Archive for February, 2012

A tragedy occurred this week in the tight-knit community of  Chardon, Ohio. Chardon High School students were subjected to a random act of violence. The senseless act left 3 dead and 2 more injured.

This tragedy happened just 10 miles from where I grew up. A rural town of only about 5,000… Chardon is a quiet place where folks love to farm, fish and hunt. Where everyone knows you and where community is strong. This hits especially close to home because my Uncle, Aunt and cousins live on a farm here. My youngest cousin graduated from Chardon High School just last year.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends & families of everyone affected by this horror. Please, say a prayer for those who passed and those who are left to pick up the pieces.

If you want to make a donation, a fund has been set up through the United Way of Geauga County called the Chardon Healing Fund. Here is their website: http://www.uwsgc.org/

Visit the town website and take a look around http://www.chardon.cc/

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We would like to thank Jim and Mary at Old World Garden Farms for featuring us in their story this morning. It’s really great what they’re doing. Please take a moment to visit their site.

You can read the article at their blog:


If you would like to share your “farm” story – drop Jim and Mary an email at info@owgarden.com

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I’m not one to post back-to-back entries, I’m usually good for one a week but if you didn’t see the new ad for Chiptotle, take a couple of minutes and watch it. This is Chipotle’s first tv ad and wow! They nailed it, amazing. Smart campaign to target a “Back to Basics” farming approach in this short animated commercial featuring Willie Nelson covering Coldplay…


It reminds me of Pixar’s “Up” when they were able to convey so much emotion in the first ten minutes (when she was unable to have children) completely through nonverbal means. I’m not saying go to Chipotle’s (owned by McDonald’s) but I am saying what they made here is gold and will hopefully force change in the industrial agricultural factory farming community.

Baby steps, right?

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I braved the frigid cold ( windchill) to stroll around the farm this morning and take some pictures. Jake couldn’t make it out back, the snow was too high. I guess that’s a problem when you’re only 7″ tall. A lot of people complain about the winter but I love it. Everyone needs a break and It’s so quiet and serene and so close to heaven I should pass around a collection basket.




Hang in the gardening friends! Soon it will all be green and overflowing with life, so enjoy the cold calmness of winter.

Next Blog: Starting Seeds Inside.

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Here’s a list of 10 Reasons why you should Own Chickens

  1. Fresh Eggs daily – Much better than store bought eggs. The egg white alone is about 33% more and it’s less expensive.
  2. Chickens have great personalities – Our favorite pastime is sit in the back garden with a couple of cold beers and watch the chickens (they look like miniature robots).
  3. Help out with the compost pile – Chicken poo is too hot (high in nitrogen to place directly onto growing plants) but it works wonder on your compost pile.
  4. They are very low maintenance – Easier than a cat or dog to maintain. Just top of their food and water them, clean the cage once in a while and collect eggs.
  5. You are One step closer to sustainable living – it feels good to have chickens, like you’re a real farmer
  6. Household leftovers are food for chickens – These birds eat just about anything. When I peel cucumbers or carrots or chop of mushroom stems, I save it for the chickens (along with fruit rinds and skins) everything but potatoes and garlic. Unless you want your eggs to taste like garlic.
  7. Save a chicken from factory life – Have you ever seen the crap-holes commercial chickens live in? Enough said.
  8. Pest prevention – These hens cruise around and eat up a slew of bugs like; slugs, snails, leatherjackets and more.
  9. When they get old and stop laying you can eat them – I haven’t done this yet and I’m not sure I can.
  10. Be the best neighbor on the block – I thought my neighbors would complain about the chickens but in fact, it was just   the      opposite. They bring them veggie scraps and their grandchildren rush over to see the chickens upon every visit and…..wait for it…. They all get free eggs.

My wife hated all birds and not because of the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds about a bunch of crazy birds attacking people in growing numbers. She was scared of birds cause she was chased by a Pelican when she was little. Poor thing. So, talking her into chickens was tough but she bore no responsibility so she really didn’t care. Besides, she liked fresh eggs.


I bought a book called “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens” but you really don’t need it. It’s not hard. I mean this birds are the very definition of low-maintenance. Just go to your local feed shop (I always support local stores) or Tractor Supply and pick up the following (for a dozen or so hens):

  • 3 Gallon Drinker
  • 10lb Hanging Feeder
  • 50lb Bag of Egg Layer Pellets
  • 50lb Bag of Cracked Corn

and that’s about it. Find a local farm or look on Craigslist and pick up some hens. I love, love, love Golden Comets.


The Golden Comet Chicken is a sex linked cross breed created from a White Plymouth Rock hen and New Hampshire Red rooster. This breed has not been given recognition by the American Poultry Association.

They’re a great dual-purpose breed. Great egg layers and good for meat as well. Though I’ve never eaten one of mine.

Stay away from roosters! You don’t need them for hens to lay eggs, just to fertilize them. Roosters are mean and they sing, not just in the wee hours of the morning but day long. Hens are friendly little creatures that follow you around the yard eating unwanted bugs and fertilizing your yard at the same time.

Get some 12-18 month old chickens if you’re a beginner. They’re already laying and can adjust pretty quick and they’re pretty cheap (usually about $5ea.) If you’re transporting a dozen or so, you’ll most likely lose one because of the stress of travel.

I built a nest box out of some reclaimed or (repurposed wood) and a small area out of some old landscape timbers and a few rolls of wire fencing I found it the back of my barn. Chickens need a box to lay in and lay eggs in or else they’ll just lay them on the ground….then they’ll get broken then the other chickens will eat the eggs (since chickens are cannibals) and the last thing you want is chickens finding out what they produce is delicious. Then they’ll break them and eat them and you won’t have any eggs.

I rebuilt the roof of the coop this past summer with all reclaimed wood and shingles. What a chore and I did it on the hottest day of the summer fighting off a swarm of carpenter bees.



I let them out in the evenings to run around the garden and eat unwanted pests. At dusk, they just head back into the coop to roost and I close the gate. They like to sleep off the ground so I attached a small 2×2 to the spot in front of their nests. They feel safe up there.


So there it is. Go out and get some for your backyard. If you have any questions, just ask below in the comments and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Ohh and my wife…… she loves the chickens. She heads out there and feeds them and collects eggs and worries about them on cold winter nights.

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