Tag Archives: chickens

Roundup: Ambulance, Chickens, Girls Who Code …

=====================================================

It’s hard to believe, but Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service — the men and women who save lives, patch wounds and do everything in between — have to fund raise for nearly all their needs.

From ambulances to Band-Aids, they depend on all of us.

The Westport Woman’s Club is helping, big-time. Yesterday, Westport’s 115-year-old civic organization made it official: They’re providing $300,000 for a new ambulance.

Half the funds come from the club itself. The other half comes from a member’s anonymous contribution.

That’s just part of the WWC’s good works. They recently awarded $39,000 to Fairfield County non-profits. Soon, they’ll grant $36,000 in scholarships to Staples High School seniors.

WVEMS thanks the WWC. And every Westporter should join “06880” in thanking both import life-saving, and life-changing, groups.

Police, town, EMS and Westport Woman’s Club officials, with a $300,000 check. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

=======================================================

Media personality David Briggs has interviewed some heavy hitters in his career.

But, he says, actor/filmmaker/director/martial artist/studio head Michael Jai White was “the most inspirational person” he’s ever talked with.

The InstagramLive interview is deep and intriguing (see below). And you can see — and listen to — White live and in person tomorrow.

He kicks off the 2nd day of the Westport Library’s VersoFest — a music-and-media extravaganza modeled on South by Southwest — with an 11 a.m. keynote address. It’s free, as are nearly all the events starting today.

Click here for a full schedule and more details — including 3 big concerts.

=======================================================

Bwwaack, bwwaack!

Wakeman Town Farm is crowing about its “egg-cellent” 3-session series: an introduction to raising chickens responsibly at home.

Whether you attend just one, two or all three of the sessions, you’ll  have a chance to bring home 2 Farm-raised chicks, along with a handy starter pack, (feeder, waterer, wood shavings, and 5-pound bag of organic feed).

Instructors include WTF staff and “local chicken experts.”

Session 1 (April 26, 7 p.m., $40): “Introduction and Starting Your Flock” covers how chickens can enrich your life; positive environmental impacts; chicken facts and anatomy; starting a flock, dos and don’ts and more.

Session 2 (May 17, 7 p.m., $55): “Coop, Habitat, Environment and Basic Needs” includes housing and spacing issues, free range pros and cons, local zoning, and creating a happy, stress-free environment.

Session 3 (June 21, 7 p.m., $55): “Products, Maintaining Your Flock, Behavior and Physical Health” offers product recommendations, plus coop maintenance and advice on physical behavior and disease.

Click here to register, and for more information.

Wakeman Town Farm’s mobile chicken coop.

====================================================

Westport Sunrise Rotary’s contribution of $5,000 to the only coding school for girls in Afghanistan has gone a long way.

It helped ensure that 160 females ages 15 to 24 had access to computers — including 12 laptops purchased through the grant — in class and at home during COVID lockdowns, then following the rise of the Taliban when the school was closed.

Twenty girls and women have already received remote jobs, ranging from design and animation to website development. They have earned $10,000 — an enormous sum in that impoverished country.

=======================================================

Zoe Brown is a go-getter.

Since graduating from Staples High School in 2015, and the University of Southern California, she’s been a producer’s assistant on “Love, Victor” and
“Euphoria.” Season 2. Zoe now works for the president of the K Period Media production company.

In her free time she produced a short web series (“LolaMay”) and a short film (“Great White Lies”). In 2020 Zoe co-founded the Mental Health Content Collective.

(Oh, yeah — she’s also been a tutor, restaurant hostess, communications intern for the Two Oh Three lifestyle brand, babysitter, Challah Connection worker, jewelry designer helper, and started a greeting card/poster business).

Now Zoe has joined a few other young creative-types to produce a play.

“Get It Together” is a woman-led comedy/drama about 2 alienated kids finding a sad, imperfect, real romance at the most confusing time of their lives: stuck between home and the rest of the world.

Since premiering at Boston College in 2018, the play has won awards at the NYC Indie and Denver Fringe Festivals.

Zoe and her crew are raising funds to pay for the crew, set, props, marketing and LA’s Zephyr Theater. To help with a tax-deductible contribution, click here.

Zoe Brown

=====================================================

Westport artist/author/illustrator Elaine Clayton as she discusses those topics (and more) as she celebrates her newest book, “The Way of the Empath: How Compassion, Empathy and Intuition Can Heal Your World.”

The in-person and virtual event is set for the Westport Library on April 20 (7 p.m.).

Her book mentions fellow Westport artist/author Miggs Burroughs’ book “What If?” Clayton says his art “shifts people and communities into a place of compassion.”

No prior experience is needed — just curiosity, and a willingness to be open and have fun. Click here to register, and for more information.

=======================================================

Nancy (Roach) Tanzer — a longtime social studies teacher at Bedford Middle and Staples High Schools — died March 29 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She was 92, and suffered from congestive heart failure.

She grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nancy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. She played lacrosse there, and was one of the few women enrolled in business classes.

She began her career in advertising and public relations, where she met her first husband, Duane Roach. After starting a family, Nancy earned a master’s degree in education at Fairfield University and became a history teacher.

Throughout her 20-year career in Westport, she impacted the lives of students in the classroom, and through ski trips and outdoor backpacking adventures. She spent her summers racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. When her children were in college, Nancy became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.

Nancy enjoyed the peacefulness of Vermont, and had a vacation/retirement home built there. During a sabbatical year from teaching, she lived in her Vermont home and earned a second master’s degree at Dartmouth College. While there she met Henry Tanzer, who shared her love of the Vermont lifestyle.

After retiring to Vermont with Henry, Nancy volunteered reenacting historical events at Billings Farm and Museum, and giving presentations at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

She enjoyed playing bridge, was president of the garden club, and an active member and trustee of the senior center.

She skied at Killington and Okemo well into her 70s. Her love of travel brought her to 36 countries, and she saw 5 of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

Nancy was predeceased by Duane Roach and Henry Tanzer. She is survived by her daughter Deborah (Jeff) Lasala of Scituate, Massachusetts; son Jeff (Susan) Roach of St. Charles, Missouri; her granddaughter Mary (Jake) Genthon and her husband Jake of Ballwin, Missouri, and the Tanzer and Benjamin families of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Nancy was passionate about the work of Doctors without Borders, the World Wildlife Fund, and St. Jude’s children’s hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of those causes.

Nancy Tanzer

====================================================

Are you a chicken person (see story above) or a turkey person (read on!).

Dianne Behrmann has had 12 turkeys in her Partrick Road back yard. She thinks they live in the nearby wetlands.

“They came running down the driveway one morning, had breakfast and left,” she says.

She took this photo for our “Westport … Naturally” feature, adding: “This is the first time I saw the males all puffed up and making lots of noise. Many gobbles!”

(Photo/Dianne Behrmann)

=======================================================

And finally … Francisco González, a founding member of Los Lobos, died recently. He was 68, and had been diagnosed with cancer.

The group blended “rock-and-roll and R&B, surf music and soul, mariachi and música norteña, punk rock and country,” their website says. NPR called it “Chicano hippies playing mariachi music.” Click here for a full obituary.

Check Out These Chicks!

Growing up in Maryland, Elizabeth Beller was surrounded by gardens and animals.

Her father — a naturalist — was into sustainable agriculture long before it became a buzzword.  Her grandfather raised Rhode Island reds, and had a compost garden long before it became popular.

Elizabeth was the weeder.  She loved the fresh vegetables, but the rest — meh.

Elizabeth Beller

For many years as an adult, Elizabeth did not have a garden.  But after moving to Westport 4 years ago she got into yoga and massage therapy.   She saw connections between the human body and what goes into it.

She wanted her children — now 17 and 11 — to understand the food they were eating.  “They needed to know that eggs came from chicken’s bottoms,” she says.

Her kids’ reactions:  “Eeew!”

Undeterred, Elizabeth researched the most effective ways to raise chickens.  A crucial idea:  putting the coop no more than 25 yards from the back door.

Which is how — right outside her West Ambler Road house — Elizabeth is raising 6 adult chickens, and 9 baby chicks.

The 8×8 coop — with an attached 8×16 run — plot is completely deer-proof.  (Woodchuck-proof too, thanks to her dogs.)

The birds are hardy, bred to survive harsh winters.  “They all huddle together,” Elizabeth says.

A few of the Bellers' eggs.The menagerie includes a variety of breeds. They're colorful -- and they lay colorful eggs. Some are green, others chocolate (the color, not the flavor). The bantams lay little eggs -- but they're very rich and tasty.Her eggs, Elizabeth says, "look nothing like the market. They're all different sizes and shapes."

Her families eat the chickens’ eggs — every day.  So do the dogs.  Theirs are fried — resulting, Elizabeth says, in “beautiful coats.”

Leftovers go to the Bellers’ friends.  They are grateful — but they often have questions.

Most common:  “Where’s the rooster?”

“There is none,” Elizabeth replies.  “You need one to make baby chickens — but not eggs.”

A while ago Elizabeth and her daughter Brie decided to chronicle their life.  The result is Simply Chicks, a blog dedicated to all things chicken.

Brie Beller and friend.

“We share our adventures, misadventures and problems,” Elizabeth says.  “It’s nice to hear different perspectives.”  The blog has attracted readers as far as California, Australia and New Zealand.

“Chickens are great pets for kids, especially if they have dog or cat allergies,” Elizabeth notes.  “Chickens are affectionate.  They’re fast too.  Watching kids run after them is better than a swing set.  It’s a game, and kids get totally exhausted.”

Chickens serve another purpose, Elizabeth says.  They allow her family to be part of the food process “without the hassle of a vegetable garden.”

Once you start raising chicks, she adds, you want more.  “It’s like eating potato chips,” she says.

But much healthier.