You know how pregnant women seem to get thoroughly engulfed by absorbed in their growing bellies? It's been nice to be distracted in these last few hours/days/weeks of pregnancy by the actual growing season. Trips to the farmer's market have been inspirational - we've come home with a blackberry and two blueberry bushes (of different varieties - apparently you need more than one variety so they can cross pollinate), herb plants and flowers. A neighbor was giving away a whole slew of mint plants, which we transplanted out back with visions of mint iced tea and homemade mint ice cream for summertime. (We don't have an ice cream maker, we just place the custard in the freezer and stir it with a fork every hour or so for five hours - the result is thicker than your average ice cream but just as good).
We had a garden when we were living in Mexico. It was a tough, cold climate with poor soil, but we did manage to eek out some greens, radishes, and the ubiquitous beans, yellow squash, and corn. Oh - and one big, red tomato which was grabbed by a passing child before we could get to it.
One thing I miss about our yard in Mexico is the chickens. We "had" chickens. Lots of them. They weren't technically ours, but they had free range of the place. Every morning during the early planting season we would have to run outside in our bed clothes and bust out our best arm-flailing, chicken freak-out dance to get them away from the newly planted garden. It was such a ridiculously fun way to start off the morning!
The cats also love chicken watching. Once, Timoun tried chicken catching ... and let's just say that the chicken won. Big time. Poor cat and his fragile self-esteem.
The big news around here (aside from the baby) is the "Great Chicken Project". Durham just lifted its ban on backyard chickens, and we'll be hopping on board with three or four egg-laying pullets come Fall. This summer, we're taking advantage of my parents' month-long visit (they arrive tomorrow!) and building a chicken coop and run. My dad and Patrick will be building something portable like this. Very functional - we can move the coop/run around the yard so that the ladies can munch on fresh greens and bugs and leave behind their poop for the benefit of future crops.
Do you raise chickens in your small backyard? I'd love to hear your tips!