Farewell Sweet Amber

It has been a sad few days at Brookwood Shire.  On Sunday, when I went up to check on the girls, Amber was in the nesting box.  While Beatrix and Prudence are laying again, Amber has only laid one egg this Spring.  I thought perhaps she was starting up again, but when she saw me, she got down from the nesting box.  There was no egg and I noticed something red near her vent.  I brought her inside to check her and she had prolapsed again.  This happened once before but this was worse.  I gave her a bath but it didn’t help. Of course it was Sunday so there were no vet available.  She would have to spend the night inside.

IMG_5116  She was no better on Monday so I made an appointment with a local vet who sees chickens.

IMG_5118Amber did well and was very cooperative.  But the news wasn’t good.  The vet was able to fix the prolapse but Amber was pushing and it kept coming out again.  Why was she pushing?  X-Rays showed there was no egg in her….so what?  Possibly a growth.  Further investigation showed abnormal cells….probably a malignancy.   Amber has not really been herself for awhile…this would explain a lot of things.  But it was very bad news.  We discussed all possible interventions and there really  wasn’t anything that would help enough to be worth putting Amber through it.  This was only going to get worse.  So after a lot of discussion, we made the very hard decision to put her to sleep.  

IMG_5125She was able to have a final snack before we said good bye.  

It was a very gentle passing.   Amber is at peace now.  

Amber was my favorite from the beginning.  She was always the friendliest and the most talkative.  


Even as a baby check, still living in the bathroom, she was interested in everything and everybody.

IMG_0057She would jump/fly onto anyone who came in the room.  She just loved people!

As she got older, her world expanded.

import sept 26 2012 043But even in Cluckingham Palace, she was eager to meet new friends.

Everyone loved Amber.  Her sisters all loved being with her.  I never saw anyone ever peck her.  And I never saw her peck anyone else.  She was a happy girl who got along with everyone.

Though she did not like to share the nesting box.  There were a few arguments about the nesting box.  


She could be quite pushy when she wanted the nesting box. 

IMG_3785And she was very proud when she laid an egg.

She loved being out in the big run..


…with her friends…


..or helping with the compost in the Spring.


And she LOVED her dust baths!

Amber brought much  joy to Brookwood Shire…..and lots of laughter.  It will be an emptier place with out her.   


Farewell, sweet girl…we will miss you!

Posted in Hens, Nature | 10 Comments

Life Returns!

  1. Our mild weather continues.  Last week we had some lovely warm weather and I was able to get out and tidy the gardens a bit.  And now we have had a few days of rain and little green shoots are popping up all over!  Very early for us.  Very nice.  Even the grass is turning green.  Usually at this time of year the grass is still buried beneath the snow.   So this is a treat.


The pussy willows have burst open.  They almost shimmer on this overcast day.  


The garlic is up.  


And this little catnip has poked up through the straw.

imageThe heather has blossomed.   This light pink one…image..and this darker one.  Both are stunning.

imageCrocus are appearing..imageA sure sign of Spring!

image Even the primroses have returned.

imageThe pulmonaria is just starting to flower.

IMG_5107And the daffodils are coming up!

All before St.Patrick’s Day!  It lifts the spirits to see life returning to the gardens.  And this is just the beginning!  Mother Nature is just awakening… …there is MUCH more to come!

Happy Spring, everyone!


Posted in Gardens, Spring | 2 Comments

Sorry Girls, The Party is Over

It has been a very quiet winter here at Brookwood Shire.  As New England winters go, it has been pretty mild..there were a few very cold days, but it was milder than last year and there hasn’t been much snow.  As a result, the girls’ big run, which was never intended to be anything but a temporary run, is still standing.IMG_5049This is the first winter it has survived.  It leans a bit in places, but it is still up.

This has been wonderful for my girls.  They refuse to come out if it is very cold or very windy or if there is SNOW (they hate snow) but on the milder sunny days, they enjoy being out.


It has made winter much easier to be able to get out a bit.

But then Prudence realized she could make a hole in the fence and escape.

IMG_5059Here she is out by the greenhouse exploring.

IMG_5058And Beatrix has followed her and the two of them just love getting out and exploring the gardens.

IMG_5060Amber, for the most part, has stayed in the run.  But she does not like it when the others get out.

IMG_5038Here is some of Prudence’s handiwork.  I have repaired the holes as best I can but they just make new ones.  I need to replace the fence, but the ground is still too frozen.

So when they are in the big run (and this is only when I am home) I am in the habit of checking on them frequently.  If they are out, I can put them back and close whatever gap they have made.  It is not a good system, but I hate to keep them in the little run on the mild days.

Yesterday changed all that.  I checked on them and found them (well not Amber) out and about exploring the compost area.  I put them back in and repaired the hole only to find them out again!  I returned them to the run and fixed the new hole.  I almost put them in the little run at that point, but it was a nice day so I let them stay out.  I checked on them a third time and saw this.

IMG_5070Forgive the picture but it was taken from inside and the window reflected the shed behind me.  I was not quick enough to get it, but there was another bear who had just gone behind the coop.  Luckily, the girls were still in the run and not out exploring.   They were huddled together being very quiet.  I held my breath and eventually the bear wandered off…

I do not know if bears eat hens…but it is early Spring and they are hungry and there isn’t much for them to eat yet.  They aren’t even usually up this early, but as I said, it has been a mild winter.  I do not want to think what might have happened if the bear had decided to have a go at my girls.  The big run is definitely not bear proof.  Worse is to think about Prudence and Beatrix, trapped outside (because while they have figured out how to get out, they have not figured out how to get back in) when the bears came through the yard.  Scary.

Today was an even nicer day then yesterday but the girls stayed in the little run.  I am afraid the party is over.  I can’t risk them escaping with bears about.


Sorry girls!




Posted in Hens | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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!

Posted in Fergus | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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