Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Delta Sky Magazine" Features Chickens

My father and I celebrate our Chicken Victory I took a quick trip this past weekend. Imagine my surprise when I opened the August addition of the Delta Sky Magazine on the plane. I know, you're imagining... "wow, they still have a magazine and they don't charge you for it?" Yes, it's true AND on page 36 is an article about FANCY CHICKENS! Really, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

They mention Polish Chickens (like my Chloe) and say "a mop of brown, black and white feathers that Rod Stewart in his prime or Tina Turner in her prime would have killed for". Regarding a Silkie (remember my Natasha who was eaten by the hawk? She was a Blue Silkie) they describe a white version as "a veritable puffball of white feathers, his eyes all but hidden by the powder puff of a crown that looks as if it leapt straight off the makeup table of a 1040's Hollywood starlet, his feet enveloped in white like showshoes in the winter".

Yahoo. Entertainment in the sky - and I got free peanut butter crackers and a drink too!

Chicken Victory Party

Dad got a little carried away by the victory...

While I was celebrating with my NEW FAVORITE COUSINSSome became confused, "Now, why DID the chicken cross the road???"

Others asked the age old question, "Who are the Weinsteins anyway?......"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why DID the Chicken Cross the Road???

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER: To get to the other

PLATO: For the greater good.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross roads.

KARL MARX: It was a historical inevitability.

TIMOTHY LEARY: Because that's the only trip the establishment would let it take.

SADDAM HUSSEIN: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.

JACK NICHOLSON: 'cause it f___ing wanted to. That's the f___ing reason.


KATHERINE ALVAREZ: To get away from my neighbor.

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

JOHN McCAIN: The chicken was a maverick, just like me. She did it for the greater good because she was serving the people, just like me. Sarah Palin crossed the road too...

SARAH PALIN: She did it for her family.

HIPPOCRATES: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.

LOUIS FARRAKHAN: The road, you see, represents the black man. The chicken 'crossed' the black man in order to trample him and keep him down.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives being called into question.

MOSES: And God came down from the Heavens, and He said unto the chicken, "Thou shalt cross the road." And the chicken crossed the road, and there was much rejoicing.

FOX MULDER: You saw it cross the road with your own eyes. How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it?

RICHARD M. NIXON: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did NOT cross the road.

MACHIAVELLI: The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The end of crossing the road justifies whatever motive there was.

JERRY SEINFELD: Why does anyone cross a road? I mean, why doesn't anyone ever think to ask, What the heck was this chicken doing walking around all over the place, anyway?"

FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

BILL GATES: I have just released the new Chicken Office 2000, which
will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook.

OLIVER STONE: The question is not, "Why did the chicken cross the
road?" Rather, it is, "Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?"

DARWIN: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally
selected in such a way that they are now genetically disposed to cross roads.

EINSTEIN: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

BUDDHA: Asking this question denies your own chicken nature.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON: The chicken did not cross the road .. it transcended it.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain.

COLONEL SANDERS: I missed one?

ARTHUR ANDERSEN CONSULTANT: Deregulation of the chicken's side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Andersen Consulting, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM),
Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences to align the chicken's people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Andersen Consulting convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Anderson consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken's mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Andersen Consulting helped the chicken change to become more successful.

Monday, September 1, 2008

NPR and the Sewanee Police

I was interviewed by Nashville Public Radio again last week. This time the chickens were interviewed also. I was told the interview will broadcast this Tuesday morning and maybe afternoon. I bet they run the part where I claim I suspect the Community Council ruled in my favor after my threat to move to the beach. We shall soon see...

In more important Sewanee news ... I failed to report that last week's Community Council meeting ended with a standing ovation to former police Chief Jim Parrott who retired this summer. Chief Parrott, who has been an outstanding leader of a police force that takes the motto "serve and protect" seriously, has retired from police service but will remain on campus as a head resident of one of our dorms.

On my walk this evening I watched a patrol car wander in and out of parking lots - just checking things out and making themselves known. They waved at me as they drove by. Yes, they know me, but they'd have waved at anyone because they're good people and here for the right reasons. It's been like this my entire life. We're very lucky.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


My parent's rather traditional pets, Muffy & Joe, nervously await the chicken decision. Unfortunately my sister Julia and her husband Greg were in Denver for the DNC and could not make the chicken meeting.
On Thursday Sewanee's local paper the Mountain Messenger printed the following report on this week's Community Council meeting:

"Katherine Alvarez, manager of Stirling's Coffee House, has lived in Sewanee for 30 years and in the same house on University Avenue for 13 years. She has kept chickens in her backyard for the past two years and has three pet hens: Antoinette, a Frizzle; Chloe, a Polish and Alysa, a bantam Cochin. Though Alvarez does not own a rooster, this summer one of her neighbors lodged a complaint about noise with the lease committee, which referred the problem to the Community Council. Alvarez's father, Laurence, started the discussion on Monday evening by saying the University's lease agreement prohibits livestock on the Domain, yet all the definitions of livestock he has researched do not include chickens. [the Tenn. Department of Agriculture's definition: "Livestock is defined as cattle, equine, swine, sheep or goats."] He said Katherine's chickens are not running around freely in the front yard and are not bothering anyone.

According to Alvarez, her chickens make less noise than dogs, cicadas, tree frogs, children or alumni. They live in a children's play house and adjacent screened-in porch, and when she lets them out into the backyard, deer netting around the yard keeps dogs and other animals out. For photos of Alvarez's chickens, her house, backyard and the chicken house, see <savesewaneechickens.blogspot.com/>.

Approximately 25 people attended the meeting in support of Alvarez. District 4 Representative Mary Blount said some of her constituents are concerned that too many chickens may be allowed on the Domain. She said, "The lease agreement was written to help us all live together. We should suggest to the University to refine it's definition of livestock."

As District 4 Representative Annie Armour could not attend the meeting, she asked Provost Linda Lankewicz to share her written opinion with the council: "I believe that as a community we should always look beyond traditionally accepted norms to new possibilities. In this case, there are lots of animals, including chickens, that are becoming socially acceptable as pets. Moreover, chickens fit into Sewanee's plan to become a leader in self-sustainability, too, since they eat ticks (thus helping one avoid spraying poisons in the yard) and provide eggs to eat. I think dogs can be much more of a nuisance than chickens, yet I would never ask that they be banished from the Domain. ... I do not see chickens as nuisances. They are not dangerous, noisy, vicious or particularly smelly. I do not see a compelling reason to ask Katherine to get rid of her chickens."

Professor of biology and Sustainabiliy Committee member David Haskell said that he and his wife had asked the Lease Committee's permission to keep their animals [including goats]. He and others on the Sustainability Committee are working on proposed revisions of lease rules to allow small-scale livestock for home consumption. Haskell said that the lease agreement says exceptions may be made if people present their requests to the Lease Committee. "I would hope we could allow some exceptions to allow animals for families to raise their own produce," he said.

District 1 representative Marymor (Boo) Cravens said, "What's the difference between an Easter bunny and a pet chicken?" She made a motion that the Community Council recommend that hens be allowed on the Domain subject to the Sustainability Committee's recommendations to the University and the Lease Committee; and the motion carried unanimously. Superintendent of Leases, Barbara Schlichting will present this recommendation to the Lease Committee at it's Sept. 17 meeting."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Community Council Meeting

Dad and I at the Community Council meeting. Don't we look intimidating!The Community Council met tonight with a larger group and longer meeting than usual. (Okay well, seven of us were my family). As much as I wanted to have the chickens attend - they love a good social event - I wanted more not to embarrass my father.
After talking about the golf course and cell phone tower, it was time to devote most of the meeting to the chickens. Clearly there were two issues: me and my chickens and our lease - as well as the greater and more important issue of making the entire domain a more chicken friendly place. My father spoke to the former, discussing the fact that our lease does not prohibit chickens and since they're not walking around the front yard pecking people on the sidewalk or creating any other nuisance, there is no grounds to have me remove them.

I spoke about the benefits of raising hens. I explained how a hen raised as a pet will behave as a pet - much like a cat or dog: sit in your lap, eat from your hand, come when called... I talked about noise, smell and mess - pointing out that an animal about 12 inches tall will produce a proportionate amount of waste and mess - less than most dogs, foxes, raccoons... I got a hardy laugh when comparing the immaterial noise factor of chickens to the rather greater amount produced by alumni. I talked about the significant health benefits of home raised eggs and yard benefits of nitrogen filled droppings.

As I talked, pictures of my chickens and yard were passed around. Half way through I noticed warm smiles and heads nodding around the room - and not just from friends and family - the administrators of the University appeared engaged and supportive.

There followed discussion, opinions, anecdotes. Important points were made about this issue being much larger than just our town and our need to revisit the lease laws. Boo Cravens was adamant that MANY lease laws be revisited (she doesn't care WHAT color you paint your front door!). There was talk of local food sources and quality of life and then more stories of when there were horses, ponies, goats and chickens, (not to mention a dry cleaner and a grocery store) in town in the good ole days...

A motion was made to recommend to the Lease Committee that hens be allowed, subject to rules to be defined in accordance with the University Sustainability Committee. The motion was approved unanimously. Next the Lease Committee meets in September and then I expect it will go to the Sustainability Committee which will take all the necessary practicalities into consideration when coming up with specific chicken rules.

It was raining (hooray!) and past the chicken's bedtime when I returned home so I didn't run out to tell them the good news. They weren't worried anyway - they know they belong here.

One Year Later - City Doing Great With Chickens

"So Antoinette, I just read a followup article about a city that created a backyard chicken ordinance a year ago. Apparently everything has worked out fine for them. WE should be so lucky! Are you nervous about the meeting tonight???" Yes, it's true. Just under a year ago, the city of South Portland, Maine created an ordinance allowing 6 hens per residence on relatively small lots and they have had absolutely NO PROBLEMS as a result. http://www.theforecaster.net/story.php?storyid=15608

14 permits have been issued. I believe this is a good illustration of the fact that just because it's recognized as legal, doesn't mean everyone will do it.

Sewanee's Community Council meeting is in an hour. I hope that we too will serve as a great example of a community who, like South Portland, "think for themselves" and "most certainly live their values".