The Girls: Our Journey Together to HOPE Community Farm & Garden

My chickens; "The girls" (Photo by Blaine Howerton)

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by Blaine Howerton |

One short year ago, one of my friends (Rolly) and one of his co-workers presented me with a gift. Eight glorious and loving chickens. At first, I had no idea how to care for “The girls.”

I live off-grid seasonally on my property in Bellvue. Rolly and I built a chicken coup with lumber from trees on my property. I milled it. We researched how to care for them online. It quickly became a daily pastime.

Four chicks (Photo by Blaine Howerton)

Four of the girls were chicks. Four were adults. Within a few weeks, the adults were laying eggs. I cared for the chicks in a separate shed for months, feeding them exceptional food. I gave them fresh water every day. My kids helped tend to them, holding them and talking to them.

Then I introduced the chicks to the adult flock after reading about the best ways to do it on YouTube. There were no problems, and eight chickens soon lived happily together.

North Forty News Publisher Blaine Howerton and one of his chickens (Selfie by Blaine Howerton)

I became their “person.” I would hold them and let them out of their coop when I was there. They free-ranged the mountain and followed me wherever I went. The girls loved all the options. They ate insects, pecked at the natural plants, and perched themselves on the fallen logs in the burn area where I live. Most importantly, they returned to their coop whenever they were hungry or scared.

Then came winter, when we moved off the property for the cold months.

Moving the flock presented its challenges, including building a 2nd coop, troubleshooting the location, and tending to a new run for them. Then a harsh and cold winter brought on the daily challenges of freezing water and keeping them warm. After spending hundreds of dollars on supplies to keep water from freezing, heater, and lamps for them, I started to get frustrated. They weren’t happy, and neither was I!

I pondered about giving them away because I felt terrible. But I persisted with help from friends, and so did they!

Soon after that, the girls began to lay eggs again. And before I knew it, they were laying eggs every day. The eggs are beautiful, and they taste amazing!

I regularly give eggs to family and friends (we cannot eat dozens a week). Everyone agreed on how wonderful they tasted.

As another season transitioned into spring, all the girls now lay eggs daily. They visit me when I come home. We talk to each other, and I spoil them. My children tend to their food and water as daily chores.

Now, the girls are moving to HOPE Farm & Community Garden, where they will join four more girls.

Soon, the flock of 12 will live in harmony in a beautiful “Chicken Palace,” protected from the elements and with plenty of space.

And, for the first time, I am happy to share our fruits’ bounty with a community program to support their health and daily care. A chicken egg CSA.

Chicken Egg crates built and milled from scratch (Photo by Blaine Howerton)

Most chickens don’t get the love that the girls get. And I realize they are farm animals. But the girls have needs too!

So, will you join us? Sponsor a chicken CSA today, and I will share those wonderful eggs with you. And, if you’d like, you can visit the girls at HOPE Farm & Community Garden during farm hours on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 am – 1 pm.

I’ll throw in a custom-milled crate for your eggs, so you can take them home and proudly display them — just like I do. Go to to purchase the Chicken Egg CSA.