Small Space Garden Update…

Well, it’s been several months and we have the hope of harvesting some fruit from this small bed.

The columnar apple tree ‘north pole’ is fruiting. There are a lot of little apples on this small tree.

The second photo shows all the strawberries that are fruiting around the apple tree, in this small section. (there are over a hundred strawberries in the other garden spaces)

The pot is containing 3 kinds of mint. We are keeping them here rather than the herb garden because they are so invasive.

Soon we will be eating strawberries, ( if we can beat the animals to them.)

The weather has been very, very, very wet for the last month or so. The warm weather crops are growing very slowly. Slugs are fat and happy.




Why not art in the chicken coop. It can be an important part of your landscape. Why not make it attractive by adding some artistic touches. Stained glass window – reused, recycled, up-cycled… from garage sale to the chicken coop! We’ve used this with other blue accents in this part of the garden.

This is the south side of the chicken coop (fortress) to see more check out

Bear in the chicken coop

Bear in the chicken coop
Bear in the chicken coop

This bear tore and jumped through the wire on the back. He posed for this photo (taken with the wildlife camera) before he ate all of the chickens grain.

He was the final predator that made it necessary to build the new chicken coop as a fortress. See the new bear resistant coop at:

Chicken Coop – North Side

Chicken Coop - North Side

This is the north side of the chicken coop. The gravel path goes to the kitchen door, so there is easy dry access between the coop and the house all year. The Roof: to the left of the peak are 4 skylights. I’m sure the chickens appreciate their mountain top view. to the right of the roof peak is a living roof. To see the rest of this chicken coop (the fortress) see: or

CHICKEN COOP (fortress) west facing wall

CHICKEN COOP (fortress) west facing wall

This side has a heavy woven small grid wire panel. The panel weighs about 200 lbs. It keeps animals out, while allowing for good ventilation. Deep concrete walls with concrete footings keep animals from digging under. The living succulent roof on this side helps absorb rain and helps to maintain temperatures. Excess water drains to a gutter and out into a spot under the lawn. Chickens have a perch so they can see out, since they love to watch whatever is going on in the back yard and we can see and hear them easily. Win Win!
for more about this chicken coop –

The New Improved Chicken Coop (fortress) Tour

We have been keeping chickens for about six years.  They started out in a double wired walled enclosure with a netting over the top, not sturdy enough for around here.  This coop was stalked by coyotes, hawks, owls and neighbor’s dogs and penetrated by weasels, raccoons, possums, a bobcat and a bear.   The snow collapsed the roof one year, the bobcat tore it open several times and ate 11 chickens in one week.   The bear just tore open the top, jumped the fence and ate their food.  Enough already!  So….. tired of all this, we set out to build the better coop.  ( I can say ‘we’ because I did all the planning while my husband did all the work )  Pretty sweet deal !   😉

Setting things up right the first time can really save you a lot of time, trouble, aggravation and money.   You will enjoy chicken keeping far more if you talk to people, read, search and learn everything you can before you plan the placement and design of your enclosure.  Plan for the particular issues in your area.

So maybe we went a little overboard.  😉  We set out to build a fortress, with a few decorative touches, and eliminate most of the difficulties that we had with the old coop eg: very muddy, soggy soil in the winter, snow collapsing the roof, wind damage, animal break ins, freezing water, muddy slippery path, too far from the house, too dark to collect eggs in the winter without a flashlight and hauling heavy water containers a long way. We have planned to solve all these problems with the new poultry fortress.

Here is the new chicken fortress featuring:

7,000 lbs of concrete,  4 insulated skylights,  gutters & drainpipes,  living succulent roof,  stained glass window,  glass door & windows,  heavy woven wire panel (weighs about 200 lbs)

future improvements:  water hydrant inside, porch and inside lights, & power (for brooder lights and water heating in winter)

This coop has withstood one winter so far with snow and very cold days.  We ran an extension cord for the water heater.  We never had to go out with hot water and thaw the water.  YEAH!   We live in an area that gets high winds.  The wire panel allows for lots of air and ventilation but protects them from the direct wind.  It also looks like a display window from the yard.  The roof keeps the ground dry so ‘dust baths’ are always in season.    We still have the inside to finish, more on that later.

We are also in the planning stages of a daytime chicken tractor adaptation.  The goal is to be able to move them around the yard so they can forage for weeds and bugs while protecting them from predators.  More on that later.

We started out like so many chicken keepers,  we work for them, building, cleaning, watering, feeding, protecting.  I’m hoping to turn that around (at least somewhat) and have them work for us, laying eggs, making compost, weeding, tilling and fertilizing areas of the gardens where we need work done.  More about that as things develop.



stunning bronze foliage.
Learn more about this beautiful, easy to grow shrub.…ark-coppertina

STUNNING BRONZE FOLIAGE – Ninebark ‘Coppertina’ and more…

STUNNING BRONZE FOLIAGE – Ninebark  ‘Coppertina’ 

A rainbow of colors, my favorite ninebark by far!  

Physocarpus opulifolious ‘Coppertina’ 



We grow five different ninebark varieties: the pacific northwest native ninebark, Diablo, Dart’s Gold, Centerglow and  Coppertina.  Coppertina is my favorite ninebark by far!  

A fairly new hybrid between Dart’s Gold and Diabolo displays an almost electric array of coppers in spring and turns to a rich red in summer.  It has light white to pink flowers on gently arching branches.  Blooms will grow on old wood in early summer.

Physocarpus  are deciduous shrubs that grow to between 6 ‘ to 8’ tall and almost as wide.  We prune ours to keep it bushy and well-shaped.  Ours grow in a range of ‘very wet’ to ‘sort of moist soils’.  They also grow best in semi sunny to sunny spots in our garden.  Physocarpus are very drought tolerant once they are established and said to be appropriate in zones 3-8. 

Why to add this plant to your garden: Incredible spring, summer and fall interest

How to Use this amazing shrub:

  • In the landscape groupings
  • As a mass planting
  • As a border plant with perennials and evergreens
  • For cut flowers and foliage
  • In large pots
‘Dawn’s Early Light’ hosta with ‘Coppertina’ Ninebark

The ninebarks in our yard have been of interest to the deer on occasion, however not consistently.   We don’t plant them out in the open any more.  They are against the house or in heavily planted areas that are less traveled by the deer and elk.

My personal tip:  We grow this next to a very yellow hosta ‘Dawn’s Early Light’ .  The  combination is stunning.

Photo Note: the top photo was taken with my iphone 6-8-2012,  the second photo was taken later in the summer in 2010.   The coppertina’s color is very vibrant with more reds in the late spring and early summer. 

Hope you can find a place in your garden for this really stunning shrub.