Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

A Chickening

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On Saturday morning Bird and I loaded up the car with a cooler and camera to visit Good Life Ranch in Liberty, Kentucky. Recently I decided to add chicken back to my diet as a way to combat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (learn more on PCOS here). This has not been an easy decision. For years I have preached against the woes of modern farming practices and the production of ridiculously large, hormone-laden, cruelly treated animals. My meat-free lifestyle has become a source of tremendous pride and a significant part of my identity.

These are an heirloom variety of chicken called “Naked Necks” that originated in Hungary. Geoff and Lindsey chose these birds for their good egg laying abilities and good taste. They are and active and personable breed, are good foragers and are immune to most diseases.

Then life threw me a gigantic curve-ball that left me poking through my fridge, trying to figure out what the heck to eat for dinner.

“WE CAN EAT CHICKEN!!!!!” Bird, who is a die-hard carnivore, said with glee.

“Ugh. I just don’t know…” I blanched.

“Well how about you find some happy chickens,” he suggested.

Cue obsessive researching.

I scoured the Internet for the perfect Kentucky farm that practiced what I had preached for so many years.

  • A sustainable farm no more than two hours from Lexington that is run by passionate people
  • Preferably a newer establishment where our dollars will truly help a small business and a local economy
  • No hormones or crazy chemicals being fed or injected into the animals
  • Animals who are allowed to live a good life before they land on your plate
  • Animals who are loved and tended to daily
  • And, most importantly, a farm that would welcome my husband and I at any time to visit the animals

When I saw Good Life Ranch’s website I knew it was the farm for me. After devouring the detailed information on the website I emailed the owners asking if I, one moderately crazy and intensely passionate animal lover, could pay their farm a visit. Within 24-hours we had set a time and I had informed Bird that we would be taking a little road trip. He put on his agreeable pants and played along (although I’m sure he would have much preferred to just grab chicken from the co-op one block away!)

Any farmer that cradles his goats is good by me!

Geoff and Lindsey McPherson are my kind of people. Both accomplished educators, Lindsey and Geoff left their jobs in San Antonio, Texas and purchased Good Life Ranch in 2010. Passionate about sustainable farming and education, they are working to grow their business slowly, from the ground up. The farm boasts free-ranging heirloom chickens, cattle, pigs, turkeys and rabbits and organic produce. In addition, the well-traveled McPherson’s are constructing real-life poverty simulations that will provide students from across the country with unique experiences and the knowledge to seek change.

As we trudged through the damp grasses, dodging the occasional cow patty and visiting the animals, Geoff and Lindsey explained their farming practice and passion for sustainable agriculture. As I listened, I became more comfortable with the decision to change my diet. I am not just picking up chicken labeled as free-range at an organic market. I am directly supporting a couple as they chase their dreams, supporting an industry I am fiercely in favor of and giving back to the local economy all while working to improve my health.

Honestly, the only better scenario I can think of is to have never gotten sick in the first place, but even then I would not be the strong woman I am today.

A side story: I have a friend who announced at one of our dinner parties, “I don’t dislike animals…I just feel they should have to wear pants.” I never really saw the logic in his argument until I was editing these photos. 🙂

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One thought on “A Chickening

  1. I am happy that your incredible journey has intersected with the incredible journey of the McPherson’s! I want to go there.

    I am no authority on this, but didn’t the Native Americans give thanks and bless the spirit of the animals taken for food and other purposes? That sounds like something the McPherson’s would do (we can too…I do when I think of it).

    Don’t forget to contact your congressional representative about supporting small farms / sustainable agriculture in the Farm Bill.

    I hope you have sent the McPherson’s a link to your blog. They would surely love it.

    No pants. Pig butts are cute (at least in your photo).

    Here’s to good health for us all!

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