Being family owned for almost 130 years, one of our absolute favorite things is collaborating and learning about the families that wear Western Chief! Join us as we have a virtual "porch chat" with Hannah of @muddyoakhenhouse, one of our well-loved friends and brand partners. She was SO much fun to chat with, and offers relatable advice and lots of laughs!
We love your Instagram handle! How did the name "Muddy Oak Hen House" come to be?
In 2016, we got our barn fixed up (it was one good wind storm in from caving and half sunk into the ground due to footers sinking) and I decided I needed chickens. I wanted to share our adventures of starting our first flock so I started an Instagram!
Muddy Waters is one of my most favorite blues [artists] and I love the roots of a good oak tree. They tell the story of the years its seen. I wanted our Instagram to do just that, represent what I love and tell our story of the years we have seen. So. Muddy Oak came to life. Turns out its super fitting for how muddy our property gets in fall and spring.
Describe yourself/your family in 5 words!
Sheer chaos.... adventurous... messy, and learners.
How many chickens do you have and what are their names?
I have about 29. We are still working on names. But we have Big Mama. She is the most beautiful gray hen and the biggest in the coop. Raven. Kate. And the golden girls. It's hard for me naming them. Not because I don't want to, but because I wait until they show their personality or a name stands out for that hen.
What are your favorite activities to do as a family?
We LOVE going to the local parks and state parks for hiking and exploring. The zoo is a summer favorite. And we love sitting on our front porch together. We often eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out on the porch while the weather is nice.
Have you picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?
Oddly enough, I think the only thing that really is new during quarantine is taking in house plants. You know how folks said "quarantine 15" in regards to eating more and gaining weight? Well, my quarantine 15 was put on in the form of house plants. All the house plants. And I seemed to feel the need to buy fabric. I sew in the winter. So it isn't new....but the level of fabric in my stash now is silly really. And definitely new!
What are you most excited about in your garden this year?
Tomatoes. No. The snap dragons. No. The melons. Ohhh gosh I think those three things are a tie. I guess I always get excited for the tomatoes. I planted a few new varieties this season. Ox Hart and sundried tomatoes. Goldies. This year is the first time I've planted snapdragons in the garden and I love that color added in. And we haven't grown melons in years. Seeing the kids light up over them is just so exciting.
How did you get your kiddos interested in gardening with you? Tips for other parents?
Truthfully, start them little. I've lost many tomatoes teaching them to love gardening. While weeding, they rip up peppers or tomatoes or beans. So I took time to pull out the intentional plants and show them. This is a tomato plant. It's not a weed.
It also helped to let them drive back their Power Wheels F150 and load the bed of the truck up and drive it off to the chicken run. Now that they are older, it's natural for them to be in there. Weeding. Helping me pick. Checking for hornworms. They love watching the blooms turn to little green balls, then big green tomatoes, and then slowly turning yellow, orange, red, purple and so on. I don't know if they would be that interested had they not been in there with me from the first season they were able to. For my youngest two that meant they came to the garden with me at 6 months old.
You bake a lot of beautiful creations! What is the best thing you've ever baked and why?
Well, I would say that depends on who you ask. But the one I get asked to make most is likely Amish fried pies, apple fried pie, apple pie, or cinnamon rolls. For me, it depends on the season. But apple fried pies and Amish fried pies are ALWAYS my favorite. They are full of flavor and sweet. And both have great memories tied to my learning to make them.
FOLLOW HANNAH ON INSTAGRAM FOR MORE FUN! @muddyoakhenhouse