Startled, I looked down at my feet to see Nellie pecking away at my turquoise gardening shoe.
I know chickens are attracted to the color red. In fact, their feeder and waterer are red, and I’ve had more than one chicken peck at my painted toenails when I’m barefoot.
But turquoise? Apparently Nellie has an affinity for that color. I’ve even caught her hopping up trying to peck at the turquoise part of the tablecloth out back.
With each new day, the girls’ personalities are busting out. Nellie remains the most friendly, even if she constantly pecks at my feet. She allows me to pick her up, and she’s quite the snuggle bunny. Somehow that makes up for her uninvited pinches.
Nellie likes to cuddle with the other chickens, too. In fact, if Gigi or Loretta lay down in a sunbeam, Nellie will walk in close and lay down right on top of them. The girls usually will humor Nellie — for a moment — before giving her the boot.
Gigi (our Olive Egger) loves a dust bath. One moment she’s walking along, then suddenly she’ll drop to the ground and start kicking dirt everywhere. The first time Charlie saw this, he ran over to her all concerned. He shoved his nose in her butt, hoping to revive her. Gigi looked up at him, kicked some sand in his face, then continued bathing. Can’t a girl get some privacy?
And our Marans chicken Loretta seems to be warming up to people. A few days ago I crouched down low (no easy feat!) to take a few pictures of her. Loretta walked up close. Real close. As she quizzically checked out my hands, I snapped away. Then BAM! She bit my finger! My hands must have looked like a handful of meaty grubs. It startled me more than anything, and in the end, I was grateful for my first interaction with Loretta on her terms.
In the garden
I’d like to announce that our garden is just about done. But when is a garden really finished, anyway?
All the vegetables and herbs are in, and in the last few days I’ve focused on adding flowers. So far I’ve planted a ton of marigolds, which are rumored to have bug- and bunny-repelling qualities. Today, I also picked up dwarf zinnia to plant around the cauliflower, calendula to plant near the tomatoes (we’re up to five plants now!) and MORE marigolds to finish the border and plant near the watermelon.
Most importantly, I bought nasturtium to help protect the cucumbers. The leaves have been under attack by either slugs or aphids. At first, we bought a vegetable pesticide in hopes of saving them, then Matt read about nasturtium. Hopefully this will do the trick.
This afternoon I planted a bunch of ornamental flowers in a bed just behind the house, and I plan on planting the veggie-garden-protector flowers tomorrow.
Then will I finally be done with the garden?
I doubt it.
BONUS VIDEO: Moment of Zen, Charlie chills with the chickens.