Well, I was going to suggest a walk round the garden but the weather is so unsympathetic that indoor things would be better instead.
Come and look at the chickens. They're in the garage now in their brooder. Chickens 1- 8 were first out there, followed a day later by the other 3. That's it I thought - there'll be no more now - and took the lid off the incubator to remove the unhatched eggs. But look, there's a crack in one - perhaps it will hatch. Better late than never. 12 hours later an exhausted Maran flops out. Alive. Just about. I decide to leave it overnight. In the morning it's on its feet and chirping so out it goes to the garage to join the gang.
Now it is definitely time to tidy up. I unplug and start to dismantle, picking up the last eggs with a view to going and cracking them open over the compost heap to see if there was a reason they did not hatch. Ha! Another pipped egg, which, when I hold it to my ear cheeps and taps on the shell with its beak. Now this is a dilemma. Good practice would recommend jettisoning this late (potential) arrival. In the wild its mother would have left the nest and it would have died; maybe it is destined never to thrive if it does hatch. I decide to give it a go and some 14 hours later with a little help it too hatches. I go to bed not expecting to see it alive in the morning.
Alive and chirping it was however, on its feet and tapping at the incubator's perspex cover.
Anyway, come on - they're over there in that plastic tub behind the mountain of books. Don't trip over that strimmer which Has Not Been Put Away Properly and lies like a man-trap on the floor just where you need to put your feet...Whoops! Did warn you...and mind your heads on the boiler.
While you're at it, watch you don't step into those open bags - one's cement and the other's lime. The dog walks straight through and leaves a trail of footprints....and don't bark your shins on the Dog Cart (that really should be Polish Dog Cart). No dog of ours has ever pulled it and we have no way of knowing if any Polish dog was ever harnessed to it either. It has only ever stood in a garage and is now the sort of thing, that when provoked, a husband and wife can have Words about. And another thing - just why is it that the car, worth a king's ransom, sits outside in all weathers while a huge amount of tat is under lock and key, warm and dry inside?
Here they are then, my babes, warm under a heat lamp which gives them a cosy red glow and suspended as it is will keep them at 37 degrees while they acclimatise to the vagaries of our changeable weather.
13 chickens, happy enough I think. The pale ones are Rhode Island Reds and the darker ones Marans. I am prepared to bet that the one in picture giving us 'the stare' is a cockerel - and am stealing myself to think 'dinner'. The eldest are four days old and already developing pin feathers on their wings.
watch them for hours.
I've not really thought about the next step, where to put 13 chickens when they outgrow this very temporary home. I think I might be whistling for a bigger brooder. Glam.Ass, Beloved - if you read this - please see what you can rustle up.
But now we'll leave them in peace. Look! the rain has stopped - the garden looks so lush, green and inviting. Maybe we'll stroll around tomorrow.