Well, there you have it. This little urban farm is officially an egg producing operation. Sure, our production numbers are low and our eggs are small, but it’s happening, nonetheless.
I’m going to admit that I’d started to lose faith in my hens. Let me be clear, I knew it wasn’t their fault. I blamed winter. Chickens produce eggs based on all sorts of environmental factors, daylight being one of them. And in Minneapolis these days, daylight isn’t in great supply. It’s dark before five. I’d sort of resigned myself to a no-eggs-till-spring idea.
That’s why what happened over the weekend was so shockingly delightful.
“Call me right now!!!!!!”
That’s the text I received from Jay on Saturday evening.
I was working at my day job (which that day, was more like a night job) and asked Jay to go to the house to close up the coop for the evening, before we met up for a holiday party. He told me he’d send me a note to let me know all is well at the homestead when he arrived. So, just minutes before Twin Cities Live went live, I sneaked out of the studio to check my phone.
The text continued.
“We have an egg!!!!!!!!!”
Jay’s voice was absolutely, positively the most excited and thrilled and bursting with joy I’d ever heard it. And I loved it.
Jay took the egg from the nesting box (the hen actually used the nesting box!) and gingerly placed it in it’s very own carton.
And I raced home to see it.
It’s small, as a hen’s first egg is expected to be. Light brown. Delicate. Elongated and narrow on one end. It was the most beautiful egg I’d ever seen. Months of planning. Raising chicks from just a few days old. Waiting for their coop to arrive. Worrying about them. And wondering if this day, egg day, would ever come.
Early Monday morning I pulled on my boots and crunched through the backyard over the fresh ten inches of snow that fell over the weekend. I opened the coop and run doors to free the birds for the day and thought, “just maybe.”
I went around to the nesting box, tugged at the frozen latch and pulled the lid open. It was heavy from snow which then tumbled to the ground.
And there it was. Another egg!
It was still warm when I picked it up. This one, a little bigger than the last. Some white speckles dotting one end. Smooth shell. Heavy for it’s size.
You might be wondering, as I am, who is laying these glorious eggs?
Jay spotted Susie in the nesting box when he found the first egg.
When I peered in for the second, MaryAnne was lurking near the opening. At this point, we just aren’t sure.
People asked, what are you going to do with that first egg?
What I’m going to do with all the others. Eat it.
The first eggs especially deserve respect. Appreciation. Simplicity.
I cracked the thin shells of the small eggs carefully into bowls and was immediately struck by the vivid orange hue of their petite yolks. A result, I thought proudly, of the piles of vegetable and fruit snacks my chickens eat daily. And the grass, weeds and bugs they peck at in the yard.
The eggs were fried. In a little bit of good butter. Sprinkled with Maldon salt and coarse ground pepper. And served with toast. Also buttered, of course.
And they were just as I thought they’d be.