Friday, May 18, 2012

Urban Farm

Quick photo update:  Since a few people have asked, our DSLR is a Canon t2i, in a bundle with two lenses and a camera bag.  As for why we chose Canon over Nikon, it was seriously a toss-up and David carefully weighed prices, consumer reports, various online ratings, and word of mouth recommendations from family and friends.  I seriously think we could have gone either way, but I'm happy with what we got (or I will be, you know, as soon as I figure out all the fancy features).  I used it to take the pictures for this post, too.

Now, let me introduce you to our newest family members:

Meet Dixie, Loretta, and Wynona
Yes, friends.  THEM ARE CHICKENS!  Well, they are cute baby chicks that will eventually be big, sassy, egg-laying chickens.  

At least, we hope they lay eggs.  That's kind of the idea.  In the meantime, they are adorable balls of fluff that live in a big rubbermaid container in our garage.

We had a lot of fun coming up with names.  I was really pushing for Madonna, Beyonce, and Gaga, but David was not on board.  He says they are country girls.  My mom suggested Dixie, and I chose Loretta.  I also suggested Dolly, but David though that Loretta would be left out if the other two were D names.  So he named the other one Wynona.  Wynona is the biggest and the sassiest of the bunch.

Dixie is the one with the dark spot on her head (back, right).  She is the sweetest of the bunch.

Having a girls-only pow-wow in the corner.

Fluff ball!  I think this is Loretta.  She has a little black spot on her head, not as much as Dixie.  

Chowing down on chicken feed.  Loretta, Dixie, Wynona.
I still can't quite believe that we have backyard chickens.  Even though I grew up in a small town, I'm kind of, well... I'm not a tomboy and I don't really like things that smell bad (Cooper is occasionally the exception to this rule).  I've never thought of myself as the backyard chicken kind of girl.  My mom has two chickens, and they kind of make me nervous with their eyes and their beaks and their grody legs.  I really have no experience with chickens other than the chicks we hatched in my third-grade classroom.

But I love the idea of fresh eggs with low cholesterol and lots of omega-3's!  My parents have had much success with their backyard chickens (one terribly sad incident with a hawk notwithstanding).  And the more we researched it, the more do-able it seemed.  So we decided to go for it.  I'm still a little nervous about the whole thing (and it was really not cool of Dixie to poop IN MY HAND yesterday) but my husband seems to have morphed into Farmer Duckworth these days, with his gardening and chickens.  So overall, I'm pretty excited about this little project.  I fully expect that I will grow to love Dixie, Loretta, and Wynona, just as I grew to love Little Mac.

No, we have not introduced the dogs to the chickens.  The wee baby chicks are still so tiny and skittish and the mere idea makes me nervous.  When they get big enough to move into their coop and pen, and defend themselves from nosy dogs, then we'll make introductions.  Mac and Coop have been around chickens at my parents' house and at David's dad's house, and they actually haven't demonstrated much interest in them.  That may be different now that the chickens have moved in to our yard, but we shall see.

Here's a view of their coop and their pen:

We bought the coop from a local farm supply store, way out in the county.  David built their little pen himself.  They will have full access to the pen all the time, and we'll let them out in the backyard when we can be there to supervise them (and scare away hawks, cats, etc.).  I think I'm going to paint the coop to match our house.  Won't that be the cutest?

back of our house - this picture was taken standing just in front of the garden
This view better shows the position of the coop and their pen.  Tucked away to the side, but easily accessible from the concrete slab that meets up with our deck.  I think it's awkward to have the grill so close to the coop, considering we occasionally grill chicken, but David just stared at me like I was a lunatic when I mentioned this concern, so the grill stays.  FYI...  The big blue things are actually a barrel that David cut in half and uses for planters.  The gray cabinet houses a radio and other yard/deck/bbq supplies.

I've been amazed at how many of our friends have been SO excited about the idea of backyard chickens.  It's like trendy these days.  Of course, one friend called us "hippies," but I think he'll be singing another tune when we're living off the grid, post-zombie apocalypse.  AM.I.RITE?

In just a few months, we should have plenty of eggs and a shitload of fertilizer for our garden!

the garden
So there you have it.  Our little urban farm.

The only thing missing is a clothes line with cloth diapers flapping in the breeze.  Hopefully we'll be installing that in July.


  1. My parents are totally urban farmers, too. They have a big, beautiful garden and a chicken coop that floods them with eggs.

    I sure hope those cloth diapers will be hanging on the clothesline, too. With a little baby rump to make 'em all grodie and keep you plenty busy scrubbing them. :)

  2. Glad to hear about the chickens! We got 6 of them in late-February, so we should be getting our eggs by the beginning of July. Of course, I had to have Brooke B.'s father build us a coop, as I'm useless at such things. :-)

    Are those Cinnamon Queens? We've got two of those (and other varieties) and those chicks look similar to ours.

  3. A beautiful thriving garden? Lush green grass? CHICKENS? You're making me want to move to St. Louis, like yesterday. I'll hippy it up vicariously through you as I struggle to keep my stupid grass alive in our ridiculous summer.

  4. My mom's is a Canon too.

    And oh I love your baby chicks! Good luck!

  5. Count me in as a friend who is excited for your chickens and garden. Or shall I say JEALOUS!! We find out today if we get a house down the street and can trade condo living for a beautiful south yard with...a fenced chicken corner. Cross your fingers.

    As a side note, I have to add that here in our condo building (which I do love) I was growing herbs and tomatoes when I was pregnant with M. After she died it took on extreme importance (especially because I was illegally doing it on the closed rooftop deck). I just wanted to cultivate and care for something. You may wonder, Would a homeowners board really take away some tomatoes and herbs from a grieving (and eventually pregnant again) lady? The answer is YES. Boo on them, I want this house!

    xo L

  6. OMG. I am so excited for you. I could barely finish your entire post. We had a lil baby chick at my parents house. We named her "Dusky".

    She was adorable - bright lemon yellow. And she grew so fast. The very next day, we could see a dot of white feather. It is literally seeing her grow every minute - which was kind of cool. Also loved to watch her drink water. Occasionally, we would let her out of her coop on free ground. It's funny how she would dig in the dirt with her tiny claws and search food. We too had a dog who adjusted to her sooner than we expected. Like you, we were terrified thinking how would our dog react to her. But every time her saw her, he just looked puzzled; like "what is this squeaky lil thing moving!! "

    Looking for more updates on your baby chicks! Deuce will be so much busy with em all :) Love your home too!

  7. Oh and I thought I was jealous with the garden - now your own chicken coop!?!

    A chicken lays about an egg a day, right? Day long pregnancy!?! Yes please. Lucky bitches. . .

  8. I'm waiting for the post where you say you had solar panels mounted on the roof - just to break the heart of your electric utility employed aunt. Peggy

  9. The chicks make it official: you are the most adorable people in the world.

    I love reading about your camera-- I have been too intimidated by the fancy features to spring for an SLR, but you make it seem doable.

  10. You guys are awesome. I love the whole setup--garden, cute pups, three little chicks, baby Deuce on the way, and Eliza watching over all of it.

    Love it. Makes me smile.

  11. Aww. I hope they all grow up to be egg-layers instead of cock-a-doodle-doo-ers.

    And that's a beautifully laid-out garden. I hope you and Farmer Duckworth get a lot of enjoyment out of your urban farm!

  12. Oh I love it! D totally said no to chickens. He had them growing up and said they are disgusting and smell bad. I woul love to have chickens and fresh eggs! I'm jealous... Plus chicks are so freak'n cute!

  13. Congratulations! We got chickens too, I vetoed it, but as with everything else I veto I was ignored. I can't wait to find out if we got girls or boys, obviously hoping for the former. G is in love with her cheep cheeps and refuses to name them, saying their names are "cheep cheeps" looking at me confused and a little annoyed every time I ask. I don't think we could be considered urban farmers seeing as we're in the middle of nowhere, so I guess we're just farmers. Well. Everyone else here is. I just look on with raised eyebrows.

  14. AM.I.RITE?!?! I am dying with laughter. haha :)

    Luckily for you, I have many chicken stories as my parents had chicks before it was cool (circa the early 90s). I could tell you many hilarious tales involving said chickens, but I shall reserve them for when we meet iRL lest you judge me. To whet your appetite, I will provide you the following key words:

    * Naming a chicken with a bad leg, "the sore legged chicken". Yes, this was his (her?) name.
    * A fox jumped into the fenced off pen and my dad had to attack said fox with a baseball bat. While we all watched from the picture window. YIKES
    * Soft-shelled eggs.
    * The first year, before they were winterized (or slaughtered? can't remember which), the chickens froze. My mother, being the ditzy but terrified mother of four, laid each of those chickens out on the heat registered located throughout the house, hoping they would dethaw and come back alive... One was in the bathroom, and it was terrifying.

    You're welcome. :)

    Ps. can't wait to see the new and improved backyard (Complete with diapers!) in July! :)

  15. zomg love love love this post, love your backyard, love your dogs, love those chickens. will be sending you those diapers SOON so I can say I contributed to the extraordinary cuteness that is your backyard.


  16. Those chicks are so cute! : ) My grandparents had a farm, including chickens, & I loved going out to see the new chicks in the spring. Enjoy!