chooks, still life and dodgy lawyers on the toilet walls

Our new chook run is complete. Favourite Handyman made it with 2 by 2 lengths of wood grown and milled locally and by reusing the wire mesh and plastic from the old poultry palace. The structure is much much stronger and the loveliest thing is that we can now see the chooks easily from the stody and kitcehn windows and of course from most parts of the back section. The structure is clad in wire mesh but the plastic is over the roof only. We have filled it with our last three bags of wood shavings from the high school wood room and they have a built in roost. It is great to know that they are warm and dry tonight without any risk of entangling themselves in bird netting (they roosted on the bamboo rafters of the temporary shelter for four nights, with a risk of getting themselves caught in the netting which lay upon them as they roosted. Of course they now have unlimited access to their laying hutch and I'm looking forward to full egg production again.

They have had extended periods roaming free in the back section and my poor garden is much the worse for it. They have eaten most of my lettuces and much of my rocket. They have nibbled on the garlic leaves though that should recover. Some of my rose cuttings failed the trauma test of the chooks' fossicking but at least I know that the survivors are hardy. They have scattered my newly laid mushroom compost to all corners of the section it seems and the last amount still sitting out the front will go on replacing soil around my poor myrtle ugni and a few other plants. I'm pleased I didn't get the potatoes planted last week - they can go in soon.

We are all on holiday here, both this week and next. This is when so much seems and is possible, as no one has to rush out the door and devote the daylight hours (and some of the darkness) to projects outside our home and garden. I have even redecorated the toilet. Just like in a Vogue magazine of course. I wiped all the walls and removed the bedraggled picture of a West Coast rainforest from the door. Then I cut up a book from the Sallies on an art collection in an Australian gallery and stuck the pictures on the walls. There is room yet for some political articles as well. We had a phase of maps on the walls until they fell down and I had looked at the historical sites of Israel on one side and Western Europe on the other for long enough.

As I nipped into town and bought some blu-tac, I recalled my first big decorating experience of my own. At 18 and in my first year of university, I moved into halls of residence in Christchurch. I remember trips into the Arts Centre, posters from Greenpeace and a couple of pot plants, some photos and overwhelming pride in having a space of my very own. If you were pooing at my place tonight, you could squiz at an intellectual called Elena, a still life with newspaper, a pomegranate laying beautifully with apples and a ginger pot and some dodgy lawyers from around the French Revolution:

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