Friday, April 10, 2009

Fresh Eggs

Chickens are not my favorite homestead animal. (You've heard the expression 'dumb cluck' and 'bird brain'?) And yet, I've always said that if I had to give up every animal we've ever had on our homestead except one, it would be the chicken I'd choose to keep. Why? Because of the wonderful, fresh, versatile, yummy eggs.

Currently we've got a small flock of twelve hens. Three bantams and nine full-sized birds. You'll notice in the above picture a few puny sized eggs; those would be from our banties. We've always felt a certain fondness for the bantam breeds. Mainly because for the amount of feed they consume, they lay proportionally more eggs than full-sized birds. Also, for us they've proven to be great broody hens and excellent mothers. I can't remember a year when at least one bantam hen hasn't hatched out a clutch of eggs. Doesn't matter if they are her eggs or someone else's. And she'll raise the chicks large and small alike. Right now we have two banty hens that are so old they shouldn't be laying anymore . . . but still are. The other of our current three is from a hatch this past summer and is doing a bang-up job in her first laying season.

I almost decided to color Easter eggs again this year. Luckily, I snapped out of it and came back to my senses. Usually I get into any holiday and its accompanying foods and decorations with excitement and gusto, but dying Easter eggs has always been a chore for me. Admittedly, because of daughter's insistence (big baby that she is), I did color eggs up until the last couple of years when I decided I could be a bigger baby, throw a hissy-fit tantrum, stomp my foot and refuse to do it anymore.

Now this year with the Easter holiday coming up really fast, I kinda sorta find myself with an urge to do some eggs again. Maybe even hide them for my 'big kids' to find when they come for Easter dinner. Don't ask me why, but they still seem to get a kick out of doing so.

Well, I suppose I could do just a dozen. But if I go through the mess of doing a dozen, I might as well do two dozen. Hmmm, I'm thinking of foods for next week: Egg salad sandwiches on rye bread, deviled eggs, potato salad, I have a luscious breakfast casserole made with hard boiled eggs, bread and Swiss cheese, Scalloped Eggs (wonderful served with bacon and applesauce), I even have a Sweet Corn Noodle Soup recipe with chopped hard boiled eggs in it that's surpisingly tasty, and then there's always hard boiled eggs to eat out of hand for a snack . . . oh, heck. Where's my food coloring?


RuthieJ said...

Great chicken story Mama Pea.
When we were little kids at home, one year my dad built a chicken coop and we got a bunch of banty chickens. I had a pet little black rooster named "Snuggles." All of us kids had to take turns taking care of the chickens and picking up eggs. I sure would like to get some chickens again.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Go for it! You're way ahead of the (chicken) game by having had the chickens when you were growing up. They're really not much trouble at all considering the fantastic return you get in the way of those wonderful, fresh eggs.