First two sections of terrace wall in place

I finally had a bright idea to maximize more space in the garden.  The sloping edge of the former pond has remained hard packed clay pierced only by the fiercest weeds, from the rim to the cultivated floor.  I decided if I put in a short wall, then I can create another tier of usable garden beds by filling it in with readily available biomass (old hay, horse crap, etc). It may easily double the growable area of my pond garden.

I can even hide small branches in there, now that I know about hugelculture.

All I have to do is dump matter in the new terrace and the soil will build itself, probably ready for next year.  Well, not “all” I have to do…first I have to remove barrowfuls of rocks, most of which got thrown to the edges in the original garden-building.  It is laborious, but certainly not as hard as trying to break, aerate, and ameliorate that dry, dead, dense “bedrock” of clay.

Bear in the cherry tree

There're orbs, but there's no bear


Stepped outside last night and was arrested by an unusual sound.  A combination of snorting and rustling, emanating from the cherry tree 40′ from my door.

Yep, a bear.  He was snorting like a pig and shaking the tree like it was in a mighty wind.  I was choked at a) his audacity -SO close to the house, and b) the possibility that he would severely damage the tree.  Another fruit tree was almost destroyed by a bear while I was away – the trunk split, broken by the bear’s weight climbing around in it, half the tree lying on the ground.

So I got some pans to clang together and went at it, crashing them together and beating against the fence, yelling at the bear in the tree.  One of those events that would be quite the spectacle if someone could have witnessed it – me hopping around in my undies, banging pots and and hollering at a tree.  Intermittently taking flash pictures of the tree.  Lucky it was dark.

I got my camera because it was too dark to see the bear, and I thought he might show up in the photos, but the tree hardly showed up in the pictures.

The bear may as well have been deaf and blind.  He didn’t even pause in his noisy, nasal rummaging, just carried on rustling around in that tree.  I could hear him chewing.  Eventually I gave up.  Bear, 4.  Me, 1.

One pedal stroke at a time

Rode my bike to work today- first time on those creaky old wheels in ages, but it was awesome, and far too easy.

The best part was finally being able to take this elusive picture of my favorite local view- Kokanee Glacier across the lake, from the summit.  I get to see it so often at 7am, but it flashes into view only for a moment, and it’s impossible to take a picture from a vehicle.  I love this view so much- it’s different every single time I see it, for the clouds, the tree and snowline; sometimes it’s shrouded in a weather system all its own.

Yay for bicycles!

Learning to range

I started letting the chickens out into the wide world when I got back, because they have to learn sometime. I’d open the main door and just leave it open and wait.  For hours they only poked their heads out, until one of the roosters got jostled and fell out, with much squawking.  Over the first few days, they slowly ventured a few feet away from the coop.

That was fraught with anxiety for me.  At first I only did it while I was around, all scared of all the threats they would encounter, with no street smarts at all! But they seem to be ok.  I’ve seen them practically interacting with the ravens, whom they are about the same size as now, the bear has rolled through, as have the neighbor’s dogs, and there have been no losses.

At first, every morning when I opened their hatch the roosters would tumble out and stand there wide legged, blinking, and shake their necks out.

Now when I let them out in the morning they pop out the hatch like corks, Continue reading Learning to range

Well, I’m back

The Chicken Blog will resume shortly.

I’m back from the Permaculture Design course that left me reeling.  Not the sort of thing you’d expect to reel from, but… it was a complicated field trip.

Apologies for abandoning my blog for so long- I’ve had a lot of trouble returning to it because I had no idea  how I was going to address the experience I just had.  The distillation, and recovery,  is still in process, but I think I’ve sorted it out enough to comment.

Now I know why it was I was meant to go to that Permaculture Design Course in Oregon that I chose so impulsively.  I met extraordinary people and great instructors, started lifelong friendships, opened my heart, and had an amazing, unique, experience because of the synergy of the other participants in the class.

On the other hand, there were some pretty big, fundamental problems with the course and especially the facilitator, that meant that the overall experience was nowhere near as good as it could have been (to put it mildly).

So I’m left with the awkward verdict that I had a great experience, but Continue reading Well, I’m back