After five years, our Gravenstein apple has blossoms!

After five years, our Gravenstein apple has blossoms!

Grace, our Sicilian Buttercup hen, likes to hop the fence.

Grace, our Sicilian Buttercup hen, likes to hop the fence.

The girls FINALLY got the memo. (And some of them will be five next month!)

The girls FINALLY got the memo. (And some of them will be five next month!)

Spring is here, and I’m back - more or less - where I left off last year, a little more tired. In addition to eight (fairly useless) hens, one lazy hound, and two adult humans, we now have a tiny human to tend to. Hopefully (?!) now that 2013’s morning sickness, pregnancy fatigue, and crazy packed travel schedule are well behind us, 2014 will mark a return to the garden. Then again, we cannot possibly know what the tiny human has in store for us.

I promise to stop neglecting the philodendron.

I promise to stop neglecting the philodendron.

Our snowbirds recovered from the trauma of the collapsed chicken run tarp pretty quickly once they saw the mealworms.

Our snowbirds recovered from the trauma of the collapsed chicken run tarp pretty quickly once they saw the mealworms.

Homemade suet for vegetarian birds (or just cuz beef tallow is nasty). 

Melt down peanut butter (~1 cup) with vegetable shortening (hippie Spectrum brand palm shortening in our case, ~1 cup) and your favorite bird seed mix (~3 cups). Pour into a pan lined with parchment, then place in the freezer. Once it’s all set up, cut to size for your suet feeder (four pieces in our case) and wrap individually. Store in the freezer till you’re ready to feed the birds.

Homemade suet for vegetarian birds (or just cuz beef tallow is nasty).

Melt down peanut butter (~1 cup) with vegetable shortening (hippie Spectrum brand palm shortening in our case, ~1 cup) and your favorite bird seed mix (~3 cups). Pour into a pan lined with parchment, then place in the freezer. Once it’s all set up, cut to size for your suet feeder (four pieces in our case) and wrap individually. Store in the freezer till you’re ready to feed the birds.

We had a decent crop of red (Rossa di Milano) onions hidden in the overgrown bed. Here’s yesterday’s harvest. The leeks tolerated the mess well too, but the beans got so buried that our only harvest was dried pods for next year’s planting.

Here I present more documentation of our summer of yard neglect. Today we spent several hours mowing and weeding the back yard — and the hens reaped the benefits. (Above photos are during and after shots of the raspberry/sunflower/onion bed.)

A Garden Spider hiding in the leeks after I destroyed all the weeds supporting her web.

A Garden Spider hiding in the leeks after I destroyed all the weeds supporting her web.