Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring has sprung!

Wow, oh wow, is it beautiful here right now. March is my favorite month in Texas. The roadsides are covered with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. The weather is pleasantly warm and nights are still a tiny bit chilly (just right for sleeping with the windows open).

On the farm, we have irises blooming and hens brooding chicks. Stephen has been putting in a ton of fences. He closed in the back yard before Easter. He is almost done fencing in the garden.

The children and I have been out digging in the soil so that we can get some veggies in as soon as Stephen gets the garden fence done. The chickens have been keeping close tabs on the progress; I usually have one within arm's reach as I turn up the soil. They eat all the bad guys (except fire ants) but unfortunately also eat some of the good guys (like earthworms).

The Princess and I did some much needed work on the front flower bed today; pruning back salvia from last year that were leggy, fixing part of the brick border that the dogs had dug out, putting in some deep purple petunias, and mulching.

The chickens were ever present, and in this case posed a problem. The Princess planted all the petunias, using a ruler to determine spacing. At one point I looked up and thought that she had miscalculated and missed a spot. Then I saw a petunia on the other side of the bed! A chicken had dug it out in the process of scratching for bugs and had kicked the whole plant across the bed. Chickens are one of the reasons we are fencing the garden!

I sprinkled cayenne all over the flower bed, hoping it would deter the chickens. It worked for the dogs, and made me sneeze like crazy, but there were still chickens coming into the bed. Any ideas for how to keep free range chickens away from something?

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