Rooster gone bad

Do you remember our rooster Tony?  Sadly he took a dislike to one of our hens (Gladys) and was caught trying to scalp her. Now that’s gratitude for you given he could free range 24/7, had 13 chickens to himself and a housekeeper (me) who cleaned his abode daily and served up the best tucker!  Try and think like a chicken Julie. Well the good news is, he has been fortunate that he wasn’t served up with roast spuds, but instead was returned to our neighbour.

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The following day, I was surprised to see a chook moping about and then I realised, she was his favourite and is no doubt feeling jilted. Shame!

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Chicken reflecting

Mentioning chooks, I bought a bag of organic chook pooh the other day and have been liberally throwing this about my garden. I’m behind with my fertilising regime, which is unlike me with the orchard still waiting for a spray with seaweed brew.

Do you grow your own fruit?  It is a given that you will lose some to the wildlife, but it never ceases to amaze me when the thieving starts. The possums are already sneaking in at night and munching on unripe apples (they must taste awful). This in itself is annoying, but they are also breaking branches. The turkey numbers have increased and they are slowly moving closer to our place, no doubt eyeing up the orchard with glee! Time to get those nets up.


How good do these preserves look? And I can’t take any of the credit. You see Bill is back, Andrew’s Dad .. and he has already started stocking up our larder!


It’s his 80th this week, so we are having a party to celebrate … I took this pic for his invite, looking very cool indeed!


Garlic drying by our back door – no vampires at our place!

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Hubby is a serious cook too (learnt from his Dad no doubt). I couldn’t resist this pic of a Greek chicken pie which he did just recently. Perfect with a Greek salad.


And for all those cat lovers out there .. this is Grace, doing what cats do so well.


A neighbour has a Highland steer ‘Mac’ who is a handsome chap. I couldn’t resist venturing over with my camera … and snapping a couple.


We are eating runner and dwarf beans from the garden and herbs in all sorts of things. The zucchini machines are just starting and the tomatoes are looking green and gorgeous! Plus spuds went into the soil the other day into trenches and were tucked in with comfrey leaves before the dirt was piled back. They have sprouted already.

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Runner beans



We are off to Central Otago tomorrow the home of NZ Pinot Noir, my camera is charged and ready to go. But then so am I!

Happy gardening

89 thoughts

  1. Well I am the first hot of the press as we say! Yes was a good pie cooked by Andrew from a book by Ric Stien his latest book worth buying. The photo of me I wasn’t really asleep as I don’t get much chance in the day time. Either shopping or my turn to cook! Yes photos are up to your standard Julie. Looking forward to see what the South Island produces as you other bloggers must be looking forward to.

    • Hello Mr Bonner! It sure was a great pie wasn’t it? Loaded with onions and flavour. I love that photo of you! LOL Glad you like the pics and that they get your stamp of approval (LOL). Camera out and ready to go 😀

    • What a great photo, frog pond farm looks idyllic as ever .Hope you have a fantastic birthday with all the family…

      • Hey Lyndsey .. Lovely to hear from you. Bill is an amazing PR machine. Bless .. Hold you and the family are good. Thanks for the comment .. Bill had a great birthday and a lunch party is planned 😃 hugs Julie

    • Well Mr Bonner, when I first entered the BBC buying office in 69/70, I remember you so well having the occasional pipe jutting out of you mouth and your distictive dog tooth jackets with ‘leather at elbow’. I was a ‘young gun’ then and much, much water has flowed under the bridge since those days. I raise a glass to you not only to celebrate your eightieth birthday but in honour of your service to the BBC for well over fifty years. Keep the ‘wheels’ turning Bill and thank you for all the years that you have stayed in contact with me. Jane sends her love.
      David Privett. WASHINGTON,USA.

  2. What a lovely report from the Frog Pond Julie! Happy birthday to Bill, the handsome fellow. I think he looks quite like Ernest Hemingway. 😀 Poor heartbroken chicken. Hope you give her a few more garden scraps to mend her broken heart. Those chickens here at Park Farm are crazy for melon seeds and rinds; cantaloupe seems the be the favourite, and forget all their troubles over a slice. I’m looking forward to spring and my spring Vancouver garden. I’ve cleaned up and prepared my Oxfordshire gardens for summer now as I have to leave England today 🙁 but the gardens here are flowers, ornamentals and fruit trees so easy for R to just mow the lawn until I get back. Mmm, runner beans. I haven’t grown runner beans in a couple of years, so I think I will this year. The flowers are so good for the humming birds too. 😀

    • Hello V! I know Bill is a very handsome fellow and he does look like Mr Hemingway. I will pass on your wishes 😀 I know our chook was heart broken, thankfully it doesn’t last for too long. I haven’t tried cantaloupe before, but they do love watermelon. Oh i’m sure you are looking forward to spring. I was sorry to hear that you were leaving England, I know how much it means being there. Blast! That month went way too quick. I just love runner beans they are so very tasty and easy to look after. The bumble bees adore the flowers too 😀 Take care

  3. Mr. Bowie fully agrees with what Grace’s doing!
    As always, I enjoyed reading your post and loved the beautiful photographs.

  4. Hi Julie

    Always great to get your posts. I love your banter even though I do not have a green finger or thumb and love the photographs of course too.

    Please do wish Bill a very Happy Birthday from me. Have a great party and of course all the best to Andrew too.

    We are settling in well here in Malaysia. Off to Langkawi for 2 weeks over Chinese New Year so looking forward to that beach relaxation there.

    So take care and keep on sending the blogs. Hope to see you again in the not too distant future.

    Sue xx


    • Hi Sue, so good to hear from you. Oh I’m jealous Langkawi .. I’ve heard it is fab. So pleased you enjoyed the post. I sure will pass on your best to Bill and a big hi to Andrew for you both. I do so hope that we will catch up again soon. Take care and big hugs your way! xx

  5. There’s a television commercial running in the United States now in which a man who thinks himself a connoisseur of wine says to his date that Pinot noir is French for ‘peanut of the night’.

  6. Your photos are as lovely as ever this morning and a balm in this windy freezing bleak weather. Oh how I wish i haad a handsome father in law to put down preserves for me! Wonderful shot of him. What is in that chicken pie, (not the rooster i hope) I lave lots of chickens in the freezer – can I google that recipe?. much love c

    • Good morning Celi! So nice to see you here. We are down in Central now and it is hot! I can’t imagine how cold it must be for you now and there is nothing much worse than being assaulted by the wind. I do have a handsome father-in-law don’t I? I’m so pleased you liked the shot. Ah that pie, had a whole chicken and loads of onion and reduced stock (no rooster). Try googling the recipe Celi – it is a winner!

  7. What a cock Tony turned out to be! He should be thankful he didn’t end up in that great looking Greek Chicken Pie your hubby made. Happy 80th to Bill — great portrait. I love Mac he looks like he could be a bovine rack star. Grace is lovely and a well practiced cat I see. All your photos are wonderful, Julie. Keep up the good work.

    • Hey Tim … I’ll pass on your best to Bill. And thank you. 😀 Mac a bovine rock star .. I love that! LOL Grace is lovely and well practiced at kitty behaviour. Thanks so much for your comment Tim, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the pics! 😀

  8. Hummm, seems like Tony was just doing what male chickens do so there are little chicks about. I find roosters extremely rough. They also wear out their favorites. Maybe not having a rooster is a good thing…I think so. Buy chicks from the feed store, forget the horridness of a rooster. ALTHOUGH, I do like to hear a rooster crow.


    • Hey Linda … yes I agree. He was just being a lad with too many girlfriends. Yes they can be rough indeed. And I totally agree, they have favourites. Our splash chook was devastated. I felt so sorry for her. I do love roosters though .. such handsome lads. Take care

  9. Too bad Tony disgraced himself and ruined a good thing – they really are lovely looking birds with that blue-grey colour! Many happy returns of the day to your distinguished looking father-in-law and you did him proud with that portrait. What a great face on your cat too. As usual your photos were a delight to behold.

    • Hello Miss 😀 I suspect that Tony had too many girlfriends. We have a variety of colours, splash, buff, lavender, blue orpingtons – which are lovely birds (all ours are mind you) Oh I will pass on your best to Bill – isn’t he distinguished? I just loved this pic. Thank you! Our cat Grace is a sweetie. Your comments are always so appreciated

    • Hello lovely … so good to hear from you. Glad you like the pics too! Ah, the recipe. The one that I use in the orchard is Agrisea which is super and goes through the sprayer. My homemade brew (I’ll give some to David) is a combo of fish and seaweed, but would block up the sprayer so this stuff is splashed about (diluted) in a watering can. Bring it on 😀

  10. Well done Andrew chicken pie looks great, now try a spinach and feta pie cooked in more or less the same way that’s our favourite. Bill you look very relaxed, and we hope you have a great time in south island for your birthday on the 15th. Julie we also have problems with the wildlife stealing fruit but here its Beech Martins, my neighbour had had nearly half a tree of Nectarines taken in one night by the little critters.

    • Hello to you both. That pie was super! I just love spinach and feta pie, I made these for a Christmas party we went to. Delish! Bill is very relaxed and we are now down in Central Otago. Lovely place to be. I’m dreading the onslaught of the orchard thieves. It has already started. Hugs!

  11. Well done Andrew chicken pie looks great, now try a Spinach & Feta pie cooked in more or less the same way. Bill you look very relaxed so we hope you have a great time in south island for your 80th birthday. Julie we to have problems with the wildlife stealing fruit my neighbour had nearly half a tree of Nectarines stolen in one night by the little critters, but ours are Beech Martins.

  12. Lovely photos, as usual. Best wishes to FiL. That pie looks soooooo good (I have to go make supper; it made me hungry.) But first a question. We plant potatoes here as soon as the ground warms up but you are only planting them now – and it’s obvious that you have planted all sorts of seeds ages ago. When will you be able to harvest them? I’m guessing you have a longer growing season and generally more heat than we do, but still. Our harvest starts 3 months after planting (tiny new potatoes) and sometimes goes to 7 months.

    • thank you! And I will pass on your wishes to Bill 😀 The pie was delicious and I didn’t cook it either even better! Spuds, we plant them any time from September onwards. I’m a tad late getting them into the ground, but it is warm, and wet and I’m feeding them. Their greenery was through the soil in a couple of days. Yay! I think they should be ready in 3 mths – 4 tops. Gosh 7 mths? That’s amazing. I have left them in the soil before for some time as I have found that to be great storage .. on the proviso no pests about 😀 Thanks for stopping by

  13. Beautiful runner beans! Delightful to look at, to harvest and to eat. I’m so planting those this year. Thanks for the inspiration.
    I’m curious about your potato planting schedule, too. We like to add seaweed to the soil in the potato bed. Some places around here, where the soil is thin (like Tancook Island) plant the potatoes in mounds of seaweed -no soil at all.
    Hearty Happy Birthday wishes to Bill!! Stunning portrait, Julie!
    That pie looks a real treat! As do the preserves. I’d say you have a good team there. 😉
    Enjoy Ortego! I’m looking forward to that report!!

    • Hi Janet … I love runner beans! They sure are good to look at and munch on. Oh do plant them, you won’t be disappointed – plus they are perennial. I planted my spuds a few weeks late this year, but that shouldn’t be an issue. They should be ready in 3 mths – fingers crossed. I add a host of things, from chook poo to seaweed brew and comfrey tea. Plus the soil in chocka with organic material. Wow plant directly into seaweed. That’s amazing. I have heard of people planting into straw before, but never seaweed. I will send on your wishes to Bill and thank you. I thought the pic was good too 😀 I’m spoilt, with the lads here in the kitchen, I think it is a great team. Thank you for your super comment 😀

  14. Sorry to hear about the rogue rooster. Lovely photographs and words! Makes me long for summer. Nice looking preserves. That is one good looking man sitting on the porch (not you Andrew) . Say Happy Birthday to Bill! I bet some of those runner beans would make good pickles (hint hint – just trying to help you out Julie – Bill are you listening?). Take care and enjoy your visit! Bob

    • Hi Bob! I think Tony had too many girlfriends. 🙂 So pleased you enjoyed the post. It is super hot where we are now. Down in Central Otago for a wine tasting and getting out in the vineyards with my camera. Glad you like Bill’s preserved green plum chutney. I have passed on your best to Bill – thank you! He is such a great guy ( and sensational in the kitchen). He heard you! LOL Thanks for stopping by

  15. So sorry to hear about your rooster, and about his jilted hen!! Things are looking delicious over there, both in the garden and in the kitchen. I hope the birthday celebrations are lots of fun 🙂

    • Hello Miss … she was jilted but only for a day or two. She is over it already! things sure are looking delicious here. My veg garden is out of control .. 😀 Yesterday was Bill’s birthday but we are having a party lunch soon! Thanks for stopping by

  16. Hey there. You’re looking like a storybook over there with your Grace, chicken pie, lovely preserves, and picturesque father-in-law. Glad to hear zucchini grows on both sides of the world. Storm heading this way tonight with up to a foot of snow predicted. I do so enjoy seeing your lovely green. Cheers.

    • Hello to you! Glad you think it is like a storybook. Those zucchinis grow very well here – like a production line once they get going … Hope that storm isn’t too bad. I can’t imagine a foot of snow. We are down in Central Otago and it is hot and very dry. Thank you for stopping by 😀

  17. I love the colors and views. I hope the travel to Pinot Noir (was?) is fantastic. As always when I see your publications I end having desires to grow everything by myself ^_^
    Thank you for share the beauty of your land and work, Julie ☺

    • Hey Francis … the trip south was really good. So hot down there! And the Pinot .. well that is always good LOL. So pleased you enjoy my blog, such a pleasure to be able to share with you. 😀

  18. What an ungrateful rooster! We had one that used to fly at us, which we renamed Daisy in an attempt to shame him into good behaviour. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work and ended up on the table. Mac’s a handsome chap.

    • Hi Anne … I know, such a shame. We used to have a rooster ages back called George, and he used to do exactly that … fly at me. He would wait until my back was turned and then launch into me from behind. Cheeky boy. We should have eaten him, but he got let off lightly – we drove him back to the breeder and swopped him. Can you believe it! LOL .. Mac sure is handsome

  19. Hens can be a funny lot. We’ve had that too that some didn’t like others or rather hated them to bits. Thankfully now it’s quiet and peaceful…but then we’re out of rooster too 😉 I always love your happy postings, Julie, they lift my spirits especially in this awful month of January! I’d love that receipe – pity I can’t zoom in!

    • Hello lovely .. how are you? So nice to hear from you. Hens sure are a funny lot .. there really is a pecking order. It is very quiet without the rooster – I do miss the crowing. Although given he used to start so early in the morning, I bet the hens don’t miss that at all. I’m really pleased you find my posts happy and uplifting. That’s special! That recipe was lovely too – Rick Stein!

      • I shall check him out, thanks. As for the hens, we often pitied them for the brutal noise as our rooster’s crowing made you deaf…almost that is 😉

  20. Great pix as always, Julie. That garlic looks great. And tell Bill he looks like a man of mystery in full relaxation mode….
    Too bad about Tony, the rooster. Roosters can be great characters. Our parents had a rooster that believed he was a guard dog – he protected us kids from strangers, even if they were visiting relatives! We absolutely loved him and appreciated his loyalty.

    • Hi Cynthia … thank you so much. That garlic is amazing. I’m going to try and freeze it this year (not all of it) – something which I haven’t done before. Ha, I like that ‘a man of mystery’. I must tell him! 🙂 Roosters sure are characters .. we had one years back that used to chase me, which wasn’t much fun!

  21. Julie, you and your family are an inspiration to all of us. More of us really need to think about farming and growing our own foods. The work involved I cannot even begin to imagine for I only have gardens of flowers, not food. My admiration for you goes beyond words, and your photos ever a delight!!! Thank you, my friend, for putting this wonderful post together! Thank you!! <3 <3 <3

  22. OMG, so many comments, we are a popular girl Julie. I like the Bill shot and I am a big fan of the highland coos (ok bulls too), so good to see Mac the handsome chappy. For me though, the shot of the post is most definitely the shot of the runner bean flower with the trellis. Love it. That chicken pie looks mighty too – a lass of many talents, no doubt about to include quaffing loads of pinot noir…Enjoy 🍷🍷

    • Ha ha ha MM … too funny! Never thought about being popular! I like the pic of Bill too – and as for Mac the Highland coos, he sure is a handsome fella. Really pleased you liked the runner bean shot. I’m off out shortly to pick loads of beans, Bill is going to pickle them for me. How lucky am I? Quaffing Pinot Noir? Never! LOL

  23. Hi Julie…what amazing pictures again! I really enjoy the portrait – absolutely great image! And your animal photos are so beautiful. Such a nice Highland steer nose! ;-))

    • Hello lovely Josephine .. oh thank you so much. Your comment means loads! I like the portrait too – I’m not very good at taking pics of people. As for that steer’s nose … beautiful! Hugs

    • Great to see you. Yes the chooks always are such stars with the camera. They are heavy breeds. The pie looked and tasted fab .. nice when you don’t have to cook it yourself isn’t it? Glad you like Mac the steer. A very handsome fellow … 😀

  24. I passed along your blog URL – and a link to this particular post – on my Facebook page for my sister Theresa. She’s taking a 4-week class at our local community college to learn about raising chickens or as you call them ‘chooks’! She’s really excited about it!

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