This is my idea of a traditional chicken coop.

But the chicken craze the last few years has made the coops more fashionable for city life.
You can go online and order your plans and customize the project to your specific tastes. Even Wal-Mart has joined the retail market on chicken coops.

It is legal in many cities to have a chicken coop right in your own backyard with municipal approval. Many start out wanting chickens for the eggs but end up keeping them for pets once the egg production drops off.  Some think they are fun to watch and have personalities. I read recently there's a brisk chicken trade on Craigslist and other online forums. Classes on urban chicken-keeping have evolved the past few years to meet the growing interest of urban hipsters and locavore foodies who have been inspired to try their hands at small back-yard poultry operations.
But the downside is with cold weather approaching a lot of local chicken owners are seeking new homes for their birds. Coops require more cleaning plus there is extra shoveling, heating and making sure the birds have fresh unfrozen water.
Mary and Bert Clouse of Chicken Run Rescue in north Minneapolis run a home- based shelter program. Since 2001 their numbers have increased dramatically from 6 to 500 surrender requests.
To read more about the Chicken Run Rescue follow this link to the article
Chicken Craze Comes Home to Roost by Kim Palmer
This is a picture of Lea Johnstone holding her new book of poems and paintings of Minnesota called Autumn Drew Its Bedtime Bath. I took this picture at the Northwoods Art and Book Festival in August. Her poem, Chickens in the Barn Yard, fits with the blog. Her book is available at  or online at Barnes and Noble. If you happen to live in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area she will be book signing at Barnes and Noble HarMar Nov 3 2:00-3:00.  
Chickens in the Barn Yard
The cocky barn-yard rooster said to the humble hen-house hen,
"You are nothing but a scratchy, feathery fool."
"You might be quite right," replied the bullied banshee,
"But I can produce an egg or two."

And so you see, my dear children,
Here in lies a lesson for each of you,
For even a barn-yard bully
Can be outdone by a chicken from the hen-house coop.


The arrogant quill-point pen said to the jagged, chewed-up pencil,
"You're nothing but a scratchy, wooden tool."
"You might be quite right," replied the humble pencil,
"But I can erase the words of a fool." 

And so you see, my dear writers,
Here in lies a lesson for me and you,
For even the words of a poet
Can be undone by a standard number two.

This is Lea's original painting that accompanies her Chickens in the Barn Yard poem.

Monday October 7, I posted a recipe for Orange Watergate Salad. I was wondering how the salad got its name, and I renamed it Pumpkin Patch Salad for the Halloween season. Well wonder no more... a reader has come to my rescue. 

How Did Watergate Salad Get Its Name?

Kraft Foods developed the salad under the name of Pistachio Pineapple Delight. The pistachio pudding was made in 1975, during the same time as Watergate, thus the salad got the same name from a food editor.