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:


  1. What a perfectly delightful, entertaining and hugely informative post to wake up to, Alison. I am so impressed with the creativity and ingenuity of these homeowners and I am so glad you thought to take that street view picture. It's astounding to think that all these active tiny farmyards are no larger than a normal backyard. You have given us a marvellous photographic tour and shared some delightful insights with us. I love the entertaining way in which you kept up the momentum of this post. I was so sad when it ended but then you introduced us to Mrs Tweedy :) if we didn't have five dogs to take care of I'd honestly be ebbing my husband on right now to build us a coop. I hope Nigel sees "the light" soon as I think you'd really love having your own laying hens and having access to all that wonderful organic fertilizer. Who wouldn't? I loved the picture of you holding that hen. I must say it didn't look as though you were hoping she wouldn't poop on you. You looked quite relaxed and enjoying the moment. I love the names these chickens are given. Thank you for a really fun outing!

  2. Alison, oh boy, look out, you're going to bring home a Battered and a Fried and poor Nigel will be building a coop! You look so cute holding the chicken (I had one just like it, her name was Sadie and she was one of the best hens I ever had.) I'm amazed, too, that people keep chickens in town, must not have too many roosters or the crowing would cause some trouble, I'm sure.

    Our girls are locked in their run until the flowers are fully grown and then they can go ahead and throw mulch everywhere in their quest for bugs. They are so cute to watch.

    I love their chicken coops and runs, too! I sure enjoyed this post, I can just see you with your own backyard flock!

  3. You are funny. Love the picture of you with the chicken...worrying about chicken poop. hahaah
    What a fun visit to the chicken 'farms'.

  4. wow there are some very nice looking chicken coops there. I guess it shows that keeping chickens is trendy these days. that can only be a good thing.

  5. You always take me on the best tours. First gardens now chicken coops! I loved all of the creative ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, what a wonderful tour, who'd thought that urban street would contain so many chickens! Love it! Looks like a great day, spent with Mrs! Love finding other WA blogs and I'm looking forward to visiting often...Cheers =)

  7. What a fun tour. You must have thoroughly enjoyed yourself. I love all of the creative coops you showed. Thank you for sharing. Great post!


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