Thursday, 2 July 2015


Well, June finally came through for us in the end.  After a gloomy start, it has been pretty glorious here in the West Country.  We are surrounded by farming land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and we are lucky to have views to-die-for.  I love watching the view change with the seasons.

June is probably my favourite month of the year.  The English garden is at its peak, the days are long and there is no place better to be.

I have planted some new roses since we moved to The Old Vicarage but I was pleased to find a very pretty pink one flowering away in one of the borders.  I think it is probably a David Austin variety, it is of the type; I cannot find a tag but there are a couple of others nearby which do have David Austin tags on.  I love picking little posies of flowers for the bedside from the garden of a morning.

Recently, I have also been able to pick the first sweet peas.  Their scent is heavenly.  Like roses, no point growing sweet peas unless they are a scented variety.

We've fitted in quite a few trips here and there, too.  The good folks over on Instagram have been enjoying my snaps of all the cute old cottages which are plentiful in the villages around us. 

We went to visit a friend for the first time who lives over the border in Dorset, near Bridport.  She lives in this sweet thatched cottage in a very tucked away spot.  The peace was a joy and the views vying for poll position with our own!  She has worked such magic on her garden and has some gorgeous classic cottage garden borders.  She also has a wonderful chubby ginger cat called Marmalade!

A neighbouring village is getting ready for its annual fete and the bunting is out.  Like our own home (and our cottage), the houses there are built from local ham stone which is mined at nearby Ham Hill.

Talking of cottages, you haven't forgotten good old Lilac Cottage, have you?  Gertie the rose is blooming again on the front wall and looking pretty spectacular.  This rose, Gertrude Jekyll, also has a wonderful quintessential rose fragrance.  More news on Lilac Cottage soon.  Exciting!

Also in June, our thoughts turned to a new project here at home.  We've been enjoying letting the grass in the two acre meadow grow but we also started to think of other ways we might use this space.

Finally, we are going to be able to realise a long-held dream.  

It might have something to do with these ladies...

Something like this maybe?

Perhaps a bit less exotic!

Yes, we are really going to give meaning to the words hen and house as never before and have one of our very own.  

First off, we needed to learn about hens, then.  We are lucky in that there is a breeder in a local village so off we set to meet her hybrid hens (that's the photo of them up there).  Decisions, decisions.  Cuckoo Maran, Bluebell, Colombian Blacktail, Light Sussex. Yes, yes, yes!  We need to know how to look after our girls (although Mr HenHouse also wants a boy) so I turned to some sage advice from chicken expert Suzie Baldwin and her most excellent book.

As it so happened, the weekend of Mr HenHouse's birthday, we found ourselves in Hampshire and what do you know, Suzie happens to live in the very same county.  She runs chicken keeping courses from her home on a Sunday morning.  Yes please!

Hollywater Hens is situated in a pretty and peaceful little backwater.  Susie has a field behind her house with various chicken, duck and goose enclosures.  All her flocks looked so happy, especially the adorable fluffy Buff Orpington and her chicks, and we got lots of great and practical ideas for setting up our own henhouse, looking after the chickens and keeping them happy, healthy and amused.

We also went over to her adjacent paddock to see lots more chickens, right through from little chicks to pullets.  It seems we had some company for our trip; I got the shock of my life when I turned round to find this trio behind us.  They followed us all round the field until we left some time later!

I was very taken with the two beautiful lambs Suzie also had.  Oh my!  They were just the sweetest, I did not realise they could be so friendly.  They came running up to as we entered the paddock and followed us round, happy to be stroked and petted for as long as we liked.  They felt so lovely, too.  Oh, I'm in love!

We weren't there just to ogle all Suzie's feathered and furry friends but to get hands on with the chickens too, and learn how to handle them and care for them.  As I knew he would, the Mr proved a dab hand with the ladies!

Feeling thoroughly inspired and a lot more confident, last week we ventured back into Dorset to collect a very special item (I am not referring to Mr HenHouse's much longed-for trailer, very handy though it is!)  I do, of course, mean the precious cargo.  

Yes, the henhouse is finally home.

It seems I am obsessed with all things chicken, it has even spilled over into my making.

I'm loving Lori Holt's new book Farmgirl Vintage.  I don't seem to have much sewing time at the moment but I'm enjoying fitting the odd block in here and there.  The first just had to be Mama Hen, of course!  So, that is where we are up to with our chickeny story so far.  July will see us finally realise this little dream and of course, I'll be back to introduce you to the flock.

I'll leave you with a few shots of the fabulous sunsets we've been enjoying of late.

Ain't life great. Xxx


  1. There is nothing like wonderful fresh eggs. You lucky thing to have hens, can't wait to read the blog posts and see the pictures
    Julie xxx

  2. Life is amazing! As are all your photos. Your area is beautiful. So exciting about the chickens and their little home.

  3. Your photos are amazing to look at.

    Is it possible to darken your print just a little? My old eyes find the light print difficult to read.

    1. Hi Sandy, I'd try adjusting your monitor, that way you can set it just as you like. X

  4. Oh Chickens are the easiest pets to keep. We have eight at the moment, we have three of the breads you mention, our bluebell is so sweet & gentle & she is called bluebell Bluebell. You will love them, our 14 year old son cleans them out every week & they run to see me as I hang the wash out.
    The thatch cottage is adorable, we live in a thatch & love all the quirkiness of it.
    Thank you for such an inspiring & beautiful post.
    Fondly Michelle

  5. You will love having chickens. We have been keeping them for over 25 years! It started as a fun thing to do with our homeschooled kids and then we just loved the chickens and the fresh eggs.
    Your photos are wonderful. I love seeing your countryside!

  6. Lucky you, I so wish we could keep chickens, but it's not allowed where we are although we don't live in town.

  7. Delightful post. I so enjoyed reading about your area and seeing the lovely homes and cottages....with the fabulous gardens. Your hen house adventure sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing your views and sunsets.

  8. It's fun to see your new home taking shape. The roses must be gorgeous this time of year. I have some large red roses that don't have much smell and I really wish they had more. I think you're enjoy having chickens. I have just two hens but they are really sweet and you can't beat fresh eggs. :)

  9. Welcome to chicken keeping! You will love it! I do hope you get Cuckoo Maran! They lay wonderful dark brown eggs. We have one, an Ameraucana which lays aqua eggs and a Buff Orpington which lays a light brown one. It's nice when you know what egg comes from who, so you know who's slacking. :-) ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  10. I am relatively new to your blog and I so love your photographs. I am also a quilter but years ago a friend and I made a trip to England. It was glorious. We did a short tour of the south around the Cornwall area and then to London for a few days. Seeing your pictures reminds me of the beautiful countryside and how much I loved England. Thanks so much. I am afraid as much as I love chickens my only remembrance of them when visiting her far was getting lice. Ohhhh what an itch. Best of luck with your hens

  11. Such a lovely part of the country you live in, green I am, with envy :) I too am going to be getting hens shortly although, only having a tiddly garden, mine are going to be bantams. One of my friends is a breeder of Japanese bantams. Loving the hen block as well :) I always look forward to reading your posts, they lift my spirits :)

  12. Thank you for sharing your piece of heaven on earth. I enjoy reading your posts.

  13. Oh, I think that you and yours are in for all sorts of new adventures with the arrival of the chickens. Although there's ablsolutely no chance of my raising hens and gathering fresh eggs in my NYC neighborhood, it certainly doesn't mean I don't want to. xo

  14. Such beauty I always find here! It is just a real pleasure to visit. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful photos and adventures. :) God bless you.

  15. Looks like you you're loving Somerset. Great photo's :-) x

  16. Ah you will love keeping chickens. I love my girls, I never imagined feeling the way I do about chickens but they each have their own little personalities and are just a joy to have around. the eggs are a bonus too :)
    Living in the countryside certainly means you get to enjoy each of the different seasons to the fullest, you certainly notice the changes more than living in built up areas that's for sure :)

    Have a wonderful weekend x x x

  17. I'm looking forward to seeing the henhouse assembled and the arrival of the chickens and hens.
    Good luck with it!
    Have a nice weekend.

  18. Oh, you are going to love keeping chickens. They are probably the easiest farm animal to care for. As long as they have feed, water and a place to roost, they are happy. You have so much room to have a good flock with a rooster or two so you can have baby chicks. I love Lori Holt's book too. I am working on a chicken quilt right now, along with a barn quilt, etc., etc. So many ideas in that book.

  19. ohhhh lovely post if you need some help and advice with chicken keeping on face book there is a site called Down the lane,it's frugal living,recycling/up cycling,gardening and lots have chickens some hybrids some rescued from cages all sorts of pets from cats,dogs and hamsters to a skunk called button it is a really helpful friendly site members are from all over the world so day or night someone somewhere would have an answer or advice :)

  20. I always enjoy your blog posts. Everything is beautiful and always so interesting. Thanks

  21. What a lovely read. Your house is amazing and the views wow. Good luck with your hens, plenty of eggs for baking a classic Victoria sponge

  22. Your views are amazing you lucky person! I envy you your chickens too, I'd love to have chickens but hubby says I'd never cope if our local fox got hold of them and I'm not entirely sure our dog would take to them either - he gets very annoyed when birds have the cheek to land in our garden! There is nothing to compare to fresh eggs, a friend of ours used to have chickens and I got eggs from them. The yolks were much more yellow and the whole thing much tastier than any you can buy. I'm sure you'll have very happy hens, I look forward to hearing all about them soon!

  23. So lovely! Thank you so much for sharing all of the excitement. I would love some hens, but have been banned by my city boy husband, so I will enjoy seeing your poultry adventures. What a gorgeous house they will have! I also noted Mr HenHouse's fine t-shirt - just right for the occasion. You'll be thinking about some pet lambs or maybe a pair of donkeys?

  24. I just love this post! And, your new chicken house! Just last night, hubs and I watched a fun you-tube about owning your own chickens. We live on 3 acres and have no chickens. Can you believe that? I have been begging for a chicken house for 2 years. Maybe we should buy a built one, too - since hubs is just so busy. My daughter lives in CO in a tiny house on a tiny lot and has FIVE chickens! They are certainly pets, and hop into her lap and beg to come inside the house - since the children allowed them in when they were tiny to sit on their laps and be petted! They love to be petted! They get out quite a bit, but have no coyotes to threaten them. I'm sewing with Lori's book, too - and I just LOVE it. I am a new quilter - and her book is easy for me to follow with the pictures. I found your blog on Pinterest this morning. I am VERY interested in the quilting by hand in small pieces. I might give that a try. Thank you for taking the time to make such a homey and pretty blog! Happy times with your little brood!

  25. I was wondering if you are no longer going to blog? I really miss your posts and hope that you will continue.

  26. Loved finding your inspirational blog! Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photos.


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