Friday, May 27, 2016

This was a familiar sight growing up. My grandma kept eggs on her counter and my Texas family, farmers most of them, had eggs in bowls on the counter too. Although no longer a decorating accent, when I was growing up, people bought plastic eggs to put in bowls on the counter in their country kitchens. I hadn't given it much thought until I got chickens. 

Let's be clear here, I have had chickens for three days. What I know about chickens would fill a thimble. The best way to learn is to ask friends, research on the internet, and learn by trial and error. Not wanting to make major errors, I researched chicken eggs. 

Somehow the sight of chicken eggs on the counter is comforting. I guess it's growing up around people who kept chickens. It was part of my childhood but I never wondered about it or was even curious. The eggs were on the kitchen counter.  

I got my chickens from a friend. As we were leaving, she gave me four eggs plucked from the coop. I took them home, put them in an egg carton and stuck them in the refrigerator. Two days later, I had two new eggs to add but I was unsure how long the eggs I brought home earlier would last. 

It seems that fresh eggs from the coop are good in a bowl on the counter for a week. The trick is not to wash them because it takes off the protective coating that is deposited on the shell when it is laid. After that, they should be refrigerated and are good for at least three weeks. 

My mother was a prolific bread baker. We didn't have chickens so eggs were always refrigerated. However, Aunt Ruth had chickens and it's her recipe (now 80 years old) that I still use. I will be putting my eggs on the counter and I will pull out my recipe. The smell of homemade bread always makes me homesick and now it's time to revive some of the traditions I learned so long ago. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This was a process. Did I wake up and decided we needed chickens? No, not really. I think this whole chicken things was a combination of many factors. Without being political, I think this world is on its last days. I don't know when we will depart the earth but the signs of impending doom are clearly visible. That made me consider my options in terms of food and water. Water will be an issue but I do have some food put away. We live in earthquake country and the USGS is making noises again about how overdue it is. Living between the San Andres and Coachella faults guarantees we might have some shaking. It's better to be prepared than not.  So no matter how you look at it: a renewable food source is a must. 

I do have a garden. This is the second year of planting with straw bales. I love this method. It simple and brings it up to my level. I also bought a small greenhouse for growing in the winter. I am quite happy with my setup since we live on a small lot and have learned to use our space wisely.

It was easier than I expected when I mentioned to my husband I wanted a few chickens. He loves food and lives to eat. He is really fond of eggs in any form. That was easy but I was surprised at how quickly he decided a few chickens would be wonderful. It took a little bit of money to buy a small coop and a little more to prepare a safe area for them. We got our chickens yesterday. They are in the coop today but tomorrow, I will let them out into the bigger prepared area. We have a dog who is not quite sure what to do with them yet so we need her to understand these are pets just like she is. When she is okay with the chickens, we will let them run the yard (except the garden which will need to be fenced off).

So the adventure begins. We know nothing about chickens. I have lots of friends with knowledge and they assure me we will be just fine. New chapter in our lives.