Monday, March 22, 2010

No chicks - at least not for now

I'm not sure if the problem with the eggs in the barn was that I messed with them, or because the door was shut for several days and she couldn't get to them, or just because I was being a hopeless optimist and thought my Superhens would beat the odds and get broody.

I made one last stab at it and brought them into the Moop.  One of the chickens goes into the Moop late in the day and sits on the whole nest full of eggs, so I added the eggs from the barn to that day's production and hoped that she would set and remain setting.  It didn't happen, so the eggs are all in a special carton marked for coloring for Easter Eggs.  Fresh eggs just don't peel worth a darn, and so these eggs, which are older than the rest, will be set aside to color.  They will be plenty old enough to peel very well.

Just to give you some perspective on how old an egg has to be to peel well, when my husband and I had chickens, I quickly learned to bring in the eggs for coloring about a month before Easter.  If you are buying your eggs from the store, they may already be plenty old enough to boil when you buy them.  One way to tell how old they are is to check to see if they float - or rather tilt a bit - in a pan of water.  The sack inside the shell tends to shrink as the egg ages, and that means the size of the air pocket at the big end of the egg increases over time.  And so, by putting the egg in water, you can judge its age by whether it lies flat on the bottom of the pan (fresh egg) or tilts upward because of the buoyancy caused by the enlarged air pocket at the blunt end.  The tip will point down and the blunt end will rise a bit.  Old egg.  Nothing wrong with that.  Eggs have a pretty neat built-in preservation system.  You can safely eat an egg that is reaching two months.  But you would want to save those for deviled eggs, or to put in your pancakes.  For a fried or poached egg, the fresher the better!  I love having fresh eggs here.  It is really a wonderful luxury.

And now it is time to fry up a couple of those fresh eggs, in a combination of lard and butter of course, and get on with my day.  It's a root day on my calendar, and I'm going to try to plant at least a few of the onions, leeks and chives that were started in the greenhouse a couple of months ago.  It's supposed to get up into the mid-50s today, and that's not at all bad for working outside.

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