You might have heard chatter lately that I'll be appearing on the new reality tv show Coop Dreams which will be airing this summer on Discovery's Destination America channel. Well, it's true - I was approached by the producers last winter, and unlike a few other reality shows that have been tossed my way, this show just smacked of good, clean (well except for some chicken poop and horse manure!) family fun.
After chatting back and forth with the producer for several months, my involvement was confirmed and contracts signed. So I flew to Indiana last Wednesday and just got back from filming an episode! Of course I wanted to share a sneak peek with you all!
I've never been to Indiana or Illinois before, so the drive from my hotel in Terra Haute, Indiana across the state line into Illinois and out to the farm where we would be filming was enjoyable - involving mostly corn fields, silos and farmhouses...
...although I did spot a Books-a-Million and stopped in, where I was happy to see my book featured prominently among several other chicken keeping books! Kudos to Indiana chicken keepers for keeping the demand high!
I continued on my drive and soon found the farm. On my way up the driveway, I stopped to chat with the family horses and noticed the gnats and flies swarming, necessitating fly masks and involving loads of tail swishing, so later in the day we talked a bit (Brad and I, not the horses and I!) about natural fly control in both the coop and around the horses - and I shared my all natural herbal fly spray recipe with Brad that I use in my own coop and on our horses.
After leaving the horses, I arrived at the beautiful Coop Dreams farmhouse and marveled over the Danish-inspired house and barn. I was warmly greeted by Brad and the rest of the production team and they invited me inside for coffee. Did I mention that these people speak my language?
Over coffee and danish (no coincidence there, I'm thinking!) served on a cool kitchen table made out of a wooden door with a pane of glass on top, the day was outlined for me. There would be no hair and makeup, no script to follow or lines to memorize, no marks to hit, nothing but honest-to-goodness 'reality'. I was miked for sound and off we went.
Over the course of the next few hours, we checked out Brad's coop, talked about first aid kits, ways to keep water clean, coop security and all sorts of other fun chicken stuff. We even looked for his missing chicken Pokey among the hay bales in the barn, thinking she might be broody and sitting on a hidden nest. No luck sadly.
Soon it was lunch time, so we took at break and headed out for a casual lunch at a local Mexican joint, but not before cleaning out the family fridge and making a pile of wilted salad greens, strawberry tops, expired yogurt and brown rice for the chickens to enjoy later.
Of course, we brought home the leftovers from lunch for the chickens, who enjoyed their first Mexican rice, refried beans and half a burrito, which inexplicably led to a coup - a hostile takeover of the flock staged by Wanda, who pushed the former alpha hen out of the top spot and shook up the entire pecking order, right before our eyes! But that's a story for another day.
After lunch, we stopped at the local garden center and picked up some herb plants. I explained a bit about the benefits of herbs for chicken health, and Brad chose a selection for his new herb garden. After a quick wardrobe change, we spent the afternoon planting the new container garden and also assembling a raised bed next to the coop which will be the location of a future vegetable garden for the chickens to enjoy. The afternoon's activities involved riding around in a Cub Cadet and shoveling horse manure, making me feel right at home!
Just for fun we made a fly-repelling thyme bouquet for the coop that would also double as a bedtime snack for the girls, and then sat, enthralled, to see if anyone would notice it or peck at it (p.s that would be a yes!)
Filming lasted well past dinnertime, so I even got to help turn the horses into their stalls and give them their dinner, which was fun. But forget Coop Dreams, the show should be called Stable Dreams! The barn is seriously to-die-for!
Over pizza, we all reflected on the day and chatted about this and that. I truly felt among friends. As the sun began to set, I realized it was time for me to head back to my hotel, so I bade everyone goodbye, wishing that this day didn't have to end. I love hanging out in the country, being around animals and among good, down-to-earth people. We took a few promo still shots and it was a wrap.
-Filming a tv show is hard work!-
Coop Dreams will air on Discovery's Destination America channel beginning on July 2nd (Channel 286 on Directway or Channel 194 on DISH). Be sure to tune in - I know I'll be watching. Check availability in your area using Discovery's Destination America channel finder.
Follow Coop Dreams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more behind-the-scenes fun, information about the show and special announcements! And watch the Coop Dreams trailer HERE!
My clothing for the shoot was provided by Duluth Trading Company and my footwear was from Crocs. Thanks to both companies for making such comfortable, well-made farm wear.
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