"Chickentown" is what I call my micro-farm-in-progress in Southeastern Kansas. As the name implies, I focus mostly on chickens, but I have recently branched out into ducks, turkeys, and geese as well as attempting to grow my own produce. (Gardening has always been my dad's strength--I was always the animal whisperer.) Chickentown also serves as an educational venue--during the school year, I teach enrichment classes at a local after school program for k-5 students, and for "chicken class" they come out to interact with the flock and learn about sustainable agricultural methods. Recently, my dad had to move to another town quite far away, and rather than trying to sell his house (no small feat, considering the accumulation of belongings he's amassed over the years), my husband and I decided to rent it from him. My goal for the property is to do what my dad had always aspired to do and create a micro-farm that provides us with the majority of our food. I'm still a long way from that goal, but I am undaunted. This year I started small--one bed with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and onions. My onions kicked it pretty early on because of the wet spring, but my tomatoes did remarkably well considering I basically plunked them in the ground and then ignored them. As you can see from the photo, I am not yet up to the task of controlling the weeds in the garden. Some of this mess can be blamed on the fact that we were moving during prime weed-growing season, allowing it to get out of hand before we settled in, but next year I plan on mitigating this mess with copious mulching and strategic use of black plastic. Most of the weeds are impressive volunteer sunflowers that I will harvest for seed when they are ready. Look at that sunflower infestation! Er... I mean, "crop". But, like I said, it's the animals I excel at. Though I can't give you an exact count on my chicken population, it's somewhere around 150 at the moment. I also have 5 ducks, 5 geese, and a handful of turkey poults. We keep the chickens mostly for eggs, but also process the extra roosters for meat. My ducks, turkeys, and geese, may someday serve as meat birds, but I got them primarily for educational purposes. If I do one day use them for meat, it will more likely be their offspring that serve this purpose, as I am already too attached to imagine eating any of them! Terra--foreground--is my most inquisitive and friendly goose. She is the only one that seems to enjoy being petted, but they will all come running when I call for them... something not even my chickens that I raised from hatchlings seem willing to do! I will likely be back with more stories soon--with so many animals, there is always something happening here at Chickentown!