Like Eggs? This Will Change Your Life.

You think I’m being dramatic? I’m not. You see, ever since getting the chickens, I’ve suffered a terrible problem – I can’t boil them in a way that allows me to peel them neatly. I had visions of taking deviled eggs to potluck, but alas, I’ve had to make egg salad to serve on melba toasts. I had tried all the things – letting them sit for a couple weeks (not long enough), boiling with salt, boiling with vinegar, cracking before plunging them in cold water. A dear friend finally turned me on to THIS method, and I can tell it is going to save me from endless frustration.

This will allow you to cook your fresh eggs to your desired doneness (I like soft-medium for toast, hard boiled for any other number of things) and peel them in a tidy fashion. Deviled eggs, here I come.

Here are your instructions. Feel free to memorize them:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt.

2. Gentle place your eggs in the pot. Return to a boil, and then start your timer. For our large eggs, 7 minutes gave me the perfect medium boil for toast, and I do 10-12 for a hard boil. Our backyard chicken eggs are a little larger than the ones I used to get at the grocery store, so you may need to adjust. My FlyLady timer has to get used somewhere:

FlyLady Timer

3. While your eggs are boiling, get a bowl ready with ice (I used a full tray for 6 eggs), cold water, and a good splash of white vinegar. I got too excited and forgot to take a photo of this step, but you know what a bowl of ice water looks like.

4. When your timer goes off, scoop the eggs from the pot and plunge (gently!) into the ice water. Allow them to sit there until they’re cool enough to handle.

Egg Scoop

5. Rinse, dry with a towel, crack, and peel. See these clean shells? That half that just slipped right off, taking the membrane with it but leaving the egg intact? I’m impressed.

Egg Shells

6. Rejoice in your perfect, whole, tidy eggs.

Hard Boiled Egg

Will you try this technique? Do you like your eggs boiled, or do you prefer them prepared some other way?

Chicken News, and Lots of Photos

Man, is there every a lot going on with the chickens. We’ve got two little coops going at the moment… and it’s busy. First, Peaches became broody and so we decided to let her hatch. We’re still hoping for a few new hens, and unfortunately we had to “off” the bully hen (Xena the warrior chicken), and Lucky turned out to be a rooster (more on that in a minute). So here’s Peaches protecting her little clutch. I think this was just pre-hatch.

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We successfully ended up with 6 little chicks this time around. They all look different which is nice, except 2 identical little yellow ones. They’re all adorable of course, but this one is particular photogenic:

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You know, it’s hard to get all 6 chicks in one photo! This was the best I could do, and was taken today. A week old and their feathers are coming in:

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And here’s the proud mama hen, wondering why on Earth I would open the door to the coop today. I thought it was time for the babies to go out, but she doesn’t yet agree with my suggestion. One DID go out – I went to investigate when I heard the chirping. She was at the bottom of the ramp not sure what to do, and Peaches was up top not willing to leave the rest of her brood but keeping a watchful eye. She did hop down and take on the dog when she got too close, though, there’s a fine mesh fence between, so the chick was in no danger, but I was impressed to see her puff up and give Cora a firm peck on the nose.

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And here’s our not-so-little Lucky, last weekend, just before he was taken away. We’re not keeping roosters here. Isn’t he handsome? Lucky turned out to be very lucky indeed – as a purebred araucana, we had no trouble finding a home for him down at my uncle’s farm. Much nicer than the alternative. Thanks Lucky – you were a great first hatch!

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We traded Lucky for a couple little bantams. They’ve been sweetly named Marigold and Buttercup, though we can’t tell them apart. I’ll try to get some pictures soon, but they like to roost and aren’t so keen on leaving the coop yet. Hopefully we’ll see them soon!

One Lucky Chick

A while ago (four weeks or so) we decided to let our broody hen, Xena, sit on a clutch of Araucana eggs.  Out of the 12 eggs we started with, we ended up with a lone chick – and have appropriately named her Lucky! Can you imagine how excited we were to see her hatching? Araucanas are a breed of chicken from Chile. They lay beautiful bluish-green eggs, and I’m excited to have added one to our coop! Okay, I’d like a couple more, but Lucky is a nice start. She’s a gorgeous little thing:

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It definitely would have been nice to end up with a couple more chicks, but we’re both doting on Lucky for now and hope to get some more for hatching in the near future. Cora seemed to like her, too. They’ve met twice. Cora sniffs carefully, and Lucky peeps – but we’re not letting go of her just yet!

We have a broody hen. Not Peaches this time, but Xena. The old “cure” of stringing her up on a clothesline in a sugar sack isn’t going to do fly at our house, so we’ve gone with another sure bet – we’re letting her be a surrogate mama.

We’ve got 11 eggs here which were collected at a friend’s farm, since we don’t have a rooster. We introduced them to her at night. I think she was a little confused as to why we were putting eggs under her, not taking them away.

But she seemed so happy, clucking away and tucking them underneath her, and she’s been a great egg-warmer so far.

If all goes well, we should have a few little chicks by mid-April.

And we’re pretty excited about it.

One Picture of Tuesday Night

The coolest thing about this photo? I didn’t have to set it up at all. This is exactly the scene in our kitchen last night, and I just had to capture it.

Our lamp in action! It is so, so cool. The Mr. came up with the idea of putting it on a lazy susan so we can swivel it around from it’s central spot on our table, giving us light where we need it. It’s good enough to read by. I have a feeling we’re going to be spending a lot of time at this table.

Do you like our “fireplace” in the background? It was my husband’s birthday gift from me. He really wanted it (it’s a small electric heater), and now that the lights are off, I love it, too.

Can you tell what he’s reading? Nothing like sitting around in the dark reading about chickens! The name of the chapter, by the way, is “Suitable Breeding Stock.” It’s going to be a fun Spring.