15 April 2012

Ramping up

As Mrs. Fuzzy noted in the previous post, The Fuzzies have been derelict in their duties... at least as far as keeping both of the readers of this blog informed and perhaps, entertained.

A week ago today, Mr. Fuzzy, accompanied by his erstwhile canine companion, Rocky, went ramp hunting. It was a tough go as the briars have just exploded in size and numbers due tot he mild winter. They germinated months ago and are now mid-calf in height. Last year's briars are now waist high. Controlling this explosion is going to be difficult.

With more than a jigger of perseverance, Mr, Fuzzy and friend reached the major ramp patch with only a few holes torn in his shirt. The patch, too, had prospered through the mild winter and was both denser and encompassing a greater area than years before. It has been dry of recent (all here fear a repeat of last summer's drought) and the ground was so firm, even in the forest, that a trusty knife (made by Randy Wolfe of Bethel Forge) was required to extract the odoriferous bulbs.

They are now in Mrs. Fuzzy's hands awaiting utilization - and epicurean enjoyment.

14 April 2012

Why, hello!

Long time no postie.

We have been alternately shivering by the fire due to seasonal weather and searching for the lightest weight tee shirts in the drawer because the mercury is much too high. As a result, we're a bit behind in getting anything interesting done.

My second planting of peas in the Lower Garden are just coming up thanks to regular supplemental watering and I had a lovely day yesterday planting two rows of heritage potatoes- All Blue and a pink fleshed variety called Mountain Rose. We've eaten both in recent months and are eager to grow our own as they are especially tasty spuds.

Our autumn sown lettuce and mustard are still providing fresh greens and the autumn chard is back in production too. Had we thought to plant these delicious vegetables in all our empty garden spaces we would truly be feasting. It is a lesson learned.

We also got one meal off the asparagus patch. I feel pretty good about that considering it was moved while the plants were dormant last summer and they sent up a good show of stalks with the onset of autumn's cool rains. They will get another load of composted manure next week to help them give us a good crop next spring.

And we leave you with a couple photographs of the greeting we occasionally get when we arrive home. The red hen jumped into the car as soon as the door was opened and the rooster came along behind to keep tabs on her. Mr. Fuzzy found it rather amusing to see the girl get right to work pecking at the dirt on the floorboard.

03 April 2012

Chickens & Gardening

Were you to read the press, chickens are the best new thing in gardening. Don't believe them! What chickens are good for is moth & grub control, manure production, and utter destruction of plant matter.

Last weekend I started the chicks on a ten week mission to destroy the weeds currently growing in the walled garden. This mission also fulfilled the need to move them to a larger, more interesting, run. Despite being no larger than an American robin, they have already accomplished the task in their small pen and are ready to move on to the next level.

Next up will be a patch of Japanese iris that needs to be removed. These are a lovely plant if you want something that blooms to take over a degraded slope without need to water a lot. Unfortunately, they are poised to take over a quarter of this space. Japanese iris are also notoriously difficult to eradicate... But the hens are capable of the work!

As the girls complete the harder work, I will be following behind to dig up Dutch iris and daylillies that are not in appropriate locations. (Under bushes and trees, mostly.) These will be potted up or "heeled in" to a garden bed until we are ready to put them in their final locations... After we get a chicken / dog fence built.

As the babies move off one section and onto another I will be laying on the litter from the big girls' coop to feed the remaining trees and bushes to rebuild the soil, which is heavy and malnourished.


In random order, the pictures are: the newly barren run, fast moving chicks, and the doomed iris bed.