(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
We spent a couple hours of the afternoon working outside and doing some organizing in the garage, reveling in having the sun shine down on our faces and the clear, cold wind blowing spring towards us. Matt cut back the roses that we have badly neglected since summer, leaving all the new growth that has popped out in the last week. I took a wander around the property, picking up bits of garbage that have blown in, been dropped in our curb strip, or been dug up by the chickens. Then I went and played with the compost heaps, giving both of our active heaps a big turn while the sun was on them.
Both heaps are coming along wonderfully.
Until last week, this section was still full of sticks and other big yard debris, but finally we got it all sent off to the city compost site, and this space is now free for all of our chicken- and rabbit-straw. It will compost on its own, and we can also take from these heaps to add to our other compost piles. We are keeping the two piles separate because the rabbit straw and droppings can be applied directly to the garden as mulch, but the chicken stuff can burn plants if it isn't yet composted. Matt asked how we would keep straight which heap was which- I said Rabbit goes on the Right, because they both start with R!
Taking a good look at the havoc the hens have wrought on our backyard this winter, we have begun toying with the idea of fencing off the western side of the yard, under the lilac trees, to create a large chicken run that will connect to their coop:
With this big section fenced in, they'll still be able to free range, but we'll be able to reclaim the lawn before summer. Last summer the chickens were too young to be ranging much, so we had the lawn free of chicken poo and full of nice green grass for lounging around on, and a great yard for summer parties. Since we've been letting the hens out to range most days, this is what our back lawn now looks like:
Because it's winter, the grass hasn't even been able to fight back. We'd like to have it green and healthy again for summer, and also we're pretty sure our landlord wouldn't be too excited to see it like this. So I think we'll be perusing Freecycle for some more chicken fencing and temporary fenceposts.
We had a beautiful hike around Powell Butte later in the afternoon, with glorious views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and from the top of the butte, a view of the very tip of Mt. Jefferson, away to the south. Back home, we cooked up one of my very favorite curries for dinner, which we hadn't made since before we went to New Zealand. It's so delightful, all spices and pineapple and sweet potatoes and coconut milk. The recipe is in this post. It's also wonderful because it's completely lactose- and gluten-free, and you could easily make it without the chicken and substitute veggie stock or water for the chicken stock, and have a vegan meal.
As you can see, the recipe makes a very generous amount of curry, which happily means I'll be eating this for lunch for the next few days!
I have a goal for myself for the coming week(s), which is to be more productive in the evenings. Unlike the last couple weeks, when I crashed into bed and veged out every night after dinner, I want to accomplish at least one small task every evening, whether it is finishing knitting a dishcloth, baking a batch of cookies, or doing some mundane task like organizing my desk. I want to do more with my time, and I know from experience that doing these small tasks helps me keep my energy up.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and that you are feeling rested and ready for the week ahead!