Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Episode 15: Wherein Organigirl Gets a Chicken Tractor But Not Chickens

Have you ever had one of those "I should do this!" ideas that you often repeat to others but never actually follow through on? They go like this - 

"I should read more books!" (but then you get a subscription to Netflix and forget what a "book" looks like for several weeks while you binge watch every episode of MacGuyver ever made). 

"I should walk more!" (but then you buy a new car you can't afford, and want to drive all the places.)

"I should eat more vegetables!" (but you don't. because cake.)

I had one of those "I should do this!" ideas that sounded great and made sense and was fun to talk about. It involved chickens. I always imagined that someday we'd get some chickens and my little backyard urban farm would become more than fruits and veggies (and herbs, and flowers and whatnot). But, Organiguy and I both kept dragging. our. feet. when it came to the chickens. Why? Because unlike plants, which don't make sounds (at least, not ones that I can hear), and don't have eyes (except potatoes - I don't trust potatoes for that reason), chickens are living, breathing creatures. Creatures that will haunt you for the rest of your days if you neglect them and they die. Is there such a thing as a chicken ghost? If so, I'm worried about them.

A funny thing happened though. Some friends were moving away and selling their fancy-schmancy-just-the right-size-for-my-yard chicken tractor, which, by the way, is not a tiny tractor for chickens to drive. If they made such a thing, I would have had chickens long ago, because a driving chicken can take himself to the vet for Pete's sake and the chicken ghost issue would be nullified. A chicken tractor is a movable chicken coop, which is great for urban farming because you can move it around your yard or between your raised beds and the chicken poop goes straight to the ground and becomes fertilizer without any effort on your part whatsoever. Intriguing, no? So Organiguy and I talked it over (the chicken tractor thing - not the tiny driving chicken thing) and it went something like this.

Me: So and so is selling her chicken tractor. It's really nice. We probably aren't ready for chickens though right? We shouldn't do this right? Yeah, nevermind.

Organiguy: What's a chicken tractor? Oh that sounds cool. Whatever you think is best, dear.

Me: Okay, so what should we have for dinner tonight? Maybe chicken?

Notice how I'm getting distracted because food. One of the reasons I grow my own food is because I like food. I like it being near to me. I like being able to eat food whenever I feel like it without having to make a trip to the grocery store. I also like that the food I grow ends up making me healthier rather than taking a permanent vacation on my thighs. But I digress.

So you see, we never made a decision. Our first conversation about the chicken tractor was a total bust. No conclusions drawn. Not long thereafter, we had another conversation about it that went something like this:

Me: Well, we really need to make a decision about the chicken tractor. We need to let so and so know if we want it or not. She wants such and such amount of money for it. What do you think?

Organiguy: Sounds great! Such and such is a great price. Can I make dinner tonight and rub your feet while I read the kids their bedtime stories and help a group of foreign dignitaries create a plan for world peace?

Me: I guess that settles it!

Have I mentioned that Organiguy is also a superhero? If that isn't evident from the conversation I just shared, then go back and read again. Moving on.

So we went ahead and bought the chicken tractor and now it's sitting on one of my raised beds waiting for chickens. I'm thinking of starting an "Occupy Chicken Tractors!" movement to see if any chickens will find their own way to us and stay until we agree to their demands (which will be never, because I don't negotiate with chickens - and that has nothing to do with my political views). If that doesn't work, I'll be buying some chickens in the spring, when I'm good and ready for them. 

Now that we've gotten all the other business out of the way, let's talk chickens for a minute. I grew up out in the country and we had all sorts of farm critters. Pigs, horses, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, and yes, chickens. There's something about going out to the barn and gathering eggs that makes you feel all hunter-gatherer. I do have to admit, however, that I also feel a little like a thief. The poor hens lay those giant eggs (it's like childbirth four times a week!) and I go out there and steal them whenever I want an omelette. It seems wrong, right? Anyway, I steal the hens' babies and eat them. With salt and pepper. Or with mushrooms and zucchini in a fritatta. There I go talking about food again... But chickens ARE food, so it's okay.

Clearly, you can expect to see future posts about our chicken adventures. In the spring, the Organikids will be getting some wasted fritatta ingredients chicks to raise - with much supervision by us, of course, and in due time there will be eggs aplenty. In the mean time, now that school is in session again (fill in this space with your favorite obligatory "the parents party when the kids go back to school" joke - I won't tell), I'll be adding some new "how to grow ______" posts to the vegetable growing guide. And spending an ungodly amount of time daydreaming about fresh eggs of many colors. And chicken ghosts. 

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