Thursday, May 19, 2011

Loving legacy helps you raise chickens wherever you live

In one of those remarkable twists of fate, young Englishwoman Minnie Rose was scheduled to sail across the Atlantic Ocean on the Titanic in 1912, but she grew restless when the ship wasn’t ready to sail, and she hopped on another ship. In 1920 she moved to Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, where she married Danish-born Leo Lovgreen, had a family and raised lots of chickens on what grew to become a thriving 170-acre dairy farm for 30 years.

When Minnie Rose Lovgreen died in 1975, little did she know that her practical, no-nonsense advice for raising happy chickens would help feed many thousands of people years later.

It seems now that more and more people are raising their own chickens every day. A young female hen will start laying eggs at about 6 months. She will lay about 20 dozen eggs in her first year --almost a thousand in her lifetime.

Over 100 North American cities now have bylaws allowing people to raise three to five chickens in an enclosed area, and many others are actively considering similar provisions. Baby chicks are one of the hottest sales items in local feed stores all across America.

And thankfully, to feed the growing frenzy, the 3rd edition of Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens is making it easy for chicken lovers everywhere, offering a lifetime of hard-earned experience and skill.

Nancy Rekow, a Bainbridge Island neighbor and friend explains. “Minnie Rose, a chicken lover and gifted storyteller, had always wanted to write a book on raising chickens, but was always too busy. Then in Nov., 1974, soon after her 86th birthday, she was diagnosed with cancer. So I took the ferry into Seattle, appeared in her hospital room with a tape recorder, and said, ‘Okay, Minnie Rose, now we're going to write your book.’" And they did.

“Here is the legacy of an amazing woman,” says Ms. Rekow, who hand-lettered the text and enlisted the support of neighbor Elizabeth Hutchison Zwick to illustrate the book that Minnie Rose dictated to Nancy shortly before her death six months later. “Over 25,000 copies of the book, now in its 3rd edition, have been sold.”

This little 36-page handwritten, staple-bound book is chock full of simple and economical ideas and advice on eggs, chicks, broody hens, laying hens and general chicken care.

Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s
Recipe for Raising Chickens
Edited by Nancy Rekow & Chaya Siegelbaum
Illustrated by Elizabeth Hutchison Zwick

List $13.00
ISBN 978-0-9824553-9-5
Third Edition published by NW Trillium Press, Bainbridge Island, Washington

Available in bookstores nationwide and online. For more information visit

From nesting, to egg laying, to hatching, to the care of chicks, and the psychology of hens, Minnie Rose offers charming, practical and down-to-earth guidance that will captivate you with warmth and wit.

You don’t even have to like chickens. One read through this whimsical and entertaining book and you’ll want to start your own flock.

Nancy Rekow and Everett Thompson have also recently released a new book—Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s tape-recorded story of her life--titled Far As I Can Remember: An Immigrant Woman’s Story 1888-1975.

When Minnie Rose and her husband retired, they sold the farm except for a few acres. They had a small house barged over from Seattle where they lived, raised chickens, apples and vegetables, and kept sheep. Their son planted Douglas fir trees, now about 50 feet tall, on both sides of the driveway, forming a cathedral-aisle of green to the house. Lovgreen Road on Bainbridge Island is named after Minnie Rose's family. Originally the road division misspelled their name, adding an "e" (Lovegreen). Minnie Rose then complained in a newspaper article, saying: "Somebody ought to change that sign." Many years after she died, somebody did.

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