Friday, 30 September 2011

Composted Chicken

Six chicks!

We found this lot yesterday, just hatched under the compost heap, thanks to the care of our most prolific Bantam mum.

It's eggs from compost, life from decomposition.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

(Un) Identified Crawling Object

We found this yesterday, clearing grasses from a steep slope behind the Croft.

Agrius convolvuli

It looks like a snake, shortened. In fact (and I only know this thanks to my friend Constantí Stefanescu at the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme) it is a final stage larva of the Convolvulus Hawkmoth. At the end of the summer, says Constantí, they burrow underground in preparation for pupating.

The good news is that her or his name, Convolvulus, comes from the fact that they eat Convolvulus arvensis, Field Bindweed. As we have to wage a constant war against the horrible binding weed around the Croft, it's great to know that we have an ally. And a meaty one at that.

Magnifique Marans

The Marans...

M. le Coq

...are getting bigger. Here's the growth chart. The neat graphics make it look accurate, but think for a moment about how Crofter weighs a struggling, flapping chicken that is intent on escape/attack/bowel movement, inside a darkened chicken shed (darkened, in theory, to calm the chickens.) So, dear reader, please take these weights as approximate...
Putting on the pounds