Yes, it’s true. You CAN hypnotize chickens. Click here to watch a video of how my children do it! I couldn’t believe it. The boys called me down to the chicken yard and all the chickens were lying on their backs with their feet in the air.
Oddly enough, this is something that chicken farmers have always known … it’s a simple way to handle chickens without stressing them and it’s also a way to handle them without stressing yourself! You don’t have to deal with all that flapping and scratching and squawking. I think Ian’s wishing he could hypnotize me too. Ah well, I’m hiding that book from him, that’s for sure.
I’m actually still quite amazed at how easily we’ve all taken to the chickens and made them part of our family. This time last year the thought of chickens just made me think of bird flu. It wasn’t until someone pointed out that we’re not in the flightpath of any migratory birds that I seriously contemplated getting them. Now we have free chicken manure for the garden, fresh eggs, somewhere to throw foodscraps and uncompostable weeds, and a magnet for all the neighbouring kids. Not to mention ten fascinating little creatures to whom I’ve become incredibly attached.
There are, however, a lot of creatures to whom I’m not even remotely attached – namely SLUGS!!!! I know it’s not very Buddhist of me but with all the months of rain we’ve had they’ve managed to do a brilliant demolition job on lots of my garden, particularly my potatoes and strawberries.
At last, however, I’ve found a way to keep them from my plants – Ian’s beer! I’d often considered beer but never tried it until this week when suddenly there was a lot of Ian’s leftover homebrew (OK, OK …. yes, I did crack open a few bottles he’d saved to drink, but it was worth it). What a way for them to go …. I don’t even feel mean about it.
Here’s a photo of a bowl of beer one hour after putting it out. The bowl was so full the next day it’s a little too gross to put on the blog. I now have dozens of old cups and bowls scattered all around the garden and some wild slug parties happening tonight I bet. The really great thing about this method is that I can now put the beer and the slugs into the compost which will make it highly nutritious for my garden later on …. slugs are very high in protein, so now I won’t have to buy blood and bone either?
In the meantime I’m trying not to let the cold and rain get me down. Instead of being sad that it’s too cold for my tomatoes to ripen, I’m overjoyed because the cold has meant I can grow peas at this time of year. I’ve suddenly got an enormous crop of snowpeas and have harvested my first yellow podded peas that I grew from seed very late in the season. They have the prettiest purple and blue flowers, complemented by their yellow peas.
I’ve also been planting seedlings now to make sure I’ve got food growing over winter. Have put in seedlings of broccoli, brusselsprouts, red cabbage, beetroot and onions and have strewn the seeds of my lettuces over the garden.
It’s been such a long break in blogging that it’s hard, however, to focus on daily political action again …. every part of me just wants to garden and believe that that’s all I need to do. Things, however, are so grim that I’m forcing myself to do at least one little thing a day. Today I sent an email about long wall coal mining to the State Government through the Citizens’ Climate Campaign …. I could have just clicked on their link but I made a point of personalising the email and its heading so that it wouldn’t automatically be trashed. I also sent out an email to everyone on my list about the Environment Summit this weekend, about the screening of “The Future of Food” and about Roberto Perez’s visit to Australia and his talk in Katoomba in March …. he’s the Cuban who was featured in the film “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”.
Phew … now I can switch of the light and get some sleep knowing I’ve tried.