ABOUT THE RESIDENCE:
The original craftsmen-styled house was built in 1919 by Peter and Maud Paton, who maintained the property as their primary residence until their deaths in the mid-late 1970’s. Peter, a carpenter, and Maud a homemaker, enjoyed a life of country living in the outskirts of Kirkwood Missouri by tending to their vegetable garden and raising chickens in their backyard coop. The couple would also hike to their Meramec River getaway cabin to fish, hunt and tend to their river bottom vegetable garden.
In January of 1994, Bill purchased the residence with the intention to take advantage of the wonderful rich native soils surrounding home to develop a series of gardens. During the fall of 2001 and summer 2002, William and Joan Ruppert significantly renovated and expanded the residence.
ABOUT THE CHICKEN COOP:
Based on Bill's childhood memories of visiting the chicken coop at his Aunt Magdalen and Uncle Bernard Mann's home located in Pinckneyville, IL, an architectural plan for the "Coop de Rupe" was pursued in early 2004 with contruction commencing during the summer. The coop, completed in the spring of 2005, consists of both an indoor and secured outdoor chicken quarters, a garden support shop and a 2nd story lookout tower (the treehouse Bill never had as a child...). While hosting a Hort Co-op reception for P. Allen Smith at the Ruppert residence, Bill engaged the opportunity to receive advisement from Allen's significant backyard chicken knowledge regarding which breeds are best suited for producing eggs. (Allen is a founding father of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy.) The first Ruppert chicken flock arrived via the US Postal Service as sexed pullets in the spring of 2005 from Cackle Hatchery of Lebanon, MO. Our flock is supplemented with additional young hens (pullets) each spring from either Cackle Hatchery or pre-ordered from our local feed source, OK Hatchery located in Downtown Kirkwood.
In early May of 2012, P. Allen Smith returned to Ruppert Gardens and Chicken Ranch, along with his video production team, to produce a series of videos as a contributor to the on-line eHow Pets. The event, "Chicken Chat with P. Allen Smith", was sponsored by Purina Mills, coordinated by Van Leuven Communications, and attended by fellow keepers of backyard chickens from the Missouri communities of Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Webster Groves, Creve Coeur, Richmond Heights and the City of St. Louis. After a lights-camera-action afternoon of activity, the five informative videos were produced. Phots for this event are posted in the Chicken Ranch Photo Gallery section.
ABOUT THE GARDENS:
The gardens at the Ruppert residence, like most gardens, are a work in progress.
Bill and Joan enjoy the diversity of the landscape's flora, the nutritious rewards of Joan's vegetable garden, and the constant stream of fresh eggs from our flock of diverse breeds.