That is a Brown Egg?

What color is brown? This question gets even more interesting with chicken eggs.

We do not have a large flock of chickens, but they are happy, clucky girls. They make the sweetest sound when they are happy. When fed treats they especially make happy sounds. Sorta like we folks do when eating our treats, “Yum! Yummy!” They have many different voices and sounds. #chickensmakeuschuckle when the one Isa Brown, Dot, chases our dog through the barn. She makes a sharp, directive, short sound while staring him down and following him with a threatening hearty peck. He gets out of her way. If I did not know better, I would believe she comes after me at times with her sassy look and quick pace!

Eggs are the same way, they come in different sizes, shapes and color. All the chickens we have owned have laid brown eggs. We have Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Black Sex-link, Australorps, and Isa Browns. Chickens are curious, given a multi-roomed laying area, more times than not they will each lay their eggs in the same nest. It seems to be a favorite to all. This can and does change over time, which makes for many a morning to feel like an Easter Egg Hunt (for the free-range birds that is). There have been times I thought the chickens were not laying , only to catch a glimpse of one coming from a different quiet place singing her “I’ve laid my egg!” song and found, all neatly tucked in a small pile of a sweet nest, over a dozen eggs!

Never will I forget visiting a horse farm full of pretty horses, dogs, cats, chickens and baby chicks everywhere and going into one of the horse stalls to find a nest full of eggs right in the corner on the floor. They were safe among the horses the owner told me. Our hens live around our horses, dogs and cats without worry but they have not made a nest on the stall floors. Max, our big black & white cat will often give them a chase, but it is all in jest. He likes the barn mice better.

I have watched a couple of the hens lay their eggs. One must stand quietly and out of sight so as not to disturb her. They sit so still and make a quiet, hardly audible sound, while at the same time plucking a piece of hay here and there to make the nest comfy. Just before laying the egg, their back end rises up to deposit the warm egg in the soft bedding. A moment or two later, up they get and sing their ‘egg laying’ song. The egg looks brown. I suppose it is brown until I gather them all at the end of the day and give them one big admiring stare. It is then I notice just how different in color and shape they truly are. Some have hints of pink, others more dark, some a little more yellow, a few have tiny speckles, some are big and round, others slim and pointed.

Call me simple, but I never grow tired of looking at them. To me they are a wonder.

They make the happiest sound while eating treats!

Following the grazing horses as they walk is a great way to catch tasty bugs.
Nellie, our pretty Barred Rock.
Different sizes, shapes and colors.
So many different shades of brown!
Usually they lay all their eggs in the same nest.
I never grow tired at the wonder of the egg.

Who is going to Feed the Pigs?

Our discussion revolved around pigs. A family member that is vegetarian expressed an interest in ‘saving’ all animals from slaughter. It sounds very noble to not want to kill farm animals for food. It is a hard, dirty business to be sure. The problem is it is not practical.

Twice a day, everyday of the year regardless of weather or personal inclination, livestock needs tending to. These are the realities of having animals be them house pets or farm animals.

But consider these ideas. Our society is transient. How many of us live in the same home our parents lived in, or even the one we grew up in ourselves? How many hours are you away from home everyday? How often do you travel? How long are you gone when you do travel? Do you have a summer home separate from your winter home? How about a summer cabin? Summer vacation?

So, who is going to feed the pigs? Day after day, year after year for all their long lives? And that is just pigs.

Yes, it is hard sending our cattle off to slaughter. I was thanked by a man recently for raising cattle for beef. He said that because he recognizes the fact that if cattle are not used for beef, they would be extinct! Because—who is going to feed the ‘pigs’?

Run Between the Raindrops!

We Virginians that live here in the northern Shenandoah Valley should all be a little lighter in body weight this summer.  The spring rains have yet to end in our part of the world.  Looks like rain again today as well.

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Looks like rain again today.

Our summer has been spent running between the raindrops, mowing and weeding the gardens between storms.  And storms they have been!  Torrential rains, thunder, magnificent lighting all across the skies.  Flash floods, roads washed out, downed trees, broken fences from fallen limbs, and piles of cut grass have kept us occupied all summer.  One would think a few pounds would surely be lost in the busyness of this yard work!

 

A few of we hardy gardeners have thrown in the towel on our gardens.  Tomatoes are plentiful—just green, green.  The crabgrass seems to be the main item happily taking over every space not even previously known to us,  where does it come from?  Though the field corn has faired well.  There may be some fall planting, though no commitments as yet.  Given the choice though, this wet weather seems better than drought.  Sure wish we could give some to California.

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We have had rain all summer.

We Shenandoah Valley folk take what we get as far as weather goes.  Try to see the best in it, and smile at the start of another fine day, rain or not.  There is always something worthy of our attention and good to do everyday.

 

There have been few summers that have stayed this wet with grass so lush and beautiful into August.  Well, this too shall pass, as the old adage says.  So, in the meantime, keep your mower blades sharp, fuel tanks full and good humor running full blast.  Oh, and do not forget a good, tall glass of lemonade!

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The field corn has faired well.

The old-timers say, “Make hay while the sun shines!”  Well, guess what?  The sun is shining right now.  Time for this PFO to get out there with the weed eater!

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As we old-timers say, “Make hay while the sun shines.”

Know the farmer.  Know the farm.

Homemade is best.

 

 

Can You See What is Going On?

Blogging and summer just do not seem to get along together.  Most especially after this wet, rainy Spring we have had here in our part of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  This PFO (Primary Farm Operator) has been in constant battle with the flourishing, well-watered weeds in the gardens.

As soon as one bed is looking like someone cares for it, the ‘make-you-loose-your-religion’ Crabgrass has moved happily back in!  Grrrrrrrr……

 

This short post though is about something all together different.   At the end of this post is a video of the steers in the pond.  Watch the two steers standing close together.  Watch carefully and to the very end of the video.  Something very interesting is going on.  Can you see it?

 

The fish are jumping out of the water and eating the flies that are annoying and biting the cattle.  Can you see them?  How cool is that?  God’s World is amazing and never ceases to amaze this old PFO.  Yeah!

 

Happy Summer!

Homemade is Best!