We are currently doing a house sit in North Yorkshire in England. It’s been a nice adjustment from very busy London to the English countryside. One of the things we were most excited about for this sit was to have pets again. Our last housesit was in Malaysia in September on Pulau Langkawi. So we were in pet deprivation mode!
We are living in a home built in 1860. Our furry companions include three dogs and two cats. However, we also have a pet chicken in the home. She was a battery hen rescue (egg factory). She had broken one of her legs, and of course it was never noticed there. Unfortunately the leg healed badly, so she can only hop around on one leg. She would get attacked by the other chickens, so Grace lives in the home where she keeps the dogs in line.
People are amazingly friendly here, and across the street we have the village shop which has various grocery items as well as serving as the village post office.
About three doors down we have an excellent fish & chips shop, and we have two pubs in extremely close proximity. As I look out my living room windows, it isn’t uncommon to see people riding their horses past our house. It is a sleepy town indeed.
Thankfully, a neighbor takes care of the six horses. I’m not into mucking out stalls thank you very much. However, I am in charge of caring for 34 hens. They reside in a field down the street which gives us and the dogs some exercise daily.
A typical day for me begins with starting a fire in the stove in the living room to take the chill out of the air while my water comes to a boil for my morning coffee. We have an Aga stove which is quite an interesting contraption. I had never heard of these before coming to this sit.
After enjoying my morning dose of caffeine, checking emails, doing my social media stuff, etc., it’s time to move Grace from her bed near the Aga to the dogs’ sitting room. Then I don my Wellies and grab the dogs for our morning rounds with the hens. We are greeted enthusiastically with lots of clucking.
After taking care of the water and checking their feeders, it’s time to put on my bright pink rubber gloves and grab a bucket. After cleaning out the . . . chicken leavings and putting down fresh shavings and straw, we collect their eggs. I love the beautiful varying hues of their eggs. So different from what you get in the supermarket.
Naturally, there is also doggy doo-doo pickup in the yard, too.
The rest of the day is pretty relaxed. I usually have a fire going in the wood-burning stove, and the dogs gather in front of it to soak up some heat while one of the cats, Mike, does a gargoyle impression next to me.
In the afternoon, we’ll do another walk to the field for another check on the ladies.
Tigger is at the age where he hibernates in his room for a large portion of the day. We’re both really enjoying having our own space again. And we’re both pretty thrilled to have dogs and cats to cuddle, pet, and love.
I’m enjoying being able to give Tigger the experience of taking care of this large a group of chickens. In Morocco, we had five of them, so 34 is quite the different workload. I think he has as much fun as me collecting the eggs. It’s almost like finding a bunch of presents every day.
I also like that he is able to discover the difference between the taste of healthy, truly free-range chicken eggs as compared to the factory eggs in the stores. And for me it’s kind of fun just living in a home this old. I know for many Europeans an 1860 home is not that old, but for us North Americans they’re a rare find.
We’re in North Yorkshire until early April, and we’ll be returning in late May to house sit here again. For now we’re really enjoying the slower village life and being surrounded by pets.
Have you been to Yorkshire? What’s your favorite area?