Friday the girls laid five eggs for the first time. Saturday we were back to four. Yesterday, every time I peeked into the Moop, there was a chicken in the top right nest - their favorite. At 3:30 I made my third trip out there, and yup, there was one of the girls hunkered down in the same nest. Well, 3:30 is a ridiculous time to be laying an egg! It is dark by 4:30. They should be all done! I was pretty sure it wasn't a broody hen, so I reached under her. She stretched, then stood to get out of my way. And there in the nest, under her fat, warm little body, were SIX EGGS! At a time of year when production should be dropping, or at best staying the same, these Belgian-bred Golden Campines are INCREASING their production. Gotta love 'em!
Each hen should lay five eggs per week, pretty good production for a heritage breed hen. Thirteen hens left, so when they reach their stride, they should be producing nine or ten eggs per day. So they are already getting close.
I picked up eggs when I was a kid, with a tin can in my hand in case their was a broody hen that didn't want to give up her eggs. Put the can over the head, reach under, and you can get the egg without being pecked. But that and throwing scraps over the fence was the sum total of my experience on my mom and dad's farm. This is all so exciting to me.
My husband and I had a commercial egg system - 12,000 caged layers. If there really is Purgatory, I figure I will have to spend some time there for that operation. Or maybe I have repaid my karmic debt by doing what I am doing now on this farm. Who knows? No one, really. We cling to what feels right for us, and what feels right to me is this turning of the Wheel, this everlasting passing of the seasons.
One year, when the Wheel turns, I will no longer be here to celebrate, but while I am, I do, and this Saturday, I will celebrate Yule and the Return of the Sun God. At last, the days will be a little longer, the light will stay a little later. Blessed be!