doos are Voo DooToo,  HoratiousDoo and  Dr Doolittle.

A couple of days ago I amazed myself with my speed and agility as I saw  the hawk grab a doo midflight and tumble it to the ground, I ran out purple plaster waving about madly, brandishing a fishing net and I was able to get the hawk to release the doo on the ground and they both flew off! Hurrah Success!!

We have a had a few additions to the Moonzie Menagerie of late, we are regularly having a pair of Spotted Woodpeckers in the garden, have hundreds of mice in residence and today have discovered that we do not have supermice in tackety boots but we have a grey squirrel living in our study walls! All suggestions gratefully received for his prompt removal.

 This is me and  Jan my lovely sister who gave up her holiday to the Grenadines to look after me, very grateful  for that, she was  a great nurse/companion. When I win the Lottery and get even more doddery she can have a job! The picture below shows a tiny humming  bird that the self same nurse revived and liberated, good with birds, (big and small )dogs and everything!

So all in all quite an eventful time. This has taken ages to type as I am still one handed so if I do not blog before Christmas can I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas anda Happy, Peaceful and Safe New Year.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Ronnie has gone Broody!

No, not Ronnie in Eastenders although those that follow the soap will wonder at how life echoes Eastenders!
Ronnie, of Ronnie, Roxy and Peggy fame, my three little red hens, has overnight turned into a snarling demon as she sits on eggs that get laid and repels all boarders who try to claim said eggs. She has gone broody. It is amazing how a docile gentle hen can turn so quickly into a demented, troubled soul ( just like Eastenders characters actually).
Going Broody is when a hen has had enough of just laying eggs that constantly get taken away and wants to sit on them and hatch out baby chicks. Alas as we have no cockerel this is never going to happen but poor Ronnie does not know that ( again a bit like Ronnie Mitchell not knowing her sperm donor boyfriend Joel had had the snip). Now we have a problem with poor old Ron, we could just let her sit until she comes out of it but that could take weeks. The other option is to get her back to normal by giving her a boot up the backside figuratively speaking. She can be dunked bum first into a bucket of cold water, made to sit on ice packs or put into a cat cage with no comfy straw and left in a draughty place for a few days. However I am going to leave her for a few days more and see if she comes out of it naturally. This could go on for weeks and weeks and meanwhile she will get very little food and become thinner and thinner, not what I want for her with the cold weather coming on.
Meanwhile I have excellent news about Fondoo who is now flying with the rest of the flock and apart from looking a bit lopsided with a droopy wing is holding his own and doing fine.
I have had to remove ten eggs over the past few weeks from the nests as despite my best efforts they are all still bonking like mad. Hopefully once it gets really cold all this canoodling will stop. A flock of 19 is more than enough for anyone. They are ranging far and wide now and love the field of corn stubble on either side of the track, they are a little too obvious for my liking as the bloody peregrine is a common visitor as is the sparrowhawk and also the buzzard. The buzzard has been scooping up the voles who feed on the dove food and last week I caught a sparrowhawk picking up a vole right in front of the lounge window.
I have got the feeding down to a fine art now and have bought a long covered feed hopper that contains enough feed for about 6 days so no more rushing around first thing in the morning to feed them.
Everything else in the garden is rosy!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Update on Fondoo

The sun is still shining and there is not much wind so after a first abortive attempt at letting Fondoo go solo a few days ago, I have yet again put him into the air, droopy wing and all.

Things were looking pretty good and as I sat in the lounge watching him pecking at grain on the ground I could not believe my eyes, a bloody Peregrine Falcon landed in the garden close to the well and also took a great interest in all my doos! A couple of years ago I would have been delighted but of course now my views have changed a little. I will admit he was magnificent, just like in the book but NIMBY! Well he set the doos up and all flew, Fondoo only managed to get as far as the guttering on the roof but he was safe as the hawk was after sport today and not just an easy kill and he headed after the others. Well, he was not that good as after a bit all 18 fit doos and one sickie were on the roof looking suitably ruffled.

We have also had two juvenile Common Buzzards at the end of the garden on the posts but I think they may be looking into the field for voles and mice as the corn has been cut and stubble remains. It will be there all winter so good for kite flying and walking and next year we are to have broccoli planted in the two huge fields on either side of the track. Very handy for collecting to check when it is ready, might have been nicer to have had spuds in one and broccoli in the other though. Onions and carrots would not have gone amiss. Must speak to the man who actually own the land!

Harvested some lovely blackberries yesterday from the bushes behind the rhubarb and last night we had a good old Moonzie Apple and Blackberry Crumble. Smashing, to quote himself!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Fondoo remains grounded unlike the Arrows!

The Air Show this year was fabulous, the sun shone for the whole day, it was 22C all day and we were able to be outside, All Day! Quite a record for Fife in September.
We have had to move Fondoo into the Little Hilton Chicken House so that he can exercise his leg and wing and so that hopefully he may be able to fly again. We had a few tosses into the air but he just flew sideways into the bushes and lay there stunned. The Hilton will give him space to stretch and move about and we will try and fly him in a few days. If we cannot then we may have to cull him. I really don't want to but as a grounded doo, life would be grim and probably very short.
I have recently bought a long galvanised grain hopper for the doos so that I don't have to feed them every day. The doo feeding trial started today to see how long a hopper full will last. Of course I will have to take into account the sparrows, blackbirds and hare that also seem to think I feed them.
I harvested the plum on Saturday and we celebrated the somewhat limited harvest with a bottle of champagne courtesy of Mary and Eric, thank you! When I say harvested the plum, it was only one plum, but we are hoping that next year from three trees we may get considerably more!
The apples are great though, the Discovery from the BBC Beechgrove tree looked great, tasted wonderful but have gone off very quickly so definitely not keepers. The Bramleys as ever are superb and today I picked and froze seven batches as stew and apple sauce. I have spotted that the Blackberries behind the compost bins are ready so will make a crumble and freeze it to await the next batch of visitors.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

New Stitches

Just a quick picture of the new stitches, the yellow stuff is iodine.

More stitchery

We had a rethink on Fondoos wound and a few days ago Herb and I restitched the wound using blanket stitches, good knots and oversewing the edges to hold it. Fondoo sat very quietly while the op took place and is once again back in our Hugh Doopendancy Unit in the barn and is eating and drinking well. This time we will keep her in until the wound has completely healed over.

I have to say my stitches were very good, no wonder I got my Needlewoman badge in Brownies!

In the garden, today I planted out some red curly kale and also got rid of the last of the courgette plants that had become triffids. Still cropping tomatoes and peppers and the sprouts will be wonderful in due course.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Grounded again......

A few days after the surgery Fondoo was looking a bit uncomfortable and we realized that the stitches so expertly put it had failed to hold the wound which has now broken down. We sprayed with antiseptic spray powder and decided that the doo should take it's chances out side as there seemed to be nothing more I could do. He was flying OK but was getting bullied by the others this had also happened when we had a doo in the house for a day or two and when Hindoo reappeared after her chimney adventure. Anyway this has not gone well and after one night out we found Fondoo tucked down on the ground by the log store so yet again he is inside in the cat cage. He is looking quite perky, is eating and drinking well and it maybe that the open wound needs more time to heal, it will be healing open but with daily dry sprays it should heal and he should be able to fly.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Post op Day 1

This is Fondoo today a day after her op. The stitches look good and clean although he/she is somewhat bruised. The wound edges have come together nicely and we hope that Fondoo will soon be back out with the big birds.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Casualty Moonzie Style

Well what a day for me, new job and an injured doo to deal with. Yesterday we spotted one of the newest doos, Fondoo, was limping badly. Falling over onto one leg in fact and through the binoculars we saw that he had lost feathers from his breast and had a large open wound at the top of his leg. Luckily Fondoo is one of the few doos that sleeps in the cote so after he went to bed I was able to catch him. The wound looked awful so we kept him in the new cat cage and today I contacted Harry my lovely Pigeon Pal.

Harry has just left after coming and instructing me in the fine art of doo stitching. Firstly we cleaned the wound and then removed all the torn feathers, then pulling the edges of the gaping wound open I put in four silk stitches. Harry held the doo as he knew how to restrain it without crushing it! Luckily I had surgical sutures in sealed packs with attached surgical needles. The reason I had the suture sets was that when we bought the boat in it we found the worlds oldest First Aid Kit, it contained such delights as a Umbilical Cord Clamp, lots of suture sets, expiry date 1965, a silver tracheostomy tube, Brooks Airways various sizes, Mucous Extractors and a War Office , Army Medical Department Shell Dressing dated April September 1945. The previous owner of the boat had been a Doctor funnily enough.

Anyway Fondoo is now in recovery and will remain inside for a week or so until he puts his leg down, he seemed quite unperturbed about the sewing going on and should make a full recovery. the stitches will remain and be absorbed eventually.

I thought that the hawk had had a go at Fondoo but Harry seemed to think it was more likely a close encounter with a wire or a branch or a particularly bad landing into a tree. Fondoo had only been out of the nest box a week so maybe was just inept at landing and should not have been flying solo just yet!

Tomorrow I will attempt to get some good gory close up pictures for the blog.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Poppy died

Yesterday Poppy was looking really tired and was sleeping most of the time, in the afternoon I picked her up and put her into the Little Hilton House so that she was off the muddy ground but could still see out of the door. She had given up eating and could not even be tempted by grapes or strawberries, not a good sign. She was as light as a feather and had lost more than half her weight. I went back after a couple of hours and she had died, I like to think that it was calm and peaceful and that she just snoozed away. Sad thing as she was the oldest of the girls and the friendliest and funniest.

Life goes on, she has been cremated with all due ceremony and the ashes will be floated off down the burn. Just three hens left Peggy, Roxy and Ronnie. Yesterday one of them laid a double yolker at 90 grams by way of consolation.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

New Style created at Moonzie

This is the new addition to our garden, a style so that weary pub goers do not have so far to trek
and also to aid in getting Diane home safely, we had to resort to a wheelbarrow recently so think the tipping her over a style may be tad easier.
It is built to last ( of course) and with a few weeks weathering should fit in very nicely.
On the dove front we have managed to call a halt to the egg laying and just have the final two babies in the nest box. In fact both have been out but seem to prefer to be in the nest box and both go back in to hide at every available time. We have seen a lot of the female sparrowhawk flying around and one morning she was perched on the telephone wires right outside Tamara's house. No doo attacks so far but there has been a lot of wild racing off so I think all concerned are aware of the hawks proximity. We have also had an osprey
Moonzie has been having some improvements of late, on Thursday we got a Velux window into the kitchen roof, what a difference it has made, the kitchen looks bigger and brighter and even warmer when the sun shines. Herb also fitted new down lighters in the ceiling. However on the downside the new illumination has caused me to see filth that I never knew was there before. I have spent the last couple of days cleaning like mad. On the same day we had the window fitted we also got a new wood burning stove fitted in the lounge, this involved a huge amount of mess, soot and dust and while the stove looks brilliant the wall behind it is a mess. I attempted to wash some sooty hand prints from the wall and have to had to now redecorate the whole thing!
Poppy the old hens life is coming to an end I think, she has no energy and does not even free range with the others. I think the time may come soon for her to go for the big sleep and join Daisy in Chicken Heaven. Good job the boys are home!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A new place in the Country

This is the one of the new dove cotes and after three weeks of studiously ignoring it the birds have now taken to it really well. In fact if you look closely you can see two doves in one nest box on the left of the picture. I think they liked it better after we put a perch on the post that we had recycled when we eventually removed the homing cage surround from the original dove cote.

After thinking I was being very clever blocking off nest boxes in the original dove cote I had to uncover one as the bird that had been on the plastic eggs decided to move in with the squabs who are not yet flying and Mum doo was not impressed. There was a lot of squabbling and pecking and I was worried for the safety of the babies so uncovered a single nest hole and the intruder moved out and promptly built a nest in the new box. She has laid one egg which today I removed and replaced with another plastic egg. She had also laid a softy so that was never going to hatch anyway and she had kicked it out. So in about a months time I will remove the plastic egg and we will start the cycle all over again.

The chooks are coming to the end of their free ranging month with Roly being on holiday, they have loved it and the egg production is excellent.

The figs are coming in thick and fast now as are the tomatoes and other veg. The Cabbage White Butterfly has wreaked havoc with my brassicas so no prize winners this year. The blackbird has taken to eating the blueberries even before they are ripe and I am fighting a losing battle keeping her off, despite the net. I suppose at £1.99 a punnet I should accept defeat , take the nets off and give her a treat and just buy my own.

It is very warm outside but and it looks like a thundery sky. Rain we don't need.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hen Party

The hens are having a fabby time in the absence of Roly, today they discovered the delights of eating on the well!

I have ringed the two newest babies, Fondoo and DooDooRonRon and was surprised to see that Fondoo also has two black tail feathers, I think his dad has been about a bit as VooDoo also had similar markings so guess they are siblings.

Yesterday when the dove sitting on the plastic eggs was out for the changeover I removed the eggs as she had been on them for a month. today I have covered all the nesting holes with paper in an attempt to encourage them into the new upgraded doocottery arrangement. So far they are just sitting on the 'balconies' of the old doocote looking vaguely puzzled. How can I tell puzzlement in a doo, no idea, I just can!

Sadly we only have one plum left on the Victoria tree but on a positive note today Herb and I had a large ripe fig each, that makes about half a dozen this year with more on the way. They are every bit as good as any I have tasted in countries far warmer than this. I think leaving it in the greenhouse has been the secret of my success this time. The Family Beechgrove BBC Tree has produced its first fruits this year, all looking very healthy. All the other veg in the garden are looking good yet again this year. We have loads of courgettes of all shapes and colours and are once more getting into broccoli overload. If only I had realized that the farmer was also growing broccoli in a field very close then I never would have. The 'volunteer' Jerusalem Artichokes have come up brilliantly, I think I will have them for evermore. I should have been more careful harvesting them last year if I did not want any more but they are quirky and a fun vegetable, if non stop parping is your idea of fun.
Off to feed the tomatoes, not a fabulous crop, more leaves than fruit but from my other gardening friends this seems to be a trend, maybe it is something to do with the 'barbecue summer.' Actually when a barbecue summer was forecast they were actually dead accurate, as we all know in UK, arrange a barbecue and it is bound to rain!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Speckled Jim made it home

Just had a call from Mr Ivor Myers of Huntingdon and he has told me that Jim made it home last week! He is fit and well. Well, he was a champion homing pigeon, but after his collision with the window I did think it may have knocked his homing skills off kilter.
Well done Jim!

I've got a crook chook!

Poppy the very old hen is not too well. She appears to have an impacted crop, it is huge and swollen, far more than normal, she is quite blue around the wattles and is sitting hunched up and looking sorry for herself. This is quite odd and even more odd is the fact that she did not even bother to come out and free range with the others in safety as the dog next door is away in kennels at the moment.

The picture shows Ronnie, Roxy and Peggy tidying up the spilt dove feed at the base of the bungalow cote. I have forced some olive oil and water into Poppy's throat and have massaged the same every few hours, she still looks a funny colour but the crop is a lot less distended after four hours of therapy. I am quite glad as the next step would be a bit drastic and involves the use of a scalpel blade and then superglue. Apparently farmers do it all the time and the chickens never feel a do they know, speak chicken do they? She is a sorry sight at the best of times, being four years old she is quite old in human years, but she is a nice friendly wee thing and will live out her days with me if she remains well. She laid her last egg some time ago so is a bit of a sponger but we don't mind! From free ranger to freeloader!

Bit of excitement down at Moonzie this week, some rapscallions pinched a Land Rover from a nearby town and dumped it on our track after removing all the good bits. If only we had a Landy we too could have had some spares before the police took it away. Mind you it was fingerprinted and DNA taken so perhaps it might not have been a wise move.

Off to check on Old Miss Poppy, fingers crossed.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Courgette, garlic and cream cheese soup

I have had a request for the soup recipe so here it is:
If you are going to freeze it leave the cheese out and stir in when reheating. I also made it with some double cream added at the last minute, delicious.

Serves 4
1 kg courgettes - any size and colour
250g potatoes ,peeled or scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
30ml olive oil
150g soft cheese
Handful fresh chives, chopped
Handful fresh summer herbs of your choice, chopped
1 ½ mild-flavoured stock made with Bouillon Veg powder

Wash the courgettes and chop them into chunks. Cut the potatoes into cubes (smaller than 1 inch).
Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic.
Gently cook for about 5 minutes, to soften.
Add the potatoes. Stir. Cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, until about half-cooked.
Add the courgettes and stir. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 1/2 pints of veg stock - just enough to cover the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
Remove from the heat and blitz the soup.
Add the cheese & herbs.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Hope that you like it.

This is the Courgette Cake recipe which is wonderful!

225 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon golden syrup
150 ml sunflower oil
100 gm brown muscavado sugar ( I had none and used that granular brown, worked fine)
225 gm courgette grated
1 tsp vanilla essence
50 gm walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 180C

Sift together flour, BP, Bicarb , salt and cinnamon

Add all other ingredients and mix very well

Transfer to baking tin, I use a round 8" tin you could also use a loaf tin

Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour until skewer comes out clean

Cool in tin 10 mins and then turn out and allow to cool completely

Top with butter icing and bits of walnut.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Voo Doo

This is VooDoo with his rather wonderful tail feathers. He is now out of the nesting box and spending a lot of time on the nearby rowan tree. It is a shame he is a singleton as usually the new babies have a mate to sit with but he is a friendly wee thing and is feeding well so should soon be up in the air with the others.
Speckled Jim never came back thank goodness. Hopefully he headed south to Huntingdon.
I have been harvesting veg like mad as lots of things have come at once yet again, and have made and frozen several pots of courgette, garlic and cream cheese soup which is delicious and I also made a courgette and walnut cake which was exceptionally good. Yesterday I made four jars of beetroot and chilli relish (own beets and own chillies) Today I sowed more fancy Italian lettuce seeds and spring onions. I have had to put a net over the blackcurrant bush and also over the blueberries which are laden. The blackbird seems to have discovered if he alights on the net and bounces up and down he eventually gets to the fruit anyway. I have already had two figs from the Turkey Fig in the greenhouse and it looks like we will have six more to come this year. The Victoria Plum tree by the summer house has four plums on it! I have now decided to have a go at Asparagus so Herb has measured out a plot for the deep hot beds and after his trip to Ireland will be making up some long lasting raised beds. Asparagus is a wonderful perennial vegetable that once planted will give spears after two years for up to twenty years, should see me out!
Sun is shining again, time to water the garden and delouse the hens.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Saga of Speckled Jim

This is my dove cote arrangement in the garden. The doos are now feeding from the new feed tray as I have stopped putting feed on the well, this has not impressed Harry Potter or Percy Pheasant who have both been sitting on the well at various times awaiting the next free handout.

The saga of Speckled Jim continues. On Friday, as advised by his owner, I released him early in the morning and he promptly flew up, over the house and onto the dove cote for breakfast.
Not South towards Huntington as he should. As I was away for the weekend I let him have his liberty but planned to trap him on Monday and try a release a bit further away. However before I could trap him yesterday afternoon he flew into the dining room window and stunned himself so I was able to pick him up and put him back into the cat box. This afternoon I drove him about five miles away and liberated him him Lidles car park. I watched him for a bit as he wheeled around and flew in the right direction, South, before he turned and flew back overhead where I was and then headed right out of Cupar on the road towards St Andrews! He has not yet reappeared and hopefully will not.
I have replaced two eggs with china eggs to halt the baby factory that we have got going in the dove cote. I felt dreadful doing it as the eggs I removed were warm but as they had only been laid for a couple of days the chicks would not yet be formed. The mum doo has not noticed the swap and is patiently sitting on the impostors.
Doo Count is 17 with 2 eggs, hatching due on Thursday.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Bath Time and a visitor

The hot weather arrived at last in Fife yesterday and we had temperatures as high as 25C. The doves love a bath and yesterday they were queuing up to take a dip and cool off. Needless to say Bully took to hogging the water but eventually they all got a turn and really enjoyed it.

I forgot to say last time that the new doo called Voodoo was fine after the crow attempted to get in and he is now almost ready to leave the nest box. He spends long periods on his own with his mum or dad coming back to feed him regurgitated stuff every few hours. I ringed him this week with a red ring and was fascinated to see that he has a single black feather in the middle of what looks to be a lovely fan tail. He also has feathered feet which only a few of mine have. A very special doo indeed!

Yesterday I trapped a visitor who had arrived to feed with my gang, I was able to trap him under a transparent plant cloche by the string and stick method, and it worked! I looked at his leg rings and discovered he belongs to the Royal pigeon racing association and was able to contact his owner, a chap in Huntingdon. The bird is three years old and quite a champion racer. he was released from Lerwick for the race but the fog and heat put him off so he has stopped off with us for a rest. I am going to liberate him tomorrow after a good days R&R and hopefully he will head back to England again.

Yesterday we cemented in the posts for the two new cotes and this evening will get them up with all due ceremony and a beer in the summer house to celebrate being a Three Cote Family.
I will post a picture next time.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

More doocotes, more doos.

Been away for a great weeks sailing and painting on the West Coast and had a brilliant time. We rented a lovely old farmhouse by the Loch for the second year running and were able to enjoy the outside as much as the inside due to the great weather in the second half of the week.

Back at the farm while I was away we had two new doos, DooDoo and DooVet making a total of 17! One more doo on eggs, Ivy I think and that will be the last lot for the summer. I have also acquired two new dovecotes. I it is a fairly long boring story but I bought one on EBay. It arrived but it was the wrong size so the guy who made it said he would sent a replacement. That never arrived but after a month it did plus a free feeding tray. When I asked how he was going to arrange to collect the first smaller dovecote he said to either keep it or bin it as it was not economical to collect it. So I now have two lovely shiny new cotes. Hopefully we will get them erected this week and then when it rains the doos will all have places to hide.

Off to ring the three newest babies later. While it may be sunny in the rest of the UK we are blanketed with a thick haar and look to remain so. You will be laughing on the other side of your faces next week when you cannot sleep because it is too hot, when lightning knocks out all your power and when you have to paint your house white and stay inside for fear of sudden death. I heard a spokesman for NHS 24 state "people WILL die next week" Duh! Do the nanny state Elf and Safety Police not know that many grown adults holiday in exactly such conditions!

Off to put another log on the fire.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Strange goings on?

We have renamed Stillard. He/she is now DULLARD following his attempts to get back into the nest with his mother. On two occasions now we have had to remove him from a different nest hole as his Mum who is on eggs again was getting pretty angry about the while affair, Dullard seems confused as to which nest box is his, he has been out and about with the brighter Wellard but on going back in gets confused and heads for the wrong nest hole. Wellard always makes it back to the right home. They will be flying free any day now but I am concerned about the possible repercussions should the eggs start hatching.

Yesterday we saw a large ugly crow going for the lower ( sanctuary) nest box and after it had gone shooed away by a pretty angry wee doo we saw that one of the latest eggs in the lower nest appeared to have hatched, this will be named Voo Doo, sibling to Doo Doo should it hatch too ( named by the Lucian arm of the family, Doo Doo is the Lucian word for sweetheart). To be honest from what I could see Voo Doo did not appear to be moving and it was very small and I don't know if the crow had managed to crack the egg open or if it was coincidence that the egg had hatched just prior to the attack. All efforts to get a look at the baby today have failed.

Later in the day I spotted the crow back again so took a shot at it but missed . It has not come back though so maybe a pellet whizzing past its head was enough to scare it away.

Doo count possible 15 if little Voo Doo has survived.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Ladies in Laburnum

Despite doves not liking perching in trees ( according to the books) mine love it and not only do they love it but they enjoy pecking at the deadly laburnum flowers too!

This morning Sam and I ringed the latest babies, Wellard and Stillard ( Pink and Blue Rings) who will probably be in the nest for a couple more weeks as they are still being fed and have not yet developed their full adult feathers, still some wispy yellow feather around the neck areas.

The eggs are due to hatch this weekend and thereafter if any more are laid I will replace them with china eggs which arrived this week. The new dove cote should eventually arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday and then we will have enough shelter for all the doves. Dove count still 14 with 2 due this week and 2 more a week or so later.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The eagle owl is a failure

New baby prior to being ringed ,Pixie Doo!

I have started feeding the doos on top of the well as I get a great view from the lounge window, Percy the pheasant thinks it is a wonderful idea and loves the fact that the very scary eagle owl is there to scare away predators while he eats lunch.

A few days ago we noticed some damage to the bark of some of the trees in the garden including the Beechgrove TV grafted apple. We have had deer in the garden and it looks like the damage to the Sandringham Pippin Graft on the family apple tree is terminal. The bark is stripped round the branch so I don't hold out much hope of recovery. It was shame as this year we had our first apple blossom on the 'family tree'.

We have also had some damage on the veg patch too, earlier I spotted two leverets in Tamaras orchard and when I went down to check the veg discovered they had also been in and helped themselves to several newly planted cabbage plants nibbled right down to the stalk.
This morning I noticed that some of the doves seemed to be quite irritated and were trying to peck at their breasts so suspecting mites or lice I have given them a bath of apple cider vinegar and garlic, just the thing for any self respecting dove. When I say I have given them a bath what I do is, put a shallow basin of water in the garden with said ingredients in and the doves cannot resist getting in and splashing around, the vinegar kills the mites and the doos end up smelling like a plate of chips minus mites.
Dove count 14 and two confirmed eggs.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Doos on top...of Eagle Owl

The eagle owl has been completely accepted by the doos now. I am not now convinced that it is going to scare away some marauding sparrowhawk!

Doo Number 14 has made an appearance, Young Stillard, sibling of Wellard ,was spotted yesterday when mum briefly left the nest.

The doves so far are:

Bully and Lily ( Originals from last May)

Ben and Jerry and Ivy ( Christmas Doos ) Thank you Janice and Jeff for the Doo Voucher.

Ist Babies: Fugly and Didgeree ( named By Nicci)

2nd Baby: Pipsqueak (sibling died in egg)

3rd Round: Moby As in The Great White Doooooooooo ( Murray) and Cocka...Doodle Doo (Stu)

4th Batch: Pixie and Dixie ( Named by Carmen after her t shirt, we think!)

5th lot: Wellard and Stillard ( Sam )

RIP: Hindoo, Huffy and Holly

The nesting frenzy appears to have stopped now so maybe a flock of 14 is a good size for our housing arrangements. They hate the new pink pigeon pellets by the way and I have discovered to my cost that the discarded pellets turn to pink sticky porridge when rained on, even the wood pigeons won't eat them.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Quick Update

Pixie and Dixie are now in the lower nest box and today I caught my first glimpse of Wellard. I have gone ahead and ordered a new dove cote and am hoping that Herb will build me a mass feeding table as the flock is now quite a size. The small feeding area is just too small. I bought some specialist pigeon pellets the other day, a lot cheaper than mixed grain, however, the doos are apparently experts at sifting through the bowl and discarding all the pellets on the ground. Maybe the mix was too rich in pellets, I tried the conversion on half and half but am going to have to be a bit cleverer than that if I want to substitute it again.

Brilliant weather today, have planted loads of young veg today and as rain is forecast it should all get nicely puddled in pretty soon.

Doo head count up to 13 today!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Hello Pixie! Doo Number 11.

Lovely day yesterday and the doves spent a lot of it lounging around on top of the well as you can see, undeterred by the Large fierce eagle owl watching over them.

This morning when I braved the torrents and wild winds to feed the doves I caught a glimpse of the newest addition to the flock, Pixie ( named by Carmen) She/he is in the lower cote hole and I think her mum is Ivy, one of the Christmas doos. I will attempt to ring her in a few days if ever mum or dad leave her alone long enough for me to get in, I got a peck this morning while trying to check if Pixie was a singleton or not. As her eyes are fully open and she has a few feathers I think she is about 4 or 5 days old.

We are planning on taking the homing cage surround down over the next few days and am ordering a second dove cote for my ever expanding flock. Herb declined to build a new house. Once I get up to about 20 I will be removing newly laid eggs and replacing them with china ones to deter any further babies for the time being.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cocka gets ringed

Yesterday when I got home from Dundee I saw that one of the newest baby doos was out and on the ground so I took the chance to catch it and ring its leg. This is Cocka, named by Stu and it now sports a yellow ring on its leg. Most of the other doos are ringless but the idea is that I should be able to determine who is who and who is missing, God forbid. I think that they could now be a called Yellow, Blue, Green, Purple and Red and eventually Yellowred, Bluegreen, Purplered and Blured etc etc, depending on how many baby doos we get. It would make it much easier.

I am already thinking about more family accommodation and Herb has graciously decided to look at the problem for me when he has a few spare minutes.

Still no idea if any of the eggs have hatched and as the Mother doos are firmly perched over the top of whatever lies below it is hard to find out. By my reckoning all four eggs should have hatched by now.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Holly Died

Sad news, wee Holly Doo just died. She looked very poorly this morning, all hunched up and looking really miserable and a little while ago when I went to check her she was laying on her side, dead.

Real shame.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

High Doopendancy Unit back in action

Since I last blogged we have had no more baby doos hatched but we have two more doos on eggs, probably two each but as I cannot see in no idea at what stage they are. I think the first new babies should hatch this weekend but it is hard to keep track of things.

The first three youngsters, Fugly, Didgeree and Pipsqeak are all flying with the older birds now and Moby and Cocka should leave the nest very soon and start feeding themselves. Holly Doo is back in the house again, she appears to have 'gone light' again and is now in resdence in the dining room being spoon fed bicarb of soda , the traditional dove keepers cure all.

Herb and I have a had a quick trip to France last weekend, the weather was pretty dismal, rain and cool but the surroundings as ever were beautiful and the change was relaxing and fun as usual with Jacki and Chris being great hosts.

No more sign of the hawk but of course this might be because she is now on her eggs and we should be fairly safe for some time from the marauding airborne predator.

The garden is going to be blooming soon and today I bought some yellow and red beetroot plugs to start things off. The perpetual spinach I sowed in the autumn to feed the chickens over the winter has at last come up so instead it will be feeding the chickens and us over the spring and summer.

The Swine Flu warning state is now at 5. The aporkalypse is on its way. The Israelis want to rename it Mexican Flu for religious reasons, the Mexicans want it to be called anything other than Mexican Flu and the Pig farmers just want it to be called H1N1 Flu because calling it pig flu might make us stop eating pork. The EU is calling it the Novel Flu Virus to avoid any upset to the farming industry. The man in Boots the Chemist today told me that the Israelis were slaughtering all their pork.....mmmm, I didn't think they had any pork. He was a little flustered so may ahve been confused as he had just run out of Hand Gel and everyone wanted some, I got the last big bottle and will be selling it on Ebay and cashing in...or not! I loved the headline in the Sun at the weekend, Pigs 'Ere!

Good luck and stay well.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


The bird of prey above was in a field only a few hundred yards away from us. Murray took the pictures. If you click on the picture you will see it has a ringed pigeon in it's talons. Not one of Mine! I think the predator is a buzzard from the size of it.
Yesterday while we were in the kitchen we saw a sparrowhawk swoop through the garden after one of my doos, the other were wheeling around in panic and after they had all settled down and I had done a head count we were minus one. Murray and I headed for the fields at look for the hawk and the doo but to no avail. However after an hour the eleventh doo appeared again! Whether it had simply hidden I do not know but we are a big flock again, eight big birds and three babies. Cocka now has a sister/brother called Moby and Lily is again on eggs.
Poppy Hen appears to have given up laying eggs, she laid an egg weighing 14 grams recently and since then nothing ( an egg usually averages 68 to 70 grams) She is an old bird ( three and a half) and has done us proud, she will now live out her retirement until she goes naturally, she is still the most affectionate of the girls and my favourite. If she had lived her life as a barn or battery hen she would have been culled at 16 months at the outside.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Time to get tough

It has been suggested that locating a plastic eagle owl near the Bloody hawks nest may be illegal so of course I will not be doing that . However someone needs to do something. So many folk talk about the decline in the number of songbirds, who has seen a thrush lately?

The UK Raptor Working Group reported in 1999 that there were 34,700 breeding pairs of sparrowhawks and it was generally agreed that there were probably the same number of singles. Each sparrowhawk devours three songbirds a day.

The total number of songbirds killed each year is in excess of 113 million. If the RSPB is serious about trying to stop the songbird decline, instead of blaming farmers and cat owners, it should allow a controlled reduction in the number of sparrowhawks too.

The sparrowhawk eats its prey alive, sliver by sliver until a vital organ is devoured. It pins the prey bird down and strips the feathers and then the skin until it then tears into the flesh to reache the vital organs . It can take up to 20 minutes for a larger bird to die, one of my doves for instance. By encouraging the use of bird tables among its members, all the RSPB is doing is to produce a slaughtering slab for the sparrowhawk.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday....I hope!

Well, the time came to make the decision about taking the net off and letting the doos fly free again. The new bunch had been homed for 16 weeks and as my pigeon pals have told me Mrs Sparrowhawk should be on her eggs I went for it. The weather conditions were good, no wind, no rain and not too cold or hot for that matter.

Carmen and Murray helped with the release and we watched in wonder as four of the doves headed skywards, did two or three circuits and settled onto the house roof. The new kids, Fugly and Didgeree remained in the cote but the picture above shows them after an hour or so being brave enough to venture to the wood at the top of the homing cage.

Carmen and I then watched in wonder as not FIVE minutes after the release the sparrowhawk flew past, over the cottages behind us and into the trees. We had always suspected that the nest was close but 500 yards away is taking the Mickey somewhat. However Carmen and I have identified the nest and it is a text book hawk built des res (McDoonalds in the vicinity) . It is in a fairly substantial climbable tree so I am going to get someone, ( not me) to climb the tree and affix my giant plastic eagle owl close to the nest in the hope that it will deter the hawk. Hopefully the hawks will leave Moonzie and relocate, relocate, relocate.PLEASE.

On the baby doo front we now have Fugly and Didgeree who are 6 weeks, Pipsqueak who is 2 weeks, Cocka ( Doodle Doo....named by Stuart) who is about a week and she/he may even have a sibling that we do not know about. There has been a lot of bonking before and since the release and two other doos are nest building in the cote so we could have even more eggs on the way.

Fingers crossed that all the doos have a very happy Easter and that none of them get eaten yet! It will be a shame if they do but I suppose going on last years events we had four eaten by the dog next door who is now more disciplined, and two by the hawk. So 50% of my second flock were eaten by a raptor and as I now have 9 birds even allowing for collateral damage we should get to the end of the year with some birds in hand and you know what they say about birds in the hand! If my girl doos have babies at this rate all summer and none get eaten I could, by my reckoning and poor maths, have in excess of twenty doos, I will have run out of smart names, the windows will be covered in doo poo and I may even be inviting the hawk to Come Dine with Me.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

New pictures of Fugly..not so Ugly any more!

Now come on turn around for the camera!! Now you know exactly where all the guano comes from!

Notice how the beak is still much too big for the body!

This is Fugly who is getting bolder by the day, in fact I thought he/she was going to come out and fly today.
I had a look in at the new baby today, named Pipsqueak, she is all yellow and fluffy and is laying next to another as yet unhatched egg. Mum is firmly plonked over the top of her.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

And now we are Three!

Fugly and Didgeree this morning, four weeks old today.

When I was out feeding the doves this morning I noticed a broken shell in Maisonette Number two and a little while ago saw the mother dove remove the shell from the nest box and dump it in the corner of the run so I think we can safely assume we now have at least one new baby.

Fugly and Didgeree are getting very bold and are coming further out of the nest hole every day, the feeding rate by Dad is also increasing but of course if he is the Dad of the new doos he will soon be leaving these two and feeding his new brood, poor old Mum will be off sitting on some more new babies and so the cycle continues.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

More Pics to click on to get bigger

The enclosed run, a bit messy, the small white box in the corner is in case Fugly or Didgeree Doo come down and cannot get up again.

Babies in poo!

The lower maisonette floor with two doves on eggs

Update on Fugly and her brother

This is the latest ( albeit not very good) picture of the two doo babies. They have grown at a terrific rate and look like real doves now, the pile of guano they are sitting in makes for great insulation or so I am told! The babies are approximately three and a half weeks old now.

The weather has turned very cold again after our wonderful weather of last week when we hit 16.5 degrees one day, almost better than some of our summer days. I was even out in a t shirt showing off my post St Lucia suntan.

The babies are now being fed by the dad dove , Mum is now on a second clutch of eggs. They get fed at very regular intervals and you know it is happening as the father perches at the door and throws up into the babies mouths. He feeds them what is called Pigeon/Dove Milk which is part digested grains and seeds. This seems to happen every few hours so no wonder the babies have grown, they doubled their birth weight in the first 48 hours although continued to look like feathered scrotums for some time after that!

Two more doves are on eggs and we should have our next lot of babies any day now if all has gone well with the incubation. They have been laid in the lower house of the dove cote so it will be a lot easier to get to see these ones. There is still a lot of courting going on and even more mess than before. I am in a bit of a dilemma about when to release them as they have now been under the net being homed for 13 weeks, however the Bloody Sparrowhawk is still around but I am reliably informed by my pigeon Pals that she will be in the nest very soon and once that happens she will be out of action for a while. The male bird does the hunting and feeding at this point and as he is slower and lighter than her is unable to take larger birds so we should be safe for a while at least. I also have a worry that as Ben and Jerry and Holly and Ivy were older birds when they arrived that they might be 'homed' to Duncan in Glenrothes and head home once liberated. It seems that after they have reared babies this is far less likely to occur but I have heard that a dominant cock may well lead his whole flock home, including the new ones. Bully and Lily should remain here as they were very young unflown birds when I got them last year. In fact they arrived with me on the 5th May at 7 weeks old last year which means that this weekend is their first birthday!

I am trying new anti hawk methods of deterrent this year, I still have the big plastic Eagle Owl and have just ordered some Mylar Repelling tape which when hung artistically around the area will emit a reverberation that hawks dislike plus as it is holographic, the reflection upsets the birds. I have another few ideas up my sleeves too. I was delighted to see a dead hawk on the road recently too which means one less to eat my gourmet doves.

The chickens have settled down very well without the other four and we get three or four eggs most days which is plenty for our needs. The garden is fairly blooming with some wonderful spring flowers and apart from the fact that the weather is bitter all is well with the world.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Look what arrived the other day!! I think he/she actually arrived along with his/her sibling about a week ago but as Mum Doo was firmly ensconced on top of them we have only just discovered them! These are two new doo babies, the first named Didgery Doo Too and the second Fugly!

They will eventually look like lovely elegant white fantails but at the moment they are the ugliest babies I have ever seen. We also have another dove sitting on two more eggs so my fears that we would be unable to rear any after all the disasters of before were totally unfounded.

Hopefully none of these will fall to the ground overnight although this one is very feisty, he took great exception to Murray's camera being poked into the nesting box. The book says that the parents will feed them for four weeks or so, I have no idea how old these are apart from older than a week and maybe younger than two!

Lots and lots of bonking going on in the dove cote enclosure so perhaps even more eggs on the way.

Other than that chickens, kids and me are all doing well after the excesses of Sam and Niccis engagement party last weekend. We had a great time, the venue was superb, the food wonderful and almost all the guests well behaved. Nicci and Sam looked like a real couple in amazing finery and Herb and I were very proud parents yet again.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Back from St Lucia

Just in case any one is in any doubt, the above is Jan and Jeffs house in St Lucia where we have just spent a fabulous two weeks. It rained a lot but then that often happens in the rain forest, but warm rain and then magically as soon as it is gone the skies clear and the sun shines, it all dries up again and all is well! We had a magnificent time and did lots of new stuff, including celebrating Mums 80th birthday in style. Champagne and Lees Macaroon Bars for breakfast followed by a visit to a beauty salon, a trip on a lovely shiny boat to a fantastic bay with a great view of the Piton Mountains and then back for more champagne before a hair raising boat trip to Castries and dinner at the Coal Pot restaurant. We also went quad biking through a banana plantations, swam in a rain forest river. Showered under an icy waterfall in the jungle, had a sunset champagne sail, ate lunch at the Royal St Lucia Yacht Club, narrowly missed seeing Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Amy Winehouse and some nameless but well know sit com star at Discovery. (So well know nobody could remember his name!) But the real stars were Jan and Jeff who are just about to come to the end of a month long invasion of friends and family and who are about to have six weeks guest free if they are lucky. Great hosts of course, as expected and good fun to boot!

Back here, things that were dormant when we left have burst into bloom, the snowdrops are all up, the crocus too and the doos and chickens are as productive as ever. We think we have two doves on eggs at the moment so will be waiting to see what hatches before we release the doves into the air in a few weeks time to take their chances with the ever present sparrow hawk.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Sad Sad News

When I opened the curtains this morning and looked towards the dove cote I saw something white on the ground, fearing it was Holly I went over and to my horror saw that it was a small chick, probably about two or three weeks old, that had fallen from the dove cote and frozen to death on the ground. I had not even known that we had eggs as with the doves being confined within the homing net it is difficult to get a good look in.

It may be that we have another chick in a nest as I have noticed one bird in particular has been staying in a nest box a lot so fingers crossed that it survives. I think that with the extreme cold weather we have been having this little chap was lucky to get this far. But still sad and very disappointing, let us just hope that once spring arrives we get healthy, happy, living chicks to increase our flock.

The fostering and adoption of the hen girls went well. They were collected on Sunday and we have heard from Susie that one of the Veras has laid an egg and that Trinny and Susannah are now the Jacks! I don't know if the downsize has had any effect on the mud problem as the ground has been frozen solid or snow covered ever since they left.

Today it is cold and very sunny so that should gove some nice warmth to the doos and chickens, let us just hope that we are seeing the last of the icy weather and that spring will arrive very soon, the snowdrops are all up and have multiplied really well, there is going to be a veritable carpet of white in the garden soon.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


It is going to snow today! Well, that is what the Met Office Severe Weather Warning said but on least two occasions lately it has been nothing more than a few flurries and that was it. I love the snow and cannot wait for all the resultant Traffic Chaos, Temperatures colder than Siberia and all that jazz. So just picture me, the sledge is dusted off, I have hunted out my Moon Boots and Balaclava and I sit and wait.

I am also sitting and waiting for Susie to come and collect Trinny, Susannah and The Veras who are off to pastures new. Susie is adopting T&S and she is fostering The Veras until Easter when she will be taking them to meet a new man down in Milton Keynes. I had anticipated a few squawks getting the girls out of the hen house and into the travelling boxes and I was not disappointed. As ever Big Vera put up a fair fight and squawked for Great Britain. I am just glad nobody for the RSPCA was around. However they are all settled into individual boxes and asleep awaiting the drive over to the other side of Scotland.

The Little Red hens were not amused by all the fuss and I got a sharp peck on the leg from Roxy as I picked up a protesting Vera at one point! Once I am four hens down I am hoping that the run will be able to be seeded, at the moment it resembles the Bog of the Eternal Stench and I am truly fearful of slipping into it and never being seen again.

It will be strange not having so many girls but I am reassured that the homes that they are all going to are going to be lovely and all will be well.

Holly Doo is fully recovered now and happy to be back with the rest of the Moonzie Flock. Someone had laid an egg the other day, but on the floor of the homing run so I disposed of it, hopefully it will be the first of many and hopefully this time we will get some babies.

Right now I am off to plant some garlics having dug over the ground last week.

Watch this space for news of snow.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Farewell toTrinny and Susannah

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! Although in the picture above Trinny is actually ice skating. The weather has been abysmal, the chicken run is either a quagmire or an ice rink and I have decided that as I can no longer free range the girls due to the dog problem am going to downsize the flock and hope that fewer hens in the run will make for the odd shoot of grass and maybe a bit less poo. It was not hard to decide who should go, last in first out just like in all the factories that are closing around us. Trinny and Susannah are off to live a life of luxury in a posh Omelet Cube ( state of the art hen hoose) in Renfrewshire, thanks to a very kind fellow Omleteer offering them a home. They will leave on Sunday. I am also hoping to rehome The Veras but if they do not go then of course will keep them until a home is offered. It may be with two less that the mud, squelch, poo problem is a bit better.

The Dove from Above has been returned to the flock and is doing fine. She had two weeks inside, during the worst of the weather and on Saturday I put her out into the homing run as a trial to see if she was flying again, she did and is now eating and drinking with the others so it is good to know that for doos anyway a pinch of bicarb is all that is needed for 'Going Light'

I actually waded through the mud and did some gardening yesterday, I dug over the failed spud patch, the spuds I had put in for Christmas got frosted, however I was delighted to see that some little tatties had grown and we ate them last night, delicious. I also harvested some more Jerusalem Artichokes, if you can grow nothing else you can grow these. I am going to make some soup with a recipe from my 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton. I am busy perusing the seed catalogues to choose what we will grow this year and have settled on Bolthardy Beetroots which last year were great, plus more Broccoli of the purple sprouting type and lots of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Also a few varieties of courgette and maybe some Spring onions and lots of lettuce and herbs.

Now off to make my soup, I understand that Artichokes have a reputation for being wind inducing, I will let you know, although in this house who would notice?