Anne and Joe Barfield have lived here at 606 Jackson Keller since 1980. They raised their two children here, and during that time the family enjoyed the home and grounds now known as Chicken Paradise. Anne, Joe and their family had celebrations, parties large and small and even weddings here on the grounds and in the gardens of Chicken Paradise. When this home was first built in the 1920s it was far from town, and was a working farm. At some point, the owner fenced a couple of acres away from the road and built the homes that you now see on Jackson Keller Road. What is now the pool house was once the Construction Site Office which sat out by the street. Adding a porch and a tin roof added charm to the structure. When Anne was diagnosed with celiac disease, they immediately became active in the Alamo Celiac GIG Support Group.
In conjunction with these activities, they have held numerous gluten free dinners and barbeques inside and out at Chicken Paradise.
In 1999, Joe decided he wanted to have some chickens here to guarantee a steady supply of fresh eggs. As time went by, the chickens multiplied and a few other feathered friends came to stay. Armed with several books, and the ability and patience to observe the chickens up close, Anne and Joe became the "chicken authorities" among their circle of friends and neighbors and now they even teach "chickenology" classes occasionally.
At first the chickens were kept safe in their large custom henhouse and yard, but soon became impatient and insisted they wanted to roam the yard. Finally, Anne and Joe fenced in the garden to protect the tender green things, and learned how to protect the flowering shrubs and plants. Now it is a delightful surprise to look out any of the windows and see a chicken, rooster or peacock looking in at you.
When Joe retired from his career as a space scientist/manager at a research institute, the stage was set for the idea that he and Anne had been kicking around for some time. They knew that their little country oasis in the middle of San Antonio was a real gem. Their family and guests and visitors had enjoyed it over the years. After her diagnosis, Anne and Joe became quite expert at preparing meals not only for those on gluten-free diets, but on other restrictive diets as well. With the kids gone, there was ample room on the property for them to create a guest suite. They reasoned that there had to be quite a number of travelers with special dietary restrictions who would love to stay in a home rather than a hotel, a place they could be assured that their needs would be met without inconveniencing other guests. Thus, Chicken Paradise Bed & Breakfast took shape.
Helping with the hosting duties at Chicken Paradise is Chutney, the Wonder Dog. She has been with Anne and Joe since 1996. Although she is now getting quite elderly and sleeps most of the time, she is always eager to greet arriving guests. As Anne and Joe prepare your breakfast, Chutney watches for your arrival at the breakfast table. Even if in a deep sleep, she knows when you leave your suite and start around the deck to breakfast. She also supervises as breakfast is served, demanding to come in, go out, and come back in numerous times to be sure all is progressing smoothly. Although her Frisbee days appear to be over, she continues to bring a lot of joy to us and our visitors.
Chicken Paradise welcomed its first paying guests in 2005 and, since then, innumerable guests have found it to be a safe, relaxing alternative to a hotel. Joe puts his talents to use in keeping Chicken Paradise Bed and Breakfast well groomed, and Anne continues her work as a freelance wardrobe consultant and photographer. Nowadays they look forward to each and every guest who stays with them, many of whom do have celiac disease, and both Anne and Joe enjoy very much providing them with the best experience possible. There are still frequent visits from their grandchildren, who plan for Anne and Joe to be around Chicken Paradise to host the next crop of family weddings.
With all the available land and with its unique placement in the interior of a large city block, Anne, Joe, their family and their guests can really feel as if they are way out in the country, although they are less than a mile from all the shopping and other conveniences of the big city. Anne and Joe have "green thumbs." Joe does the dirty work and the heavy lifting, while Anne plans and plants the garden that supplies them with herbs and vegetables. By doing so, she can also ensure the quality and purity of much of the food that they consume and serve. The chickens provide the eggs and local and Texas farms provide most of the other fruits and vegetables that are used in the breakfasts and snacks that are served to guests and family.
Anne and Joe love what they do; they love having their family visit and they love getting to know new friends who learn about them on the Internet and elsewhere and come to stay for a while. With just one suite, Anne and Joe can focus all their attention on one group of guests at a time, and you will find that this makes the "B & B experience" at Chicken Paradise unique.