Friday, 12 February 2010

Decluttering: Poultry efforts in the garden

A scattering of snow doesn't quite cover the mud patch.

Have I ever told you about my guilty pleasure? If I haven't perhaps now is the time to divulge and see if I can get you on board too.

It involves Tom, Barbara, Margot and Jerry and I have to say I love them all. Now before you start thinking it involves anything dodgy like swapping car keys at parties, let me reassure you that it's all clean good fun. Well apart from the odd bit of dirt that is.

I'm referring of course to the comedy series The Good Life, which I started watching thirty five years when I was just six or seven years old. I absolutely adored that series. I loved Margot in her long posh maxi dresses and how she was regularly shocked over Tom and Barbara's latest escapades in growing their own and raising animals in their suburban back garden. I always felt really cosy whenever I watched it.

Fast forward to a 21st century Sunday morning when sat on the sofa in my pyjamas with the laptop to hand, I discovered the series had been uploaded onto YouTube. Well there are some things that are just too hard to resist when everyone else is tucked up in bed, so I immersed myself in the original episodes over a cup of tea. I was quickly joined by my youngest son who's an early bird too, both up us tucked under a blanket, watching the episode of Tom and Barbara raising chickens for the very first time.

For a moment I was distracted by a movement outside and I could see our own hens beating the boundaries for their early morning forage. I then looked over towards our lawn, which now resembles a mud patch and it crossed my mind whether our neighbours could consider us to be the new Tom and Barbara of modern day suburbia. We don't quite have a big veg patch in our garden, but having given the chickens free rein all winter, since they worked out a way to escape the run, it is now looking very much like a farmyard, especially as all our grass has been pecked at and covered in stones and dirt from their scratching habits.

Memories of grass

So what has this episode got to do with cluttering, you might ask yourself.

Well, given that decluttering is about better organisation and tidying up as well as getting rid of surplus things, this weekend I decided to take the bull by the horns and sort out the garden and our crazy chickens. We brushed the scattered stones back into position, raked the mud patch and tidied away leaves and twigs that covered the ground. I even gathered all the kids' broken plastic toys that were used for outdoor play and took them to the recycling centre.

And if by chance you are wondering about the fortune of the chickens, don't worry, although we've decluttered them, we haven't rehomed them or anything like that. They're too adorable and obviously far too useful in the egg laying department. They just needed putting in their place that's all. So we've improved the small matter of security in the chicken run, raising the height of the fence that surrounds it and finding an alternative way of securing the gate. You can just see the new fence at the back of the photo shown below. Hopefully it will now keep the chooks at bay.

So, as we work our way through February with a much neater backdrop, my attention now turns to the dilemma of the mud patch lawn. We had initially considered restoring it, but since watching The Good Life, I am now really inspired to ditch the idea of turf and use the space to grow more vegetables instead.

But the soil in that area is not great, very poor in fact, so I'm going to give serious consideraton to installing a raised bed. It seems a very appealing idea. After all, I'd best be careful. If I take too many tips from The Good Life, I've a feeling my neighbours might complain. To see what I mean, check out the YouTube clip below:


On an entirely different subject, if you're listening into BBC Radio Suffolk's James Hazell show later, you'll find me joining in the conversation at around 10:10am about whether we have too many bags for life. I know I have lots, but they all come in handy at different times. What about you? Are you a keen collector of bags for life? If so, listen in later, or catch it on Listen Again.

*UPDATE* The radio debate has been postponed until Thursday 18th feb. Same time, same place, but with a difference face. It'll be with the lovely Georgina Wroe, who's stepping in for James.



Sarah said...

I do love my hens but I'm glad we have the "securely penned" rule to abide by. They'd cause havoc if I let them free range. As it is they have a HUGE pen to scratch about in.

We're getting 2 more next week. There will be pics somewhere....

Almost Mrs Average said...

LOL, Sarah, yes I would most definitely advise that ruling. :-) Good luck with the new hens. How exciting.

Nick Palmer said...

"too many bags for life" - LOL

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

At first I thought your hens names were Tom, Barbara, Margot and Jerry! LOL. Then reading on all became clear. Love "The Good Life", classic TV and always worth watching. A x

Evil Edna said...

Kendall got voted rear of the year a couple of times so not bad to be voted the Barbara of the neighbourhood. BUT who is the Margot?
"well thank you VERY MUCH Jerry."


Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Nick - your LOL made me LOL even more :-D

Anne - LOL those would make fabulous names for hens. Just wait until I get my next brood. As long as two of the girls don't mind being called Tom and Jerry :-D

LOL EE - not sure I'd win rear of the year. Now as for who is the Margot around here... I think we might know who that is...and if she's looking in she will too LOL. Sorry Margot :-D x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Mrs A. My eldest DD in particular loves The Good Life (and I've encouraged watching the reruns, especially as the alternative is inevitably Hannah Montana. Reason #1 for being grateful you have 2 boys IMO!) I'd looked at the DVD sets for her, but this is a much better option.
BTW, our 2 newest hens, Marguerite and Enid, are great escape artists, and have been leading Gladys astray. I keep finding them on what we laughingly call a lawn...(Snow, rain, escaped chooks and escaped ducks on clay soil don't do much for grass growth!)

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Hazel - I'm always happy to see another fan of The Good Life and you don't know how relieved I am to hear of other hens who are getting up to no good LOL. As I write, I notice that Chickie has managed to escape again...oh hum, off to put her back before the others get the wrong idea :-D

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Felicity Kendal...

Almost Mrs Average said...

LOL Peter.....

Karin said...

I seem to have missed this post. How are your chickens doing now? Can we have a Spring update, please?

Almost Mrs Average said...

Gosh, it's amazing to look back and see how the garden looked lol. The chickens are doing really well, keeping us on our toes at the moment by escaping from the run (a reminder to clip their wings again). Will post up an update again soon. ;0)

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