I got an egg!
Life’s a bitch.
Yesterday, I dragged Mark out for a walk to visit my chickens. I wanted to open the pen so they could enjoy the beautiful day (it was about 65 degrees out). When we got there, I noticed only two of my new hens were out scratching in the dirt.
I said, “Gee, maybe the other one is in the henhouse, laying an egg.” However, I seriously didn’t expect that was the case. I’ve concluded that I’m one of those rare, sad breed of farmer wannabes – an egg-challenged individual. Just yesterday, Eric C, the fellow who puts up our farm fencing (and who sold us the pregnant horse and donkey, gave us our favorite puppy, and took our goat when we wanted to find a good home for it) came by to move a gate. He stood with us, staring at our chickens. I proudly pointed out my new hens. He shook his head and said, “Those aren’t good laying hens, ya know. They are good sitters, but don’t count on them giving you eggs.”
I said, “Are you shitting me? (Forever a classy broad) What good is a sitter if the chicken isn’t laying eggs to sit on?”
Eric said, “You can place eggs from other chickens under them and they will hatch them out for you. These birds are good brooders for chicks.”
“I don’t want chicks. I want eggs,” I pointed out.
Eric then proceeded to go to his truck and get me a poultry catalogue. (How many of your friends can do that?) He pointed out that I can get chickens for only two bucks if I buy 25 at a time and have them mailed to me. (Now, I ask you, who wants 25 birds that are all the same color and kind? Not me. I prefer to buy them at four dollars a pop and pick them out individually. I am frivolous that way.) But we had a nice time perusing the catalogue. Man, there are lots of different chickens out there in the world.
Anyway, I asked Eric if he wanted a rooster. He said, “Sure”
I said, “You’re not going to eat him are you? Never mind. Don’t tell me.”
Eric laughed and said, “They aren’t big enough to eat. But I have some chickens that wouldn’t mind some male company.” And he picked up the white silkie and put her in the back of his truck.
Back to my tale of chicken woe. As I was saying, yesterday, I wondered where my third hen was. I went into the chicken house and Voila! She was sitting in a corner all fat and proud, and when she got up, there was an egg underneath her. Considering Eric had me convinced my hens wouldn’t lay, I was surprised. Delighted. Heck, I was ecstatic. I squealed and yelled, “I got an egg.”
Mark says, “That’s nice, dear,” in his droll way.
I said, “Come see! Come see!”
He said, “I get it. You have an egg.”
“You have to come see it.”
He pokes his head into the shed. “Yep, that’s and egg all right.”
I was seriously confused at how he could remain so calm. I said, “Do you not understand the significance of this egg?”
He said, “You have chickens. Eventually, you were going to get an egg. A few months from now, you will be laughing at yourself for getting excited by this, because you will think nothing of eggs. It’s not that big a deal.”
Baloney. I will always see the miracle.
I did the “I got an egg” happy dance.
Mark said, “If I knew you’d get this turned on by an egg, I would have snuck out here with a dozen and shoved them under your chickens months ago.”
He really is missing the point.
Anyway, after I marveled at the egg I decided to leave it where it was so Neva could see it and collect it herself. We went to pick up the kids from school, and I talked about the egg the entire way. I told everyone I encountered about the egg – like the girl behind the counter at the coffee shop. I even stopped by the feed store to tell the owner I finally got an egg. She smiled in this funny patronizing way, as if I was seven and telling her I lost my first tooth. Then, I called Denver and Dianne to tell them about my egg. I invited them all to breakfast.
Denver said, “You want us all to come to breakfast to share this one egg? How big is this egg, anyway?”
It just so happens it is a rather small egg. That isn’t’ the point. I explained that it would be a ceremonial breakfast and we would share. Amazingly, she said was . . . um . . . busy.
Anyway, after picking up the kids and sharing the big news, I drove everyone back to the henhouse. I had my camera in my pocket to take picture of my special egg too. Knew you’d want to see it. Kent and Neva go inside – I am outside checking my angora bunnies (who are together doing the nasty this week (every five minutes in fact) to make baby angoras).
Kent calls out, “What egg? There is no egg in here.”
“Of course there is. Right on the ground.” I yell back.
“There is no egg in here. There is, however, a part of an egg shell,” he says, chuckling. Obviously, boys are very heartless when it comes to egg-appreciation. Must be a hormonal thing.
What! I rush in. Sure as shit, my egg is gone. Somebody broke it. There were no birds in the vicinity to take the blame. I wonder if it was due to my hen sitting on it overzealously, or maybe the other hens were jealous and didn’t want me playing favorites. Maybe a rooster thought it was too soon to be a father. Whatever – someone dared break my egg.
I was devastated. There goes my ceremonial breakfast. There goes my picture.
Mark says, “Well, you will probably have another egg tomorrow. Once they start laying, they keep at it.”
Yea, but I wanted THAT egg. My first. It was special.
Anyway, today I will see if I have any other eggs – if there is one there, you can bet I’ll collect it right away. I am also going to the feed store to buy oyster shell to put in my scratch, because that makes the shells harder and more resistant to cracking. I will combat the obstacles standing in my way of egg success, whatever the cost.
My friend Patti says chicken eggs taste like whatever you feed the chickens. Her sister fed her chickens veggies and her eggs tasted like veggies. This means, my eggs will taste like powdered donuts. Interesting.
But that theory can’t be true, can it? That would mean you’d have to feed your chickens eggs to get eggs that taste like eggs. And that would be cannibalism (shudder). But, just in case, you can bet I’ll be doing some scientific testing on the matter. Gee, maybe my chickens would enjoy a glass of wine – I can get eggs that taste like Chardonnay. Cool.
Anyway – this concludes the joy and pain of my first egg experience. It’s just like life, a dream is just within reach, and something comes along to smash it. You can then choose to give up, or put forth a bit more effort so the next time you see your heart’s desire within reach, you might be able to get a hold of it.
Today is Saturday. We have big plans. We are going to buy a tiller and plan our spring garden. I read all about asparagus last night. Takes three years to get a crop going, but then it produces for 20 years. Patience is not my forte, but I still want to try. I am hot for tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, and more – they will provide more instant gratification. Have big cooking plans, ya know. I have to wait three years for apple and pear trees to begin producing, but I figure time flies when you are growing a new life, so we might as well get started. I sure as shoot don’t want to wake up three years from now and think “I wish way back when, I had . . . .” You only reap what you sow, and now that the sentence applies literally, I’m all for rolling up my sleeves and digging in today for tomorrow’s rewards.
I am also going to plant a bunch of grape vines next week. This is a part of my new ultimate passion. I am going to make my own wine. I’ve bought books about home wine making and subscribed to Winemaker magazine. I’ve signed up for a weekend course. I figure this is perfect for me. I love to cook. I love to drink wine. I love especially to make things out of stuff I grow on my own land. But wine also is a subject that requires patience. It must ferment for a year or so before you can even sample it. Imagine! You have to wait a full season to find out what you don’t like about what you did with a batch, and as such, it will take years to develop the skill and develope a great wine touch. Ah well, I’m only 47. I have time. I think it would be wonderful to have a dinner party and serve my own wine. I will need a label of course, and a perfect name for my wine creations. (The dancing grape? Naw. Too queer.) Lots to think about. I read that you usually make 30 bottles at a time – And I’m bound to want to try different recipes. Gee, I’ll need to find some serious drinking friends soon.
I told Mark that maybe I’ll get good at the wine making thing, and we can move to Italy and purchase a winery in the next chapter of our life. He said, “Perhaps you should make one bottle first, before mapping out our future or writing up a business plan or anything.”
I guess that isn’t a bad idea, but I did point out that he has been talking about opening a furniture company, and he has yet to make a table. Touché. Guess we think on grand scales – for fun if nothing else. The endless possibilities in life are half the fun of living, you must agree.
Today is about planting. I want tons of sunflowers and other pretty things to attract humingbirds and butterflys. I need things bees will pollunate. (Remember, I am taking a bee-keeping class in 6 weeks. Fun!)We are also going to dig up dirt samples today and label them so Monday we can take them to the Extension office for testing. We need to find out the PH of the soil and know what it needs to get the best results. (It’s kind of like going to school to get a MFA if you want to write. I’m all for doing the preliminary work to increase your chances of success if you want to accomplish something special.) We’re having our earth tested to learn what it needs to make a better pasture, garden, and/or orchard. Can’t wait to learn the gritty details about our dirt. I want to buy worms too. And I think I should make a scarecrow – for ambiance if not for any real purpose. Gee, I have a lot to do. Where is my straw hat?
Anyway, it is going to that kind of day. I need to don my jeans, work boots and a sweatshirt. Funny, I will be wearing my FLEX sweatshirt – my favorite. Talk about evidence of getting hit with a life curveball. Wow. L:ife is wonderfully unpredictable if you’ve the nerve to let it unfold without ironclad control.