Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gardening, Starlings and Chickens

It was a balmy 54 degrees today with not a breeze and the afternoon sun shone on the west side of our home. I brought a cushion out and with my garden trowel took out weeds from the narrow bed that borders the west side of the house. I was reminded how important it is to be careful while weeding...I cut down, before they even had a chance to become flowers, three daffodil shoots. Ugh. There they laid, their pale, softeness cut off, separated from their life giving bulbs. How could I have been so careless? A thoughtless weeder can take out flower as well as weed.

And I wonder how many times I have done this with other things in my life; how many times have I wanted to rid my life of someone or something and taken the 'flower' as well? And how many times have we read that we need to be in the moment? And how many times do we need to read it to know it?

Any small patch of earth that you cultive, be it one inch by one inch, can teach you endlessly about observing and touching and smelling and listening and how to be careful.

You know how I've been telling you about the starlings spending the night in our hedge? Well two nights ago I heard a great horned owl and went outside because I could tell that it must have been in the willow tree that is covered by wisteria. It was. But that is not what I encountered when I walked toward the tree. You see, the hedge is between the willow tree and me (at that moment). My cat Little One was jumping up into the hedge and oh, the fluttering and the panic of those hundreds of wings!! I ran toward my leaping cat who was attacking the hedge but he was crazed. And now he must have singled one of them out and was going after it because he was jumping up and moving as though following one. Which he must have been doing because the where he jumped and moved to was now a single flutter amongst the laurel leaves; away from the rest. Oh, it was heart breaking. Our hedge was not a safe haven. And Little One was brought to me by my sister Josi when he was only 5 weeks old and had been dropped off at Kalama beach and her dogs were about pounce on him. So he was saved and now he's become the hunter. Not that this is news. I mean, I have seen him with a bird in his mouth more than once before and a field mouse often enough to know he's a healthy cat and enjoying living on the outskirts of town and in close to an old barn and big field.

And plenty of times I have worried about him getting swooped away by one of the great horned owls. He practically glows in the dark because he's mostly white with some gray spots on him. He could look like a rabbit, or a cat for that matter; a great horned owl would take either. But it seems to me that a cat with it's claws could put up more of a fight.

I am thinking about getting chickens. I've thought about it plenty of times before and once we came close, but it was the one time that I'd changed my mind. We have coyotes that come around. Sometimes so close that you can hear their voices coming from their throat. I mean, if I get chickens would that be another thing to worry about getting attacked. But then I think, well, we'd build a very secure chicken coop.
And I wouldn't want it too far from the house because I'd want to feel that the chickens were safe and closebye. But I know how chicken manure can smell. But then I'd be keeping it clean so it wouldn't smell. I'm pretty sure I'd feel better if it were closer to the house than further away. I've never had chickens before. Just popping outside and picking up our eggs would be great and also I love birds. I really do think I would enjoy them. Spring is coming and it'll be baby chick time soon.
So, we'll see. Definately though I wouldn't want their coop too far from the house and maybe we could put a light sensor on the coop so when something is prowling around we'd know about it, which would mean that we'd need something in the house that would let us know that the light went on.
I'm not going to think too far ahead about the possible bad things that could happen. If we do that we woudn't do anything right? I can see myself getting the chicks. And if Dean is into this, which I think he is, then he'll get that chicken coop built and enjoy it at the same time.

I think we're going to get chickens!

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