One young Catholic family on a Journey towards Intentional and Communal Sustainability. One Artist, one full time Mama and two babies, we'll tell you about all our successes, and failures, as we try to make it in our overly Consumeristic society on just the bare necessities.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homestead Envy part 1- Garrett's Chickens

Joey, the girls and I went to visit my family in Virginia for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This was a post I wrote while we were out there that didn't get posted because of a lack of internet access.  Not to the house, just to me.  It was wonderful to have a break from our daily use of technology, but I must admit that my parent's are blessed with wonderful internet access through Virginia Broadband because that's where my little brother works.  He's a certified tower climber, which scares the daylights out of both me and my mom, but it gets them free internet.   We just didn't take advantage of it, and chose instead a more technology free vacation.  By the way, VABB is a great alternative for rural families in their area because it doesn't require a cable, and is way cheaper than satellite.  ALSO, they don't support the porn industry like most internet providers like Comcast.

As I visit my parents, who live on a 30 some acre homestead in rural Virginia, complete with a centuries old family cemetery in their front yard, I have to tell you that I have a serious case of Envy.  Today, I am going to tell you about how I am stricken by one of the most virulent strains: Chicken Envy.

My parents have kept chickens since my little brother's 7th grade science class hatched them and they needed homes.  My brother, Garrett, (incidentally, the same brother who climbs tall internet towers as mentioned above) has been hooked ever since, and there have only been a few short periods of ChickenLessNess for them when foxes or racoons or bobcats or other predators would enjoy a feast and we'd have to wait for the next batch to arrive via air mail, or be picked up from the local chicken auction.  If you've never been to a Chicken Auction, I recommend it highly.  Especially the one Garrett took Joey too last winter.  It was evidently hilarious!

watching the chickens through they're bobcat proof fence
But in any case, I have to admit, as a teen, I found our chickens not only disgusting, but embarrassing.  I didn't tell my friends about the chicken coop in the backyard, and when the roosters chased my cool friend's cars out of the drive way, I turned bright red, and usually let me brother have it.  I never checked for eggs, and very seldom fed the critters.  I often PRAYED that Garrett would slaughter them, even though I was a vegetarian at the time!  Garrett, by the way, has never slaughtered his chickens- they've always been more like pets who lay delicious eggs.  In fact, as a teen, he was often seen carrying them around under his arms, and would let my niece and nephew pet them to their hearts content.  I am embarrassed now by my lack of Chicken-Liking-Ness of my childhood, and blame my vegetarianism.  But I have to admit, I always DID enjoy the eggs- I just never wanted to go get them!

But now, Joey and I are stuck in a city that doesn't allow chickens, and as much as I would have told you I hated them growing up, I miss them terribly now.  And visiting my parents' made me miss them even more!  Of course, we would be happy to slaughter the roosters, in part because living in a city that doesn't allow them means that roosters would make our illegal roost quite noticeable, also because they're delicious, and finally so they don't chase our cars.  Being chased in your car by a rooster is not a fun experience!

For almost my entire life, Garrett's Chickens were seriously free-range.  The chasing of cars was a daily event not because they'd gotten loose, but because they were loose.  I remember my father chastising Garrett about his lack of Coop-ablity, but then I also remember Dad scattering feed over the entire backyard for them.  They were free to go where they wanted, and had a safe, comfortable place to roost at night (often including a nightlight and heater to keep them laying all winter).  BUT, when my parents moved to their current location, and my brother joined them, it became obvious that these loosey goosey Chickens were not a possibility.  They lost chicken after chicken after chicken to the various wild animals, and one time even to human thieves who drove up the driveway during the middle of the day and took all 10 chickens of roasting age!  So, my father helped Garrett build a more secure coop and yard, and it is just amazing the difference!  Honestly, I don't think my teenage vegetarian girly girl would even object to this!  It's quite pristine and adorable!  And they even have a Calico Rooster!

In short, I miss chickens.   I miss fresh eggs.  I miss the crazy chases through the yard before storms to round up the missing young'uns.  (did I really just say that?!)  Also, I miss my brother, terribly, and he should come live here and help us raise illegal chickens.  Ahh, Good ol' Virginia!  I miss you!


  1. Chickens! :-) Almost the only meat I eat; however, seeing them look so happy makes me rethink even that choice.

  2. Megan, Only eat the happy ones- they're the only ones worth eating! Besides, I'd much rather know that the chicken's life was well lived and well served than that they were used. We are called to be stewards, afterall, not babysitters and not tyrants.

  3. Happy animals are tasty animals!