This weekend ended with a dinner date by the fire with my girl. It was going to be the three of us, but papa went on a call to help carry a woman with a sprained knee down off of Lookout Mountain. He came home very tired and sweaty. It took them a long time and he said when they got to the bottom she got up and walked to her car. I mean, I guess that's a good thing, but.... I don't know. I said something to the effect of "the nerve!" and he said yeah, but she would have had a really hard time coming all the way down with her knee like it was. At least I know I've got a good hiking partner, in many ways.
Also- and this is huge. HUGE. We have reclaimed our yard from our chickens and now it is again ours. OURS! I love our chickens. I do. But. Not so excited about not being able to have a picnic in our yard without one of them snatching our food, or about not walking around barefoot much because of all the, well, chicken shit. And not a fan of them flying over the chicken wire into the garden and doing mischievous things such as digging up baby beets and peas and eating all my chard. Pecking holes into squashes. Et cetera. So we were leaning towards putting a real (ish) fence around the garden to keep them out. But then they could still steal our picnic yummies and we very likely would still squish our toes into their excrement, you know? And a fence, even just a real (ish) one, is expensive! Even so, we were all ready to head off to the feed and such store to buy fencing and thinking (but not saying) things like "who owns this yard anyway, dangit!?". Enter our neighbor's offer to use part of her yard as a run for our chickens. (there is a gate conveniently located between her never-used back yard and our chicken yard) She made this offer months ago but we declined, thinking we 'loved' having them in the yard/on the patio/all up in our business. Well, as we were rethinking our garden fencing alternatives, she (neighbor) came out and we chatted and she made the offer again- assuring us she wouldn't mind at all. Especially (she says) since it'd make it easier for her to feed the chickens and since the only thing she uses that part of the yard for is an ashtray (she smokes up on her deck and flicks the ashes, but not the butts, thank goodness, into the yard). Sometimes she does this while wearing just a t shirt. Sometimes her husband mows the grass wearing just a speedo and white sneakers. They're Eastern European, that's why. And so- we eagerly fenced off part of her yard (to keep the chickens from flying up to and pooping on her deck), fixed the gate leading to the coop and chicken yard in our own yard, and closed those girls in. We spent less than $20 on metal stakes and used lengths of fencing that we already had. They have nearly as much space to roam as they did before and we are realizing how very much we had been wanting the yard back to ourselves.
Straight ahead is the chicken tractor, the gate closing them in, and the main coop is to the right. About 12 feet back from the wooden gate is the gate leading into our neighbor's yard, and it is now open at all times to give the chickens access to both yards. Awesome. We are so lucky to have this solution available to us.
So, most of the weekend was about that. The garden fence of chicken wire and strategically-placed but still ineffective string came down, we mulched the blueberries and blackberries, the hazelnut, the figs, and the other fruit trees. The herb garden and some flower beds. Starting to lay cardboard in the pathways in the garden and mulch over those. Couldn't mulch much with the chickens running around- they'd always just scratch everything up and then it'd look worse than when we started. We're moving things around and feeling very liberated.