Over the weekend, I went to One Straw Farm for a picnic. They have these really fun gatherings with music and food out on the farm in White Hall for all of the CSA members a few times each season. I’ve known the farmers – Joan and Drew Norman – a long time now. They are good peeps. Which brings me to my new peeps. But first…take a look at this goodness I made for the picnic.
At the picnic, I was talking with Joan about keeping chickens and she said, “Do you want some chicks? We have some!” I immediately said, “Oh, yes – that would be so great!” Yes? Am I insane? Well, not really. I’d been thinking about keeping chickens for a while..did some research last year and just never did it. So, when she offered the chicks, it was the perfect opportunity to jump in. Full on. I picked four chicks out of the brooder – each one looks different which not only means they are different breeds, but also I can tell them apart very easily. As my friend drove us home, I called my Mom to tell her the exciting news and her reply was, “You got WHAT?”
Even though I’ve lived in the city for a long time, I don’t really consider myself a total city person. I grew up in the country…not on a farm, but surrounded by farms in Kingsville, MD, which is a gorgeous place, even now with many more houses than farms. My Mom grew up on a working farm in Harford County and my grandparents, Clark and Mary Fitzpatrick, ran the “County Home” in Bel Air, a very early homeless shelter. The house is known as the Aquila Scott Home and had many interesting characters staying there – I’ve heard so many great stories of that place from my Mom over the years. My grandfather was a farmer and my grandmother was a fabulous cook. Everything was fresh, of course…milk and butter came from the cows, fresh eggs and meat from the chickens, etc. She was really known for feeding people and I like to think that’s where I got my love of cooking. She made fabulous cakes and usually didn’t follow recipes. I love that about her, but no recipes = I can’t replicate her stuff! My grandparents’ home is still there on Tollgate Road and houses the Harford County Park + Recreation Offices. Just look for the duck pond.
So, as I enter the land of city chicken keeping…I’m finding that my roots are beginning to really come into play and it makes me think of the generations that came before me. Sadly, I never knew any of my grandparents. My Mom’s mother, Mary, whom I described earlier, was our last living grandparent for many years. Every time my mother would become pregnant, she’d buy dresses and dresses. And, each time…six in a row…Mom delivered a boy and the dresses just piled up. Then, she finally had me. But my grandmother died on May 16, 1967…one month to the day before I was born. Everyone said Mom should name me Mary, but she named me Amy from the book, Little Women. I would have been happy to be Mary, Amy, Margaret (after Mom) whatever…it doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve got my grandmother in my blood. I’m a cook. It’s just so funny that I didn’t realize it til I hit 40.
…Back to the Langrehr chickens of 2011. They are growing fast, so i’m hoping to document their progress weekly. Today, I’m heading to Kingsville to borrow a rabbit hutch, which will be the chicks’ home over the summer, until I get a proper coop built.
I love this coop…sadly, I can’t swing this one. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Right now, the chicks are in my dining room in an old lobster crate I picked up at an estate sale – it’s perfect. My labrador Henry is interested, but knows “leave it” and “no” pretty well…and when they get big, I’m pretty sure they will show him who’s boss. That, I can’t wait to see. Here he is meeting the chicks that first night.
Thinking about keeping chickens at your place? Here are some good sources of info:
My Pet Chicken
p.s. I will still buy fresh eggs from Andy at the Waverly Farmers Market, but eventually, just not as many!
I just finished a few days of helping with some “chicken-sitting” at a friend’s sister’s house. They have a kind of “portable” coop – they actually move it around the yard periodically (they have a big yard) to keep the land from getting too worn down. They have a plastic-electric fence around the coop to give the chickens more grazing ground and keep out predators. There are little trap doors at the back of the nesting boxes for ease of egg-removal. And there are hooks to hang the feeders and water troughs.