My chicken adventure celebrated its 6-year anniversary last month. I thought I’d share a few of the things that happened, and open this up for other similar musings – everyone welcome to join in!
(warning – this may be a long post [:p] )
Seven years ago I got the crazy notion that a backyard flock was a good idea. I blame my friend Sandy for this – she’s the one who showed me photos of her new chicks and turned me on to BackyardChickens.com. ‘Nuff said. Within a couple of weeks I had 4 chicks, growing in my kitchen, and was researching and building my coop.
By the end of that year I had 4 laying hens, with all the experiences that go along . . . making friends with poultry, learning their personalities, making friends with neighbors, sharing eggs . . . it widened my social circle (by 8) by adding the families that share my eggs (plus countless on-line acquaintances).
By the end of year 4, I had learned a lot. I considered myself a success, with two of my original four hens still going strong and four more to join them. Egg sharing continued, along with my education about backyard farming, urban homesteading and the wider world of food security. I started realizing that I was lucky – I was illegal but getting away with it . . . while others were not so lucky. So I took on the challenge of getting a local law changed, to allow more people to enjoy the backyard poultry hobby. My world expanded again. I added lots of local people who helped push the effort to get the law changed, and now hens are fully legal and accessible to many Pasadena residents.
In that process, I learned a LOT about local government, and gained a new, huge respect for those who run our cities. We focus on national politics, but it’s the small, local decisions that impact our daily lives. We forget that the city council is made up of people who are essentially our neighbors, forming policies that influence our drive to work, where our kids play after school, whether or not there’s a McDonalds nearby (love ’em or hate ’em). It’s easy to blame them when things go wrong, without realizing they are only citizens doing what they can to keep the city rolling along.
Meetings are often attended by people of questionable sanity, with their own axes to grind, or by people who only want to complain. Sometimes there is a crowd if a particular hot topic is to be discussed. But many things happen at these meetings, that are fully public in order to allow us to participate, without any citizens taking any notice or concern. If things go right, we take them for granted. If things go wrong, we pull out our pitchforks.
We get the government that we deserve.
So if you have an election coming up in your local neighborhood, I beg of you, please exercise your RIGHT to vote. Do a little research (it’s easy in the on-line world if you try). Listen to the voices on all sides, regardless of political party. Follow where the money interests lead – who is funding who. Try to evaluate what is good for you, for your neighborhood, and for future generations. Then, whatever you decide, VOTE. Recent elections have had abysmal participation rates. This is criminal, folks. There are people who have died to defend our right to a citizen-directed government. Don’t be lazy and complacent. Fight back. Get off your butt and vote. If the 99% ALL voted, we wouldn’t have to worry about the 1%.
This rant is dedicated to two little fuzzy chicks, Pickles and Buffy, who created a dust storm in my kitchen 6 years ago, and are out there right now scratching, laying, and continuing to change my life.
Who knew hens could change the world?