Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Sorceror's apprentice - eggs from my own backyard

Eggs! I dreamed and schemed, planned and most definitely worked and paid for this moment. Well, here it is, in the midst of this horrid cold snap, Abigail and Millicent have discovered fecundity.

At first it was 2 tiny lil pinkish brown eggs in a neat nest beneath Milly. I first noticed something new when she did not come out of the coop to greet me in the morning as I sang "morning has broken" - they insist on being sung out of bed. Well, in any case, I was concerned for they usually meet me with much clucking and bowing. I was singing and there was Abigail - but no Millicent. I became really alarmed, fearing death, disease or escape. I got Abby to waddle to the side and let me pass so I could check the coop. There in the furthest corner, was my sweet Milly, fluffed up to the size of a basketball and residing in a beautifully made next of timothy hay.

In truth, she looked a little annoyed, like I had barged in without permission - true, in its strictest forms. I looked a lil while to be sure all was well and ducked back out. My hens were sitting! Now, it was possible that all this was just an attempt to stay warm and cozy. But it was 5 months since their birthdays and the math was on my side. In a few minutes, Abby became bored of the garden alone and began to cluck for her sister. Milly appeared at the drawbridge to the coop and flung herself down the path, past me and collided into Abby with all the usual clucking and chest beating as they settle into their usual conjoined behavior.

I walked back to the coop and peered in. Two lovely little eggs, perfect in shape, silky smooth and in a shade of pinkish brown that looks like it fell off a Martha Steward paint chip. It really is the most remarkably lovely color. Oh and speaking of color, totally without me noticing the combs and wattles of my little dears had become bright red - they were grown hens. I won't say I cried, but it was a touching little moment both in their lives as pets and as a fulfillment of a long dream of my own.

Well, cold dreary day followed day and the girls had only short brief walks in my garden all covered in every piece of cloth I could find in a vain attempt to stave off the freeze. Seeing the two fluffed up hens contently stroll through ghostly mounds of draped shrubbery was more than a little bizarre. It was like Cranford meets The Shining. But each of those days, save one, I found at least one egg, usually two, as I feed them in the morning or exercised them in the afternoon.

So, now, history has occurred. I have sitting in a little porcelain dish in my refrigerator - a full dozen eggs. Eggs from my own soil, my own hens, and in some little degree, my own efforts - most credit to Milly and Abby of course. Now the eggs are coming about 10 or so a week. This will most likely sound ridiculous, but I have yet to eat one. No, it is not fear of infanticide that keeps me away and not even sentimentalism. The truth is, after eating store bought eggs for so long the taste of fresh eggs can be extremely rich and overwhelming. Prior to the yuletide, I had some deviled eggs made with fresh eggs and I could barely eat 2 - I normally manage a half a dozen easily!

I have a plan to bring my tastes in line with my production. The first will be to make cornbread with the eggs, there the richness should be a gift and allow me to take a first step. Second phase will be to scramble the eggs for breakfast. I am thinking the detailed mixing of white and yolk should make the rich taste less emphatic. With these methods, I hope to trick my taste buds into relishing the rich real taste of eggs after having been weaned on the watery horrors of factory eggs. Silly is it not. I wanted this so badly, put not a little effort and huge emotional commitment into it - and now I stand like the sorcerer's apprentice, overwhelmed by my success.

Life can be very funny. Funny indeed, and I cannot express how much satisfaction and joy have opened up to me as I take this tiny step to self sufficient living and a simpler set of days ahead. What came first - the chicken or the egg? - the dream came first, the dream.


  1. Sounds to me like a good time for an asparagus omelette.

  2. Yum! Congratulations - cool picture~!!!


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