I remember the first time I had that yearning in my soul to garden, keep a few chickens; and essentially, to eat what I grow and grow what I eat.
I wasn't too keen on the book "Of Mice and Men" in the 11th grade. I was much more excited about the upcoming Friday night football game with friends in the crisp Georgia air or the dinner theater our drama club was working on putting together.
However, that one line, "living off the fatta the land" stirred something in me each time I heard it. It reminded me of being a young girl in the Upper Michigan woods, roaming the trails all the day long, pausing to eat wild blueberries and sugarplums or apples.
Years passed and I no longer sit in those hard chairs in Ms. Masdon's class, but that desire to eat as close to the source as possible remains.
Five years ago I began researching backyard hens. I read all the books our library had to offer on the subject, scoured blogs and devoured every piece of literature I could find. And then I found out these sweet little pets were banned in our city.
Heartbroken, I went to City Hall to inquire further and find out if there were any hidden loopholes. Each time I went (yes, there were multiple occasions), the employees would simply give a firm shake of their heads and a confident, "No."
"Ma'am, you're just not zoned for that. Really, you just need to move out to the country if you want chickens."
Last week this all turned upside down. In my continued quest for fresh nutrient-dense eggs from our own backyard, I did a quick search on Facebook for any group that may have formed in my city. Lo and behold, not only was there a group formed, but they were active, moving and preparing for a vote from the Council!
Last night, up to six laying hens enclosed in a pen became legal in our City of Chesapeake. The Facebook group, 4 Chesapeake Hens, has worked long and hard to make this happen.
Our children have been cheering, celebrating and already naming their not-yet-ordered chickens.
Apparently, the yearning to "live off the fatta the land" runs so deep, even our young children understand it.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17
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