Yesterday was one of those perfect, 60 degree, Spring days. Did I go window shopping, or sit at an outdoor cafe drinking an iced latte? No! I moved manure. I’ve got an area at the back of my yard that has poor, sandy, pebbly soil. I’ve had soil trucked in, which is expensive, and it just seems to disappear. Last year, I came up with a better solution. I put a temporary chicken wire fence around a 20 foot diameter area, inside of which I wheelbarrow loads of the coop compost from the previous year. Everyday, or so, I’ll take a couple of chickens up to this patch and let them scratch around, spread it, and dig up bugs. In June, I’ll plant pumpkins. In the fall, the chickens get to do their thing again.

Last year’s patch is now ready for wildflower seeds. Yesterday, Snowball and Petunia got the honor of doing the inaugural scratching in the new pumpkin bed. So, don’t worry. If, when watching Hencam, you think that a couple of hens are missing, they’re just up in what we call, “hen heaven.”

I might be there, too. I’ve got two lawn chairs right outside the fence. I could bring my laptop and get some writing work done. Or, I could just sit in the sun and watch the girls. Maybe I’ll make a latte.

Eating Raw Eggs

Are you afraid of eating raw eggs? I’m not. Salmonella, and other serious food-bourne illnesses rarely occur, and when they do, it’s usually due to a food processing or food service mishandling problem. The eggs from my hens are clean, my girls are healthy, the eggs are fresh and I keep my kitchen scrupulously clean.

I had some friends over on Saturday and so I made chocolate mousse, adapted from a recipe from Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes cookbook. This is mousse at its most basic. Take 5 ounces of the best dark chocolate you can find (Green & Black’s – an organic brand from England is perfect) and melt it in a double boiler with a stick of butter. Meanwhile, separate 3 eggs. When the chocolate is melted, take it off the heat and stir in the yolks. Whip the egg whites with a few tablespoons of sugar (I like the minimum of 3 tablespoons. Add more if you like things sweet). Fold the chocolate mixture into the RAW egg whites. Plop into a pretty serving bowl. Chill for a few hours.

Sorry that I don’t have a photo. It was eaten up before I could get one.

Bunny Snow Fun

As you probably noticed, we got a lot of snow. Then freezing rain. So, right now there’s about 10 inches of snow topped with a hard, shiny crust. It’s not safe for humans to walk on, but it’s perfect for a rabbit. Candy, like all bunnies, loves to dig and tunnel (which is why she is no longer welcome in my asparagus bed.) The recent snowfall gave her the perfect conditions to create a rabbit playground. She has excavated one long tunnel and is working on a second. It’s a bit out of Hencam viewing range, so here are two pictures:

Candy the bunny hopping out of her tunnel

bunny tunnel

I'm A Bit Distracted Because Of…


Look at what I brought home on Sunday. This little guy is a 9 week old mix. I met his mom, who looked to be a Chihuahua/Corgi/Something? and there’s surely some rough-coated terrier (Norfolk?) in there, too. I adopted him from a wonderful rescue in Vermont. Mom and the 3 pups were fostered in a home with teenagers, other dogs, good food and medical care. Great socializing from day one, which is so important!

I’ve already introduced Scooter to the chickens (way bigger than him and scary!) and to the bunny (Scooter would like to play, Candy would rather not.) Anyway, it’s tremendous fun (though I’m slightly sleep-deprived) and I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about him.

Scooter the puppy

Deviled Eggs

One of the nice things about having our own hens is that when a friend asks if you’ll bring something to a brunch, the answer is always “Yes!” And often, that same friend will say in one of those “pretty please” voices, “deviled eggs?”

They’re of course, ridiculously easy to make. Hard-cook your eggs, slice in half, mash the yolks with mayo and pickle relish and salt and pepper, and fill the hollows back in. I’ve got a classic recipe in my Farmstead Egg Cookbook, and also one with shrimp and cilantro.

Usually, you can make 2 deviled eggs for every shell egg. But the problem with those cut-lengthwise deviled eggs is that they roll around during transport. And you don’t want to cover them tightly with plastic wrap and mush the pretty yellow filling. What to do?

Well, when you have a fridge full of freshly laid eggs, you can be quite generous. Hard-cook the eggs as usual. Peel. Then lop off the top third of the narrow end. Proceed as with regular deviled eggs, but, now you have a larger hole to fill. Place the eggs in a clean egg carton, and use to both transport and serve them in. Isn’t that clever?

deviled eggs