danicawaters.com

a personal collection of original music, photographs, observations and other random stuff that happens inside my head…

Omelet Inspired: I Want Chickens!

( chicken photo courtesy of www.innovationdiaries.com)

 

It’s official.  My dream reality is an urban dwelling with either a rooftop deck or a wee patch of land that I can turn into an urban farm.  I want chickens!  And bees! And my very own organic produce at my fingertips!

I have to be honest: apartment dwelling in the heart of West Los Angeles did not bring with it any sort of expectation that I would be able to successfully maintain any sort of garden.   It was literally the furthest thing from my mind.  But since moving to the city, I have been compelled to “green up” my surroundings.

I can happily report that my dwarf Valencia orange tree (her name is Imogene) is covered with heavenly-scented blossoms and is happily thriving on my balcony next to the baby Hass Avocado tree I rescued from a local grocery store (her name is Winifred), my herbs are flourishing in their wee pots, and my tomatoes are being tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I think I’ve maxxed out the gardening potential for this particular living environment, success stories from other urban gardeners (combined with an ever-increasing focus on our need to become more self-sufficient) set my imagination on fire.  There is nothing better than the power of possibility.

I recently ran across a fantastic company called Omelet.  They offer super-practical solutions for maintaining chickens and beehives in small-scale urban and country farm environments.  Just imagine

all subsequent photos courtesy of www.omlet.us

“Collecting eggs
Two chickens will provide you with between 10 and 12 eggs a week. They lay these in the integrated nesting area which you can cushion using straw or shredded paper. To collect the eggs you simply open the rear door and slide the roosting bars towards you. Once you have collected your eggs the rear door can be securely closed by turning the handle. Two strong steel arms securely lock it in place.

Well insulated
The Eglu Go has a double walled construction providing excellent insulation and it also has draught free ventilation so your chickens will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Food and water containers The Eglu Go comes with food and a water containers that are specially designed to complement the house. They attach to the run and hold enough food and water to last 4 chickens 2 days, so you can top them up on Friday night and go away for the weekend.” (www.omelet.us)

Customer comments on Omelet’s site praise how easy the products are to keep clean and to move to different parts of the yard, as well as how sturdy and safe and sturdy they are.

For those who are a little unsure of their farming skills, Omelet offers courses in keeping chickens, bees, and other small farm animals in urban and rural environments.  You can find a complete schedule of course offerings around the country on Omelet’s website.

I sincerely look forward to the day I get to post about my new chickens.  And bees.  And my fabulous rooftop garden.  Bring it on!

 

 

 

 

 

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Urban Organic Gardener- Mike Lieberman

I love creative people.  Seriously.  They make my world happy.  And I am sooooooo jazzed to have found this site!  Urban Organic Gardener features great ideas from a fellow city-dweller (here in Los Angeles, nonetheless!) bent on celebrating the organic farming tradition no matter WHERE you live.

I’m so excited, I actually went out and purchased six – yes SIX – different tomato plants I thought I didn’t have room for on my landing.  To heck with that!  I’ll just hang them from the rails!

In my perfect world, I would pay Mike Lieberman, creator of the website Urban Organic Gardener,  HUGE dollars to take his ideas to schools and summer camps everywhere.  I can tell from his writing and his simple but super-effective style that he’s got the STUFF – that je ne sais quoi – that would resonate and truly inspire kids of all ages to get involved in actively raising their own food.  Check his ideas out  here.

How is it that we have disassociated ourselves from our connection with the earth, from the magic that transpires when our fingers connect with seed and soil?  It is one of the most basic and essential functions of our humanity.  My heart breaks when I read how our genetically modified food, our pesticide-laden, wax-covered  crops, are sending our world population into an ever-enlarging downward spiral.

But on the upside, I’ve been fortunate enough to have have witnessed the IMMEDIATE behavioral change in inner-city children of poverty within half an hour of serving them fresh vegetables and non-processed, home-cooked fare.  Their sense of relaxation and well being, along with their increased ability to focus on the tasks at hand was unmistakeable and remains unforgettable.  I wish I could tell you how many times principals, teachers, and others go out of their own pocket to try to provide this “luxury” for the children who are hurting the most.

We have an opportunity here.  It’s time we replace the typical,  “bean-seed-in-a-styrofoam-cup-for-a-grade-on-a-science-experiment” mentality towards gardening in our schools.   We need to restore the magic.   That method should be replaced with the combined effort of raising a salad garden, or a salsa garden, or something that allows the children to take the harvest and make something of it – even if it has to be hung from the rafters.  I say we tie in a quick lesson on economics, and compare the cost of planting & maintaining organic gardens with the cost and environmental impact spawned by trucking, by preservation, by going to the grocery store.

I do believe that our reconnection to that which nourishes and supports us is essential to our survival on many different levels.  I am heartened when I read about how people who are mentally injured – be that through exposure to war, drug addiction, or genetics gone awry – find peace and a sense of purpose through the gentle, quiet, spiritual act of connecting with the land.  Imagine if we could empower our homeless to maintain self-watering or  “hanging gardens” planted on the vast expanses of chain-link fences throughout the city.  Imagine if we could empower them to grow food for themselves – out of containers that would otherwise occupy landfills across the nation. It may not be perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what we’ve got going now.

My endless thanks to people like Mike, whose ingenuity and determination expand our horizons in the simplest ways and break through the illusory limitations we’ve become so accustomed to accepting.  You inspire me to no end.

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