Arts and Entertainment

Scoop on the Bainbridge Island Tour de Coop

Raquel Stanek chats it up with one of her Wyandottes. Her mosaic-laden chicken coop awaits more work in the background. The second annual Tour de coop is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17. - Connie Maers/Staff Photo
Raquel Stanek chats it up with one of her Wyandottes. Her mosaic-laden chicken coop awaits more work in the background. The second annual Tour de coop is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17.
— image credit: Connie Maers/Staff Photo

By CONNIE MEARS

Staff Writer

nly 10 days remain until the 2010 Tour de Coop, and artist Raquel Stanek is busy applying thousands of quarter-sized pieces of glass to the side of her chicken coop. Stanek has raised chickens since she was a girl, and she’s worked with mosaic for a dozen years. This is the first time she’s put the two together. It works though, since her signature motif is a chicken.

A second-generation native islander, Stanek raises an eccentric mixed flock of free-ranging Australorps, silver Araucanas and blue-laced red Wyandotte. Well, sort of mixed. The ladies rule the roost in Stanek’s yard: The bantam males have been banished for their own safety.

“The little guys are more like a family. The bigger ones are more like a gang,” Stanek said. “The big ones come with bigger attitudes.”

She’s raising the roosters to breed, and the layers for eggs and as pets.

“There’s a very big difference between a pet and what I put on the table,” she said of the chicken-raisers dilemma. “I’m not going to eat my dog if she stops protecting my house.”

Their own house, the coop, comes complete with a roosting branch, antique door and tin roof. It’s a work of art, literally. Well, at this point, it’s a work in progress.

Tour de Coop

Claudia McKinstry/Courtesy Photo

Tour de Coop

Bainbridge artist Claudia McKinstry’s painting “Wall-to-Wall Chickens” graces the poster for the second annual Bainbridge Island Tour de Coop, which runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17.

Tour de Coop, the vision of JoAnn Trick, offers a self-guided tour of Bainbridge chicken coops with 100 percent of proceeds going to Helpline House.

This year, 10 new coops will be featured, four of which were built in the past year with an eye to participating in the tour. Featured coops include such exotic and extravagantly named venues as: Les Coquettes, Château Poulet, Firehouse Chix, Flying Pig Coop, La Maison de Fleur de Mille, La Casa de Huevos, and Cabina Gallina.

Chicken expert Paul Farley will be on hand from 3-4 p.m. at Bay Hay & Feed to answer questions from poultry enthusiasts and novices. A special after-tour celebration at Bay Hay & Feed, sponsored by owners Ce-Ann Parker and Howard Block, is open to tour-goers and will include chicken chili, drinks and egg-inspired appetizers.

 Ticket sales begin July 10 at Bay Hay & Feed and Classic Cycle. Purchased tickets include a map and directions to the coops. Cost: Individual by bicycle $8; individual by auto $10; Four people by carpool $30.

For more information, email tourdecoop@gmail.com.

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