The shabby chicken coops of Old McDonald’s farm might look out of place in the city, but thanks to architect Traci Fontyn, owner and founder of Bothell’s Kippen House chicken coops (kippenhouse.com), urban dwellers can still enjoy fresh, organic eggs from their own small lots. These cool coops combine chicken housing with human gardening for a fully sustainable system that not only looks sleek (we love the modern, Scandinavian design), but is simple to maintain. Standard coops ($875 fully installed) are 3 feet by 6 feet 7 inches by 4 feet, and made from outdoor-tough cedar, local fir and pine. (Custom-designed coops are also available.) Each includes space for a garden (on the roof of the coop or as a vertical garden down the side), wall panels made from your choice of material (wood or wire), and a locked nesting box to keep those eggs safe. The best part? The self-sustaining mini ecosystem created by the design: The garden feeds the chickens, the chicken manure helps the garden grow and—provided you feed and water them like a good farmer should—both the garden and the chickens will feed you, too.
Can we agree—no matter how lowly you rate the importance of this holiday—that when you don’t have a special someone on February 14, it can leave a bit of a mark?
I wanted my husband and I to be our children’s first valentines, to shape their impressions of this holiday and teach them it’s not merely about romance, but about love.
To do this you don’t have to buy special decorations or bake extravagant treats. You get to decide what fits you and your family.
We keep it fairly simple. If it’s a school day, we make a special breakfast. One year it was strawberry smoothies served in goblets and doilies on the plates. Paul’s specialty is Belgian waffles, and several years he has made those. Last year one of the kids had an early-morning surgery, so it was simply cards on their plates at dinner and small boxes of chocolate.
I have fun selecting cards for each of the kids: a beautiful one for Lydia, jokey for Christopher and anything dogs or puppies for Eden, with a priority on pugs.