Tag / book review

Stories from Our Nest

Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of  meeting Renea Winchester through Facebook. I realized, like me, she was an author and was passionate about writing. Over the year she has been just a love. She has been a voice of encouragement and friendship. Her second book about her adventures with Billy came out just a little while ago. I  immediately ordered a copy and began reading  Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches.


Giveaway: Chickens in Five Minutes a Day

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted to review a new book on keeping chickens.  Murray McMurray Hatchery has a book that will release later this month.  Truthfully, I am surprised that it took a large hatchery this long to bring a book like this to market.
Murray McMurray Hatchery has been bringing chickens into people’s lives for over 100 years.  They sell oodles of baby chicks and chicken keeping supplies every year.  Immediately, I found the title catchy!  I was intrigued. Like all introductory books, all aspects of getting started with backyard chickens are covered. It is an introductory book perfect for the beginner.  Like all backyard chicken keepers, they too have their own style in raising chickens that they suggest in the book.  I especially could not help smile, when I read the section when they called watching backyard chickens, Chicken T.V.  I did a post titled, Chicken T.V, on just that subject back in 2011!
What I love about the book is:
It has lovely abundant illustrations.
It is simply written and anyone can pick up this book and feel confident in starting out with chickens.
It is thorough and concise.
They are sharing their own techniques on raising chicks.
They stress the ease and minimal time requirement to keep a flock.
They keep things uncomplicated.
I can say that most of the book runs parallel to what I recommend to fellow chicken keepers and other times, suggests different techniques that are effective but that I do not feel are are not always necessary, such as adding sugar and Quik Chik (a product exclusive to their hatchery) to chick’s drinking supply or trimming a chicken’s beak to deal with pecking.
Overall, it is a nice addition to add to one’s chicken keeping library. It is also another wonderful place to start out for beginners.  Of course, once you do get chickens I think you will find that you will find yourself wanting to spend more than 5 minutes a day with them.
Enter to win!
Chickens in Five Minutes a Day

1.  Leave a comment on this blog post. Be sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you.

2.  Subscribe to Tilly’s Nest (options are on the right) or follow us on Facebook.

If you can’t wait, you can pre-order a copy here.. Also be sure to check out all of our friends that have linked up to this week’s blog hop below. I always enjoy visiting new places.  I think you will too! Link up your site as well.  I’d love to come visit.
Fine Print:  One comment per person. One winner will be randomly selected.  This item will ship to a US address only.  I was provided a complimentary copy for review, but the opinions shared in this post are my own.  This giveaway ends on 5/13/13 at 12 noon EST.


Giveaway: What’s Wrong with My Vegetable Garden?

I could not have gotten my hands on this book during a better time.  First of all I just LOVE that it provides organic solutions to common gardening problems.  Now that I keep the bees, this is so incredibly important for their population to thrive in our yard.  
This book is very well laid out and organized.  It begins with an overview of the all the necessary requirements to make a vegetable garden successful.  Next, the vegetables are broken down into their own section, “Plant Portraits”. Here you can find photos, descriptions, growing requirements, planting techniques and problem solving suggestions unique to that particular vegetable.  Then the book transitions to 70 pages or so dedicated to eradicating pests and disease from your garden.  The book’s final section provides organic solutions to common problems including soil and watering requirements and crop rotation.
My favorite part of the book is the photography.  Numerous photos accompany every topic and plant throughout.  Better than illustrations in my mind, these photos do speak volumes.  I find this book to be a wonderful resource for myself and I know that I have already had to use it to find new organic ways to treat  powdery mildew, aphids and beetles.

Finally, Tilly’s Nest is proud to partner with Timber Press in their GPS Campaign. The GPS, or Garden Problems Solver, allows readers a chance to ask the experts their own gardening questions. With each question you ask, you will be entered to win a weekly prize as well as the grand prize-an iPad!  Feel free to submit multiple questions: we know we all have them and the best part is you just might be “rewarded” for your question. Readers of Tilly’s Nest will get an added bonus. Enter below to win your very own copy of What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

Here’s How to Enter:
1.  Add Tilly’s Nest to the blogs you follow.
2.  Visit the Timber Press website and take a look around, hey while there, enter the GPS contest if you like.
3.  Return here, leave a comment with your name, email address and the title of one book that you would like to read from Timber Press.

Good Luck!

This item will ship to US addresses only. 
 One entry per person. 
 Contest ends 8.7.12 at 12 midnight EST.
One winner will be randomly selected.

Disclosure:  I was sent a complimentary copy of this book from Timber Press for review, however the opinions above are entirely my own. 

Photo Credit:  Timber Press


Book Review: Free Range Chicken Gardens

A little over a week ago, I was sent a copy of Free Range Chicken Gardens to review by the publisher, Timber Press. I was so excited and could not wait to dive into this book that involved two of my favorite hobbies, gardening and chickens.
This book is wonderful. Right from the start it is clear that the author, Jessi Bloom, loves her flock and is not only incredibly knowledgeable about chickens but also about her full-time landscaping profession. She share tips and tidbits along the way that help to steer newbies away from potential pitfalls. The book covers all the bases and could easily be a place for people to start off when they are considering adding a flock to their landscape. She covers it all.
Landscape design/planting suggestions
Protecting plants and gardens from the flock
Growing worms for your flock
Poisonous Plants
Creating chicken tractor and coops
Urban and Rural chicken gardens
Introducing a dog to a flock of chickens
Chickens relating to other livestock, game birds, and bees.
Health Issues

Things I love about the book:
It is thorough and innovative.
It gives ideas and examples along the way and makes it “real” by sharing personal vignettes.
It has gorgeous photos (photographer Kate Baldwin)
It has several blueprints.
It covers yards and spaces of various sizes.
Where my opinion differs:
Feeding and encouraging your chickens to eat slugs.
This book is well-written and would be a true asset to every chicken owner. Even if you never plan on creating a garden oasis, in your backyard, you would be remiss if you did not purchase this book. If you keep a flock in your yard, large or small, this book will help you optimize your set-up for healthy happy chickens.
This book has now become one of my favorite chicken books. Thank you Timber Press!
I have not received any compensation for my review other than a copy of this book.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


Book Review: The Joy of Keeping Chickens

Rating *****
The pictures in the book alone will make you want to keep chickens.  I picked this one up after it grabbed my attention on a rainy day at the bookstore.  This wonderful book by Jennifer Megyesi/photography by Geoff Hansen truly appreciates and displays the beauty of backyard chickens. 

I have picked up a great many tips from this book including, using a flashlight and a paper towel roll for candling the eggs, an indepth look at predators, great coop designs and information on marketing eggs.   I LOVE the section about abnormal eggs and possible solutions for those issues.  It also has a fantastic reference section in the back.  Another thing I liked about this book is the very nice recipe section.  It covers both eggs and chickens and even covers canning.  This could easily be tied into your canning process during the summertime. Why not try pickling eggs?

This book makes a wonderful addition to your coffee table and is a fabulous find to share with friends who are thinking about getting chickens.  I have added it to my steadily growing library of chickens reads.


Chickens in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide

Rating: *****

One of my favorite things to do is visit the local bookstore and just get lost in the shelves.  I always head first to the chicken section.  I love discovering new books.  It seems that there is always a new one nested between old favorites.  I stumbled upon this book the last time I was there.

I love this book.  What initially drew me in when I skimmed through the contents was the accurate and fantastic description the authors used to describe the dance of a male rooster.  The rooster uses this dance to assert dominance and seek attention.   Their attention to detail is impeccable.  It was at that point that I realized that I had to have it.

While taking a closer look at the book, I realized that the authors, Rick and Gail Luttmann, wrote this book in 1976.  I would never have known.  This book is current, thorough and an enjoyable read.  Topics that are covered include typical subjects but also how to protect your garden from you flock, dealing with a broody hen, incubation eggs, advice and solutions.  I found this book enjoyable even though I would consider myself to have some experience.  I think that this is a great book for anyone interested in getting started.  I was able to read the entire book in one sitting; all 148 pages.


Book Review: Minnie Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens

Rating *****

This book is one of the sweetest and most clever books I have ever read about chickens.  In 1888, Minnie Lovgreen was born in England.  As one of 18 children, she learned to work her family’s farm.   At age 11, she supported herself by becoming a mother’s helper, eventually moving to Canada and then the United States.  While in America she met her husband and together they started a dairy farm.

She lived until 1975 and over the years had experienced the joy of raising chickens.  Her book is a memoir about her life with chickens.  She dictated her book to a close friend who transcribed her every word onto paper.  Her book is charming and witty.  She knew alot about chickens in those days and shares her knowledge with us through this fantastic book.

I read this book in one night.  It is a fast and easy read and highly enjoyable.  If you enjoy keeping chickens, this book is a great addition to your growing library.  I am glad that she took the time to write the book.  It is a terrific piece of Americana in 2010.


Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Rating ****

This 189 page book was recently released in April 2010.  It is very basic but covers a ton of information.  I love that it has interesting chicken facts laced amongst the text.  These little pearls of useful and whimsical information are great for cocktail parties.

Topics covered in this book include an argument to raise chickens, chicken history and breed information, starting out with chicks, coop and run requirements, growth and development, butchering, health and nuisance control.  Other interesting areas covered are money making, exploring poultry clubs and museums, an organic section, and a section on eating and preserving eggs.

The areas that set this book apart to me are the chapter on raising chickens organically, understanding chickens and making money.  I am not planning on becoming a millionaire selling eggs from my small flock but for those who have room to expand, this chapter definitely gets the wheels turning.  The organic chapter, although very basic, really demystifies what “organic” means in terms of raising chickens.  The industry is sneaky and tries to fool the consumer.  This chapter is one of the best reasons to buy this book.  I also love the chapter on understanding chickens.  It does help to explain why they do the things they do.

Again, I was disappointed with the health section.  It was just too short.  The information is a quick overview at best and would probably help me to realize if there was a problem but no real ways of fixing it.

Overall, this book is a very simply written and easy to read.  You can breeze through this book in a couple of days.  You cannot rely on it entirely for all information that you will need but it is a great place to start.  This is especially true for those who do not have chickens yet.  It might just help you to decide if chickens are right for you.


Book Review: Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Rating:  *****

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Demerow, a 438 page book, should be considered, in my opinion, the chicken keeper’s bible.  It is packed with so much information in this newest fourth edition.  It is terrific for beginners as well as advanced chicken keepers. 

Various areas covered include breed selection, shelter selection, chicken maintainance, layer management, eggs, chick care, meat raising and preparation (Not for me, I could never eat my girls!), and showing your chickens.

The strongest areas of the book in my opinion are the sections on predators and predator prevention, chick care, set-up directions for new chicken owners and breed selection. 

The health care area gives broad overviews but does not go into many details including diagnosis and treatment.  I wish that there was more information here.  The lack of information about health care may possibly be because the author has another book The Chicken Health Handbook.  I personally have not seen this handbook but I am considering purchasing it. 

Last winter, I think I read about 7 different books on raising chickens prior to the chicks’ arrival.  All of them included the same bits and pieces about chicken raising.  However, this book had the most topics included that anyone wanting to know something about chickens could go to.  This book is a great starting off point and I highly recommend it.