Z is extravagant, in an unsatisfying way

Life gets expensive at this time of the year. I paid my tax bill – yes, I know it’s a fortnight early, but it’s out of the way now – the calor gas bill, post-Christmas credit card, electricity and so on and so on, and then I paid the down-payment for the work to be done on the flat. Let it suffice to say that I transferred money from a savings account. But hey. Oh, and the boiler in the annexe needs a Part, as well.

Achievements for the day – apart from shelling out quantities of moolah – I’ve bought Seville oranges and sugar to make marmalade. That is scheduled for tomorrow, along with making French onion soup, which might be my job or LT’s, not quite sure as yet. He has mentioned making roasted squash and tomato soup as well. We like soup at this time of the year.

The other main achievements are having booked the whole family to come for Sunday lunch, as I mentioned – everyone can make it – and using up all but half a dozen of the egg mountain, though admittedly Roses had to help with that. After decades of having only bantams, having four chickens of actual laying breeds is impressive. They still lay throughout their moult! When I say I’ve used all but half a dozen eggs, that’s the ones in the kitchen. When I put the chooks to bed, I noticed that there are six more in the nesting box, which I didn’t bother to pick up. If I got my act together and arose from the downy couch when I woke up, rather than falling asleep just at the time that Tim gets out of bed, we could have lovely freshly-laid eggs for breakfast and I wouldn’t have such an egg mountain. But there. It’s January, I don’t sleep a lot, it’s chilly when it’s still dark (and even when it isn’t) and I don’t have huge reserves of will power. No problem with my won’t power, obvs.

3 comments on “Z is extravagant, in an unsatisfying way

  1. Mike and Ann.

    We last kept chickens about thirty years ago. A dozen of a Rhode Island Red cross. Very reliable layers, except they always went off lay for about a fortnight at this time of year (we always thought it depended a bit on the weather – not sure, though). Before that we bought eggs from a man in the next village, who kept chickens in what was then called a deep litter house. One day when I went to buy eggs, the egg man asked if I wanted to buy a few ‘end of lay’ birds for the pot. A deal ensued – I bought ten for a pound and took them home, where Ann refused to consider them for the pot. They were an odd looking bunch – they were scrawny, and had about a dozen feathers between the ten of them. So we turned them out into the old stable yard and fed them. They scratched round in the old nettles, and in a week or so they were starting to fledge up nicely. they also started to lay again! Remembering that I’d bought them as ‘end of lay’ birds for a pound the ten, they eventually surprised us by living another seven or eight years as very reliable layers !

  2. Mike and Ann.

    Sorry, on reading that comment I see I’ve put a dozen birds. Ann agrees with me that it was in fact ten (although we were in fact given a breeding pair of old English Game Birds later).

    1. Z Post author

      It’s a sort of reduction of baker’s dozen. A poultryman’s dozen is ten, clearly. And yes, I’d expect chickens to go off lay a couple of times a year – professional keepers get rid of them after 18 months, which is a very good time to take them on, as they’ve got years ahead of them and make good pets too. I would like a few bantam chicks though, we’ve had those birds for 30 years and I love them, even though they’re very seasonal layers.


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