Tuesday, January 1, 2008
And then there were two. And three.
I'm a bit behind on the updates. In the past three weeks, Derby the Barred Rock started laying her eggs, and just the other day we finally got our first egg from Veronica, our Black Star. Derby's eggs are a perfectly smooth color of the lightest cream, which makes a lovely comparison to the burnished amber color of Gertie's eggs. They started off very small, as you can see here. Derby's egg is on the left, Gertie's in the middle and an egg from the farmer's market on the right as comparison. As you can see, Gertie's eggs are now as big as the large eggs from the market. Since taking this photo, Derby's eggs have grown considerably and are now almost as large as Gertie's.
Shortly after Derby started laying, Veronica started giving us "the squat," which is the dead giveaway that eggs are on the way. "The squat" is hard to describe, but you know it the moment you see it. You'll go to touch the pullet, and instead of sliding gracefully out from under your hand, she suddenly drops into a crouch, lifting her wings slightly and then freezes. Its as if she is trying to protect a very important and fragile cargo; which I suppose she is. Getting "the squat" from a chicken for the first time is cause for celebration around our household. Whoever spots it first goes dancing inside to tell the other, "Guess what I just got?" (what can I say, we live simple lives). Veronica seemed to take a long time to finally actually lay an egg; she was giving us "the squat" for a full 10 days before finally laying her first, long and skinny egg next to Derby's almost full-size cream egg. Two or three days ago our last pullet, Ginger, finally gave me a squat as well.
I only wish my poor little winter crop was doing as well. So far whatever wasn't ripped out by squirrels was plowed under by Gertie, who kept managing to get in behind my attempts at protective fencing. I have to say though, if you need your soil aerated, chickens are ideal. Gertie managed to scratch up an entire box full of soil and any seeds that were in there. So I now have a perfectly aerated and fluffy, nitrogen rich pile of soil if I decide to try planting something again!
The other bed has fared slightly better and some of the onions I planted have so far survived. The broccoli and the carrots both sprouted quickly, but haven't grown at all. Unfortunately they are not getting enough sun at the moment, as the position of the house relative to the North-South axis is not ideal in wintertime.
The final insult to my poor carrots was my own husband. I sent him out to cut me some greek oregano for a chicken I was roasting. He returned with a fistful of my carrot tops. *sigh*