Fancy Fencing for Feathered Friends

The 18″ high fencing we’d been using to keep our 4 chickens in their designated 300 square foot area had been falling short for quite some time.  The Silkies had figured out how to squeeze through and Henrietta could just give a little hop and just roam free all through the yard, which is not a good thing.  I decided I’d had enough of chasing chickens around the yard when I came home from the store, so I did a little research and found this blog post from Sunny Simple Life and knew it was just what I had in mind.  Something nice looking, blends well with the garden and is functional.

Before (morning dirt bath under the Double Delight Nectarine):

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After:

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I purchased it at Lowe’s and it took about 2 hours to install with metal posts that hammer into the ground.  The fencing slides onto the posts and then links together to the panel next to it.  In order to still have access into their space, we left one panel un-linked, sawed off the metal post at the bottom of the panel to prevent drag and then turned around the next panel and continued along.

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I love the leaf design.  Now I know the chickens aren’t causing mischief in the rest of the yard, which makes me an even happier chicken owner.

And a couple fun veggies:

White heirloom cuke

White heirloom cuke

My first butternut squash!

My first butternut squash!

A Rose Named Dolores

If I had to pick just one plant from my garden to take with me, it wouldn’t be one of my fruit trees or any type of edible whatsoever.  It would be a potted rose on my patio.  I’ve had this miniature rose since the early 1990’s.  Before that it belonged to my grandmother who first acquired it in the early 80’s.  The rose lived on her picturesque deck in La Jolla, CA looking west to the ocean.  It was a small, old home perched on top of a bluff.  Along with the view, one of the other memorable, fantastic qualities of her house was it’s sprawling old wooden deck.  Being on the side of a hill, this deck was the main garden.

 

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The rose is sitting in a terracotta pot on the deck just to the right of the bench under the red bougainvillea.

My grandmother’s thumbs were bright green and her favorite plants to grow were roses.  To her, the beauty of a rose was unsurpassed.  And with so many varieties and scents, the possibilities were endless and enthralling.  She would spend hours pouring over rose catalogues and show me her favorites that she’d like to have one day.  When I’d spend the weekend at her house, we’d wake up in the morning and, coffee in her hand, we would take an early walk around the deck “to say hi” to the roses and see how they’d changed from the day before.  I soon realized that although a day doesn’t seem to be enough time to see a plant change, if you looked close enough, many things could happen in 24 hours.  I grew to appreciate patience and to feel joy over the little things.  And of course she also taught me how to prune roses, which helps me think of her every January when I use her knowledge in my own garden some 25 years later.

Today the hillside that once cradled her home is now covered in overpriced condominiums with fancy cars dotting the drive ways.  To me, that’s not it’s true identity, since it lives on in my memory as it was when I was a child.  It’ll always represent the special part of the earth where I spent many weekends of my childhood spending time with one fantastic lady.

The rose as it lives today, about ready for it's spring bloom.

The rose as it lives today, about ready for it’s spring bloom.

So, this is why, this rose is my most prized and loved garden inhabitant.  I don’t even remember the name of this rose, nor do I care to remember.  To me, it’s just, Dolores.  It’s my grandmother, both unassuming and radiant, delicate and also filled with little thorns.  I would have never known that a rose could live for 30 years in a pot and still it remains, some years battling rust and disease, and other years blooming more profusely than I can ever remember.  It lives on in my yard as it did on her deck so many years ago.  And although my daughter never had the chance to meet Dolores, my daughter can still smell and pick and admire the same blooms that my grandmother and I carefully studied each morning together during my weekend stays on her wooden deck overlooking the sea.

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Chickens & Cherry Blossoms

DSCN1276Somehow the chickens seem to know when I need a new picture of them doing something endearing because yesterday they were posing like pro’s.  These birds of a feather really do love to flock together.  Last week every one of my white Silkies were broody and our sweet Ameraucana Henrietta didn’t leave the coop, not even for a minute, to venture by her lonesome out in the grass which she loves so much.  Now that they’re back to their pecking, egg laying-gang status, they don’t leave each other’s sides.

DSCN1263The Minnie Royal Cherry tree has begun to bloom!  It’s pollinator sister, Royal Lee, is not quite blooming yet, but I’m hoping they’ll cross blooming schedules at some point to possibly produce some of my first cherries this spring.

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Baby peaches have appeared!

Eva’s Pride baby peaches have appeared!

Blueberries are on their way as well.

Sharpblue blueberries are on their way as well.

DSCN1279THE END!

Pink Promises

Eva's Pride Peach in bloom.

Eva’s Pride Peach in bloom.

She’s a small thing but she’s got star power.  Especially since she’s a full month ahead of any other fruit tree in my backyard.  She’s getting all of my gazes as I do the dishes, glances as I putter in the garden and stares as I sit under the pergola.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

DSCN1252Every year it never fails to impress me when the fruit trees bloom.  I imagine the energy and fortitude that must go into producing such a sudden burst of beauty.  To me, fruit trees are the best trees.  Flowers and fruit.  What could be better?

Tomato Baby

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IMG_9628I just noticed this afternoon that the Celebrity tomato in the grow pot is the first to set fruit for the season!  It’s an exciting time when the promise of juicy, red tomatoes starts dancing in my mind.  Last year many of the early tomato flowers were just dropping off due to lack of heat and/or pollination.  This Celebrity won’t let anything get in her way.  Perhaps she thinks she’s in Hollywood?

Green Bean Seedlings

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IMG_9526This year I’m growing three types of green beans: Alabama #1, Blue Marbut and Rattlesnake.  I love that green beans germinate at close to 100%.  The ease and speed with which these guys get going really is impressive.  They don’t like to be soggy, but don’t let them dry out or they’ll droop.  I caught a snail munching on them the other evening, so now they live on top of the patio table until they go in the ground, some in a few days, the rest in a week or so.  Once in the ground, I’ll protect them from rodents with clear plastic beverage containers that have had their tops and bottoms cut off.

Ahhhhhh, Spring!!