A spring morning, and Pamela came round with her sketch book and a camera, and we went down the fields to find the hens. This hardy flock were very free-range, and not very tame. So we crawled after them through the spring grass, rattling a tin of corn and trying to be serious. With patience and perseverance over several visits, Pamela gathered numerous sketches and photos, and began to develop her beautiful paintings in response to the poems.
Over the next six months as she sent me the paintings, I found I made changes to the twelve poems, and gradually the two activities grew closer together to create ‘The Henkeeper’s Almanac’.
You may like to know that most of these hens are still busily scratching, dust-bathing and foraging on the beautiful, exposed hillside in Mid Nithsdale where we wrote about them and drew them.
Below is the Vorwerk cockerel, hatched by friends in a Lancaster garden, and brought to Dumfriesshire in a box to save his life, as he was getting too vocal for a built-up area.