Four days after we said goodbye to two of our chickens, we ate one if them tonight.  I made chicken soup with her, and all day long as I simmered old "Scramble," I was thinking of my paternal grandmother, Madalyne, who was said to be a master "neck-ringer." Then, as we sat eating the chicken soup made with carrots, onions, potatoes, swiss chard, left-over brown rice, and pasta, Paul and I had a conversation with Madeleine about who this chicken was. A friend of a friend had slaughtered it, plucked, and feathered it for us a few days ago.

Our preschooler didn't bat an eyelash at our explanation, and when we finished talking she said, "We should do it again sometime."  More conversation followed, so that by the end of dinner Madeleine was already planning the demise of our remaining four chickens to make room for six new baby chicks later this fall.  She also said rather cheerfully, "When we get our new chicks if there are some that grow up and don't lay eggs, we can kill them and eat them too." There was also the suggestion from her that we learn to do the deed ourselves so that someone else doesn't have to do it for us.

The chicken itself tasted good. Not tender, but not too tough either. I would say it had "character." 

Little Rachel has a terrible cold, and I felt so good about giving her truly homemade chicken soup with so many ingredients from our own backyard. She gulped down three bowlfuls.

A couple of months ago Lori Eanes, a professional photographer in San Francisco who has done photography for Utne ReaderThe New York TimesSunset Magazine, and Parenting Magazine, just to name a few, contacted us to see if she could photograph our family and garden for a project she's currently doing. 

She came out at the end of July and photographed us for two hours, snapping away as we planted seeds for our fall garden, harvested squash, pumpkins, beans, strawberries, and plums, and the girls tended to the chickens. She came up with some incredible shots. We were struck looking at them by how lush and fruitful our small (only 750 square feet) and not-so-perfect garden came off looking. It really is amazing how much food you can grow in a tiny space.

We just got the photos today, which you can view in the slideshow below (or click on it to see the photos larger).

You can see some of the other photos from Lori's in-progress "Backyard Project" on her website under Portfolio > Projects.  We hope to see her collection of urban farmer photos in a local publication sometime soon!