Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Hard work for hungry fowls


This past week I decided to take some time to get rid of a few of the bald patches on the lawn by the side of my house.

A few years back I had a septic system replaced and I guess I could have used a little more topsoil. As a result, there are spots that are grassless and always dusty.

I had six bags loaded into the back of the Jeep. That way I’d only have to pull the bag and let it drop on the spot to be covered. I had already gotten my rake and shovel out of the shed and ready to go. But I could not find my favorite gloves. Sure, I had work gloves in the garage — some very tight and thin ones for working on cars and some thick, fat leather ones that were almost impossible to bend -— best for carrying wood for the fire.

But I could not find my favorites. That was a pair of old broken-in leather driving gloves. So I went through the ritual that occurs quite often when an item cannot be found — backtrack. When did I last wear them? So, I checked the usual places.

The pockets of my jackets, shelves in the garages, underneath cushions in my living room, in the trunk of the car, in my toolbox — everywhere that gloves could hide. No luck.

I’d just have to get my delicate hands calloused and dirty.

I dropped the bags in the appropriate places, cut them open and shoveled the soil around and raked it. Then I spread the grass seed everywhere it was necessary. I always make a point of getting seed that’s supposed to grow in dense shade because there are so many trees around. I do not have a roller so I took a scrap piece of plywood about two feet by four feet and laid it on the seeded soil. Then I walked on it to press the seeds into the dirt.

All pretty standard stuff for planting grass. Next came the soaking part, spraying liberally with the hose getting every area very wet. I don’t claim to be any landscaper or gardener but I do know my way around a lawn. The next task would be to give the lawn plenty of water multiple times per day for the next week or so.

I went into the house to clean up. I still couldn’t figure out what happened to my gloves and it made me more and more frustrated — then I heard noises outside.

There were my granddaughter’s five chickens eating my grass seed. She lives in the house adjacent to mine and lets the chickens out of their coop to free-range. And that range extends to my property where they thought I had prepared a meal for them. So I clapped my sore hands and yelled and then sprinkled them with the hose. They left.

I called Myla and she agreed to keep them cooped until the seeds sprouted. I also told her that I noticed that one chicken seemed to be being bullied by the others — it’s what they call a “pecking order,” I learned.

I also asked Myla if she had seen my gloves.

“Last time I got in the Jeep and they were on the seat, I put them in the glove compartment,” she explained.

So the next day after watering the seed, lo and behold a mother turkey and five babies walk across the lawn and start to eat the seed!