Wednesday, March 7, 2012

# 221 - Beady-Eyed Vandals - Chickens!

Deputy Dave keeps plowing ahead, literally, whether or not the house is up for sale. Since we have chickens in the backyard, he decided to surround the veggie garden area in a nice high skirt of bird-chicken netting.

I said, "Why plant all of these veggies when we're just going to sell the house?"

He says, "I guess the new owners will get to enjoy all of our vegetables."

I know the truth is...he can't stand for the vegetable garden area to remain barren. Heck, I've had my own seedlings hidden in the dark recesses of our closet, waiting to sprout and I keep planting fresh replenishment seedlings, knowing that the NEED within me to GROW food is overwhelming.

We are whipped.

I hope the new owners of our house, if they ever show up, will be happy to harvest their Big Boy tomatoes and their own garlic, onions, potatoes and on and on. Shoot, I hope they like to cook with fresh herbs because we have several growing hardy and full in the backyard. Especially our Rosemary; chickens don't like Rosemary.

You can see our Rosemary growing against the garage in the background.
As many people know, Rosemary is an herb that grows like a shrub and is impervious to just about anything that would otherwise cause the destruction of a lesser plant. If you need a boost to your "green thumb" status, grow some Rosemary.

My fresh Sweet Basil is a staple of our household. Often, I step outside to simply rub a leaf of Basil and to inhale its powerful, delightful fragrance. I think one of my rooms in Heaven will be full of this smell. Yes, I expect to experience incredible smells in Heaven and to never again be subjected to the foul side of the power that comes with having a sensitive nose.

So, in spite of the chickens battling for a taste of the garden, Deputy Dave continues planting and watering and caring for his vegetables. Sadly, the chickens did break through the barrier this week and ate all of the budding lettuce, obviously one of their favorites that they were willing to chance dying to obtain.

Chickens can be vicious robbers without any regard for personal safety when it comes to setting their beady eyes on a goodie they desire. Lately, I've learned they'll even fight an Australian Shepherd for a swallow of something they feel entitled to steal.

Chickens...they are little warriors for their own cause...scavengers with unbridled passion.

I just hope we either successfully keep the chickens out of our garden here at our house located in the city, at least long enough for us to reap the rewards of most of what we've sown or that we get moved, quickly, to the country so the chickens can enjoy their domain, far from our garden zone.

Any trespassers might be in danger of being added to the dumplings.

This year, I won't have my tomatoes picked, pecked, scratched and pulverized by chickens. The line in the dirt is drawn. We've learned our lesson about chickens and gardening. Last season, I could clearly see that the chickens would quickly destroy the entire garden. Sure, they control bugs in a garden, but they mainly do it by eating the bugs and by destroying all good things for the bugs to feast upon...leaving nothing behind for you or the bugs to savor.

I fought a good fight against this scene, but it took a good, hard lesson of garden carnage for reality to sink in about chickens and pests. For me, the delight in seeing the chickens flounce around in the garden was not worth the knowledge that the plants would not be able to endure their constant "fowl" presence. The chickens caused the plants to live under additional "stress" that was not good for their overall health, especially in a drought that we might have otherwise been able to combat in backyard conditions. It was a hard thing to watch my beloved tomato plants slowly succumb to chicken attacks.

Even though I adore my chickens, I also adore our home-grown vegetables and do not want to sacrifice one for the other. I took my stance early-on in this regard. Chickens and gardens do not easily mix.

Being new to chickens this past year, it's a good thing we learned this lesson on a rather small scale in our backyard. It would have been a royal pain to learn it on our acreage with a vast personal garden. Being vandalized by a feathered creature is a lesson well learned.

As for the garden we'll have in the country, I can imagine one of the garden signs might read,

"Beady-Eyed Chicken Vandals NOT Allowed!
Punishment range for violators will include
a thorough dipping in beer batter!"


LindaG said...

Have you seen any of Gail's pictures here?

Her dogs cats and chickens all share from the same bowls. It's really cute. :)

I think your chickens are funny. I've heard that about them. :)

I've also heard they love tomatoes. Sadly, your post bears that out.

Happy Wednesday!

A Primitive Homestead said...

This is a big concern for me. I want my veggie garden & my chickens both. Plans are to move the chicken house & build them a closed area around the chicken house. I need two trees cut in the new area first. I love the smell of basil. Was wondering if a row of rosemary around a box garden would keep the chickens out. If you have a piece of old rain spouting it could be mounted to that fence & soils added to plant lettuce out of reach from the chickens. Saw this on another blog & would like to try myself. Enjoyed your visit. I am feeling better. Good luck this growing season. Blessings!
Lara said...

Linda --- I went over and looked at Gail's pictures. Amazing! To see the birds and cats eating together gives me great hope! If I am feeding dog food, I can kind of do what she had in a picture with separating feeding zones and having peace, but once I put down that pizza crust that day...WHEW...the war had begun. I don't think I'll try it again. I'm so glad to see Gail's cat living in peace with the birds and chickens, I know we'll need farm cats and this gives me hope that everyone will live in peace as she experiences. I'll have to get tips from her.

Lara --- I had been warned by Linda from the start that my chickens would go to all means to get to our tomatoes and they did. I even went outside one day to find a chicken had flown INSIDE a tomato cage and I had to do some fast work to get it out. I bet your chicken house will be awesome. I've learned it doesn't actually take much, but protection at night and at times of high predatory action is nice to have on hand. If we were staying, we'd probably grow lettuce and a few more things vertically. It's such a good idea for spaces that have challenges. I hope you have a beautiful growing season as well and that you are finding yourself happier than ever.


Clint Baker said...

Looks like he had lots of great helpers! LOL!

Mike said...

It's quite possible the 'new' owners won't want a garden. However...

Put a clause in the contract that y'all get to harvest the garden.

Becky's Barnyard said...

It's the farmer in him. The little chickens just wanted a little bite; or two.

Alica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alica said...

I've been browsing around your blog tonight, and this one caught my eye. We have 34 chickens in a fenced in area, and over winter I left them out to scavenge in the garden. Now, however, they know what's out there, and keep trying to escape! I am NOT willing to let them destroy my garden once it's planted! Sigh...