Chickens like fennel. I like cavalo nero.
This owning chickens thing is so, so worth it. We are falling in love with this gaggle of creatures. My son said to me the other day: "mom, I just can't get enough of these chickens." None of us can. I peak around the corner and see: one son or the other, sitting in the coop with chickens nesting on their arms. I pluck fennel and arugula from my garden and we hang it in their coop: then watch to see. Will they like it?
So far: they don't love zucchini, red peppers or cantaloupe rinds. But they are loving: fennel fronds, arugula leaves and flowers, beet greens, artichoke greens and water-soaked, day-old bread. Who knew?
The garden: it was great to return from weeks in Montana and then Italy. To dive into giving my garden some much-needed TLC. I weeded, added topsoil, emptied my garden of rotting leaves and caressed just-opening squash blossoms. Pictured here: nasturtiums. These insane, growing-like crazy nasturtiums are one of my favorite finds. I haven't grown nasturtiums before; they entered my tiny little garden when I discovered 2 tiny humble plants at a garden festival. It was marked 'edible flowers.' Why not? And here they are growing like crazy and now, every year forward I will make space for them. Because they: 1. are brilliantly colorful, 2. grow into a substantial, eye-catching mound and 3. taste good (like apples at first, then peppery to finish).
I recently had a cooking class where I lined nasturtium flowers in a long, skinny tray in the center of the table. After we cooked up a storm, I invited the ladies to taste them. We eat plenty of leaves... so why not flowers?
Chickens, flowers and a little bed. As you may know, we have been in our 'fixer' house for just under a year. We are removing reams of bamboo and a long list of invasive plants while conjuring up big plans for our urban farm. This summer I take little plots for planting wherever I can find them: here is a bed of squash, tomatoes, loads of basil and just today I added: radicchio starts and black cabbage seeds (BTW from Italy! Brought them home last week. Black cabbage---cavalo nero---is what Tuscan's use for their ribollita).
(Growing black cabbage is a deliberate maneuver to cook up a pile of classic Tuscan dishes. DaVinci Wines sponsored myself and three others to take a trip to Italy; we ate hoards of Italian food. Now that I am back home, I am ever-inspired to recreate these authentic dishes. But don't worry: you don't need black cabbage for your ribollita. It is just as brilliant with Kale, dark leafy greens and/or other cabbage-cousins).