At this time of year I always think I should feel to have extra time. Yesterday was the longest day and, after a day in Manchester, we still managed to spend an hour or two in the garden, watering, tying things up, putting things back in the cold frames after resiting them in order to extend the hen run. The moon gleamed like a small pale sun. The sky was still light at 10 o' clock.
Across the valley the clouds held the last of the sun.
I love summer and last night I had a profound attack of how lucky I am to live here.
When I woke this morning to another green and gold day I thought I might manage to do some work, go to the hairdressers, and paint in the kitchen, now beautifully plastered and revealing its smooth curves.
Not yet what you could call a working kitchen though is it?
Am I the only one who always hopelessly misjudges what I can do in a certain amount of time? I look at the bits of my day that are committed and assume that the rest of the time will be available to get going on a big project, like painting the walls. I forget that ordinary life eats up the hours, even in June, and that, by the time I have done my domestic round, answered my emails, done some work phone calls, had a skype call from elder daughter in Japan, made some bread and finished weeding the cottage garden border it will time to make some supper. Whoosh, the whole day gone, busy and productive maybe but not necessarily with the things I thought I would do!
Today I also separated the mother hen from her teenage chicks. I went out this morning and found her pacing the run, ignoring her chicks or pecking halfheartedly but irritatedly at them if they followed her too closely. When I came home from a work visit and the hairdresser this afternoon she was still doing it so I decided that she had reached the stage when she could rejoin the rest of the hens in the main hen house. It was a bit of a palaver getting her out of the chicks' run without having them running all over the place too but eventually she was out and they were in and all was well. She didn't rejoin the other hens scratching under the yew tree but stayed close by the pen but she seemed happy enough in the long grass, ignoring the peeps from the chicks altogether. When I put corn out for them all at the end of the day as they went into the hen house she tagged along at the back but the little white Wyandotte, half the size of the Welsummer, had a go at her. Here is the Wyandotte, looking characteristically sweet and as though butter wouldn't melt. Don't be fooled.
All the hens were together up on the perch when we went to lower the pop hole but there was still some jockeying and chuntering and every now and then one of the others would have a bit of a peck at the Welsummer, presumably needing to reestablish the pecking order after a couple of months without her while she was sitting on her eggs and being mother hen.
The chicks hung around outside in their run for longer than usual, like children waiting for someone to tell them to go to bed, before eventually crowding into the house together. They will have to stay in their own pen until they get big enough to fend for themselves in the main house.
So that's it really: progress with kitchen, zero; progress with garden, minimal; busyness level, high; achievement level, not terribly visible, it's not even a very visible haircut. There is bread in the kitchen I suppose!