Chicken Scratch

Yes, you can call her the chicken lady. And no, her name is not Tilly. You may recognize Melissa Caughey from her award-winning blog Tilly’s Nest, where she chronicles life-nurturing honeybees and chickens in her garden.

You may also recognize her from her debut book, “A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens” (Storey Publishing, March 2015). It offers practical advice on breeds, chicken chores and raising a healthy flock, and also features fun ideas on cooking eggs, crafting and training the chickens. 

Tilly was Caughey’s beloved Buff Orpington. What began as a way to connect her kids to nature, with the added perk of farm fresh eggs, has turned into something more. “I have learned life lessons from my flock about friendship and encouragement,” says Caughey, who keeps 11 hens in her Osterville backyard.

Caughey’s writing has earned her a national spotlight as a regular contributor to HGTV Gardens and as a featured speaker at the 2015 Country Living Fairs. She also sits on the Barnstable Agricultural Commission.

Her training as a nurse practitioner comes in handy when dealing with pests or illness in the coop. It may also help her stay clearheaded, like the time when a few honeybees escaped during transport and crawled up her pant leg while she was
driving down the highway.

“I surprised myself and thought, ‘This is one of those keep cool moments,’” Caughey says. Keep cool she did and then went on to share it with good humor at Tilly’s Nest.— Kimberly Hatfield

Melissa Caughey will speak at 10 a.m. July 18 at the Centerville Public Library and at Sandwich Public Library
at 10 a.m. on July 30.

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