We arrived back home New Years Day from the Urbana conference in St Louis.  Where our son John lives and raises seven chickens in the backyard on Arsenal Street.

They are hens and after weeks of wondering if they would ever produce now provide three dozen eggs a week.  IMG_1068They also provide wonderment to John’s neighbors.  He showed me photos of young people and older residents of his Benton Park neighborhood who participate in Salvation Army activities on the other side of Arsenal.  Holding a hen.  Collecting eggs.  Sometimes staring with wary delight at these city chickens.  These city dwellers make a field trip across the street to an urban farm.

It seems incongruous.  Farm life in the city.  But John says there are others in the neighborhood raising chickens and growing vegetables.Betsy gardening with the children  Summer 2012

Today the Chicago Tribune features a king of compost.

Lisa Boone writes of Steven Wynbrandt who lives in Los Angeles and sells at $1 a pound rich dark organic material from the compost heap he’s created in his backyard.

“I’m an alchemist,” Wynbrand says.  His mother June agrees. “It’s more than beautiful.”  Looking out the kitchen window she says “it’s magical.”

Wynbrandt Farm

Check out Steven’s page for the Wynbrandt Farm and Wynbrandt Biodynamic Compost.

There is something magical, wonderful about finding fresh eggs and vegetables in LA, inner city St Louis or a number of cities across the USA.  Even strutting peacocks in yards near Woodward Avenue in Detroit.  It made me slow down to make sure that it was what I thought I saw.

As children it mystified us.  The green sprout growing out of a seed wrapped in a moist paper towel.

And now as urban dwellers we are surprised, and delighted by this echo of our agrarian ancestors now returning to us.