Tread Lightly

Not having a Thursday farmers market to prepare for gives me time to start work on neglected forest trails. There is always something fascinating to see in the woods, like these mushrooms, squeezed between two logs. The chickens have taken chunks out of them, and lived. Is that a sign I can eat them too?

Out in the woods, Russel and hens are inspecting my work. Normally we hear his high pitched warning cries frequently, but this morning, he was so quiet, I wondered if something had gotten him. But there he was, deep in the woods, guarding the Silver Laced Wyandottes and young Buff Orpington who have taken a liking to him. In the deep brush, the chickens can eat all day, hidden from hawks and eagles flying over head. It’s easy to see that their ancestors were jungle fowl.

Back in the garden I do see that ducklings eat more than slugs and bugs. They aren’t against taking bit bites out of kohlrabi leaves, snacking on arugula, or foraging through sorrel beds. Everything comes with a price. If losing some greens to slug-gorging ducks is what it costs to have these predators of gastropods, so be it. It’s better than chickens who shred garden beds to smithereens with their feet and leave the slugs alone. In comparison, webbed feet tread lightly over garden greens.

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