Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chicken Run II

If the films Chicken Run and Blair Witch Project had a baby, it would have been born yesterday, and it would have been a buddy film with my good friend Ron, environmental geographer and organic farmer extraordinaire.

A pleasant transect of southeastern New England along Route 44 was the preamble to the real adventure, which began at myfarmstand.com, a true family business in Ellington, Connecticut. The name of the farm may be virtual, but the farm itself is very real, in transition from the hobby farm of a technology entrepreneur who includes his entire young family in the business.

As a member of Ron's CSA farm much closer to my home, I had once before offered the services of our trusty Saturn to transport chickens from Connecticut. Although the family station wagon might not be an obvious choice for livestock transportation, the climate-control allows Ron to avoid unflattering comparisons with Mitt Romney's dog carrier, and our car is more fuel-efficient than Ron's truck.


Believe it or not, with a few cages and pet carriers, our little wagon was able to hold forty mature hens! We knew they were mature because the sellers told us so, and because one of them laid an egg during the ride.

We packed them in tight because chickens enjoy resting close together, but the image looks a bit too much like factory farming. No worries, though, after two hours in cool comfort, they were released to their new home at Colchester Neighborhood Farm.

Tasting freedom again ... mind the hawks!
More photos from the journey -- with pithy remarks -- are on my Instagram account, beginning with the final image. At this point you may be wondering about the comparison to Maryland's most famous horror film. A friend made the comparison when she saw my wholly inept selfie online:
"I'm so sorry!"
The resemblance may be subtle, but I can see it:

Blair Witch Project
Lagniappe

These chickens are still clucking -- and producing! Most days, they lay eggs and tend the soil at Ron's family farm.  For a change of pace -- and a teaching opportunity -- he recently brought three of them to a demonstration garden at our campus. They were accompanied by some hens from a younger brood, and all of them shared sustainability lessons with our students and staff.


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