Fie-vay-em? If you don’t work nights, aren’t a farmer, and don’t have a very small child, the idea of waking up before five a.m. is utterly preposterous. Unless you are a chicken.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the long summer days as much as the next person, but they do start very early indeed. And if you have a beak and a beady eye, you are immediately alert as soon as the sunrise glows bright on the horizon (or in our case, over next door’s kitchen extension).
As soon as daylight hits the coop, this is how I imagine the conversation inside goes:
An eye opens.
All eight chicken eyes open. Everyone has a little stretch.
‘Bock bock bock!’
There is an unseemly scramble for the ladder downstairs to the rest of the coop, where someone has thoughtfully left some fresh water and pellets. On some mornings I suspect that two chickens attempt to exit their sleeping quarters through the ‘pop-hole’ at the top of the ladder at the same time. There is a kerfuffle at this point. I’ve seen it happen at other times of the day.
At this point I think the conversation goes like this:
All the chickens having taken their turn at refreshments, now glance at one another.
‘BAWK BAWK BAWK BAAAAAAAWK BAWK BAWK BAWK!’
At this point I fall out of bed in a scramble to avoid upsetting the neighbours with my nuisance livestock (my neighbours are all lovely, and I keep them sweet with fresh eggs, but even so it could be a very noisy early alarm call…), and stagger downstairs to emerge from my own pop-hole into the garden.
Fie-vay-em? Five a.m. It takes me a moment to even grasp the situation.
I open the door to the coop, and the chickens shoot out as if they’ve been incarcerated for months. Chicktoria runs past me like I’m an unexploded bomb. (She’s terribly highly strung.)
Peace is restored and I shamble back to bed for another two hours kip, if I’m lucky.
So, I love the summer, but (shh, don’t tell anyone) I’m secretly quite looking forward to autumn.
I think I promised my ‘1-2-3 pancake!’ recipe last time. I hope that waiting for a month hasn’t given it an undeserved level of anticipation. It’s really just a basic pancake recipe. What I like about it is the quantities though, because they are so easy to remember that I never have to look up a recipe. Here it is:
Jane’s 1-2-3 Pancake!
Makes 6 pancakes
100g plain flour
Large pinch of salt
(See – it’s one of flour, two of eggs, three of milk!)
1. Weigh the flour in a bowl, then beat in the eggs with a fork. I don’t bother beating the eggs first, just chuck them in with the flour.
2. Measure the milk in a jug, then add it dribble by dribble into the bowl of eggy mix, beating it in to avoid the worst of the lumps.
3. When it’s all well combined, tip the mix back into the measuring jug (it will pour better into your fying pan from the jug than the bowl).
4. Add the salt and give it another whirl with the fork.
5. Heat a small blob of butter in a non-stick frying pan until it’s really hot. Turn the heat down to medium.
6. Pour in about a sixth of the pancake mix, swirl it a bit to spread it over the base of the pan. Fill in holes with a bit more mix.
7. Fry very briefly, then flip it by whatever flamboyant means you wish. Cook the other side.
8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 for more pancakes, and enjoy!
Next time: The chickens mock my attempts to keep them in their luxury enclosure and out of my vegetable patch. Sob!