Year of the Farmer | Lisa Steele: How Chickens Made Us Part of the Community

Year of the Farmer | Lisa Steele: How Chickens Made Us Part of the Community

The Steele family truck – A 2003 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty 4×4

Welcome to RamZone’s Year of Farmer guest blogger series, where stories of life on the American farm are offered by the people best qualified to tell them—American farmers. Over the next nine months, a number of guest bloggers, all of whom are involved in agricultural work of some kind, will take turns contributing exclusive content to RamZone. The goal is simple: to raise awareness in the Year of the Farmer for the values, ideals and simple pleasures associated with the farming life.

First in the series is blogger Lisa Steele, whose popular blog Fresh Eggs Daily is a go-to source for raising chickens and for country insight in general. Enjoy!

How Chickens Made Us a Part of the Community

By Lisa Steele

Year of the Farmer | Lisa Steele: How Chickens Made Us Part of the Community

We live in the country, plain and simple. When you get to the end of our quiet road, you can either turn left or right. To the left, the road eventually takes you to traditional big box stores and a chain pharmacy where, in the past, we would stop and pick up a few items on our way home from work.

To the right, there are cotton fields as far as the eye can see. There was a time—before we started raising chickens—when we didn’t know where the fields ended. For all we knew, they could have just gone on indefinitely; it sure didn’t look like there was any reason to ever turn right, so we always turned left.

Then we got chickens and needed to find a local feed store. A neighbor mentioned there was one a few miles down the road—to the right. So one warm sunny morning we climbed into our Ram truck, drove to the end of our road and turned right. We drove past the cotton fields, which soon gave way to corn fields, past farmhouses set back from the road, past a farm stand selling watermelons, and past a field of cows.

Year of the Farmer | Lisa Steele: How Chickens Made Us Part of the Community

The small commuter-type cars we were used to seeing started to give way to pickup trucks. And then sure enough, there was the feed store. Right next to it was a hardware store, a small post office and a family-owned pharmacy.

Since that day, we rarely turn left anymore. We shop at local, family-owned businesses now. We know the pharmacist and the owners of the hardware store by name; the feed store owner knows our dog’s name since she often comes with us to do errands. We bring our fresh eggs to the postal clerks and they ask about our chickens. They are delighted to hand us a small peeping box marked “Fragile” when we order chicks online each spring.

Last fall we attended the Country Fair and saw many familiar faces. Standing outside the tent, drinking lemonade, chatting with people we knew and hearing roosters crowing in the background waiting to be judged just somehow felt right. Living in a community is so much more than just owning a home there and driving past local businesses on your way to work. Living in a community means belonging to that community.

Year of the Farmer | Lisa Steele: How Chickens Made Us Part of the Community

Nowadays, most Saturday mornings we head out after breakfast. We turn right and continue on past the cotton fields. We stop at the feed store and load up our truck with hay for the horses, toss a few bags of chicken feed on top, maybe add a flat of seedlings, or a jar of local honey or jam, and then we’re off to the hardware store for whatever odds and ends we might need for the coming week’s fence repairs.

This past summer I was building a new chicken coop and needed some plywood, but my husband had the truck at work. Fortunately one of the guys at the hardware store recognized me and offered to swing by on his way home from work to deliver the plywood. Free of charge. Sure enough, a few hours later, he made good on his promise and then refused a tip. He said, “No ma’am, I was just happy to help.” He left with two dozen eggs.

They say you know you live in a small town when you can’t go for a walk because every passing car will stop and try to offer you a ride home. That’s the kind of town I want to live in. If we can’t grow it, raise it, make it or find it locally, we probably don’t need it anyway.

All photos courtesy of Lisa Steele

  • Jennifer @1840Farm

    What a wonderful description of the power of farming and chicken keeping. I’m proud to be a member of both of those communities and look forward to reading more of these beautiful posts!

    Jennifer @ 1840 Farm

    • Lisa Steele

      Thank you Jennifer !

  • Sandra Miller

    We live in this kind of community and I wouldn’t have it any other way.When we have to travel to the city,any city and we return home there is this excitement when we get on the back road to our house and when we pull into the drive way we both let out a sigh and say “Home” and there are the girls,running back and forth in the run to greet us.I adore this country life.

    • Lisa Steele

      SO we do Sandra!

  • Sharon Lee Bense

    Lovely post. One day, maybe I could live that life.

    • Lisa Steele

      Hope so! It’s so rewarding.

  • Very well said.

    • Lisa Steele

      Thank you Melissa. God’s honest truth as well.

  • Mindie Dittemore

    Lisa, beautifully said! The road less taken may not always take you where you were going in life but will get you where you need to be in life. Small rural towns are fading fast but those of us lucky enough to live and raise out families in them know what amazing magical treasures they are. A place where you wave at everyone, children still run free without the care of the world holding them back, and where you can still homestead no matter how big the land you live on is. I love that my children know how to grow their own food, bake, make cheese and jam and tap a maple tree for syrup just to name a few of the blessings of a country life. Here is to the farmer in all of us!

    • Lisa Steele

      Thanks Mindie ! I agree!

  • Janet

    I love this description of country life. Beautifully written and a perfect description of the life I love. I feel so blessed that we still have this type of lifestyle, where we know our local business owners and greet our friends and neightbors while doing our errands. Well done!

    • Lisa Steele

      Thank you Janet! Its so nice to read others who appreciate these same things.

  • nature gurl

    That’s a wonderful story. So glad you have found your niche.

    Continued blessings…

    • Lisa Steele

      Thank you Nature Gurl!

  • Marlana @handsomehomesteader

    I love this Lisa! My favorite part, paying with eggs 🙂 What a beautiful post and lovely story.

    • Lisa Steele

      Thanks Marlana! Fresh eggs do seem to be a method of payment around here.

  • Judi Reilly

    Great story Lisa…I think we farmers are the luckiest people in the world..I too raise chickens..sell eggs,,make jewelry out of the eggshells..just love the farm life..and love your blog..Keep on keeping on!! 🙂

  • obxster

    So many people in our little town know we raise chickens and give away the eggs they are always donating used cartons to the cause. We have more cartons than we would ever use right now. We are going to expand our flock next year and I know we will use them eventually. Nice story but I wouldn’t expect any less since all your blog posts are great.

  • Debra Ward

    Love reading your blog, and loved this as well! We have always had a flock of chickens and have 2 dozen eggs in the incubator now. Our first time trying this, we’ve always used a hen……excited to see how this turns out!

  • Congrats on getting chosen for the Ram Zone Blog. Your story was great. I enjoyed it very much.

  • Jo Anne Ashely Humes

    Thank you for reminding people of this kind of life style. I went on a chicken coop tour this weekend in my mothers hometown. She is 80 and still raising cattle. We stopped at 10 coops. Not sure how much visiting we did about the coop or chickens but my mother was visited by everyone. I told her when dropping her off at home that I was not sure if she was doing the visiting or was being visited by everyone else. It did remind me of where I came from even though I do not live there any more and it warmed my heart that so many offered to stopped by if she ever needed anything!

  • lynnknoone

    Wow! Great article for them to use as “first in the series”. I’m proud to say, “I knew her when…”

  • robert

    touch my soul thank you