Friday, February 6, 2009

Eggy Love, and the letter "P"

Wow, my hens are tremendous. Today was a 9 egg day! NINE!! Wow, that's almost a whole box in a day. Thank you dear hens, you are to be commended! Of course, I do believe the weather has much to do with the increased production. The sun has been out, the temperatures have been well above freezing, and the air has had that little hint of spring, which is still a good way off for Iowa, but we know it's coming now. If I were a hen, I'd be whipped into an egg laying frenzy by that first little whiff of warmth.

What I really love though, is coming home from work and discovering the eggs. Seriously, there is something magical about going out to the coop and feeling into the nesting boxes (which are full of straw that the hens re-arrange) and then your hand encounters the cool hardness of an eggshell. And then another. And yet another! Each one, you pull out of the nesting material with care, and place it in the basket, noting its colour, its size, and its shape. Each one is different, but they are all little jewels to me. No matter how tiresome and tedious my workday has been, egg collecting never loses its charm. Here are today's little wonders. Seven brown, two blue, and a white.

Today I visited Nancy's blog "A Shepherd's Voice" and she had a fun little game going on! To play, you must name 10 things that you love, beginning with a letter assigned to you by the blog owner who's blog you saw the game on. Nancy assigned me the letter "P". I am so ready for that letter! Here are my ten things!

First and foremost, I love my Parents! I would dearly love to show family photo here on my blog, but my dear mother has insisted that I not post pictures of them, so I abide by her wishes. My mother's name even starts with the letter P, but I won't say it, because she'd probably have a conniption fit. My parents are the most remarkable people ever, and I don't say that just because I'm biased! My mother is tremendously generous, she is startlingly creative, and is of course a wonderful cook. She has taught me how to love unconditionally, how to be proud of my accomplishments, and how to be a compassionate and ethical person. My father is an anchor... a rock to cling to in a gathering storm. He is incredibly practical, thorough in everything he does, and an amazing craftsman whose woodworking skills are second to none. He has taught me how to be prepared for anything that comes my way, how to be independent and strong, and how to seek out opportunity in life. I am the sum of their experiences, combined with my own. They are more than my parents, they are my mentors and my dearest friends.

Second, I love parsnips. This lowly root vegetable, often maligned, is truly a favourite of mine. There is nothing to compare with the sweet, soft, caramelized yumminess of a roasted parsnip. I would eat them every day if I could. I enjoy growing them, although they didn't do well for me this past year. Hoping for better results in 2009! Here are some parsnips (bottom left corner) along with multi-coloured carrots from my 2008 harvest!

Third: Polish chickens! Yes, they have funny topknots of feathers and look a bit absurd, but they're beautiful! They tend to have a more approachable personality (maybe because they can't see where they're going) and will sit on my lap quite contentedly. The white egg in today's picture is from my buff-laced Polish chicken. She came from the town of Parkersburg, Iowa, and was a rescue after a tornado basically leveled the entire town last year. Here she is when I first got her - many of her head feathers are missing in this photo.

Number Four! Perennials! I love gardening, even though I don't have as much time for it as I would like. Perennials are perfect in my garden, because they tend to take care of themselves and require less maintenance. Some of my favorite perennials are lavender, monarda, peonies, irises, and clematis vines. Here are some purple irises from my spring garden!

Five! Patents! Yeah, I know, sounds boring. Really though, patent law is a fascinating career. Helping to protect new inventions is exciting, because you learn about them before the general public, and helping clients protect their invention is a happy thing, unlike other areas of law, which generally deal with people who have been wronged in some way. It's my job, and I love working with patents every day!

Pygmy goats are number six! Even though Stuffin (grumble) has not produced a kid yet, I still love each and every pygmy goat in my little herd. My pygmies are Stuffin, Puffin, Muffin, Buford (he's a wether), Pebbles, Coffee and Cookie. In this picture, Pebbles is the grey one, Puffin is the black one in the middle, to the right of her is Stuffin, the brown and white one is Buford, and next to him is Coffee. The two light coloured goats are Nigerian Dwarf goats - Opal and Lotus. I would love to have a pygora goat one day - they're a cross between a pygmy and an angora goat.

My Pond! Number seven is my pond in the woods. I love the land that I live on, and one of its features is a pond. There are actually two ponds - the smaller one that feeds the larger one. I love the wildlife that visits the pond. There are deer, raccoons, and remarkably, a river otter! I know there is a beaver that seems to visit on a transient basis, and there are many other creatures like turtles and fish. There are many birds that visit as well. I would like my ducks to live on the pond, and hope to build them a little duck house this summer.

Number eight: pasta! Okay, it's my dietary downfall, but I adore pasta. It comes in such a plethora of shapes and sizes, and you can put it with almost anything and make a meal out of it. It's fast, it's easy, and it's filling.

Number nine....another dietary problem....PUDDING! I love pudding. There is something so comforting and warm and delicious about pudding. I'm not talking about the icky goop that comes in little plastic cups in the grocery store either. I'm talking about delicious, homemade, milky, warm, thick proper pudding, or the old fashioned steamed puddings like the ones my mother makes. She makes one called "Pond Pudding" that has lemons in it that is just divine. That reminds me, why didn't I ask her to make that when I was home for Christmas? Silly me!

Finally, number ten, peridots! My favourite stone. I love lime green in general as a colour, and peridot has the lovely shade of green that I prefer. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but if it's got a peridot in it, I'll probably like it.

So, if you want to play the letter game, leave me a comment saying so, and I'll assign you a letter (and I promise it won't be X or Z!)


Sharrie said...

Your parents seem to have done a wonderful job of parenting, too. I always thought that "pudding wrestling" would be a good sport for me. Chocolate, that is.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

I wanna play! Beautiful eggs...and I love that picture of your polish hen. Makes me want chickens so bad! 23 Days left Stuffin!

Mom L said...

Your Parents sound wonderful. I really miss my Mom, but have hundreds of special memories of both of them.

I'm envious of your eggs! I'd love to go outside, rustle around in a nest, and come up with fresh eggs. Do you expect duck eggs from your rescued duckies?

I'm also having Diane withdrawal, so I hope she's able to post soon.


Lola Nova said...

I like Parsnips too, slow roasted mmm. It is so nice to hear about the special relationship you have with your parents, they must be Pleased:)

I was thinking about eggs recently, again and I thought it would be pretty spectacular to have a basket of felted eggs on display. All in the hues of brown, blue and green. I am going to dream on that a while.

Don said...

I agree with you about egg gathering. I never tire of the surprises! To start my flock last year, I ordered the ornamental collection from McMurray and received 12 Polish Cresteds. I like them, but feel sorry for them as they have trouble seeing, need haircuts, and some of them ge their head feathers pecked off. Four of mine look like those friars from the middle ages with no hair on top and a ring of hair around their ears.

Plus their white eggs are kinda smallish. But, they are laying, so I can't complain too much!

Sounds like you are from a nice family

Nancy K. said...

Perfect!! ;-)

Kara said...

I love collecting eggs too! Your ornament has been mailed, expect it mid week. I am not sure if it is "regional" but certainly "local" to Mapleton Farm that is. Homegrown and handmade.

Alpaca Granny said...

I loved your Play with the Ps, but I rather not Play today.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

You've got a pond? I wish SantaClaus would bring me a spring-fed pond. Beautiful photo.

I know all about eggy love.

My parents have passed and I was very close with them. I don't know how you can live so far away from yours, especially since you don't like to fly.

I love root veggies to.

Do you have a farm animal named Puddin?

Sometime blog about how many animals you have what they are, you've got a real menagerie.

Claire said...

Sharrie - pudding wrestling sounds should do a blog post on that!

Shiloh Prairie Farm....your letter is...the letter "G"! (of course!)

Mom L - yes, I do expect eggs from the rescued ducks, but probably not for another 3 months since they are supposed to be about 6 months for first egg.

Lola Nova - felted eggs! Yes!

Don - that Polish girl of mine has just started to lay, and I am not sure which rooster she might be favored by! There are several possibilities - crele, barred rock, gold laced cochin, appenzeller-spitzhaben, or creme brabanter. It'll be a surprise!

Joanna - I definitely need a farm animal named Puddin!

Flartus said...

Wow, that pond picture is gorgeous!

We had a single Polish rooster in our small flock of Buff Orpingtons & Rhode Island reds. Unfortunately, Stanley was supposed to be a hen, and ended up as second rooster, at the bottom of the pecking order. He would have been gorgeous if he'd been allowed to sprout a full white topknot over his black body feathers.

Mom L said...

Looked for an email address for you: Diane is back as of a few minutes ago!!!

Diane L. Dodd said...

i love your pond pic- and your eggs! :)

Mare said...

Hi Claire,
I loved this post and love to learn more about you. Your relationship with your Parents sounds so full of love. I feel that way about my Parents too. Your eggs are those colors..and your goats and sheep and perennials and that POND! It looks like you live in Heaven...and i'm not surprised because i think you are an Angel...

Blue Goose Farms said...

I love your eggs! Where did you find your egg counter? I have been looking ever since I saw your blog. Did you create that yourself? Do you subscribe to Backyard Poultry?

Farm Chick Paula said...

Neat stuff to learn about you, Claire!
I too love the Polish Chickens... they are so entertaining to watch!