Monday, May 22, 2017

Warm Eggs

I walked back towards the farmhouse from the barn, an empty 5-gallon bucket in my left hand and a full milk pail in my right. Somehow I managed to use my middle finger as a hook for the pail, and in that same palm were three warm eggs. Morning chores were wrapping up and my payment for the work was everything I needed to make a goat cheese omelette. Not bad compensation.

Warm eggs haven’t gotten old yet. I have been raising chickens for a decade and carrying warm eggs back into the house is still one of the most primal, comforting, feelings I have had the joy to experience. It’s the honesty of the exchange. We promise to raise these small dinosaurs, feed them, give them a rooftree and some land to scratch at and in exchange they keep laying these little protein vessels. Such a perfect food and right here in my own backyard. The milk will be turned into soap and cheese. Whey is fed back to the pigs. The chickens, goats, sheep, & pigs’ old bedding and paddock muck gets composted back into rich soil for the kailyard and garden. Everyone and everything has everyone elses' back.

How lucky to feel safe in a place? How lucky to have a small corner of the world that feeds you? If the farm wasn’t here at all there would still be the bubbling stream and fish pond. There would still be game in the forest and foragable mushrooms and plants. This mountain is not some wild corner of Alaska, but still vibrant with howling and growling beasts like lumbering bears and laughing coyotes. There are flashes of red from the sly foxes and stories of the elusive fisher cats that run through the forest like giant ferrets. It is a wild place for sure, but cushioned near a town and domesticated by this small experiment in agriculture.

The farm right now feels better than it has ever been. The endurance test of the past seven years in this place has taught me things I didn’t ask for or expect. I am as grateful for the mistakes as I am the victories. In the past few weeks so much has been planted, chickens moved outside, new chicks inside, more babies on the way, a stubborn horse trained, fences repaired, pens built, and all these things done with pride of home instead the of the panic of survival. That feeling means the world to me. It’s why I am still here and working to keep the lights on and bank wolves at pacing distance.

I think of all this walking inside to strain milk. I didn’t know much about farming when I got my first chickens. Hell, I didn’t know anything. But the girl who started without fear and blind luck is now the woman fighting to keep torches burning. This place changed me, made me, is me. And as much as I have writhed and celebrated - I am still smiling at the feeling of warm eggs in a palm. Who knew they would lead me so far?

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Blogger adirondackdreamer said...

What a wonderful post:) I get fresh (not warm) eggs from my sister
who lives next door to some folks with chickens...there is no comparison
to store bought -- there is nothing like that feeling of providing for
oneself, however grand or small of a scale it might be on. Speaking of
which, there was just a segment on the news here (Central New York) about
beekeepers losing up to 70% of their hives this past winter - the weather
or something, I think the extension service at Cornell is trying to make
sense of it -- I left dandelions in the yard for the bees this year -
and have bulked up on flowering plants for them and the butterflies and
hummingbirds. Don't know about up your way, but we have lots more birds
in variety and numbers this year, so thank heaven for that:)

May 22, 2017 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Rachel @ Existation said...

This is beautiful. I love watching the work you do on the farm from afar, and hearing about your constant passion. It's so inspiring.

May 22, 2017 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger hart said...

A lovely post. So glad things are going well.

May 22, 2017 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Cathy Hoff said...

I still find it amazing that I can walk a few feet out my back door, reach inside the coop, and have breakfast ready to cook.

May 22, 2017 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Danette Whittle said...

I feel the same & often say to myself or anyone around at the time when I am coming back from the coop, that it never fails to make me smile, never fails to make me feel blessed & never fails to give a little twist deep in my heart at such an 'everyday' miracle. As the comment above says, you can go from coop to meal in seconds, we are blessed indeed. I must say as well that hatching chicks is even more of a miracle to behold!
Kind regards

May 23, 2017 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Birdie said...

A fond memory for me. Lovely post!

May 23, 2017 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Sammy Q said...

Those aren't eggs Girl, those are CAJONES (I hope you know spanish ^_^;)... You are my inspiration!

May 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Jenni G said...

Watching my dinosaurs race across the backyard is one of the best simple pleasures. Also, I am convinced I could, with a raging head cold, blind-taste their eggs and know the difference from store-bought every time.

May 26, 2017 at 6:55 PM  

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