Tonight we all lose an hour of sleep, the groundhog saw his shadow and I got a notice in my mailbox yesterday that said it was time to clean up my yard all of which point to one very exciting fact: spring is in the air.
And as I go through my notebook and review the list of goals I sought to accomplish I am pleased to be able to put a great big checkmark next to most of those things. On to the outdoor goal list.

Living in a trailer park I realize that it is going to be even more difficult to push the boundaries than if I were in your average subdivision or even back at my great little place downtown. However I am not really one to take things lying down I have been brainstorming all winter the best plan of attack because you see the most problematic person in the whole park lives right across the street from me. He poses as a good guy in typical scary serial killer fashion he gets close to you by being nice. He shoveled my driveway and swept my steps on more than one occasion over the winter. Now before you go and paint him with a nice brush let me tell you that he also shoveled all of his snow, salt, sand, asphalt and grit onto my front lawn all winter long. And in order to sweep my walk and steps he has to come through my gate and into my yard. Something he seems to have no problem doing. I wonder what he would think if I did the same to him?

None the less he is my neighbour and curb appeal is my number one goal in dealing with him. Years ago I was once accused of being manipulative. At the time I was incredulous because nothing I did was remotely close to an attempt to sway. Now I will outright admit it. There is something cunning and clever about being aware of what might motivate someone. It is just plain smart. And so when I dress up my front yard to supply me with my annual tea crops I will say nothing of it to my nosy neighbour. We will talk about the things that he cares about like making my front yard look nicer by doing some landscaping, adding some lavender, plants and shrubs, not to mention a foot tall stone wall so that he has to lift that snow if he wants to shovel it into my front yard next year ;)

I will paint the trim and seal the driveway and put up a 6ft fence so that when I add 4 chickens to the mix of grasses, plants and shrubs they’ll have been there for at least a few weeks before he finds out. And when my yard produces more food in one short season than his ever did I will have at least one leg to stand on as testament to how chickens in the garden are really not such a bad idea after all.

Oh and on the subject of chickens. I whole heartedly agree with this guy and his paddock system. Free range/wild doesn’t make chickens very good foragers and doesn’t do much for the vegetation. Concentration and rotation however does work wonders. 5 paddocks, 1 week each is a perfect 28 day rotating system.
Also a dog as predator control. Fences fail. Predators are smart. That is why we bred dogs in the first place, they are man’s best friend. I’d push that theory one step further and explore if we couldn’t trade in the fence for the dog all together. Perhaps not with a large flock of chickens or something overly complicated but in an urban setting. Could a dog not keep three sheep on a lawn for an afternoon? Me thinks that maybe he can.

PS – That link above has more than just a great chicken system. The guy talks about permaculture, energy conservation, cast iron cooking and that is just what I read today. So I definitely suggest you check it out.