Egg-citing News From The Urban Farm

For those of you that have been following along, back in March, we acquired two addition hens. This time, we chose Red Island Reds, and thought they’d make nice companions with our three Ameraucana hens. So far, the union has been successful and they all get along perfectly!

Anyhow, the big egg-citing news is that on Sunday morning, we got our first egg from one of the new hens. Until we can catch one of them in the act and identify the egg, we’re not sure which hen is doing the laying. Maybe both? I’m not sure, but since Sunday, we’ve consistently had a little brown egg each day, along with the larger greenish-blue eggs from the Ameraucanas. I’m hoping that once we are in full production, we’ll be seeing between two and three eggs a day from the whole hen-house.

The first small brown egg from our Red Island Reds

Egg-citing News!

Do you raise chickens? Leave me a comment, I’ve love to hear about your chickens!

Pioneer Memories – The Call Of Duty

Friends and Enemies

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

When I say “The Call of Duty”, I’m not talking about the ever so popular video game, I’m talking about the actual Call of Duty. The Call of Duty is more commonly known as the military service that so many fellow Americans provided for this country as they built up the foundation of America and continue to provide.today.

Take a step back in time and read one story about American pioneers, their military experience, and the mark they left in the history book. In the following 1943 letter by a distant cousin, Mary Lee Parker, writes to another distant cousin Hazel Bolton along with some other relatives, Margaret and Richard. In her recollections,  Mary Lee describes some of the military experiences of her father, grandfather, and uncle as they migrated west across the great plains of Kansas. Spelling and grammar mistakes are transcribed to help richen the true flavor of these pioneer memories.

Wichita, Kansas
May 26, 1943

Dear Hazel,

Sitting by a slightly open window through which I see clouds that cover the sky as they have so many, rany(sp) days through April and May, I direct your thoughts back about eighty years to the time when Aaron Holmes Parker, your Grandfather, Margaret and Richard, and your Great Uncle, Hazel was a boy of seventeen.

He had been left in charge for a short time of the quartz mill owned by his father, my Grandfather, who had gone to Denver on business accompanied by and older son Kirk. Grandfather Parker had temporarily left his home in Reading Mass. and lived for a while in Lawrence Kansas where his home had been in connection with the escaping of slaves going to Canada? Then he went on west to Colorado City, a few miles from Colorado Springs. There he established this quartz mill the purpose of which was to crush the quartz making it ready for the process of extracting the minerals.

Grandpa and Uncle Kirk had been gone several days when someone brought Papa word that his brother Kirk had joined the Union Army. Papa wanted to go too so he closed the mill and started for Denver. He met Grandpa on the way who permitted him to continue. The reason he was in such a hurry was that he wanted to get in the same compay(sp) with his brother, and he succeeded. He was not eighteen yet but was six feet tall. On account of his height they did not ask his age.

Continue reading

Five Reasons You Should Own Chickens

Hens in Missoula, Montana

Image via Wikipedia

Have you always wanted to raise hens for farm fresh eggs, but were afraid that your neighbors would turn you in? I used to be one of those people that just assumed that I could not legally own chickens because I lived in a residential area. Well a little research and 5 hens later, I now know that you don’t need to live on a farm or a ranch in order to raise farm fresh organic eggs.

Why would I want to raise chickens?

  1. First of all, once you’ve had farm fresh eggs, you’ll never purchase eggs from the supermarket again. There’s no comparison! I challenge you to a taste test.
  2. Owning laying hens will help improve the quality of your families diet. Farm fresh eggs are much healthier then store bought eggs. Store bought eggs are often weeks old by the time they are stocked.
  3. Another great reason to raise your own chickens is that not only will you get great tasting eggs, you’ll also get free fertilizer for the garden, and free pest control for the yard if you let the hens free range. Make sure to compost all the droppings and wood shavings after cleaning out the coop.
  4. Raising your own chickens means that you are in control of how your chickens are treated. Many chickens live out their lives confined to industrial environments. You have the power to give a few hens a better life.
  5. Chickens add great personality to your property. They’re hysterical and entertaining pets to own. I love watching my chickens roam around the yard, and so will you.

So I really might be able to raise chickens without owning a farm? How do I know for sure?

The best way to determine whether or not you qualify to own chickens and raise farm fresh eggs for yourself, is to check your city regulations. You might be surprised at just how many chickens you are allowed to own even though you don’t live out in the country on a poultry ranch.

So if you’re ready to get a few hens and start raising your own farm fresh eggs, than I highly recommend heading down to your nearest feed store. They will be able to set you up with everything you need to get started, and also help answer any questions that you might have. If you’re pretty handy with a saw and a hammer then I’m sure you can manage to build yourself a nice little coop and maybe even save a few dollars while you’re at it. If not, there are plenty of pre-made chicken coops out there for sale. Just remember one thing, the key to a successful chicken coop is easy access. You want to make sure that the coop has plenty of access that will make cleaning an easy chore.

Do you own chickens of your own? Leave us a comment and let us know about your favorite chicken stories.

New Hens For The Urban Farm

New Rhode Island Red hens added to the urban farmTwo weekends ago we picked up a couple more hens to add to the urban farm. This time we opted for two Rhode Island Reds, and once they’re ready, we’ll introduce them to our three Ameraucana hens.

Egg production already averages between one and two eggs a day with the Ameraucana’s. I’m hoping that the daily egg average will increase to somewhere between two and four eggs, in about six months when the Rhode Island Reds start producing. I’m also hoping that the Rhode Island Reds will continue to lay eggs during the winter when the Ameraucana’s tend to slow way down due to less available daylight.

Here are a few photos of how the Rhode Island Reds looked about two weeks ago when we first brought them home. It’s absolutely amazing how fast they grow and change.

After the first week, their wings and tail-feathers had grown about half an inch. Now, after two weeks, their wings are long enough for the little hens to take short flight, and almost all of their down feathers have been covered up by their exterior feathers. So far, it looks like the Rhode Island Reds will have markings equally as beautiful to the Ameraucana’s.

Do you have chickens? If so, leave a comment and let us know all about them.

Pioneer Memories – Family History

A farm homestead

Image by Powerhouse Museum Collection via Flickr

Here we are with yet another letter written in 1943 by one of my distant cousins, Mary Lee Parker, to her cousin Hazel Bolton whom is also a distant cousin of mine. In this letter, Mary Lee gives a general breakdown of some of the pioneers in her family and their experiences. She also retells the funny story about dish rag stew that we read about in one of her other letters. It must have been told a million times over the years. The loose grammar and spelling mistakes are preserved to help convey the full flavor of the letter.

Wichita, KS
April 30, 1943

Dear Hazel

Goodmorning Hazel, Margaret and Richard for I’m writing the three of you at once. hazel, meet Margaret and Richard; and Margaret, meet Hazel (she is your mother’s cousin Jessi’s daughter) and Richard, Meet both.

I also introduce to you all, this morning Deacon Thomas Parker who is our earliest American Parker ancester. He came to America in 1635 and settled at Reading Mass, twelve miles from Boston. There were thirtyfive of his decendants in The Revolutionary War; twenty seven of them were in the Colonial Wars and at least twenty eight fought at Lexington and Concord; and one was at Bunker Hill.

Continue reading

Pioneer Memories – The Horse Trade

BPLDC no.: 09_06_000090 Title: Broken Arm, Sio...

Image via Wikipedia

Today we reach back into the genealogy archive and unfold more pioneer memories from the farmlands of Minnesota, as experienced by my great, great, grandmother and her sister. These stories are retold through letters that were written in 1943 by one of my distant cousins, Mary Lee Parker, to her cousin Hazel Bolton. Hazel Bolton is also a distant cousin of mine. Spelling and grammar errors are included in order maintain the full flavor of the stories as they were written.

Witchita, Kansas
March 23, 1943

Dear Hazel,

Do hope you are getting my letters. If it is not too much trouble I mean if you can spare the time will you just drop me a card saying the letters are coming through. This is the third I have written. I do not expect you to write me letter in answere(sp) because I know you are busy.

In thelast(sp) letter were stories of some of Grandmother Smith’s experiences in Wisconsin. This is a continuation of Wisconsin sto — No, pardon these are stories of Minnesota. Your Grandmother Bryan and my Mother were both born in minnesota.

Continue reading

Pioneer Memories – Dish Rag Stew

The Kitchen
Image by Big Grey Mare via Flickr

Have you ever wondered what life must have been like for settlers as they landed in American and tried create a new life for themselves? I’m sure it was exactly like it was depicted in all of those fun-loving episodes of Little House on the Prairie right? Wrong! I bet life on the frontier was a good thousand times more difficult then Hollywood has ever led us to believe. If we just had time machines we could go back and check, but since we don’t, we have to rely of the next best thing. Letters, stories, and memories from our ancestors.

So where do we start?

Well, the other day I was thinking about it, and I remembered that in my giant folder of genealogy documentation, I have a half dozen letters written from one of my distant cousins (Mary Lee Parker) to her cousin (Hazel Bolton), which is also a distant cousin of mine. The letters were written back in 1943 and contain many references of life on the farm, as Mary Lee Parker recalls stories that were passed along to her by her Grandmother (Clementine Desmond Richardson) as well as her mother (Mary Lee Smith). I transcribed the letter as it was written, including the spelling and grammar errors. Enjoy…

Wichita, Kansas
Jan. 25, 1943

Dear Hazel,

The sun is shining brightly and the cold wind has abated so I can be warm enough in here to use my typewriter. So here is another annal of one Clementine Desmond Smith, nee Richardson; your Great Grandmother and my Grandmother. I suspect that your Mother and I knew her better then all her other grandchildren. Your mother, in her middle-age and myself in her old, old age : she lived with us from her eightieth to her eighty-ninth year. For a nimber(sp) of years before that she had spent about two months of every year wiht(sp) us.

Continue reading