* It’s not a farm. Honestly, would a real farmer ever have to Google “chicken feathers falling out plus super grumpy what’s wrong?” No.
This is not a farm. I’d tell you that it’s a glorified garden, but I’m not even so sure about the “glorified” part. It’s a smallish house with a regular-sized yard in Livermore, California. I have chickens and bees and plants, and lofty ideas about sustainability and nourishment and hopefulness.
I’m not a farmer. I’m Rebecca Thoms Hanley and I hate snails. I have a very handsome husband and two radiant teenaged sons. We are deftly herded by a stubborn Border Collie with messy hair. She’s my spirit animal.
And? I do not know what I’m doing. You won’t have to read very far to discover that I’m doing most of this stuff for the first time. Encouragement and kindly-meant advice welcome. Otherwise, hush.
Want to get in touch? Find me on instagram, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, we don’t eat them. For a lot of reasons, but also? They have names.
Yes, I have a permit. I’m allowed to have a ten. Yes, that does seem like a lot. Right now I have six: Lupé and Heya, the three babies - Zelda, Pilot, and Pepper, and the new girl, Athena.
Yes, they can fly.
They can live 8 to 10 years. They reliably produce eggs for about 2 and a half years, starting at 6 months old. After age 4, they are pretty much freeloaders. Still not going to eat them.
You don’t need a rooster to get eggs.
The eggs do taste different - better.
None of the neighbors have noticed the bees yet. Not that they’ve mentioned anyway.
Yes, they sting. Yes, it hurts.
Yes, I do kiss my kids with this mouth. You’re right - the language does get a little salty. If you should happen to meet me in person, you’ll find it is considerably saltier. Also - questionable sentence structure, right? As long as we’re talking about writing style....
Yes, I am aware of how fortunate I am to live this life. I’m also very hard-working. But lucky too. It makes me light-headed sometimes.
One morning in the winter of 2017, I started the day on Twitter. (I know I should not, but honestly - I need to find out whether I’m still allowed to drive and wear pants in this country.)
I looked at my Twitter feed and I was mad at the President, so I went outside to clean the chicken coop. Which? Is not such a bad job. Not as bad as you’d think. Turns out cleaning the chicken coop is the antidote to being mad at the President. It was bright and cool out, the light was beautiful. I was throwing clean wood shavings into the coop and the chickens were doing idyllic chicken things - scratching, clucking, inspecting my work - and I thought: This is it. This is real. This is what matters.
Then - over the summer, I had a meltdown and realized that I need to make my life simpler. It’s not that I have a hard life, it’s just that I tend to create obstacles on my path toward wellbeing and fulfillment. First world problems, right?
But still - if making myself unhappy helped ANYone, I’d be delighted to continue. However. It does not.
And I might actually be a better, more helpful human if I didn’t spend so much time struggling over imaginary barriers. I decided to close the business I’d been building for ten years, which felt - at first - like giving up on my dream. It still feels like a break-up, or a bruise. And - it feels like the freedom to find a new dream. Maybe the new dream is working on a farm* and writing about it.
Unless otherwise noted, the words and pictures that appear here belong to me. I make every effort to properly attribute recipes to their original author. That said - there’s nothing new under the sun and some things ought to be in the public domain at this point, right? Lemonade? Basil Pesto?