I’ve discovered a wonderful labor-saving device that comes in handy when redoing your landscaping. It’s called a husband. Who knew they could be so useful?
The secret to getting Vic involved in my backyard makeover was POWER TOOLS. Normally Vic is happy working on his computer or teaching his college classes or out in the field birding. He has little interest in my gardening activities. But when I bought myself a nifty $300 McCullough chipper mailordered from Gardener’s Supply Company, he was right by my side. Which is a good thing, because it’s a powerful little device that neither of us wants the other using unsupervised.
This 14 amp, 1600 watt chipper is a huge step forward in our composting activities, and an integral part of my big chicken plan. I will chip yard waste, put the chippings onto the dirt chicken run, rake them up every week along with the chicken manure, and compost the nutrient-rich chippings. The compost goes back into the garden, a real circle-of-life thing. A bonus is that the chipper is fun to use and surprisingly quiet (unless we’re chipping branches.) Check out the video to see it in action.(Ack, it’s sideways. Can’t figure out how to rotate it. Well, just tilt your head.)
Vic and I took turns chipping the fern tops for the chicken coop. The roots went into the green waste bin for pickup and recycling by the city’s trash hauling service.
I also ordered a solar LED spotlight from Gardener’s Supply Company and installed it myself on the coop. I screwed the spotlight to the coop, ran the cable up to the roof of the coop, and set the panel on its stake into a potted plant on the coop roof, which is the sunniest spot in our backyard. So easy a grandma can do it. The light turns on automatically at dusk and is plenty bright enough to see any varmits that might be prowling around my hens. Which I still don’t have.
Cluckingham Palace still needs a few tweaks. I’m still working on the flagstone pathways and planting flowers (mums, allysum, nasturtiums, Nemesia, iris, narcissus). I haven’t had time to finish painting the coop or hang the artwork (which is for me to look at, not for the chickens). But the back is really coming along nicely. Soon, soon, soon, I’m gonna get my hens.
(To read more of Lou Murray’s environmental writing, see her weekly column, Natural Perspectives, in the Huntington Beach Independent at www.hbindependent.com, under columnists.)