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Happy Easter and happy Pesach or happy day depending on your celebratory predilections. It has been a gorgeous day today making up for the mostly rainy day yesterday which has also made up for the busy stressful week that was.

Spring is early and warmer than normal here, if there is such a thing as normal anymore in this era of climate change. The honeyberries are blooming, the currant and gooseberries are about to bloom, the cherries are getting close, maybe by next weekend, and the garlic has sprouted up about 3-4 inches already. Bookman and I decided to tempt fate and planted some peas, lettuce and rat’s tail radish today.

We are also working on laying out the garden in a new, more deliberate way. We are almost done with one section. We put up trellising for more peas and we are digging out some grassy bits that used to be part of a path but are now part of a garden bed. The Dashwoods of course had to assist! I have a few bruises and wounded spots on my hands and wrist from Elinor. I “peck” back at her when she pecks me but most of the time she couldn’t care less. Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne both tried a peck or two but when I poked them back they didn’t like it one bit and backed off. Margaret is a noisy but chill chicken who doesn’t get overly excited and waits for my hands to get out of the way before diving in to look for bugs. One thing is for sure, they make digging in the garden a bit more challenging. Bookman took some video from the other end of the garden bed while the Dashwoods were helping me:

But the Dashwoods are equal opportunity helpers and he got some assistance too.

The bed that got planted has row cover fabric over it to keep the Dashwoods out. And the squirrels. Row cover fabric is a glorious thing, light and porous, plants can sprout up beneath it without being squashed and light and water gets through it.

man digging in the garden with chickens

Dashwoods helping Bookman

If you have been following my gardening adventures for any length of time you will know I am constantly battling the squirrels. They dig things up, they eat my vegetables, and do all sorts of nefarious damage. I was reading a gardening book the other day written by someone from Minnesota, and when I came to the section on nuisance garden animals she mentioned the usual deer, rabbits, etc. Then, briefly, she mentions squirrels. What she said made me laugh: squirrels, she said, may nibble here and there, but aren’t a garden nuisance. The author obviously is not acquainted with the squirrels in my neighborhood! Clearly I live in the rough part of town when it comes to squirrel society. I wonder where the more genteel, no nuisance squirrels reside?

All of the seeds I sprouted indoors are doing really well. Today was so nice they got some outdoor time in the shade. They are a month away from being ready to plant, but it was good to give them some fresh air and natural light for a bit.

One of the things I intended to sprout was purple Cherokee tomatoes. For weeks I have been watching the pots I marked as being these tomatoes and thought they looked nothing like tomato plants. One part of my brain knew they were not tomatoes but the other part was in denial and insisted it was just something to do with their variety. Well the plants are far enough along now that I can no longer deny my planting error. You see, instead of planting purple Cherokee tomatoes, I planted purple cabbage instead. Apparently when I was planting the pots, all I noticed was the word “purple” on the seed packet. Thing is, I also planted purple cabbage. Now, instead of having three cabbage pots I have seven and no purple tomatoes. And because I refused to acknowledge my mistake weeks ago, it is too late to start purple tomatoes. But that’s okay because I also planted a few other varieties of tomatoes that really are tomatoes.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice day. After that, cool and rainy the rest of the week. Good thing I have Monday off from work. I can get out and enjoy the sun before the clouds and wet settle in. April showers!

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