2013: We’re ready.

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Mikey in front of the newly constructed chicken coop holding a red star.

I hope you missed us. All of us. Critters and all. From the end of the 2012 season, we saw a constant wave of changes in our lives. We made the house at 5107 Chester Ave into a home. And in typical West/Southwest Philly fashion, we brought in a whole bunch of roommates!

It’s an exciting time. And though we say it every year: This will be our best year ever. Here are some of the reasons why…

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Andrew. Mulching the pathways of our new growing space sans raised beds.

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(Left to right) Tree top sunset. Chicken ravaged collard greens with arugula underplanted.

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Giblet lounging around the garden. The farm swing: probably the only thing that hasn’t changed over the course of 5 years.

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Kang Kong sprouts, seeds courtesy of my dad and uncle in the Philippines.

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Our Charlotte is so talented. Handmade veggie markers made out of slate. They look like little tombstones.

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Of carts and dogs.

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A bee in flight, in black and white.

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Andrew thinks i’m a wimp. It’s 100% true.

The completed/semi-completed construction of our home made us pretty damn happy campers. It’s refreshing to live in a home with space. From start to finish, the whole process was a blur. The only thing that comes to mind is a visual of a piggy bank being emptied upside down and dollar bills flowing into a giant money pit of a house.

It still feels that way. It probably will for a long, long, long…time.

But it’s a happy place for us, and a memory I personally will always cherish is spending my 26th birthday of last year in my new empty home with the ones that I love. And from those first few days in our house to now I am happy to see the comings and goings of friends and roommates, the ebb and flow of what it is to live in a home and a farm. If you asked me what the best part of living here is, it’s that any one of our friends, family or neighbors show up at random times. If you asked me what the worst part of living here is, it’s that  any one of our friends, family or neighbors show up at random times. But I digress.

Additionally, we’re seeing progress with the City in gaining ownership of the one vacant lot adjacent to 5107! Initially a daunting process dealing with however-the-hell-many agencies that own vacant property. But with the help of amazing, hard-working individuals like Amy Laura Cahn of PILCOP and countless others who are streamlining the Front Door process, we hope, pray and believe that it can and will be done.

Our beloved critters are all happy and healthy, for the most part. The idea of operating an urban farm always loses its romanticism when the kid next door unlatches the coop the night before you wake up at 6AM to find your carefully planted greens ravaged by  a sea of chickens in the garden. But it’s ok! Slaughtering our poultry for meat, once a nightmare and scary, now is second nature. We’ve come a long way from shaky hands, dull blades and hundreds of youtube videos with redneck twangs as we proceeded with the slaughter. My loving Andrew can do the whole process pretty much with his hands tied behind his back.

2012-2013 saw the addition of rabbits as well to the ever growing menagerie. Don’t worry, they escape too. Often with neighbors banging on our door concerned for their well-being from being smashed by a car and or trolley.

And the duck, too. She’s still alive and kicking. Often flying way across the rec center and a few blocks down to Kingsessing Ave. Don’t worry, the neighbors alerted us.

Oh. And we thank you for your concerns, but the famed West Philly Turkey surprisingly has nothing to do with us. (Side note: the turkey has a twitter)

We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our dedicated friends, family and neighbors who have continually helped us with emotional and physical support on our work parties. Who knew that tater tots, hot dogs and cheap beer could be such accepted currency for work like: removing raised beds, demolishing and rebuilding chicken coops, moving compost, building fences (Rob!), painting and sanding posts (Michael!), moving wood pile from point A, to point B and back to point A again without any complaints. If you looked at the photos above, you’ll notice that our space is a lot more open, with more room for growing edibles. Facelift! #wevehadsomeworkdone.

Currently we have the usual things in the ground. Expect to hear from us soon on the announcement of our first farmstand of 2013 where we’ll likely sell turnips, lettuces, greens, radishes, herbs, eggs, honey and cut flowers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some chickens to chase.

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