From Farm to Fork …. by Nancy Brophy
My husband raises chickens in our backyard.
A lot of chickens.
We live in an unincorporated area, which translates to no streetlights, no curbs and no sidewalks. Finding my house at night is difficult. But unincorporated also means large lots – we have a half an acre – farm animals – the neighbor behind us have llamas and alpacas – and lower taxes.
Two years ago we had a house fire. Dan’s co-workers immediately jumped in with offers of help. Dan suggested he could drop off 40 chickens to anyone who would take them. No one did.
There are benefits to having backyard poultry aside from the obvious – brown free-range eggs and future stock ingredients. The dogs are endlessly fascinated. On nice days the dogs organize the chickens into putting on a show to save the orphanage. So far they’ve done Animal Farm, Charlotte’s Web and their favorite, Chicken Run.
Life is a science project. This is my husband’s motto. And the chickens play right into that operating as a mobile compost dispenser, top soil aeration team and organic slug eliminator.
We have bees – 2 kinds. Wild and domestic. Mason and honey. One set of honey bees moved in unannounced and took over an unused sprinkler utility box. Rather than try to remove them, Dan built a hive above them. Live and let live is the subtext of life is a science project.
The bees have, for the most part, ignored his efforts, but our painter (who hates bees) did apologize for the untimely deaths of three. “I feel like a killer,” were his sad words of confession. Which may have been prompted by Dan’s telling him. “I’ve taken an inventory and I seem to be three bees short.” (The average hive contains at least 50,000 bees.)
Dan loves the sounds of the rooster in the early morning. I, on the other hand, did the dance of happiness when the rooster was invited to an early “retirement party” after he mistakenly attacked the hand that fed him.
A few years ago I was surprised with the addition of turkeys. Whoo hoo. Not only did we have turkeys for thanksgiving this year, but when we had three left, we also had them for Easter. I commented on Susan’s post that April had been peculiar to say the least, but part of that was Easter. We went from fifteen potential guests to two. (I hope you are keeping count because we’d killed three turkeys for the event.)
Some of our guests had to refuse because they had guests of their own. But one couple was busy in the maternity ward. I know you think you have cute children and grandchildren.
But our new grandchild is the world’s cutest baby. Not only do Dan and I think so, but so do the dogs and chickens.
The turkeys have been used to nourish the mother that feeds the child.