This past week, I headed to Belton, Texas to present at the Mother Earth News Fair. This time my daughter came along with me. Last year, when I visited the Magnolia Market Silos I really wanted to bring her back with me, as she is a huge fan of Fixer Upper on HGTV. So, with a copy of my book, A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, and my daughter in tow, we drove north a little over thirty miles to give a copy of my book to the Gaines Family. Traveling to the Magnolia Market at the Silos is such great fun and the atmosphere can be compared to a decorator’s Disneyland. Today, I’m sharing our adventures and a few tips for you if you’re going to the Silo’s for the first time.
Earlier this spring, I was invited by P. Allen Smith to attend the Garden 2 Grow retreat at his Moss Mountain Farm located in the beautiful hills just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. One of the highlights of the retreat was the invitation by P. Allen himself to tour Poultryville. A poultry enthusiast since 10 years of age, P. Allen Smith has made it one of his life’s missions to preserve rare and threatened poultry breeds. He created the Heritage Poultry Conservancy with that in mind and is incredibly dedicated to this cause. His knowledge of poultry is amazing and his passion is palpable.
It was about a 40 minute trip up to Moss Mountain Farm from Little Rock, Arkansas. As we headed up the mountain, we were struck with the natural beauty that surrounded us. P. Allen Smith narrated this area’s rich history as the bus churned up the mountain toward the elegant and simple gate house guarding the entry to Moss Mountain Farm. As we neared the farmhouse, I was struck by the beauty of this amazing Sister Oak tree. For over 300 years, she has seen, heard and witnessed rural farm life on this mountain and now 300 years later she was here to greet me too. We gathered under this oak for the start of our Moss Mountain Farm Gardens tour.
Last week my travels found me presenting at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC. It was a place that I had never ventured to, so I was thrilled to take in the city of Asheville and a “little” place called the Biltmore that I had heard so many amazing things about. The estate was built by the Vanderbilt family and it is the largest house in the United States. I toured the inside. It took me a few hours to meander through all the bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting rooms, dining room, bowling alley, and even indoor swimming pool. It was amazing. I would definitely recommend paying the extra few dollars for the audio self guided tour. However, what was even more thrilling to me was spending some time outside in the Biltmore’s gardens. Spring had begun to spring here and I wanted to explore and imagine what life was like living here. One thing was sure, you could definitely get lost in a good way. Without the use of modern technology in those days, it would be easy to hide away in many secret places on the estate.
I was recently near San Diego, California for filming. They chose to film on this amazing piece of property that featured a chicken cathedral style chicken coop. I had a chance to chat with Jean, the visionary and creator of the the coop. Not one detail was overlooked and it is a true work of art. Take a peek at this marvelous chicken cathedral coop tour. I think you will agree that Jean is one amazing woman!
I am always fascinated when I visit other peoples’ coops and chicken families. I learn something new everytime I visit. Sometimes my learning has to do with set-up and other times tricks to make your life easier. I also get to learn about breeds of chickens and issues that have required problemsolving. I love it! I love to see other peoples’ flocks and hear about their experiences.
Thus, I have decided to share with you tours of chicken coops around Cape Cod. Through interviews and photos, it is my goal to share backyard chicken raising with our audience. Please stay tuned for our first feature coming soon. Who knows, we might even be able to start an annual Tour de Coops on Cape Cod. These occur all over the country in the Spring. Wouldn’t that be fun?