Tag Archives: turkey

Havenscourt Homestead Update


Last time I visited Kitty she had just planted this native and drought tolerant garden in her front yard. It looks this great and she doesn’t even water it! Are you jealous?


This is such a cool idea: hanging teapot planters…I think everyone who came to the tour took photos of these..


Another really cool idea: snow peas on the security bars

Last Sunday I went to Kitty Sharkey’s for the Bay Friendly Garden Tour. Many people say it is the most popular stop on the tour and I don’t doubt it. Hundreds of people came by. She’s featured in Backyard Roots and her homestead was one of the first backyard farms I visited.  I think it’s time for an update….visit her site: havenscourthomestead.com

Please come by the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo in Berkeley  this Thursday May 9th at 7pm. I’ll be having a slideshow and  you can meet Kitty and her goats.


This handy device saves water and makes sure the goats always have fresh water. They just push on the end and water comes out. There’s a bucket below to catch the extra.


This is Pappy, one of Kitty’s newest additions, a shetland sheep. She says this breed is a primitive breed from Scotland. The sheep shed their wool once a year, a process called rooing. They aren’t shorn.


More new additions, Kitty recently got two Sebastapol Geese goslings (and she’s babysitting the other two).


This is Tony, a heritage Blue Slate turkey who spent the day trying to impress the hens.


To end a great day, we were sitting around when Kitty noticed a humm and saw a large swarm of bees above the yard. They found the open hive and settled right in. In 15 minutes the job was done.

Pallet Ideas for the Urban Farmer


While working on Backyard Roots I came across some great ways to use pallets. I loved this turkey coop that Tom Ferguson from Dog Island Farm made in Vallejo. He told me that he first built a frame out of 2x4s to fit the pallets, he then added pallet walls stuffed with straw and covered with chicken wire, then  added a plywood roof and  the door. A great coop idea if your climate doesn’t get too cold.


Here’s another coop idea below, that Maya Blow and Nevada Cross, Soulflower Farm, have in their El Sobrante Farm. They lined part of their coop with wood and added a recycled window. Soulflower Farm has some great classes coming up including Natural Beekeeping, Mushroom Cultivation, and Herbal Cleansing for Women at their East Bay Farm. Check them out.

Maya and Nevada's chicken coop made from old pallettes.

Below is Stacey Brewer’s herb planter, Seattle Seedling. She has a video on youtube explaining how she did it, but she basically stapled pockets out of landscape material and then planted herbs. Looks great!


And the last idea is Connie Van Dyke’s double wide composter out of 5 pallets screwed together into two U-shaped bins. Its helpful to have a double composter because once one side is filled you can start on the other. Connie composts one side for a full year. She checks the progress with a composting thermometer. The temperature needs to reach 140-150 degrees F to kill pathogens.