Are You Considering Chicks?

My favorite feed store (with gorgeous heritage breeds) was sold out of everything but roosters after the long weekend – so we had fun cuddling the chicks, but haven’t gotten any yet. But soon!!!

If you’re thinking of getting chicks, but nervous, this is for you.

First of all, you can totally do it! It’s not as difficult as it seems. You’ll learn as you go. You’ll make it work. And it is so rewarding!

Second of all, even though I really shouldn’t get more chicks, I have selflessly decided that I must, for your sake, get at least a few. 😊 I’ll walk you through the steps.

Do you remember Julia Child on PBS in the 80’s? When I was little, my mom would assemble the ingredients, pour a glass of wine, turn on Julia, and cook along with her. This will be like that, except that I’m no Julia Child, (who is one of my idols). However, like Julia, I believe in making mistakes and getting messy (or is that Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus? Yet another brilliant woman!)

We’ll start this week with how to prepare before you bring home your chicks. So pour yourself a glass of wine (or coffee), start picking breeds, and stay tuned. 😊

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

Fairy Gardens

Our sweet neighbor came over to play with Elizabeth today. But Elizabee had homework. So, even though Emily is a “big kid”, she spent the afternoon with Daisy, teaching her to plant a fairy garden. 🧚‍♀️ 🧚‍♂️ I just love that girl!! ❤️❤️❤️

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals #fairygarden

Blue Silkie

Oh my goodness!! I almost forgot about this! This right here is why I wanted a silkie chicken!

It was an overnight pioneer historical re-enactment at Sutter’s Fort with the all the kids. Daisy fell in love with this fluffball of a chicken! She followed it around all day.

(And, by the way, wasn’t she the most adorable doll-baby prairie girl?) ❤️❤️❤️

And also, no, I won’t be posting pictures of me in my pioneer getup after two muddy days of no sleep. 😂

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals #silkie

The First Crocus of Spring

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

Our first crocus of spring popped up this morning! 😊

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

No Spring Chicken!

The shadows are long and the sun is setting, but these smart girls know how to get to the long green grass by the barn, outside the pasture. There are times it’s good not to be a spring chicken! 😊

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

Flyte So Fancy!

Oh my gosh you guys!!! I have found the most amazing, in-your-fantasy-life-this-is-where-you-will-buy-all-your-chicken-supplies website! 😍😍😍 You have to check it out! It’s called Flyte so Fancy. https://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/index.html

Tragically, unless you live in England, it can only be in your fantasy life. Flyte So Fancy, I think I love your coops more than anything in the world. I think you need to expand your market to the U.S., and that you should start by sending me a coop that I can share with the thousands of people who would also fall in love with your coops here!! 😘 😁)

In the meantime, dear readers, you’re welcome for many hours worth of weekend chicken daydreaming on their site. (And it’s not just the pictures, the articles are really good too! Seriously!! 😂)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pretend that I’m Princess Kate, and my countryside cottage needs a coop. ❤️❤️❤️😁

https://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenhouses/The_Gypsy_Daydream.html

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals

Bringing Home Baby

Those of you with kids probably went through something like I did when you were expecting your first baby. Remember how everyone had advice and opinions about what kind of diapers, or pacifiers, or baths, to use? Remember the strong opinions of well meaning aunties about nursing vs. bottle feeding, or vaccines? And god forbid we get into sleeping habits, or discipline! Do you remember the first time you walked in to a Babies-R-Us? Personally, I wandered around overwhelmed, and stunned, by the vastness of it all, and finally fled without having bought a thing.

And do you remember, how, once the baby came, there were some hiccups along the way, and a learning curve, but eventually it mostly worked out. And how all that advice was kind of helpful, but also, that you figured out what worked best for you. And that it turns out a lot of different choices work for different people. And that your kids have somehow grown up to be pretty spectacular, whatever diapers you used, or mistakes you made.

That’s what it’s like with chickens. I wanted chickens for twenty years, and was afraid I didn’t know enough about them to do it. I will forever be grateful to Lisa Steele for sharing her experiences at Fresh Eggs Daily, which is what gave me the confidence to try. There are a lot of different ways to raise chickens. But it’s not as complicated as it seems. And you have to figure out what works for you. Want to keep the little ones inside to cuddle and stay warm and get tame? Great! Want to raise them in a grow out pen or a barn? Sure! Want to have your hen be mama? That works too! Medicated, vaccinated, fed only organic – all reasonable choices. Three hens in your urban backyard, or too many to count, with roosters, on rolling green acres, are both perfectly reasonable. Heritage breed show chicks, hatchery eggs for incubating, a handful of fuzzy yellow babies from the feed store bin – will all be lovely, spectacular, chickens.

So I’m not going to tell you what you ought to do, just what works for me. It doesn’t all work out perfectly. My kids have learned the phrase “farm strong”, because sometimes chickens die. But we have also each held a small chick to our chest until the chirping stopped and it fell fast asleep against us, warm and soft. We have had the magical joy of a first egg. We have laughed at their dinosaur run, and learned their personalities, and hunted for precious eggs hidden in the straw. My hope is that I will give someone else the confidence to give it a try. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them. But also, you will figure out what works for you, and it will be fine. You can do this! ❤️

Stay tuned for the first steps of getting set up for baby chicks…

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! ❤️🐔❤️🐔❤️

So many people have asked about these gorgeous chocolate eggs, I want to take a moment to let y’all know about them.

They are from Fat Hen Farms in Connecticut. Bernard started out breeding Black Copper Marans for their beautiful dark chocolate colored eggs. He gradually added on several other of my most favorite breeds, each known for their luscious egg colors, including Lavender Orpingtons, Blue Wheatens, Easter Eggers, and Deathlayers, (whose name always makes me think of a Star Wars-esque chicken villain! 😂 Actually, they are called Deathlayers because, unlike most hens who only lay for a couple years, the Deathlayers supposedly lay until their death.)

Bernard meticulously keeps and breeds small flocks for egg vibrancy. His approach is thoughtful and intelligent. At age 24, Bernard is not only a farmer, but also a pre-med student, so he consults with his professors about breeding projects. He focuses on egg color, but also chicken health and standards. I’ve been impressed by Fat Hen Farms ever since I came across a picture of his amazing egg colors, and had to learn more! Full disclosure: I’ve never actually spoken with Bernard – he’s probably wondering who this crazy chicken lady is who’s going all fangirl on him. 😂 The truth is I’m a little infatuated with his eggs. Sadly, but understandably, there are waiting lists for his hatching eggs and chicks. But a girl can dream, can’t she….. I recommend checking out his page, I’ve learned so much from it!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #marans #chocolateeggs #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Valentine’s Sweets

I got the sweetest treat for Valentine’s Day! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I don’t turn my nose up at any kind of chocolates, but these are special! They are Ginger Elizabeth chocolates!! (she says with reverence and a happy sigh)

The Ginger Elizabeth store is like the small Parisian chocolatier shops, where each piece is a fleeting, perishable treasure. Each little jewel is a sophisticated expression of art and complex flavors, created with the highest quality, seasonal, and local, ingredients. These chocolates are truly a luxury!

One of the things I love about living in Sacramento is the culture of farm-to-fork – prioritizing fresh, quality ingredients from local, seasonal sources. The community is passionate about artisan products like this. It’s so much fun to talk food with farmers and chefs here! It’s just exciting to watch, and taste, the farm-to-fork movement grow here. We’re so lucky to have this amazing chocolatier in here in Sacramento! I am going to relish each one of these. And no, I’m not sharing with the kids! 😁

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #chocolatier #gingerelizabeth #chocolate #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

What Color Eggs Will She Lay?

Jessica Rankin asked what color eggs her new little Silver Laced Wyandottes will lay? It’s such an interesting question, because the color isn’t as certain as it is for other breeds. Some breeders say “cream”, some say “pale brown”. Our Hermia lays eggs that almost have a pinkish hue. That’s her egg from yesterday in the front.

One of the reasons we got so many different breeds is that I love seeing all of our eggs being different colors. But also, I just think Hermia is so pretty. I mean, just look at those feathers!! 😍

Good luck with your Wyandottes Jessica! Send us a picture when they start laying!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Spring is Coming

I cleaned out the vegetable garden today. It should have been done in November. But, as you all know, life has a way of taking over! I cleared away the final, withered, unpicked Romano beans off their trellises. The dead vines of last summer’s deep indigo Morning Glories crumbled to dust in my hands. I pulled the dried stalks of heirloom tomatoes I had espaliered, (which the squirrels had particularly enjoyed as their own personal buffet). Even stiff, bare sunflower canes waited to be pulled. I was long overdue.

But then, miraculously, under blankets of dried oak leaves covering garden pots, I discovered burgeoning strawberry buds, hidden under umbrellas of wide green leaves, having shockingly survived the winter.

I uncovered pale green fava bean sprouts already climbing a lattice on their own.

img_0910

(Well that will save me some steps!)

img_0920I even discovered a few marigolds and pansies, which had refused to die.img_0947And then, I spied the first butter yellow daffodils of the season.As I put away my garden tools in the barn, I saw that the small Black Phoebe bird has returned to her mud nest in the rafters, as she does each spring. Soon I’ll have photos to share of wide open baby bird mouths, bigger than their bald heads, waiting, in their nest. And one day, in a few weeks, I’ll walk into the barn, and instead of the mother aflutter at my presence, a handful of adolescents will tumble awkwardly from the nest and careen out of the barn. And I will worry that they have flown from the nest too soon.

Spring is coming. ❤️

Silver Laced Wyandotte

This is Hermia, our little Silver Laced Wyandotte. She’s a bit shy, but soooooo pretty!

When we first got chickens, I didn’t know much about breeds so decided to start with one each of different breeds, to get to know them better. It’s been fun to get all different color eggs. Also, it sure does make it easy to tell them apart!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals