Monday, April 12, 2010

Where I Get Eggs

Monday, April 12, 2010

An on-again, off-again day here in Marshfield today. The morning started out cold and held that way for some time. I had plans to be at the nursery early for garden work but 30 degrees and a slight wind suggested an additional hour on the computer and phone and then an hour in the woods cutting out the old woods road that was littered with trees and branches from this winter. By the time I returned to the house it was good to smell fresh coffee and hear the wood stove crackling.

I stopped down by neighbor Mike's to get some pictures of his raspberries and blueberries for a blog piece I had in mind. But then I got hung up with the chickens as I often do and before I knew it, another hour had come and passed. I don't know where you get your eggs but as long as these girls at Mike's keep laying, this is the place I'm going.

Each spring when farm stores get in boxes full of chicks, I get this notion that I need a chicken house again and a bunch of chickens. And then I do a quick cost analysis and after figuring out all the things I need but don't have and the time I would spend, I always come back to a different way to come up with fresh eggs. But I never like the conclusion because there is something about chickens and eggs and the color of a couple yolks in a fry pan or the taste of the cooked product. There's something special about a favorite hen pecking at your shoe lace or looking for a private handout. This year I have come the closest to building a chicken coop and it's not over yet. I weaken every time I look at Mike's girls.

Mike reminds me of many people around here with a dozen or so chickens of mixed breeds. I'm not sure how Mike put this collection together but they are a good mix and they produce well. Each has a name and although I wouldn't know a Frieda from a Helen, they all seem nice to me. When you go to the store to buy chicks, you have a choice of sexed and unsexed. This has to be the job of all times--checking the sex on chicks so customers don't get a box of 24 chicks, 15 of which grow up to be roosters. I'm glad I am leaving the world of work so I don't have to consider chicken sexing as a life long profession.

It's good to get a mix as the chickens mature at different times and they lay for different lengths of time and some start laying sooner than others. Often they don't start laying before some would-be home chicken farmers want to give up and pursue something else. Patience is a virtue will chickens and good deals can be had for those who have patience and a couple bucks to buy out those who lack chicken patience. I am reading the classifieds every day now and expect I might hit it big before Memorial Day.

Before I knew it I was cooking up some fresh cod for dinner and the chicken experience was far behind me. It turned out to be a busy afternoon after the great chicken visits and the sun finally warmed the air enough that I could take off a layer of clothes and not feel chilled. I did get some pictures of raspberries and blueberries and I'll get back to that blog tomorrow. In the meantime, think of flowers you might need this year from Vermont Flower Farm and ask yourself where your eggs come from. If you don't know the answer to the egg question, I suggest you might find your own neighbor. If you need flowers, come see Gail.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the sun is long gone and the temperature is dropping. Peas and lettuce aren't up yet--maybe next week.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook at Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm


Isadora said...

I love chickens! Growing up on a farm, one of my favorite memories is getting spring chicks. I still love to go to the farm store and look at the baby chicks when they come in. Alas, I can't have any. Hawks, you know. So I get my eggs from a friend who has chickens. Nothing like farm fresh eggs!

Puzzleyes said...

When I was a little girl, my Dad (bless his sweet soul) worked for a time at a hatchery sexing chickens. I didn't realize until I was older what a truly peculiar occupation that was! We were not farm kids, so when Dad brought home a box of baby chicks for us to see and snuggle for a few minutes, we were enchanted. Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite childhood memories.

Anonymous said...

I love your post, George! Thanks for sending me here (from my FB page)...and now I'll send you to a post I wrote last year for Garden Rant (and you can laugh how I'm a total hypocrite now that I went ahead and bought chickens yet again!!)...

James said...

I love chickens a lot.
Thanks for make this post. Keep it up. I would like to hear more from you.
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