Greening up

We're having a typical March. The weather is sunny and warm one day, gray and chilly the next. The day lilies are blooming beside dead, brown grass and bare, spindly bushes. We walk outside in tee shirts and thin pants only to turn right around and put on a jacket or find something inside to do (though Bella is stubborn enough to suffer through if it means she gets to spend some time in the great outdoors).
That's March, but it will soon be April and then May. So our intermittent drab, dreary days will evaporate under the weight of central North Carolina's wet heat and blazing sun. Those will be days when we avoid being outside for long period of times and can't adequately breathe with all the humidity.

And at the beginning and end of those days, you'll find me in our first ever backyard garden. The mountain man spent a few hours out back this weekend hammering and cussing as he built an 8x8 raised gardening bed into which I will sew tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, corn, and herbs. I'm a little more excited about it than I readily admit.
With the little garden will come ... chickens*! We're in the market for three chicks for a little backyard coop. I had grand plans for a cute A-frame that we'd paint yellow to match the house and plant wisteria around and perhaps hang a little sign that reads, "The Tennessee Townhouse,"** but my husband dashed my dreams. Instead, he's going the real mountain route and sawing a whole in our storage building for the nesting boxes and then building the coop off the back of the building. It's going to look so classy (actually, it'll probably be classier than all MM's discarded crap piled up)!
The coolest part of this is we can work in the garden, feed and clean the chickens, and turn the compost all while watching the kids play. There will be no tantrums or whining from the under-5' crowd because they're bored and "do we have to go to the garden, again?" as I suffered with the community garden last year. We've given away this playset, but something fun will take its place, making our backyard fun for everyone.

I really can't wait. I'll be twiddling my (greenish) thumbs in anticipation and not at all googling the hell out of chicken coop designs.

* Yes, I know chickens are birds and that I will probably hate them, too. But the mountain man really wants some chickens and likes to tell people how his Papaw had a chicken coop larger than their house growing up. Of course he did.

** MM did not find this name at all funny, but it's hilarious, right? I told his mom and she guffawed heartily. Considering she's old-school Tennessee and he's only half Tennessee (his father's people are from a different mountain in Georgia), her opinion is the one that really counts. I may still make a little sign to hang out there. Just because.


  • TKW

    Chickens? Dude! That is major excitement!

    We made our maiden voyage into gardening last year, and it was really fun!

  • Jack Steiner

    Chickens sound pretty cool.

  • CaneWife

    How exciting! I'm a little scared of chickens myself, but I think it would be awesome to have fresh eggs. And baby chicks. That would be squee-worthy.

  • Sharon G

    I love it!!! MM did a great job with the garden!! We had a good sized garden in our yard last year, but it got really crowded. We're thinking about making some high raised gardens for veggies only this year, and keeping the other garden for more flowers. That should keep the neighborhood bunnies out too. I can't wait to hear your chicken adventures!!! So exciting!!!

  • Kelly Miller

    @CaneWife - I can't help feeling maternal and fuzzy over the thought of baby chicks. We'll be keeping them in our basement until I think it's safe for them outside. We have huge hawks, copperheads, and raccoons out here ... so keeping them outside in the beginning could be dangerous.

    @Sharon - I'm proud of him, too. I wanted to 4x8 beds so I could easily work both sides (cause you know it's gonna be tough to get to the middle of that 8x8), but it was more expensive that way. We may adjust them next year, but we're going with this for now. I've never seen a bunny in our yard, but I do plan to plant some zinnias around the periphery to act as a lure crop.

  • Kathryn

    "I hope you settle into the new house quickly. I remember how hard that was when we first moved into our house ... and it must be more difficult when pregnant!
    *Stopping by from the LBS tea party*"

    Thanks so much for stopping by!! :)
    Yeah it was not too bad, just tiring especially with the pregnancy! Love your blog, it's really cute!

  • Jennifer

    That picture of her coloring is so cute. We are spending as much time outside as possible too. Pretty soon it will be too hot here to walk to your car much less play.

  • Kelly Miller

    @Kathryn - Thank you!

    @Jennifer - Spring and fall are definitely my favorite seasons for that very reason. You can spend as much time out side as you want without any extreme temperatures. Luckily in NC spring is March-May and Fall is Sept-early December. That's a pretty long span of time.

  • Liz Aguerre

    Wow! I'm impressed. I can barely manage some flowers in a vase from the grocery store.
    P.S. Your comment on my blog about your mom's reaction to your kid peeing in the hallway??? I'm sorry, but I HAD to mention it here...THAT story I will hold onto and remember EVERY TIME I have an "incident." Thanks for sharing!

  • LifeAtTheCircus.com

    WOW! Good for you. I am not a very successful gardner, yet each year I give it a failed attempt... chickens! I have some friends with chickens... good luck and enjoy all those fresh eggs.

  • Janine

    That is great! You are so going to LOVE having a garden! I had a 25x25 garden last year and got a ton out of it. I had tons of veggies and herbs. No regrets. Garden tip~Marigolds keep bugs away, so plant some here and there and around the perimeter and it should help. Another garden tip~don't fertilize your marigolds. I did, and had amazon marigolds that killed my squash! I hope we move and settle quick enough to get mine up and running by the end of May...I may be pushing it, though! Oh, and enjoy your chickens!

  • Kelly Miller

    @LatC: Thanks for the good vibes. I'm hoping it's a successful attempt -- both with the crops and the chickens.

    @Janine: Did you leave walking space in your 25x25 garden? I'm leaving a foot-wide path both ways so i can get in there without trampling anything.

    We're actually growing the marigolds from seed right now. They're happy little seedlings that I hope to transplant right into the garden. Thanks for the tip on fertilizing them!

  • amber_mtmc

    So, my husbands dream is to have a chicken coop. I told him that will be his reward for finishing med school. I'm such a nice wife, huh? : )

    P.S. I am so impressed that you use compost. If I could, I would give all my scraps to someone who gardens. It is one of the easiest and best ways to go green. I bet your garden will be beautiful!

  • Kelly Miller

    @Amber - I hate throwing things away. During the winter, I try to save scraps to make broth or soup. Billy says I'm the ultimate pack rat but no one knows because I get so much use out of things.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    chickens sound awesome. we've been considering it...

    i'm so excited for our garden, too.

  • Janine

    Kelly~ Yes, I left at least a foot...I'd even go as far as a foot and a half because once your veggies start growing, they take over, so you need to account for that. I had a hard time picking some of my veggies because I didn't leave enough space once they grew. I had to send in my skinny little girls to pick for me! lol...Oh, and I put cages around my tomatoes because they would've taken over half my garden! Using white lattice is a good idea for cucumbers and snap peas, also. Another thing, put markers with what you planted where. (The girls and I made little plastic markers with pictures on them..fun project!) You are probably smart enough to know that, but I almost forgot and it would've been fun (not) trying to remember what got planted where! Let me know if you have any other ques...I loved my garden last year...I'll prob. post a pic on my blog about it!

  • Kelly Miller

    I used twine to trellis my cucs last year, but lattice is probably easier. Did you use the cone cages? I had three cherry tomato bushes last year and the were ridiculous - even with the cages! I'm planning only one cherry and maybe two vines.

    Thanks for the advice on the spacing!

  • Janine

    Yes, I used the cone cages, and when the vines went crazy I just used stakes for extra support. Can't wait to see pics! I may have to live vicariously through you and all of my other friends' gardens...not sure I'll be able to get mine up and once I move.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! We have the same raised bed in our backyard waiting to be planted! We originally built it to put a playhouse on and it would be there now if it didn't arrive in our house in about 500 pieces! It's being used as an airfreshener(cedar) in our garage at the moment! So are you going to blog about this project? I think you should do a step by step because we've never done this before and would love to follow your lead!

  • Kelly Miller

    I'm sure it'll be all I think about for awhile, so yes - expect lots of posts all about my backyard!

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you have to say! (If you want an emailed response, be sure to enable email in your Blogger settings -- see a tutorial here.)

Now. Spill it!