As I gaze out of my kitchen window at the chooks sunbathing, I have to keep checking the calendar. It is November, right? Because it feels much more like early September to be honest. The weather is ridiculously mild. I'm sure that this time last year I was trudging through snow to the Palace and defrosting drinkers at 7am. Weird.
In a way, this is a good thing. The moulting masses are benefitting from the balmy conditions instead of snuggling down in to the nest boxes and shivering, for example. But it is confusing. My roses have bloomed again. My summer bedding plants are valiantly flowering on, and the girls are firing out the odd egg while looking puzzled. Generally, my pekins shut up shop for the winter come October. I imagine them sitting on their perches at night, using their talons and wing feathers to count up just how many months since their last egg break.
But it can't last. Every day that we have such mild and pleasant weather, I get more nervous. I will not be lulled in to a false sense of security. It is November. The temperature will plummet. Drinkers will freeze and chickens will shiver. To that end, I have bought in porridge supplies and poultry spice. I've made sure that there is enough woodshavings to see us through should we get hit by a snowy apocolypse. I am even eyeing up a snow shovel in the afternoon sunshine, safe in the knowledge that when the first flake lands I will be prepared.
Do not be fooled, fellow chicken keepers, winter will soon be upon us.