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How Richard Nixon Led Martha Stewart To An Orchard With 122 Trees And 100 Chickens

Martha Stewart in her Turkey Hill kitchen 1976
Martha Stewart in her Turkey Hill kitchen 1976 - Susan Wood/getty Images

It's difficult to imagine Martha Stewart as anything other than our favorite domestic goddess, showing us how to beautify our homes and make the best Thanksgiving stuffing or the easiest cheesecake. But, like many of us, her career path was once much different. After being a model as a teenager and then becoming a stockbroker as a young adult, it would take an unusual event to convince her that she wanted to take her life in a very different direction. For Stewart, that event was Watergate.

"I remember painting the house from top to bottom, this is a big old farmhouse. Painting it by myself on a ladder, listening to Watergate," Stewart is video-recorded saying in an excerpt from "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart." Trying to figure out what my life was going to be like, watching America's government sort of fall apart. And I decided then and there that the home was really my place."

While listening to the events leading up to President Richard Nixon's downfall may seem like an odd time to decide you want to be a homemaker, Stewart had made up her mind. "The sense of security, the sense of being able to relax within the confines of your own world. I loved decorating, designing, cooking. I loved the garden. I really fell in love with living," Martha said. She began offering her catering services in 1973, and a short time later she and her friend, Martha Collier, started their catering company, Uncatered Affair.

Read more: What The Cameras Don't Show You On MasterChef

Turkey Hill Was Her Whole World

Martha Stewart ducks and geese chicken eggs
Martha Stewart ducks and geese chicken eggs - Susan Wood/getty Images

Growing up, Martha Stewart's father loved gardening and it was something that the two would bond over. But it also became the start of her dreaming big for the future. As she looked through the pages of seed catalogs with him, she adored the biggest, most extravagant plants and trees. "Martha's father died in 1979, which is while she was at Turkey Hill building her empire," Barbara Lippert, former New York Magazine columnist recalled in the CNN original series. "Where most people would be worried about just a new floor or a new kitchen, she planted an orchard with 122 trees."

For Stewart, the trees were just a small part of what she had planned for Turkey Hill. After all, she was creating a sanctuary at her new home, so she soon added vegetable gardens, flower gardens, bee hives, and more to the grounds. "She ordered like 100 chickens of the greatest, most unique variety, and a little house for her chickens that she called the Palais des Poulets," said Brooke Dojny, a former member of her catering staff. There were little steps that went up and a special peaked roof."

While Stewart is known for her vast array of pets, including peacocks, dogs, cats, canaries, and chinchillas, her chickens don't fall into that category. She's said many times that, once the chickens stop laying eggs, they become food.

Read the original article on Mashed.