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Today the hubby and I spent nearly four hours with face masks on and pitchforks in our hands, cleaning out the chicken coop. I kid you not, the straw and poop was mounded 2-3′ high under the roosts. Blehck! Now I see why poop hammocks are so popular. We got around twenty wheel barrows full of poopy, composting straw and sawdust from our 8’x18′ coop with 33 birds. I’d say about half of it was composted already, but hopefully this summer the rest will catch up. We piled it in a corner of the garden and wet it down thoroughly to get it roasting.

The garden will love this free fertilizer. Thanks, chickens!

The garden will love this free fertilizer. Thanks, chickens!

Once the coop was cleaned, I raked it all flat (dirt floor) and spread lime all over. Then I spread a new layer of straw, brought the waterers and oyster shell bin back in, and refilled the nesting boxes with new sawdust. They love their clean coop!


My husband and our older son also helped get five new fruit trees into the orchard. One of these days I’ll get out there and take stock of exactly what we have. I know we have lots of apples, two plums, seven cherries, and four pears. The cherries and pears are budding and getting flowers now. It’s great to see things coming to life! It took a few days, but we managed to get every tree mulched, pruned, and surrounded by deer-proof fencing.


You can see almost the whole orchard in that photo above. It takes up most of the south-eastern face of the hill our house sits on. At the bottom of the hill is a low, marshy spot where rainwater always collects. Someday I’d like to clear all the cottonwood and birch out of it to make a small pond. I can imagine geese grazing the hillside in the shade of fruit trees, then taking an evening swim. Ducks, too. It’s probably a good thing the feed store ran out of ducks so quickly every week this spring – I may have got a head start on our duck population otherwise. Someday…

Here is a close up of one of our newest cherry trees. See the leaves? Yay! Spring!


I also spent a few hours today cleaning up the garden area. I ripped out all of the stout sunflower stalks, then cleaned up the strawberry beds a bit. The strawberries all have a few little new leaves coming up, and the garlic is nearly 5″ tall already. Even the leeks are trying to make a comeback! I thought the remaining leeks were goners after I let the chickens loose in the garden last fall. Those birds ate every one down to the roots. But lo and behold, they’re being resurrected. Here’s a shot of the garlic. I’ve yet to fertilize and mulch it. Maybe tomorrow. The sun is already setting on today, as you can tell by all of these pictures.


And the rest of the garden… so full of promise!

Goodnight, garden. May you soon wake to find greens and flowers covering your bare naked soil.

Goodnight, garden. May you soon wake to find greens and flowers covering your bare naked soil.

February 2023

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