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Month: February 2019

Benefits of raising chickens

At a glance, the economics seem simple: Why raise chickens when it could cost $5 or more per dozen (or more) to build the accommodations and keep them fed while commercial eggs are $2/dz. and a quick trip to the store?

Well, it depends on your perspective, where you live, and what you value.

Just don’t stop at the value of the egg when you’re doing the math to figure out whether or not it’s worthwhile.

Depending on how you go about it, you can spend quite a bit of time and energy building a coop, fence and worrying about keeping predators out. Then there’s collecting the eggs, feeding and watering, etc.

Some chicken owners do less, and the birds simply become part of the landscape, while others invite em’ to sleep in their bed at night. That’s not recommended, but it happens.

If you have no time for such things, then for you not only is having chickens or other animals an inconvenience, it could mean rearranging your life, questioning your way of doing things in order to discover the underlying benefits. In an age of dissatisfaction with status quo, is that such a bad thing?

These benefits, once you get past the drawbacks, can be both deep and profound, whether as an urban homesteader, farmer, or hunter/gatherer.

There is yet an underlying process of awakening to the thing we call “homesteading” that must be endured in order to fully appreciate how and why it is important for you, your community, and the world.

If you start to farm, homestead or raise animals, you’re in for a multi-faceted experience, perhaps a little self-questioning, unless you approach it with a particular mind-set. Expect to set your life up around things you are cultivating, raising, developing, and expect their fruition to unfold at a pace out of your control, yet fully predictable. The rest is up to you.

Benefits of raising chickens (some which most people don’t think about):


  • The egg
  • The meat
  • The fertilizer/manure
  • The chicken byproducts (feather, bone, offal)
  • The reduction of scraps in the garbage/landfills
  • The aeration of soils & compost
  • The increased capacity of composting
  • The pest control


  • The peace of mind of having even if stores run out of eggs/meat
  • The leverage to sell/trade to neighbors for goods/cash
  • The strength/knowledge from building the coop and/or fencing
  • The sense of observation built by caring for the living
  • The responsibility that comes with commitment
  • The connection to reality – controlling life and death cycle
  • The entertainment, laughs and conversation starters
  • The endless supply of photos you could post online
  • Satisfaction knowing what’s going into your food

Here’s a good post on getting started:

Here’s Joel Salatin with some particulars on farming and birds.

I am home

The infinite intersections of imagination and reality charted my course. Opportunities to discover filled my sails through countless storm. The experience revealed a route through doldrums to distant conquests. With a fire branded within, the outward journey was borne. Once commenced, it could not be stopped.

The ol’ shiny boot trick, eh?

In the military, we were ordered to shine our boots and press our uniform every morning. I thought it was superficial. “Why do we need to do that if we’re just going to be rolling around in mud all day?”

It didn’t make sense so I fought the system.

Little did I know how much I suffered being the rebel. Ironically, I haven’t cut myself much slack about it either, as if the little angel on my shoulder were actually an unrelenting drill sergeant spitting in my ear.

“You need to get squared-away soldier!”

Recently, I’ve started to loathe a little less that inner voice about the importance of routine, going through the motions to “Look, act and think like a soldier.”

Despite being tired and beat up at the end of the day, making an effort to “look like a soldier,” is a small goal, but the steps taken to achieve that goal build momentum for success in the thinking and acting stages, that is, actually becoming and being a soldier.

That extra “umph” exercises muscles of self-discipline that buy us a moment, no matter what happened during day, or will happen in the next, to calm the mind, reflect, reset and prepare for the next.

When you succeed on a small task as you start your day, and over and over, it invites positive feedback, whether from receiving and appreciating praise or affirmations from self, others or our environment – a boost of can-do, if anything, on a hard day.

On a good day, when things start to go right, that boost might just be enough to turn into a can of whoop-ass. As they say “Rinse. Repeat.”

Exercised enough, the appetite for momentum grows, and our disposition changes completely. In a chaotic world of uncertainty, where things may not always make sense, the internalization of security, control and confidence ensures us that no matter how out-of-control things may seem, enables us to stay calm and drive on knowing we at least in control of ourselves, and can handle anything that might come our way.

Approaching a daily task with a positive attitude is harder for some, but many agree that one factor as minor as “getting up on the right side of the bed” can make or break your success on any given day.

Since I tossed the army boots, I’ve never really adopted any new routines, but as I catch up in life and have started to do the things I’ve always wanted to, it seems like a hard morning run followed by a dip in the pool or lake (the colder the better) gives way to some pretty amazing results.

Sometimes, it doesn’t seem realistic to do that every day. For now, a quiet stretch or cup of tea will have to do.

What does it for you?


The world is such a beautiful place, and people are such amazing and complex creatures.

As short as my time has been here on earth, and as tumultuous as it life can be, I’m extremely grateful to have been able to experience it the way I have, with challenges to overcome, the curiosity to ask others “Why?” and the courage to ask myself “Why not?”

I’m especially grateful to have been born able to learn, to see the many opportunities and adventures available wherever I put forth effort to make them happen.

I am thankful for the ability to face reality head on, to accept who I am, without addiction, escape or false security.

Journey through the gates… (and back again)

I had been trying to us get out on the water since I’ve been down here. Finally, last week a guy I had been helping on shore offered to take us out.

There was almost no wind. This was not so good for sailing, but it WAS a good thing considering this was the first time Rider had been out in a while, and evidently, he’s still working out some mechanical kinks: We lost a drive shaft connection, right as we were about to come back through the gate. I ran up front and threw the anchor out to starboard as he cut the motor, and we gently swung outside the channel just a hundred yards or so before we got to the pillars the bridge. The gate attendant radio’d down as we got to working on the boat. “Wish I’d have known you guys weren’t coming through.”

Luckily, we were able to fix it and still get home before dark.

“Sorry Cortez bridge. It was last minute!” We radio’d back as we passed through.

“No worries. Shit happens.” He replied.

All in all it was one of the most beautiful days, though there have been many.

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