I must be quite simple minded since the thrill of picking a warm egg out of the nest box has not dimmed in the least for me in the past two weeks since we gathered the first egg here at the farm. The hens are starting to be more productive since more of them are laying and I can see that they are a nearly constant presence in the nest boxes early in the day. The size of the eggs is also growing as the first ones are typically smaller. I have faithfully recorded all the egg laying events since things got going in my Farm Preservation notebook as pictured below. This is a simple, lined composition book that I previously decorated with paper, ribbon and my labels to record all the farm canning and freezing.
Once egg production began, I decided to record the egg laying info using pages starting from the back of the book. I record each egg by identifying the date, which breed laid it (I can usually determine), which nest box it was laid in and the weight in grams since it is much more precise than ounces. Once the egg laying is rampant, I’m sure I will simplify this routine to sheer numbers but in the meantime, it has been fun to keep track of the comings and goings in the coop.
Of course the ‘fowl’ (ha!) weather caught up with me finally and I had to move the Chicken Fountain indoors where it has a better chance of not freezing. Our dear contractor, Mark, came over to help facilitate this move since it is really hard to put heat tape on a garden hose which was the extension of the water source between the indoor and outdoor coop. I can’t believe that after only a couple of days of using an interim water source, I had to retrain the hens to the fountain! Now relocated underneath their drop board and all is copacetic in the coop.
So, you might ask, what are we doing with all the eggs? So far we have gathered 40 eggs and have begun to distribute some to friends and neighbors as Holiday gifts. I found these adorable containers on line and paid dearly to have them shipped from afar but they are too cute for words when I add my labels to them. I can’t vouch for what the recipients are doing with them, but daughter Kate has been inventive and so have we. Here is Coulter enjoying a nice lunch of scrambled eggs with blueberries from the farm. The Wards – as displaced Californians – made Huevos Rancheros one night recently and sent this photo to make us drool. Jason calls this a sinus clearing dinner!We went back to our college roots and revisited the Ponte Vecchio pizza that I learned to make while working as a pizza chef (chef is a real stretch here) in a small, local restaurant. It is quite possible that you have never experienced the wonders of eating fresh eggs in your pizza pie so let me just give you some details about how it can be done!
You don’t have to make your own dough as I always do but why wouldn’t you since it is simple pimple? Dough is not the focus here so I will go on to the pie toppings and will promise to figure out how to better utilize WordPress and add a recipe section to the blog to showcase specific ingredients.
I also make my own sauce from our own tomatoes but please don’t let this stop you either. I put my jarred tomato sauce into a pot and reduce it to a nice thick paste but it spatters so I screen it off and stir often. Here it is, rather messy but worth the effort! Once the sauce is reduced to a deeply rich red, it is spread evenly on the dough that is patiently waiting. (Eggs are tauntingly watching the progress and waiting their turn!)Then the eggs are BEATEN, (ever so gently, I promise) and ladled evenly on top of the sauce.
In the meantime, the mushrooms are sauteing with some scallions from the field – a bit of a change from the original recipe which used a topping of raw mushrooms and no onions. Canadian bacon is the key though and it is chopped up and added next to the delight of all. Yumbo, yumbo! This pizza, reprised 35 or so years after cooking it at the Hide Out and Hungry U (neither restaurant in existence today) in Amherst, Massachusetts, is the new family favorite! Farm fresh eggs take center stage as one of the key ingredients to the pizza! Wouldn’t you know, Dave brought in many of the green tomatoes before the first frost and has been diligently ripening them using paper bags and apples to create a gas called Ethylene for ripening purposes. These taste pretty good on our daily sandwiches! Hard to argue with a farm tomato this time of year!
Never an idle moment here, I continue to endeavor to supply The Artery with gift items from the farm kitchen. The owner, Kim, tells me of people who buy my sweet pickles and open them in their cars in the parking lot and start eagerly munching away!
I have been keen on making a Christmas deadline for a Bohus designed sweater Stora Svanen or Large Swan that my brother commissioned for his wife, Ann. I sent it off today and dearly hope it fits and that she likes it and wears in good health! My brother was quite enchanted with the history of the Bohus tradition so when I mentioned to him that I was pursuing an out of print book on the subject, he managed to track one down and have it delivered to my door. I can’t stand my excitement for this! Even tho it is written in Swedish, I’m able to determine bits and pieces here and there as well as enjoy the rare photos. I’m now considering learning the Swedish in my spare time! My brother is not the only one to send a surprise book my way. A knitting friend, Laura from NC, sent this book which I received today. It is full of fabulous recipes that will fit the bill here at the farm and I can’t wait to further explore the colorful pages! Thank you, Laura!
Looking forward to the holiday joys with little Coulter who is not quite sure what is going on but glad to be a part of whatever it is! If I don’t have a chance to write again before the end of the year, Happy Holidays to all!