The Free Range Flock

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These hens have been free ranging all winter.  As in they are loose in the barn so can come and go as they choose.  On Tuesday morning they collectively left the barn.  Done.  I don’t know how they decide this, but suddenly they are all done with staying in the barn.  Some went down to the field to visit the cows.  Some wandered up to the house to visit me.  They stay on my paths which are nicely dusted with hay.  We don’t plow the lawn so have to carry all the hay down to the barn, which clearly Hades and his ladies appreciate.

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The Center Garden

This is a narrow glimpse of my newest project - making the large centre perennial garden into The Center Garden.  A real garden - of veggies!

This is a narrow glimpse of my newest project – making the large center perennial garden into The Center Garden. A real garden –  veggies!

And here is that same corner of The Center Garden with its new arbor.

And here is that same corner photo taken from the opposite side of The Center Garden with its new arbor.

One of the Ploska Twins,  a Barred Rock (sans name!) and Sweetie Hen - begging to get into The Center Garden so they can wreck it!

The Remaining Ploska Twin, The Mean Barred Rock! and Sweetie Hen – begging to get into The Center Garden so they can wreck it.  Note the row of emerging peonies, they frame The Center Garden.

Early Bee catches bit o’ Bird

This morning,

the weather a little low,

my temperature a little high,

Five a period m period crowing,

Cock-A-Doo-Dill-Doo,

me fretting about neighbors,

neighbors losing sleep, losing peace.

me losing peace.

Cool enough to kill a couple

doo-dill-doo-ers before the flies come.

One done.

Two done.

Three dead, de-feathered.

Slicing leg tendons, when the first fly comes in.

Housefly.

Shoo!  Let me finish!

A bee swoops in.

Dives down.

Grabs an armful of bloody flesh.

Staggers up to eye height.

Shoo! Let me finish!

The bee sways drunkenly.

Circling, off-balance.

Clutching his treasure tight to underbelly.

Bloody red against bright yellow and black.

Shoo! Let me finish!

The bee finds his balance

and is gone.

His bit of bird and he  – gone.

Mulch War

Carport to Barn View. Taken summer of 2010.

The chickens and I are at war!

I put down salt marsh hay or bark mulch in a few spots – just a FEW.

Do you think my chickens could respect that?

There has to be worms and bugs in other spots.

They canvas my property and my neighbor’s property everyday.

Can they leave my good stuff alone?

Oh no.

My nice perennial garden,

with its lovely circular brick walk,

becomes a mass o’ mulch.

Can’t even see the brick.

Full sun so has to be mulched.

The easy answer is to pen up the chickens.

But I like them roaming around.

I love them roaming around.

If they could just not leave bombs in the carport.

And not make my gardens into war zones….

Today I took the mulch off.

Drought-tolerant species dominant the garden anyway.

This constant juggle or should I say struggle to balance.

I want free chickens and nice gardens.

I want free chickens and clean doorsteps.

The chickens,

Princess and her eight chicks,

Lacy, Peck, Carrie, Moon,

Sweetie Hen, the Ploska Twins,

Zinc, Nickel, Copper,

Dove, and Hettie,

are picturesque,

their meat and eggs healthy,

and

they eat ticks.

An important job in this area.

I guess adding drought-tolerants and a

screen to the carport entry points get added to my to-do list.

The fine art of compromise.