It’s O.K. to make mistakes

anemone mr fokker

Anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’ blooms all winter

Hello there! You are always welcome to my Mom in the Garden blog, where I’ll chat about the garden, or my chickens, or anything at all, really! Something happened this week that just had me thinking about some personal struggles that, thankfully, I’m slowly getting over. It was an email ad, actually, that my husband had received from a huge international company, advertising a new breakfast special. But the price was a pound, and we live in the Republic of Ireland and we don’t use pounds, we use euros. Sure enough, a little while later my husband received another email ad, with an ‘Oops!’ and a correction of the price from pound to euro. Not a big deal, really, just a mistake.

I’m going to back up a few years, to my life prior to going back to work. I was a stay at home mom for 16 years. Loved it. Did lots. Never bored. Then the time came, and I returned to work outside of the home. I won’t even talk about how different the world was from when I left the work force, but I had changed. I was now holding myself to an unreasonable standard, where mistakes were simply unacceptable. Holy cow, the pressure I put myself under! Even writing an email had my palms all sweaty (What if I said the wrong thing? or didn’t ‘cc’ the right people?). It was debilitating. And it took a long time to learn that everyone, and I mean everyone, makes mistakes. And that is O.K.! You deal with the mistake, you learn from the mistake, and you move on from the mistake. End of story.

So I had to laugh when my husband told me about the email ad. Just another reminder that even the marketing departments in big, international corporations make mistakes.

I’m getting better at moving on after mistakes. There is still room for improvement, but I’m in a much healthier place than the impossible ‘mistake free’ mentality I had.

I hope you are having a mistake-free day – and that if you do make a mistake, you’ll know it is O.K.. 🙂

In Peace,

two chickens ashes dirt bath

My two girls, Daisy and Rose, underneath their house, having a dirt bath with ashes.

two eggs and two chickens

Our girls provide us with two fabulous eggs, nearly every day.

Cat on wall in sun

This is Kitty. She doesn’t like to look at the camera, but likes to be in the picture.

Frilly Isabelle Feb

This hellebore, Frilly Isabelle, is one of my favorite shades of pink, and is covered with blooms.

wild fennel in February morning sunlight

Wild fennel in morning sunlight

Playhouse in February morning sun and frost

The morning sunlight was simply magical here – the side of the playhouse roof – the fronds of the ornamental grass, the fields – the lighting was amazing!

My chicken story

Chicken house with chickens April 29

Here is our chicken house and enclosed area with the front door open.

Hi there! It was just last year when I received my cute little Chicken house for Christmas. I’d wanted to get chickens since we moved to Ireland, and waited patiently (9 years!) for the right time. Living in the country, it was fairly easy to source chickens and it was recommended that it would be best to buy them right before they would start laying eggs, at around 22 weeks old. The idea of getting little chicks didn’t appeal to me, and getting them at 22 weeks and ‘ready to go’ did.

Chickens climbing ditch wall hill

Poppy, Lily, Rose and Daisy climbing the wall/hill in our yard

We knew very little about chickens! I did know that we wanted a good egg producing variety, and the Rhode Island Red hybrid would be perfect for that. In March we bought just 4 for our house that would fit 6. We had our little chicken house and a tiny, albeit extended from the chicken house, enclosed area. After the first couple of days, if we were home, we’d let them out of their area. We soon learned it was quite challenging to catch them to put them back! So, little by little, we started leaving them out all day. We soon learned that they’d put themselves to bed when the sun went down. In the summer that meant 10 PM, and not a minute before!

Chickens in the yard following me April 9

The girls would always investigate what I was doing in the garden.

four chickens on the compost heap March 31

The girls usually stay(ed) together. Here they are on our compost heap.

chicken looking in window Sept

Chickens are curious creatures.

About 6 weeks after we bought the chickens, they started exploring the extended area around us. We are completely surrounded by fields, and that season the fields were mostly planted with barley. At first, it was just one chicken who’d go off to the field behind our house. And then little by little, the others started following. Before this, they would spend all of their time wandering in our yard. They’d often go under our hedges and be completely camouflaged. In the beginning, I’d constantly go out looking for them. They could be anywhere in the garden! They made several dirt-bath locations in my flower beds. Nap time could be spent on our deck, under the hedges, or in a flower bed (anywhere, really). If it was raining, they would hang out on our front porch, or under the table on our deck. It seemed the perfect life! But the ‘call of the grain’ was too strong, and off they went exploring. They’d been spotted a few fields from our house on several occasions. I’d also been informed of their being in the road, too; Not just for crossing to the fields, but if grain was spilled on the road, they’d stand there and eat it…

Chickens in the ditch wall garden April 26

This is when they would still stay in our yard, perfectly happy wandering the garden together.

Chickens in Rainbow garden Oct 15

The chickens love it when I weed and freshen up the soil for them.

No matter how far they went, every evening they’d make their way back home. And as the sun set, they’d put themselves to bed. They each would lay one egg a day, and those eggs … WOW! Delicious!

egg carton of fresh eggs

Sometimes we’d get jumbo sized eggs, which always had two yolks.

Chickens in house and nesting boxes

The house is very easy to keep clean, with a removable tray. There are two nest boxes where the chickens lay their eggs.

By late summer, they were only in their house at night, and they were never locked up otherwise. We’d been planning on making an enclosed run, but mostly I loved having them roaming the garden with me and they seemed really happy, so I was in no hurry to start or finish the run. But unfortunately, chickens and roads and cars, well, they don’t mix well. I sadly lost two chickens, who were both hit by cars (at different times). Since then, we finished our run and they have remained safely in it.

Chickens flying off of house

It took a while to completely ‘chicken proof’ the run…

After the second chicken was killed, I stayed off of social media. I didn’t feel like posting … anything. I love having chickens, and they were/are my pets. They each have names and are identifiable. The first one to die, Poppy, well, she was quite bossy. I thought she’d been the ring-leader to crossing the road and exploring. So honestly, when she was gone I thought the others would stay close to home. I was wrong. Of course I am responsible for their getting hit. I should have kept them safe. I feel terrible about my negligence. The run they now have is quite a nice size, approximately 25 feet by 10 feet, but it sure isn’t the same as roaming free.

Chicken Run 25'x10'

The completed chicken run (getting fencing in the hedges was super challenging!)

So I now have just two chickens: Rose and Daisy. Rose lost some feathers on her back a while ago. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, as I thought maybe she was moulting. But she is possibly too young for that, and it was only one area. Those feathers have mostly grown back in, although her tail feathers seem to be on their way to falling off. I consulted with a ‘chicken friend’, and we sprayed the area to stop Daisy from pecking at it. Although the area had been clean and looked ‘fine’ for a number of weeks, Daisy had then started pecking at it and causing it to bleed – which is why I called my friend. The spray has worked, and Daisy has stopped pecking at it. Hopefully the rest of the feathers will grow in and all will be fine… Hopefully!

two chickens Oct 31 in run

And then there were two. And one has been sprayed blue.

Next up is winter. After we get through the winter I’ll reassess, although I’m already planning on getting more!

Chickens in the sunflower bed with kitty watching them

Kitty and the chickens like to keep an eye on each other. The chickens are taking a dirt bath here while Kitty watches on.

So there you have my chicken story. I will miss having the chickens roaming with me in the garden. Maybe someday I’ll have fencing around the entire yard so they can once again roam freely.

Chicken on grass resting May

Just a chicken resting in the grass.

In Peace,

Good things come to those who wait … for Chickens!

The chickens can be seen out our kitchen window

The chicken(s) can be seen out our kitchen window

I can just hear you say “Welcome back, Dana!” as you read this post. Yes, I find as I get older that time seems to go much, much faster than it used to, and I just don’t get as much done as I’d like to! But alas, here I am writing a post (finally).

Chicken in the coop

Chicken in the coop

“So, what’s new?” you ask? Well, after waiting nearly 11 years, I am now the proud owner of chickens! It is kind of a funny thing to want, and to wait for, but before we moved to Ireland I had it in my head that I wanted to get chickens. There have been many good reasons why we didn’t get them over the years. But thankfully, there were no excuses this year and we now have 4 chickens and a cute little hen house.

Two chickens in the coop

Yep, we went in their tiny run to get some pictures!

Their current run is small. We intend to build a nice size run for them in the coming weeks. Although we’ve done some reading on the subject, we just wanted to get them and see how it went! Ideally, they’ll get out to roam in the garden, but our schedules are so crazy that I’d rather they have a nice, secure and safe (read: fully enclosed) “back yard” to play in whenever they want.

chicken coop outside view

The girls spend their day alternating between staying inside their coop and going outside.

I live in the country, so to source chickens I simply asked my neighbor, who is a farmer. I quickly had the name and number of a breeder in the next town. Easy peasy. Our chickens are a Rhode Island Red hybrid. They are 23 weeks old, and should start laying eggs in the next week or so, hopefully.

view of chickens from kitchen window

another view from the kitchen window

The girls are quite friendly! Unfortunately, I haven’t spent enough time with them to know who is who. They are all called “the girls” for now, although we do have names picked out for them when we can figure out their personalities!



Getting chickens has always been my thing. My kids were never interested in this idea, and wondered why I was so intent on getting them. But all three of them have spent their free time “playing” with the girls. O.K., chickens don’t really “do” anything, so playing with them means watching them, taking pictures of them, laughing at them, and of course, speaking chicken to them! I love it. I think everyone should have chickens!

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum' tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ surrounded by tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk

I suppose I knew it already, but this is just another example of the idea that if you really want something, it will be worth the wait, and not to give up hope on getting it!

pink hyacinth in a jug with chicken house in the background

Hyacinth and chickens 🙂

Flowers and chickens, yes, that is what makes me smile! It is the simple pleasures in life that make it all the sweeter!

I hope you have sweetness in your life, too!

In peace,