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Leaf Litter

Our neighbors across the back yard have a yard full of chickens. These are big, handsome hens, all a dark blonde Labrador retriever color, and, although they have a nice chicken wire enclosure, they mostly run all over the place. Willie, the love dog, and I walked yesterday (the scales have been unkind) and as we made the final turn home, an interloper ran out from under the huge anise/cedar fortress, frantically clucking as she headed for home. Willie excitedly sniffed out another hen whom he only wanted to investigate for odors, but, she, too made a desperate escape across the road.

This is a good time for chickens, dogs, and people to investigate what’s hiding under the leaf litter. Last week, we discovered the peony buds emerging. Unfurling bloodroot, Sanguinariacanadensis, is my heart-stopping spring discovery, but at last check, it is bidding its time. But the two beautiful clumps of HepaticaJohn Elsey every so kindly sent home with me from his garden in Greenwood have flowers well worth going down on bended knee to better observe. Next to them, the leaves of Phlox divaricata rescued from a roadside right of way that far too often gets mowed are looking fresh and new as if they have spruced up for the flowers that will soon follow.

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