best layer of the month # August

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Another month has whooshed by and our three hens have all been quite industrious in the shade of the old apple trees.

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Miss Moneypenny is the Queen of the coop for the second month in a row.  Completely making up for her broody months in May and June.  In August she laid 26 eggs . . . Miranda in second place with 18 and Miss Marple a runner up with 15.   A total of 59 eggs therefore for August . . . more than enough for us, and neighbours have been enjoying our hens’ freshly laid eggs too.

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best layer of the month # July

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Apart from Miss Moneypenny (on right in photo), the other hens seem to be taking something of a holiday at the moment.  Total numbers of egg was Miss Marple 9; Miranda 11 and Miss Moneypenny 17.  So 37 this month, which isn’t actually too bad.  We were able to enjoy a couple of omelettes, some hard-boiled eggs with salads, gave some to the neighbours and I also made some chocolate mousse. 

best layer of the month #June

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Temperatures in our corner of France have been very very hot this month and, despite, having their enclosure in the orchard, in the shade of apple trees, our hens have been suffering.

Eggs count is way down as a result.  Not that I can blame them, because I wouldn’t feel like laying eggs when it’s been as hot as 35°C in the shade either!

Total egg count was 22 for June.  With Miss Marple laying 12, Miranda 9 and Miss Moneypenny only 1 egg.

I am pleased so say though, that temperatures have dropped over the last few days. We’ve had storms, buckets of rain, and today I don’t think it’s above 20°C.  Miss Moneypenny has left the nest, and is pecking & scratching with the two other gals in the cool grass.

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One man and his dog have been trying to keep cool in this heat

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This was taken of Gibbs surveying the dam building in the little stream that runs along the edge of our orchard.   By the way, we’re still waiting for Gibbs’ biopsy results.  I’ll let you all know as soon as we do.

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My husband enjoys playing with water almost as much as Gibbs does.  Anyway, they were both nice and cool, in the shade . . . meanwhile in the sunshine . . .

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This is what the hens’ enclosure looks like, after several months of pecking, and scratching.  The only plant that has survived is

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I’ve no idea what it is, but it’s very pretty.  Hens meanwhile have been moved to summer camp, in the orchard.

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They’ve got plenty of fresh grass to peck/scratch and they’re in the shade of two apple trees.  You can only see two gals in the photo . . . Miss Moneypenny is brooding.

Anyway, a quick tour with the camera to see how everything is growing in the heat.

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The kiwi vine is covered in tiny fruit.  That won’t be ready for harvest until December/January, but I’m keeping a close eye on them already.

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This is one of the our grape vines (for eating grapes).  Husband cut it back last year and it has grown with new vigour this season.

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In the veggie patch . . .

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Courgettes are spreading and we’ve already begun harvesting & enjoying them while they’re small & tender.

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Same goes for potatos which husband planted under straw this year.  We’ve already enjoyed some baby new potatos (from the middle row).

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We’ve got 18 tomato plants under cover and first tommies are there.

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Other plants are looking a bit sorry for themselves, but growing nonetheless, apart from the brocoli which has completly gone to seed.

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And I have no idea what’s going on with my beans this year!

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We’ve planted 3 rows so far, at fortnightly intervals, but things are either coming up patchy or not at all.  Husband suggests he turn over the soil in what was the hens’ enclosure to plant more beans there.  I think he might have to.

best layer of the month #May

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We have had a really hot month of May, with temperatures shooting above 30°C and breaking records for hottest temperatures (for the time of year) over the last 70 years!  My hens don’t like the really hot weather.  It either puts them off their laying or it makes them go all broody . . . and as a result, the egg-count is down this Month.  A total of only 45.

Miranda 9;  Miss Marple 16 and Miss Moneypenny, the winner yet again, with 20.

On a brighter note, the hot weather has meant lots of fruit ripening.  We’ve been stuffing our faces with home-grown strawberries, and also with cherries, from our orchard.

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Last year weather was really wet and we didn’t see a proper cherry harvest, so this year, we’re making the most of it.  I’ve already got some stashed away in the freezer, so I can make some delicious fruit crumbles this winter . . . we’’re going to eat the rest fresh as they come.

best layer of the month #April

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“Thirty days hath September, April, June and November . . . “ another month has flown by, and yesterday being the 30th April, I did the egg count for the month.

Mind you, before I give you the score, I have to show you this little egg.

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I got rather a surprise when I found that.  I know young hens can be prone to laying tiny eggs, when they begin laying, but my gals are all getting on for 3 years old, so I’m used to finding standard eggs, weighing between 55g – 80g (depending on the hen).  This little one was a pathetic excuse for an egg.  When I cracked it open it contained an egg white, with only a teeny tiny splodge of yolk.  Seeing the colour of shell, it was a Miss Moneypenny egg. I am happy to say, she hasn’t laid any more like it.  And in fact, Miss Moneypenny is the best layer of April! 

She laid a total of 25 eggs this month (if I count the above), while the other two gals lagged behind.  Miss Marple laid 19 and Miranda laid only 14 eggs.  Still, that’s a total of 58 eggs for April.  Plenty for us, but the neighbours aren’t getting any free eggs at the moment.

best layer of the month #March

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Our little apricot tree is in blossom . . . Spring is in the air . . . and hens have been having a leisurely time of it this month.  55 eggs for March, which is a far cry from what we were collecting this time last year.  But hens are one year older, so we can’t expect them to be such prolific layers now.  Miranda laid 14 eggs – she’s really having a rest this month.  Miss Marple laid 18 . . . and Miss Moneypenny put everyone to shame with 23 eggs.