The hens don’t let muddy feet stop them from foraging for tasty morsels.


Living in the Pacific Northwest means coming to terms with one’s relationship with mud. The rains can go on for weeks and the gorgeous greens visitors exclaim over come at a price and that price is winter and spring slop. Sure, every year is different and last winter we were a little spoiled, this year–between snow, drizzle, and downpours, our little slice of the world here on Cedar Street, is sopped!

The pathway from the back door to the chicken coop is a slippery trail of mud, moss, and the straw we’ve taken to putting down to soak up some of that mud. The rain barrels (big, dark plastic garbage containers we use to collect rain water for garden use) are nearly full. We can’t even get from the front door to the car without coating our freshly cleaned boots in a nice muddy icing. While it is what it is–what it is, is wet!

In gardening books, raised beds are usually recommended for various reasons, but for us, drainage is a number one priority. In order to get those seeds in the ground now so that we can have lettuces, peas, and cabbages in April, we have to have beds that are not holding water. Fortunately, we’ve build our beds and added in lots of different organic humus–including compost, leaves, and straw. In the three years we’ve been here, our garden has gone from one herb bed, to more than a dozen worm-filled wonders of varying sizes.


In order to get this in April, we have to brave the mud in February and March.

So, we put on our rubber boots, roll up our pants cuffs, and put on our rain hats. We can’t let the weather, nor the risk of slipping in the mud and falling on our backsides keep us from getting the garden in. Meanwhile, the chickens have learned how to wade through puddles and scratch through soppy leaf piles to find tasty worms and grubs and sprouts. We really have no choice. After all, a person has to plant where she’s planted!


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