Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chickens!? and Swimming at Deep Eddy Pool

CIMG1228-detailWhen we decided to build a new house on the lot in south Austin we also agreed that we wanted to raise chickens there. Our soon-to-be back neighbor across the creek has a pretty large flock, there are no serious limitations on chicken raising in Austin, and we thought it would be great for Dada--we know another family that has a little girl who, at 3 years old, collected the eggs from their flock.

So Julie started getting books from the library this last week and then we bought some books and we've been reading all we can about chickens.

So now we have chicken fever.

Today we went to the Boggy Creek Farms, an organic farm in east Austin that sells their stuff two days a week. They have a large flock of chickens and sell their eggs. We had eaten the last of our Boggy Creek eggs this morning and they were so good. So we took Dada and Grandma Peggy (who's in town for the weekend) to see the chickens. Dada was fascinated by the chickens (which she can also correctly identify in her animal picture book--we've been working on chicken identification).

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We took some pictures of Dada and the chickens:

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After the farm, we went over to Callahan's General Store to look at their chicken supplies and chicks. They had chicks for some of the breeds we've been thinking would be good (Rhode Island Red, Americaunas) but the woman there who manages the chicks said that we should wait until spring. Hmph.

Julie seems to be holding firm in her resolve not to get chickens until we're at the new house, but I'm starting to think about what it would take to set up a three- or four-hen flock here in our current place--we have plenty of back yard and it wouldn't require that big of a coop. We'll see....

This afternoon we all went swimming at Deep Eddy Pool, Austin's other spring fed pool, which we had never been to before (the neighborhood pool close to our house closed for the season this weekend). Unlike Barton Springs, Deep Eddy is a proper pool, rather than a natural swimming hole that's been minimally developed. We had a nice time playing in the cool water. It was very refleshing. There was a swim meet going on, which was interesting to watch. I've just starting reading about a new swimming method, Total Immersion Swimming, that has gotten me thinking about doing some competitions. I asked to get on the mailing list for the group sponsoring the competition.

So now it's back to thinking about coop designs and reading more about chickens. What we've learned so far I think can be summed up as:

- Chickens are relatively easy to care for

- Fresh eggs from free range chickens are really really tasty

- Butchering chickens is messy

- Roosters are noisy

- Once you start raising chickens you will likely become a tiresome chicken nut who goes on and on and on about how wonderful it is to have chickens and anyone who doesn't like chickens is just not the sort of person they want to imagine being in this world and what are we going to do with all these eggs and aren't those hens just precious blah blah clucketty cluck blah.

By the way, if you wouldn't mind saving your egg cartons for us, that would be great....

4 Comments:

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous GranJudy said...

Eliot's great-grandmother, Lillie Halliburton McNeill, raised chickens in her backyard in Lubbock, Texas. One of my earliest memories is of my sweet, tiny grandmother grabbing one of her hens and swiftly wringing its neck, which left Lillie standing holding the chicken's head and the chicken, guess what, running around like a chicken with its head chopped (or wrung) off. The experience was startling, to say the least. A grandmother now myself, I look forward to visiting in Austin when the new house and chickens are all in place, but I draw the line at wringing necks.

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliot's great-grandmother, Lillie Halliburton McNeill, raised chickens in her backyard in Lubbock, Texas. One of my earliest memories is of my sweet, tiny grandmother grabbing one of her hens and swiftly wringing its neck, which left Lillie standing holding the chicken's head and the chicken, guess what, running around like a chicken with its head chopped (or wrung) off. The experience was startling, to say the least. I look forward to visiting in Austin when the new house and chickens are all in place, but I draw the line at wringing necks.

 
At 2:17 AM, Blogger Catherine--Eliot's Sister said...

Does anyone else wonder where Eliot gets the time to research chicken farming AND new swimming methods that sound kind of cult-y ("total immersion")?

When MY child was 19 months old and I was working full-time I was happy if there was clean laundry and clean dishes on the same day. And I wasn't fretting about a house being built, either. What's your secret, Eliot?

That aside--I'm excited about the chickens. Vanessa (our cousin) raised two, and they were great fun. (My partner) Jennifer's family also raised chickens when she was a girl (adding fuel to the chicken-raisers-are-morally-superior argument, since Jennifer is morally (and otherwise) superior to most of us. Though she doesn't make a big deal out of it. Another way in which she's superior, really, I suppose. But my point is this: chickens--good. Ferrets--bad.

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Eliot Kimber said...

My secret is a wonderful spouse, a short commute, and reduced sleep.

 

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