Eggsperts

Mr. Sickles and I figured we needed to perfect the art of all things egg since we’re chicken farmers. We’re big on quiche (cheese-less for this dairy-free gal), scrambles, dutch babies, over-easy, over-hard, baked goods, breads. We’re a veritable Bubba Gump of egg dishes. But we could never achieve usable boiled eggs … until Mr. Sickles started piercing the shell. Now we get a perfect egg, with 100% usable whites, every time. Now we’re the eggsperts.

  1. Get a big pot of water to a low rolling boil — make sure there’s enough water to cover the eggs. Also make sure you’ve got a heavy pan with a lid that will let you boil water without it steaming over.
  2. Pierce the bigger end of the egg with a thumb tack.
  3. Use tongs to hold the egg just inside the water on its side, with the pierced hole under the surface. Wait until it bubbles, then set it on the bottom.
  4. Cover and turn the water down to medium-low. I like hard boiled eggs, so we set the timer for 12 minutes. If you want a softer yolk, set it for 9 – 12 minutes. We figure a jammy egg (BARF, but that’s what Mr. Sickles prefers), needs about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, pour out the hot water and add make an ice bath. When you crack the shells, splash it under fresh water and peel. Wah-lah.

We’ve got eggs!

On August 23, one day shy of 22 weeks old, we got our first egg from our chicken squad — Scarlett, the biggest of the Rhode Island Reds was super surprised when she went for a drink of water from their hanging water bucket and laid an egg beneath. We had a good time visualizing the rest of the girls backing away from her like maybe she’d been abducted by aliens and dropped back in the coop with a thing that fell out of her ass. Well, her cloaca, but you get my drift.

Scarlett’s petite egg was so cute, so well-formed. And so tasty. Two days later, Maude laid her first egg. Two days ago, little Nemo, with her stunted short-feathered wings, rounded out the dependable Rhodies and laid her first egg. And yesterday, sixteen days after Scarlett led the pack, we got our first Americauna blue egg. We think it’s June Carter Cash, but that’s because she’s the biggest of the three Americaunas. It might’ve been Lady Gaga, the mouthiest of the bunch, but we’re certain it’s not Lilac, the little princess. In these seventeen days of eggs, we’ve gotten nearly two dozen eggs for our family. We’ve worked hard this summer to share vegetables and now eggs with our family, and our small extended social pod of extended family and friends. And it makes me think, now more than ever, how important it is to thank the farmers in your community.

Behind the Scenes: Zinnias

This week I caught up with Maggie Zwilling, with her beautiful zinnias, artistic aesthetic, and laissez faire attitude. She’s a badass. “I’m not a tidy gardener,” Maggie told me, “nor do I care if colors don’t match.” See what I mean?

Maggie is a big chronicler of butterfly and moth activity, and plans her garden with them in mind. Check out some of this summer’s swallowtail visitors from her garden:

Zinnias are easy annuals to plant and care for. They add vibrant pops of color throughout your garden, whether they’re the centerpiece or sprinkled in. Plan ahead to make sure you have enough for a cutting garden, so that even when you’ve got a bouquet of zinnias indoors, there’s still some gracing the garden.

For more information on zinnias, check out:

Flying the Coop

Our cute little coop bit the dust a couple weeks ago. Seven inches of rain in three days tends to be dramatic, and in our case, our cute little coop couldn’t keep up. The side door collapsed, so we had to nail it shut. And that means our six chickens were not happy (or safe)–so we built a new one. “You should turn it into a AirB&B, and call it ‘Sleeping with Chickens’,” our friends said. LOL. All we have left to do is caulk it, paint it red, and add the finishing trim.

Chickens!

Eight weeks ago today, our chickens were born. I’m happy to report that all six chickens born on March 23 are still alive and happy in our meadow. Check out how lovely June Carter Cash’s feathers are nowadays.

My little chickadees

The stars have finally aligned and enabled us to get chickens. Because, chicks. We started out with six on March 25 … born on March 23 … and a month in, still have six chicks. I’m already counting that as a win. They’re remarkably easy to care for, super cute to look at and listen to, and give us hope for nutritious, tasty breakfasts in the months (and hopefully years) to come.

Our brood contains two varieties of chickens: three Rhode Island Reds (Ruby, Nemo, and Maude) and three Ameraucanas (June Carter Cash, Lady Gaga, and Lilac). We’ll probably move them out into the coop in another four weeks, which makes me nervous because we have coyotes around here that are way smarter than Wile E. Hopefully Mr. Sickles can figure out how to keep our girls safe while still being a friend of nature. I don’t think the groundhogs will bother them, and I’m envisioning the raccoons with their five fingers just giving those ol’ hens high-fives. And I’m crossing my fingers that our cute little foxes aren’t nearly as clever as the Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Resource list:

  1. Chicks, feed, grit, pine shavings: Pittsboro Feed
  2. Trough, watering can/lid, coop: Tractor Supply
  3. Wingin’ It shirt: my great friends Denise & Eddie got it for me, at Tractor Supply, I think