Are you in need of a hobbit house?

Today I read in the Mail online a story about a family that built their own version of a hobbit-house totally eco-friendly.

For someone without any experience I think he did an amazing job as you can see in the picture. Simon Dale has also a website with more information and pictures, if you click here you are able to see it or you can look at the youtube-video below.

Have fun while looking at a sustainable home in Wales.



charming chickens

svensk sortehøns (black swedish chickens) - this rooster (aptly named "blackie") is my favorite.
as you know, we got chickens back in june. and then husband built them a veritable mansion that we dubbed chez poulet, because it's so fancy. the coop has two entrances - one into a totally enclosed area, where we give them table scraps and one into a back yard, where they can fly (and yes, i assure you they can fly, tho' it's not the most elegant sight) over it and get out to explore.

in fact, they were letting themselves out to explore so often, that we've just left the gate open of late, to make it easier for them. it's nice to have them wandering in the garden, cleaning up, tho' i have found them as far afield as over in the shelter belt near our bees. but charmingly enough, they come running from wherever they are when you go out there and talk to them. i hadn't expected that. they're really quite charming. and a bit funny. and their plumage makes a perfect fall fashion statement.

dansk landhøns (danish land chickens)

the three roosters can spend hours trying to outdo one another with their cries of cock-a-doodle-doo. and the other day one hen was a rather insistently clucking midwife to another one who was in the nest and clearly laying an egg. it was as if she were a little chicken cheerleader. later, i realized it may have been more of a complaint, because i found that hen in the same box, laying an egg of her own, so she was probably just telling that other hen to hurry up. there are five nest boxes, but as they've begun to lay eggs, i've noticed that they stick to the first one and the fourth one. it's hard to know what chickens are thinking, so i'm not sure why that is.

we're getting 2-3 eggs a day and they're starting to be a little bit larger now (they were pretty tiny at first). i've already checked an all-eggs cookbook out of the library, as once all 9 hens start laying, we're going to be eating a whole lot of eggs around here! at the moment, we can keep up.

in all, i'm enjoying this chicken thing much more than i thought i would. they're easy to have around. plus, we've cut back significantly on the amount of garbage that goes into our bin on a weekly basis, because so many scraps go to them - the only thing we don't give them is chicken, but otherwise, all greens, leftover rice or couscous, cheese, other kinds of meat go to them, anything we didn't manage to eat all of ourselves. in return, we get plenty of eggs and quite a lot of amusement.


the moleman cometh

there are a lot of amusing aspects to living out in the countryside. like that the way to get 100+ straw bales is to casually mention to the neighbor that it might be nice to have some for winter. not because he has any, but because he will talk to the guy down the road, who lives across from hay jørgen, whose son will come by one evening, in a rush to deliver the straw bales, fresh from the field, just before dark and before the rain starts. and then there's also the widespread rumor (which i'm not doing anything to dispel) that i'm canadian.

but my favorite thing is, hands down, the moleman. he's a marvelous elderly gentleman with a rusty old ford escort full of mole traps and various pans, bowls and buckets. sometimes you look outside and see him wandering across the lawn, setting mole traps. he digs them in and then covers them with an old pan or bowl or bucket. he seems nearly psychic as to when moles have put in an appearance (tho' that's also obvious, of course, by the fresh dark mounds of dirt on the lawn) and he shows up and suddenly instead of mounds of dirt, you have old pans here and there on the lawn. he doesn't knock and he doesn't announce himself, tho' he will say hello if you happen to be outside.

we don't actually have his phone number, the neighborhood retired pilot originally contacted him for us. but all you need is the initial contact and you're a customer of the moleman for life. he comes by, sets traps, checks them, and notes it all on a scrap of paper in his pocket. he comes by once in awhile, shows you the tally - 30 kroner per trip he's made out here, plus 10 kroner per mole - and wants to be paid. each mole that's met its maker is carefully marked on the scrap of paper, which he's happy to show you as proof. he caught 47 moles over at our friends' house. he's probably gotten around 30 or so here in the past year.

the only bad habit he has is that he leaves the dead moles lying around. however, our barn kitties think that's just fine.

how do you get rid of moles at your house?