Tuesday, January 28, 2014

11 Hens :: 1 Day :: 7 Eggs

We've never had seven eggs, laid on the same day. This is a new record, if I am keeping record. The truth is I am reluctant to be a "genuine farmer," the kind that weighs the feed, and calculates the cost of straw, and the worth of our harvest, one whose hopes and next meal depend on vigilance and diligence. Let's face it, we aren't in this for profit. This love affair with suburban homesteading is more about a joyful privilege than sustainability, and self-sustenance. Backyard hens are a luxury, an honor, a worthwhile venture into food with happiness. I never want to give anyone the impression that I am living by my wits, standing in a field apart, where we imagine we will harvest our own feast, can it, preserve it, bake it, and serve it. In Mexico, with my Abuelos, I've had a taste of that existence. It's beautiful, and rough, not impossible, just more than I can dish out for us, right now.

Seven eggs is a lot. I collect them, gleefully, like I am finding gold coins left hidden in the crook of an old tree. It's dreamy.

Some eggs tell a story.

Once upon a time, all the hens managed to slip passed me, out the door of their enclosure and into the open yard. I protested. If they're out before they're done laying, I suspect they will lay eggs in hidden spots throughout the yard. Exasperated, yet amused, I resigned myself to letting them enjoy their freedom. It's no small task rounding up a flock of flighty hens, when they've just been sprung. Emma Thompson heard the kerfuffle and left her nest, hasty, and eager not to be left behind. I found five eggs in one nest, and none where Emma Thompson left in her hurry. As I was walking to the kitchen with the eggs I found, William called me back, a bemused smile on his face, and a small speckled egg in his hand. He saw the black and white speckled hen, Emma Thompson, stop in her tracks, nesting in the path just long enough to finish her business!

Whether I am a "genuine" farmer, or part of an urban trend, I cannot say, but I know that I love my hens, and I feel really fortunate to have these pretty eggs.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, those are some really pretty eggs!

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    1. It makes it kind of hard to break them open… some we save, by blowing the egg out one end. Nature is such a talented artist!

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  2. It sounds like herding chickens is as difficult as herding cats!

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    1. Well, like cats, you gotta catch them when they're hungry!

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  3. I wouldn't mind at all if you became an official egg photographer. Dreamy ;-)

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    1. I beam every time you praise my pictures! Thank you so much!

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