Monday, December 28, 2009

Back in the eggs

I just noticed a theme.

Back in April, The Princess was anxiously awaiting the time that her hen would catch up with all the other birds and lay an egg. Butterscotch didn't come through until May 11. And for the past month or so, The Princess has been anxiously awaiting the time that her new hen would catch up with all the other birds and lay an egg.

Gold Diamond finally came through when we were out of town. The Law Talking Guy and his kids came over to feed the dog and let the birds roam a little while we were in Ft Worth. While here they collected three eggs, one much smaller than the rest. He called me to make sure things were OK with the birds. I assured him that it was a "First Egg" and that they are usually noticeably smaller.

Gold Diamond, 5 month and 2 week old Buff Cochin's first egg.
In relation to two from M&M and one blue/green egg from Roadrunner the Easter Egger.

The Princess is still out of town with Grandma, so I'll save GD's first egg for her to see when she arrives home. But now that we have 3 laying hens again, I better warn the neighbors. With the birds laying somewhere near 18 a week, I'll be pushing lots of eggs off on them shortly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A peek at the awesomeness

A week ago I promised some upcoming awesomeness . I admit I have been negligent in posting the goods and I have been a tease. Turns out I don't have a flatbed scanner anymore. I thought there was still one in the garage. As a result, the project is going to be a little more time intensive than I thought.

So for the time being I bring you this. (Are you sure you can handle the awesomeness?)

Wait for it...

This little 15 page cookbook from 1965, turned up when The Mother of the Bride was at her Aunt's house. The MotB thought I might like it. And turns out she was right. Just like she always is. Isn't that correct, MotB?

Anyways, I'll try to figure out a decent way to share some of the recipes soon. Until then I am off to bake up some Bean Dip a la Dr Pepper. Or maybe I'll whip up some Dr Pepper basted Barbecued Spareribs...

More than you ever cared to know about blue eggs

Yesterday we got our first egg from The Talker's Easter Egger Pullet. I wanted to follow up with a little more info about the odd looking little egg.

First of all, yes they are edible. And like all of our backyard eggs, the blue eggs are very tasty! I can now vouch for this personally, since I just polished off 2 egg and cheese tacos.

One interesting tidbit about the blue egg shells, they are blue all the way through. Look at the brown egg shell to the left and you might notice that the brown eggs are actually white on the inside. The brown coloring is only on the outer surface of the shell. Not so with the blue eggs.

Roadrunner's egg, left. One of M&M's eggs from the last 4 days, top right. Grocery store organic, free range egg, bottom left.

The brighter color of the yolks from our backyard eggs is even more noticeable when compared to regular, white shelled, grocery store production eggs (which happen to make way better boiled eggs, by the way).

The three egg yolks in closer comparison. Roadrunner's egg bottom. M&M's egg top left. Grocery store egg, top right.

As chickens get older and lay more eggs, they tend to lay larger eggs. Their first eggs are smaller and the yolks are noticeably smaller. This is true regardless of egg shell color.

And finally, the real reason to keep a backyard flock! Egg and cheese tacos with a little Hell on the Red hot sauce and side of Dr Pepper! Good eating, thanks to our chicks!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blue eggs and ham anyone?

The Talker has been fascinated with blue egg laying hens since we started our backyard flock. A year ago we talked about trying to find an Easter Egger Chicken, but our flock was already too big.

The neighbor's dog took care of that problem. A couple of times.

Back in July we bought a couple of chicks. One was labeled as an Ameraucana, but as we started to watch the bird mature, we realized that we actually had brought home an Easter Egger chick. No big deal, since The Talker's only wish was to have a hen that laid blue eggs.

Today, after a 5 month and 5 day wait, The Talker's wish came true.

The prize!

Here is Roadrunner's egg compared to M&M's latest offerings.

This is the only halfway decent picture I have ever snapped of Roadrunner. She is a fast, super timid bird.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maybe next week

Bad news. The upcoming awesomeness isn't going to happen in the next few days.

The girl was home sick from school again today, so I did not even begin to work on the project.

You'll have to trust me. It is worth the wait, I promise.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The molt is ending!

This post is still not about the upcoming awesomeness. Sorry to extend the wait, but with The Princess home all day today it will be Thursday at the earliest before that project hits the internet.

But this is good news, too! M&M is finally finishing her molt. She had not laid an egg in a month. I saw her hanging out in the hen house all afternoon, so I was hopeful. Sure enough, when I went out a few minutes ago there was a nice, fresh egg waiting for me.

Now that M&M has remembered about her egg laying duties, maybe she can convince these other birds to start forking over some eggs also.

On an unrelated note...

Full disclosure: this post has nothing at all to do with the upcoming awesomeness. I really don't want you hurting yourselves and thinking that this post = some sort of clue. So on to the good stuff:

A conversation between myself and The Princess. This morning in the car, on the way home from the pharmacy:

", who is my brother?
Uncle J.
Right. Who is mommy's brother?
Right, she only has a sister.
That's Aunt A!
Right again. Who is daddy's sister?
Uh. I forget her name. You mean the one with funny hair, right?
Pure greatness from the mouth of the babe.

Wait for it...

There is something AWESOME coming shortly. Need to work on it today and hopefully will be getting it posted up shortly.

Set your faces to stun.

But until then, try to get some work done.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

We survived.

The Blizzard of Death'09 ® ended up being a 2 hour snowfall in the middle of the afternoon. But the way the local news was selling this story, someone was surely going to die. Sadly, as far as I know, no one did.

The kids got to go outside in the middle of the school day to play in the blowing snow. Which pretty much made for an exciting Friday. And my favorite type of Death Storm.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Prepping the chickens for the worst

The Blizzard of Death'09 ® is upon us.

At least that is the way the weather man are making the next two days of cold weather sound. The city is evidently prepping for mass casualties and ravaging outbreaks of hypothermia.

I went and did my dad duty this morning and I found the boy a new coat. Then I needed to fulfill my farmer-ly duties, so this afternoon I have been bust getting the chickens ready for the cold weather. (Which I don't mind doing, since they actually do sleep outside, where it might drop down into the upper 20's tonight.)

I never have successfully evicted the birds from my storage shed. Instead, I have made them a nice cozy home in there for the nights and occasional egg laying. The birds seldom go in the shed during the day, but I generally keep the door open anyways.

So tonight my chickens will be nice and toasty, thanks to the brooder lamp that I rigged up out in the shed. And I'll be watching the temps. If it is colder than expected tonight, I have also set up a little electric heater for the girls. On top of everything, the entire chicken pen inside of the shed is covered with a nice stack of old blankets, which should keep things nice and toasty.

Don't worry, though. I am a good farmer, so I made sure the blankets were not too close to the heat sources. Don't want to find my little birdies have turned into fried chickens overnight...

All my mother's dreams came true at Wal Mart this morning

My momma used to say "I hope you have a kid just like you." And guess what, I do.

One example: Here in Austin we are facing The Blizzard of Death'09 ®.

Weather is supposed to stay in the mid to high 30s tonight, tomorrow and much of Saturday. To prevent frostbite, instant hypothermia and projectile vomiting, the weather forecasters are suggesting that we Texans wear coats during this half-week Ice Age.

So we went about digging out the "big coats" this morning. Yet, The Talker's was nowhere to be found. He has worn the same big coat for a year, maybe two. It is one of those layered systems that you can separate into a lightweight jacket and a thicker polar fleece sweater. And amazingly he has managed to keep up with all of the component parts for this long.

The Princess has the same type of coat. And her's was missing for a few minutes too, but it was found in the trunk of my car. But she is a stylish girl and she had a spare, fuzzy fake fur Wookie looking coat lying around.

Anyways, I don't really want the kid to freeze to death. Plus, I simply don't have time to deal with Child Protective Services coming to my house, so I figured we needed to replace the boy's coat. this morning I hit up Target and a couple of other stores. No dice. Either the jackets were too thin, too bulky or too money. (I don't really need the boy to wear a faux-fur trimmed, goose down, parka for this 3 day winter storm.) I even stopped at a resale shop or two. Still no coat for the kid.

I was heading to the mall, when I saw the sign for our nearest Wal Mart. I'll admit, even though I worked for an arm of the giant for a few years in college, I don't really like Wal Marts. They are simply too big for my taste and my usual experience is that they are messy. But this store has recently been remodeled, so I am not as afraid of it as I once was.

Less than 15 minutes after I parked the car, I was walking out with the most perfect, $13 boy's coat ever made in China. It isn't as fancy as the lost jacket, but it should last at least long as our frigid temps. Hopefully The Talker will keep up with it longer than just this weekend, though.

But if not, I now know where to go for a quick replacement.

The Talker is getting off easy. No lectures, no hassles. Just a new coat because all during this journey I kept wondering how many times my mother made a similar trek to buy me a coat and to keep me from freezing to death in a t-shirt. I would guess that she did it more than once while I was in elementary school.

So Mom, Thanks for the curse. I want you to know that it worked.