2017 in a Nutshell (or Should I Say Eggshell?)

December 31, 2017

2017 has been amazing year! Mostly thanks to YOU my readers who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way and to my wonderfully generous sponsors who make it possible for me to sit at home in my jammies with a cup of coffee in one hand and do what I do! Well, not really, but I always say that a bad day on the farm beats the best day in a cubicle! So I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has made Fresh Eggs Daily not only possible, but a success! So on this, the last day of the year, I thought it would be fun to look back at the past twelve months and recap the highlights.


With a relatively new book Gardening with Chickens that had just come out before last Christmas, my January was kept busy with interviews for several gardening radio shows. I was featured in both the Country Journal and American Farmhouse Style magazines,  but the highlight was traveling down to Portland to appear on 207the local NBC affiliate's talk show, to promote my new book. 

In January, I also signed a contract with my publisher Quarto Press to write a children's book. Over the course of the next few months, whenever I had a free minute I found myself learning to write for the 5-8 year old crowd!


In February I traveled to Seattle (my first time there!) to speak at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show and do several book signings. I was also treated to a tour of the area by my friend Brian (who you likely know as The Real Housewife of Snohomish County) and had dinner with friends from Virginia who moved to the West Coast. I ate wonderful salmon and sushi, visited the original Starbucks store and shopped at a cute little yarn shop on Bainbridge Island after a ferry ride that included beautiful views.

After returning from my trip, I was excited to appear on Good Morning Maine. Violet accompanied me, which marked her television talk show debut!


Chick Days meant lots of travel. This year I visited feed stores in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. It was so much fun to meet so many of you in person, sign your books and help you pick out some new baby chicks. I also taught several local adult ed classes on getting started with backyard chickens here in Maine.

A new episode of my TV Show Fresh Eggs Daily with Lisa Steele aired in March, following the premier of the pilot episode back in 2016.


April brought more travel for Chick Days - this time to feed stores in Vermont and New Hampshire. In between store appearances, I visited Ben & Jerry's and enjoyed the tour and some ice cream samples! In between all the travel, we had been working on renovating our kitchen, so it was nice to finally be home after my last trip and have time to enjoy cooking on my new LaCanche range complete with a new countertop and white subway tile backsplash!

I also came home to find the April issue of Down East Magazine in my mailbox. It was exciting to be featured in this special edition guest edited by Martha Stewart! She even wrote a sidebar for the article.


In May, I was approached about developing a private label line of chicken products. After several months and several meetings around the country, the idea didn't pan out, but I did learn a lot about manufacturing, distribution, wholesale,  and licensing agreements and felt ready to tackle the project with a different manufacturer. I figured it was time to put my degree in Business Management and Accounting to good use and really start to expand and grow the Fresh Eggs Daily brand.

At the end of May, I traveled west to Fryeburg to speak at the Fryeburg Flower Festival which was hosted by HGTV and DIY Network. I was excited to meet HGTV star Chris Lambton and his wife Peyton (for those Bachelor fans, yes, THAT Chris and THAT Peyton!) and give them a signed copy of my book. It seems that Chris wants chickens, his wife doesn't...so hopefully my book will give Chris a bit of an upper hand in that argument!)

In May I also signed a contract with my publisher for my next book. I can't share too much about that yet, but it will be coming out next fall and I know you're going to love it.


In June I headed to Texas. I was invited to visit the Texas A&M Entomology Department by Dr. Jeffery Tomberlin who is the laboratory director and principal investigator of the FLIES (Forensic Laboratory for Investigative Entomological Sciences) Laboratory. He gave me a personal tour of the facility and a crash course on black soldier fly larvae which are becoming a very viable protein and calcium source for chickens. I enjoyed some great Texas barbeque while I was there.

Later in June, I hatched chicks from eggs I had received from My Pet Chicken and a few weeks later the WPXT/WPME film crew arrived to shoot some footage of them for a future television show and also get some photographs of them for my new book. The Littles made their TV debut at a very young age!


July brought more travel. This time to Las Vegas where I attended Super  Zoo, which is one of the largest pet trade expo in the country. It was so much fun to see all the new chicken, dog and cat products being promoted, as well as meet people from several companies I work with in person.  It was fun to meet The Incredible Dr. Pol and his wife and take a photo with them!


In August, I spent some time painting the raised bed gardens at a community garden in Bangor as part of my community service for the Master Gardener program before heading out to California. Fall Chick Days began with feed store appearances in two California towns, then I headed out to meet John Metzer and tour his duck farm. I've worked with John for years and it was such a pleasure to visit his farm and to be able to watch ducklings hatching and then be boxed up to ship to customers nationwide. 

Then the last weekend in August, I attended my friend Jason Harris' grand opening of his turkey farm right here in West Newfield, Maine and sampled some of Harris Turkey Farm's famous pot pie and cranberry relish!


The third episode (the Fall Show) of my TV show aired in September.  September was busy with photo shoots for my new book, as well as a trip to the beautiful Camden waterfront to have a business lunch at a charming dockside restaurant (Camden is a gorgeous little town if you ever have the chance to visit). I volunteered at the Dahlia Festival in Old Town and then headed to Texas.  

Fall Chick Days was in full swing there, and I met so many friendly Texans during my feed store appearances. I was so excited to also be able to visit the Silos and Magnolia Market while I was in Waco, and even drove by Chip and Joanna's house!


In October I headed back to California. This time, I was scheduled to appear on the San Diego morning news show on the CW. After that, I headed north to LA where I spent a few days with my friend Kate from Drinking with Chickens - it was SO fun to meet her in person! She's just as sweet and cool in person as she seems from her Instagram feed She was kind enough to let me bunk at her house and then accompanied me to a filming of the Hallmark Home & Family show. We loaded up her chickens and brought a few with us and had such a blast on the set! We even had our own trailer.! 

And it was so fun that Kate's chicken Veruca could stand in for my Violet for the segment on the show!
For those Bachelor fans - myself included (hey, don't judge, everyone has their vices!) - having Ali Fedotowsky guest hosting the show was just icing on the cake. She was super sweet and we even took a selfie video together! Also a guest on the show was Chef Damaris Phillips who co-stars with Bobby Flay on the Bobby and Damaris Show. She is also a sweetie and it was fun to chat with her for a bit between takes about the challenges that social media brings with it.


November found us filming another episode of my TV show and then Winston and I filmed a commercial for Blue Seal dog food.  At the end of the month, my husband and I enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving with friends. It was nice to have a quiet month to regroup, finish writing my next book and get ready for the holidays. 


The winter episode of my TV show aired in December. I think it's the best episode yet! We have four more episodes scheduled for 2018 and will be filming more episodes in the coming year that will air in 2019.

In early December, I headed to Connecticut to attend a holiday store event at the Litchfield Blue Seal store. Afterwards, I stopped for ice cream in the middle of a snowstorm at Arethusa Farm Dairy (yes, really and it was totally worth it!) and then spent the night at Cool Breeze Boer Goat Farm. First thing the next morning, I hopped a train to Manhattan. It was so exciting to be back in New York City! I worked on Wall Street for several years after college, and haven't been back in years. I had a few meetings downtown, then stopped in for a tour of Harper Collins where friend and food blogger Kate Morgan Jackson is a senior editor. 

After meeting a friend who was also in the City for business, and a quick trip to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, we got all dressed up and headed to a holiday soiree hosted by LaCanche - the people who made my stove. It was a wonderful party, attended by James Beard award-winning Chef Amy Chaplin , Martha Stewart's web designer and Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef. It certainly was an interesting and eclectic group of attendees! I wrapped up my New York trip and headed home just in time to go cut down our Christmas tree and decorate our home and chicken coop for Christmas!

And so that was my year in an eggshell. In between all the travel, I also managed to write 112 blog posts and who knows how many Facebook posts, and also share hundreds and hundreds of photos on Instagram. 

So what's in store for the new year? Well I have lots planned for 2018 including TWO new books, a brand new product line that should hit retail shelves soon, and of course more episodes of my TV show.  I'll be writing a regular advice column in Chickens Magazine - like a Dear Abby for chicken keepers! This spring I am going to be adding a few more ducks to my flock, and keep pressing my husband for a few goats, donkeys and geese. (Wish me luck on that!) And I have a few surprises up my sleeve as well! Oh, and I plan on (finally) organizing my spice drawer!

I will also continue to share solid, accurate chicken keeping advice and tips to help you keep your girls happy and healthy into the new year and am excited to celebrate Charlotte, our Australorp's, ninth birthday in February.  I will be working with the best companies in the industry to promote their products, and also have some products of my own to share with you. I hope you'll continue to stick around and share my journey with me.

Happy New Year!

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