It was one big fat boiling hot day on Thursday (24 January 2019) in South Australia & not much better the day before. Since then the weather has pretty well gone back to normal summer temperatures. Friday, yesterday & today are perfect. And February is the last month of summer for us southern hemisphereans.
I spent a lot of the day on Thursday in this area, in the shade, ventilated & cool, out on the veranda & pergola area at the front of the house.
The big gums & climbing vines work wonders in the heat.
The view takes you down to Nuriootpa on the Valley floor.
Of course, my gallus domesticus girls, my ginger feathered friends, the chooks, Harri & Henri (after two famous gingers, Prince Harry [actually Henry] & King Henry VIII) were with me. They are recent additions to my little menagerie.
I speak more specifically about them, & possibly being from an abused home, below.
Chooks don’t do well in this kind of heat. Indeed, the girls, normally social & inquisitive, were not chatty at all, panting, feeling the heat. So, into the cool house they came sharing the living area with Hattie, Edie & Gracie.
On very hot days, chooks like sitting in damp soil, even a bowl of thick mud. That’s Henri hopping out of a bowl of wet soil in which I have tiny elephant ears growing. Yes, she squashed them, a little bit, but they are hardy & who cares. These girls are more important than a few plants.
Thing is to keep bowls of water around during these hot spells. That’s Harri taking a drink from the yellow bowl.
While chooks are thoroughly rewarding birds to keep, I don’t normally encourage them to free range too close to the house. Anybody who keeps chickens knows the damaging scratching & pecking that can take place. Hmph! They can quickly dig up, even destroy, plantings 🙂
I love these crusty, rusty old cast iron bath tubs so handy in so many ways. I have a couple of small fish in this tub. Having this one out in the veranda area helps keep water around.
I have spoken about the bath before on this blog some links here and here. These old pieces not only make great fish ponds, they are perfect as planters & we use them as water troughs for the sheep. Their size & depth means less evaporation.
I suspect the white blotch is good ol’ magpie poop.
Looking from front of the house north-west down to the Valley floor.
In this shot you can just see the neighbouring vineyards in the background.
Post script: As I mentioned, Harri & Henri are a recent addition. I believe they came to me as abandoned &/or retired hens. While there were no obvious signs they were ex battery hens, there were signs they might have been locked up most of their life.
When I brought them home, I placed them in their fully shaded & enclosed hen-house (foxes around here) where I left them shut in for 24 hours to get used to their new home.
When I opened the cage door to let them out they stood, not knowing what to do. I could not get them to move, to come out. They seemed frightened. Rigid. This alerted me. Eventually they came out, sort of tip-toeing, then walking, tentatively. Then they went back in.
In looking at them closely I thought they might be old, mature hens. Harri laid intermittently at first but hasn’t produced an egg for some time now. Henri doesn’t lay. Spent hens basically. Or the heat.
Geriatric or not I wondered if they had been abused. Had they never set foot outside a cage? Some chickens are housed in tiny cages, outside, with no run, no area for walking, roaming, scratching & pecking. Cruel.
Perhaps they had been in cages inside & never seen the sun, natural light, or breathed fresh air. Never spread their wings. Cruel.
I wondered what sort of a miserable existence they had before coming home with me? I felt kind of sad at what was possibly their past life.
Old or not, I was happy I found them, rescued them. Here, they are free to spread their wings & roam, to live a full gallus domesticus life in the natural sunlight.
They dig, scratch & peck as they adjust to their new life of freedom, care & kindness.
Indeed, they’ve emerged as a pair of placid but sociable, friendly & inquisitive feathered ladies busily clucking & cackling despite not laying eggs. I know where they are as I can hear them chatting to each other. I just follow the sound …
If you ever get the chance, open your heart & home to an abandoned, old &/or abused bird or animal. The rewards are ongoing as they emerge from the constraints of their old life to experience the freedom & kindness of their new & wonderful home, their new life, a real life.