Meet the Delias

There’s been a fair amount of debate over the approach adopted for this blog among the Homesteaders; almost as much as over the actual need for a blog at all.  Obviously, as you’re taking the time (and we thank you very much for that) to run your eyes over our humble words, the idea of subjecting our meteoric highs and cataclysmic lows to virtual paper won over.  Maybe we’ll go into the whys and wherefores of this decision later.  Who knows.

Anyway, back to the approach.

One idea was to do the whole introductory thing: “Hi, we’re six humans, two cats, a floating number of poultry, some goats and a currently empty beehive residing in an unremarkable weatherboard house surrounded by overgrown, shambolic gardens, in the truly awesome suburb of New Brighton, which is situated on the east side of the staunch city of Christchurch, in gorgeous Aotearoa, New Zealand, and we’re making a lot of mistakes in our attempt to live our dream of suburban self sufficiency in the manner of the late Richard Briers and the still gorgeous (we know this because we saw her on River Cottage just recently) Felicity Kendal, and, yes, we do know that’s a made up TV programme” accompanied by some arty photos of our environs the don’t show the washing on the line or our dilapidated modes of transport in the driveway.

Then we decided – nah, lets just start in the middle…like we usually do.


One thing we do a lot of here on the Homestead is debating.  Some people, possibly our wonderful neighbours among them, would call it arguing, our Thesaurus offered quite a few alternatives (bickering, disputing and going at it hammer and tongs among them) – let’s just call it heated discussion (herein referred to as HD).  Anyway, the most recent of these HD was over the possible increase of our chicken flock, numbering four.  Clank (a refugee bantam from next door for whom the term ‘henpecked’ may have been invented) and the three Tinkerbells (Brown Shavers being very difficult to tell apart and, besides, the namer kept rechristening them) are wonderful egg providers but four eggs a day – and that is a pretty wonderful day – when you have six people and their various lunchbox/dessert/decadent breakfast requirements does involve pretty intense menu planning and egg policing.  Why not, it was proposed by primarily the head chef and menu planner, add a couple more to our brood.  Some felt this would upset the fragile balance of poultry power, others that it would overtax the physical environment of the coop.  The head bean-counter pointed at the feed bill.  All very valid concerns.  It was not a good idea to add two more hungry, interfering beaks with their own personalities and idiosyncrasies to our happy henhouse.

So we did.  I guess in the end the lure of two extra eggs a day won out.

So may we introduce to you the newest Homesteaders: ten week old Brown Shaver chicks from, in our humble opinion (and we all agree on this) the best poultry provider in our geographic vicinity,  Hens4u in Woodend.

They’re called Delia.

The New Delias

Currently The Delias are enjoying their own private estate, separated from the grown ups by a chicken wire fence.  Initially Clank and the Tinks were outraged and much squawking and eyeballing ensued while The Delias cowered in a sparsely feathered ball.  This fear has since receded, replaced by that arrogant ignorance and self belief of youth.  One Delia was even recently observed giving a bit of the verbal back, the chicken equivalent of, “yeah, whatever.”

We have a while to wait for our two extra eggs; The Delias don’t reach point-of-lay until the last day of the year.  Before then we have the whole flock merging, establishing hierarchy, feather flying thing to go through.  Sigh.

But you can be sure we’ll document it: the good and the bad; the idiotic mistakes; the ridiculous, but at the time believable, advise; the scary unprepared for disasters…and the fun.

Because that’s why we decided to do this blogging thing; what we’re doing is at turns scary, embarrassing, annoying, and exhausting, but at the end of it all it’s real, and real fun.

© Copyright Union Homestead, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

2014-01-17 16.41.57

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