Living in isolation in the countryside

I am in isolation and trying to think that this is not such a bad thing as it might be. For a start, the hens have begun to lay again, after their winter rest. They lay two eggs a day. So, I am being inventive about egg recipes. They are quite old hens and we had planned to replace them but of course that cannot happen now.

We bought our hens from a hardware shop in Shropshire where you can buy chickens ‘over the counter’, so to speak. We went in and said, “Can we have a box of nails and two hens please?’ The hens were brought in from the back, in a box. One is white with black marks, and one is black with white marks.

I have just read that, now it is difficult to get eggs, there is a run on people buying poultry. They hope to keep them in their back gardens. There is no guarantee that they will lay, though. eggs can’t be ordered from the hen like you can at the supermarket. Hens can be temperamental and only lay when they are ready. Also, the suggestion was that children, not now in school, could look after them. Good luck with that!

Our hens are in a pen next to the clothesline. So, whenever I hang out the clothes, I hear them clucking. They seem to like company. I don’t know if they ‘talk’ when I am not there, of course, but I often go and sit and listen to their soothing noises. At my feet the wild violets are out.

I remember once, years ago, when I lived in a remote village in South Shropshire, the milkman brought me a bunch of spring flowers with two bottles of milk. They were from a friend who lived on the other side of the village. She had picked them with the morning dew still on and asked the milkman to deliver them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could send presents with the milk man today? We are lucky enough to still have a milkman, called Tom, and it is such a relief. You have to plan, though, if you want an extra pint or two you must ring the day before.

Planning has become an important part of our lives in isolation today.  I have written a timetable of events for the day.

One important aspect is to do interesting things, I am fascinated by wildlife, so as long as possible we are still putting seed on the bird table. The birds are visiting and so is the squirrel! He has decided to help himself to an easy meal. The birds scatter and watch from a nearby tree, while he takes his fill and then bounds off to find an acorn or two. He found a pinecone today; he broke it up and ate the seeds inside. He left the cone like an apple core.

The birds, here, will soon be finding their own food in our woodland and fields. So, I am now looking out for the swallows arriving from Africa, anytime. They need not worry about going into isolation. And when they get here, they will sit on our telephone wires and have a chat.

(Text first published in my Shropshire Star column)


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