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Hugh Grant, Jeremy Northam, Steven Weber, and Hugh Jackman Drinking Together

Strange how the famous tend to prefer to hang out with each other.

Guinea FowlThese birds (guinea fowl) have been with us for a month or so now, but are still confined to their own enclosure for the moment while they get used to being at our place. In a couple of weeks, we will let them out and hope that by then they will hang around the vineyards like the chickens happily do. They look pretty calm and steady now, so it should work out.

The pheasants, led by the fiercely stroppy and snooty Lord Julian Fellowes, we fear will head for the hills immediately. Where they will have to chance their lives among hunters. But you try talking sense into a pheasant. You try explaining that they can live The Good Life at Redbank where all they are required to do is to look decorative. And eat the bugs we don't want around the place.

Mind you, there is always some element of risk and excitement for even the chickens. Being free range comes with its own jeopardys: there are raptors in the sky -- hawks -- and the occasional too-relaxed chicken has been taken or suffered attack from above. The smart ones run for cover ... and indeed some of them live under cover; you find them all over the farm cohabiting under bushes; each rooster has a bunch of girlfriends whom he guards jealously (a kind of avian Big Love). So we are never sure exactly how many chickens we have at any one time -- anything between 20 and 30. When it’s feeding time a different crew turn up each time ...

ChickensEvery year, some of the hens produce chicks. We have learned that you just can’t sex a chicken, or at least we can’t. Some that we were sure were roosters turned out to be hens, and vice versa. We make no calls until we see the eggs. So, yes, Stephen Fry or Steven Weber may may turn out to be hens, and Cate Blanchett may turn out to be a rooster  in the long run. But they will always be Stephen, Steven and Cate to us.

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Alexandra 9340
Central Otago
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