Addicted to Advent

I love Christmas, for as long as I can remember I have loved it all… the lights, the tree, the carols and of course the suspense! Advent gives you 24 days to prepare for the big day although to me every day of December is Christmas day.  Over the last ten years my husband and I have developed a series of Christmas traditions to help us prepare.  Every year from the 1st of December we read The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder, one chapter for every day of Advent detailing the story of a little girl who joins a group of pilgrims (Wise men, sheep etc.)  travelling back in time to the birth of Jesus.  I love this story, although much of it is fiction, it reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.  Three years ago we made 24 mini stockings and every year we hang them up filled with little goodies to reveal every day of advent.  Now my twins are here, every day a different Christmas story is read to them.  The list of Christmas traditions is endless.IMG_7066

A couple of years ago my husband and I vowed to take a greener approach to Christmas.  Now many of our Christmas presents are second hand (charity shops, antique fairs, nearly new sales etc.) or handmade either by us (A knits and I sew among other things) or a local crafts person.  Christmas wrapping is of recycled origin or is recyclable and boxes and bags are reused where possible.  Christmas for many has become consumer driven so for the next 24 days I will be posting 24 green Christmas tips to help you become more conserver than consumer.

Cinderella

Cinders and her gorgeous sisters

Cinders and her gorgeous sisters

Lily, once the belle of the ball with two ugly sisters, currently looks more like Cinders before her transformation.  Our newest ladies have gone through their annual moult and have turned into handsome young ladies while Lily, still moulting, looks small, pale and tatty.  While she puts all her energy into making new feathers she has stopped laying eggs.

Poppy-stripped wing feathers, tatty bottom feathers and missing tail, chest and head feathers

Poppy-stripped wing feathers, tatty bottom feathers and missing tail, chest and head feathers

Poppy transformed

Poppy transformed

This is a time when your hens may need some extra help to stay healthy by provided them with a higher protein diet.  You can give them a specialist feed or add in a handful of mealworms or sunflower seeds in the afternoon, you can also give them a boost with some liquid seaweed vitamin supplements.  In a matter of weeks Lily will be transformed once again.

First shoes

E and M's very first shoes

E and M’s very first shoes

Last weekend marked the end of an era; instead of turning right in our local children’s store we turned left.  No longer in need of baby clothes we turned into the toddler section to get E and M’s feet measured for their first shoes.  The changes continued as we purchased two toddler car seats.  I watched expectant parents and those pushing around small, wrinkly babies and felt proud.  I had two happy little people walking around removing things from shelves, how far we had come…