22 February 2012

Review; The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow



The Book:

Do you know where the "alula" is on your chicken? Do you have an Andalusian or an Aracuna? Are you trying to figure out if you chicken has "omphalitis"? Do you even know what any of these words mean? With The Chicken Encyclopedia, you will have the definitions to all of these and more at your fingertips.




The Yarn:


Gail Damerow is a well-known name when it comes to chickens, having written the Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and The Chicken Health Handbook. In The Chicken Encyclopedia, Damerow gathers an A to Z guide for chicken owners and enthusiasts. At over 300 pages, this book is a comprehensive reference to terms used for breeds, anatomy, disease and more. Special highlights on some topics, such as "beak trimming", "droppings" and "self-sufficient breeds",  plus color illustrations provide an expansive overview to everything chicken.

While maybe not a book that you will spend leisurely reading cover to cover, The Chicken Encyclopedia is a must for those owning chickens. There is always something to learn, and Gail Damerow has provided a bright, accessible and informative reference.

The Ink:

Title: The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference
Author: Gail Damerow
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Date: January 2012
Read: NetGalley e-ARC (provided by publisher)

15 February 2012

Review: The Fresh Egg Cookbook by Jennifer Trainer Thompson


The Book:


With the prevalence of backyard chicken owners, farmers markets and local farms, having access to fresh eggs is much easier than it has been. In fact, if you own chickens, sometimes you wonder what you can do with all of them. Fear no more, as The Fresh Egg Cookbook will take you "From Chicken to Kitchen" and give you a wealth of recipes to choose from.





The Yarn:

The Fresh Egg Cookbook comes at a time when more and more people are becoming chicken owners and finding themselves with a surplus of eggs. In her introduction, Jennifer Trainer Thompson details her journey to becoming a chicken owner in Western Massachusetts. Before launching into recipes, Thompson discusses good breeds for eggs and other questions about eggs that others may have.

The chapters outline the "Classics" of egg use in condiments like mayonnaise and Bearnaise sauce, then onto the meals. The ranges of soft- to hard-boiled eggs to the Tex-Mex migas, fried egg sandwiches to a wild mushroom ragout with poached eggs will please many. Thompson also gives ideas for what to do with those big excesses, with recipes for deviled eggs and pickled eggs. Chapters on vegetarian dishes and desserts round out the recipes. Interspersed in the chapters are vignettes about her own experiences with raising chickens. Colorful photographs of both family and food provide a great backdrop to the text.

The Fresh Egg Cookbook is a welcome addition to specialized cooking manuals. By no means exhaustive, a nice range of recipes is included. While most of the text is devoted to the meals that can be made, the personal stories are fun and make a great addition to an already lovely cookbook.


The Ink:

Title: The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen: Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms and Your Own Backyard
Author: Jennifer Trainer Thompson
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Date: February 2012
Read: NetGalley e-ARC (provided by publisher)

08 February 2012

Review: Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom



The Book:

It would seem that chickens and gardens should go hand-in-hand (or leaf-in-wing?) but of course you do not want your flock to eat every piece of bounty that will come through the seasons. In Free-Range Chicken Gardens, Jessi Bloom addresses how to create a space where both your flock and your vegetables can co-exist peacefully and beautifully.



The Yarn:

Free-Range Chicken Gardens is, at its essence, a how-to book both for managing a small flock of chickens in your backyard and make your backyard gardens chicken-friendly. Free-ranging provides a healthy diet for chickens, but there are a lot more plants than I realized that are poisonous or otherwise detrimental to chickens. Bloom gives coherent lists on both those and the best kids of plants to have with your birds. Chapters such as "landscape materials for chicken gardens" and "plants with purpose" will give a broad overview for any gardener ideas for their garden beds. Integrating your chickens into the backyard garden takes more than just plants, and her chapter on "innovative chicken housing" not only gives the basics, but does extra duty on how to install a greenhouse chicken coop and other garden-friendly ideas. Beautiful full-color photos of Bloom's backyard space, along with several others, gives support and inspiration to readers.

Jessi Bloom is an experienced landscape designer and chicken owner, and her knowledge comes across in a accessible and easy way in this book. While free-ranging chickens may not be practical (or in some cases legal) for many backyard gardeners, Free-Range Chicken Gardens provides a comprehensive overview and I believe will be a great addition to any urban homesteader or gardener's shelves.

The Ink:

Title: Free-Range Chicken Gardens
Author: Jessi Bloom
Publisher: Timber Press
Date: January 2012
Read: NetGalley e-ARC (provided by publisher)

07 February 2012

Barnheart Winner

Congratulations to Jessica! You will be receiving a copy of Jenna Woginrich's book, courtesy of Storey Publishing. I will be in touch with you today with further details. To all who know they have Barnheart, keep pursuing your dreams!

02 February 2012

Giveaway: Barnheart

If you long for the days that will get you back outside in the sun, digging in the garden, looking at chicken coop plans, then it is likely that you have heard of Jenna Woginrich.



Author of the popular Made From Scratch and Chick Days, her latest book is Barnheart, which I reviewed on the blog yesterday. I was looking forward to this one so much I leaped at grabbing a copy from the store as soon as I could last month. Little did I know that Storey Publishing would be sending me a review copy also. This means I have a copy available for my readers!

This giveaway will be a little different than the others. Just leave a comment below about your Barnheart (if you have it!). How do you express it? What are you still hoping to do?

I have my garden space in back, and try to can and preserve through the seasons. I have spearheaded a campaign to allow chicken hens in our fair city, and right now it is in committee. One day, I hope to have the land and space for more, but until then I will fulfill my Barnheart the ways that I can.

The Rules: Giveaway ends at 9 PM Monday, Feb 6. Winner will be announced on the blog Tuesday morning. One comment per person; please make sure that you include your email one way or another on the comment so I can contact you! The book will be mailed directly from me, so I will get your information that day.

Good luck!


01 February 2012

Review: Barnheart by Jenna Woginrich

The Book:

While many people are content to dabble in gardening, maybe raise a few chickens, there are some that find it just scratches the farm itch. Being able to act on those desires can take a great leap of faith. Jenna Woginrich made that leap, from Idaho to Vermont to New York. For all of those who feel the same way, the author admits this is an illness that can only be cured by sun, dirt and the sounds of the barn. This, my friends, is Barnheart.

The Yarn:

I first heard of Jenna Woginrich with her first book, Made From Scratch, and have been reading her blog, Cold Antler Farm, since then. Farming has become chic to a lot of people; urban homesteading is growing by leaps and bounds, as you can see from any bookstore or libraries' shelves. However, there are many who are not doing it to just be part of the culture that it has become, but because their lives need it.

Barnheart chronicles Woginrich's journey back to the East Coast and her time in Vermont, plus her acquisition of the homestead she has now in upstate New York. Farming is not an easy life, and Woginrich does not back away from the lean times, the solitude, the mistakes, the fear that came with her decisions. Failure is always a possibility; failure happens. (Anyone who has followed Neysa's journey on Homegrown.org will know it does.) Beyond this, there is success also, and Woginrich shares the joy of walking the path to achieving her dream, her life goals, one step at a time.

What I really enjoyed was the changes in writing from her first book to this one. There is an amount of self-revelation that Woginrich has given her readers which was not evident in the first book. While this would definitely not be considered a Photoshopped version of farming, there is a depth of self-awareness and analysis in Barnheart that I do not remember from Made From Scratch. What Barnheart emphasizes is the perseverance, even knowing the failures and downsides. Because as Woginrich points out time and time again, Barnheart is not about a pastime - it is a way of life.

The Ink:

Title: Barnheart
Author: Jenna Woginrich
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Date: December 2011
Read: Purchased copy