Darn eggs

Since having chickens in the back garden, I have noticed how the recipes that I associate with the colder months use fewer eggs than those definitive summer offerings. My gingerbread recipe uses one egg, while the meringues I make, use three egg whites. Steam puddings which are a family favourite in the winter, use one or two and sponge cakes take three. Quiche and ice cream are on the summer menu.

There is a pattern. Hens traditionally lay far fewer eggs in the colder months. Its just not efficient to raise chicks when it winter. These cold weather recipes probably trace their roots back to a time before all year around, large-scale egg production. It makes sense.

So far so good.

Each winter we let our hens wander around the garden. In summer they are confined to a smaller area in order to protect the kitchen garden. Each winter, I search the whole garden for the few eggs that they do lay. One year I gave up and bought a dozen eggs, only to find a clutch of 12 eggs in the pampas grass the same afternoon.

This winter is no exception. I’ve found them up under the box hedge, in the children’s play house, at the top of the children’s play fort and in the old greenhouse. I kid you not! This week I couldn’t find any. I stalked the hens when I could. Nothing. I checked first thing, as I let them out, and under the hens every night. Nothing. I put it down to the cold weather.

Yesterday, I had a break through. I checked under a cockerel, when I shut them up. Sure enough they had hidden the eggs in the darkest corner, where one of the cockerels roosts. A clutch of fifteen. The cockerel watched each egg disappear from underneath him, as if he was counting them out. (He really is a cockerel.)

Result! I suddenly have lots of eggs. Time for an out of season cake. Victoria sponge sandwiched with chocolate spread and covered in powdered icing sugar and rainbow edible glitter. My attempt to make a summer cake look wintery!

Today the chickens have found a sunny part of the garden, where the snow has thawed. The light sussex cross is new. Friends had one hen left, so we said she could join our flock. Introducing one chicken is always more difficult. Not fully integrated yet, but this is photographic proof that she is getting closer to them.

One of my other jobs this weekend, is to darn a few home knits. I’m hopeless getting around to other mending, but for some reason darning is fun! I think it is the wooden mushroom. The darning threads are hand-me-downs from my mother and grandmas.  Stash busting again! They must be old as most of them are priced at 12p or 13p and made in England.

Even at 12p, I don’t think I’ll ever, ever be using the stockings and tights mending thread for its intended use. Apart from not wearing tights that colour, I think life is too short to be mending stockings. Got to draw the line somewhere!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

10 thoughts on “Darn eggs

  • Saturday 11 February, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you do draw the line somewhere… otherwise I would just be intimidated rather than inspired here!

    Love that you found an excuse to make that yummy cake.

    Blessings, Debbie

    • Sunday 19 February, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Darn! You saw straight through me. Yes, it was a ruse to make a sponge cake!

  • Saturday 11 February, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Sponge is good, summer or winter!
    Who said chickens weren’t intelligent? They’re better than Prof Layten for making your brain work trying to find those eggs!

    • Sunday 19 February, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Tell me about it. Just when, I give up, I’ll find a new nest. Then I’m left wondering how long they have been there.

  • Saturday 11 February, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    My little banty has taken to laying in the little flower bed I made just outside the kitchen door – all I have to do is lean out and she has delivered them to me – Perfect!! Your cake looks delicious and lovely and yellow! Hope it keeps on getting warmer 😀

    • Sunday 19 February, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      I wish I could train my flock to lay in such a convenient place.

  • Sunday 12 February, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I’d love to have our own chickens but I’m allergic to feathers…fortunately we have friends that do so we still get great organic free range eggs with lovely big yellow yolks…mmm…

    Your cake looks delicious.

    By the way I’m passing a versatile blogger award forward to you Cheryl if you are interested…

    Hope you have a sunny Sunday,

    • Sunday 19 February, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      I love our home laid eggs. The yolks are definitely a different colour. I think that you do have the best combination. Home laid eggs and none of the mucking out. Perfect!

  • Friday 17 February, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Deliciously yummy cake…………. canny chickens…….using the cockerel to guard their stash of eggs……..and your gorgeous booty of mending/darning threads just made me wish I had a darning mushroom of my own. x

    • Sunday 19 February, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Chickens. Not always as daft as they look! The darning mushrooom does make it easier to darn. I saw some painted as toadstools, so I’m itching to give mine a paint job!

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