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Chance encounter leads to book

Washington poultry farmer and author Victoria Redhead Miller.  - Photo Contributed
Washington poultry farmer and author Victoria Redhead Miller.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

Washington poultry farmer Victoria Redhead Miller had never intended to become a published author but that’s exactly what happened to her in 2013.

“I’ve never really tried to get anything published,” Miller told the News Bulletin. “I was never really seriously trying to be a writer.”

A year earlier, Miller had been speaking about her experiences raising poultry at Mother Earth News Fair event in Pennsylvania when she caught the attention of Gabriola Island based publishing company, New Society Publishers.

“After my second presentation there, Ingrid, the managing editor at New Society Publishers came up and introduced herself to me and said ‘have you ever thought about writing a book on poultry?’,” Miller said laughing. “We ended up talking for about 45 minutes.”

It just so happened that Miller had started writing a book about that very subject a few years earlier, but at the time she hadn't worked on it much.

“Originally the book was just going to be about turkeys and then I played around with it for a year or two and then I got to the point where I got busy with other things and I got discouraged because it was just slow going and I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it,” Miller explained.

The chance encounter in Pennsylvania was enough to motivate Miller to complete her book, Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks, which was published by New Society Publishers last year.

“It’s not really a how to book. If I have to call it one thing I would have to call it a memoir,” Miller said about the book. “It’s completely written in first person. It’s completely written from our own experience with basically the first five years that we were raising heritage poultry.”

Miller, a resident of Sequim, Wash., will be reading from her book at Nanaimo's Harbourfront Library on June 13.

Pure Poultry provides readers with tips and insights on how to properly raise chickens, turkeys and ducks in a variety of settings. Although the book is considered to be one of the first book’s that focuses on heritage poultry in decades, Miller explained that it wasn’t created to convince people to raise heritage poultry.

“It’s not intended to convince people that heritage breeds are the right choice for every situation because I don’t really believe that it is true,” Miller said. “I am really more talking about what our goals and intentions were and how we came to decide that heritages breeds really fit our philosophy with sustainable agriculture and that sort of thing.”

In 2006, Miller and her husband decided to retire and moved from Seattle to Sequim, Wash., where they elected to run a farm. When the idea came about to raise farm animals, Miller originally thought that they would end up having a hog farm.

“My notion was to raise pigs,” Miller said. “Both my parent’s grew up on farms in Illinois and my mother was really into raising pigs and she had all sorts of ribbons and things like that she won at shows with her pigs and she used to talk about it a lot. So, I had this idea in my head that if we had animals that they would have been pigs.”

However, the idea didn’t sit well with her husband. So, they agreed on raising chickens, turkeys and ducks and bought their first set of heritage poultry in 2007. Miller explained that one of the advantages to raising ducks is that duck eggs are becoming increasingly with people who are allergic to chicken eggs.

“A lot of people who are allergic to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs,” she said.

Miller is currently working on her second book and said that New Society Publishers have plans for a third and fourth book as well.

Victoria Redhead Miller reads from her book Pure Poultry: Living Well with Heritage Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks on Friday (June 13) at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from 6:00 p.m. Until 7:00 p.m. She will also be at Gabriola Island Library on Saturday (June 14) from 2:00 p.m. Until 3:00 p.m.

For more information on Victoria Redhead Miller visit her website http://www.potpiesandeggmoney.blogspot.ca/

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