Rosey the Riveter

Monday, March 4, 2013


Last fall, while we were in the throes of getting hens legalized, I was fortunate enough to hear Pat Foreman speak at the local library.  She is the author of "City Chicks" and a very entertaining speaker. 
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This is a picture of us, along with "Oprah Henfrey" taken a few weeks before that talk, at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello.  If you click on the picture, it'll enlarge and you can see the precious look on Oprah's face!
When I heard that Pat would be returning to the area to do a 2-day Intensive Workshop once the hens were legalized, I knew I had to attend.  Normally, I'm a cheapskate and don't part easily with my money, but having heard Pat speak and after reading the book, I knew I had to go.  Not only did I want to learn how to care for chickens before we got our micro-flock, I also knew it would be a blast to spend the weekend with Pat and her 'side-kick' Lisa.

And a blast it was.

We all met bright and early Saturday Morning at the conference center at First Landing State Park.
 It was a hands-on class.  From the get-go, we were immersed in hens!
Pat attempts to make a hen smile while teaching us Anatomy 101.
 The food was amazing... freshly prepared by "The Local Agrarian"
... featuring the only gluten-free dessert I've ever eaten that didn't taste like it was Gluten Free (they were some delicious brownies!)
We got to learn about raising chicks and their special needs.  It was also fun to play with them.  Notice how geeked out I am, in my chicken shirt and chicken hair accessory!
We also learned (and practiced) how to properly handle chickens and "Chicken Whispering" to calm them.  This was the most beautiful and laid back Rooster I've ever met.  He's a Dominique, which is a heritage breed featured at Colonial Williamsburg as well as my beloved Old Sturbridge Village.
Here he is perched on my shoulder.  We matched real well!

We learned about using chickens in the garden and composting.  We learned how to treat common health problems.  An umbrella theme to the class was how important backyard flocks are... they provide wholesome food and healthy soil while reducing dependence on oil and ensuring a local source of food in times of crisis. 

Overall, I am much more prepared to 'mother' our hens and I am very excited to get them.  It'll be another month before we are ready, but I'll be spending the day making calls to local Feed stores to see what breeds they'll have available to order.  (I don't want to start from chicks, or we could have had them by now!)

In addition, I met some new friends and that's always a good thing!

The coop is coming along nicely... it's almost all painted, so hubby will just have to put the roof on, attach the doors, and put up the protective screening.  Then I will add some curtains to the nest boxes to provide some privacy and we'll be good to go!
We are well on our way to achieving the first of my Homesteading Goals of 2013!

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