Friday, April 22, 2011

I've always loved the idea of living off the fat of the land, roughing it in the wild and surviving like the kid in Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. So, of course we buy a house with a tiny lot in Baltimore City with little ability to do that. I've also always loved the idea of having a farm. Just a few acres to plant vegetables and a couple of chickens for egg producing. But again, buying a house in Baltimore City with a tiny lot.

However, thanks to Design*Sponge's excellent blogging, I might have found a way to have a little urban chicken farm after all! A clean, sanitary, not disgusting chicken farm, to clarify.

Assuming Steven goes for it.

He probably won't because he doesn't like chickens, but I'm sure I can bribe him.

Here's the nifty solution to urban farming:

It's a super sleek, all-cedar (for it's antibacterial and good smelling goodness) hutch that can house 2-4 chickens comfortably and you get the eggs out just by taking off the top and reaching in. I'm waiting to hear back about pricing, but I am excited.

Here's the website: Nogg

Since I saw this this morning, I've been negotiating with Steven on getting one and just one chicken to try it out and see how it would work.

So far, I think the compromise looks something like this: I clean out the garage, let Steven cut a hole in the back of the garage (there's no door leading into the backyard/patio area for whatever reason) for a door, and I (as in solely me) construct a 6-foot privacy fence around the tiny backyard so it buffers noise from our neighbors. Then we make the garage into a work area/chicken house. And I clean it every day so it doesn't smell weird.

Personally, I think I conceded too much, but Steven really doesn't like chickens for some reason. I'm also not too positive this will come to pass, but that Chicken Coop is sweet.

For those of you that might also be interested in chicken farming in Baltimore, here are Baltimore's rules on chickens:

1. No person may own, keep, or harbor any chickens without:
a. obtaining a permit from the Bureau of Animal Control; and
b. registering with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Domestic Poultry and
Exotic Bird Registration Division.
2. No more than 4 chickens over the age of 1 month may be kept.
3. All chickens must be confined at all times to a movable pen.
a. No pen may be closer than 25 feet to any residence.
b. Each pen must be kept clean, free of all odors and materials that can attract
c. Each pen must be moved frequently to minimize turf destruction and the build up
of manure borne pathogens such as coccidiosis and roundworms.
d. Pens with feed boxes and nest boxes must allow 2 square feet per hen.
4. The chickens must be provided with shade during warm weather.
5. Potable water and proper feed must be made available.
6. All chickens must be provided with access to a well-constructed shelter that provides
suitable protection from inclement weather.
7. All chickens must be afforded veterinary care if they are known or suspected to be sick or injured.
8. Roosters Are Prohibited

Oh and our neighborhood made it into the newspaper for urban gardening! Go neighborhood! Looks like we're going to fit right in!

To continue the Earth Day goodness, here are my "Green Plans" for the new house.

1. Paint the roof white. This is super simple to do (especially because we have a large flat portion of our roof) and it reflects light back into the atmosphere and conserves energy, as it reduces heating and cooling costs.

2. Change out the toilet flush-thingamob (the insides. God, I'm bad at plumping)to a low-flow option. Basically, there are two buttons which give you two options: high flow and low flow. It allows you to kind of customize your flushing needs without installing JUST a low-flow toilet and is only $20.

3. Rain barrel - I learned how to make one of these today thanks to Young House Love. But the best source in Baltimore for recycled food barrels is no longer recycling their barrels so we may end up buying one.

4. Only use low-VOC paint. I prefer Olympic Paint anyways which is all low-to-no VOC.

That about covers my initial "greening". I plan on planting the back garden so it's sustainable and sustaining (i.e. edible plants), as well. I love me some fresh veggies.

Happy Earth Day!

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