“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness
from common things.”
Henry Ward Beecher
This morning for breakfast, I put a pat of butter in a frying pan and waited for it to melt. I reached into the fridge and choose two eggs with sage green shells that Grace gathered from the coop, just yesterday. I put down two pieces of white bread into the toaster and cracked the eggs into the pool of hot butter, where they immedietly started sizzling. At just the right time, I used a wooden spoon (because I couldn’t find my flipper) and turned the eggs. Turning off the heat, I grabbed a (fiesta) plate from the cupboard, buttered my toast, and put it and the eggs on the plate. The older children were all in school and the younger ones had already eaten. I sat at the table a nd ate my eggs with the hot, crispy toast and remembered all the mornings my Mom made me this very same breakfast before school. Eggs and toast are a comfort food for me. A perfectly fried egg is something to be proud of.
I remember when Rich finally agreed to let me get chickens. We had stopped at Agway for something and I sat in the car with the children while he ran in. When he came out, he smiled and handed me a brochure through the open window, and told me that it was time to order chicks. Everyone in the car heard my happy cries, as I realized I was finally going to live out one of my dreams; to have a flock of chickens!
That was three years ago now. The chicks came in the late summer, and by that winter they were starting to lay. We have enjoyed two and a half years of our own rich, beautiful eggs. Each one is interesting, big or small, speckled or solid colored, and sometimes we even get a tiny egg.
Through the years we have lost some of our original, first chickens. One of our hens hatched out eggs (for a second flock) and we lost some of those new ones, too. Right now we get about 5 eggs a day.
Grace and I are hooked. We will always have chickens now. They add so much to life here at home. We observe them, laugh at them, hold them, and enjoy their eggs.
A few months ago, I ordered twenty five more chicks. Five each of five different varieties. On the morning the Post Office called, Grace went down with me (at 6:30 am) to get our box of warm, peeping chicks. The two of us brought them home and got them cozy in the garage, in a big crate. We put down wood shavings, filled their water and food, and sat down to watch them. We’ve been sitting out there every chance we could get, all weekend.
The chicks get sleepy under their red heat lamp. We smile as we watch them sink into the straw, limp, and looking very peaceful.
Most of the time, they are busy eating and drinking (and growing). We put food in empty food lids and they seem to like it better that way. They gather around in a circle and get right into the dish so they can scratch backwards and eat. I found a metal water ring at Agway, made to use with a mason jar. Delightful.
Yesterday afternoon, Grace and I took nine of the chicks outside for a little while. Although they are tiny, they knew just what to do; scratch and hunt for little tasty morsels. One of them found a leaf and got chased by her sisters, who thought it was something good to eat.
We have five each of:
Ameraucana (blue or green eggs)
Lakenvelder (white or cream eggs)
Welsummer (dark brown eggs) I am most excited about these. I can’t wait to see the eggs.
Rhode Island Reds (brown)
New Hampshire Reds (brown)
We haven’t raised any poultry for meat, although we may in the future. For now we are simply enjoying our chickens as pets and the wonderful egg producers that they are.