My grass-fed obsession has been passed onto my Mom and Dad (thank you, Mr. Pollan) and earlier this week, I took a ride out with my Dad and friend Debbie to visit Hendrick's farm. This is where a lot of my meat comes from during the winter when I do Farm to City, but in the summer we go to the farm to pick it up. Joel Salatin says that you should never trust a farm where you aren't allowed to just walk everywhere and interact with the animals and people. Indeed, on the way to Hendrick's, we passed a large meat facility with high walls and windowless buildings. They clearly don't want the average consumer to know what's going on in there. But at Hendricks, we pet the dairy cows, checked out the pigs and piglets, and peeked into the chicken pens. The best part of the day was watching the diary cows queue up at the automatic back scratcher attached to the wall. They'd bump into it and a roller brush would rotate and they'd walk under it to get a back rub. Those are some happy cows, I tell ya.
Recently, I've stopped eating eggs when I dine out. I just have no idea where they came from or how those chickens were raised. My parents have had their chickens for about a year now so that's where my eggs come from. They are infinitely better than store bought eggs, and if you can manage to get your hands on a fresh, pastured egg, I highly recommend it. I'd wanted chickens prior to reading Omnivore's Dilemma, and now that I finally have three I'm pretty darn happy about it. Like: sit and watch the chickens peck around for worms for hours on end happy about it. And so, as soon as we brought the coop that my Dad built to our house in pieces, I put it together. The next day, I intended to chip away at all of the tasks that needed to be done: prime and paint the coop, seal the unpainted wood, measure, cut and install wire around the base, and apply flashing to the top seam (which didn't work out - we caulked it instead). What ended up happening is that I obsessed about that coop for 12 hours until it was done. Andrew left in the middle to play a tennis match which, of course, ended up being lengthy and with no one to tell me to stop, I finished the whole damn thing by 6 pm. Andrew came back as I was wrapping up and helped me install the final screws and to clean up. He also insisted on taking a photograph, I think mostly to commemorate how insane I can get about things when I obsess. So here I am, 12 hours later, unwashed, sore from head to foot, with not quite enough energy to get all of my smile muscles into gear. But, man. Look at that coop!