23 August 2014
Not only have the chooks started laying eggs – they’ve discovered their wings, and fly out of the run as easily as they wolf down caterpillars. This means that they’re completely free-range in the garden now. I can see that this is going to run a fine line between having them do extremely useful things, like eating the bugs and aphids and turning over the soil, and creating utter chaos and destruction.

The first time they made it down to the house, and the front garden, they came cautiously, and fluttered off in a rush of wings when I stared at them through the window. But this morning they sashayed around the corner, with just a high self-satisfied chirruping bleat to herald their appearance. Standing and shooing them achieved nothing. They turned their backs on me and started rummaging in the silverbeet, kicking over the soil and having the occasional peck at a leaf. One of them ducked down and fluttered her wings – their most recent development, that seems to mean ‘pat me pat me’. I obliged, until she stood up, shook herself and wandered off.

It’s a wonder how much amusement a chook can provide. Not quite as much as the neighbour’s two piglets (that got so excited when I went to feed them last week that they couldn’t get out of the barrel they had been sleeping in and rolled it all over their yard) but the sort of affectionate, exasperated amusement that comes from watching them hunt and catch and chase, always following each other in fussy, hurried little steps and running to see what the other has found.

Oh by the way, it rained. Intermittent light showers, heavy showers, continual dampness. Misty mornings, overcast days, grey skies. Freshened leaves, greening paddocks. Beautiful.