Chickens were a fleeting dream I had a few years ago.

We were living in Berkeley, California, a full-blown suburban city, when we first began our new phase of life with kids. We lived in a little flat there near the highway. My husband rode his skate board to work and I walked E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. (Oh do I miss those parks. There were green, grassy parks and playgrounds literally every 6 blocks there.) And my natural-outdoorsy minded self simply dreamed of a little bit of land to care for. Just a back yard would suffice. I mean, I really enjoyed sweeping around the extra bathtub outside our bedroom window and the tiny green space out our front window was the nicest we'd rented at yet...but I'm talking nostalgic for something more.

I've always had my mind somewhere else--in another time period if you will. My husband told me the same thing when we were out on one of our first dates on a hike. "I feel like I was supposed to be born a hundred years ago," he told me. And I could relate. I can remember as a wide-eyed third grader seeing an infomercial for a huge encyclopedia of natural home remedies. Oh, it looked too good to be true! Remedies you could make from your own home yourself?! It sounded so therapeutic, wholesome and normal. Even then I was confused why we all feel so dependent on stores to sell us things we once knew as a way of life. And yet I knew literally nothing of herbs, home remedies or anything else very "natural."

So, after two short years in Berkeley we made the official career changes needed to get to where we're at now, three short years later. My husband is now a ranger, which allows us to live (uncertainly with this economy but certainly with our own trust in life) in areas that are always near parks. And I make sure we live frugally enough to stretch his furloughed dollar between the five of us. I think our natural instinct to be relatively thrifty and our time in the Peace Corps helps us make it work. And so, here we are now, living on an unknown amount of acreage (no recent maps of the park parcel we're living on at the moment) in a tiny, rural coastal town in the redwoods. Still renters, but happily taking care of the space that we occupy at the moment. And right now we're surrounded by green and growing plants, tall majestic trees, and ripe opportunity to take advantage of a more homesteading-lifestyle.

So back to chickens. I've been trying to convince my husband that "we" want chickens for a few years now. And since we've moved to our new address it really, really makes sense. Not to mention we are beyond excited to eat our own fresh eggs. Food, Inc.? Man, that movie made me sad and disgusted to see how almost all chickens are handled and kept.) So we've been talking seriously about getting chickens for months now. And this week we finally picked up our chicks. Six little 1-week-old chickies. Adorable chicks!

And our kids are enamored. It's their first at having pets (as it is for us as a couple...we've been avoiding pets for sixteen years now!) and they're owning it with such grace and confidence. Watching them learn to simply pick them up, hold them calmly, and gently set them back down has been invigorating. Oh, the smiles on those faces!

So, cheers to chicks! Actually, Hazel, Belly-Belle, Chick-Chick, Cutie-Cutie, Ruby and Rosa to be precise.

Anyone else want or have chicks or chickens? Any advice? Stories?

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Comment by Jeanine Ertl on April 3, 2011 at 2:48pm

As vegetarian we haven't quite decided what our strategy is with these chickens...but i do suspect we'll have them long past their 'prime.' :)


Comment by Reanaclaire on April 3, 2011 at 5:50am
hey..that is very cute!! I love chicks.. last time my kids pestered me to have one too..and we did.. after she has grown up, we gave her away... we dont have the heart to see her slaughtered so we gave her away... :(

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