Saturday, June 26, 2010


I spent the morning with chickens. And a few interesting ladies. But mostly: chickens.

The Wasatch Community Gardens sponsors a tour of urban chicken coops, so my friend and colleague Kate organized a group of ladies (four women and two girls) to visit a few. We saw 7 coops on seven private properties, all on small (sometimes tiny) lots here in the city. And let me tell you: these were some spectacular gardens.

The coops were cool, even funny, but the amazing thing was the use people made of their yards. Herbs grew next to perennials and vegetables sat in raised beds atop vermiculture containers while chickens pecked at scraps and ate bugs and rested in the shade of apricot trees. Really.

One garden contained three areas. There was a beautifully landscaped deck and grass portion near the house, intended for relaxing and play. Then there was a large coop (probably 100sf) made of scraps of modernist iron fencing. So if you imagine sheets of iron with cutouts of various designs (fish, yin/yang, birds), then imaging a screened-in box with walls partly made of that stuff...well, it's hard to imagine. But it was splendid. Third, they'd transformed the roof of their home into a deck and raised-bed vegetable garden. You could look down on all their neighbors, too. I want to meet the people next door, who have an enormous FIG!

And get this: here's how they help their fig survive the winter: they built a box around it made of 2x4's. It's like a big open frame around the fig. I couldn't figure out why it was there, but then the owner explained that in winter he frames it in, fills it with straw, and the result is a cozy little box for the fig to stay warm(ish). Genius!

Of course, I forgot my camera. But I learned a ton about chickens and gardening and the community of urban farmers (which is a pretentious phrase but it's fun to see how much they could grow here).

In other news, we went to the grocery. On the radio was a live dance concert in LA. The DJ chanted "Yo, Yo, Yo!" and from the backseat Iain echoed: "Yo!YO!YO!!!" Then we all threw our hands in the air, as ordered.

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