Old Fashioned “Barn” Raising

     photos by Susan Pollard

The weather couldn’t have been ordered up more perfectly than it was delivered for the “Barn” Raising event at Eden’s Organic Garden Center & CSA Farm in Balch Springs yesterday. Everyone, it seems, loves fresh, natural, “yard-eggs”. Marie was selling her eggs through her CSA and on-farm market, when the supply was sufficient. Availability can be a real problem, however, when predators moved in to her urban farm where her chickens enjoy total and absolute “free-range”. “The recent drought has moved predators in much closer than ever before in the 10 years there have been chickens here.” Says, Marie Tedei, owner of Eden’s.  

Recently a bobcat took out seven of her flock in as many days. Stray dogs, coyote and other nocturnal critters will take mass numbers of victims out at a time even breaking into small coops. This once larger flock of thirty or so birds is down to three birds from the original Ameracauna blood line started on the farm 10 years ago and a handful of mixed breed birds. Those beautiful bluish, greenish and pastel pink eggs are mixed with light brown eggs for a rainbow dozen.

One way to combat this problem is with moveable electrical poultry netting and a mobile coop to follow the chickens around to fresh grass. A volunteer day was created around helping get this coop built on top of an old donated trailer. It was a great success. While there are still a few finishing touches to be made before the girls can move in, the lay out and setting of a 6’ tall fence was also worked on, to help keep in the new Livestock Guard Dog – Snow White – who watched the flurry of activity all day.

All in all 16 people showed up over the course of two days to help Marie create a safe haven for her chickens. Chef Jeffery Hobbs of the soon to open Sissy’s prepared a stew pot full of red beans and rice with a tasty grass fed beef summer sausage provided by members of Marie’s CSA and The Local Yocal Farm to Market in McKinney. Marie made cornbread to go with the main dish. The potluck dishes included everything from fresh squash soup, to home made pizza.

Many using farm fresh veggies, and in honor of what was coming, a tray of deviled eggs was served. Bedford Bakery provided some of the breads including delicious onion rolls and “farmers” bread, a perfectly simple white loaf that went great with everything.

Other local notables attending this event included Ben Calais from Calais Winery who designed and helped frame the coop, Susan Pollard of The Texas Honeybee Guild, Nanci Taylor publisher of Edible Dallas & Fort Worth as well as Steve Carslon one of the founding members of Slow Money DFW.


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