Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chickens Not Welcome in Montgomery

All over the country more and more of us are interested in keeping backyard chickens, and many cities are adjusting their zoning laws to allow it. The City of Montgomery is doing the opposite. Current law doesn't outlaw chickens, so Montgomery is planning on changing that.

There are so many reasons to find a way to allow rather than forbid backyard chickens. Fresh, pastured organic eggs sustainably raised should be within everyone's grasp, but for many of us -- especially now -- they're unfortunately out of reach. But not if you raise them yourself. Chickens eat bugs, improve the soil, help prevent thatch, and produce organic fertilizer and compost. They have personalities and make easy-care and even affectionate pets. They require very little space: a chicken needs a run smaller than the top of the average kitchen table. They make less mess, smell, and noise than most dogs. If cared for properly they cause no smell or mess at all, and the normal cluck of a laying hen isn't audible from 25 feet -- about the same as normal conversation.

Require that there be no smell. Require that there be no mess. Require that there be no noise -- even require that there be no roosters. Require that they be confined, just like dogs and cats. Require that coops and runs be attractive and well-maintained, just like the requirements for fences. But why require that there be no chickens? This isn't a herd of goats or pigs we're talking about. Most families interested in raising backyard chickens want a couple of 8-pound birds.

I'll be down at Montgomery's City Hall (10101 Montgomery Rd) next Wednesday, May 6th, at 7pm for the Council Business Session if anyone wants to join me. Or send the members of council an email, especially if you're in Montgomery. I'm hoping they'll reconsider.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Market on the Hill

There's a new farmers' market out at Harmony Hill Vineyards in Bethel this season.  According to Harmony Hill's winemaker and market host Bill Skvarla, Market On The Hill is an all Ohio Proud market located on the grounds of Harmony Hill and will feature grass fed beef, Icelandic lamb, free range poultry, eggs, fresh vegetables, artisan breads, cheeses and wines, all grown/raised and processed within a 30 mile radius of Bethel.  Saturdays May 23 through October 3, 2 - 6pm.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

UC Farmers' Market CHANGE

The UC spring farmers' market has run into a snag with campus security (gotta watch them veggie vendors like a hawk) with getting permission for Monday's (April 20th) market, so the student organization that's planning it has cancelled the first market. The market will start on May 4th (11am - 3pm, McMicken Commons) instead.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Backyard Chickens

Suddenly everyone wants chickens in their backyard. Everyone except my 14-year-old daughter, that is. Backyard chickens would be the frosting on her cake of parental embarrassments.

Turner Farm is offering Chickens in Your Own Backyard, a one-hour informational session for those interested in raising backyard chickens. Turner's chicken expert, Mike Steele, will discuss choosing breeds, housing options, feed, hygiene, and more. Thursday April 23rd at 6:00pm, followed by a question-and-answer session. Registration is $6, reservations are required. Call 561-7400 or email Turner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Farmers' Market on UC Campus

There's a new spring-only farmers' market this year on the University of Cincinnati campus. The market will be held four times this spring, biweekly Mondays starting April 20th 11am - 3pm on McMicken Commons off UC's MainStreet.

They currently have six vendors and would like to invite more; if you're a market gardener and are interested, contact Matt.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Slow Wine from Slow Food Cincinnati

Slow Food Cincinnati is offering Slow Wine, a Thursday night Happy Hour/Meet and Greet on April 16th in the back room at Tino Vino (3665 Erie Ave in Hyde Park.) Happy Hour will start at 5:30pm with a chance to get a glass of wine and then get an overview of Tino Vino's winemaking process at 6:30. Light appetizers will be served. A $5 donation is requested to cover the cost of appetizers and as a fundraiser for Slow Food Cincinnati.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chickens in Your Backyard at Park+Vine

Park+Vine is offering Chickens in Your Backyard, including the basics on keeping chickens in the city, what types of shelters can be used, how to endear your neighbors and more, presented by Michael Roman of Gorman Heritage Farm. The workshop is free, but registration is required. 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 at Park + Vine. Email Park+Vine or call 513.721.7275 before April 27 to register.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Canning 101 at Park+Vine

Park+Vine is offering Canning 101: Preserving the Harvest on April 25 at 11:00am. Topics include planning for family needs, basic tools, recipes and local resources. Class is free, but registration is required and seating is limited to 25. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Garden Soil 101 from the Hamilton Co Soil & Water Conservation District

The Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District (HCSWCD) is offering Garden Soil 101, which will teach gardeners and growers the basics of soil chemistry and how to understand soil test results and properly amend your soils. In addition to the two hour class, each participant will receive a soil fertility test kit that tests for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and pH and the cation exchange rate (CEC), presented by Holly Utrata-Halcomb of HCSWCD.

Date and Location: Thursday, April 30, 6-8 pm, at the Mt. Healthy Community Room, just behind Mt. Healthy City Hall at 7700 Perry Street, 45231.

Fee: $5.00, payable at the door. Email Karen to reserve a seat; attendance is limited to 30 participants

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rain Barrel Sale

The last day for orders for rain barrels to be received by the Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District is Monday, April 6th, so if you're interested in a high-quality rain barrel, act now! Rain barrels are 55 gallon food grade barrels donated by Jim Beam Global Brands and retrofitted by teenagers from the Vision Trek mentoring program at Northside's McKie Recreation Center as a fundraiser and include:

  • Two corrugated PVC tubes – one to attach to the downspout and one to direct overflow back to the downspout drain
  • Filter and clean-out point to capture leaves and debris from entering the barrel from gutter line
  • Faucet at the bottom of the barrel to connect a hose or soaker
  • Optional planter strip to be affixed around the barrel for planting flowers, vines or vegetables
  • Optional Daisy Chain hardware and additional barrel for more holding capacity
Pick ups are scheduled for April 17th and 18th. $80 ($70 for residents of the City of Cincinnati.) Order forms are in a .pdf file here (this is HCSWCD's 6-page annual report; the rain barrel order form is on page three.)