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You Did What?

April 1, 2012

Did you ever have one of those days where you’re kindof bored, and you come up with an idea that seems really good at the time, but once you’re too far in to turn back you think, “I should have phoned a friend to run this idea by another person before going full steam ahead” ?

Well, this happened to me last week, after a day of gardening and letting the chickens out of their run to turn over the soil in the raised beds, and planting some seeds with a wish and a prayer that we’re going to see some more sun in the next couple of weeks.  The next day, I found myself with nothing to do in my own garden, so I thought, “I know!  I’ll take the chickens to school!”  To put this in context, my kids’ elementary school has a beautiful garden, with one raised bed for each class to grow whatever they want.  Last summer the local garden club offered to water the beds over the summer, and ended up donating an astounding amount of fresh produce to the local food bank in a beautiful collaborative effort. 

This spring, the students have been practicing a type of radical lasagna gardening where instead of layering straw, leaves, seaweed, and compost, they’re layering the paper towels from the bathroom wastebaskets and the fruit and vegetable scraps from their lunch waste right on the raised beds.  An interesting idea, but those food scraps are never going to decompose in time to start planting seeds in the beds.  They need to go back to composting the waste, then spreading the finished product on the beds, layering with other organic material to build the soil.  So…I decided to form a little work party made up of my two youngest kids, and two of our hens.

That is how I came to be driving in my minivan to the school, with two of our girls “pop-pop-pop”ing in a dog crate in the back.  I had to time my visit so I could clean up the school garden beds, then recruit my Big Boy after he finished his soccer practice to help me catch the birds.  I tease him that I need his Jedi reflexes to catch them.  I can corral the girls in their coop, but I’m not fast enough to grab them when they’re out in the open.  As he walked out of school with one of his friends, I had the uncomfortable feeling that I might be embarrassing him.  Luckily his friend shouted, “There’s chickens in the garden!” and my Big Boy was able to say with pride that they are his chickens, and show off his skills as a chicken wrangler.

When I got home, I finally made that call to a friend that I should have made hours earlier.  I thought at least she could certify that I am partly crazy and we could have a laugh at my expense.  Laugh we did, but she called a few days later to tell me she had taken her chickens to school, too!  Now instead of feeling partly crazy, I’m a little proud.

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