What can I say. I've never been very good at coming up with names for things.
However, it is now official: my first book, "Pure Poultry: Living well with heritage chickens, turkeys and ducks," is on its way to being published! The manuscript is now in the capable hands of New Society Publishers, a British Columbia-based company which specializes in "Tools for a world of change, books to build a new society." They have an impressive book list. Take a few minutes to check it out on their web site.
Have you read Betty MacDonald's 1945 classic "The Egg and I"? It's the hilarious tale of how Betty, at age 18, marries Bob, a man 13 years older, whose dream is to run a chicken ranch. He buys an off-grid piece of property in the Chimacum valley, not far from Port Townsend, WA. It's quite an adjustment for Betty, who isn't nearly as thrilled as Bob at having no electricity or running water in the house. She perseveres, though, having been raised to believe that if her husband can do what he really wants to in life, he will be happy and therefore she will be happy too.
I recently re-read The Egg and I, while I was in the middle of revising the first draft of Pure Poultry. This time, somehow I noticed things about Betty and Bob's experiences that closely paralleled those of David and I. Our farm is off the grid. It's located only about a 45-minute drive from the Chimacum valley. We're surrounded by the beautiful Olympic Mountains. Bob was certainly more knowledgeable about poultry than we were when we got started, but still, like us, he evidently had plenty to learn.
Betty, who died in 1958 at the age of 49, was a very witty writer. Her humor reminds me a lot of Erma Bombeck, whose books I have loved for years. Although she has many moments of feeling lonely on their isolated ranch, Betty has a way of describing the mountains, trees and even the clouds as if they were living things. I love her use of language.
We don't have colorful neighbors like Ma and Pa Kettle here, and our egg operation is tiny compared with Betty and Bob's. Still, there is plenty of humor and real-life experience in Pure Poultry. We certainly share some of the challenges of living off the grid, although I'm thankful to say that our wood stoves don't misbehave like "Stove" in The Egg and I. And in case you're wondering, we do have indoor plumbing and running water.
Pure Poultry is a memoir of our first five years of raising heritage chickens, turkeys and ducks. There is plenty of advice and tips based on our experiences, but I believe that you will enjoy reading it even if you don't raise poultry. It might inspire you to start a little food garden in pots on your apartment's deck. Maybe you'll connect with a friend in the suburbs who has chickens and is willing to barter for fresh eggs. And if you do decide to start raising poultry, I hope that Pure Poultry will convince you to think about choosing beautiful, sustainable heritage breeds.