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Dolly , a very happy Warren henToday whilst aimlessly browsing the internet I came across a snippet of information that shocked me.

Looking up Warren hens initially I inevitably ended up looking up rescue hens and felt guilty that when in France our language skills were not up to acquiring Factory birds.

It’s a lot easier in the market to buy, as they are there to sell, and its obvious you are there to buy, yes; the international language of money.

Now the fact that shocked on this website was a warning not to give a perch to rescue birds as the jump down from a perch of just a foot high can sometimes break legs as one poor owner discovered. Turns out poor diet in these factory farms gives some of the old bird’s osteoporosis.

It makes me so angry, that we allow creatures to be treated that way, but it also made me angry with my self.

You see a few years back some animal activist’s stole a woman’s dead body, there was a great deal made of it in the press, and I thought something at the time that I never said

In a nut shell it was this, cruelty to animals is offensive to me, it sickens me, angers me,

And I put more value in a living animal than a dead human being. I would like to think most people would agree with me.

What these activists attempted however, was to make peoples beliefs clash almost in a display of performance art.

How naive!

They said by this act ‘if you ignore my most profound beliefs, we will ignore yours’

But what a strange set of beliefs people seem to have, these days.

The papers are up in arms if little dead Johnny comes home from hospital with an organ missing, but does society believe we must go to the grave whole to be ready for resurrection.

Some do have this belief I am sure but not the majority, so who is the media being indignant for.

I think the answer lies in the fact that papers are just advertising space for hire at the end of the day, and the company they keep are all about telling you how special you are.

Yes YOU go on treat yourself, after all your special and it doesn’t stop when you’re dead.

So stop sucking up newspapers and remind us what we believe in just once and a while.

Just to be clear, I am quite prepared to put my dead carcase to good use.

I sometimes joke with my wife that a shallow grave will do in the back garden, but leave my bum sticking out the top so visitors have got somewhere to park their bikes.

Perhaps a little plaque that simply states

Arnold the end.

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It’s too wet here in Limousin France and it’s a real downer as I hoped for a flaming June to start providing sweet fruits etc from the garden. Slugs are mustering. I think they have detected the aroma of naive gardeners coming from our plot and every time we throw them over the hedge into the woods they come back days later bigger and stronger looking; like there’s a Worlds Gym down there selling body bulk drinks for slugs. I started out believing that the red slugs eat other slugs so I didn’t see the need to murder them in some way. Then one day I caught one of the blighter’s scoffing my seedlings. Of course it’s too late by then he’s on the mobile ringing his mates. My neighbour has a veg plot next door with no grass areas or planks between beds at all and when we moved in we thought it looked barren and in-hospitable. Now we know however that there is nowhere for the slugs to hide in their garden, and we have created an all you can eat slug buffet. In conclusion I have decided to turn Catholic in my garden; if it’s good enough for Tony Blair its good enough for me. I shall henceforth follow the advice from a Catholic Bishop during the Albigensian Crusades. When he was told by his commanders that they could not distinguish between Catholic’s and heretics He is reported to have said “Kill them all God will Know his own”. So there will be no wishy washy treatment of slugs, no Camp Deltas or interrogations to discover whether they eat other slugs or plants they are enemy combatants with no legal status whatsoever and without trail or fair hearing will be sentenced to drown in beer. Thats that sorted then, now I’m on a downer about America ,and how I love the fruit and hate the tree, aaaaah well such is the melancholy of rainy day’s.

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I’m afraid one of my fellow bloggers has got me all in a lather over Dolly and her Dinnerladies again. My chicken flock is at risk not just from foxes but Buzzards as well. Now even pictures of Mikes gorgeous house in Correzze(see below) can,t calm my nerves.

As head chicken it falls to me to come up with a solution. Looking through my DVD collection the answer struck me:

Kung-Fu lessons for the Dinnerladies.

 Yes I know what your thinking; even a highly skilled Kung-Fu chicken can’t take on a Buzzard. But there is four of them’ there must be some combo of eye gouging from the front and ball pecking from the rear movement. I’m not good with Cantonese I may even have a film actually called that.The fact remains however being as I am head chicken and the only one in the flock who has worn Kung-Fu pajamas I will start their training at once. There will be no fence painting induction as it is pointless whitewashing chicken wire,but splits between raised poles and chicken legs thrust into hot sand will be compulsory. Buzzards and Foxes beware!

http://www.lasoumaille.me.uk/

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A few set backs on the old self sufficiency front this week. The first and worst was to discover that the cat is not just fat. We thought we had neglected his health and failed to notice his large waist. After noticing him panting and a quick trip to the vets it turns out he has a heart condition and it is fluid rather like when Gran or Grandad get puffy ankles.His front legs are still swollen even though he has a prescription for diuretics.

He seemed to be drinking a lot of water so we looked up the drug he is prescribed on the old tinterweb and we received our second self sufficiency set back this week. It turns out that according to the manufacturer of this drug while the cat is taking the pills we cannot eat him, let me repeat that ‘we cannot eat him. Blast and damnation I’m going to have a word with that vet next week; all my culinary plans for the cat we have been grooming for fourteen years dashed by his clumsy ministrations. So there is only the chickens left and as I have already become rather fond of Dolly and her Dinnerladies I can’t see me cramming them in the pot.

Talking to a friend the day before I am aware of another up and coming problem we will have with this French vet. Thinking ahead I asked what the situation is regarding my hens if they get sick, as in veterinary treatment etc. “O! the vet would just laugh came his reply” you are expected to cure them in the oven basically. That’s the other setback no vets for sick hens. Unless!! a cunning plan comes to mind. Now the wife is a dab hand with the old water colour paints. We could mix a sharp palette of orange, green and red then paint the girls up as parrots.I can do the ” who’s a pretty boy then ” imitations behind my hand whilst my wife keeps the vet talking. Trouble is I know what the vets going to be saying “bloody big feet for a parrot I think Polly is turning into a chicken”

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I think I was destined to be a self sufficient type, by that I mean it explains my total lack of fear when it comes to muck.  Washing and bathing is good but so is getting mucky. So I cannot understand other peoples phobias about germs. Don’t they see adverts for toilet cleaners that clean right round the bend and think why would I want to clean somewhere I hope never to go.

Animals lick their own arses for heavens sake. When did you last take an animal to the vets and they said has he been licking his arse arrrgh that would explain it then little Fido has a disease from licking his own arse. Now I am not saying its not possible but very unlikely.So stop pouring bleach into the environment Yes the toilet is connected to the environment everything is!! There seems to be a lot of confusion about bacteria advertisers give the impression that they are all deadly and out to get  you and your vulnerable offspring.

 I have the non bleach answer to this threat , Yes you heard it here first from arnold the methodical. Do not by bleach, go down to your supermarket and buy a loaf of bread ; not the good stuff mind but one of those cheap ones in the plastic bag, you know the ones; with added vitamins in because they have so many E-numbers in there is  no room left for anything nourishing whatsoever. Now its my observation that this bread when left out over the period of a week will stay moist but no fungus or bacteria will grow on it at all. In the past I have said If the bacteria will not eat it why the hell would I want to. Then came the revelation simply smear little Timy and Samantha with it before sending them to school, Oh! and clean the toilet with the crust. Remember a no bleach family doesn’t have to be dirty, but politely refuse their sandwiches.

I occassionaly taste the cat food, (most taste of absolutly nothing by the way)

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On my previous blogs I have toyed with the idea of using an alternate identity to dispatch my chickens. `This was a work around to deal with the guilt of murdering the animals because I like meat, chicken in particular. Well all I can say now is’ Lord Vader these are not the chickens you are looking for.

I have bought 4 warrens built them a chicken coup and we fenced of a section of the garden and they are adorable creatures. The gang are collectively called the Dinner-Ladies after the sitcom. and one in particular who came and sat on my knee on the first day is called Dolly. After tucking them in for the night in their new accommodation I laid there all night worrying about the Reynard that the next door neighbour warned me about. Now I know  that Reynard is French for fox’ but it gave me an image of a crafty French fox watching me all the while from a clever vantage point in the bushes at the bottom of the garden.. A half smoked galiose hanging from his lips as he snickers “Les Anglais”. And my sleep was disturbed by images of my poor Dinner-Ladies murdered in the night.

 Me Dolly ‘N’ The Dinner-Ladies

It seems we made a good choice of birds anyway and Dolly produced an egg on the very first day. It was very runny with a thin shell but I think we can improve on that with a good diet. I have told the dogs their status has been re-assessed. The hens are cute and produce food and the dogs roll in shit and consume food, hmmm I may swap dog and chicken accommodation round, it would certainly give Reynard a big surprise if he jemmies open the coup.

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Its ironic really, our predominately middle aged family (him+her+2dogs+cat) is of to live a self sufficient lifestyle. ‘What’s ironic about that? I hear you ask. Well we will be living a Middle Ages type lifestyle in the French countryside. We will eat what we grow, cut our own wood for the fire and toil in the fields. We’ll start out with blisters and develop pustulant sores as we go along. We will not be seen on TV because we are not a fractous bunch, who have sobbing sessions. ‘Boo Hoo the radishes just don’t respect me as a person’

We have a good start with the clothing already,we have never had good fashion sense. Unfortunately we can’t go round talking like they did in Hammer Horror’s Witchfinder General.  Now my only concern is my virtuous good Lady Karen of Yorkshire. She wants animals.  I shall have to put my foot down with a firm hand. As it stands I can just about get a seat next to the fireplace on the long winter nights. Now this could change as there’s definitely a fancy in the air for some goats, chickens and bees. Being a pair of the softest buggers on the planet when it comes to animals it won’t be long before they’re all indoors when it’s a chilly minus 10 outside. If you call round to see me I’ll be the  Alpha male,  yes the one sat directly in front of the roaring log fire .

With his feet up on a goat, a chicken under each arm and a beard of bee’s

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