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Dreams in a Midlands Garden


By mrjolly


We have two Border Terriers, Sid and Jumble. We ‘inherited’ Sid from my sister in law who’d acquired him from a so-called rare breeds farm in Cornwall, but couldn’t cope with him and two naughty small boys. My dreams of gambolling through fields accompanied by three Borders (we also had our old dog Beano at the time) were sadly shattered the day Sid arrived. We think she was ripped off, as there are definite signs of ‘Staffy’ in his makeup – wide chest, stocky build, and a refusal to commit anything less than 1000% to whatever that takes his fancy! Once the ‘red mist’ arrives he ignores advice, pleadings and commands, and will have a go at anything that moves (including joggers, buses, motorbikes, cows, etc etc). Since temporarily paralysing his back end jumping at the postbox, he’s almost fully recovered apart from the lower part of his rear left leg which has no feeling. It took us a year of sock and sheepskin boot applications to protect his foot from damage.. He now walks with a series of hops, and drags it occasionally on the ground. Although he’s almost 12 now, he was heavily into a fight this morning with the ‘Dulux dog’ from next door but one, who’s been stupidly insulting him from a safe distance. Needless to say he’s a brilliant and very affectionate house dog, and we love him loads. The first photo is of Sid looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in the hope of luring the unsuspecting ‘Dulux dog’ within reach. Jumble, our other Border in the third picture, is of course perfect, still in his winter coat!

The second photo isn’t of a Border Terrier at all! I put it in there to see if you were still paying attention, and it brings me rather neatly, I think, to the main blog theme.

Keeping chickens in the garden has been a dream of mine ever since a colleague at work was given an EGLU package just before Christmas. (Google ‘EGLU’ and have a look on the website!) Not having that sort of money (£300+ for a plastic box and three (yes 3) chickens), I decided there must be an easier and cheaper way, so spent my waking hours trawling t’internet, examining coops, fencing, mesh, feeders etc etc until I became the quintessential ‘chicken virgin’. (Knew it all but had never done it!) Gradually I ‘drew my wife on board’ by the simple expedient of leaving fascinating sharp-edged ‘How To…’ chicken books on her side of the bed, and engaging her in non-stop chicken-based conversation on every possible occasion.
Luckily she began to love them in anticipation as much as I. We remained married – but she tells me it was a close thing!

The next stage was to cost it out.
Taking into account the initial set-up with coop, run and feed, I reckoned that with an egg a day from three chickens, we should break even in about 14 years. (Given that chickens only live around 5 – 8 fox-free years it was quite a commitment. The debt of the initial outlay (sorry) being inherited by future generations – scary similarities to today’s financial situation!)
Undaunted by the huge debt I was foisting on future chicken generations I made plans, bought a coop on ebay, and set about building a good sized run.

Four hours in A&E and six stitches later, things were put on hold for a while (or until the stitches were out). Sawing a thumb had been one of those circumstances I’d failed to budget for.
Not to worry – I have plenty of thumbs, and a reckless urgency to build chicken runs.
More when I am repaired!

More blog posts by mrjolly

Next post: Chickens in a Midlands Garden



Oops .Hope the chickens fully appreciate all your efforts ,that sure is a very swish house......,

23 Feb, 2009


Oh dear MrJolly....I hope your thumb is still attached. Its a lovely looking chicken coop. Quite the luxury accomodations. Well done.

24 Feb, 2009


Interesting to see your designer dog kennel.
Unfortunately, you've made a rather small entrance for your doggie superstars. Your Border Terrier ordered a Jumble abode, not a humble abode !

The canine accommodation would be improved with soft beds, and the upstairs window would look much better with colourful flower design curtains.

When you injured thumb allows, please write another blog, showing your efforts with a sewing machine in creating the cushions and curtains. But please be careful with the needles and pins ~ don't want to puncture your other thumb. :o)

24 Feb, 2009


Ha ha ha ha .....TT you are incorigable forgive spelling He he he he ......MrJolly will be thinking we are all mad.....which we are he he he ...........Its a brilliant blog and we shall all be on tenderhooks while your thumb is on the mend..............Welcome to GoY he he he .............

24 Feb, 2009


great blog I love the chicken house

24 Feb, 2009


Yes..definitely des res for your chickens !

24 Feb, 2009


You are quite the carpenter, a luxury house for the chickens for sure. If the economy doesn't get better
soon here in America, I may have to move in one of those. Ha Ha

28 Feb, 2009



1 Mar, 2009

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