Yesterday I paid a visit to a friend’s urban chicken farm just a mile away from my own home. I had no idea such a vast array of hen species existed mere blocks away from me. I imagined a few chickens in a little coop but what I saw was astounding…the back yard opened up, curled around the house and everywhere I looked, chickens, chickens chickens! Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to bring my camera so I grabbed a few stock images to show as examples of some of the many breeds I saw.
Baily, the chicken master, explained to me the different types, but I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t partly glaze over as I imagined the wonderful challenge of mounting each beautiful specimen. The types with the feathers on their feet (I call them Mummers), the gene mutation which results in curly feathers, the poof on the head…etc. He had ‘em all. I was surprised at the minimal odor and noise. Quite a feat to manage so many creatures on such a modest property. Very impressive.
The main purpose for my visit was to purchase some of his eggs, as his hens have been rather productive lately. I got 2 dz (1 for my family, one for a friend) and carefully loaded them into my bag. I had some other items from grocery shopping that I had to move around to make room for the eggs, and I have never been more nervous riding my bike home. Such precious cargo! I was so worried about breaking one. I’ve ridden my bike with eggs purchased from the supermarket before and gotten home to find a busted one a few times, but it never bothered me much. They were just mass-produced, anonymous eggs. But now…after I’d met all the hens, held some of them, talked to every one, called them by name….their fruit was so much more valuable to me. This is the type of appreciation I strive to have for all things I consume someday.
I scrambled one for dinner (seen here with cottage cheese and capers) and savored each delicious bite.
This is why I want to source my own meat. I want to break out of my own pattern of blindly consuming with no real appreciation, knowledge or responsibility (aside from financial) for where my nourishment comes from and how it came to be. This experience inspired me to finally get off the fence and sign up for my trapping/hunting safety course in September, a legally required step in order to obtain my bow hunting license. Come October, with the help of some experienced friends, hopefully I’ll harvest my first deer and have sweet, healthy venison to eat for many months!