I Have Mostly Been Helping Hens this Christmas (by proxy)

It’s Christmas Eve and it’s probably been about six weeks since I last blogged… and so I find myself suddenly wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Again!

I’ve literally been so busy that I haven’t even put the Christmas Tree or any decorations up. It’s Christmas Eve! This is unheard of! I might do it later. I might.

So here I am, sitting here with a stupid dribbling cold, but otherwise still alive and well, and still functioning (remember last year when I caught proper badass ‘flu and couldn’t function for over two weeks independently???). All I can say is that my lack of blogging has arisen due to a number of bona fide reasons. These are namely; Family Stuff (not my story to tell), Health (mine and others), work, and let’s be honest, probably just plain laziness too. I’ve been informally disconnected from my Smallest Smallholding and generally the outside world since late Autumn, not focusing at all on anything remotely vegetable or mineral-related since I sorted out my last veggie harvest. So unless you count feeding the birds who have been arriving in droves to feast Chez Moi, there has not been an awful lot to tell that’s of any real interest to anyone, or that I am able to share on a public platform. Wow, that’s so annoying isn’t it – it’s like saying “there’s actually been some quite major stuff happening, but I won’t tell you!”. Sorry. It’s just… it’s other people’s business too.

All I will say is, it has been a big challenge, there has been a lot of anxiety but I think things will turn out alright. That’s until the Hadron Collider creates a big black hole and sucks us all in it on December 21st of next year when the Mayan calendar stops. Ho, ho, ho. Just kidding!

Illustration Copyright Kat Whelan 2011

But despite what you might be thinking, I have actually been incredibly busy over the past few weeks, and I have most definitely not been wallowing in a bog of my own pity. Good grief, no. In fact, one of the many things I’ve been working on is a little project called the Hen Rehoming Hub. It can be found at www.exbatteryhens.org.uk and my idea was to create an easy to use tool that maps and details hen rehoming organisations’ locations, and the dates and locations of their upcoming rescues. The website was put together by a friend of mine who is more than a bit nifty with code and computery things, but it’s still in development and we’re still finding organisations to add to the site.

I did contact BHWT (British Hen Welfare Trust) HQ to ask if their nationwide coordinators would like to be involved, but they politely declined on the basis that they “… have a policy of only promoting our re-homing dates through our own channels, where we can ensure the re-homing initiative is part of the complete message we are delivering”. To be honest, I don’t really understand it as I would have thought that there’s no better consumer education than seeing for yourself the state of battery hens when they’re first rehomed – and the more hens that are rehomed the more exposure factoring farming gets – but hey ho. I’m more than happy to help support and create exposure for all the other smaller organisations that work really hard to educate consumers and find homes for these hens, and I still recognise that the BHWT do good work. I’ve done it for no other reason that to make finding ex-battery hens for pet-only homes easy, and helping as many girls evade the slaughterman as possible.

So what’s left to do this year? I can safely say that with my cold, my upcoming birthday and some work to finish in between Christmas and My Birthday (AKA New Year’s Eve), I won’t be doing anything Smallest Smallholding-related. I’ve long since given up beating myself up about it and I’ll tackle it a bit later in the New Year when my impending mad rush of Big Freelance Work Projects and Mum’s big upcoming operation (not my story to tell!!!!!) are over. I’ve come to realise that self-sufficiency is as much about making a living that allows you to live independently, as it is about being frugal and doing things yourself with the limited impact you desire. Within the next couple of weeks I also have my tax return to do, one of the worst aspects of being self-employed when you can’t really afford an accountant. I just need to focus on debt reduction in the first bit of 2012. Not easy when our car is threatening to stop working, the cats need their teeth doing and for the first time in ten years (I’m not lying!) we were considering going away on a proper holiday to celebrate my 30th birthday… but we’ll worry about that after I’ve turned 29!

So although there’s not been many Smallest Smallholding tales to tell, I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, and here’s to a happy and peaceful 2012 – let’s make it the Year of the Chicken!


  1. Merry Christmas and hope you have a great 2012!