Tonight, I was sitting at Pix on Hawthorne, eating manchego with quince, reading a book on urban chickens, and fighting back tears.
Sure, I've got those pregnancy hormones a-going. But they're only an enhancement to my sudden and overwhelming desire to raise chickens in my backyard. It all started on urbanMamas, where I wrote a post meant to simply spark discussion. Instead, the variety of passionate comments soon had me obsessed with my backyard; with the desire, no, the need, to build a chicken coop, to grow rainbow chard and carrots and zucchini, to make little compost piles, to scatter feed for my soon-to-be-purchased brood of hens.
A brood! The very word has me shivering with glee. I can't wait to hold those little chicks in my hands, to feed the chickens lettuce and cottage cheese (evidently they love that), to collect the rainbow-hued eggs every day. I imagine the day I'll crack my own still-warm-from-the-hen eggs (they're harder to crack, you know) and see those thick orange yolks in my frying pan, baste them with butter (now it's getting bad, I'm wondering where I can get fresh, unpasteurized milk, and make my own?)
I huddle over the bar at Gladstone Pub and share my eagerness with my husband, who after all comes from a long line of champion chicken farmers. His great-grandpa Hanson was a chicken millionaire.
I tell my mom that I'm thinking about getting chickens. She (who grew up on a dairy farm and used to feed chickens and gather eggs when she was littler than Everett) says "there are two things about chickens: they're stinky ['we have a big back yard,' I say], and you can't just take off for a week." Well, you can't much take off for a week with two-going-on-three babies, two full-time parents, and our current state of brokeness, either, so I think I'm good.
At Powell's, I ask where to find a book on keeping chickens. "It's called Keep Chickens," I say, giggling to myself. As I read it (and cry), I am on 37th and Hawthorne. The author, Barbara Kilarski, lives in southeast Portland and is describing her neighborhood -- I'm pretty sure she doesn't live more than several blocks away from where I'm sitting right now. Somehow this thrills me, and I long to meet her, I consider taking a walk up and down the streets in the neighborhood, looking for her three 'Girls.'
Sometime in the next 10 days I will make a brooding cage, I will pick out three chicks, I will become an urban chicken keeper. I want chickens!.