It’s a wet afternoon in Larchfield...

News article

It’s a wet afternoon in Larchfield...

... and the chickens are watching the world go by from under a very solid-looking shelter – which on closer inspection reveals itself to be the top half of a Land Rover.

A bit further down the road, the garden team are keeping dry too, working in the greenhouse. It’s beautifully warm inside.

Stephanie’s here in her gardening clothes and gloves. Today, talk is of the new clutch of baby chicks in the barn. Stephanie leads the way over to see them.

‘They’re pure-bred Welsummer chickens’, explains Simon, one of the farmers, as Stephanie carefully cradles a three-day-old ball of downy fluff in her hands.

After returning the little peep safely to the incubator, it’s back up the road to pay a social call on the rest of the flock. It might be cosy under that Land Rover but they all come running when they see Stephanie. They think it means food!

Stephanie finds it hard to speak, but replies enthusiastically to questions. How often does she feed the chickens? ‘Morning and bed’, is the answer. Where do the beautiful brown eggs go to? ‘Shop’, she says. ‘Houses’.

The coop is like Fort Knox but Stephanie knows how to open it – pinching her nose shut to warn unwary bystanders.

The chickens, unimpressed by the friendly interest, scratch, peck and drift away. It’s tea break anyway – and it looks like the rain has stopped. Time to walk back with Stephanie and join the garden team for a cuppa. On the way the sun breaks through, turning the beads of water on the leaves to diamonds.