|Cloudy November day in Rula's yard|
Over the past few years, I've tried many things, including motion detector sprayers, which of course couldn't tell the difference between a hen and a human. This got very annoying so, when the mechanism froze over that winter and cracked, I didn't bother replacing it. I've tried everything from fake owls to whirligigs and ribbons. None of them worked. I also tried temporary, ugly, plastic mesh fencing and bird netting to protect my patio flower beds. The ugliness kind of defeated the point of saving my beautiful flowers from hungry chickens. Plus, the chickens always managed to find a loose spot to squeeze under or over. Where there's a will, there's a way.
Last year, I planted comfrey under our fruit trees and down by the creek beyond the chicken coop. Comfrey is great for them and all livestock are supposed to love it. They snacked and made their way right back onto our slab of comfy concrete. I figured they were smart chickens and knew that food and scraps came through the patio door (big mistake on my part), so I began trekking around the house the long way to take them scraps. They snacked and came right back up to the patio door. In fact, whenever the sun came close to setting, instead of heading to their coop, they came up to the door, parked their fluffy butts and waited for their escort. Yes, I've been nicknamed Mother Clucker around here. Sigh. Apparently, my chickens are easier to train than my dogs.
Did I mention that my dogs have very robust, healthy vocal cords? They have the kind of bark that rattles bones and shatters eardrums. Barks they loved to use right when I would be cooking and carrying a glass jar of tomato sauce or a cup of hot tea. You get the picture. My chickens (and the geese and ducks too) seemed to get a kick out of it. Oh they loved standing at the glass patio door, taunting the dogs and knowing full well those giant beasts couldn't get through the glass. I told you...smart birds. I, however, feared the day my dogs would shatter the glass, along with my eardrums. And once the flock got locked up for the night, I would have to wash off the area around the door (or entire patio) to keep the dogs from walking through the poop and tracking it around. Very gross. The dogs, however, loved it. They seemed to enjoy eating all those droppings (lovely lumps of probiotics, to them) as much as any other type of chicken nugget. Especially frozen in the winter. Chicken poopsicles. Yum.
But this selfish, mean Mother Clucker has ended all their fun.
Last week, we finally invested in a nice patio fence. It's the more affordable aluminum, iron-look-alike and has gates on both sides, including one to my herb garden. I chose the style with spears at the top because I didn't want to give the chickens a nice landing surface. So far, they haven't tried to fly up or over. Right now, things look a bit plain, but we plan to landscape with some shrubs, flowers and crape myrtles on both sides of the fence to create a softer look and nice outdoor room space.
|Part of the fenced area. The self-closing gate is propped open for the dogs after the flock is put to bed.|
|Look who can't get in.|
You all have no idea how relieved I am. The day this fence was put in last week was like an early Christmas for me! I can't wait to plant around it come spring.
In the meantime, don't forget that I, along with many of the other Harlequin Heartwarming authors, have early holiday giveaways for all of you! Not chicken fences, but tons of other cool stuff ;).
I'm on tour with Prism Book Tours next week, starting Monday the 13th through the 25th! Yes, following the tour and commenting on posts will get you entered in a giveaway. I'll post details and the schedule soon.
Nov 7th, I have a fun post up at the Heartwarming blog with Catherine Lanigan.
Nov 10th is the last day to enter my Every Serengeti Sunrise Goodreads Giveaway (this book won't be included in any other giveaways so enter while you can).
Nov 29th is the huge Starry Nights & Romance Facebook release party, featuring all of the Oct/Nov/Dec Heartwarming authors and two special guests. Check out the link for discussions at the bottom (if signed in) for sneak peeks at some of the giveaways in store (including mine): HERE!
Dec 2nd the four Heartwarming December authors will launch yet another giveaway on the Heartwarming blog, so stay tuned for those details!
Dec 5th Every Serengeti Sunrise and the other Dec HW books officially release in print format, though I believe ebook format is available on the 1st!
There's more to come in December, but I'll leave it at this for now.
I have much to do, but I think I'll steal a few moments to enjoy a hot cup of tea on my clean patio.