Field Notes Volume 3 | Number 11 August 10th, 2015
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
There is nothing simpler than an egg- at least as a metaphor. In actuality, although on the outside they may be the simple carrier of our yummy breakfast favorite, they are an incredibly complex vehicle of life. Eggs are a pretty amazing way to bring life into the world.
Here at the farm you might have heard me mention that we have a few chickens- WeÂ’ve had upwards of 200 this season, including 100 egg layers and 100 broilers. I donÂ’t get to spend enough time with them as I would like, but chickens are pretty special to me. They are kind of like our own personal feathery dinosaurs, and a bunch of clucking punchlines to a joke that never seemed all that funny until you get to know a chicken.
Chickens are strange- They are an amazing combination of smartness and lower intelligence. Chances are they have more common sense than any of us, but they are about as simple as warm blooded animals get, but that doesnÂ’t mean I donÂ’t love them. Something about their simplicity is not only appealing but also admirable. Often I think I wish my life were more like one of our chickens, where I woke with the rising sun and busied myself until it got so high and hot that the only reasonable thing to do was to go back inside and I would stay there until it got cool enough to venture out again to see what opportunity had brought me. That might be a farmers life if time and money werenÂ’t the basic rhythms of our lives, but
they are so I donÂ’t get to live like the chickens.
I introduced yaÂ’ll to the Rhode Island Reds as soon as they arrived, theyÂ’ve settled in nicely and are now as much a part of the farm as any vegetable and any worker except maybe Moses. We say hello every day, and I often say good night to the ladies at night (although Tom puts them to bed about half the time.) Their days are pretty simple. The roosters crow at first light, they flock around the yard, they look for bugs, but their favorite time of day is when we bring them veggie scraps. At some point we started giving them plenty, and they quickly learned that I was the guy that brought them the good stuff. So now when I come they all come running, even if I donÂ’t have any vegetables. I think that their favorites must be zucchini, but they are really starting to love the tomatoes too, which is a good thing, because we have plenty of them and will make their eggs a lovely hue that reflects all the nutrition inside.
About a month ago we got another 50 egg birds (called Red Sex Links) which were supposed to be ready to lay. It took them a bit of time before they got used to the place. At first they (we call them blondies) seemed like they might not fit in with the farm crowd- they were fussy, and
didnÂ’t really care for the vegetables that we gave them, which wouldÂ shrivel up in their yard as the Rhodies devoured anything they could get. I pointed out to anyone who would see how they were suffering from the same problems that most Americans do- we are addicted to corn and soy, and wouldnÂ’t know much good food even if it were thrown at us. But after about three weeks of me throwing veggies to them theyÂ’ve finally gotten over their pickiness (I think it was the sweet corn and maters). That was also around the time that they began to lay eggs! 10 Days ago I discovered the first 2 eggs in the dirt and today Tom gathered 19 from their laying box. Every day there are more and more and hopefully within a month we will begin selling them. When I cracked the first egg I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and color- the yolks are almost as dark as the sungold cherry tomatoes! So the blondies have settled in pretty well, they have even gotten used to farm life and even let two of the Rhodie roosters join them (although they seem to tolerate them more than accept them).
So why did the chicken cross the road?
To eat the good stuff, same as us.
-Enjoy, Farmer Sky
Sweet Corn!- Mini Mr. Marai
Cherry Tomatoes- Sun Gold, Sun Peach, Sweet Treats, White Cherry, Black Cherry, and MattÂ’s Wild. Do not refrigerate! We are freezing them whole to preserve for winter.
Beefsteak Tomatoes- Moscovitch, Big Beef, and Brandywine. Really flowing now.
Gold Potatoes- Red Maria. Enjoy!
Basil- Just a bit. If you canÂ’t eat it you can freeze it and it will be a lovely addition to winter dishes.