I have recently been mulling over the inseparable connection between earth and eating. I should say that I have been mulling over it again, since it’s common theme in my inner soliloquy. When I was thinking about things I want to write about, I realized that I can’t just put recipes out there when it is so important to me that what I eat be fresh and wholesome (and preferably picked my self). So I have decided to expand the blog from only recipes to bits about my garden as well.
February and March are some of the hardest months for me. Spring is so close I can almost smell it, but I know in my head (if not my heart) that we are up for a few more blizzards before we get there. That doesn’t mean that I can’t dream and plan. The first plan is for chickens. You read right, your eyes do not deceive you. I said CHICKENS!
The idea started with a neighbor. Marsh is a retired man who has turned all of his attention to his garden and his livestock. He has an acre or two where he has a wonderful garden, about 70 chickens, and fattens a few steers. In early spring he will put out signs for fresh eggs on the main road in front of his house. That is how we first met him. After we moved in we stopped by to get eggs. Then we started talking about gardening, and how we were looking forward to planing our first garden the next spring. He is a wealth of great information. The eggs from his chickens were always amazingly tasty. Store eggs are just the sickly little brother of the football quarterback. At first we thought “why do we need to get chickens when we can get eggs from Marsh?” But everyone knows about Marsh’s great eggs, so if you are not there right at picking time, you don’t get any. Then we thought, “well, I’m sure our kids will want to do chickens for 4-H, we’ll wait until then.”
Then I got connected to Sundari Kraft and her blog Eat Where U Live on Facebook. Sundari is a beacon for people who want to help sustain themselves in an urban setting. She has a marvelous garden, along with chickens and pygmy goats. She was instrumental in changing the Denver city laws to allow for chickens and pygmy goats to be kept with reasonable regulations. I would always see things on her feed about her chickens and goats and garden. So late last summer, I got the wild hair to have our own chickens starting this spring.
My mother in law is notorious for coming up with wacky, off the wall, schemes and projects. So when I turned to my husband with a look of mischievous plotting and said “I want to get chickens” he just looked back and said “ok, what do we need to do?” A man who grew up with a normal, staid, suburban mother would never have said such a thing. So first, to do our research, and make sure it was right for us, we took the Denver Botanic Gardens Chicken Coop Tour. Or, as I call it in my head, the Tour de Coop. Wonderful people around the city open up their yards and coops for inspection by curious strangers like us. They answer questions and give others ideas. We hope to be a stop next year.
Even after reading books, and blogs, and the amazing Backyardchickens.com , I was unsure of what exactly we needed to do to be ready. Then I saw that Sundari was teaching a class on backyard chicken keeping at the botanic garden. So we decided to sign up. It’s amazing how much information she can cram into a few hours. We got to hold chickens, learned how to raise them from babies, what they need for living quarters, and how to make sure you have healthy chickens so you can enjoy the delicious eggs. If you are interested, check out her class page. She also teaches classes on keeping goats and organic gardening.
So after that long personal story that I am sure very few of you read (including my mother), we get to the moral of the story. We are getting our baby chicks in just a few weeks. So this weekend we are getting together our brooder (a large cardboard box) and starting on the coop plans. T-minus two weeks to chicks!