We have had quite the weather this past week. Two days ago Blizzard Niko hit the East Coast and Cape Cod- where we call home. We lost power during the middle of the storm and that night among candlelight and flashlights, we had a simple family dinner consisting of cereal and peanut butter sandwiches. The snow was wet and heavy mixed with rain and the winds were whipping. Trees and power lines were down. As we prepared to go to sleep for the evening, we bundled up. It was 15 degrees F. outside and inside we had already dropped to 55 degrees F. We hunkered down for the night and the unknown.
After living in Southern California for most of my life, I became accustomed to days on end of abundant sunshine. You know the kind where where it is so intense that if you close your eyes, it warms your cheeks. It wasn’t until I moved to Cape Cod, that I realized that lack of sunshine had an effect on me. I noticed a pattern of turning blue and sad come winter, and I didn’t know why. I had heard of seasonal affect disorder, but never in my life did I think that I would suffer from it. But I did. Like clockwork, as soon as the summer skies grayed over, so did my mood. That was “before chickens” (BC). Since getting chickens, I haven’t felt this way for a number of years. Chicken therapy worked for my mild seasonal affect disorder and it might just work for you.
My family looks a lot like I had always imagined growing up. I have a husband, two kids, and a family dog. But, our family today is a little different than I had imagined twenty years ago. The difference? Our family includes a flock of feather babies! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that we added chickens to our family after we moved from California to the east coast. The flock has made such a difference to us every day – from our hobbies to our diets and our lifestyle.
Oh winter, how do I miss my gardens and hanging outside with my flock as they meander around me. Today, instead of feeling glum, I decided to make a miniature chicken garden. Actually, I got a bit carried away and made a few. Once I got started I could not help myself. As I planted up these sweet little gardens, I was envisioning being in my gardens with my own flock. I swear I could here these tiny little chickens carrying on, clucking as to which garden they wanted to explore.
I think during the holidays, I seem to find myself thinking about the blessings that I am fortunate to have. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes people happy. What makes me happy. I mean truly at the core. I’m not talking about the happiness that is fleeting, like when you buy a new outfit. I’m talking about the kind of happiness that lives in your heart and soul. What I am discovering is that despite being surrounded by “friends” on social media and interacting with them on a daily basis. Many people rarely touch on their loneliness and lack of belonging. I rarely talk about a dark time in my life. It was oh so long ago, but it was a time filled with self-discovery, mistakes, miracles, and the sense of belonging while on the brink of death.
Today I wanted to share with you the benefits that I have seen over the years in my flock by adding sea kelp to their diet. I originally started sporadically adding sea kelp to their diet years ago, when I first learned how my lobsterman friends, would set their traps out in the yard for their flocks of chickens to clean. The chickens would go nuts for all the seaweed attached to the cages. They made fast work and within no time they would clean the traps, leaving no traces behind. It got me thinking, what were the chickens getting from the sea anyway?
Feathered friends are the best.
My flock is in many ways how I recharge my batteries, ground myself, and take time to relax.
If you are like me, you have questions that arise when you keep chickens. When I started meeting the faces behind Purina Poultry, I quickly learned that there are wonderful people behind the brand, like Dr. Patrick Biggs. He’s down to earth and friendly, and I had a moment to sit down and ask Dr. Biggs some of your biggest chicken nutrition questions. Take a peek at what Dr. Biggs, a chicken nutritionist, had to say and learn something new. I did, especially when it comes to feeding roosters.
Wow! It is hard to believe that six years ago I started this event. It seems like yesterday that I was down in Manhattan with the folks from Country Living Magazine . They encouraged me to start a Facebook page for Tilly’s Nest and enter the realm of social media. Soon after I started my account, I realized how many chicken lovers were out there. It wasn’t long until I decided to create an event celebrating how wonderful chickens can be on so many levels. There was already a world egg, day but what about those girls that laid them? Chicken hugs are the best. It seemed natural to encourage folks to take a day to honor and thank their flock by sharing a chicken hug with them. Now in our 6th year, I hope to see over 1000 chicken hugs on the Hug a Chicken Day Facebook event page. You are all invited to join us from your very own backyard. Simply post a photo on the event page and enter all these amazing giveaways from the sponsors of this year’s event. With their generosity, you can enter to treat your flock and you too. It is through their generosity that we are able to make this event what it is! So take a peek at all these amazing giveaways below and for goodness sakes, give your girls a hug from me!
This past week I presented at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA. Each year, one of my favorite things to do is meet up with the kids attending the fair. I love to get kids excited about art and put on a workshop just for them. This past year we did bookmarks and this year I decided to inspire the kids’ creativity with paper chicken friends.