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My lovely readers, I introduce to you the newest members of the Sommers household.



Dame Judi Dench is tiniest of the lot, the loudest of the squakers and has a fun little condition called pasty butt.


Yes, we just got into a hobby that involves the words both pasty and butt being grouped together.  Awesome.


Pasty butt, as I understand it, happens when little chicks poop and it doesn't fall all the way to the ground, getting stuck in their down and causing blockage... kind of like the worse dirty diaper you could imagine.  So far, blockage has not been problem for the distinguished lady (which is a good thing, because blockage equals bad news) but we have been pretty diligent about wiping off her butt with a warm wet towel every few hours.  We know she can poop (she seems to do that a lot actually) and we're hoping it will go away within a week.


Dame Judi Dench is a breed known as Salmon Faverolles She already has feathers on her toes (!) and will have a muff and beard.  Totally adorable.  It's pretty clear that, as mentioned on My Pet Chicken, that she is at the bottom of the pecking order.  And yes, there actually is such a thing.  We're hoping she will lay creamy colored eggs in great numbers.  She does NOT like being held. 



Jacqueline Kennedy Onnasis (or Jackie O) is at the middle top of the pecking order.  She has cute markings on her face and body, and doesn't like to sit up straight for the camera.  She's a breed known as Silver Laced Wyandotte.   Her eggs will be a boring brown color, but she will make up for it when she gets her big-girl feathers, which will, as her name suggests, be shimmery silver.



Hermione Granger is a proud and true chick.  Known as an Easter egger, she isn't a true breed, but has roots stemming from the Araucana breed, which will enable her to lay blue, green or pink eggs(!).  She's established herself at the top   middle Edit: (Jackie O is now in charge, Kyle claims it has been this way all along). of the pecking order, and because she is, well, a hybrid, we don't know what she'll look like when she grows up, but we're definitely hoping for the common Araucana ear tufts (I already think I see them forming).




Hello, ladies.

I received a call from our Post Master this morning. 



More info and pictures this afternoon!




The chickens... are coming!!!!!

The chicks are coming, the chicks are coming!  I suppose this means we're supposed to be ready, but can you really ever be ready for new babies entering your house?  I guess only time will tell.  We've set up our brooder in the middle bedroom downstairs.  This location will keep them safe from predators 

 and give us easy access to view the cuties.

The floor has been lined with plastic, newspaper and the pine shavings.  The feeders are full, and the heat lamp secured in a fire safe way.  Do we have all the signatures we need?  Well, no.  But we got an extension on our application, and as long as we have it all filed away in 5-8 weeks when the little guys are ready to go outside, everything will be cool.... I hope. 

Since this is a totally new experience for Kyle and myself (read, sub/urban raised white kids from the Midwest) I'm hoping to demystify the science, fun and frustrations of raising urban chickens on this here blog of mine.  Much of what I say could be completely wrong (and please feel free to correct me) as we too are new at this.  But I hope that it eventually inspires someone else to take the plunge and raise urban chickens of their very own.  There will be exciting weeks (and less exciting weeks I'm sure).


It's hunting season

At this point I'm just going to assume you've read The Omnivore's Dilemma.  If you haven't, please do. If you have, we're probably on the same page.  I've sung Mr. Pollan's praises before, and I have to admit he has inspired me (and probably a million other Americans) on many levels with regards to the food I put into my body. I have been known, however, to take things and run with them.  Last year I got excited about the native edibles that were available for eating that can't be cultivated (or take a lot of unpredictable effort when attempted).  This year, I decided to find those goodies for myself. 


Now, foraging is not for the weak of heart, or for the ill-informed, so I tapped my most valuable resources.  A wonderful woman named Kathy (@Kathysforay on Twitter) just up and offered to take me.  People, that doesn't happen!  She didn't even force me to get blindfolded or anything (you know, because of the secret location of the mushrooms and whatever), on top of the fact that she was gracious enough to let me keep what I found.  She even told me I had an eye for it! I almost believed her, too.  In about 30 minutes we stumbled upon about 7 or 8 morels that are now waiting for some cooing love this week... I might even blog about it. 

This blonde beauty was my first find.  I squealed like a little girl when I saw it, and had to resist picking it instantly so I could snap a picture of my first forage ever.


The beginning

I learned about real food from real people...


That man with the beets is my Granddaddy.  We lost him two years ago this week.  He was a knowledgeable working man; I garden in his honor.  That ghost of a child is me in my overalls.


We miss you Granddad.  Thanks for teaching us the important things in life.