Six years ago, we brought four hens home to our suburban back garden. Getting hens was a small move in a big world, but it signalled a change in our lives.
The hens connected us to our food, made us think about how we want to treat farmed animals, and to the ebb and flow of the seasons.
Keeping chickens transforms an egg from a store cupboard basic to a simple, precious pleasure.
Looking after animals still embedded in the natural world has reconnected us with the food on our plates and to the world around us.
Cracking frozen drinking water on a chilled December morning, the first egg as the days stretch out in early spring, to the hens scratching around dewy grass and frosted apples, has enriched our lives.
Now our scraps go out to hens, and their waste is composted down into rich, dark compost which we use to grow fruit and vegetables. Chicken shit is a good thing.
In our modern world of TVs and laptops, horror stories of animal abuse and processed food are many. Here, in our small back garden, there are good things happening.