Life on a small hobby farm can be rewarding and so full of little milestones. I just got one of the little hints that spring is lurking somewhere under the ice that is currently melting to mud. Even before the fuzzy quality of buds on trees, and bees taking to the air, comes one of my favorites; the eggs.
How are eggs a big deal? For anyone who doesn’t live on a farm you may not be aware that chickens lay eggs based on the available daylight hours. Yes chickens are solar powered. They can be tricked into laying during the winter by electric lights but I don’t like to do that. Some breeds produce right through the winter. Mine don’t.
Normally December and January I have no fresh eggs. I keep my eggs fresh enough to cook with during this time by purposely not washing them when I bring them in. I wash them just before I use them. Anything smeared with any unsavory barnyard waste is not saved for longer-term storage.
This year was unusual in the fact that my chickens stopped laying earlier than they ever had before: the beginning of November. They didn’t grace me with the first egg till this week. Normally I see one on, or around, Groundhog’s day. So this led me to do something I haven’t done in almost ten years. I bought eggs, from the store. That was eye-opening. I’d nearly forgotten the ghostly pale yellow yolks of my youth as compared to the robust yellow/orange yokes of free-range chickens.
The one on the left is from one of my birds, the one on the right is from a cage-free carton from the supermarket. The color of the yokes from my birds will darken in the spring when there is more for them to forage. There’s just no contest which I like better. I’m glad to have them back.
I have an ongoing interest in dystopian fiction, both reading and writing it. I’m a fan of simple living and draw inspiration for my writing from my love of old-fashioned skills and my small hobby farm.
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My first book is available on Amazon