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Hamster Wheel to Chicken Coop -- An ongoing saga in which I outline our transition from city folk to

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Missjune, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Missjune

    Missjune New Egg

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Penticton BC Canada
    I'll preface this with a big hello to the good people of BYC that I've been following for months and drinking in the wealth of information you all have to share. I'm new here, and this is my first post but I thought I'd be super weird and overshare a bit. This is a story, or saga as I like to call it that tells of how we came to be people who could have chickens as pets instead of people who's closest thing to a pet was the homeless guy we gave our empty bottles to in the alley.
    I started writing this as a way to wrap my head around a huge life change and thought it might be fun to share and add to as the saga unfolds. So please, read if you're bored, share your thoughts, let me know if somewhere along the way you have some advice or just plain say hi..
    Ps- Sorry, I have terrible punctuation and I have a tendency to run on about things..

    Hamster Wheel to Chicken Coop
    An ongoing saga in which I outline our transition from city folk to country bumpkins.

    Part 1. A sneaking suspicion that something needs to change.

    It all started with MLS. MLS.ca is a notoriously addictive real estate website and it wouldn’t be the first time in my life that I have entertained a slightly delusional fantasy of living a different life in a different place (which is often one far out of a price range thats realistic.)
    After a series of unsettling dreams relating to our life in the city, of natural disasters and bursting real estate bubbles; I found myself browsing through the deliciously fertile fields of MLS.
    As a young 30-something couple and on our way to starting a family, the question of how and where we want to raise said family has been a fairly common subject of discussion in our household.
    I was born and raised in a suburb of Vancouver BC, in a quaint time warp of a place fondly referred to in my youth as “The Crater”. With a mixture of Chinese farmland, young families with modest homes on oversized lots and forested park land; it was for all intensive purposes a wonderful place to be an outdoor kid. The Crater gave you a general feeling of being completely out of place in the sprawling city that surrounded it. My fiancé Scott was born on a 375 acre farm in Camrose Alberta, his dad was DJ on a country music station, his grandma had a gardening show on the radio and his grandpa was a rather successful country musician.
    If you ask either of us what we loved most about growing up, we would inevitably give you the same answer: “Growing up outside, playing in the yards, forests, and fields of our respective neighbourhoods with minimal restriction and nothing but the backyard bell to ring you into the house at dusk for dinner”. Now, I know times have changed somewhat since when we were children, but what we were facing in regards to childrearing in our current neighbourhood, or anywhere in the Vancouver region would make that kind of life impossible for us and our kids. The thought that our offspring would miss out on what we cherished as youth was saddening.
    Given our general feeling of unrest in the city and our hopes for the growing years of our next generation, I began my search..


    To be continued...
     
  2. Missjune

    Missjune New Egg

    6
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    7
    Feb 14, 2014
    Penticton BC Canada
    Part 2. Being hugged by a rainbow

    What started innocently enough begins to build momentum and my search parameters start to become more specific as the ideas form in my head. The ideal location becomes clearer. The type of place, the type of home, the type of land...and then, after a rather epic search, I see it...
    The property that will eventually propel us into a very different existence.
    Just outside of Penticton BC, (wine country proper) and fifteen minutes from town through the Indian Reserve on the way to a popular ski resort sits a small agricultural pocket nestled within a lake valley. Eleven acres of pasture, 2 homes, a large garden, and a wealth of pine trees and mountainous backcountry. All this with a pricetag well under that of a crack-shack in our current neighborhood.

    I look at the listing and I suddenly feel as if Im being hugged by a rainbow. The words shine bright like a neon sign in my mind “YOURE GOING TO LIVE HERE”.
    I began to recount the days of my youth when I collected eggs from the yard, fed goats, played in ditches, and ravines, and forests and then I looked out my window; the window of my 650 square foot 1 bedroom in East Vancouver, British Columbia.
    Now, a little trivia on Vancouver’s housing market if you would humor me. “Vancouver ranks second only to Hong Kong in having the least affordable housing, according to Demographia's 10th annual survey of 360 housing markets in nine Western countries.”
    Alright, awesome...

    So, I survey our current landscape...

    Literal landscape: Pretty good...Vancouver is a nice looking city for a large metropolis.

    Financial landscape: Pretty dismal. A crap heap house in the ghetto costs $800k

    Childrearing: We live mere steps from a thriving drug den and people shoot up outside
    our parking garage. I’m going to say childrearing could prove nerve-racking.

    Lifestyle: We work, we come home, we stare at a screen until we sleep. Rinse and repeat. I also have a sneaking suspicion that we are consuming one too many cocktails per evening for our own good.

    After a couple of hours of this idea entering my mind, I can’t get rid of it. After a couple days, its even worse...I’m pretty sure my fiancé is going to think Im a crazy person.
    Screw it, I’m showing him what I found.
    Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone more onboard about something than he was (or should I say IS). He wants to work with his hands, raise kids outside, grow food. He thinks this is GREAT.
    So apparently that was an easy sell...
    Next step, we start to share the idea quietly and tentatively with our family and friends to a surprisingly positive reception.
    Easy sell number two. Ok..

    We talked, we, researched, we drove up in the middle of the winter and trudged through the snowy property which was in a bit of a state of disrepair compared to the advertised photos.

    Alas, we were in love..dammit.

    I will omit some of the blander portions of the the process as they don’t really make for enjoyable reading. Long story short, we put in an offer and after some back and forth, we were the proud recipients of an accepted offer. We were moving to the country.

    To be continued...
     
  3. Missjune

    Missjune New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 14, 2014
    Penticton BC Canada
    Part 3. In which the author finds chicken Mecca.

    Chickens and goats were a part of my everyday life as a child. My crazy Italian neighbors basically put me and my sister in charge of their ever growing herd of Nubians, flock of assorted auction chickens, and pair of nasty turkeys. I spent hours every day after school out back feeding the animals, collecting eggs, and milking goats.
    The crazy Italians loved the free labor, and we just loved the animals. Though too brutal for my now vegan sister, I always considered my early education in rooster culling to be quite enlightening.

    So, I’ll start with the chickens...
    Once again, it all started innocently enough, we were out walking through a residential neighborhood close to home back in the city and came across a woman taking full advantage of the new “urban chicken flock” ordinances popping up in many majors cities. But her chickens were not anything familiar to me. These were not the Golden sex-links and Plymouth Rocks of my childhood. In my eyes, her birds were magnificent. Giant fluffy birds that looked like stuffed animals more than real live poultry and with soft matte grey/lavender plumage. You, as the reader, and avid chicken connoisseur can probably guess what they were from my description but I was baffled and needed to know. Cue my first experience with BYC. I think I spent 4 hours straight reading through every article in the Learning Centre, through all the breeds and browsing the coops and forums. It took less than a minute to find that I had been lusting after the Lavender Orpington, but BYC had me at hello and I was hooked.
    Suddenly the world of chickens opened up to me and the options were endless. Did I want meat birds? layers? showy birds? bantams? Well, I knew I wanted Lavender Orpingtons, so at least there was that. I think the second thing I decided is I wanted was a colorful egg basket (like most other novice keepers-of-poultry). So suddenly, my list was expanding to Black Copper Marans and Ameraucanas..or cream leghors..? or maybe Isbars.....? The brain begins to whirl. How many hens to roosters? Would I buy day old chicks? Or incubate? Well then..which incubator...? I gave myself a number of excitement headaches during this period. My husband-to-be would find me bleary-eyed in front of my laptop with cocktail in hand mumbling about needing to invest in hen saddles and he would try not to look to concern about the sanity of the woman he was about to marry.
    Not so say its any better as time goes by, but those initial stages, they were pretty scary.

    To be continued...
     

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