Thursday, October 9, 2014


This will be a post about just-becoming things- beds starting to bloom, pathways almost-there, my baby chicks growing bigger, one with a major deformity that may/may not be her undoing. None of it is done, filled in or mature. It's thrown together based on the flow of my impulses instead of a rigidly organized plan.. I have friends and family that are "very well put together" and I've always felt like a disorganized tomboy by comparison. My college roommate did DIY salvaged book art 20 years ago (before Pinterest!) and then became both a corporate attorney and a handbag designer in NYC. Some branches of my family epitomize preppie coolness, others have always had immaculate hair/make-up, house and garden decor. That would not be me, or my other march-to-the-beat-of-our-own-drummer friends and kin for that matter. I constantly have an itch to dig, rearrange, and open spaces for new things to evolve. If that means things never seem "done" then I'm getting used to being ok with that.. The details that show up today are what I'll focus on to savor and capture..

So this is a pre-shot, laying out my path intentions in Morse code-ish black weed barrier and and white stone..

I've carved out the pathway bit by bit, pacing both the strain on my back (!) and the textural enjoyment from digging in the dirt with nothing but a shovel, a bucket and a wheelbarrow. The big chickens have  bonded with me through the process- I pull up sod and they scour the dirt for (plentiful) grubs. I have to nudge them off the shovel at times. I think the most enjoyable time is when I kneel to smooth the surface pre- and -post adding a layer of sand before the weed block fabric and decomposed granite. It gives me a bit of a break, but I can also focus on the earth under me (and sometimes ponder how deep it goes and how little of it I am actually seeing!).

Not done yet.. I'm sure next spring, or the year after that, or sometime later I'll rearrange things again. The grass to the left always becomes scraggly and water starved in late summer, so perhaps I'll extend the bed in the distance, or put smaller paths through a series of water-friendly beds.. No plan yet, I'll let impulse guide me when I get there.

My front bed was dug out of the grass this spring, and the plants there are filling in, though I think they were still trying to just establish themselves this summer. My fall aster and Mexican mint marigold plants have just begun to bloom, while a Mystic spires salvia seems happy to bring summer to a close (see it's yellowed leaves).

My veggie bed is protected from the chickens (though it was created from an area I filled with compost and had them dig up and fertilize). Lettuce, brussel sprouts and broccoli on one side- must remember to water and eat the lettuce in time!

Flower details..

Hey mountain pea bloom! I have it in a neglected dry shady bed and it has never fully filled in, but I like its small lavender flower..

My ignored Turks cap in the back has risen to the occasion- it gets no attention from me and still puts out beautiful flowers..

I planted a tiny 4" Martha Gonzales rose this spring because they apparently do great in Texas, are resistant to mildew, and need little care.  It has done great in an intensely sunny area without large amounts of water.

Ruby my Wyandotte bantam eating a pumpkin on a bed-in-evolution. Apparently pumpkins are wonderful for chickens since they are nutritious and help deworm them. I've layered newspaper, hardwood mulch, pine straw, hay and compost scraps over a worn St Augustine area with the idea that I'll dig it all together in the spring and move my veggies there. 

Another shot of my cross-beaked chick. The angle and (lack of) overlap between her top and bottom beak has steadily increased, but she keeps growing and seeming to eat well. I moved the three chicks to the chicken tractor (the temp outside being the same as our bathroom!) and she has been the first to fly up and find a roost up high. My eldest worries about her abnormal beak (and whether she'll die from it for lack of eating), and it's been a good experience to talk to him about difference and uncertainty. I alternate between enjoying watching her seem fine and worrying about how I'd know if she was suffering/starving. Pets and animals are tough that way.. It's a lesson in patience I guess, letting things take their course.