Sunday, March 1, 2009

How A Chicken Changed My Life

I remember reading "The Egg And I" a few years ago; a decidedly less romantic book than it's inspired movie. Hollywood sexes up another great story, go figure. I'm not sure why I still wanted to raise chickens after hearing what Betty MacDonald lived through but I did.

My daughter decided, after hearing me talk about them, to buy me some baby chicks for Mother's Day; I was tickled pink. Off to the feed store to buy the bits of fluff where we discover they only sell a minimum of 6. Silly people, they have me confused with a serious farmer.

We pick two barred rocks, two rhode island reds and golden orpingtons. Now, I know that the reality of caring for chickens will be more of a jolt than the image of myself as a country girl has prepared me for. I also know that if I find I have too many or I hate chickens in general, there are many good people who will love to have them.

Raising baby chicks was easier and stinkier than I had anticipated and I was right, 6 was too many. A wonderful woman who adores chickens and the eggs they provide took three of them home to her flock when they were about half grown.

What I hadn't planned for was how bolstering this experience would be. I can adopt elements of a new lifestyle that will lead to greater self-sufficiency! Now we can add providing our own organic, free range eggs to building our own coop and pen.

With this success under our belt we have planned, for this summer's weather, to build a greenhouse, compost bin and earth worm bin. I'm so caught up in the excitement that I'm cooking more and more from scratch, making my own bread and creating recipes.

A ball was set in motion by these little birds and this path feels so right! Our economy and world condition certainly make sustainable lifestyles a good idea. Who would have guessed such momentum from such a small choice, well, besides God that is?

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