Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Our First Eggs and a Few Ruffled Feathers
First of all, a wide open pantry welcome to all of my new readers! I am delighted that you are here with me in the pantry and I look forward to your thoughts and comments along the way. A special thanks to Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse who not only keeps a delightful blog and now website from her home and writes such inspiring words when I need them–like yesterday after our chicken fiasco (see below) when I needed to keep a lid on things and to remember what's important–but who also had high praise for The Pantry! She is the homemaker I will never be but whom I admittedly envy in her journey. [Aunt Ruthie also made what looks like a beautiful and delicious plum jam for her own pantry–I love anything "plummy"–and she has one of the most lovely pantries I've seen, to her own design, in glimpses on her website.] PHOTO: Eli holds the first eggs from our hens on August 7, 2009.
Our first green egg from an Auracana "Easter Egg" chicken in the foreground.
I just wanted to post, briefly, on our good news: our first eggs in the hen house! Our son Eli found the very first egg last Friday (August 7) on the floor of the hen house and they have been coming in a few a day since then (this time in their hen nests). As the hens–and Mr. Stew–are almost five months old, I thought this might be timely if not a bit early. Can you only imagine their surprise as they each lay their first egg? "Whoops, what was THAT?!"
Now for the bad news: on Monday one of our "Pond puppies" got lose from a system of confinement on our cool north porch that I thought was fair and workable for a few hours each day while the chickens free-ranged. I had been gone for just a half-hour up the road and that little devil scaled the 3-foot plus railing and gates! We lost seven of the hens in one half-hour rampage. John, the culprit, is remaining with us, with a new system (one of those line ties that he hates), and I'm determined to have peace and harmony in my "farmyard." It was especially hard for this mother who loves her doggies as much as her hens and who understands that there is also instinct to be reckoned with. I should have known that when he and Patch always followed me to the hen house and peered through the door, smiling like foxes, that they weren't just being helpful. Meanwhile, brother Tom, who kind of ambles along and is very Type-B about things, couldn't be bothered with the chickens (and clearly didn't inherit any Jack Russell traits).
Patch left us a month ago and has never returned–I fear he got into one fox hole too many or was bitten by a poisonous snake–so the possibility of losing John so soon after Patch, and less than a year after Lucy's death, was just too much for this farm mama to bear. Now that the dust has settled, so to speak, kudos and love to my husband who, despite his better judgment after a collective chorus of pleadings, decided to let John remain with us (and I mean that expression in all of its meanings). It was his suggestion for the zip line for John during "free range time" (kind of like "puppy nap" and "chicken play"). During the past few days I have often thought of poor Fern begging for her father to spare Wilbur's life, in E.B. White's immortal classic tale, Charlotte's Web.
In the meantime, our boys are back in school (ironically they went back on the hottest day of our summer so far, but August in Kentucky can be hot), I have green beans to pick and freeze, more corn to put up, and more assigned writing projects (there is nothing more gratifying then being asked to write and being paid for it, too–and writing while taking breaks to look out on the third cutting of our knob field or to run into the kitchen to bake something or toss some laundry out to dry). I promise a blog very soon on last week's Highway 127 Yard Sale (and pics of some of my fun findings), as well as that one on root cellars I've been promising.
Blessings from my pantry to yours,
Postscript, dusk, 9pm: We just shut up the chickens for the night and counted 27...so a few more have found their way home (and we're still down four--one we know is dead--haven't found other three except for a lot of feathers). John is adjusting well to his new routine, too. I now better appreciate the expression, "coming home to roost"!