Five backyard chickens changed our lives. When our youngest daughter asked for a small home flock of her own at age 8, we were thrilled to oblige her. It offered us all only good things—outdoor activities, life lessons, fresh eggs. We had no idea how much we would enjoy the birds or how much we would learn by having them. Eventually we needed a better chicken coop, so my husband Peter invented one, and the Front Yard Coop was born.
Since our first experience with backyard chickens, we have changed the way that we eat. It started slowly, but we now eat only local or sustainably raised meat, from animals and farmers we know by name. We know that these animals have lived well, and that they are being raised in a way that is not harmful to the earth. We choose to not participate in the industrial food chain and we are not contributing to a big carbon footprint in the process. We are active participants in our own food, connected to where it comes from, and enjoy the process of visiting the farms and cooking meals “from scratch”.
We also, inadvertently raise much of our meat ourselves. For years Peter has been hunting on our property upstate, filling our freezer with healthy, low fat, delicious venison that lasts from one hunting season to the next. In recent years, more and more of our friends have wanted to participate in our annual hunt, and so the Kinderhook Hunt Weekends were created. We have become venison coaches, in a way, teaching people how to hunt and then how to butcher and cook the meat. It is for us the most connected that we can be to where our food comes from and like so many things in our lives; the process is as rewarding as the end result.