When Life Gives You Eggs…

custard 016Make custard!

We are now at the point where we are really getting a lot of eggs… since I last posted, we’ve had egg amounts per day as follows:

  • Saturday – 6
  • Sunday – 6
  • Monday – 3
  • Tuesday – 5
  • Wednesday – 6
  • Thursday – 8!
  • Today – 6

That puts our egg counter up to 91 eggs.  That means if we get 5 tomorrow, we’ll have averaged 2 dozen per week since the girls got started and 40 just this week!

And not to be off topic, but aren’t these mini-caseroles/covered ramekins the BEST??

custard 015

They’re from Le Creuset and my dad got them for me for Christmas two years ago.  It’s a set of four, the blackberry is pictured, and then there is a strawberry, a raspberry, and a blueberry.  Each holds a single-serving size (up to about 1.5 cups) of custard, cobbler, souffle, fresh berries, or anything else you can imagine.  They go in the oven and the dishwasher and I keep them in my display cabinet in the kitchen all year because they are SO CUTE.  I don’t have a picture of all four right now because I ate the custard out of two before I thought to photograph them and now they are waiting to be washed.  If I remember (read: if you bug me) I will get a pic of all four someday.

Back to the topic at hand…

fail.

fail.

So yesterday, this was our eighth egg of the day.  It was tiny, very round (as opposed to oval), and the first egg ever to be laid in one of the nests in the bottom row.  I have no idea who laid it, but I will have fun trying to figure it out!  Anyway… again, the color is hard to portray, but it is nearly white… but more like off-white with microscopic tan flecks.  It looks heathered in real life.  It’s so cool!  So… I was so busy being excited about it that I apparently couldn’t pay attention (this happens to me a lot…a LOT) and I promptly dropped it out of my hand for no apparent reason while closing the door into the chicken area.  Luckily the floor is soft-ish plywood plus there was a thin layer of shavings that had been pushed out from the chicken area.  These factors did their best to protect me from myself and instead of splatting the egg everywhere, it only cracked the outside quite a bit and left membrane intact.  Saved… through no doing of my own, mind you.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket (This one’s for you, Sarah)

fail 021Apparently the stream of cute things at my house is neverending.  This is a basket that Sarah (of Faintly Green Thumb fame) gave me recently for my birthday or Christmas… or something… we tend to be so early or late with presents to each other that they come pretty much right between birthdays and holidays.  Anyway… my first thought was – a basket for collecting eggs!  When I asked Sarah if this was her intention she replied, “I don’t know… it was just a chicken.  It was cute…”  So I’ve been keeping it on the mantle with the decorative egg ornaments she gave me with it until I could accumulate enough eggs for a picture.  But I think it’s perfect for an egg-collecting basket – it looks very similar to ones they sell specifically for that purpose… only it’s WAY better because it’s shaped like a CHICKEN.  I win.

But I’m not here just to show off my stuff… this picture was to illustrate my next point… I’m getting a lot of eggs and it’s just no longer possible to keep up with the eggs stats for each chicken.  I REALLY wanted to do it long-term because I think it would be interesting to see who is most productive, etc.  But now with at least 10 of 11 pullets’ laying (I have done the math but it was complicated and I don’t remember exactly how I arrived at that number, so you’ll just have to trust me), it’s too hard to tell who laid what egg.  I can always tell Shelley’s because it’s the brightest green and laid on the floor.  And I can tell Lorelei’s and Rory’s because one is smooth and dark and one is speckled.  But other than that, I’m lost.  The Orpington eggs now all look the same.  I got one from each girl today – Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia were all in nests at the same time today and a little later I got three creamy-pinky-brown eggs, one from each nest.  They are way too similar to differentiate.  And the other EEs – there are various shades of blue and green and it’s too hard to tell them all apart.

Lastly, now that the novelty of first eggs is starting to wear off a bit, I just can’t motivate myself to record the eggs the same day… so now I can’t remember how many of the 40 we got this week were Oprington, how many were Marans, and how manys were EE.

So, from now on – I will just keep a running total count of eggs.  That’s it.  That’s the best I can do.  I’m disappointed in myself because I wanted to keep tabs on at least breeds if not individuals.  Oh well.  Cest la vie.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary… How Does Your Garden Grow?

red cabeza cabbage plant

red cabeza cabbage plant

Well, some of it grows quite well, thank you.  Other parts of it… not so much.  And it is still a complete mystery to me.  My cabbages are doing swimmingly; I love growing cabbages – they’re such beautiful plants.  My super-productive peas plants are just now starting to peter out with all this heat we’ve been having.  My tomato plants that were all about 2 inches tall and like 4 months old when I bought the one cheater start from the farmers’ market are all now bigger, fuller, taller, and have more blooms than that start.

Costoluto Genovese tomato plant

Costoluto Genovese tomato plant

Yes, they are still behind where most people’s tomato plants are by now, but they are now full and vigorous and blooming like crazy and I’m just starting to set fruit on most of them.  All but one, that is.  It is official – my Sungold cherry (normally known for being a hardy and vigourous hybrid and one of my favorite tomatoes of all time even though it’s not an heirloom) is still exactly 2 inches tall with two leaves.  It just SITS THERE.  It doesn’t die.  It doesn’t grow.  It doesn’t do ANYTHING.  All of these plants were planted at the same time in the same dirt with the same amount of sun and on the same soaker hose watering system.  SO WEIRD.  They all sat there like that for months and I about gave up when suddenly – poof!  They started to grow.  All execpt the one.  I wish I understood it.

fail 007

This box contains my late-planted but happy, healthy, and thriving cucumbers, green beans, and edamame.  The plants grow by leaps and bounds each day, the cucumbers are full of young fruit, and the beans are full of young beans.  We had our first harvest of fin de bagnol green beans two nights ago and I mixed them in with some from the farmers’ market because we didn’t have enough for two people and I thought we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but boy, lemme tell ya… ours were more tender and brighter green with better flavor.  Yes, I’m biased, I’ll admit it….but I’m telling you ours were fantastic!  Yay!  Also, I think I’ll be able to pick our first cucumber sometime in the next few days.  Point is – this box and all inhabitants are doing well.

And then…. there are the peppers and eggplants…

fail 010

sad, sad, sad…

They must have whatever the tomatoes had/have.  This picture was taken two days ago… but it could have been taken anytime during the last two months and it would have looked exactly the same.  My pepper and eggplant starts JUST SIT THERE.  They don’t die.  They don’t grow.  Nothing.  One inch tall.  One or two leaves.  It boggles my mind, truly, everyday when I look at it.  It’s basically an empty box.  Most of the green you see in this picture is actually sprouting dandelions that I dutifully yank out every few days but with no competition from my veggies, they just come back.  You may notice a relatively larger plant toward the back left of this picture.  That would be one pepper plant (NuMex Joe Parker, to be exact) that suddenly decided to grow the other day.  As of today, it is maybe 8 inches tall, full of leaves, and has about a dozen flower buds.  A couple of eggplants and one other pepper plant (all at that end of the box, mind you) have also suddenly started to grow.  So, perhaps some will recover from this strange malady.  Who knows.  All I know is that it is SO WEIRD.

Anyway, so that’s it.  My Hood strawberries continue to flourish… they still spit out an occasional berry and will pick up again in the fall, but right now they are busy sending out runners to fill in the bare spots where I yanked out the Aromas.  They take their job very seriously.  Also, my carrots are now growing well, my parsley, cilantro, celery, chard, and lettuce are all doing well.  I have some pumpkins and melons in the ground that I started VERY late and they are all growing well too… though I don’t know if they’ll have enough time to fruit properly.  We’ll just see.  That’s the garden report.

Final Notes

Today I was out with the chickies and I heard some rustling in the blackberries… I went looking for the cause and at first I saw nothing, but then I saw this guy:

garter snake in the blackberry bramble

garter snake in the blackberry bramble

You have no idea how hard it was to get that pic.  The face was maybe 1/2 inch wide and it blended in REALLY well with the plants.  It was a very young garter snake that had climbed up into the branches of the blackberries… garter snakes aren’t really known for climbing, so I’ll admit it took me by surprise… how cool is that??  Luckily, I had my trusty camera.  I was so luck to get a pic at all.  I really wanted a body shot, but no luck.

custard 001

Tired of my sweet peas yet?  Too bad!  I’m not!  YAAAAY flowers.

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5 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Eggs…

  1. I know what you mean my 4 hens have laid 55 eggs since the 2nd.

    One egg problem I have had is that whenever we have a storm here the RIR and BO lay soft-shelled (no shell eggs) I assume they are laying early from fright and haven’t formed the full egg yet. Hope they out grow this.

    The real reason I am writing is I have often thought about your rooster gang and was wondering if that problem has been resolved or if you still have to intervene.

  2. i think if you plant the tomatoes, squash, eggplant, type stuff too early and in cold soil they can get stunted and some will stay that way…thats what my local radio garden show host says(Farmer Fred Hoffman)…he recommends transplanting tomatoes around April 25th here in central CA, prob. varies with location though…

    have you tried flaxseed and oystershell calcium as a supplement for the chicken feed? supposedly they will have healthier omega3 ratios and thicker shells….

    cool blog….

  3. Hi – another Lisa with chickens here. Love the blog and love the pics! The garter snake shot is just awesome. Nice sweet pea flowers too.

    :) Lisa

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