When I was but a wee little girl growing up in Oregon, my Dad – who was born in Louisiana, and did most of his growing up in and around Mississippi – would tell me tales of how amazing, wonderful, and all around better life would be spent on a patch of land with more than just a little elbow room, a cow or two, some chickens, maybe a pig, possibly a goat or three, a few sheep thrown in for good measure, and the wherewithall to grow whatever your heart desired. He talked about his dream of moving to Montana to start a cattle ranch. He talked about working on a chicken farm when he was a kid. He talked about having extra pocket change as a kid and going down the way to the local dairy farmer and buying a calf to bring home and raise.
I admit it. I grew up longing for those things. But I grew up in suburbia – yep, we had a small backyard garden that did passingly well – but I’d never even stepped foot on a farm, much less known anything of substance of them!
I happened to marry a man who was born on a farm. A truck farm. No, they don’t grow trucks on a truck farm. A truck farm (I learned) is the kind of farm where they grow a whole bunch of stuff and it gets trucked to the local grocery store. [I wonder – do they still have those? Or does pretty much all food travel 1500 miles from farm to plate?] When he was still yet a fairly young boy he and his Mom moved away from the farm – but there were still farm roots and connections. An aunt and uncle with a dairy farm nearby – with a near-in-age cousin to hang out with. Aunts and uncles a little further afield with farms or farmlets to spend time on occasionally. In short – he not only knew what they were about – but he’d actually been on them! Lots!
My Grammy instilled the love of growing things – she had a gift! John’s Mom and family instilled in him the love of growing things. Then we met, married – and well, started playing in the dirt! 🙂
Fairly early on in our relationship I passingly said to John – prefaced by a deep, longing sigh – “Oh! I wish I could have chickens!” Knowing full well that it would – could – never happen. That was about 15 years ago. Needless to say – we got chickens!
Yes – we live in suburban Portland, Oregon. In fact, we’re just a stone’s throw from downtown. We even live inside the Urban Growth Boundary! Most houses are what our kids call “tp house” – you know, the kind of house where if you’re sitting on the toilet and run out of toilet paper, you could just reach up, open the bathroom window, and knock on the next door neighbors bathroom window and ask to borrow a roll! Honestly – we once lived in a neighborhood where we could touch our house and the neighbors house – at the same time – just a good arms-stretch apart! We didn’t like that so much.
Amazingly enough, we live in an old, pretty run down, but lovingly built in 1946 house on half an acre. That’s pretty unheard of. We’re so fortunate to be in a little corner of our unincorporated county – with fourth acre, half acre, and even three quarter acre plots – just a few of them. We have neighbors nearby who have goats! (Did you know that in the city of Portland you can have 3 goats?!) We have neighbors nearby who have chickens – lots of neighbors nearby who have chickens.
What sent us over the edge to getting chicks that fateful day in March 2008? The cost of eggs. Yep. It’s true. We’d watched prices escalate on pretty much everything, and one day John went to the store to pick up eggs. Of course, we had to have the free-range, extra good for you eggs. A year prior a flat of 20 jumbo eggs had cost us $3.19. That fateful day John went to the store – they’d gone up to $5.79. He came home, he looked at me, and he said, “Alright. Call the landlord. Ask if we can have chickens!” Little did he know what he would set in motion!
As it turned out, our landlord said yes, as long as we complied with the county regulations and got along with the neighbors. In our little corner of the world – it’s perfectly lawful to have as many chickens on our 1/2 acre as we can adequately house and healthfully care for. So we started planning…
The rest, they say is history!
Today, the hip chicks number 38. We have 9 “big girls” – 9 of our chicks from 2008. And we have 29 babies. Why so many? Cause our kid would like to have an egg business. So we’re gonna give it a whirl.
So that’s the scoop. If you’d like to see posts about the Hip Chick Chronicles, go to the category drop down and you’ll see the options there.