Fergus’ New Bed

As many of you know, Fergus is a very beloved dog.  He has always had many lovely places to sleep…dog beds, people beds and many couches.  But his favorite has always been “his couch.”

IMG_2331That would be the couch in the living room.  This is the best place because it is close to the kitchen so you never miss a treat.  It is also close to the door so it is easy to greet any visitors who might arrive.

IMG_1073Merlin likes it too, so sometimes he has to share, but it is still the best place.  He has spent many lovely hours on his couch.  

But he is getting older now and it is getting harder and harder for him to get up on the couch.  He can still mange to get on the bigger couch, in the den.

IMG_4099And that is quite cozy..and will do.  But it is too far from the food.  It is possible to miss an opportunity to “help” with a meal.

So he prefers the living room.  But he cannot get up onto “his couch” anymore.

He has a dog bed in the living room.  

IMG_0285It is a fine place for a short nap, or a to eat a snack, or to wait for a walk…but it is not as soft as he likes.  He is an old boy and needs a soft bed.

So we got him a new one.

IMG_4996It is much thicker and it is made from memory foam…especially designed for older dogs.  It arrived shortly after Christmas.

IMG_4959He wasn’t sure at first..it was different.

IMG_4984 But a snack tasted pretty good on the new bed.

IMG_4991Yes, that was quite good.


Ahh…..This bed IS quite comfortable.  A good place for a little nap.


I think it will do…

Sweet dreams, Fergus!

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Happy Christmas!

Our warm weather continues.  It was sunny and near 60F on Christmas Day.  Very peculiar, but I am not complaining.  There will be plenty of cold, snowy days before winter is done….I can wait for it.

But as a result, for the first time in the almost 30 years we have lived here…

IMG_4951..we did not have a fire in the fireplace on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day.  It was just too warm.

But we had a tree..

IMG_4943…sparkling in the corner.

IMG_4954And we had good old Bing, filling the air with Christmas songs…and a bit of nostalgia.

And of course there were presents.

IMG_4950A bit of an Irish theme for me….

And just a bit of magic..


Someone had decorated this little tree that grows in the woods where we walk Fergus.  It was very sweet to come upon it.

There were plenty of treats for everyone…furry and feathered and everyone enjoyed the day.


Later, Merlin found a cozy place to nap..

IMG_4952and Fergus was exhausted by it all.  He had a lovely long nap on our bed after his walk.

So it was a very good day…and a very good Christmas.  

And now we look forward to the New Year..and wonder what it will bring…

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas as well and thank you for sharing in our days at Brookwood Shire….

Merry Christmas….from our house to yours.


Posted in Holidays, Winter | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A Strange December

Despite its cold start, December has turned very warm and mild.  It has been above freezing most of the time…and not a hint of snow.  El Nino?  Climate change?  I am sure that in the grand scheme of things, this might not be such a good thing…but I am loving it!

As are the girls.   
IMG_4918Their big run is still up and they are out enjoying themselves most days.  They still have a few pumpkins to finish.

But the squirrels have gotten most of  the pumpkins.

IMG_4910Here is one now..feasting in the pumpkin patch.

IMG_4913They are doing a very thorough job!

It has also been great weather for gathering greens and filling the window boxes. IMG_4858Here is the little shed.


Cluckingham Palace, of course, got stockings as well.

IMG_4912And I even managed to get a wreath for the door this year.  Somehow that never happened last year.  It would be more festive with a bit of snow, but I am ok with this.

Inside, I have been doing my usual greens….It is so bright and cheery after the browns of  Autumn.

IMG_4875The porch is looking festive.

Though the stove is not lit.  Too warm!


I am certain there will be plenty of cozy fires before winter is over…but not yet.


No fire in the fireplace yet either, but Fergus doesn’t mind.

IMG_4931And Merlin seems quite content curled up in his favorite chair.

More greens in the kitchen.  The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms to decorate.


This is my version of an Irish dresser.  Maybe in Ireland I will have a  proper one.


The counter…


…and the sink.  Greens everywhere!


Even the bathroom got some.  Why not?

The weather may be unseasonably warm… 


….but Brookwood Shire is getting ready for Christmas! 🎄🎅🎁🔔


Posted in Hens, holiday greens, Seasons | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

December Arrives

We have been very lucky with weather this Fall.   November has been very mild.  I am not complaining..on the contrary, I have been loving it.  Great for  getting all the Fall chores done,  

But today December arrived…bringing a raw, cold, dark day with on and off sleet/freezing rain.  Yuck.  Well I suppose it had to happen..we are approaching the Solstice..but it is not my favorite.

And my girls aren’t fond of it either.  They are hanging out in the coop feeling a bit sorry for themselves.

IMG_4842Amber really hates the cold and Prudence is hanging out with her.

IMG_4843Beatrix (who is fine by the way..seemingly recovered from her crop issues) is also in the coop, wondering what to do.

IMG_4836I have put some of the pumpkins and indian corn left over from the Fall window boxes in their run.  They have been enjoying them…but not today.

IMG_4845They went out briefly earlier, but not for long.  They just don’t like it!

I gave them some new straw so they would have something to do.

IMG_4848They will scratch and shred and spread it around the coop.  It is better than sitting and sulking.

IMG_4834The rest of the pumpkins from the Fall window boxes are piled in the pumpkin patch.  The squirrels are still busy feasting on them, but some will be left.  We will get a few plants in the Spring I think.

Our wood was finally delivered and we managed to stack in when the weather was milder.

IMG_4832It should keep us toasty warm this winter.

Speaking of winter and the Solstice….

IMG_4849I have begun gathering greens…..it is December now…

Let the festivities begin! 🎄🎅🎁🔔

Posted in Heating, Hens, holiday greens, New England Weather | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Poor Beatrix

It is bad enough that poor Beatrix has been molting and looking quite ridiculous for the last few weeks.

IMG_4747She doesn’t exactly look her best during a molt.

But even as her feathers came back she looked pretty scraggly.  I was concerned.  Hens are aways lighter without their feathers, but Beatrix weighed nothing.  She was too skinny!  I checked her out and noticed her crop was very full..even in the morning.  Not good.

After calling a friend and checking online, I decided two things.  First, her crop was probably impacted and there was a bit of a sour smell.  For some reason, her crop wasn’t emptying and bacteria was growing causing the smell.  This can be fatal in hens so I knew I had to do something.  The second thing I decided was that online “remedies” were too varied and some were things I was not comfortable with.  That led me to my third decision, which was to call a vet.  The first vet I called had no appointments, but they recommended another Vet.  I was able to get an appointment with him for that afternoon.

So off we went.  He agreed that her crop  was sour and too full.  He said it can be caused by eating a piece of metal or some other shiny non edible object, but he couldn’t feel anything.  It can also be caused by eating too much long grass or not having enough grit…In any case he recommended separating her from the others, and massaging the crop and giving her lots of fluids.

IMG_4800He also prescribed Nystatin (which had been mentioned online as well) and metoclopramide (not sure of that spelling) for nausea.  He said to call him in a few days to discuss how it was going.  Poor Beatrix!

IMG_4799Here she is in her new quarters…not looking very happy at all.  She was even less happy when I had to give her the medicine.  

But she is a trooper and didn’t complain too much, though she was bored and lonely.

IMG_4807A mirror was added to her crate and she was fascinated with her new “friend.”

After a few days the sour smell went away, but her crop was still not emptying normally.  She was allowed a bit of yogurt and pellets soaked in water.  Not too exciting, but she did eat some.  And she is pooping which is good.  I am still giving her fluids and massaging her crop and it does seem to be improving.

But the weather has been SO nice (70F in November in New England!) that I couldn’t bear to let her miss it. She went up to the big run today for awhile.


Perfect day for a dust bath!

Her sisters, from now on known as “the Mean Girls,” were not that pleased to see her.  They are best friends and have no use for poor little Beatrix.

IMG_4818They pointedly ignored her and finished their yogurt…

But Beatrix is used to them.  She enjoyed her dust bath and did some pecking and scratching.

IMG_4817It was GREAT to be outside again!

Her crop is getting smaller so I think she is on the mend.  She is still sleeping inside because she needs medicine 2x a day.  But I am hopeful that she will be joining her sisters again soon.  I will have to watch her closely for awhile to make sure she is ok.  We are still not sure why her crop became impacted so that is worrisome, but Beatrix is looking better and wanting to get back to her life!

Hopefully that will be very soon!

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A Killing Frost

The last three nights have brought frost warnings.  This is not unusual for October in New England, so I was not surprised.  But Fall got started late this year and we have had pretty warm weather…so it feels early.  The trees have been glorious but are a bit behind….but then, quite suddenly,  it turned cold!  It went from lows in the 40s to lows in the teens!!!  It was quite a shock!

I covered the few things that remained in the garden..onions, kale, chard and some celery.  Even hardy kale doesn’t like temperatures in the teens.

And I covered the tender plants in the greenhouse.  Even the mums and the potatoes got covered.  But I decided that it was late in the season and the marigolds, nasturtiums would be on their own.    

IMG_4684 IMG_4680

There were too many of them and they were scattered all over….

And I hoped that the mums in the front would be ok.


Mums don’t mind a light frost.  I did what I could and hoped for the best.

It was not a compete diasater….


The mums are a bit discolored, but not dead.  

The nasturtiums and marigolds though….they were heartbreaking.

IMG_4780 IMG_4775

And I forgot about the morning glories.

IMG_4779They do NOT like frost!


The mum spent the night in the greenhouse so it was ok.

The peppers in the greenhouse, even covered, didn’t make it…

IMG_4791..but a few things survived.

IMG_4790The potatoes look a bit unhappy but I think they are ok.

IMG_4785The celery pulled through.

IMG_4786As did the kale..

IMG_4787The chard,

IMG_4796And the onions.

But the hydrangeas..


..are done for this year.  Very sad, they looked.


The rosemary came inside for the winter so it is fine.

IMG_4793But the sage and the lavender braved the cold quite well though.

I will cut back the dead things…and harvest the rest.  The season is over…there is raking to do and there will be wood to stack….and we will move inside.  There will be cozy fires and lovely soups and knitting to finish….

But I will miss my gardens….and I will begin dreaming of Spring!


Posted in Autumn, Gardens, New England Weather | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Eggs? Are You Kidding?

It has been awhile since we have seen an egg at Brookwood Shire.  The days are darker and colder and molting has begun.    Well, Amber began molting early and she is mostly done, but now it is just too cold and dark…she will wait until Spring I think.


She is too busy enjoying dust baths now in any case.


There are lots of feathers in the coop.

IMG_4747And poor Beatrix is looking quite ridiculous.  She is too busy growing new feathers to lay any eggs.

Prudence looks a bit better, but has also stopped laying.

IMG_4722And I am starting to find her feathers here and there.

IMG_4745She too will be busy growing new feathers.

IMG_4713As well as enjoying her dust baths.

I am glad they are molting now before it gets too cold.  They will have nice new feathers to start the winter.  And who knows, they might even get back to laying some eggs!


Posted in Hens | Tagged , | 3 Comments