Go Local-Week 4- Deb of Bee's Nest Visits

This week our guest is Deb of Bee's Nest.
You know how sometimes you happen upon a blog that just instantly grabs you? That's what happened nearly three years ago when I found Deb's lovely spot (through last week's guest, Sarah). In fact, Deb doesn't know it, but her list of craft and design blogs might just be to blame for my current obsession. I never knew there was such a thing as a craft blog back then. I often visited her blog to see the fabulous projects she was making. Then one day I started clicking through her links. It was either a huge mistake or the best thing that ever, ever happened to me. I'm sticking with the latter. The freedom and self confidence I've gained over the course of the last two years has impacted me greatly. So thank you, Deb. Your inspiring sense of style and your inspired links have paved a path for me that I will always remember.
And now she brings us chickens...my newest obsession. I'm so excited to share this post here.

All the photographs below are the express property of Deb. They should not be used or borrowed without her permission. More of Deb's beautiful photography can be seen via her flickr stream.


Go Local: Backyard Chicken EggsHere in Portland, Oregon, we're very fortunate to have lots of access to excellent produce grown in the fertile Willamette Valley. Eating local, and often organic, is pretty easy in the fruits and vegetables department. However, finding affordable, local sources of protein is a bigger challenge. Enter the Urban Chicken trend.

Chicken coops are popping up in backyards all over the city especially on the live-and-let-live east side. The Wise and Bearded One (my husband) and I went on the "Tour de Coops" two years ago to look at other people's coops and try to figure out if having a few hens was a viable option for us. We have a decent-sized corner lot with one side being on an "unimproved roadway" (Portlandese for "dirt road that is not maintained by the city, use at your own risk") so we thought we had room for a couple of hens. On the downside we happen to own two bird dogs who are genetically predisposed to see chickens as amusing toys and tasty treats rather than as valued members of the pack.

We spent a year talking about getting chickens and going back and forth on whether we could make it work or not. Finally, I got tired of talking about it and dragged my hubby down to the nursery and picked out 4 baby chicks last spring. According to Portland city code we can have 3 hens without a permit. We figured one of our four would die or turn out to be a rooster so we hedged our bets by getting 4 chicks. Miraculously Amelia Earhart (the first to fly), Isabella Bird, Rita Hayworth, and Audrey Hepbird all survived to adulthood and started producing eggs last fall. We really should apply for a permit to have that fourth chicken, but so far we haven't gotten around to it.Raising chickens has been surprisingly fun and easy. They are much lower-maintainance animals than traditional pets. Of course, they're not going to snuggle up with you on the couch while you watch t.v. either. They need a secure, dry coop, a place to run, and a refill on their food and water every couple of days. That's about it. You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to be. I've seen coops crafted out of trash cans and old screen doors. The chickens don't mind.

Of course, the Wise and Bearded One, being an architect and all, couldn't just knock together a cheapo coop from old screen doors and boards found on the street. He designed and built an all-cedar chicken coop with a green roof. I tease him that our hens will have to lay for twenty years in order to pay for their palace, but I actually think it looks great. I planted the roof full of succulents--mostly hens and chicks, a little joke for my own pleasure. The coop is in the side yard by the dirt road, away from the bird-hunting dogs, and it's been a good way to meet the neighbors. Many stop by to chat and ask questions about the chickens and the coop. It's particularly popular with the 5-and-under crowd, several of whom plan their daily walking route to come by and check on the chickens.

The girls are relatively friendly since we handled them a lot when they were little chicks. In the spring and fall we let them free range around our side yard whenever we're home. We can't let them graze so much in the summer because they will gladly eat all the tender vegetables in our garden. The four chickens faithfully crank out 3 to 4 eggs a day which is more than we can eat on our own so we often have eggs to give away to friends and neighbors.

It's great to have a source of fresh eggs right in our yard. We like knowing that our eggs come from happy hens. The eggs have the nice dark orange yolks of chickens who are eating a varied and rich diet compared to the pale yellow yolks of store-bought eggs. Our favorite way to eat them is poached with a slab of toasted baguette, some butter, and some greens. You can't beat that "local" meal in my book.

If you're intrigued and want to know more about raising your own egg-layers, here are a few places for you to check out:
--More blogging about my chickens over here
--Portland Chickens has some basic info as well as resources here in Portland
--Urban Chickens catalogs chicken resources all over the United States
--This book has a good overview for getting started with your own flock

Thanks, Heather, for inviting me to talk about my chickens. Go local!

Deb

It was an absolute joy to read about your chicken adventures, Deb. Thank you so much for sharing!

And now for your own adventures! What have you been up to this week? Please do tell.
The rules:
1. Please Link to a SPECIFIC post about local food adventures.
2. Please link back to this post somewhere on your blog so others might join in the fun.




Comments

  1. What a great post! I'm off to check out Deb's blog ;-)

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  2. I love your chicken coop! We have some "urban" (if you can call Nampa urban :)) chickens too! I love them! But, whenever we let them out to roam the yard, they start eating up my garden..hmmm...guess we have a thing or two to learn! Thanks for the great post and pretty pics!

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  3. Great post!

    Beautiful photos!

    LOVE the all-cedar chicken coop!

    Makes me want to keep chickens but I need to improve my persuasive speech.

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  4. LOVE this post.

    And, of course, I'm late as usual. Ahem.

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  5. I love the idea of chickens in the backyard. I've wanted to do that for some time. Maybe next summer when I have so much more time...

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  6. we have given backyard chickens some serious consideration this year. i think my hubby is almost convinced to give it a try! thank you for the wonderful post :)

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  7. What an inspirational post! I especially love the fact the green roof on the chicken coop! Beautiful and functional.

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  8. What a great post! I've often wondered about raising my own chickens!

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  9. I find this fascinating, the idea of raising your own chickens and having fresh eggs on the table. I don't think our dog would take too kindly to sharing his yard with a batch of feathered friends, though! :)

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  10. FABULOUS post!!! I have heard a lot about this movement and have been interested to get a first-hand perspective on raising chickens. THANK YOU!!!! -S

    Woo hoo! My blog is almost caught up enough to use Mr. Linky!

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  11. What a lovely coop! I'm dying for chickens but unfortunately hubby is afraid they will mess up his grass :-(

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  12. Oh, Deb. The hens and the chicks on the roof of the coop--what a hoot.

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