In late 2009, I read Michael Perry's memoir Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs & Parenting and it brought back a flood of memories about visiting a family friend's farm in Northern Belgium when I was growing up. The farm was owned by one of my grandfather's hunting partners. I remember many Sunday afternoon visits, driving out of Antwerp, to the country. My mother and grandparents would congregate in a sitting room at the farm, and I was given some freedom to explore. I remember being fascinated by the chickens; it was such a privilege to collect the eggs and bring them back to the house. Anyway, reading Perry's book reminded me of how much I enjoyed those Sunday afternoons as a child. Being a dad myself now, it was time to build our coop. With the help of our neighbors and leftover wood from the porch we rebuild, a coop was constructed.
The coop has brought us much joy, adventure and, of course, eggs. In the spring of 2010, we got our first chickens, all a day old, and raised them for the first six weeks in the basement. We are now in the process of integrating our second flock, a total of 13 chickens and have learned numerous creative ways to cook and incorporate eggs into our diet.
Since we've also been on Englewood, Colorado's garden tour, city officials found out about our chickens. I started noticing the city's number on our caller ID with no messages being left. After a few days of these calls, I called the city myself from a remote location (not our landline). Contrary to my suspicions about being fined or evicted, they invited me to lead a workshop about backyard chickens as part of their community outreach program. I was happy to oblige.