Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Starting our Urban garden and raising chickens!!

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So my Family, and I a year and a half ago decided to raise some chickens. We had just bought a house that December. Big lot, with a big backyard backing to a forest. Enough room for a garden and a chicken coop and really whatever else we wanted to do. We had been talking for some time,and still are about being as self sustainable a possible. This includes Solar Panels, The garden, and yes chickens. Its not as easy as it sounds. Mark built this awesome chicken coop and we worked really hard at making sure it had all the amenities.Little cubbies so they could nest, and a big branch inside so they could perch at night. We read that is what they like to do. It was fun,it was exciting to think that we were gonna have our own eggs, and maybe we could even sell a few cartons to neighbors if they wanted fresh eggs.

It was fine at first. The kids loved having these little chicks to take care of, and we kept them in a box in the garage with a warming lamp. One day while we were out in the backyard working on the coop we left the back door open. Mark was working hard on the coop and not really paying attention to what the dog was doing. Then he noticed that our Lab was digging a hole of in the far corner of the yard. He yelled to our daughter Emma who was 8 at the time, to go and see what Charlie was burying. She casually walked over and moved the dirt aside reached in and pulled out ….” AHHHHHHHH!!! DAD OH NO IT'S A BABY CHICKEN!” She dropped the limp baby chicken and went running, up the deck stairs and into the house bawling her eyes out.
Mark looked at me and i looked at him and he went into the garage and came back out with wide eyes and said “He got them all?!” Questioning... as if I should know that the dog had been sneaking into the garage and carrying each baby chicken in his mouth out to the back yard and burying it!! 
I didn't have words, i just turned and went into the house to sooth our now traumatized 8 year old.This was her first death experience. We had never even had a fish, that died. I wonder if a fish would have been easier?
By now my 5 year old had heard the news, and the amount of gut wrenching , heart broken , tear falling could be heard down the block. I soothed, and Mark hunted down the dog who happened to hear the commotion and was now hiding under the trailer at the side of the house. After the girls were calm ,and I had given the speech about life and death, and how it was not Charlie's fault, I went outside to help my husband find all five of the buried baby chickens. We gathered them all ,and we buried them, and we made a wooden cross ,and we had a funeral for those five chicks. 
What's funny is to this day Charlie our 120 lb lab will not go near that grave.Nor does he bother the now fully grown chickens that we have. Had he felt the emotion coming from our daughters who were so heart broken? Was it the command that Mark gave him to never do that again? I guess we will never know but either way, he no longer likes chicken.
That was the beginning of quite an adventure with our chickens.
Six months later we found one chicken in a bucket of oil that mark had left out after working on the truck. So we found ourselves in the kitchen bathing our chicken, washing her with dawn dish soap. She survived her oil bath and is as healthy as ever.
The Chickens started laying. They laid and they laid and they laid.
We made egg salad and scrambled eggs and hard boiled eggs, and fried eggs. They laid and laid, and then we weren't eating the eggs as often. We would have four dozen eggs in the fridge. I started giving them away to people at work. Not even making anyone pay for them, because why, it wasn't really costing much on our part and i just needed to get rid of some eggs. I wanted to help people also, i plan on doing that with any produce i produce (haha). It takes a village right?

Even with all these little mishaps, it's kinda fun having chickens. Yes there is a lot of eggs. Yes you have to train your dogs and your kids about the chickens. Yes its kinda messy, you have to clean there coops often because they Poop A LOT!! They can even be cranky at times and chase your children across the yard , and your kids will think that a monster is after them and they will be screaming as if their life is about to end.You will have to save them, and try not to laugh at the same time. It's worth it
with the rising costs of produce, and eggs, and meat, it's more important now more than ever to teach ourselves to sustain ourselves. I believe in the grand scheme of things, there is going to come a time, especially if Trump becomes president, that we are going to have to know how to grow our own food, how to can our own food, how to preserve ourselves. I know for some that may seem far fetched, and apocalyptic talk. I however believe that we have become lazy as a society and as a human race. We need to teach our kids how to grow food, and hunt, and build things, and survive. NOT just in the technological world they are facing in their future, but it's up to us to remind them that life isn't that easy. That there is a history, and we can't rely on anyone but ourselves. 
With Knowledge of the past and how things used to be done they will be able to re invent and make things stronger and better. New ideas for growing food, and building and making life better, and cleaner and helping preserve earth. All those things come from something as simple as  teaching them to plant a garden or raise chickens. Not only that it will get you, and them away from the TV!!! From your phone!!! Outside into the fresh air. Your body will thank you for all the movement!!!
You will create life and energy and memories that your children will always remember.

Stay tuned as i start my new Garden Boxes and maybe a few more funny stories about our chickens!!

Thanks as always for reading!!!



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