The henhouse got a fall cleaning/ “henhouse makeover” in fall colours. The abundant maple leaves provided a big new spongy carbon layer, piled in over top of the dung and old grass that has been piling up. It’s like lasagna gardening, only lasagna composting. It makes the henhouse smell really good again too. Now when I open their hatch, I hear crunching inside as they start walking towards the door.
I love the chickens! They’re all grown up, and there are far fewer, because most of the roosters got eaten, but the little flock is so mischievous and amusing and … lively. It’s just nice to have animals roaming around being animals, murmuring to each other and sneaking around, popping around the corner of the barn, and scratching in the hay with their butts in the air like little schooners. They hover around when we’re working or raking leaves, waiting to reverse our work or dig for uncovered treats.
They can fly quite well, too, as I discovered when I was dumping leaves in the henhouse. I guess it scared the willies out of them, and they went flying out the door over my head in a panic.
They vanish completely for hours every day though. I was wondering where they were hiding, and it turns out they DO roam around in the woods. There were sightings of them back in the woods. That’s so awesome. Wild chickens! Like the wild chickens of Hawaii.
HW recognized an annoying spiky bush as a rosehip bush, and we harvested almost all the fruit off of it to dry it, although the bush fought back.
I was skeptical about the value of rosehips until he reduced a bunch of them down and made this amazing syrup. Now I’m a big fan of rosehips. I notice them unpicked in other people’s yards and also that they are almost unaffected by the freezing temperatures.
Rosehip syrup: Boil equal parts water and rosehips for an hour, then reduce heat, mashing fruit occasionally. Sieve out seeds and skins and discard. Add honey (1:8 parts) and simmer down to desired consistency. Add pectin to make jam.
The fence is down, everything has been dug up or cut down, the sprinkler’s out, and everything is heavily mulched with the dead vines and stalks and hay.
There was some excellent kale, flourishing in the cold weather that we expected to be able to enjoy for some time longer, but once the fence was down the horse came in and enjoyed it first. No more kale.
We put in a couple more sections of terrace (more than this picture shows), to accommodate most of the fall leaves and manure, and piled the terraces to overflowing with biomass, expecting great settling over the winter.
A lot happened in September. My husband and I rode our bikes a thousand kilometers, and hitchhiked several hundred more. We visited hot springs and attended a wonderful Dharma training at Dharmalaya in Eugene, OR. We built a pole/timber frame structure, and we got married, twice. I collected a big new scar on my knee, punched a screw gun through my index finger and cut the nerve that used to give me sensation in my fingertip. He got attacked by yellow jackets and got a new tattoo.
His name is H.W. I’m married now! It’s tough to do justice to the feeling of this new phase of life- marriage. I know because I’ve spent a long time staring at that sentence trying to think of how to describe the feeling of this new phase of life. It definitely is a new stage, making that commitment to walk through the rest of life with someone else, no matter what. I feel a deeper understanding now of so many others that make that choice; I’m in the Married Club now.
I’m really happy. Incredibly happy. I thought I had happy figured out last year, but this plane of happiness is almost bewildering. Everything is different. I’m content in a new and unfamiliar way. I feel extraordinarily lucky and rewarded. Most of my life I never even believed I would marry nor wanted to, and now all those cliches like “other half” make so much more sense. I’m equaled, united, part of a team. Also duplicated. I am amazed by how much more we can get done together.
I care more than ever about my own health and the importance of staying alive. Now I’m answerable to more than just me. It feels so much more secure, and centered, like standing on two legs after balancing on one. I’m incredibly lucky and honoured to have this experience of love in my life.
It’s amazing. I’m happy beyond description, that’s all.
Our “whole story” is here, if you have the password to read it. (Ask me)