Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s west coast mist, so I am happy that I got out and raked up some relatively dry leafy sunshine for my flocks yesterday afternoon. That meant I had to hit the home office at dusk and work till almost seven, but it was worth it.
We are lucky to have lots of poplars, alders and hawthorns growing in our muddy valley. Unselfish creatures, they delight the eye all year, flaunting their fresh green garments in April’s spring breezes, perfuming the warm air with their snowy flowers in June, shading us from August’s glaring sun, shifting from green to gorgeous gold in September and sharing their leafy bounty freely in October.
I always harvest as many as I can, weather and time permitting, squirrelling them away here and there in unused coops and under eaves. I try to gather them dry, which is often a challenge in our rainforest climate.
Dried, they make fresh, fragrant bedding, and even wet, the birds love raking through them for tasty morsels. But a wet pile of leaves soon becomes a slimy pile of compost, not much good for chicken keeping although excellent for garlic bed mulch, especially when mixed with liberal lashings of chicken poop.
Today at morning chores I happily scattered bright yellow leafy goodness all around the coops. I can tell my birds appreciate them too. Glowing as if lit from within in this dim grey weather, they brighten everyone’s day.
And oh boy, just look at how many are still left! Golden riches, held in benevolent twiggy hands that can be counted on to share them generously, every last one, as our tall, slow living, quietest valley residents settle themselves down for another long winter nap.