Thursday, November 12, 2015

Egg Greetings & Gratitude

Do you have hens?
Yes, we do. We have thirteen hens.

Are they laying?
They are all layers, but some are in the middle of molting, and production is a bit low.

Are brown eggs, and green eggs, and blue eggs, and speckled eggs different in taste, or nutritional value, than white eggs?
Yes. The brown ones are chocolaty, the blue ones are faintly raspberry flavored, and the speckled ones taste like Thanksgiving dinner, with a pumpkin pie finish. But nutritionally they are the same as the white eggs.

Can you give a straight answer?
No. Well, sometimes, but it's great fun to let my thoughts go to the Land of Whimsy and Whatif.

At last! At last our new Ameraucana are laying, and we have a few more eggs coming in. Theirs are bluer, slightly more saturated, a bit smaller, too. It was only yesterday that I found two, and was I thrilled. Seriously... I get giddy, and not just about new eggs from new hens, but every. single. day. every single time I go out and collect eggs: I am delighted!

I think to myself... ooh! Take a picture

And then I remember that they're eggs, in straw, and that I took that picture yesterday, last week, a month ago, often and frequently since 2002. But I never tire of it. Finding eggs, seeing their colors, noticing the sizes, and shapes, it's always a joy. When they're warm, it feels like a sacred gift. When they're in an odd place, it's funny, puzzling. When there are just as many as I need for a recipe, I feel super lucky. I like the way they feel. Some shells have a smooth sheen, others are bumpy, or slightly rough. I am thankful for our chickens, for the space and means we have so they are safe. I am thankful for the small connection I can make with our food, adding a special heightened sense of appreciation for how we are sustained, and that extends into an appreciation for farmers, for laborers, for cooks, and markets, and trees, and gardens. It reminds me of gardens kept by my mother and grandmothers, of days on ranchos, of my abuelos, my bisabuelos, of home made cheese, milking cows, tortillas de maiz, hechos a mano, of all I've learned, and have been privileged to get my hands on. A hen and an egg, a potted herb, a barrel garden, a community farm... any small connection to the sources, origins, of our sustenance can be so very good.

I found this insightful gem on a friend's FB feed...

Despite all of our accomplishments
We owe our existence to
A six-inch layer of topsoil
And the fact that it rains.

~Farm Equipment Association of Minnesota and South Dakota


Jennifer said...

I saw that meme, too, about the topsoil and the rain. And I too share your joy/amazement/wonder/delight every time -- EVERY time -- the natural cycle works as it has evolved to do. When a whole tomato -- bunches of them! -- come from one. tiny. seed. When a rose blooms. When a plant returns after a long winter, when the bulbs we hurriedly push into the ground in the fall burst forth in the spring. It IS magic. It is the proof that we live miraculous lives, in a miraculous place. What a wonderful way to live, full of the joy of it all.

Unknown said...

Those are so beautiful! I would be in perpetual awe too. Gosh they're pretty; they almost look fake.