It looks so much better out there I just had to go ahead and take some pics. This is what the area looked like after a winter of neglect..

The two big pots in the front have mints in them, and the two big ones in the back are my chives pot and my perennial bunching onion pot. I've been dumping the soil from last year's annual pots into the bed on the left, and this is what it looked like after I moved some pots and did some spreading, hoeing, and weeding..

Ahhhhhhhhh...much better. Not quite done yet, I'll be building up the beds a tad more and we may put newspaper and gravel screenings down in the pathways. It would be a lot more convenient than mowing and weed-whacking the paths, and give it a neater appearance. We're definitely taking down that ramp to the chicken coop, too. We put it up originally thinking the dog wasn't going to get along with the chickens and we'd have to put little fences around the beds and keep them in the garden area. Fortunately (for the chickens, not the dog), the dog got ganged up on by the two roosters a couple of times and now leaves them all severely alone. So we were able to put a trapdoor opening in the floor of the coop that opens up into the rest of the yard and they go in and out that way.

The little flap below the open vent window is the egg door, and below that is the stool our eldest uses to stand on and peer into the boxes. We've got three nesting boxes in there for the hens to lay their eggs in. Apparently, that's too prosaic for some of them. A few like to walk on the wild side and lay their eggs in the doghouse. When the rightful owner poked his nose in there this morning he was greeted with screams of outrage. I came running from the garden to see what was going on, and Sally was standing in the doorway scolding Duke like an angry fishwife. I had to pull her out and stroke her to calm her down, and as for the egg she was defending, well, it was delicious.