Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Circle of Usage

Recently I had three problems which somehow managed to fit together and solve each other.

Problem #1 - It was time for my spring chicken house cleaning, but I was out of hay. I also didn't feel like shelling out money for hay, nor spend the gas to drive over to get hay.

Problem #2 - I asked my neighbor if I could have all the leaves and grass clippings he bagged from mowing. He was glad to. I came around the house later that afternoon to find at least 15 full bags of debris stacked next to my house. Uh oh! That's a lot of leaves to do something with.

Problem #3 - I wanted to lay out a garden plot, lasagna style, but only had 15+ bags of leaves to work with. They weren't composted at all, and I didn't see how my garden was going to grow that well with only some dry old Live Oak leaves.

As I sat staring at the mountain of leaves feeling overwhelmed, suddenly a series of light bulbs clicked in my mind and all my problems (at least three of them anyways) were solved.

Solution to problem #1 & #2 - I was thinking I needed hay for my chicken house, but really I needed litter. And here I had all these bags of dry, crispy leaves. Hmmmm... suddenly they looked like a large and sustainable amount of free litter. Now I had a good way to get rid of all those leaves also, solving #2 simultaneously.

Now what to do with all the old, dirty and nutrient rich hay that needed to be removed from the chicken house?

Solution to problem #3 - I used all the old hay in my lasagna garden. To this I added all the super dirt that was piling up in the chicken's coop. Now I had a wonderful, layered sheet compost pile to grow my garden in. The leaves filled up the hen house and their yard.

They will break all those leaves down with all their pecking and scratching and add their own special blend of nutrients to the mix. By fall I will have a wonderful new layer of broken up material for my garden, and probably 15+ more bags of leaves and clippings piled up next to my house. I'm sure I'll have a nice supply of clipped grass all summer long for the hens to munch, and since my neighbor doesn't spray, it'll be, for all practical purposes, organic feed.

Ah...the circle of life. Amazing how when we can think outside the box how much better everything works together.


Katie said...

Hi! I work for abc news / good morning america and just saw your blog - would love to speak with you further - how can you best be reached? I can be contacted at

Mary T said...

Makes me want chickens real bad!

Actually, I can't --we rent--but someday...I just LOVE to use up free stuff that way. :)