When You Are Insane


When you are insane, you get the idea that cutting the lawn by hand with trimming shears is a great idea. If you’re sane, it’s not something that crosses your mind. But the grass around the tofu cabin has turned into tall grass. It’s more a wild meadow than a lawn, a fact my husband keeps reminding me. But the chickens like the tall grass. And the tall grass looks like it would be great nesting material if cut nicely and dried.


Ruby is curious what I am doing. Often if I am out by the tofu cabin, half the flock comes out to investigate what I am up to. But it’s only Ruby who spends the afternoon with me, seeing what the crazy one is doing.


For her it’s an opportunity to find things to eat in the cut grass. Most of the time when chickens are pecking at things in the grass, it’s impossible to see what they find. Tiny beetles, mites, spiders, ants, basically anything that moves is what they eat.


A lawnmower would turn the tall grass into pulpy mulch. The sharp shears cut the grass clean and make it easy to rake into lovely windrows. In less time than you imagine, I have a fluffy windrow of cut grass. This should make great nesting material for the hens.

There is a thick, soft blanket of moss at the bottom of the grass. I’m sure it will feel lovely against a hen’s tush. The robins (Turdus migratorius) sure love it. They’ve carted sheets of moss off to make thick, plushy nests. There is a doctoral thesis waiting to be written: “Impact of nesting material on the survivability of robin chicks.”

Speaking of things doctoral, remembering the scientific names for animals and plants can be difficult. But the scientific name for robins, Turdus migratorius, sticks easily. Think “migrating turds” and you’ll recall Turdus migratorius in a flash.


Another windrow. These will dry nicely in the sunny summer days. I just need to figure out a dry place to store them before the rains return this fall. But when you’re insane, the possibilities are endless.

Summer Is Here


It feels like the first real weekend of summer. I slept in too late to try and see the comet, Neowise. At 10 last night it was still too light to see it. I should set an alarm for two in the morning on a clear night so I can see it. A patch of shungiku, Chrysanthemum greens, is perfect for picking. This is probably my favorite green to eat.

shungiku on cutting board

Magentaspreen are up in force. An onion in bloom with it’s little cap is proof that summer has arrived.

onion flower

primary ballot
And I had a chuckle when I opened up the primary ballot that came in the mail a few days ago. There are 36 candidates running to be governor. How many hours is it going to take to research all those candidates? It’s something to think about while I putz about in the garden.

It Blooms, It Dies

blooming bamboo grove

I’ve seen bamboo my whole life, but this is the first time I’ve seen a grove bloom. The grove of bamboo next to the cabin is blooming. The leaves are drying and falling. Bamboo can go decades before blooming, but once it blooms, the whole grove dies. A bamboo grove really is just one plant, each year sending new shoots up new roots.

bamboo blossom

The flowers are small and plain, like most grass flowers. I’m curious what the seeds will look like. Will they be grain like? Something I could turn into flour and bake into bread?


Summer has finally arrived. Each morning blue skies await when I wake up. The long rains of June and early July ruined the cherries this year. They were small and many split. But the plum trees are full of fruit. So are the apple trees.

white plums

A Cool Start to Summer

Chuckanut Drive on a summer day

Summer seemed to have started this weekend. I’ve got pictures to prove it. Summer here usually doesn’t get going until after the 4th of July. Sunday morning, the views on Chuckanut Drive were as summery as possible. The dogwood in the woods is in full bloom. Thimble berries are ripening. The hydrangea buds are opening.

dogwood in bloom
ripe thimble berry

Thankfully, thimble berries don’t ripen all at once. It’s a strategy to entice seed spreaders and gardeners to come back often to graze, and to wait to trim their overgrown branches. What gardener in their right mind is going to trim a thimble berry dangling bunches of yet to ripen berries?

hydrangea in bloom
Garden snake
two garden snakes

Frequent sightings of garden snakes prove that it is indeed summer, though today’s cloudy skies and chilly air, and a forecast for more cool days to follow, make me doubt it.