In the past less-than-two years I’ve lived in 3 different places. That’s rough on anyone, but it has it’s special problems when you haul around a small flock of hens, work from home, and like to get your hands dirty in the garden all summer. The displacement hassles panned out in unexpected ways, however, and I landed in paradise (quite by accident) about ten months ago, right before the rainy winter set in. Once the hens were situated in their new coop, and the cat adjusted to a new space yet one more time, we all settled in to a wet, dark winter waiting for the promise of spring.
Spring came. With lots of work. It’s hard to start over. Land needs to be plowed and fences strategically placed (to keep chickens, who think they own everything, out of places they shouldn’t be). Loads of compost and soil need to be purchased, hauled and spread on ground that’s mostly clay. Plants already growing on the property need to be sorted from the tangles of weeds. Saved seeds need to be found, dug out of boxes and planted along with the new plants bought and brought home.
It’s glorious. It’s hard. It’s exactly what I needed.
In this new place of yet another beginning, I sit on my porch nearly nightly and watch deep orange sunsets streak across the sky. In ten short months, I’ve buried chickens, started gardens, set up my home office and studio, discovered, fallen in love with and planted a variety of heirloom beans, bought new chicks to add to my flock, and begun harvesting vegetables. My neighbors/landlords helped me set up a new, larger coop for the flock, built a pergola on the porch for the growing vines, and made me raised beds in the front yard.
Now summer is in full swing. The hens roam far and wide on the nearly 40 acres, happier than I’ve ever seen them. Yet even in paradise, there are predators. I lost my frizzle bantam rooster this summer to a Cooper’s hawk. I locked the flock in for two weeks waiting for the hawk to move on. Then another mini roo showed up one day, walking across the yard, headed to my coop. Someone dropped him at the end of the lane, which I hear happens around here from time to time.
Last week I bought 8 new babies. They’re currently living in a washing machine box in my living room under a heat lamp.
Life gives and takes away. And gives again. It’s a constant ebb and flow.
On the property in which I live, there are tangles of blackberries growing here and there. While they’re considered a curse by most people that live in the Pacific NW, I love them. Nature’s wild gift. Sweet and abundant. I harvest them all summer, every summer and stuff my freezer full of the taste of sweet, warm sunny days. Free (aside from the band aids one must invest in and use in abundance when harvesting fruits from vines with such large thorns) and nutritious. Mmm.
As I’m settling in to summer and to a more permanent dwelling, you’ll finally hear more from me again. Life is slowing, settling and I am picking up where I left off. It’s going to be a good year. Hopefully the start of a string of them all in one place.