- I struggle making compost. It’s a mysterious science that I have yet to master; but I need compost desperately. That’s one reason to keep chickens. Dump a load of weeds in their coop, add their poo, straw from their coop and kitchen scraps like tea bags, coffee grounds and veg peelings and let them scratch and ferret about for a few months. Voila! Beautiful, sweet-smelling compost. It’s like magic!
2. In the Spring and the Winter keep your chickens out of the vege patch; they will destroy it and you will be cross. I like to garden with my chickens in the summer when there is an over abundance of everything. They follow me around as I dig and gather; they cluck and burble softly and very carefully and deliberately munch up a bug here, a seed there, a dew drop on a leaf; all ground up in a few staccato pecks and ground in the gizzard. Who needs chemical sprays? Not me.
3. My chickens are my friends. At least in the garden they are. They might be the last living relation to the Tyrannosaurus Rex but they have a soft warbling language that is both soothing and comforting and hugely entertaining. They move deliberately and stealthily; nothing escapes their beady eye. They’re curious little things and, as long as you show them kindness, will be quite happy to spend time with you.
4. Recycling is a big part of all our lives. Chickens are great recyclers. They will hoover up all your kitchen scraps (not onion, garlic or citrus) and recycle them into nutritious compost. Nothing is wasted with a chicken around. Use the lint in your tumble dryer for their nest boxes; make free treats from the herbs in your garden or use left over scraps like grated cheese and stale bread crumbs for a winter chicken treat . Chickens make sense in the grand scheme of things.
5. I’ve kept chickens for four years now and I still delight in opening up the nest boxes and retrieving the eggs. Treasure. Crack open a free range egg and behold the bright golden yolk within; liquid sunshine. There’s always a meal in the house if you have an egg or two. Talk about simple pleasures.
Simple Roasted Veg Frittata
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Any mix of root veg you might have including carrots, potato, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, cut into 2cm squares
Spinach or any leafy green like pak choi, savoy cabbage, silver beet (chard)
1/3 cup milk (or cream if you’re feeling daring)
Pre-heat oven to 200c.
Cut up the root veg, place in roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins or until tender. Make sure it doesn’t burn (you can tell this happened to me can’t you!)
Meanwhile, gently fry the onion and garlic. Turn down the heat to low and add the leafy greens. Cover and wilt for a couple of minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk with a flurry of salt and pepper.
Transfer the roasted veg to an oven proof dish (that you’re proud to take to the table) and artfully arrange the onion/garlic and spinach amongst the veg. Pour over the egg mix. Reduce heat to 180c. Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until firm and cooked.
Serve with a sprightly green salad and a cheeky chili sauce and crusty bread (if you have it, otherwise it’s really not the end of the world) You can add frozen peas if you don’t have the leafy greens.
Simple Pleasures with love from your chickens xx