Free Range Flowers

It was a perfectly perfect day today. The Southern wind is coming up from the gulf so the air is juuust the right temperature. The morning clouds broke quickly and the sun warmed my skin as the wind cooled it down. Perfectly perfect.

As per tradition on the first buzz of the spring season, I took myself and my wallet to the local garden center to see what I couldn’t live without anymore. They were just getting the trees and shrubs out, and pansies… but I don’t do pansies.

I bought a pink dogwood to finish out a bed I made last year and a blueberry bush. I know you are supposed to plant blueberry bushes in at least pairs so that they can pollinate properly, but I didn’t buy two. I thought I had planted a baby bush last year, but I got home to remember that it was a blackberry. So I need to buy another blueberry. Awe shucks…

I’ve sacrificed one of my raised vegetable beds now for these blackberry and blueberry bushes. The beds never got enough sun for seasonal veggies to really do well, but I am hoping they have enough for the berries.

I’ve been waiting for my “forever” house to plant fruit trees and bushes. We’ve been in the “temporary” house for almost 8 years. Lesson learned.

While I was out digging around I let the hens out to do some foraging. The ladies have really been doing a number on my plants on days that I let them “free range” all day. In some ways I like it, because they are really tilling up the dirt and leaves, but it’s starting to get kind of savage out there as the greenery is getting in shorter supply.

I caught one standing in this pot yesterday, just checking to see if anything was edible in there.

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And they will hop up on the deck railing and go to town on these pots. The succulent has been pecked clean and the fern was just moved there yesterday. They are starting to work on it…

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So, along with the de-bugging and de-grubbing of the backyard (I really like it when I see them eating ants like candy), I have discovered this one truth…

You can have free range chickens. You can have pretty plants. You can’t have both.

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My chickens and my flowers make me happy, though, so I’ll keep them both around. Savannah gets a kick out of checking the coop for eggs, and really, isn’t that what it’s all about? I think every person that grew up with access to fresh eggs has a fond memory of Grandma or Poppa sending them out to check them. Actually eating the eggs feels like a free bonus. Jerod keeps our supply low, but we may get to give away our first dozen soon.

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I have quite a few things that I’ve planted that died in last year’s drought. I have a few things that I’ve planted that just didn’t want to survive. But I also can look in my backyard and see lots of happy things coming out of the ground and blooming and multiplying and thriving. I’ve planted almost everything back there except for the large hardwoods that supply the graceful summer shade.

Spring feels good.

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