I wrote a personal essay for Edible Alaska magazine’s 2016 winter issue, titled “Guardians of the Eggs,” offering a glimpse into winter chicken keeping and the mini-ecosystem of our urban yard.
After meals, no table scraps reach the trash can. In autumn, after the birch leaves fall, I save raked leaves from the yard for nest bedding. And when I’m prepping vegetable garden bed areas in the spring, the rich layers of compost from their coop go directly into the soil.
When you keep chickens, you get to decide how involved – or not involved – you want to become. For me, chickens are part of a lifestyle.
My essay begins like this:
“Guardians of the Eggs”
(Written for Edible Alaska Magazine)
It’s a chill winter morning in Anchorage as I wrap myself in a floor-length, pink fuzzy robe, and slip my bare feet into my husband’s oversized Xtra Tuffs.
Trudging through a thick, white blanket, I break trail toward the chicken run. I admire the frost-coated white birch trees, still dressed up from a fancy ball, showing off their diamond-encrusted branches as they shimmer in the late morning sun. In a few hours their Cinderella gowns will have melted. I can’t help but feel underdressed in my bathrobe.
The chickens hear me coming. From the warmth of their coop, I hear soft chatter during their late morning shuffle. They remind me that winter is here, impatiently clucking, yearning for the days when they wake up to green again. They impatiently scold each other for hogging the decidedly favorite nest box…