Home again. Home to chooks, muddy walks, gardening, work, birthday planning and a beautiful pile of eggs, the result of the long-weekend’s work by Agnes and Mrs. P.
Most of these eggs were retrieved from underneath Lola. She has been stealing them, rolling them into her favourite nesting spot in the house and sitting on them, in lieu of laying any of her own. The pearly white ones are Mrs Poulawitska’s. They usually weigh in at about 2/3 the weight of Agnes’ large brown beauties. For this reason, I do love a cookbook that gives egg quantities by weight, or even by the separate weights of yolks and whites.
Betty continues her brooding vigil. She protests mightily when we lift her out of her broody-house for food and water, warbling in her funny high-pitched Silkie voice. Then she’ll eat, drink and scratch about happily for fifteen minutes or so before warbling to go back to her nest. It still astounds me that a hen who once couldn’t navigate her way out of the hen house to find breakfast can prove to be such a good brooder. According to several books and my poultry sources she will turn each egg in her nest one hundred times or more over the course of 24 hours (this stops the embryos sticking to the inside of the egg shell). Sure enough, whenever we lift her off the nest, all the eggs are positioned differently.
So with both Lola and Betty parked on piles of eggs, that leaves Agnes and Mrs P to ward off backyard intruders (Agnes will chase off anything that threatens to touch down, even butterflies in warmer weather), supervise gardening, steal snacks from the small person when he’s at hen level and polish off any kitchen scraps. By the time they’ve done all of that, layed their daily eggs, patrolled the perimeter and popped next door to have a quick scratch in the gravel, that’s their day.
Despite our egg riches, the weekend dessert-a-thon has meant that my beloved has imposed a baking embargo. She does this periodically, worrying that she’s teetering on the brink of baking-induced-diabetes. No baking until Sunday, bah.
We did make this glorious Kylie Kwong eggplant recipe, easily my favourite recipe to have come out of Master Chef this year. My only tweak for it is to add an extra eggplant. It makes for a great vegetarian dinner, heaped over some steamed rice, alongside a long, cool glass of water.
So, until Sunday the eggs will pile up and so will the recipe books on the desk as I mull over what to bake next. Peanut butter and choc-chip cookies? Austrian Maple Spice Cake? Chocolate Mousse cake? Ginger ice-cream?