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Archive for April, 2010

I am pretty excited about getting bees.  It is part of my plan for total agrarian domination on Whidbey Island.  Actually it is more about trying to have a better garden through the addition of more pollinators and the effort to become more self sufficient with the addition of our own honey to our diet. (more…)

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Maggie Rose, Molly and their Uncle Joe put together the frame of the new coop, which is shown here lying on its side.

You might think, based on the past couple of posts I have made, that my interested in the history or politics of poultry farming is purely theoretical.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  This year, as I learn more about how both the industrial and the heritage models of poultry production work, my family will be embarking on a very hands-on farming adventure.  We intend to raise several different breeds of chicken, some of them we will source from big, generic hatcheries and some from a very high quality breeder of pure-bred, heritage poultry.  We want to see, at each stage of their development, exactly what the differences are.  Of course, if we are going to do this well, we are going to need a good coop, or perhaps even two of them. (more…)

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This is the second part of my series, Chickincest, which discusses the issues surrounding poultry food production.  This is a story of the unintended consequences that have brought us to where we are, what a sustainable system might look like, and what it would take to get there.  In this part I try to clarify just what is meant by the term “heritage breeds”.

Coupeville is a really small town.  I was at the quarterly Lion’s Club blood draw, the place where you will meet all of the town’s luminaries, and I ran into Al Sherman.  The Sherman’s were one of the original families that homesteaded what is now Ebey’s Prairie in the 1850’s, and there are a lot of Sherman’s here still.  Because I am trying to gain an historical perspective on what farming used to be like here, I asked Al what his family was farming when he was a kid.  I was pretty surprised by the answer. (more…)

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