And after the good news the sad. Coming home after a thirty six hour solid stint at work, I found gallant, aged and half blind Esme – our oldest chicken and last one of the first four back in 2005 – dead in the chicken run. She’d simply stopped, apparently after having a drink of water. The other girls were going nuts; the young Maran chick, now three months old, kept nudging her body… So tired beyond tired and in the dark at the bottom of the garden, I dug the soil chamber from where Esme will become garden. Esme, and before her, her sister Spike, were Maran hybrid Speckeldy’s, and the friendliest of girls if not the most prolific layers. Journey well, chook!