I’ve been fussing for days over this post. Every time I start, the words don’t flow freely and I sound like a PBS lecture on animal husbandry. Not to slam those, but this is me….this is a blog…if you wanted to watch a PBS special you would.
So, I’m just going to write as though you’re here at Casa HenSongs with me…sitting in the garden by the lilac and rosemary shrubs while I explain how we got to where we are. You have questions…I have answers.
Hens poop all the time. They even poop when they sleep. After several months of trying the “my backyard is your toilet” idea, we couldn’t stand it anymore. The dear Peeps follow us around wherever we go….leaving a trail of poop. When we sit down under the trees in our patio chairs, they join us on an empty chair….and poop. They also enjoy the Sitting Rocks we’ve place around for humans and Robbie to perch on….but the hens poop on them. Before we clipped their flight feathers, they could easily fly up on the patio table….where we eat dinner. The list goes on and nothing was poop-free.
The snail and bug abatement program they initiated included ridding the yard of the host plant (my vegetable and flower beds were a hen buffet of Las Vegas proportions) and all of the eating led to more….pooping.
Those of you who are long time readers will fondly remember the great irrigation system pecking event. You guessed it…there was also pooping involved.
Since we walk back and forth between the yard and house all day, the idea of tracking this poop into the house and car became horrifying. The few times one of the hens followed me in to my studio caused a panic of “get that thing outa here before she poops!!!”.
Answer: Dogs and cats pee and poop.
I know, I know, replacing your front yard with a vegetable Victory Garden is the “in thing” right now. When I open a magazine or blog or Facebook page and see a picture of a lovely set of vegetable beds growing a bumper crop of fresh food, the first thing I think of is all of the neighborhood dogs lifting their legs on the pole beans and squatting in thyme ground cover that replaces the lawn. The free-range cats see those raised beds as the best litter box EVER! Come on…admit it…you think about that, too, but are just too afraid to say so.
When I was a kid, our neighborhood gang (the good kind….like Leave It To Beaver days) used to walk around with stems of Sour Grass (Oxalis or Wood Sorrel) hanging out of our mouths all summer. My Mom was horrified and would yell “Don’t you kids think about how many dogs and cats peed on what you just put in your mouth?” I guess this made an impression on me.
We are very happy to declare our front yard the Wildlife Habitat and Passive Water Cache System, leaving the vegetables and fruit trees behind the first set of gates to the backyard where Robbie, the resident Sheltie, keeps a cat-free zone.
Henny and the Peeps have their beautifully designed piece of land that houses their coop and nesting boxes as well as one vine that they have not stripped free of all leaves – Casa HenSongs is the perfect gated community; keeping them safe from visiting dogs and the few hawks that fly overhead. It also keeps them safe from whatever we humans track into the yard on our own feet.
Stay tuned for more of these chats about the upcoming Bay Friendly Garden Tour. It’s been nice to have you drop by and sit in the yard with me.