The Stump Garden


Blackberries and English ivy had taken over a good portion of our backyard until M started spending some quality machete time out there. The newly cleared areas revealed, among other things, rotting stumps and an apiary full of spiders the size of which I did not know existed in these parts.

The stumps gave me an idea. Completely rotted through, I thought that removing a bit of the interior wood and replacing it with potting soil could transform them into functional planters with excellent drainage. I was already in search of a place to transplant my sage, chives, rosemary, thyme, and oregano which had been hastily potted last December before our move and were starting to look desperately droopy.

And so it happened.  The chickens, of course, felt it was necessary to help out. Time will tell if the stumps remain intact and the herbs are happy.


Bawk, bawk, bawk!


Three small dinosaurs joined the family. They’ve been on our radar for a while, but we didn’t have enough space at our old house according to the City Code. So, when we realized the yard at our new rental met the city’s area requirements for backyard poultry, M took the initiative to put in a chicken application with the city. And it got approved!

Before I knew it, Saturday morning came around and I found myself on a beautiful, rain-free drive through wine and lavender country on my way to pick up three special ladies–all hens entering their first laying season. One Speckled Sussex and two Golden Sexlinks. We had one egg within hours and three more the following morning. The eggs, of course, are delicious. I know you’ve all heard it before. Omnivorous diet. Slugs+insects+compost=quality egg. And it’s true. Home-grown chicken eggs are the best.


We currently have the chickens in a fenced enclosure with a coop that is locked up every night. When we’re home the ladies have more freedom to roam the fenced backyard. I designed the coop and M built it and installed temporary fencing. It was a good learning process. Building things, we found, can be expensive. We were eager to get things going as quickly as possible so we bought most of the materials new. On the plus side, we know the coop is sturdy and should last for years. And it can come with us when we have our future-someday-farm. I think it was a good investment.

So far the girls seem healthy, happy, and hilarious. Have you ever watched chickens? I have. And could for hours on end. Such characters. Constantly scheming for the next morsel. This is such a great opportunity for us to learn about a new farm animal on a small scale. The yard feels (and sounds) so full of life and activity. Spring is on its way! The earliest dahlias and daffodils are blooming, the eggs are coming, and we may have baby bunnies a few weeks away…