Chicken & Turkey Alarm in Garden Paradise
Our House & Garden Project with a Friendly Fowl Family in Halver
One of MANY gardens here on the 6000 m2 Estate
There are endless things to do when you have a large estate, 6000 m2 of gardens, and some famished chickens and turkeys waiting for you in the early hours.
Not new to us, we had the pleasure of taking care of this estate last year, and had a lovely time with our feathered friends and designing home and garden. The lovely couple Karen and Bernd are the owners of this beautiful garden Gartenlust estate and their life’s dream that they created in 1996.
The main dining area
A massive undertaking for two hobby gardeners and the garden can be visited for a couple of weeks a year in the summer. I have deep respect for what they have achieved.
The estate consists of the main house, with its conservatory overlooking the lilly-padded pond; a smaller cafe house; and the garden stretching over 4500 m2 consisting of a sunken rock garden, an English garden, a vegetable patch, a rose-path garden, and two additional garden houses. Many secret and surprising gardens can also be discovered, nestled in between.
Secret passages and tunnels lead you to yet another wondrous garden
What more could you ask for? Sunflowers and Smiley Cows
And speaking of surprises, you never know what your little feathered friends have in store for you when you arrive in the morning. Every day is a new adventure. Want to know what that looks like? Here we go!
A Day with Chickens & Turkeys in a Magical Garden
7 am: Waking up and preparing the food for the 8 Sussex chickens, 1 cockerel, and 6 European turkeys (a bit slimmer than the US version). Which consists of grains, crushed eggshells, and mineral grit to ensure they get their vitamins. A watering can is filled with fresh water.
7.30 am: We’re at the hen house; the lovelies are already awake (of course). They are lined up in anticipation, clucking with impatience and eying the electric door, which opens at approx 7.34 am. We clean their pen, fill up their dispensers and give them fresh water. And do a headcount to be sure. The fox is never far away. Then the door slides up with a robotic ‚click’, and off they race into the green wilderness to scratch, argue, and rest under the shade.
Christoph hanging out with the ladies (again!)
7:45 am: We gather the grains for the turkeys and their minerals and can hear them peeping already and nearly falling over themselves, as we open the door. These turkeys sure are greedy! We distract them with a few grains thrown out onto the grass, quickly close the door behind them and err, clean up their ‚enormous mess‘ in peace. Or almost. They tend to charge at the enclosure’s fencing and wonder why they cannot get through. Hmm, what do they say about turkeys again? Then it’s fresh water, grains in the trough, and as we open the door, they barge in, as though their life depended on it, and pick their food to death. You can still hear them picking with satisfaction long after we have returned to the house.
8 am: We make lots of coffee, eat breakfast, and I get to work on my designs and editing for the day. Sometimes it’s hard to decide where in the house I want to work from. In one of the many gardens, on the terrace, in the conservatory, or simply on the sofa. Life is good!
Lunch: Spent outside in one of the many themed gardens here. Fresh eggs directly from the source, then back to work until…
Nature, everywhere you look
The Rose-Path Garden
5 pm: It’s garden watering time. With 6000 m2 there’s ALOT to water. Luckily we can mainly concentrate on the potted plants in the upper and lower gardens and a few areas of the vegetable patch. So with the help of many watering cans and hoses, we can get it done quickly. In the lower gardens, we have the stunning pond deck area and the paths leading up to the English garden, the rose-path garden, the sunken rock garden, and the vegetable patches with amples of potatoes, onions, mangold, roots, garlic, and more.
8:30 pm: Dinner time! I have prepared a delicious array of fresh carrots, berries, and greens for the chickens to entice them into bedtime, and if we are lucky, there’s a green egg or two! And when they are safely tucked in, we head over to the turkeys. They are always never really far away and we can hear them approaching. They always stick together, wherever you go, it’s really sweet.
Same procedure as last year. One person distracts them outside, the other closes the door to their enclosure to ‚safely‘ fill their feed tray to avoid injuring themselves in a food frenzy!
Then they can FINALLY have their dinner to tones of Pavarotti (no joke!). We clean up the rest outside. Which is a lot, I can tell you, from these teenagers. Maybe we should try and potty train them? That would be nice.
9:10 pm: We are finished for the day. Christoph loves to bbq, so we have barbecued nearly everyday with fish, meat and grilled vegetables. I have made traditional Austrian dishes such as Schwammerlsterz (polenta and mushroom) and some lovely Nizza salads. Any leftovers, are given to the chickens (checking before what they are allowed to eat). Here is a list just in case you are interested.
A Floral Beauty
Sunset in the Rose-Path Garden
11 pm: By late evening, we are chilling under the stars with a glass of something sparkling and looking out over the hillside, over the tops of trees, and listening to the sounds of late summer.
We still have a few trips planned, so we will write about that in the next installment and keep you updated on the progress here. So stay tuned.
Chicken & Turkey Alarm in Garden Paradise was first published here by www.graceandholmes.com
Photos: Bianca Demsa, CHristoph Demsa, Gartenlust Halver.