Recently, I sent my partner on a course at Ballymaloe Cookery School, as a birthday gift. The course was called ‘How to Keep Chickens in your Garden’. Result? We now have three baby hens pottering around our back garden, soon to be producing lovely eggs for our family. Darina Allen has plenty of courses like this, like yoghurt and cheese making, or foraging for food. I think she’s fabulous.
I’m still cooking my way through her ‘Forgotten Skills of Cooking’ but it’s changed my life already.
Urban farming is the new black, and I am firmly on that bandwagon. I was uneasy about misleading egg titles, eg, free-range really meaning cooped up but with a small door somewhere at the corner of the overcrowded barn where they probably live. Organic possibly meaning…well did you read this? I’ve decided it’s best to gather my own, from my own happy hens. No eggs so far, but when they lay, you’ll be the first to know. With one of the eggs brought back from Ballymaloe, I softy-hardy boiled it, mixed it with a good knob of butter, some sea salt, black pepper and a teensy bit of parsley – and my God it was good.
Next up, I’m learning how to make sourdough bread, and my own butter. I’ve already been out in the garden sewing some seeds. My partner planted a raspberry bush. A few months back, when we two were really broke, we could have really done with our own garden of vegetables and eggs. Next year, we’ll have them.
Tales of urban or windowsill farming would be much appreciated please!