Sunday, February 5, 2012

Win, Win, Win

Sorrel before the hens were let out

Chicken scratching is a mixed bag. Those strong legs and toenails till the soil.  They unearth bugs, worms, and grubs.  They remove weeds and keeps the tiniest of sprouts from growing.  They rip the top off of tender perennial shoots that are brave enough to press their faces toward the sky and push at this time of year.  Herein lies the rub.

Ten minutes after the hens were out:  I am not making this up.
Not the rhubarb, nor the delphiniums, nor the peonies, nor the hardy geraniums, nor the sorrel appreciate this treatment.  Animal training isn't my current strong point, so there's little hope for getting the girls to carefully tend just around the edges of my favorites leaving the plant itself alone. I'm certain that the scratch impulse does not come anywhere close to what might be called a chicken brain.*

Very vulnerable Delphinium shoots

But had a fabulous solution just waiting for me. Make a little cage from flexible branches/long twig prunings.  Of course, the materials are just hanging out in my yard waiting my awareness.  We have red-twig dogwood that does best with a severe pruning every year.  The "chop us to the ground" task has been begging me to be on the Things I get to do today show for several months.

Mean while, Katy, Nora, Lena, Latifah, and Nina were all very sweetly asking for a romp in the yard this afternoon.  I'm seeing all the fresh beginnings in shards about the yard if I comply.  That is until I recalled the tip from Garden Gate.
Delphinium wins.

Clippers in hand, a few minutes with the dogwood, more clipping to length and to remove side twigs and I'm ready to go.  The hens visited along side while I fiddled and wove the twigs together.  I win!

Chickens win.

*There is some one-sided debate in our house over whether or not such an organ does, in deed, exist.
Sorrel wins.

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