Vera’s View – Busy Busy Busy

Vera's View - Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s been such a busy month that I’m a couple of weeks late with this instalment.  So much has happened since my last update, the jubilee weekend, pizzas and lots of guests.  So I thought I’d start where I left off with my last post.

Flock News

New flock members

The four new recent retirees from the BHWT have settled in and made themselves at home. Although to start with they were very nervous and had to be tempted out of the hen house into the run. 

New arrivals

They are now called Nellie, Gertie, Brenda and Dora.  Nellie looks like she has the fowl pox virus but she seems to be ok.  She is putting on lots of new feathers but doesn’t want her picture shown until she looks better.  I hope I don’t catch it. Gertie is following me around a lot and getting really confident.  Brenda was really thin when she arrived but is starting to gain weight.  Dora was also thin and had lost a lot of feathers (top right).  She has turned out to be a bit of a loner but that might change once she grows back her feathers.  (It did take her quite a long time to figure out how to work the feeder despite me showing her lots of times.   So she may not be the brightest of the new arrivals.).  


Three rescued hens enjoy their freedom at Wray Valley walking across the grass in front of the trees
Gertie leading the flock
Dora feeling sorry for herself as her feathers grow back
Brenda being inquisitive

Hen Pecked

They took some time working out the pecking order.  I was having none of it and put them in their place but poor Flora seemed to take the brunt.  She got quite stressed, stopped eating and then her dodgy right hip started playing up.  She then was having difficulty laying as she was so weak.  Michelle and Kevin stepped in and removed her from the flock to get her strength back.  I looked out for her fending off the others when I could.  She seems to have got in a routine now where she toddles up to the back garden and pecks around there all day and snoozing.  In the evening she waits outside the backdoor for her own handful of pellets before limping back down to the hen house to go to bed.  Sometimes she gets too tired and needs to be carried down. 

Hide and Seek

Kevin and Michelle have been trying to get the new hens to lay their eggs in the nest boxes so they can find them.  This means that we are all kept in until at least 10am.  But I like to lay my eggs “al fresco” so as soon as the door is opened, off I go to my current favourite spot.   It usually takes them a few days to find where that is but then I find a new one.  Its an ongoing game of hide and seek and we had a lot of fun last week.  I had decided to lay my eggs in the brambles on the garden wall, but they then cleared away all the brambles.  Each day it looked so different from the day before that I did a circuit trying to remember where I’d laid them last time and not be too obvious about it.   One day I did the circuit 5 times before I remembered it was somewhere else entirely!  Must be old age.

Lots of Guests

The recent warmer weather brought out the campers particularly during half-term week and the B&B was busy too.  

Vera exploring the campers provisions
I wonder what goodies I can find in here?


I make a point of going to visit the campers on the Nearly Wild pitches and sometimes venture into the Hay Meadow too.  There were a couple of young campers called Mattie and Tilly who loved to stroke me and feed me some corn.  I also got to know a group of vegetarians down from London staying on Water Meadow pitch – they had hot chilli crisps.  Some campers do not put their food away properly and I particularly enjoy seeing what snacks I can find for myself.  Although I love soft fruit, I do seem to have developed an unhealthy liking for white bread and cooked white rice. 

Peri Peri Chicken

B&B Guests

IIts good to see the return of our international B&B guests, mainly from the Netherlands and Germany. We also had a really friendly brother and sister from Zambia stay with for a few days.  He told us lots of stories about working on a reserve.  Many of the UK guests are here to go to weddings.  They all look very smart as they go off.  Unfortunately, many do not realise that taxis are hard to come by when you live outside of a town and need to be booked in advance.  

Pizza Oven

Did you see Michelle’s post about the pizzas? I do like what they’ve done with the patio.  The sunsail and the planters really give it a Mediterranean feel (at least that’s how I heard one of the campers describe it). 

Relax on the patio by the pizza oven. Conveniently located just outside the bedrooms in the B&B accommodation

At the start of half-term Michelle & Kevin tried out making pizzas for the guests and cooking them in the Pizza Oven.  This went down very well, so much so that they did it again the nextweekend.  I like pizza nights as there tends to be bits that fall off the pizzas onto the patio for me to peck at as well as the crumbs.  I understand that these nights will happen mainly at the weekend whenever there are enough people and its not forecast to rain.  Can’t wait!

New Team Members

A few weeks ago I saw that there were a couple of cats being kept in a big cage in the stable and wondered what that was all about.  Turns out they are new members of the team and their job is to keep the rodent population under control.  They came from a farm nearby and were rehomed here by the Cats Protection League.  I don’t see much of them as I think they are mainly about at night but I have seen the small black one occasionally.  The older tortoise shell one is very shy and this is the best photo Michelle has managed to get.  They haven’t got names yet so I think there may be a competition soon to name them. 

Ongoing Projects

After clearing the brambles from where I was nesting, Michelle realised they now had a large bare area.  She thought a pond fed by the stream that runs behind the wall would be a good idea.  Kevin got all enthusiastic with the new project and got started straight away.  So earlier this week I helped them dig it out and build the surrounding wall. Wall building (and every other project here) seems to involve shifting large granite boulders. I have to look out that they don’t fall on me but I can get quite distracted when I’m hunting for bugs. Then the next thing I know I’m flying a short distance as I’m moved to safety.

Kevin building a wall out of granite boulders

Next time....

I hear Kevin & Michelle are taking a short break from here next week to go and do some work.  The will be supervising Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions in the Mendip Hills.  Then visiting some friends there for a party.  In the meantime, Anne (Michelle’s mum) will be looking after us.  I hope they enjoy their working break and look forward to hearing all about it.   The pond should have made some progress too.


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