The latest news and views from Bootle Hens.....
which after several complaints...... may be offensive (if you need to lighten up and have no sense of humour)
Having the chickens and the sheep is a good way to get the kids out of the house. At the moment, before Winter comes (Winter is coming) Iíve been taking my youngest out with me (under protest) to feed the hens/collect eggs and go look the sheep. The animals serve as a great PlayStation 4 combatant. Itís not easy, if you havenít heard of Fortnite then let me tell you - itís basically electronic crack cocaine targeting all audiences. I personally (as a former avid computer game player in my youth) donít actually think itís all that good being honest. Yeah I said it. I can see how it would appeal to the younger generation but as a game it doesnít have enough to hold my own personal interest.
Seeing it through the eyes of my youngest Iím not really surprised that the prospect of going to see some animals that donít really have any charisma, who shit everywhere and fucking stink plays a very poor second to a video game that the majority of the planet is hooked on.
Iíve often said to my wife, and my friends who have kids who play computer games that you canít really blame them for wanting to spend hours on end sitting in front of a screen playing a game. I did it myself for years. Spectrum 48k through to PlayStation. Jet set willy (who?) Super Mario, Championship manager, Football Manager, FIFA, Grand theft auto, Call of Duty - all guilty of taking hours and hours of my time over the years. And the games just keep getting better, as does technology meaning they are more addictive than ever. Play online, with friends and talk to them while you play. My youngest even watches Ďgamersí who earn millions on YouTube, playing games and talking shit at the same time.
But then, after all these years you get older, get other interests (booze, fags and women for a kick off) and responsibilities - and less time as a consequence. Do I miss it? Not really. I play games from time to time but it doesnít consume me like it used to. Grown up? Debatable.
What concerns me though, and I feel like itís my responsibility as parent to restrict time the time spent by my children in a virtual world, is that I have plenty of other avenues for the kids to explore. I have access to land, motorbikes, bikes, an interest in sport, a dog, guns (not everyoneís cup of tea granted), fishing rods, animals... the list goes on. The point is itís hard to get them interested when they can get all they want at home from a games machine. Even living in the back of beyond you can switch on a games console and play with people all over the world. My son has a little buddy who he speaks to almost every day despite Colorado having a -7hr time difference. Its actually quite amusing listening to them chatting away and getting all excited about games. Itís especially funny because my sons voice changes when he talks to his little buddy, he adopts this US kind of a twang and starts calling everyone Ďdudeí and Ďbroí! That said, living in the back of beyond in the North of England comes with its own problems Ė the weather, and the lack of indoor activities available during bad weather. Which we get plenty of. In this case I donít mind games consoles.
Whenever I make a suggestion to do something else it is greeted with a force ten whinge. But when you do get them out to pursue something else they actually enjoy it. The hard part seems to be reminding them that they enjoyed it the last time. Itís like ground hog day. I guess itís all about perseverance.
So in the past week I've had numerous people mention/ask me about the site. When I say numerous I mean four to be exact. Which isn't a lot I know but it is a lot in the space of a week, when under seemingly normal circumstances I'd perhaps get four in a year. The questions are usually all of the same theme - what ever happened to Bootle Hens and why don't I update the site any more?
Well, Bootle Hens are still there. They have been there since the 90's, right through the 00's where they were their most successful and are still kicking around in the 10's with their management (i.e. me) scratching their head wondering what to do next. They are a bit like a band/group/singer that have been around since the 90's, being their most successful in the 00's and are still around now but have laid somewhat dormant in more recent times because their management may be struggling with the times. I was trying to think of a band/group/singer to liken this to but every time I thought of one there was a flaw. Oasis might have been a good one if they hadn't broke up. What about Blur? Answer on a postcard please. Or just an email to blakesATbootlehensDOTcoDOTuk (email harvester software is a massive pain in the arse).
Speaking of times, or TIME more precisely. So the website that is Bootle Hens that you have somehow stumbled upon, or you are a diehard that keeps checking back to see if by some miracle I have updated the site (John Steele - miracles do happen you are seeing one right now).
My biggest problem, like anyone who works full time, and their partner also works full time and they have a young family, and their partner decided to get a puppy as well, is time. Now I'm not one for complaining. Oh wait no that's not right. But time, time has to be your biggest problem when you are in such circumstances. And the biggest problem for the website is that it takes so much time, and this is because I haven't moved with the times. Words come easy and are easy enough to upload. But in today's society people want to see pictures, not just words, and pictures are a pain in the arse to get on to this website and this is where I simply don't get enough time to devote. There is probably an easier way, and when I was younger I'd have found it.
Being honest every year when I am faced with renewing the web hosting its becoming increasingly harder for me to decide whether to keep it going or not. The last few years I've done nothing with the site but keep paying the fees each year because even though I cringe when someone mentions the site because of something I wrote 14 years ago, I just can't let go. Too much time, too much history and too many talking points.
Thanks for reading. I will be back. Maybe.
Someone has been stealing firewood from Bootle Hens... yeah - we're watching you!
Poached egg, bacon and avocado on toast! Try it!
What a coincidence that the day I choose to update the rather scant news section by talking absolute shite is the same day as the Copeland by-election!
BIG news. Bootle Hens now owns sheep!
Other news - I have nearly 50 hens and am getting 1 egg a day. This means that if I want eggs I have to buy them from a shop/local farm (I try to stick with local farmer/producer, the eggs are better).
Pancake day is fast approaching!
*insert excuse about lack of updates here*
Been a while. Still got hens. Hens still lay eggs. Not so much this time of year for us though.
I changed jobs earlier this year and with a change of job comes a new customer base for eggs to win over. That wasn't so hard once I got a few people to try them. Its always the same. Its a shame eggs are so cheap though, else there might be some serious money to be made instead of selling 6 eggs for a pound (at the gate) to help cover the cost of feed. Which it barely does but then this is just a hobby after all.
So with new egg fans comes the inevitable discovery of this website. I must admit, reading some of the stuff on here back it makes me cringe a little. In my defence I started this site over 11 years ago and 11 years is a long time. Needless to say the site has been quite a success over the years, gauged by interaction I've had with folk from different countries and from the feedback I've received. Granted I haven't given in the attention I'd have like to and granted the site hasn't exactly kept with the times but I'm still glad I did it though hence why it is still here.
As regards my new customer base, its always interesting to have them ask me questions. Its also good to get some feedback and have funny comments made like 'well if you can't bring me some eggs I'll just go to Aldi - their eggs are better anyway' and people complaining about the size - I'm going to use 3 eggs tonight and have a 2 egg omelette. I don't normally like to name and shame but thanks for that Branni!
This is a picture from a while back which I posted on Twitter ( @bootlehens )
On the right, scrambled 'free range' eggs from a leading Supermarket. On the left, Bootle Hens eggs. A prime example of a picture painting a thousand words. I have nothing else to say. That could be one of the best advertising pictures, *long pause* EVER.
One thing I will say of the supermarket massive - none of them in particular are to blame for the eggs on the right, quite simply because all their eggs are shite.
Quirky upcycled Chicken hut:
It may be obvious but this was an old wooden fire container - for storing extinguishers and the like. Obviously it isn't very big but with a single nesting box inside its ideal for a broody hen or several young chicks, pullets/cockerels. This isn't actually one of my creations, this was upcycled by a good friend of mine and Bootle Hens actually made this for his own Chicken keeping set up.
I'm a big believer in 'every days a school day' and I'm ashamed to admit I have only just found out that a Cockerel is a young male and once coming of age becomes a Rooster. I can't believe I didn't know that. I think I might just say that I did actually know this and its just that I forgot!
Over the years I've had a few notable people as customers, normally athletes of various standings - generally Cricket and Rugby. When I say notable I mean they have their very own Wikipedia page. This is great - as most of you know that eggs are great, fast food and provide athletes with protein. Aside athletes I sell to people who tell their kids the blue eggs (Cream Legbar) are dinosaur eggs, I sell to someone whose daughter won't eat an egg unless its come from my hens, and some people marvel at the double-yokers I often get. Anyway, although he doesn't have his own wiki page (which some may argue is a load of old toss anyway) let me introduce you to our latest model and one of our best customers (even though he throws most of the yolks away!) Bootle Hens presents Tony Kane:
You can't knock his dedication to training - the proof is in the pudding (or the eggs) and I'm surely allowed to boast that this guy gets protein from Bootle Hens produce. Stay tuned for a promo pic.
Although we haven't expanded the bird total we are now focusing on breeding Cream Legbars (blue eggs) and Light Sussex (light eggs). These along with White Leghorn (white eggs) and Maran (deep brown eggs) are my favourite breeds. I've always liked to see an array of different egg shell colours. Standard brown farmyard hens (which you can pick up for as little as £1 a bird - talk about life being cheap) will always hold a place in my heart as they are pure egg laying machines. Right now we are also dipping our toe in to raising Ixworths for meat. I watched a program a couple of months back about how little nutritional value there is in todays supermarket birds. That coupled with how expensive chicken is I figured we'd have a go at raising our own. I realise that we won't be saving much money - if any, but in a Hugh F-W kind of a way at least we'll know the birds had a good life before they end up on the table.
Since the sale of the firms trusty Fordson Dexta several years back I am pleased to announce the arrival of a new (old) Tractor:
1978 Zetor 6718. Full cab with all glass present, and other mod cons such as power steering, foot throttle and it even has an onboard compressor which is something I'd never seen before. I guess this machine was well ahead of its time back in the day.
Well its been a while, nearly 18 months, which is very poor on my part. Its been difficult to find enough time to sit down and work out what had gone wrong with the hosting of the site but I think I've finally managed to sort it out. Now I just need to get the website back on track. Looking at the stats it was very nice to see people have been visiting the site quite often so this gives me the motivation to continue.
13 hatches from 18 Eggs - this is a personal record for us and a real blessing following recent events! Sadly 3 of them appear to be struggling as they are rather 'runt' like. We'll see. I have a picture but I've decided against putting it up as it looks like any other picture of chicks in a brooder.
Ok so we've had some bad times lately. We've lost 14 hens. And when I say 'lost' I don't mean 'Now where did I put that hen', I actually mean 'Dead'. Three seperate Fox attacks claimed the most and three we believe to natural causes although I should imagine the adverse weather has not helped them.
So, in a rare change of fortune - The Honcho actually placed half a dozen eggs laid by some of the Fox victims in our incubator a few days before the fox sealed their fate. As the weather worsened we were without power for over two days. We had lost all hope for the eggs. They were due last Wednesday and today (Saturday) two eggs have hatched! One of which belonged to the fox victims! This is very pleasing indeed. A sign of hope! Stay tuned.
Changing the subject slightly - I've pulled a muscle in my chest and I want you all to know about it. Well, I say I've pulled a muscle in my chest, I've not actually visited a doctor. But I very much doubt I've been having a heart attack for 3 days so I'll assume its a pulled muscle (I vaguely recall a twinge whilst over stretching the other day). Anyway - it hurts. Alot.
For those of you that weren't aware, Spring is a time when Foxes are rearing their young. With this in mind they obviously need more food. This coupled along with the recent snow and very cold weather means that old 'Charlie' has been for his supper at Bootle Hens, not once, not twice but now three times. Now if I was the type of bloke who swore I'd be severely f**king pissed off at this is. I can assure you that I am, on both counts. Although I have been talking to a very wise and clever type of a fellow recently whom I had asked how he feels about swearing. He said he didn't mind it but didn't like to hear people who cannot finish a sentence without using a swear word. Too true, I totally agree. I must admit that I have been reading back a lot of what I have wrote on here over the years and some of it makes me cringe. But then this site was very popular once upon a time, far popular than I every thought it could be. I must have been doing something right..... I want to be popular again....!
This weekend we've had the worst snow I have ever had the misfortune to experience and I'm pretty sure that the majority of the residents will feel the same way.
Above shows the A595 just north of Bootle. I think the picture speaks for itself.
I would like to give credit to all local Farmers. They had a rough year weather-wise last year then this 'spring' they found themselves digging out Sheep and Lambs, milking cows only to tip the milk away because the tankers couldn't get to them (ironically the shop sold out of milk) and basically doing their best to clear the roads too.
Above, again the A595 this time just South of Bootle. Path cleared by local farmers. Note the stranded bus. Many vehicles were still stranded too at this time.
To be honest, things were bad enough with the power cuts, diminishing supplies, lack of transport routes... just to make matters worse my log store was laden with snow rendering the firewood practically useless. Back-up plan - go to my lock up where dry firewood could be found...
Oh well, maybe not then! When the road past here was cleared most of the snow ended up in front of my lock up! A quick call to a friendly farmer and its was soon cleared. Phew.
Still, the icing on the snow-cake had to be that when the Head Hen Honcho walked through over a mile of major snow driftage he was greeted by a ghastly sight - dead Chickens. Now I'm sure you'll be thinking 'cold', 'starvation'. Actually no. 'Fox'. The casualties just happened to be our best birds too. Two Light Sussex hens, One Cock. Two Splash Leghorn hens. Two White Leghorn hens and Two Rhode Island Red hens. Great birds, the best we had at that point and all had recently come in to lay. Ain't that just the way :(
I've often said that keeping poultry is good for the kids. My son is around 19 months old now and he likes to come feed the 'quack quacks' (hens) which eat 'toast' (bread). He doesn't realise that ducks and hens are two different things and he doesn't know that bread even exists. Just toast, because he eats toast. So when I take a bag of bread down which is no longer fresh, I take a piece out and he says 'Toast'. Then when I ask him to feed the hens he instead tries to eat it himself. All good fun. He also likes to get stuck in to any mud, dirt, puddle or anything else that will get him dirty. And now the 'quack quacks' is another place on his list to cry at if we don't stop. So now if we drive past and don't stop he cries. So now if we drive past the beach, Grandma's or the quack quacks, he throws a wobbler and tears ensue!
We have half a dozen cuckoo maran eggs under a clocker which were due today but nothing as yet... Stay tuned for hatching news. If we have a good hatch rate some of the chicks could be for sale.
Bought a King Suro 24 egg incubator from P&T Poultry (good firm, I recommend them) the other week and its now loaded up with light sussex and white leghorn eggs.
Still in tune with my latest hunting escapades, I set off down to R Bamford's gun shop near Chorley just recently in my Land Rover Discovery. To cut a bit of a long story short she overheated on Lindale bypass so I had to turn around and come home. Not to be defeated (as I'd taken a day off) I commandeered the Honcho's V6 Mondeo and high tailed it down to Chorley. I had intended on getting a second hand Remington 1100 but ended up coming back with a brand new Hatsan Escort 12G 3" magnum and a Norica 3 shot bolt action .410. The jury is still out on the Escort at present.
It would be quite fitting to complain about recent weather. Rain, rain and more rain. Wettest and crappest 'summer' I have ever known. I went out for a walk with one of my guns on one of my permissions just the other day and took hand warmers with me! Hand warmers - in July! To be honest though, it was more of a trial run of some really cheap and effective hand warmers I have 'designed' (or lets just say, thought of) which have a very, very good use once the heat has dissipated. You can eat them.
So you haven't guessed what they are yet?! Surely you have - a website about Chickens/Hens and you still haven't guessed....?
Yup, boiled eggs. One in each pocket! Can't believe I never thought of this before now.
Other news, back down to one cockerel (natural causes) so we've got all of the 30+ hens in one pen again with the last remaining Rooster. One of our four huts has been taken down the work shop for a full refurb and then will be placed outside the workshop where a pen has been built. This will be for young birds waiting to come in to lay before being transferred down to Bootle Hens. Hen numbers seem to be dwindling (all natural causes) and haven't had any fox sighting lately but I'm still patrolling with a pump action loaded with 3" magnums every now and again in the hope of seeing Charlie (term for a fox or foxes if you didn't know). Major problems with magpies (infestation) stealing food and wood pigeons have ravaged the Honcho's veg patch this year (not happy). Shotguns are banned down there whilst the site patrol dogs are there (get too excited).
Stay tuned readers. My birthday tomorrow by the way!
Just so you know - just because I haven't updated the website on a regular basis it doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything...
'Egg Curry'... (more info in the recipe section, when I get round to making it anyway!)
Its actually got chicken and eggs in it which is a bit of a strange combination. Probably a bit like having a bacon sandwich and some pork scratchings. Or a steak baguette with a glass of milk. Still, theres no rules when concocting dishes I suppose.
'So Blakes, was it nice?' I hear you ask. It was ok. Nice for a change. I'm right in to curry's and this one was a bit tame for me. I like to get a bit of a sweat on whilst eating it. And if its not repeating on you the next day then it wasn't a good curry really.
Self explanatory? Hope so!
After a technical glitch I'm back up and running. For those that visit the site regular (or used to!) I'm very sorry that I haven't updated the site very often in the past few months. The egg mobile you see further down below has been replaced by this:
Which is a 1981 XJ550 that was lovingly restored by its former keeper. Sadly it has carb issues and now doesn't run. For sale at £375 spares or repairs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also check our brother Marc's very own egg wagon:
Sad news, Bonzo the pet Rabbit died the other week. Bonzo was a bit of a legend round these parts. Everyone loved him. He wasn't just a normal shit Rabbit that just has big teeth and big ears and ate grass. Bonzo oozed charisma. He used to fight cats that came in the garden. And If i was out in the garden he would run figures of 8 through my legs. He used to sit right next to the chopping block when I chopped sticks - that's how hard he was. Damn I miss that fluffy little bastard.
Well well well. Hello everyone! Thought I'd given up didn't you?! Well here I am.... updating the site before it became one year since my last update. I'm afraid I have very little spare time these days so I just don't get chance to update the site, or actually do anything to write about in the first place. Got a few cooking stories and pictures to post up some time. Theres probably an easier way to update a website these days but if there is I don't know about it. Its far easier to just update Facebook or Twitter (@bootlehens) and every man and their dog it would seem has had a go a doing their very own website dedicated to chickens, poultry, the good life /self sufficiency etc etc. However it would be fair to say that 99% of them are utter shite and couldn't even hold a candle to the infamous Bootle Hens.
Good riddance to bad eggs:
After throwing a bucket money at it, it was time to go. Off to Lithuania she went.
It should have been the all new egg wagon. Lovely car, lovely spec. Sadly it turned out to be the second shittest car I have ever owned. 'Which was the shittest Gary?'........ yeah I was expecting that. It was a Renault Clio 1.6 RT. What an absolute pile of shite that was. Funnily enough it was the only car I'd ever bought in desperation. Speaks volumes doesn't it.
New egg mobile is on the road. 100mpg, £15/yr road tax, 6 quid to fill the tank. Ideal for scooting down to feed the hens and transporting eggs:
Bootle Hens trusty old tractor is now up for sale.
I'm getting near to unleashing the all new RECIPE SECTION on the site, as well as the long talked about REVIEW SECTION both of which will help take the site to the next level. Further levels will be possible if some rich fan of the site (and my sense of humour) can pay me £70k/year to give the site and my hens the attention they deserve.
In the mean time I will keep showing up at work and also show you these pictures of my good friend's most excellent 'Bootle Hens Scotch Eggs'
Famed black pudding sausage meat surrounding a hard boiled Bootle Hen egg. Rolled in bread crumbs and baked (not deep fried) meaning its a slightly more healthy way to enjoy a Scotch egg. I can honestly say they are really REALLY tasty. Credit to my mate Tentpeg for concocting these superb Scotch eggs. Expect to see more homemade affairs from 'Peg real soon. Control+F and search 'Tentpeg' on this page for earlier mentions of my gigantic friend.
Stay tuned for recipes.
Ok so I'm updating once a month (if that) but its your fault. I get no feedback so I don't even know your reading do I? I get the odd email every once in a while - it makes me smile, so I just about manage to keep the site going. There is so much competition these days with all the self sufficiency wanna be's why would I expect people to view my site? I don't even know if I actually have any die hard fans (Hi Mum!)
Bad news of late...
It is with great regret that I announce the death of 'Bolt' the Welsummer Cockerel. Named after Usain Bolt for his superior athletic ability he gave me the run around several times. Alas he ended up with a gammy leg and spent over two weeks hopping. In the days following he took a turn and couldn't hold himself up anymore. Taking pity, I did what was right. Then I buried him. Tree planted on top. Respect.
Every day is a school day! This is quite embarrassing really. But you can't fault my honesty. This has all stemmed from my good lady asking me if Chickens eat meat.
I said 'Well yes they do really, they eat worms and such like so I would say yes. However I doubt you would see them chowing down on a massive steak'
In the following days I mentioned this to my good friend and fellow Chicken fancier (fancier not as in find them attractive and want to do unspeakable things to them - bollocks I should have just said 'keeper' but I can't be bothered deleting it) and he went on to tell me they will eat any meat (shockingly including chicken) and proceeded to tell me about the time he'd done a hog roast how when it was finished he just lobbed the pigs head in to the Chicken pen and they "Picked it clean". Well bugger my old boots!
Also, I wasn't aware that you can use WD40 to keep slugs and snails from climbing your flower pots and also it stops grass sticking to your mower blades.
Many happy returns to me! Got my main present early (my boy) which is really great. My son has made me smile and made me laugh more in the past four weeks than anyone else has managed in 32 years. Oh - got an ipod touch too! Its really, really good. Honestly - get one. There really is an app for almost everything!
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER - Bootle Hens (Gary Blakeney). No, Twitter hasn't just reached Bootle. Nor have I only just found out about it. I've had an account for ages but never really thought to put it on here!
Today my son and heir to the Bootle Hens empire was born! Amazing day - what a buzz. Nothing can prepare you for it and it would be difficult to explain the experience but WOW! So many emotions, negative followed by positive. Very humbling. So glad it went well. Midwives were excellent. Very unlikely you'll ever read this but Hannah, Dawn and Roslyn in particular were really something special. Thank you so much!
I got a message from a pleasant chap called Dave a few days ago. Real nice guy who also shares my sense of humour, which is really fantastic given that as far as I'm concerned everybody shares my sense of humour.
Well actually I have found one person who doesn't appreciate my sense of humour - my pregnant partner. Now don't get me wrong, I try and sympathise with her as much as possible. I don't fully appreciate how it feels to be pregnant. Or how it is to be 'Keith Cheggers' as I once put it, which she actually found offensive, let alone funny. Over the past lifetime (Ok - 8 months) I've had to change tact a bit. Instead of rubbing her back every single f**king day I now rub it at least twice. I used to get it in the neck one week out of four but now its a roll reversal. At best I get a one week in four ceasefire. Honestly, Colonel Gaddafi hasn't got it as bad right now.
Just the other day after a rip snorting, grueller of a shift at work I came home and was literally riding the vacuum cleaner all over the house, dusting like a man possessed, had the washing out on the line, cleaned the pet Rabbit out, washed all of the windows (conservatory included - yeah) and even had the dinner on the table in time for her coming back from the beauty salon yet apparently I was a 'fucking arsehole' for not wiping the kitchen worktops down!
Naturally I have to say that I'm only joking or else I'll be in the shit even more!
That said, she wasn't too impressed to walk in on me having an orgy with a bunch of French delights the other night. Camembert, Le Roule, Brie and a tidy bottle of Rouge. Probably a bit inconsiderate on my part!
As Dave pointed out to me - its a bit of a pain following my news - you'd have to be a regular or an avid reader to get the gist of what is going on here... not sure how to rectify this right now but I shall try and work it out.
Hen news - 'Bolt' the cocky cockerel has gotten out twice more but Triple H has clipped his wings and Bolt hasn't been out of the pen since... Good effort.
Just got some top news from my Compadre 'Shrek'. Welcome to the 'A' Shift shafters club! And then we were five. Most excellent fertilisation skills my man.
'Shrek' is a living canvas. He sports an impressive 'Tiger and Dragon' back piece not to mention several other tattoos. Living up to his name, he recently got this piece done whilst in Florida:
RESPECT! Now I just need him to get a Bootle Hens tattoo.................
ABSOLUTE, TOTAL DISASTER THIS MORNING. CAN'T BELIEVE IT.
So much time and effort spent nurturing the birds. Nurturing the produce. I don't expect much more in return other than quality eggs. And then, out of the blue BAM! Disaster strikes. Not for the weak stomached people. Its not nice, its not pretty.
GRAPHIC SCENE WARNING
Double yoker as well. So at least one survived. The Mrs had grapefruit for breakfast. A lot more healthy than mine I know, but I unwittingly laid my bread down on the chopping board right in all the grapefruit juice - double blow. Saturdays much awaited fry up pretty much a disappointment :(
Usually works out very well. If you don't have one already, you NEED a griddle pan in your life. When cooking bacon I don't bother using any oil and that includes frying eggs/mushrooms. Here are shots from more successful times:
All is well with man and bird. Birds happy. The humans in my family are happy. Just done a 'belly cast' on my good lady. Bit of a pain in the arse and it took ages but it worked out well. Sorry no pic - I'm not putting a mould of our lasses wrack and bump on the world wide web for all to see! Less than six weeks to go and I will be a Dad. Super. After all, who's gonna feed the hens when I'm gone?!
Just the other day I went to feed the hens at the new site and as I got to the pen 3 magpies flew off. As my regulars will know, I'm not in to feeding vermin so I've borrowed my mates remote u-caller. Very soon the u-caller, my shotgun and I shall be roosting on site laying in wait for any scroungers that think they are getting a free meal.
I might take a bit of 'finest' (homemade, not some supermarket shit) Quiche for my lunch:
Very tasty. Also, in the backdrop - check out my garden! I think it looks well. Its not quite as good as the Weavers family kept it but I try my best to do it justice. I'm not really in to gardening but I am very much in to looking out of my windows to a nice garden. That said I try my best to keep it tidy.
Obviously more hens means more eggs so I've been ratching around for new recipes to try. Today I executed a recipe clipped from a newspaper a few weeks ago.
Steamed spears of asparagus with poached egg and hollandaise sauce....
'Using steam pluming from a pan of gently boiled spring water, steam four spears of organically grown asparagus just long enough to excite the molecules of this vegetable so not to lose the crunch....
Oh piss off, as if I have the time to do all that...... I did this entire thing using a microwave.... and it was
8.5.11 / 9.5.11
My little girl has been so eager to see the new Cockerel. She hasn't stopped going on about it since getting him so naturally I took her to see him. She loves collecting the eggs - another beauty of keeping hens. Free, quality eggs. The kids love it and it gives you immense satisfaction. Unless you don't like animals/eggs. In which case why are you even reading this?
When we got there I was carrying a heavy object so my little girl ran ahead, eager to see the chickens. I could hear 'the boy' giving it the big 'doodle do's' which brought a smile to my face. Until I heard 'Dad, Dad, he's got out'. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. By the time I got on the scene he was out of sight...
'What did he do?'
'He climbed up the fence'
'He 'climbed up' a seven foot fence?'
'Whats seven foot Dad?'
'He climbed up a seven foot fence?' I'm bewildered.
'Whats seven foot Dad?'
'Too high for a Cockerel to climb sweetheart'
With that I entered the neighbouring scrubland, with a shivver. 'Collect the eggs chick, I'll be back in a minute'
After five minutes I came back. No sign. 'He went that way Dad' - She pointed in the opposite direction I'd just been (pesky frickin' kids!) I'm off again. This fine bird is NOT eluding ME. I'm off over the barbed wire fence, the chase is ON. Me against some dumb ass stupid Rooster. Who cares if I just ripped my pants open. 'Dad you just ripped you pants open'. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
I barely noticed that I'd stung both my knees to hell wading through nettles, or that my arms were bleeding due to commando crawling through brambles. I could hear the little shit in the distance (the rooster not my daughter) and he wasn't getting away lightly. As I made it to a clearing I noticed two things.
1. A notice saying 'No trespassing' - yeah like I care about that right now (P.s get shot of them pissing brambles)
2. A fine looking Cockerel TWO fields away, sprinting like Ben Johnson in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He was going like shit off a shovel. There was no way I was getting him back. Bastard. I was gutted. Quite a spectacle though, I must admit. What an athlete.
Anyway, the next day I went to feed the hens. Still gutted about the cockerel flying the nest. Cluck him. Thinks he's clever. Like I wasn't good enough. I had to inform Waggy that his fine cock bird had 'done one'. Quite embarrassing really but its hard to keep hold of a good cock, as they say. Well life goes on. I went and climbed into the pen to feed the girls. Greeted by the pleasant noises I've come to expect from them. Bollocks to the cockerel, they don't lay eggs anyway. I threw a couple of handfuls out on the ground for them to peck for. And from behind the hut appears the cockerel. I actually said, aloud 'I cannot flipping believe this. I SIMPLY CANNOT FLIPPING BELIEVE THIS'. Well, when I say 'flipping' I've actually tastefully changed it.
When I last saw him he was half a mile away. For him to find his way back after being there for one day is amazing. To scale a 7ft fence (again) to get back in is something else. FOGHORN LEG-END! I've named him 'Bolt' after Usain Bolt.
So, new hens at the new site. 9 in total actually. Seem happy, making all the right noises. Pleasant gals. Tame as well, you can pick them up without a fuss. Which is always nice. But we here at Bootle Hens, as part of our recipe for success (full recipe not available unless you have £70k - I'll throw in the website too) HIGHLY recommend your layers run with a Cockerel. With this in mind I set about securing a Cockerel. Now anyone that knows anything about Chickens knows that you don't pay for Cockerels. Unless of course you want a show bird. You can often find Cockerels advertised for free. Usually from folk that incubate. After all you only need one cock. I once heard something about a dog with two cocks but I'm going off track here.
Generally you will find that within the poultry fraternity people are friendly and will help one another out. I contacted a guy called 'Waggy' who sorted me out with a Welsummer cock bird who will be celebrating his second birthday this summer. He assured me he was a fine bird when I collected the 'package' in the form of a chicken inside a cardboard box. My reluctance to open the box and check the contents paid off. Aside, I'm not going to get my new cock out and check it all when its free am I? (Rhetorical.) So after a quick tour of Waggy's mighty fine set up (consisting several quirky and charismatic homemade huts and a splendid array of bantam birds one of which had superb gold lacing) I took my new bad boy cock to its new home.
As I carefully carried the box containing what seemed to be a chilled out Rooster, I couldn't help wondering about the contents. Don't get me wrong I know what a Welsummer looks like but I was still eager to see exactly how good it looked. For all I knew it could have been a skanky old thing. I kept thinking 'It doesn't matter, its a free cockerel - who cares'.
As I approached the pen I heard the gals clucking and making their appreciative noises I'd come to be familiar with the past few days. With that the box started making noises. Oh hello! The cock isn't asleep then. Or dead. He's alert now. I climb in the pen, cock in hand (I'm bored of the sexual innuendos but couldn't resist that!) I place the box on the ground. The girls gather round. I pry open the box just a little. Don't want to shock him with all the..... HE'S OUT! Piss on my old boots - He's out of that box like a cock possesed - feathers flying, the girls have all scattered then simultaneously shit themselves and the cock bird is beak first straight in to the fence. He's f***ing raging! He looks at me. He doesn't like me. He's off again, straight in to the next fence. And again, beak first. I'm thinking this critter isn't about to call this home. I thought this would be a most excellent time to leave the pen. So I did. And with that my new brutal cockerel starts doing laps around the pen, he's going flat out - round and round and round. There are hens flying around all over the spot while this beserk rooster runs circles around itself. Five minutes later he stops and just stands. He stands and looks around. I'm pleased he's stopped scattering my hens all over the place. Pleased he's calmed down now. Ten minutes later he's giving it big 'Cock-a-doodle-do's'. He seems happy. I'm happy. I go home.
Out of the 42 new hens mentioned below a small number have been transferred to a new Bootle Hens site. This site was previously deemed to be prime fox country and I have been reluctant to keep any hens there until now. So I guess my fox proofing skills are on test now. I was originally planning on burying the fence by a foot or so but the land is sat on a major bed of granite, and I can't really be arsed digging through granite at the moment :s - That is a stupid smiley face - I'm trying to be 'down with the kids'.
Anyway, what I've done is surrounded the bottom of the fence with scaffolding boards (they're about rotten so don't bother pinching them) and rocks, breeze blocks - that kind of thing. That way old sly arse shouldn't be able to dig underneath. I've laid the pen out with Herras fencing which is handy for rearranging the pen when the hens wear out the grass. If you don't know what Herras fencing is, its the fencing panels often found surrounding building sites. Normally it slots into 'feet' which also act like a weight. I haven't used it that way though, as it leaves a gap at the bottom. And we don't want gaps because gaps mean that old red can get in. And we don't want old red getting in, because old red = no hens. And we don't like no hens here at Bootle Hens, because, thats right kids - no hens means no eggs.
Just 'topped up' on hens today. Got another 42 to add to the collection. Thanks to Alison for providing us with them. She promised me 'as many as I wanted, within reason!' and true to her word, I got them! Very pleasant to deal with and I would certainly deal with her again.
I've been on a roll lately with bets. Not the conventional bets per say. I haven't placed a single football bet this season nor did I bet on the national. However I did win a jar of expensive peanut butter from Gav at work and a quid off the Mrs because she didn't agree that there are two Clinton Card shops in Workington. And right now I've just won a fiver off a friend (who doesn't want to be named) for putting massive big fat titties dog toss cock face piss ant shit fingers in to a sentence on my website. KERCHING!
I'm really sorry if that has offended anyone but a fiver is a fiver, right?
I've often been so busy that I haven't had time to eat before going to work. Inevitably this results in me buying (wasting my money) some crap from a shop en-route. Sometimes I get them 'sausage and egg' sandwiches. Y'know - egg mayo with sliced sausage between two bits of bread. £2.40. Two pounds-feckin-forty I say! Whaaat?
Anyway, the sausage is poor and the egg even poorer in these pre-packed rip offs. So today I made my own.
Two hard boiled, free range, Bootle Hen eggs - peeled, mashed with a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper. A dollop of light mayo all mixed and mashed in. Prior to this I had some of Bewley's of Bootle's finest thick black pudding Cumberland under the grill for 15 minutes and once cooled I sliced it up and mixed it with the egg. Then put between two slices of wholemeal bread. I worked out that it cost me about £1.50 and it was miles better than the pre-packed cack. Tidy.
There is a certain website which is an online encyclopedia. Having said that I use the term 'encyclopedia' loosely as it is massively flawed and the moderators on there think they are some form of higher beings that have some sort of super powers. Personally I think they are tosspot losers that haven't got anything or anywhere in life. Yes ok I have it in for them a little due to my article being rejected but they tried to ban me a few weeks ago for posting this:
'''The Rambuncta''' -
The Rambuncta family of Dinosaurs is a newly discovered species of Dinosaur which was uncovered by the great exploration duo of Admiral Ohhmetatie Coulton and Captain Benjamin Leary during a recent expedition of Bootle Fell.
During the expedition of 15.10.10 (which was carried out on the HMS Gulfstream) three species were found.
Thought to be around 40ft in height and weighing quite a lot, this monster was considered to be the hardest of all Dinosaurs. Routinely eating T.rexs for breakfast followed by a full English and a cup of Chi Tea.
The only one of the three that could fly this creature could reach altitudes of 20,000 ft and had a top speed of 800mph. It was armoured with spikes protruding from either wing and had a tail like a fish. Also, strangely it had a machine gun barrel sticking out of its neck. Although no evidence of bullets were found during the expedition.
This beastie is where the name Rambuncta comes from as this was considered to be a rather Rambunctious character. Noisy, flamboyant and rampant the Rambunctercecerops spent most of its time running around screaming and shouting with its junk hanging out. It also had a major sweet tooth for Worcestershire sauce flavoured Walkers crisps.
The three species of Rambuncta were all prominent in the Rambunction Junction area of Bootle Fell. No other species have yet been found at this time.
YEAH GO ON - PROVE TO ME THEY DIDN'T EXIST.
Egg production has finally picked up, which is excellent news. It seems the flock had gone off the lay for longer than usual. Perhaps due to another extremely cold winter. Maybe the hens suffer from SAD. I'm beginning to think I do too. The lighter mornings/nights are creeping back and the temperature has (or had) risen slightly - which has certainly helped my mood.
One, one, one, one, one!
Hits have taken a serious nose dive recently - I can't complain. It is my own fault for not writing more often. Looking at my data for the past few months I can say that if I could bring myself to engineer a certain type of pan then I could make a lot of money. I keep getting people looking on the site for a certain type of pan for cooking eggs in. I've looked in to it - and there isn't one. Anywhere!
I know how to do it though! I'm not really interested in going on Dragons Den at the moment (too busy) but if anyone out there has some spare cash (to make a prototype) and an inclination to make a small fortune - give me a shout. We should talk. I can see now why firms pay for market research.
Also, to the person that googled 'Wordsworth in Bootle Cumbria' - I wonder what you think about me calling him a prick? I didn't much care for his 'work' anyway.
EARTHQUAKE ROCKS BOOTLE HENS
What is going on? Major snow and cold weather is one thing - then an earthquake? What next? Nothing hopefully.
A loss today at Bootle Hens. Triple H reports that he found a hen beak down and inside out today. Poor thing must have been pushing so hard to lay an egg for us that it shit itself inside-out. Respect going out to one of the family for long service and a most valiant effort, alas in vain.
Very poor egg production of late. Cold weather and dark days not pleasing our flock. However the Cream Legbar hen is still pumping them out. One blue egg every day. Good lass. All my customers are whinging about the lack of eggs. Sorry everyone but our gals need a rest. I could make them lay all year round if I wanted but I'm not fighting against nature. Your gain would be their loss. You would get more eggs but they would die younger. No win situation in my eyes.
Just got back from Connecticut. Had a fantastic time. I just want to say a special thanks to my good friends Andrew and Rose and their son Harry ( top karting champ - F1 racer in the making http://www.crpracing.com/harrycoulton.html ) for looking after us yet again and making another US trip special.
BEST OF LUCK TO MY MAIN MAN IN CONNECTICUT FOR THE 2011 FLORIDA WINTER TOUR.
8 YEARS OLD AND GIVING 11 YEAR OLDS A RUDE AWAKENING. A STARK REMINDER THAT AGE MEANS NOTHING. HARRY COULTON - NERVES OF STEEL AND THE MANNERS OF A GENTLEMAN. AND EVEN THOUGH HE SPORTS THE STARS AND STRIPES, I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT HE'S ENGLISH REALLY!
Found out today I am going to be a Dad! Seriously - I'm not kidding. And what you read below it the truth. These two news events were not concocted to make me or my eggs look clever!
No word of a lie, our eggs have been getting loads of people pregnant lately. From my mate Coop having twins to Gav, Tony and Royce from work getting their partners up the duff all in the space of 3 months. All of whom, and their partners, ate our eggs.
I've since stopped eating them.
Just lately I've stopped buying meat from 'super' markets. I'm not really allowed to mention any names but take it from me - supermarket meat is pretty damn poor. Piss poor in fact. Just the other week we bought a pack of beef which was ready cut to go in a stir fry. I chucked it in the pan with nothing more than a splash of oil and you should have seen the amount of water that came out of it. I could have dived in to my wok and gone for a swim. The meat was also tasteless, very bland.
I'm not trying to ride on the back of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'River Cottage Everyday' here but I'm not buying that shite from the supermarket anymore.
I've been visiting my local butchers more often lately, those who know me will guess that I'm talking about Willie Bewley of Bootle. I have no affilation with anyone or anything when it comes to spending money so I'm not giving credit where it isn't due but seriously, his butchers shop is the business. He and his staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful. Nothing is too much trouble.
Unlike another local butcher I visited who resides a little further north...
'Hi I'd like some minced beef please, I'm making lasagne'
'Oh well done. How much?'
'Just enough to make lasagne for four'
'That doesn't help me'
'Well enough to make four decent portions'
'I don't know how much you eat do I?'
'No but you must have a rough idea as to how much I need?'
'Not really, everyone eats different amounts'
'Family butcher my arse'
If I was running a business of which the sole purpose was to make my living by selling produce to the public I certainly wouldn't be adopting that approach. Unless my main aim was to go bankrupt.
If Bootle Hens had an online encyclopedia page, it would have read as such:
Bootle Hens is a website set up by Gary 'Blakes' Blakeney, in December 2006. The website was created around the hens kept (in Bootle, Cumbria) by Gary and his Father - Head Hen Honcho Jeff.
The significance of this article is founded by its connection to other significant articles on ********* and also its popularity given its large amount of visitors in relation to Blakeney and his home village of Bootleís relative unknown status. It can also be mentioned that the website is a valuable educational resource in the promotion of modern day poultry keeping.
The website itself contains information on hens / eggs in general as well as detailed information about his own flock. Visitors to the site can read the latest news from down at Bootle Hens as well as snippets about what 'Blakes' has been busy with in a blog style format.
The site content is humour based and more recently the site has been angled towards Blakeney's up and coming debut novel entitled 'The Apprentice' which is a story loosely based on his own encounters as a young Apprentice. Again, Blakeney tells the story from a humorous point of view as the high jinxed story unfolds.
Due to the humorous nature of the site viewers can see a disclaimer on the main page warning them that several swear words can be found as well as pictures of dead animals.
Since creation, the site is reported to have had over a quarter of a millions hits and has had visitors from UK, US, Sweden, Poland, Canada, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Finland, Denmark and Australia.
Initial creation of the site was inspired by Blakeney's desire to create a website (as a total HTML novice) and after the publication of an article he wrote in the News & Star newspaper and website and later the Guardian newspaper website.
Other notable facts are that Blakeneyís name appears in the inlay booklet for Frankmusikís debut album ĎComplete Meí
Within the website Blakeney is pictured with David Rooney (of Barmy Army fame) as Rooney is one of Bootle Hens famed customers along with Whitehaven Rugby League star, Spencer Miller, a former Scotland International. Cumbrian great Milton Huddart is also a past customer, spawning from Blakeney being one of his former apprentices.
*********Sadly the online encyclopedia website doesn't see the article as 'significant' and have subsequently deleted it. Twice.**************
Well thanks a bunch 'England'. The three lions must have been tranquilised. What a load of shite.
Andy, one of our favourite and regular customers spotted this from a vantage point near our HQ:
Right. We are back in business again and lets kick off with a patriotic picture from Bootle Hens HQ:
I've recently been working on a review section for the site. For example I recently requested a TEFAL toast n egg machine for review. They kindly sent me one along, which I tested out. Review with pictures to follow asap.
The review section is basically a page or two where you can read reviews of egg/chicken related items and maybe even non related items depending on what I can get my grubby little mitts on!
I've been getting verbally abused at work for not updating the site. No - really! More through disappointment though tbh (to be honest - get with it, its all ABV these days. Which is not good imo - in my opinion!)
Newspapers, the best or the worst 40p you will ever spend? Want the facts? Crosswords, Sudoku, Currency, Temperatures, Shares, Sports results, Horse/Dog racing results - Yes.
But do you also want wide spread panic? Do you want to feel guilty? Welcome to the widespread propaganda machine that you buy and possibly believe - every day.
I'm not getting all serious on you all of a sudden, but shouldn't we have all died from bird flu about..... 2 years ago? Point? Yeah, lets turn a mole hill into a mountain and hopefully you will buy it. After all, everybody just wants our money anyway.
Happy new year everyone. I hope you all had a good xmas and are looking forward to a prosperous new year. I'm sure that you'll all be pleased to hear that the DFS sale is back on after its annual day off (Xmas day)
Similarly you may be interested to know that scientists have confirmed that only 3 things could survive a nuclear war:
3) The DFS sale.
Apologies for the total lack of updates lately, some may notice that the site was down for around 2 weeks. My hosting package expired and although it was meant to take automatic payment it didn't and subsequently the good folk at 123-reg.co.uk binned all my files. Needless to say it was a total PITA (Pain In The Arse) to get it sorted out. How annoying.
Can you believe how pissing cold it is? Brrrrrrrrr. I can't ever remember it being this cold. EVER. Head Hen Honcho Jeff has been having to smash the ice off the Hens water dishes each morning to ensure they have access to fresh drinking water. As ever, with the cold temperatures and lack of daylight egg production has gone down (as to be expected) but our ex-battery hens are doing us proud and are still laying. As for the toffee nosed, stuck up pure bred hens, well they can't be arsed!
Also, just a quick message to the tosser(s) who keep letting their dog(s) defecate outside my garage - I hope you slip on the ice and land in a huge pile of STEAMING DOG SHIT. Seriously, if you can't pick up your dogs mess - you shouldn't have a dog. Its pretty much as simply as that. Oooooh I'd love to find out who it is. At the very least it would be a case of 'return to sender'.
Very wet at Bootle Hens after it has been battered by severe rain. Luckily we have mobile hen huts with Harris fencing so HHH Jeff has been able to move them around to save the hens from wallowing in mud. Its always better to be able to rotate so to save the ground and ensure the Hens have grass.
I've had several of my photos published on Google Maps:
Not much cool stuff going on to be honest. I've got a new egg outlet since I moved jobs, naturally they all love them and the hens can't lay them fast enough. I work with some really cool people now and I like to think that the feeling is mutual. Top guys. I'm happy to think that I could be spending a lot of my career with them. There's this one guy who likes pigeon racing and hound trailing but I wouldn't hold it against him, each to their own, that's what I say.
Forever respected for making an impact on me (not the way he would have liked though).... Ha ha!
Whether you are aware or not - I'm am doing the Great North Run next month. I am running for Cancer Research UK. PLEASE could you spare a few quid and sponsor me, you can do it here:
Went down south last week, heres a couple of pictures of me at the Crown & Cushion hotel in Chipping Norton (just outside Oxford). It was once owned by Keith Moon of the Who. I was chuffed about staying there, it was going to be one of the legs of the Bootle Hens tour. Crown & Cushion - done.
Theres a really good album out right now called 'Complete Me' by Frankmusik. I especially think its cool because my name is printed in the back of the inlay booklet. So that makes me kinda cool too. Well, I think so anyway! If you haven't heard of Frankmusik I'm sure you will have heard his stuff because its all over the TV/Radio at the moment.
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me. 30 years old. Still not a millionaire. Suppose I'll have to go back to work then eh. Thanks to my friends for all the messages on Facebook. Also I emailed Bill Legend (former T.Rex drummer in the early 1970's) and he got back to me today. I was really pleased about that. He's a real nice guy and it was nice that he took the time to get back to me. Cheers Bill! Bill put together a website featuring some old photo's from his personal collection, which was really great to see.
I'm back in training for the great north run after a short (ok, quite long) break. A few weeks back I stood on a nail so that put me out for a week or so. And then like a total pillock, at my Girlfriends birthday party I managed to fall off a stool I was dancing on, dressed as Maximus Decimus Meridius (Gladiator.) I had a replica metal helmet on and a real replica gladius hanging from my waist. Damn it hurt. Anyway, needless to say I hurt my back and couldn't train for a couple more weeks. What a tool...
What great weather we've had lately. You really have to make the most of it in this country. One minute your sweating like hell saying its too hot, the next its pissing down and you would have never thought you were complaining that its too hot!
Not too long ago my web host upgraded their package. Part of this was an improved web stats program which tells me all sorts. I've had visitors from UK, US, Australia, Czech Republic and France all in the past week. Total hits since going live are over a quarter of a million. I can see what people are typing in on search engines to get to this site, not surprisingly its mainly about hens. More surprisingly a lot of people end up on this site after searching for guns! That will be because there is a little bit on this site featuring my guns and shooting. Anyway, just to try and satisfy some of the popular search questions:
* You can cross any breed of hen - it doesn't matter. A friend of mine has a Silky / Buff Orpington cross - it looks pretty weird! I will try and get a picture.
* If you are just wanting hens purely for laying eggs to eat yourself I wouldn't bother getting fancy pure bred birds. You can get ISA browns (typical brown, farmyard hens) for as little as 50p a bird and they lay loads of eggs.
* You will find that some of your hens may turn their beak up to layers pellets if you have already been feeding them on fancy household scraps and corn etc. If you'd been eating Caviar you'd be pissed off going back to beans on toast.
* Welsummers are good layers but in my experience Hybrids lay better than Pure breeds like Welsummer, Buff Orpington, Marans etc.
* Bootle is in Cumbria http://www.bootlehens.co.uk/bootle.htm but there is one in Merseyside too
* Cream Legbars lay blue eggs and are an 'auto' sexing breed. This means that when they hatch you can tell what sex the chick is by its colour. The cockerel (male) is a cream colour with the Pullet (female) having a darker down.
For those that have viewed the page about me ( Blakes ) I have added a 'taster' at the bottom of the page, from one of my novels which is entitled 'The Apprentice'. Any feedback will be welcomed.
I'm sure that most people have some kind of list of things they would like to do/achieve before they 'clock off' (cluck off?!) I have a (unrealistically) large list of things. One of them was making a website ( .... website .... check) which was relatively easy, cheaper (cheeper?) and less time consuming in comparison to some of the others. One of the more unrealistic and seriously doubtful ones (you have to have some optimism right?) was to become a millionaire by the age of 30. Just over a month to achieve that one then! Some of the others:
Write a novel (I'm trying)
Climb Scafell Pike (I only live 30 minutes away from it whats my excuse?!)
Do the Great North Run (why haven't you sponsored me yet?)
Embark on the Bootle Hens tour (scroll way, way down this page or if you are clever you could ctrl+F and search for it)
There are many more and I have achieved several goals already. I think we need goals. Football teams do.
Owning a Land Rover Defender was not one of them but never the less here it is:
What an absolute graft machine it is. Really, what a tool. It can take everything I can throw at it. Except Clutch and power steering fluid which it insists on weeping out albeit not too drastically.
Also, meet Bonzo our new (ish) pet Rabbit. He's cool.
My girlfriend said I'm too immature and
if I don't grow up it's going to erect a barrier between us.
Tell you what though, here is a bit of advice for you...
For anyone interested in Stalking (Deer, not celebrities) then I would recommend these two deer stalking websites for you to peruse...
For the North of England:
For the South:
I can vouch that both are professional, friendly & dedicated.
Today I've decided to do a review. My review is on my latest lawn mower.
Over the past few years I've had problems getting myself a suitable lawn mower. My 1st ever mower was won for non less than 99p on eBay and was a Hayter Hayterette petrol mower. It was a decent runner at the time but was very primitive. It didn't collect grass so it wasn't too great for the lawn but did ok cutting around my veg patches. That was until I left it stood for ages, then I had a real job getting it going again. In fact that much of a job I *cringe* attached my power drill to the rotor spindle and spun it round with the drill until it fired. I was rather pleased that it choked in to life and that my idea had worked. Sadly I hadn't thought of what to do in the event of the engine starting, baring in mind that a corded electric drill was attached. Needless to say the mower ended up running flat out, my drill spinning round at a rate of knots, all the while the cord getting twisted and tangled. Thankfully I managed to pull the HT lead off the mowers spark plug without decapitating myself. And luckily my girlfriend and her sister had the sense to take cover when the drill (complete with bent chuck) snapped the top of the rotor shaft clean off, resulting in them slamming into the wall!
My second mower, a Qualcast Suffolk Punch 35 S is no good for my current lawn as it is at a lower level than the surrounding block paving. And with it having a front collection box I can't cut right up to the lawn edges.
With my latest mower, I wasn't sure about an electric mower but with my lawn not being that big I thought it would be worth a try. Especially for a tenner off a former colleague! Now I wasn't sure what I was getting until he brought it too me. But for a tenner I thought cluck it, lets give it a shot. Enter the Flymo Mow 'n' Vac.
The Mow n Vac is a hover mower that vacuums up the grass. The whole thing is quite small. When I first started using it it took about 15 seconds to get pissed off with the fact that I had a cable to watch out for. Oh and for those that don't know - if your using electrical equipment outside then make sure it is backed up by an RCD protective device. Seriously, it could save your life..... So I started mowing away, instantly realising that it was struggling with the long grass (fair enough, it was rather long) and also that there wasn't much point in mowing in any sequence with it being a hover type mower, so I was just giving my lawn a skinhead. I must say that the mower 'hovered' quite well but I also must say that with it being so small, coupled with the fact it sounded and acted a bit like a vacuum cleaner, I just didn't feel like a man whilst using it. When my girlfriend came out to ask me if I was 'putting the freshness back' I cringed and had a sneaky look over my shoulder to see if Jenny Logan was following behind me firing scented white power all over the place (you may want to Google Jenny Logan to see who she is if you don't get me). Another point to make is that the breakfast cereal bowls in my kitchen cupboard hold more than the grass box does. BUT... all in all it cuts well, moves well and is quite easy to store. This mower has its uses but I think I'm still searching for my perfect mower. Preferably one that doesn't make me feel like a bit of a fairy!
Has been rather nice lately hasn't it? See below. I was up at 4am this morning. Luckily it was nice again. Just a bit of morning mist and morning dew kicking about. Why was I up at 4am? I was escorting a good friend of Bootle Hens around some land for deer stalking. I must say, its quite amazing how quiet it is at that time of the day. No traffic, no people, its pretty much you and mother nature. In three hours I saw none less than 3 Roe Deer, several Canada Geese, numerous cock and hen Pheasants, a hand full of Wood Pigeon, two ducks and a grey squirrel. All survived. That's all I'm saying. It was great to be out there, I must have walked six miles all in all. My feet are as sore as hell. Can't have helped that I ran 7 miles yesterday, BEFORE going to work for an 8.5 hour shift. No wonder they call me the 'Machine'. Ha!
Shall we talk about the weather?
Note to self. I must keep writing stuff on here. Mustn't lose interest. Ah bollocks... its gone.
Wow, how shit am I? I haven't been drivelling on here for ages! It appears that people are still checking the site out so I thought I'd be a decent chap and add some content for my die hard, hard core.
The only notable news I have (non hen related albeit) is that I am partaking in this year Great north run which is just a slack 13.10 miles. Let me just get one thing straight though - I am NOT a runner. I am NOT exactly at physical peak for my age either. I used to be at the back with all the fatties at school when we did cross country. Well, that was until I perfected my asthma attack routine anyway.
"Come on Gary you are lucky to be out here in the fresh air getting some exercise instead of being stuck in a classroom doing something boring"
Hell Sir, I'd rather be climbing the walls with boredom and trying to chew my own ears off than be out in the freezing cold getting covered in shit and breathing through my own arsehole.
I didn't actually say that, hence the lack of speech marks. Although I once got a full detention for informing my PE teacher that he had snot running down his beard. Apparently he had "never been so insulted" in his life. Kin 'ell! I thought I was doing him a favour. I still can't get my head round that to this day. Full detentions weren't taken lightly in our house so thanks a bunch snotbeard.
Anyway..... I'm running for Cancer research UK. I don't think I need to introduce this charity or tell any of you about it. I need to raise £400 for them and I hoping that I won't need to end up begging people for money to meet this target. I've never asked for sponsorship as an adult but I have given plenty to other people over the years so now its my turn.
I've already started training. You may see me out on the roads a fair bit at the moment. And when I'm not driving around in my car you might see me running! My good lady is also doing the Great north run. She has bought herself one of them GPS watches - Garmin forerunner. Its a good bit of kit and at £130 it should be. But I have personally opted for a Casio digital watch which set me back a palpitation inducing £7.99. On a serious note though - its waterproof, has a stop watch and tells the time. That coupled with the use of a superb website I was told about ( www.mapmyrun.co.uk which is now known as www.mapometer.com ) I really have no need for £130 GPS watches. The only thing I'm missing out on is knowing my heart rate. But to be frank, when you are as shit as I am at running (don't be put off from sponsoring me though!) I'm perfectly aware that my heart is trying to pump itself inside out!
Please drop me a line if you would like to sponsor me. Thanks.
Wow, Christmas eve 2008! The year is nearly over. It seems to have gone quite fast. In fact time seems to go by faster and faster each year. Perhaps I shouldn't wish time away, like various people have said to me over the years. I think they are right. My thoughts go out to those who are no longer with us, and their families. As I get older I see more and more people leave us, which is a sad fact of life. I guess it makes me appreciate life that little bit more.
Anyway I hope you all really enjoy your Christmas. I am feeling especially festive right now. I've tracked Santa on Google Maps - he's in Afghanistan right now (I'm not pulling your leg) so I hope he doesn't forget Britain's finest. You are the best.
I'm in such a good mood I'm letting the kids have hot water in the bath, I've filled up the Mrs's car with white diesel and we are using WRAPPING paper this year instead of newspaper. Oh the joys!
ALL THE BEST, FOR TODAY, FOR TOMORROW, FOREVER.
Well its that time of year again. Xmas is almost upon us. A time for giving, a time for receiving. A time for having some time off work for us lucky ones. Which brings me to my point, something I have felt strongly about for some time - The UK armed forces. I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for members, past and present, of any UK armed force. You all make me proud and I take my hat off to each and every one of you. Whether you are 16 or 60, whether you fix tanks, drive tanks, fix people, train people, are signals, support, pull the trigger or flick the switch - anything - I think you are all great and are making us all proud. Please do not think that you are not appreciated. You are doing something that most won't and you are doing a great job. My thoughts especially go out to those that are 'on tour' over Xmas.
RESPECT TO EACH AND ALL. PAST AND PRESENT.
I'm having no luck lately. Especially where my car is concerned. In a nutshell there is a certain VW dealership whom are based near Workington are a bunch of robbing useless bastards of the highest order. I'm not going to type the full scenario out on here but if you want to read the gist of it then you can look here... http://www.vagweb.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8678
Somebody has kindly smashed my drivers side car wing mirror to pieces - thanks for that. I hope that it happens to you and you have to fork out £150 to get it fixed. Didn't you know there's a credit crunch going on and a recession looming? May fortune shit on you.
The index page (main page of the site) has been updated if you hadn't noticed.
Also, got an email from a friend of Bootle Hens today - Adrian who is out in Qatar grafting his eggs off. He's out there as some kind of Jonny big cigar manager overseeing some of the major construction work that's going on over there. Oh and more importantly he's punting Bootle Hens out there too...
Yes you are not mistaken, that is a Hummer H3. I pay my agents well. Sure does kick the arse out of the Pajero that advertised Bootle Hens in Frizington! If you aren't sure what I'm on about then scroll way, way down and see for yourself. Good work Adrian, will be slipping you half a dozen very soon. Eggs.
Apologies to Candy, here is her splendid piece of work that she kindly shipped me over from the US of A...
You can't deny it - that is proper cool as cluck. Thanks again Candy. Be sure to check out here site at www.zazzle.com/graphicdoodles - its ace. And I promised her I would send her over a typically British style mug. And although I've been apologising an awful lot lately I do not break promises so Candy if you are reading this - I will be sending you one. I haven't forgotten! Its just lately I've been a bit of a useless clucker!
I must apologise for the total and utter
lack of news for the past few months. I have had various problems with
computers (heres a good bit of advice for you - don't get Windows Vista
its a pile of shite), I've moved house.... I could give you a list of
reasons (not excuses - reasons are genuine, excuses generally are not)
but I won't bore you.
Well well well egg fans. Its been a while. I've finally retrieved the lost files which means I am now able to update the site again. That in itself is most excellent news, I'm sure you will agree. To be honest (as I always am) there isn't any news regarding our few hens, at all. I could have made something up but I'm too honest of a guy to pull stunts like that.
I am proud to say that the site has now had just over 50,000 hits since going live in December 2006!
Brother Marc's leg is still on the mend.
I managed to get Head Hen Honcho Jeff's new egg wagon (van) stuck in the field whilst he and chief egg washer Gail were away on holiday. Oops! It doesn't look so bad now, at first the grass looked like a tank had been doing doughnuts on it! Thanks to my mate Phil for dropping by and pushing me out!
We are going to begin preparation for getting some ducks soon. Although the website shall not change its name. www.bootlehensandducks.co.uk would look crap wouldn't it?
Hi folks! Just thought I would post a picture on here of Marc's leg for all to see.
******* Not for the weak stomached ***************
Although saying that its just a la'al bit of bruising... !
Brother Marc has broken his leg in a work accident. He has broken his femur in seven places after a concrete slab fell upon his left leg. Thoughts are with him right now after being holed up in Lancaster Infirmary since Thursday 17.1.08. Get well soon bro. Here is a pic of Marc from last summer when we were doing some groundwork down at Bootle Hens...
A few weeks back I sold my Benelli Nova pump action shotgun to a guy from Bath. He came all the way up by car to get the gun. Charlie turned out to be a top chap and it was a pleasure to deal with him. He bought the gun to take over to Bosnia for some boar hunting. I asked him if he could email me some pictures on his return, and true to his word he sent me some this morning. Here is one of Charlie holding his new (my old) Benelli Nova with one of his 5 trophies. One of which was a 26 stone beast!
WARNING - DEAD PICS!
Merry Xmas to you all. I've just been looking at the stats for the site and can report that there has been 45,000 hits so far to date. I also noticed that 6 people looked on the site on Xmas day! Fancy that!
Well for the second time in Bootle Hens history the site was temporarily suspended before the end of the month. On the 24th November my web hosts emailed me to say that I had exceeded my bandwidth quota for the month. This basically means that the site had too many hits and had exceeded the bandwidth that I have paid for! For November the site had 7181 hits - the highest ever in a month!
This evening I went shooting on some land in Bootle. I set out two plastic crow decoys and sat waiting in my hide for crows flying in to roost. After a short while I could see a bird coming in so I readied myself with my trusty over and under shotgun, hiding in wait for it to be close enough to take a shot at. As it approached I could tell that it wasn't a crow or any other type of corvid so I put my gun down. It was a Buzzard. It circled my decoys directly above them twice and then all of a sudden dive bombed in to one of the decoys. It thumped in to the plastic with its talons, knocking the decoy sideways on impact. The Buzzard stood there looking rather perplexed. It even looked all around itself, its head turning in 180 degrees. Almost as if it was making sure nobody had seen what had just happened through embarrassment. Well I had seen it, I was gob smacked. Sat peering through the camouflage netting at this Buzzard that was merely standing 20 yards away from me. My amazement was short lived though, as the Buzzards presence must have attracted some of Bootle's Carrion crow population. Two flew towards the Buzzard like they were going to attack it. As they came into range I opened fire hitting one straight on, making it look like it had just flew into a wall of glass. The other turned sharply, flying away. The Buzzard took off the instant the shot was fired, flapping its big old wings as fast as it could to get away from the situation. It was certainly an experience for both the Buzzard and I.
Apologies for the lack of news. Not that anyone has been complaining. There isn't much in the line of interesting news to report. My cockerel Marcellus has sadly passed away. He was born 21.7.05 so his life was cut way too short. He lived fast and died young. Like Kurt Cobain said in his suicide note - its better to burn out than fade away. And lets face it, blowing your own head right off with a shotgun couldn't be any further away from fading away. For the record Marcellus didn't take his own life, he had a genetic defect which got worse as he got older. With this in mind he was going to be no good to breed from. Unfortunately he died as a result of his defect about 10 days ago. A minutes clucking was observed in Chicken farms across the country.
I received an email from someone who told me that I do have too much time on my hands. Thats the last time I do a reference for you Alan!
Today I went clay shooting with Phil and Gav. Just to keep Gav happy I shall tell you that he won. Phil and I were joint second.
Gav says that for all the people whom he knows that view this site, they all say that I must have too much time on my hands by updating it all the time.
Stats for this month say that this month has seen the fewest visits since Feb this year. Poor. And if it wasn't for my Mum looking who knows how many hits I would have had.
Not much news on the Hen scene. Head Hen Honcho Jeff has secured a second hand Eglu for a good price. If you don't know what they are - http://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/shop.php?cat=Eglu They look like funky computer monitors to me.
I've just cracked open a bottle of Sloe Gin which I started in November last year. Sloes courtesy of the hedge rows of Bootle Hens. Rather nice it is too. I shall be picking a load more Sloes soon as they are beginning to grow.
Been nearly a month now so I thought I'd write something even though I have nothing to say. Still ain't getting any feedback from readers. Still getting junk emails so I have cunningly changed the email address on the home page as an experiment. Have a look at the bottom of the homepage (the one that comes up when you type www.bootlehens.co.uk if you didn't know). That way my email address can't be picked up automatically by a program. Well, in theory. I'll let you know Mum. Coz I think your the only one who reads this nowadays as your the only one who gives me feedback. You can always depend on your mum can't you?
Unless, of course, she is a hopeless alcoholic or something. And mine isn't by the way.
Its my birthday! And I've just been told off by my mother for what was in the last paragraph of news below! So I've edited it. Apparently I was lowering the tone. I thought it was funny!
Hello....? Is anybody there? Does anybody read what I write? I know the statistics state that (apparently) plenty of people view this site, with this page being the most popular.
But could someone please email me and say something to me... anything? Apart from, that is - all of the people that have been spamming me (to tell it how it is - sending me emails I don't want) by way of emails to the tune of 'Viagra 400mg lowest price', 'Extent your penis - guaranteed', 'Get women into your bed, the easy way', 'Give me $1 and I'll tell you how to make $1 Million' - Oh yeah, I'll tell 1 million people to give me $1 for me to tell them to do the same. Why didn't I think of that?
Oh well, that's what I get for putting Bootle Hens stickers on random lamp posts and bus shelters!
Brother Marc has bought himself a Falcon FN19 pre-charged pneumatic air rifle. Its got a massive 3-9 X 50 scope on it, and also laser dot sight. It has a silencer fitted and is a multi shot repeater. Meaning you only have to cock the bolt to fire again, until the magazine runs out. It is a really good gun, its going to look really smart sat in the corner of his room collecting the dust.
Head Hen Honcho Jeff has put a stop to my shotgunning down at Bootle Hens because of the dogs that are now living there. Air rifle hunting is obviously far less likely to scare them so that's alright.
I would like to give a special mention to the youngest consumer of Bootle Hens eggs on record. A big, massive HIYA to Kyle from Seaton who is 2 years old. Kyle is Tentpeg's nephew and he tells me that Kyle is one cool little dude. He's even cooler now that he eats our eggs. Good lad.
As I type this (20:37) the site has had 21350 hits since going live. I've always said that I'm extremely pleased about how many hits I've had. I've been made aware that I have several regulars that come and check this section out (Hi!) every other day or so. That's great. But what disappoints me is the lack of feedback I get. I never seem to get emails from strangers, good or bad. No emails saying 'Saw the sticker - great site' or even 'Saw your sticker - get a life'. I know there is only so much you can write about chickens, so I'm trying to branch out a bit.
Since our last outing together, Tentpeg - a good friend of Bootle Hens, has agreed to try his hand at Sea fishing with me. I got to thinking why spend loads of money on a fresh water license to catch and eat Trout and perhaps one of the dwindling numbers of Salmon when I can go beach casting for £0 and possibly catch Sea Bass, Cod etc - which I absolutely love to eat. I'm a massive sea food fan. So stay tuned for that.
Also on the agenda later on this year is Bootle Hens tour of southern England. I am planning on teaming up with brother Marc and going darn sarth on a tour. We plan on chipping (not chirping) in together on a Bootle Hens bus - which will be a cheap car that we can plaster in www.bootlehens.co.uk stickers and visit various famous locations and take photos of the car and generally do a bit of sight seeing all the while promoting the site and keeping the site up to date as we progress the tour. We are thinking of getting sponsors to help us on our journey.
If you look on the Produce and Info section of the site you will see a picture of Madge the greyhound. She is one of head hen honcho Jeff's retired greyhounds. Well anyway, she now lives down at Bootle Hens along with the latest of Jeff's retired flying machines, James. Ok, Madge and James are pretty shit names for dogs, agreed. BUT - they were the easiest to choose. With greyhounds they have a racing name, and a pet name (if you want them to have one that is). Madge was known on the track as 'Magical Power' hence Madge. James went by the name 'James Flames'. Anyway, they are both down at Bootle Hens now and not a peep from that horrible bushy tailed hen snatching bitch b@stard from hell. Oh, that's the fox by the way.
I've had an email from my web hosts saying that my bandwidth is running low and that I need to give them more money to be able to post more pictures/content on the site. Unfortunately I have only sold one mug out of the merchandise range and that is nowhere near enough to purchase more space on that great, world wide web of knowledge and power. That coupled with the fact that Bootle Hens have taken a 50% hit in stock loss means that things really could be better at the moment.
BAD, BAD NEWS from down at Bootle Hens. Disaster in fact. FOX ATTACK! Actually I should say FOX ATTACKS because the sneaky, bushy tailed b@stard has been not once, not twice but THREE times in the last week.
Casualties are thought to number around 12. And as always, Mr. Fox has good taste, taking the majority of our finest stock. All four chicks that brother Marc hatched out were killed and left dead. Des the Buff Orpington cockerel has been snaffled along with three of the Buff hens that I hatched. Some of our rescued hens have been taken (admittedly they weren't our finest).
I must admit I am rather brassed off about the whole thing. We've had a Fox take the odd hen or two in the past but this is taking the, well, taking the hens I guess. I understand that this is just nature and the Fox likely has young to feed (no doubt they will all grow up and come back to Bootle Hens for a right good old feast) - but it must be a fair size family. Either that or its just one greedy mother clucker. The thing that boils my piddle the most is the fact that it killed and just left the carcasses on the ground. Isn't that blatant unmotivated murder?
It is times like these I wished I never owned and adored a Basil Brush hat as a small child. Right now Basil Brush and all of his relatives are on the Bootle Hens hit list.
Aside the fox attacks latest news is that there have been no more submissions for the Chicks with Chickens experiment which is disappointing to say the least.
Other news, I am branching out in to the pickled egg market. Even though Egg production has gone down by nearly 50%. Watch this space.
Oh well, even though I've had over 6000 hits for May alone - still no more takers for the Chicks with Chickens experiment. I'll leave it running a bit longer just in case. Its not that I'm desperate or anything.
I have come across this link http://www.gadling.com/2007/05/09/how-to-carry-a-chicken-around-the-world/ which shows various methods of transporting chickens. Some people might not like the images by the way!
Well the experiment has been running for 10 days now. I have to say, I am delighted to say that I have a picture to post.
Many thanks to Tanya from South Yorkshire! This reinforces the FACT that attractive ladies DO keep chickens!
Keep 'em coming ladies. The more we get the more we make our point! Please remember, this is not a competition, merely research. You will not be judged!
Tanya - if you would like a Bootle Hens bookmark then just drop me a line! Cheers!
The other week at work, I was talking to a bunch of people about hens when one of my team leaders piped up "There won't be any fit women who keep hens, no chance". Now don't ask me how we got on to the subject of whether there is any attractive women out there that keep chickens, but I bet him that there will be. So please, please if there are any attractive ladies out there that have anything to do with chickens please would you be so kind as to email me email@example.com a picture of yourself with your hens. Please, this is NOT some corny way for me to meet women (I'm spoken for - sorry ladies) its just that there is nothing better (apart from my eggs) than proving your boss wrong.
COME ON LADIES, SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT. NAME, LOCATION & PICTURE (IT WILL BE POSTED ON HERE BY THE WAY).
BOOTLE HENS - CHICKS WITH CHICKENS EXPERIMENT. THE FIRST FEW LADIES WILL RECEIVE A BOOTLE HENS BOOKMARK! HELL YEAH!
I had a heavy duty session with the boys in Carlisle last night to celebrate my mate Gav's birthday.
A big Bootle Hens happy birthday to Gavin. He is 31 and in the best shape ever (!) although saying that between ten of us we managed to sup 72 cans of Carlsberg Export. And that was before we hit the town. So perhaps he isn't in such good shape today. I know I'm not! One of the only people I know that can be bright as a button the day after the night before is Bowdy. How do you do it? I gotta respect that.
Upon entering a nightclub I bumped in to a lad I know who happened to be DJ-ing at the club. He gave me a bottle of bubbly which was very good of him. It went down a treat and I got to swagger around the club like Jonny Big Cigar! So a big Bootle Hens shout out to DJ Simon K - thanks Simon. I appreciate what you did and a Bootle Hens bookmark will be finding its way to you shortly.
Actually I'm not giving shout outs, I'm going to give out 'Clucks' instead. So a big 'Cluck' goes out to Simon. If anybody wants 'Clucked' then be nice to me in some way, shape or form and I will 'Cluck' you and give you a book mark.
GET CLUCKED WITH BOOTLE HENS.
One of my friends phoned me today. I hadn't heard from him in about 4 weeks. I asked "Why haven't you rang me in ages?" to which he replied "If I want to know what you've been up to I just log on to your website."
Great, so none of my mates phone me now because of this website! Actually I was expecting them all to take the piss out of me for doing it but they didn't! They like it! Mind you - who doesn't *smirk*
And one from outside...
couldn't shoot a barn door from 10 yards but I'll kick your arse at hide
He said "Its nice to know that the fellow standing next to you in the
pub might actually have a sense of humour." Good comment, like it.
Apologies for the lack of news egg fans. I have been extra busy of late.
I'm afraid to say that one of our 'rescued' hens has chipped out (died). Sometimes when these birds are rescued from poor conditions they just can't handle the good life as it were. They just can't adjust. Also sad news at home, one of our two remaining goldfish - Dubs died sometime during last night. Its rather annoying really, I'm on a water meter at home so Christ knows how much the extra flush is going to cost me. I might have to put up the price of my eggs. Joking!
A true landmark for the site... over ten thousand hits since going live at the very end of last year.
Who would have thought that a site about hens in a small village that hardly anyone has heard of would generate so much interest? It must be my popularity and writing skills eh?!?
4 chicks have hatched (out of 16 eggs) which is a bit disappointing. At least it is better than none or one! We have two cream legbar hens which will eventually provide us with blue shelled eggs. The other two are Buff Orpington crosses, it will be interesting to see how they turn out. Pictures to follow soon...
Managed to shoot a crow. First blood for the Benelli pump action.
This morning brother Marc reported chirping coming from the incubator. They should be breaking out of the eggs tonight.
Almost 10,000 hits on the site since going live in December. Cool.
We have topped up on hens by buying 12 more. They are circa 12 months old and had been laying on a poultry farm for commercial egg selling. They are a bit rough around the edges but I think that they will look a lot better in 3 months or so. They gave us 5 eggs on the first day. I am glad that we have got them because their quality of life has probably increased 10 fold. When we can we are going to get our stock from this background, just to do a bit more for the cause.
Fantastic news for Richard Cooper and Kate Huddart who have won the CFM win a wedding competition! A big thank you to anyone who voted for them.
It seems that my advertising is paying off. I'm really chuffed with the amount of hits I have generated so far. Thanks for looking folks!
A few kind people from work have put stickers on their number plates advertising Bootle Hens. Below is Tentpeg's motor bearing the Bootle Hens number plate sticker.
You may see this car travelling between Sellafield and Seaton. You may also find a few more cars sporting this seasons 'must have' in the motoring world. I am also lead to believe there is one on a lamp post in Harrington. The little tinkers are popping up everywhere! It would be nice to receive an email if anyone has spotted one.
Tentpeg and I went fishing to Esthwaite Water (near Hawkshead).
We managed to bag 8 descent sized Rainbow trout between us, the biggest being 2.75 pounds in weight. We hooked them by ledgering the worm and sweet corn combo. I didn't get chance to dig any worms before we went so we had to buy some (fancy buying garden worms!) from the shop - £2.20 for about 10 worms! Is that legal? What liberty takers! Had I dug some worms from the sacred ground of Bootle Hens I reckon the trout would have been scopping themselves out of the water and on to the bank to get even a sniff of them. Still, there's always next time.
Here is a fine array of five of the fish.
We took a disposable BBQ with us (I was confident) so we cooked and ate one of the trout for our lunch. We even managed to find some wild Garlic to stuff the trout with, in true Ray Mears/Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall style!
Anyone who has read all of the news will have seen the Mitsubishi Pajero with the spare wheel on the back stickered up with the Bootle Hens web address (if not scroll down this page). Well the owner, Richard from Frizington, has got down to the last three couples for the CFM radio win a wedding competition. Please vote for him by texting 'CFM 2' to 87070 (standard text charge). You can see details here http://www.cfmradio.com/Article.asp?id=349413. Voting finishes at 08:00am on Friday 30th March.
After getting a taste for shooting I have purchased a new shot gun from Low Mill ranges. I've opted for a Benelli Nova pump action shot gun. Here is a pic:
Here is a poor quality video of me trying it out:
Today as selt me Bootle Hens mug assa. As selt it til yan of me wuk marras - Bob Scott, frey Dearham. So thou's missed oot on buying what's vanya the best bit of kit for to have int back kitchen like.
Roughly translated that means:
Today I have sold my Bootle Hens mug I say. I have sold it to one of my work mates. Bob Scott from Dearham. So you have missed out on buying what is nearly the best item to have in the kitchen.
After a few people told me that having the latest news on the bottom was a bit crap (one person said it was like, sooooooo 1995) I have decided to change it. Happy now?
A satisfied customer today received a 'double yolker' amongst his eggs. Martin Burdon from Workington sent me these pictures to show his delight and appreciation...
And the result, the perfect accompaniment for Gammon and chips...
Thanks Martin, its always nice to hear from you eggs fans.
Mega hits this month, destroying the old monthly total record by 653 and we are only just past the March half way mark. I'm really chuffed and hope it continues this way. But most of all I am hoping that people are enjoying the site.
Today I sold a dozen eggs to none other than David Rooney, captain of the Barmy Army cricket team...
Did I really just say that? Oh gosh.
Oh, and we have some eggs in the incubator. Check out the Hatchery section.
A friend of Bootle Hens has kindly donated 5 Sweet Chestnut trees for us to plant. They are about 5ft tall and have been planted in and around the pens. Sweet Chestnuts were popular in Roman times, as they ate the Chestnuts after roasting them. Due to this they planted Sweet Chestnuts all over Britain so to provide a food source in the future. Sweet Chestnuts are also grown for coppicing.
After planting the trees I set about live testing of my home made crow/magpie caller. You may laugh but it works a treat. Unable to find any bird noises on the internet I recorded crow and magpie noises off my mates £90 caller using my mp3 player. I then uploaded them to my PC and burnt the files on to a CD, then from CD put them on mini disc (MD). I bought a weatherproof speaker off eBay for £6 and wired it up to my old Car MD player. I then wired the MD player to a fully charged car battery for power and tested it out. It worked, and worked every bit as good as the £90 caller. Eager to try it I took the set up to the hide and tried it. Within 30 seconds a nosey crow flew over. Then for what seems to have become a regular thing, I shot, missed and the crow flew away laughing its beak off.
Not to be put off I kept calling until I could smell something burning. Upon looking down I noticed that my MD player was almost on fire, smoke bellowing out with that distinctive 'electronics burning' smell in the air. After disconnecting it from the battery I noticed that the permanent live wire was shorting out on the MD players metal casing where a small bit of metal crimp had escaped the insulation. Embarrassed with myself for being an Electrician I swore quite loudly, loud enough for my brother to emerge from his caravan to ask what was wrong. I told him and after some wee wee taking I set off to head office (parents house) to try and fix the MD player.
After failing to fix it the smirk was wiped off my brothers face when I decided to utilise his redundant car CD player for the job. Which is working well at time of writing!
This morning I had 'Gypsy toast' for breakfast (see the recipe section for details). Very nice. Thanks to Martin Burdon for telling me about it.
Nothing exciting to report on the hen scene in Bootle at present. Here is an update on the website stats:
Its picking up nicely. I'm hoping to beat the current record of 1841 hits in one month this time after a great beginning to this month. Has your Nanna logged on yet? What about your Nanny's Granny? Tell them all. I've had people from work logging on here even though they never go on the 'net - just so they can slag it off and make fun of me - but I don't care, its another hit!
Did I hit it? Yes I did. And because you weren't there (unless you are reading this Phil) you don't know any different! But I did, honestly.
Not a lot going on today. I've got a hangover after a monster session with my colleagues in aid of my good friend Coop leaving our section. He owns the Pajero with the Bootle Hens sticker on the spare wheel. Its still on there although it looked like it was beginning to peel off a bit :(
A good start to the month, hits wise:
It doesn't look like February hits are going to exceed that of January. Shame.
I have the first eggs of the year to take to work and sell. There is going to be some happy people at work today. A real morale booster.
I've had a few emails over the past few days asking if I can post a picture of myself on the site. Mainly from women and a few from men (?). The main reason being they would like to see who has made this site and who is telling them the latest news. I suppose its a bit like wanting to know what a radio dj looks like. I hope nobody is disappointed. Remember real beauty is on the inside. Or do ugly people say that?
Before you ask, no I don't have any more Bootle Hens vests. Thats the only one and its mine.
I've been to Low Mill ranges this morning and loaded up on ammo (I was down to my last cartridge) and some clay pigeons for next weekend (I need the practice). I nipped down to Bootle hens with the electronic caller for a quick 'hunt'. I only took 6 cartridges with me. I had 5 shots and missed each time... (hence the clay pigeons) on my last cartridge a Jackdaw flew past and ending up eating lead. Bootle Hens 1 Bootle Jackdaws 0.
Bootle Hens 1 BMP (Bootle Magpie Population) 0
Bootle Hens 1 Bootle Jackdaws 0
It looks like the Hens are finally coming out on top after months of Crows/Magpies feeding on our corn so to speak. Not only that - egg production has gone up in the past few days according to head hen honcho Jeff.
I've deployed a new marketing technique. I've taken writing on the back of dirty cars to the next level...
A colleague has kindly allowed me (well, he won't mind too much when he finds out anyway) to 'sign' write his spare wheel using electrical tape. Genius. Whatever next...?
P.s If you have seen this vehicle and decided to log on to this website then drop me a line and tell me firstname.lastname@example.org - Thanks!
Bootle Hens 1 Bootle Magpie Population 0
After sitting for an hour this morning - no such luck. I went back down this afternoon with an electronic game caller and within 2 minutes the place was crawling with Crows and Magpies. I managed to drop one of the magpies but to be honest I was overwhelmed by how effective the caller was. I could barely decide what to go for. I waited a little while and then set the caller going again. After a while I saw two crows directly above, so I cracked one off (fired a shot, that is) and unfortunately missed. About 30 seconds later it started raining. Then I realised it was all of the shot from the cartridge falling back down to earth!
Crows and Magpies are quite clever so by now they must have guessed something was a bit suspect. So I'll leave it for a couple of days before I try it again. I wonder if the noise will effect egg production? Maybe it won't be so bad, after all, Eskmeals gun range is near by and they fire guns which are a lot more noisy than a shotgun!
I'm always appreciative of constructive criticism, I've had some feedback regarding font size on the site. Fair comment, so I've upped the text size in certain areas to make it more easy on the eye.
For some reason in the last six days there has been a hike in website hits. I don't know why there has been a surge buts its all good. I was hoping to have more and more hits each month - please tell your mates and family about the site. Spread the word. Tell people that you don't know about it. Write it on the bog wall at work (I have!). Write it on the back of dirty cars with your finger (I'm going to). Scream it out in the heat of the moment (I have!).
Ok so I haven't.
Anyway back to the business at hand. I now have a Shot gun license and a Shot gun. Look out crows and magpies. Bootle Hens are officially no longer an easy target.
I've been trying to get a web counter for the site but I haven't managed it yet. All the 'free' ones insist of littering your site with crap that you don't want to see and we don't like that here at Bootle Hens.
A sad day indeed. Jeff today reported the following:
"Sad news to report from the Hen pen, Beaker was found today in a corner of the caravan beak down arse up, she`s gone to the hen pen in the sky, RIP Beaker."
Gutted. She has been buried today, her nutrients will replenish the sacred soil of the Bootle Hens.
A minutes silence will be held on Saturday. At 3pm. There will be a hush around all football league grounds across the country. All premier league captains will be seen to be wearing black arm bands.
Yes! I know that they all wear black arm bands anyway, I was only saying...!
Marc is going down tomorrow to sit in the hide with an air rifle - to lie in wait of them pesky crows & magpies. Good luck to him. I reckon he is going to need it. I will report back with the results post haste.
Now that the new year is under way I have had many people asking if the hens are laying enough yet to be able to start selling again. Alas I am afraid not. A lot of egg producers will use artificial light to keep production going right through the dark and cold months but we here at Bootle hens do not agree with this as it shortens not only egg production long term but also the hens actual life span. Bootle hens - the natural way, the way it was meant to be.
New years eve 2006! Another year will soon be upon us. And a new year begins at Bootle Hens. Jeff has reported the ground to be 'extremely wet' which means less grass for the hens even with our rotation system in place. Thus giving bits of ground time to recover with the hens being moved on to new pasture. Unfortunately the weather will get worse before it gets better (can't wait 'til summer). With 80mph gale force winds predicted tonight theres a chance a few hens could be getting blown all over Bootle.
R.I.P Welly the Welsummer cockerel. After about 6/7 years of loyal service Head Hen honcho Jeff today found him face down in the pen. Poor old fella. Better dig a hole.
We seem to have lost a few of our flock probably due to old age. The numbers are dwindling a bit so we shall be topping up on hens in the new year.
My birthday. Yeah well I think its good news, alright? I'm not bothered that I'm another year older. At least I'm still here!
Sat for two hours with my air rifle. One shot, one miss. Can't wait another 2 hours...!
Jeff has reported high volumes of Crow/Magpie activity. The horrible scrounging vermin are stealing our birds food. Poor.
A head count suggests that we have 47 birds in total. Best keep it below 50 because otherwise you need to register with DEFRA after that bird flu carry on. Remember? When we were all going to die of avian flu? Tabloids eh?!?
3 have hatched out. Result. No effort required from us.
One of the Woodhouse hens has gone broody and is sitting on some eggs. Jeff has made a broody coop and it seems happy. Lets just leave them and see what happens.
One of our new Light Sussex has snuffed it already. This happened with one of the White Leghorns too - they just stay on their perch with their eyes closed and if you touch them they don't move, they are oblivious. After a few days they die. Now we know what to look for we just put them out of their misery. Apparently you used to be able to get a jab from the vet that sorts the hen out. But it is banned because junkies were getting hold of them and jabbing themselves to get wasted. Losers!
Half a dozen hens have been purchased from Primrose Farm. 3 Light Sussex and 3 Marans to help boost egg production for the new year.
Another year under the belt at Bootle Hens. Not much happening to be honest.