Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mrs. Tweedy Goes to Seattle**

Holy Cow! Who's that goofy-looking gal holding a chicken?

"Oh My God, I'm holding a chicken, I must look ridiculous! I hope it doesn't poop on me...."

Why, it's me. I went on the Seattle Tilth Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour. It's hard to believe how many tiny back yards in the densely inhabited city of Seattle have chickens! I only made it to a small handful, but there were more than 50 locations on the tour.

I got to hold a chicken! And I got to feed weeds to a chicken! And then I got to feed another chicken a raspberry!

According to its website, Seattle Tilth is a "non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring and educating people to garden organically and conserve natural resources." They hold classes on sustainable landscaping, organic gardening for beginners, preserving food, and raising chickens, goats, bees and ducks, among other topics. They do landscape consultation, run a garden hotline, and they maintain learning gardens in North, Central and South Seattle, and in Issaquah (a city to the East of Seattle). They offer a class in water smart gardening. Their Master Composter/Soil Builder Program helps Seattle residents to recycle food and yard waste at their homes, build healthy urban soils and support thriving landscapes throughout the city. They are a great local resource for gardeners and urban homesteaders.

I only had time to visit 6 of the many urban farms on the tour, but I had a blast! Everyone was so friendly and answered lots of questions. And they had some pretty cool chicken coops too.

This coop was designed and built by the owners and tucked away in a corner of the garden, with a nesting box that you can easily check without having to enter the run. The door on the run is full-size, and the center is about 7 feet. The coop was built using recycled and repurposed materials.

Pepper, Cinnamon and Cherry

I really like the branches they used for roosting.

Pretty darn cool!

Chicken butt!

This one had a green roof full of mint.

Their chickens had the run of the entire fenced garden.

Another green roof, full of succulents
This tiny urban farm had chickens and goats, and two chicken coops. This one had a green roof and a little rain chain with a small rain barrel to catch runoff.

"You put your right foot in..."

It was also very cleverly designed for easy cleaning. All the bedding in the run can be raked toward these two windows, and then shoveled right into the compost bins.

I have a different kind of goat's beard in my garden.

And this is the street where this urban farm is located.

Another cool coop.
I like the raised roof on this one. It is covered in hardware cloth, but has lots of ventilation too. The hardware cloth is buried in the ground and well secured to the frame to make it as predator-proof as possible.

Styled like a house in New Orleans' French Quarter

These chickens had an enclosed run, as well as a large fenced area to scratch and play in. Some kids who were also visiting let me join them in feeding weeds to the chickens.

What fun!

This very sturdy coop was a combination potting shed/chicken coop.

The chickens were very tame, and loved the ripe raspberries on her bushes.

I don't remember what kind of chickens they were, but they had feathered feet!

And their roost had a stained-glass window!

When I left to go on the tour this morning, Nigel told me 'Don't bring back a chicken unless it's battered and fried!"

I told that line to one of the visitors at this last coop, and he told me "Well, bring home two chickens, and when you introduce them to your husband, tell him, This one is called Battered, and this one is Fried..."

Somehow I don't think that will work. Some day I'll get Nigel on board the chick wagon.


**Just in case you don't know who Mrs. Tweedy is: