When I decided to raise backyard chickens three
years ago, I consulted books and the internet, as it is so easy to
do these days. But books and web forums didn't prepare me when one
of our hens broke her leg. As a girl from the suburbs, whose only
real outdoor chores growing up were weeding a lawn or raking
leaves, I laugh now (and cringe a little) to recall our dash to the
vet's office to have them put a splint on that little chicken leg,
when, really, I could have handled it myself.
There's a self-sufficiency that comes from trying things on your
own, trial and error, and necessity. However, if we have the
foresight to seek help and knowledge from our community, we can
accomplish even more.
In Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a
Consumer Culture, author Shannon Hayes interviewed
Los Angeles homesteader Kelly Coyne who says, "you need community.
The best way to do any of this is to have someone show you how to
do it. I think a lot of these skills are not easily taught by
books, and when you're a person who's not been raised doing any of
these things, whether it's preserving or growing or dealing with
small stock, it's all very mysterious. You spend a lot of your time
going, "Well, what is this?" Like, "What's this spot on the plant,
why is my chicken doing that?"
Our farm, ranch, and vineyard members know about community, and
the importance of sharing knowledge. Guests can get started
learning a variety of skills straight from the farmers and ranchers
who practice them every day.
Check out these results from some Activity searches on our site:
Along these same lines, this September, Mother Earth
News and Grit magazines are
hosting International Homesteading Education
On their website, you can find workshops, open houses, and other
events, all centered around neighbors teaching neighbors and
building more self-reliant communities. Find events about food
gardening, renewable energy systems, raising livestock (including
backyard chickens), real food preparation and preservation, fiber
arts, and more.