Every spring since I started gardening, I reach the point at least once when I feel so overwhelmed by what has to be done that I seriously think about sitting down for a nice, long boo-hoo.
There just isn’t enough time to clean it all up! I don’t have enough energy for all of this! Everything is asleep and it’s difficult to imagine a garden springing up from the ravages of winter.
Thankfully, Mother Nature usually kicks in about this time and starts presenting small gifts. The hellebores climb out of the rotting leaves and from under the snow with profusions of blooms.
Helleborus x hybridus 'Kingston Cardinal'
The daffodils poke their heads up and begin to bloom.
The tulips aren’t far behind.
Garlic that I planted back in the fall is growing. And it’s safe to put out the lettuce starts.
And it all begins to look hopeful and (Dare I say it?) pretty after all.
Now that spring has sprung, I’m more willing to do outdoor guard duty while the chickens have some walkabout time at the edges of the woods and in the yard.
They have the run of the place for at least a couple of hours most days. But when I open their outdoor run, the first thing all the chickens do is run, run, run for a spot between the back of the house and my Miss Kim lilac. This is where they bathe.
For chickens, a bath doesn’t involve water and bubbles. It involves loose dirt or dust.
The chickens dig and scratch with their sharp nails until there is a nice, soft patch of loose soil. Then each hen nestles down into the spot that she has prepared and wallows around, scratching and kicking the soil onto her back, opening her wings and rolling around. It looks like chicken heaven. You should be so happy in the bath.
This little ritual serves a useful purpose for the chickens. In hot weather it helps to cool them off as the soil particles work their way into the feathers. It also goes a long way toward avoiding mites, lice and other parasites. So the dirt bath is serious chicken hygiene.
For me, the chickens have also done me a favor. They have completely eradicated some invasive morning glories that no amount of weeding could control. In the years BC (Before Chickens), the morning glories would often wind their way into the lilac bush.
“Hey, wait!” you say. “Where is the big man while all these hens are bathing?”
Well, T. Boone Chickens usually takes a very abbreviated bath and then standards guard to ensure that the hens are protected and have their privacy.
He’s such a gentleman.
P.S. This is not really a chicken blog. But I do have a chicken section in my photo album. Have you visited it?