his past weekend, I was sitting in the barn surrounded by my newest adventure — raising chickens (23 of them, to be exact), and it dawned on me that something might be wrong with this picture, that most of my friends might think me crazy hearing me call to Precious and Cinnamon and Ethel instead of sipping on a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon at a fine dining establishment. They might be right.

Maybe it’s getting older; maybe it was the hysteria around the pandemic, but recently I’ve been more inclined to enjoy the simple things and be less concerned about others’ expectations. There are boundaries though, like when a friend asked me if I was going to eat the chickens after they finished laying. What? Heavens, no. I’ll eat their eggs, but meat comes from the grocery store, and that’s the end of the story! I have no prob-lem with others raising animals to eat; I’m just not going to be one of them. Especially if they have a name.

Raising my own meat aside, I do love a great steak or burger, and there are few better than the ones at Bistro di Bufala on Main Street in Visalia. This month’s recipe, submitted by Chef Bryant Murphy and Chef Camillo Hernandez, uses a secret ingredient that caught everyone at Lifestyle Magazine by surprise. For the secret ingredient and the recipe, turn to Eat Big for Dad’s Day on page 30. Oh, and don’t overlook the beer cheese sauce!

This month’s home tour is the fascinating story of a local farm boy who made a Denmark connection and is now raising his family in a minimalist, environmentally friendly Scandinavian home near Exeter. The Mitchell Home, A Foothill Oasis, on page 24, is a look at Marlene and Marty Mitchell’s truly unique approach to home construction and design.

With days growing longer and nights getting warmer, I hope that everyone reading this is able to spend some time outside and find time for a hobby or pursue an interest that makes them happy, even if that happy place is a chicken coop.

Until next time,