OUR 15 broiler chickens are getting perilously close to, not their sell by date, but an expiry deadline.

This little, well they were once, but now hulking group of birds, have happily munched their way through hoppers full of fattening pellets every day of their, relatively short lives.

Where once they scratted in the straw of their pen, chased foil balls and pecked cabbages I gave them to relieve boredom and forestall any aggression, they now lounge about, too weighty to indulge in exercise.

But there is a problem. By now I had hoped we would have a welcoming freezer space for them. But I haven’t. My obsession with growing vegetables has led to freezers stuffed with surplus frozen vegetables, and little room for frozen poultry.

This is good news for our geese, guinea fowl and ducks. All of them blissfully unaware of my deadly intention. Along with all those pheasants, ducks and partridges John has reared and now released into the woods.

An embargo on any form of shopping for meat, vegetables or fruit has also been undermined by a good apple harvest. Although I can at least store them wrapped in tissue paper and stack on trays in the barn, the blackberries, pears and plums all need either freezer space or an alternative storage arrangement.

So once more I have turned to drink. Sloe gin. Blackberry whisky. Raspberry gin. Rhubarb gin.

We have experimented with making cider as an alternative to storing apples. The resulting explosions from inside the barn almost alerted our rural constabulary to a potential bomb factory.

And in calculating freezer space available, I had almost forgotten that there will soon be a lamb or two ready for the big chill. Thankfully too, it is not open season yet for deer hunting. Although I must admit I am partial to a plate of roast venison.

Goodness, we do sound a pair of heartless carnivores. But given that John was totally ruined by his mother who pandered to a toddlers’, then teenagers’, then adults’ demand never to see a vegetable on his plate other than a potato, I have lost the will to live trying to change his diet. And for that I need meat. Lots of it. But for the moment all of these potential dinners are either honking, clucking, baaing or quacking happily away. Vegetarians rule OK here.