It’s amazing when a person gets out of the habit of writing nearly almost ever day how difficult it is to sit down and get to writing again. I’ve not been writing much because, unless you want to hear me complain about the unending winter or the VO2 max bike workout that left me gasping and my legs burning, there hasn’t been all that much going on. Of course, I could look upon that as a challenge: to say something interesting about the mundane. Hmm, something to think about there.

The Dashwoods celebrated their two-year hatch day on March 30th. Actually, the Dashwoods didn’t give a feather about it. But I remembered and they got some treats that meant nothing to them but gave me pleasure.

It is astonishing that they have been part of my daily life for two years already. In some ways it feels like they have been here always and in others like they just arrived yesterday. What a privilege it is to have them. They provide entertainment and joy every single day. Their contented cooings when they are having a special treat or when I let them out of their run to roam and scratch in the garden touches me in a way that is immediately relaxing and grounding. I cannot be angry or stressed or worried when I have four cooing chickens at my feet.

We don’t eat eggs, which makes everyone wonder why in the world we would have chickens in the first place. The previous paragraph is reason enough, but when we brought the Dashwoods home we had no idea that would be part of it. No, the intent was fertilizer and pest control. It could be argued that chickens are a lot more expensive than synthetic fertilizer and pesticide and even more expensive than a compost bin and a dish and spray bottle of soapy water. And this is completely true. But my garden is 100% organic and compost bins are great but not very interesting and soapy water is a lot of work. The Dashwoods roaming the garden and just being chickens doing their chicken thing provide more service for the investment than I ever counted on.

Plus, they have become a favorite stop on the walks of several people in the neighborhood, especially small children. And it is wonderful how happy it makes people when you offer them the eggs you just took out of the nest. The Dashwoods are preeminent ambassadors.

Two weeks ago the weather looked like it had turned the corner and was on firm spring footing. It would freeze every night but daytime was around 40F/4C. So we took the plastic wrappings off from the wire around the run. The Dashwoods had a view of the world again! And with the longer days, I let them out when I got home from work and they could wander for at least two hours. Everyone was happy.

Since then we’ve had several sloppy rain/snow storms that quickly melted away. Saturday night we had a couple inches of snow that didn’t completely melt yesterday. And today, well, it is snowing as I type this and will be snowing off and on through Tuesday. We are expecting about 5 inches/13 cm or more by the time it is done. Good thing the spring bulbs and rhubarb didn’t sprout up much. And the buds swelling on the trees and berry shrubs in the garden are no doubt rethinking things.

But, I have the Friends School Plant sale catalog keeping me company and garden planning to do! We have a few more edges in the garden where I can tuck in some more fruiting bushes and after consultation with Bookman, I have decided to go all in with the honeyberries. I have three of them already; two are a couple years old and the third I planted last spring. I am going to add two more. They are so good and an excellent alternative to blueberries in my decidedly non-acidic soil. They can be eaten fresh, cooked into pancakes and muffins or anywhere you would use blueberries, and they freeze really well too.

Also being added is a chokeberry. I have never had these before, but it is a native variety and it is in the same family as roses, which explains why the flowers in the photo look very much like single roses. The other berry we are going to try is cranberry. Apparently they do not have to be flooded, they just need to be kept watered. The plants are low growing as well. So I am going to try one in a spot near a rain barrel. That way I won’t have to go far to water it.

Still playing around with what else I want to get. It all comes down to time and space. The sale is a little over a month away giving me plenty of opportunity to settle on everything and then completely change my mind a few times.

Meanwhile, the indoor sprouts are looking pretty good. We haven’t managed to kill any of them yet. The tomatoes got a little overwatered but look to be recovering. The jalepeno peppers are beautiful. The cabbage, basil, marigolds and dwarf zinnias are going gangbusters. It will be six to eight weeks before they can be planted outside.

As the snow continues to fall, we are all of us looking forward to basking in warm sunshine.

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