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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Easter Sunday?

Is it possible that Easter has come to our house a little late this year?  Well I’m not sure how that is possible.  We had 12 or so people over for a wonderful Easter meal a little while back, so what gives?  Well, you know we have these six chickens and you’d think that since we have a wonderful coop, with individual nesting boxes, that it would be easy to gather eggs every day.  Of course that’s not the case because where is the story in that?

We also have the neighbors cows living on our property.  Here’s one now.  She’s suspect of my being so close, but she really liked the shade and didn’t bother to leave because it was 100+ degrees a few steps away.  I went back inside and we were both happier. 

Here’s the set up on a given day.  We purposely keep the chickens cooped up until about 11am every day, unless I forget to let them out because of work meetings.  Then I run out at 1pm and apologize to them and they run for every little thing they think they can see to eat. 

After we let the chickens out we used to keep the coop open, but cows like the one above, really her sister/cousin Missy (who didn't want to be photographed for this assignment), likes to get into the coop and eat chicken feed.  That's a problem.  While the coop is large and spacious by chicken standards, it's more of a tight squeeze for a cow to be sticking her head (horns and all) in there and then turn around to get out.  In case you werent away, cows are not necessarily the most graceful creatures.  Damage was starting to happen.  So, when we let the chickens out, we have to lock up the coop to keep out the riff raff cows. 

Anyway, while I’m out there to let out the chickens, I open up the hatch and look for eggs in the nesting area.  For several days there were no eggs to be found.  We assumed it was just too hot for them to be laying.  We’ve heard that they tend to go on egg laying strikes when it gets too hot.  Now it’s been days and there are no eggs for three or four days and I’m starting to purposefully leave them in the coop until 1pm hoping that they will ‘take care of business’ before they get let out.  Still nuttin. 

Finally on Thursday I couldn’t take it anymore.  I start looking at every place we’ve ever found an egg.  They aren’t in the corner of the garden where we found the first 15 eggs. 

They weren’t hiding in the tomato plant where we found six or seven a few weeks ago. 

J and I hunted for these eggs.  We looked under the mountain laurel where we almost always see a snake.  Thankfully we didn’t find the snake, but we also didn’t find any eggs either.  Nothing near the air conditioner drain where they regularly enjoy a cool drink of distilled water.  On the porch in the planter where one likes to lay regularly?  Nope, not there either.  Behind the shed in the scrap pile?  Looking from a distance (for fear of snakes), nope don't see any there either. 

In sheer frustration I go back to the garden to make one last look for these eggs and lo and behold there they are, in between the garden fence and the coop, in a space about the width of a chicken. 

Thankfully the space is also about the width of a young boy named J.  Naturally they wouldn’t be right at one end or the other where we mere mortals could reach them easily. 

You can see the wire in the coop is very small holes and the garden holes are not much bigger. 

J did manage to get one egg out by reaching through the garden fence, but he came back and said that his arm got fatter as it got closer to his body so he couldn’t reach all of the eggs.  Since he couldn’t get them all he put the one back. 

I leaned in on the garden fence and managed to help J squeeze in and he passed the eggs out one by one, all twelve of them.  We’ve been getting 3-4 eggs per day and since we hadn’t found any eggs for a few days they were now all accounted for. 

Do they go bad?  Amazingly no, they don't. 

Saturday morning while J and I were picking more tomatoes, I ended up finding two more eggs amongst the tomato plants.  Who knows how long they had been there.  When we went inside, I decided French (Patriot) toast was for breakfast, used those two eggs and haven’t keeled over yet. Sputter.  Spit.  Whhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. 

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