The weather always comes from the West in Corvallis, so, if you look out of our living room window, you can see what will be happening in the back yard in about forty-five minutes. It can be very handy. This morning, after This American Life, I saw deep dark clouds on the way, so we headed out ahead of the storm. Yesterday, we had moved the chicken coop onto one of the new beds in the back of the yard and we needed to construct their summer run so that they could dig in the compost without destroying all of the delicate plant starts around the house. One swoop of a chicken’s foot has been known to take out a clump of crocus.
We quickly unwound the new spool of chicken wire fencing I had purchased from the farm supply store; I am done with kludging together rusty misshapen wire fences and being caught by it in awkward positions all summer long. The new wire snaked its way through the new garden, under a trellis and between two beds. Mark went inside—he had a meeting to go to—and I stayed out, wresting with the laurel hedge and garbage cans, bringing the new fence over to the edge of the yard; the chickens love our neighbor’s driveway and I wanted to keep them on our side of the property line even though our neighbors are very tolerant folk—they have been known to catch and repen our rabbits…. I pounded in the big fencing stakes, created a gate, and let the ladies out. They hopped out, commenting positively on the new run all the while.
Another glance to the West—the clouds were closer, but not here yet. I moved quickly. The broccoli, mustard, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings were outgrowing their six-packs and needed a new home. Fertilizer, plants, trowel. Hoop house opened. Plants popped in. Plastic pulled back over. Clamps in place. One bed full. Clouds are overhead, but there was still time to take the windows off of the coldframe and plant the mustard and kale inside. Just as the windows went back on, the rains came. I tucked the tools back in the shed, considered the scene for a moment, and hurried inside.
Inside, the house still smelled of breakfast waffles and tea, lentils cooking in the crockpot. Kayli was curled up on the couch next to my knitting. The clock ticked loudly on the mantle and the hail hit the windows. March in Oregon.