Monday, July 25, 2011

#59 - I'm an Egg Junkie!

This past Friday, we were blessed to find our first eggs in the chicken coop. My last post gives details of that incredibly, exciting day.

After we found those eggs, we felt like we had won an Olympic Medal! We were on cloud nine and enjoying the beautiful scene. A deep sense of accomplishment washed over us as we realized that we were doing something RIGHT and we were learning how to produce our own healthy food!

I liken the feeling of finding your first egg to how a five year old feels after learning to ride a bike for the first time. It is exhilarating, gratifying, fulfilling, a joy-packed moment that has staying power and adds to your sense of freedom.

There is something about an egg that has me captivated by its simplistic magnificence. The potential in one little egg is a concept that is deeply entrenched and tangled with all things important in life. I looked at those eggs that we found in our backyard chicken coop and knew that with a different direction, those little eggs might have had a chance to grow into baby chicks instead of ending up as unfertilized eggs sitting in our refrigerator. But, a city backyard is not conducive to rooster-raising, so there won't be additions to the flock any time soon.

However, I do love, love, love chicks. There is something about a fuzzy wuzzy chick that is sweet and lovable, like most newborns we see, they bring out the side of us that is more vulnerable and filled with fresh hope.

A chick's protection by its mother is a beautiful tale as old as time itself as testimony to the love a parent feels for a child...the protection, sacrifice and tender or firm care that is given with innate abilities is amazing.

I look at the shell of the egg and think about the strange mingling of delicate, breakable potential and freaky strength that the shell boasts. On one hand, the egg will easily rupture with a tap in the right place, on the other hand, the egg can be placed end to end and have a grown man stand on it without breaking. Engineers take note. God is the ultimate structural engineer and His mind-boggling creations with things, such as an egg, can amaze us to no end.

To know that a chicken will lay an egg on a regular cycle is something that I am sure people through time have appreciated. I can only imagine how many people have gone out to the coop in a desperate search for fresh eggs so that their family could be fed nutritious food from a source that would hopefully continue to get them through the rough patch. An egg is densely nutritious; so much delicious goodness in such a tiny, compacted space.

Then, I considered how many dishes can be made with eggs...probably infinite.

As I marveled at the beauty of the egg shell itself, I thought about all of the artists through time who have taken an emptied egg shell and turned it into an intricate work of art. The shell as a delicate canvas gives limited space, but the designs are only as limited as the imagination. There is always something interesting about seeing a decorated eggshell.

Of course, when growing up, I would save every eggshell from eggs we were cooking, starting months before Easter. I would take an ice-pick and gently tap the ends of the shells and blow out the egg, rinsing it afterward to make sure the shell cavity was clean. We'd dye the empty eggs in honor of the Easter Bunny, but then I'd stuff these hollowed eggs full of confetti that I had painstakingly created from extra paper around the house and we'd have a ball. These were the days BEFORE you could buy a carton of prepared confetti eggs.

One Easter, we were bashing confetti eggs over each other's heads in the backyard, during our Easter pool party, and I walked over to my brother with my evil side in full action to smash a real, raw egg over his head --- the raw egg I had hidden to use just for this purpose. Yes, it was premeditated action. Regardless, I tried to act innocent, as if this traitorous raw egg accidentally made its way into the bunch. I put on my acting hat and feigned a shocked expression of horror as the egg yolk dripped down my brother's head and face. He stood there trying to absorb the attack. I continued my act, "Oh my gosh, how did that uncooked, colorful egg get into my bunch of confetti eggs?"

But my mother didn't buy it. Everyone stood around watching my mom for signs of her opening a can of whoop-ass as my brother stood uncommonly speechless and quite messy with glistening egg mess all over his head. I was beginning to have difficulting holding in my inner celebration. But, I dared not laugh out loud. My mother was not amused. Even my brother, the victim, was afraid of my mom's reaction...none of us were sure whether we had permission to laugh or whether we should start running in opposite directions for our lives.

Why did I do it? Hmmm...I was thirteen. That's the only answer I've got.

However, it was worth it. But, my mother's revenge had just started. She ordered my brother to go inside the house, even in his egg yolk mess, and to retrieve a fresh egg from the refrigerator. Then, as my brother looked on with a mad-house crazed expression filled with pure boy-joy and a bit of terror from possible unknown ramifications...she made me stand there with my arms down, with everyone in a circle watching, as she ordered my brother to smash that egg over my head. And he did. Hard. It would have broken with much less "smashing" energy than he exherted. But, I guess he figured it was his GRAND chance to get back at big sister, with parental approval. Actually, I asked for it. Afterward, mom went into a fit of hysterical laughter which FINALLY gave all of us permission to follow suit.

My sweet brother and I in a REAL hug.
Not the kind that makes you yell, "Don't touch me little pest."
But, mother warned that the rest of her eggs were OFF-LIMITS.

We lived through it. It was a wonderful Easter, egg yolk hair and all.

Speaking of egg yolk grandmother would frequently make a hair treatment from egg supposedly make your hair shiny. I just remember the whites drying to a crispy level and me wondering if I'd ever get it washed out of my hair. Egg whites layered my curly hair and acted as a polyurethane. Yes, it was shiny and if I touched it, my hair literally would crack.

In my husband's military days, he would crack a bunch of eggs into a large cup with a dash of Tabasco Sauce and swallow it all whole as I gagged while watching. Disgusting. Do all guys go through this stage?

At a rather expensive restaurant, but my husband still
making me crack up.
Today has been an egg-bland day because I've already checked the coop this morning and there were not any new eggs. Nothing since Friday when we found our first two eggs laid by Miss Speckles. I feel like an egg-addict...I need a fix. I'm an EGG JUNKIE!

This man may have to lead me away in hand-cuffs...I am
addicted chickens and to freshly laid eggs.
I'm a dangerous woman.
Anyway, I do feel sorry for the ladies as they "scream" out before they lay their egg. I had heard this distinctive distressful call for a couple of days before finding these eggs. It was such a piercing sound, as if one of the chickens were being attacked. I'd race to the door with Howdy on my heels because he was in alert-mode as well...both of us would rush outside to find the chickens perfectly fine. Howdy and I would stand there looking at each other, as if to say, "You DID hear that didn't you?"

This happened a few times. I don't know if I'll ever become accustomed to that sound, but now I know what they do before they lay...they sound as if they are in moments of agony. Laying an egg as GOT to be agony. Since I gave birth twice to non-eggs, completely naturally, I think I can sympathize with their screams.

Today, I am feeling a bit in the dumps. We do not have any new eggs, and my body is hurting from doing too much this weekend. Did I mention that my four-year old niece stayed with us all weekend long? So, it sure would take my mind off things if I were to find a cute little egg. I'd be set for about another...24 hours...yes, I am a hard-core chicken-egg-junkie.

I can only imagine how I'll feel once we get moved to our acreage and finally get some goats.


Mike said...

Let's all sing: The incredible edible egg.

Mike said...

Okay, curiosity got the best of me and I googled the small egg question. Apparently, or maybe, Miss Speckles laid a couple 'wind eggs.' These are yolkless eggs very common with a pullets first layings.

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

What a great post dedicated to your wonderful and now producing girls.

Do not worry about the egg girls do it too...I read this is because back in the day before domestication when chickens ran wild it was the way they stay in contact with the flock and therefore protect themselves while laying...kinda silly if you ask me to call that much attention to yourself when that vulnerable but not all chickens are very smart sad to say lol...But the funniest thing about the egg song is my rooster will stand outside the laying boxes and make just as much (if not more) noise about it as the girls...(like I said not all chickens are very smart lol)

Congrates on the eggs I hope you get lots regularly very soon.

Blessings Kelsie

LindaG said...

I have to chuckle at your post, but I am happy for you. I think they're random when they first start laying, but I don't remember for sure.
Have a great evening!

Rae said...

Lol on the "screaming" layers. Our do about a 1-2 minute cackle fit. I imagine them singing, "I am so cool, too cool for school, lookie lookie lookie what I made!"