Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Garden party of chicken underpants

It is a spring tradition. We till up the vegetable garden [after the pigs and goats have cleaned up what they can] and then we let the chickens in as we lay down new 'black gold'–manure, compost, and stall cleanings that have aged for years-looking just like the deepest black dirt you can find.

I swear the chickens prepare for this day.

"Are your underpants clean?" Alice Waters says to everyone. She sports her light buff colored pants, perfect for spring.

"I will not be bending over," said Jane. "Mine are tarnished."

"I shall be going too," said Franklin, the youngest rooster of the farm, now developing fine hackle feathers. "My hackles will look stunning with your spring underpants."

"Just stay away from me and my underpants, Franklin, I belong to Papa Roo's clan," said Chicken Named Dog.

"Suit yourself," said Franklin.

While they clawed and strutted, I worked on de-chick-a-fying the vegetable garden. Last year for the first time in 10 years, the chickens ruined our tomatoes by pecking at them, then leaving them to rot. Martyn was on the war path. He threatened to have 24/7chicken lock down all summer. To compromise, I convinced him an addition to the chicken hut area would let them stay there during peak tomato season and still have some grass and dirt, and that I would also add yet another span of chicken wire and barriers to the vegetable area to keep them out. I don't clip wings and don't intend to, so any little ledge allows them a new way to get through the pasture fence. I spent an hour or so working this weekend to make a Fort Knox of Vegetable Gardens, only to notice a chicken at my feet when I was done.


They had easily gone under one of the gates. So I will add a board there.

In the meantime, they are happily parading in clean underpants, except Jane. But that too shall pass.