June 23, 2011

Pick a Peck

I was standing on the back deck, waiting for the BBQ to heat up and enjoying the scenery. The garden is finally showing green shoots. Two hummingbirds were flitting around the rhododendrons. And to make it better, I was sipping a nice Merlot. And then I saw it - chickens headed for the garden.

Typically the chickens are prevented from getting to the garden by a huge gate we keep closed during the day. The chickens have plenty of yummy food in the orchard and along the stream. Tonight Jordan and I went down to feed the animals, which requires opening the huge gate. It was earlier than normal because we had my sister-in-law coming over for dinner. I opened the gate and Jordan warned me "The chickens will get out." I said "No, they'll go into the run when you throw scratch in." Guess what - scratch means nothing when you have untapped fresh grass and associated bugs to munch on. The chickens ran out and headed up the driveway.

Up the driveway is the official yard part of our property. It's the manicured, landscaped, typical euro-yard. That is a great place for the chickens. They can't do much harm in the yard. Sneaky buggers went all around the yard and then down to the garden.

All those tender little veggie starts. Peas, carrots, beats, corn. All about a month too late because of the crappy weather. I freaked and ran into the house. "Jordan, grab your flipflops! The chickens are in the garden!" And out the door I ran. Sprinted down the stairs with Jordan close behind, trying to slip her flipflops on while running. I grabbed Pearl and we started to herd.

People talk about how hard it is to "herd cats". Try to herd chickens sometime. We were both hunched over waving are arms, saying "Shoo! Go on! Get out of the garden!" Then "Jordan, George! Get George! Now Henrietta! I got Speckles!" Finally we got them back behind and shut the huge gate. Garden safe again, we walk back up to the house and went back to getting ready for dinner guests.

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