My Urban Farming Epic Fail
It started as four college roommates with a hunger for farm-fresh food and a penchant for pet puns. It ended with dead ducks, grumpy goats, and a horrific mercy killing gone wrong.
Illustrations by Chris Cilla
Like many Portland autumn skies, the gray Sunday clouds passed over us in one great low-hanging mass. The four of us, twenty-something college roommates from all over the United States, stood in front of the home of a chicken vendor we found on Craigslist. The home was thirty minutes east of the city. I expected a rural scene with wide pasture and a red barn; instead I found a prefabricated house in a subdivision of large, empty lots. I wondered if we were in the right place. A chubby young teen answered the door.
“Are you here to see the birds?” he asked.
The boy led us around back. The backyard was half the size of a football field and packed with wooden coops that contained hundreds of chickens, ducks, quails and geese. The place smelled of vinegar and gym socks.
“Here they are,” said the boy, pointing to four birds behind a wire fence. There they were. The birds were smaller than they appeared online. Only one of them looked like a proper plump and motherl…