Sunday, January 31, 2010

Green eggs and no ham

Found the flowerpot egg this morning on the front porch and I walked in with it just as Misha came up the stairs. I suggested that there might be eggs in the coop too. Misha brightly offered to go and get them and stepped into Max's big, black barn boots which pretty much live by our back door. He clomped up to the coop and called, "Two eggs! One brown, one white!" then a moment later he puzzled his brow and called, "No, not white--GREEN!"
And there is the morning haul. Two more expected today, we'll see. I am sorry to keep posting pictures of eggs but I am just having so much fun! Haha! Who knew I would enjoy these chickens so much? Must come with getting older....

Friday, January 22, 2010

More talk of eggs and chickens and kids.

We are getting a predictable three eggs per day now. Pinky (who is actually named Kelsey, the kids have corrected me) was the first to start but after a week or so of one egg per day, we came home in the evening and found another white egg in the flowerpot on the front porch! Then we were up in the backyard a day or two later and Steve noticed two eggs under the neighbor's work truck. A white and a brown! Now we had a mystery layer. We figured out that the flowerpot-layer is Mini, a brown chicken with a flopped-over comb like Pinky-Kelsey, but who was laying that brown egg?
I figured it out today. It is a black chicken named Toe White (like Snow White because her center toe on each foot was white when she was a chick). I "caught" her in the act today, sitting in the coop bawk-bawk-bawking for everyone to hear. She was apparently very proud.

I still have some store eggs in the fridge so I decided to cook them side by side and see if I could notice a difference. The store egg spread all over the pan. (Steve burned the butter before I fried this egg so it has brown edges; oh well.)
The egg from our backyard took two or three times of trying to crack it before it cracked into the pan. I had forgotten that free range chickens have much thicker shells. When it flopped into the pan it stayed all together. My mom, who poaches eggs, says the same about dropping them into the poaching water.

At first glance, they are obviously different looking. My egg (right) is orange-yolked while the store egg (left) is a paler yellow. You can see it clearly when they are both on the plate:
As far as taste, they seemed to me to taste mostly the same but the texture of the yolks was different. The store yolk being grainier and the home-grown egg yolk being smoother.

After I took this picture, I put them back in the pan topside down to finish cooking. I used to like the yolks runny but now I like to pop the yolks while the egg is still in the pan but that would have ruined my picture!

We arrived home from school today and found our flowerpot sporting a little white egg. A little later Max came running down from the coop laughing loudly and holding up another white egg. You would have thought it was a candy-filled Easter egg the way he carried on. It is fun to watch the kids enjoy this new phase of chicken-rearing.

And the kids really do their part happily with helping to take care of the chickens with Max and Annette doing an especially large part of the care. Each morning Max wants to let the chickens out first thing. He ASKS to go out in the cold/rain/snow(who am I kidding? We don't have any snow)/whatever to let the chickens out of the coop. At night, he is the one that most often shakes the few out of the tree beside the coop and closes them in.

And, I am not kidding, this is an actual conversation I had with Annette the other day:

Me: Annette, I don't want to bother with cleaning out the coop right now so can you just sprinkle some clean bedding in there on top of the old?

Annette: Oh, MOM! Do I have to?

Me: It won't be hard, just take this bucket of pine shavings and sprinkle them around.

Annette: (in all seriousness) But, Mom, PLEEEASE can't I just scoop out the poop?

Me: OOO-Kaaay, I guess so...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Egg #3

Misha stood outside the chicken coop with us and watched as an egg fell noiselessly under the chicken who had endured an audience for the last ten minutes or so. He then held up four fingers and proudly proclaimed, "Now we have three eggs!" His mouth was right. His hand needs more practice.

Max displaying a still warm egg.
(In the background, you can see Pinocchio, the half-beaked chicken, shoveling
cracked corn and chicken food out of one of her precious buckets)

The egg on the left is a store-bought large egg. The one on the right is our egg-of-the-day. See how much smaller that is? I don't know when or if the future eggs will get larger but I think they do start out a little smaller in the chicken's first attempts to lay.

The Mama. Side view.

The Mama, front view. Yeah, she doesn't get any prettier from different angles. Besides having the huge knock against her that she is a chicken and can only truly be considered lovely by other chickens, she also has a problem because with that comically flopped-over comb nobody takes her seriously.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fresh from a Chicken's bum....

Our first egg! (Oh, The excitement in our house this morning!) Compliments of a floppy combed white leghorn named Pinky.