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Putting the Backyard Hens to Work

Last Sunday, we put most of the garden beds to rest for the winter.  It's a melancholy job for me as I work so hard to raise these plants from seeds, care for them as small shoots, and put up the harvest.  I almost hate to rip the stems from the earth and send them to the compost bin.

chickens in the garden bed

This year, the job was easier than ever thanks to our backyard chickens.  As soon as the plants were removed, we placed the birds in the beds.  In the process of looking for insects and munching up rotten tomatoes, our three toed hens turned over the topsoil.  They even left behind some 'nutrients' to that will be beneficial come next spring.

backyard hens turning soil

While Lillian has loved these birds for many months, my affection for them has formed more slowly.  The worry that I used to have for their very survival is now replaced by true fondness for their soft warbles, the way they delight to see me in the morning, and their goofy antics running around the yard. When they are cuddled up on a cold winter day against our warm window, I almost want to let them inside for a bit.

chickens waiting at the back door

Of course I leave them outside where they can forage and lay at ease. Their egg production is slowing with shortening days, but they still have much to contribute to our homestead with their silly spirits and aerating steps.

This post added to Simple Lives Thursday.