The girls are getting very familiar with frosty mornings and although its damn cold I've no problem going down the garden to open the night shelter door at 5.45am each weekday morning.
They now have a battery (rechargeable of course) light it means that they are straight out into the run and feeding. It works better than having the light on in the evening as once they have gone to roost they are not easily encouraged to do anything where as mornings it gives them an extra half hour before sunrise. Something is obviously working as Cybil is still laying - one a day.
The chicken house is on the deck at the bottom of the garden and most of the pathway has been covered in large echiums (Echium pininana if you are interested http://www.trevenacross.co.uk/shop/pics.asp?plantid=362 for pictures and http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11031.shtml for information on the plant).
I digress, the point is that as we can't walk down the path so we are churning the lawn to a slippery, slidey dirty and gunky mud bath - not desirable. So the weekend project was make a new path, consisting of lifting out a muddy stripe of lawn and filling it with woodchip (free from the council). Perfect in execution and lovely to look at, walking down to the chicken house was a pleasure on the new path. No mud all over the place and the fact you didn't need several changes of wellies and boots just to get to the house was an added joy. It took the girls approximately 5 minutes to realise that it was a brand new toy to be scratched, dug up and completely enjoyed. Chicken enrichment at its best!
Few other things of mention that have had me thinking over the past couple of days.
With the smoking ban, more tax increases on beer and people being more inclined to get a bottle of wine to drink at home we hear more and more over the demise of the British pub. Interesting then that French bars and cafe society are going down the same path as the pub - the gauloise plume that hung from every bar ceiling has disappeared, a glass of red wine replaced by a bottle of white at home. Sometimes we think that we have all the problems here in the UK, not so, and oddly another community asset/link/facility slowly disappears.