Sunday, June 26, 2016

Eggs! And More...

To paraphrase Scotty from Star Trek IV The Voyage Home:  Admiral, there be eggs here!

Finally, after several months of watching my chicks grow and mature, I proceeded to the chicken coop to feed and water - my daily routine - and was surprised to discover an egg scurried in the corner on the floor.

Uh, that was about 2 to 3 weeks earlier than I'd been told to expect eggs.  Almost everyone had told me not to expect any eggs until sometime in July. Well...


It was the cutest little egg.  All brown and smooth.  But, oh, so small.  About 1/2 the size of a normal egg.  Still, one of my 18 chickens decided to give me an egg.  I proudly carried it into the house and presented it to my wife.  She was ecstatic.

Now, one must remember, she was the one who wanted to have chickens.  I wanted to raise about 25 for butchering and stocking the freezer.  She wanted eggs.  I have been the one who goes out every day to feed and water the hens.  Uh, not her.  Also, I don't eat eggs because they make me sulfuric and you don't want me like that - trust me, but that's another story.

Since the first egg's discovery, my wife is more involved with the chickens.  Well, sort of. Okay, she only goes out (about 2 or 3 times a day) to check for more eggs.  I'm the guy who still has to feed and water the chickens... oh, and clean out the coop, etc.

With the egg discovery, my #1 son made us 4 nesting boxes.  I've put some straw in them.  The hens use the boxes for roosting at night, throw out the straw, and continue to lay their eggs on the floor AND NOW, even outside on the ground.  I am going to paint some plastic eggs tan and put them in the boxes to see if that helps.  If not, I will lock them in the coop temporarily in an attempt to get them to lay the eggs inside, at least. Hopefully, at some point, they'll realize they have nests.

It looks so lonely, all by itself on the counter for the picture.

This is what it appears in size against a regular-sized egg.
Also, so you know it, there have been more eggs laid since the first one appeared.  We have a total of nine eggs now.  My wife, in her modest brainstorm, has been saving all the used egg cartons for this adventure - much to my surprise.  In fact, I think she has all the kids saving them, too.  She has a huge stack of empty egg cartons.  But, here is what the eggs in a carton look like...

The darker ones are from the Red Cross hens, the two lighter ones are from the ISA Brown hens. As the hens mature and continue laying eggs, they will get larger. I'm told all the lighter eggs will get darker with time and size.

There are 18 hens.  Egg production should increase with time, as well as size.  Right now, we're getting about 1 or 2 eggs per day.  As stated, I don't eat eggs but do look forward to a lot more angel food cakes to munch on.

In other news, my garden is coming along well.  The peas have really done well and the vines are loaded with pea pods.  My wife figures she will have to consider ambling out to harvest them.  I can't believe we only have about 2 cups of frozen peas left from last year.  I'll probably use them in the next week or two.  By that time, I would say the new peas should be coming in.  Mmm.  Fresh peas in a cream sauce over new baby potatoes.  YUM!

My tomato plants are doing well, growing strong in their wire cages.  Can't wait to make this year's salsa.  I only have 1 qt of salsa left.  My garlic and onions are coming along.  Two days ago I put up the lines for the pole beans to grow on.  Amazing how fast they latched onto the lines and started growing up them.  I'm sort of excited to see how the fish line trellis works this year.  I've always used the tee pee pole method and my loving wife wanted something a little easier to deal with.  We'll see.

The flowers I started are coming along beautifully.  The orange petunias aren't quite the exciting, electric shade as shown in the magazine.  Still, they are pretty, but not so much orange right now, as more coral-colored.  They look good against the white petunias, purple sweet alyssum and lime-green sweet potato vines.

Has anyone ever attempted to grow that large foliage plant, Elephant Ears? See picture.

I've got 3 bulbs that I've planted. It has been 3 weeks now and so far, nada.  Last year I bought a package of 5, planted them in a moist, but not soggy, area, with shade and sun.  My granddaughters, 4 of them, helped and there was one for each of them, plus mine.  None of them grew.  I figured it was something I'd done wrong... or the ground wasn't good.  This time I bought another 5, gave 2 away, and planted the 3 in huge pots, hoping for a fabulous tropical look.  So far, I'm disappointed.  I planted them as shown on the instructions - uh, all the dirt basically washed away in the first rain, leaving the tops exposed.  I figured that was what it was supposed to do.  I'm probably wrong. HELP!

To finish up, a little health update.  My dietitian has me on an 1800 calorie diet with 40-60 carbs per meal and 15-30 carbs per snack.  I gained weight.  NOT GOOD.  She wanted me to have an intake, at minimum, 165 carbs, preferably closer to the high end at 270.  Yeah, I gained weight.  Went to the doctor and explained the circumstances and he agreed, I should go back to my diet, lose the weight and see if we can get me off a lot of these diabetic medicines.  So, I'm now eating small meals, about 4 a day, cutting out carbs but not completely, and, of course, exercising.  I've cut out the biggie carb monsters: rice and potatoes; plus I've given up pop.  Okay, I cheat. I have ONE diet pop at night along with a bowl of popcorn.  Sorry, but I was born in Iowa, the corn state, and I love my corn, especially popcorn.  I use a dribble of oil in a microwave popcorn popper just so the small amount of salt I put on - stays on. LOL.  Of course, I'm consuming more veggies, fresh and raw veggies, not from cans.  Plus, now that fruit is once again in season, I'm checking those out.  My sugar was up a tad when I went to the doctor, but with the new meds (got rid of Januvia, now on Victoza) and new diet, I'm seeing the numbers come back down and that's what I want to see. Yes, I know. Victoza is an injection and I fought to avoid this, but it is NOT insulin. The doctor assured me if I can get my weight down, more than likely the sugar will also come down and I can stop Victoza. It better!

Finally, I'm writing again.  Back to my sequel for "The Secret Voice."  I now have Daniel Yoder, my Amish character, in New York City.  He is following a dream, testing Rumshpringe.  I can't believe the trouble he has found himself in, plus I know a few little secrets that should keep him off-balance and the reader turning pages.  More about "The New York Voice" as time passes.

Until next I ramble on...

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