Thursday, November 29, 2012

Secret Santas


I am very happy to report that we are still getting right around a dozen eggs a day. Sometimes we get up to 13 or 15 and other days the girls slack off and only produce 9, but this momma can't complain!

So what do we do with a dozen eggs a day? Often I get egg requests from family and friends. It's a pretty well known fact now in the extended family circle that Becca always has eggs to pass out. In October it was simple. I would stalk pile my hoard throughout the week and take the crop down to Shaw Farms on the weekend and pass them out to family.

Even after the pumpkins have long been disked under and earth freezes over I still have aunts and cousins who will gladly take several dozen at a time off my hands.

There are times when travel is not in any one's plans and I have an egg over-load on my hands. FINALLY after almost an entire year of people telling me to start selling my over stock I decided, why not try it out?

This summer I went to Hobby Lobby and made a cute sign to stick out in the yard whenever I have an abundance in my fridge. (Even if no one stops, maybe they get a smile out of cool sign.)

YES you read that price correctly. $1.00 for farm fresh eggs. They aren't "organic" so I don't feel as if I can charge an arm and a leg. A lady right down the street sells hers for $1.50 and I hear the Amish have raised their prices to $2.00. So I feel like I need to be cheaper than the competition. Plus where I live a lot of people own chickens or know somebody who does. It's a pretty common thing. Not like in the suburbs where fresh eggs are a rare thing. (I have a relative who lives close to Columbus and pays $3.00 a dozen.) Also, the advantage of being married to a grain farmer, I don't pay anything at all towards the feed for my birds. (Thank goodness too! I would not own chickens if I had to buy a bag of chicken feed at TSC for $18.00 a bag!)

Anyhoo, I have come to learn that placing my sign out during the week draws in no business. If I put the sign out on a weekend day, I can sell out in a day. Weird, huh? My biggest customer if my "neighbor" who owns the property next to the field that separates us. She and her husband come out on the weekends and if she sees my sign, she stops in and takes all I have to sell. She has also given me oodles of egg cartons.

Another lady asked me once if I ever needed carton, which I never refuse, and said she's stop in and drop them off. Now one day back in October I was surfing the Internet all dressed up in my sweat pants and a sweatshirt, laying on the couch. It was the middle of the day and I couldn't have felt more like a bum. Actually, I think it was one of those days where I wanted to die. (First trimester of pregnancy, folks. I was so nauseated I couldn't get off the couch.) I'm laying there and I hear someone come up to the front door. Normally people pull in our driveway and use the back door. At first I thought it was the mailman or UPS dropping something off and my first instinct was to grab the computer and run. I didn't want anyone seeing me in my near-death state. So I ran into the kitchen and waited. No one knocked and all seemed quiet again. When I opened the door and went out on the front porch, I started to laugh. There was a stack of egg cartons.

This isn't the first time someone had dropped off cartons and left. In fact, a bag of them ended up on my neighbor's mailbox...someone thinking it was our mailbox.

I think it's funny people are beginning to know me as having chickens and I get these random surprises.

I added the above stack to the supply in the cold room, where we can grab a  carton and go collecting, or add it to the stack in the barn because we are always coming home and going straight to the barn!

                                                                              ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Angry Birds


This post has no photo to accompany it. Sorry. I tried to take a good picture to show my meaning with our angry birds, but thanks to the chain mail protecting the door of The Fortress, it made it impossible to photograph the congregation of cluckies gathered there every morning.

Any morning the chickens don't get let out of the coop before 8 A.M. (which is about everyday) we always joke that the chickens are mad. And I really believe that they are. The chickens all gather around the door, pushing and shoving each other aside, trying to see out and when a human might be coming along to free them for the day. After all, they have a stressful schedule to keep. Bugs to dig up, corn to eat from the steer stuffer, walls to fly over or fences to go under, eggs to hide around the barn for us to look for later. I will worry when the day comes and I go outside in the morning and no one is standing there mad at me because they've done been up for at least an hour and are ready to start the day.

The chickens HATE New Years. They know it is the one night a year Dan and I stay up past midnight and it will probably be 9 or 10 in the morning before they get let out.

I tried to find anything that told me how long a chicken sleeps. For example, we know cats sleep like 20 hours out of the day. I know horses will nap up to about 4 hours a day. But how long does a chickens sleep?

I doubt the hens get much shut eye. A rooster will crow any darn time he feels like it. Since I've been getting up two or three times a night to use the bathroom, just this morning I heard Cad-Buddy or Chicken Hawk crowing around 3 A.M. (I'm surprised our neighbors haven't T.P.ed our house yet.)

I figured chickens woke up when the sun came up. I don't think this is necessarily true. I've heard different things as to why a rooster will crow. Some say it's to tell predators they survived the night. (So why would mine crow with three hours of darkness left?) Others say a rooster will crow whenever he feels like it and for any reason he feels like it.

So why the misconception of roosters crowing when the sun comes up? Chickens ARE birds and birds are most vocal in the A.M.

I don't know. I'm no chicken expert, I just know mine. I know I sleep with a fan on so I'm not woken up at ungodly hours. I know I cringe when I do hear them, praying the neighbors don't decide to get violent over it. And I know that every morning I walk out to the barn is not early enough to let the angry birds out for the day.

                                                                                              ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! From all of us here on the Shawhan farm!
Dan and I are thankful for so much this much that I won't name them all on here and bore everyone.
The chickens are thankful for the obvious...we usually don't eat chicken on Thanksgiving. They ARE thankful to be alive, however, since someone...not I...forgot to lock them inside the other night. Thankfully everyone was safe and accounted for in the morning.
Remember to celebrate the day and remember how truly blessed we all are!
                                                                                         ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Danimal Egg Sandwich


Something I want to try and incorporate in my chickie blog this year is egg and chicken recipes. My goal is to try these recipes before sharing them. If anyone has any chicken or egg recipes, PLEASE e-mail them to me at:

My first recipe is dedicated to my husband, Dan. Hence I named it, The Danimal Egg Sandwich.

This easy-to-make sandwich is what powers my man through the morning hours, at least 90% of the week. He likes it for breakfast, but it is a fulfilling meal no matter what time of the day you wish to make it.

Dan has a special 4 (or 3) inch skillet whose soul purpose in life is to be used in the making of these sandwiches. A small spatula is also useful since you must flip the egg at some point in the cooking process:

Before breaking the egg(s) in the pan, spray it with cooking spray.

Over medium/medium-high heat, break the egg into the skillet and stir it up. (Dan likes to use either one BIG egg or two SMALL eggs.)

Let the egg cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile go ahead and start your two pieces of toast.

Once the first side of egg has cooked, carefully flip the egg. Here, you'll see why a small spatula works so well. You can tell the egg needs flipped when you check the underside and see that it's done.

Once the second side is done, place on toast. We like to add cheese slices to our sandwiches. Dan will use two, whereas I prefer only one. The finished product is a healthy, filling breakfast, using only cheese, bread and egg.

If you want to add anything else, this simple recipe is like a blank canvas. Sometimes Dan will add slices of's all in whatever you prefer.

Hope you try The Danimal Egg Sandwich and you enjoy it!

                                                                                                ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chickies and Dinos...A Post 65 Million Years in the Making


"The compys didn't look dangerous. They were about as big as chickens, and they moved up and down with little nervous jerks, like chickens."
(Crichton, 559)
I wanted to start my second year of blogging on dino-scale proportions. The timing couldn't have been any better. I just read Jurassic Park, by the very talented Micheal Crichton, for the second time in my life. (Currently I'm reading The Lost World which I've never read before.) I wanted to start posting again with an interesting topic, so as I'm reading this book about re-creating dinosaurs that many believe to have evolved into our modern birds, I caught a special on TV about the exact the same thing. Sad to say I only caught the last 15 minutes of this program, called Dinosaurs: Return to Life? but what I saw had some pretty cool information. Plus I have evidence of it all right in my back yard!
" 'So these velociraptors look like reptiles, with the skin and general appearance of reptiles, but they move like birds, with the speed and predatory intelligence of birds' " ~ Ian Malcolm
(Crichton, 168)

I am sure most of you have heard of the idea of dinosaurs evolving into birds and have seen the movie Jurassic Park. (The book is better. I HIGHLY recommend it, but beware, there are some graphic parts.) This theory seems to be a popular one and the TV program Dinosaurs: Return to Life? gave examples to prove this theory. For example, most dinosaurs that stood upright on two legs had arms and hands with 3 fingers. Scientists think that these arms and fingers evolved into wings. A chicken wing has three "fingers" or bones as one can see by looking at a chicken skeleton. They also highlighted a chicken foot as being almost the exact replica of a dinosaur foot:
Again, dinosaurs that walked upright had 3 toes, as do modern-day birds/chickens.
Another link they pointed out are the scales on chicken feet. Despite some proof that dinosaurs had feathers, they had scales too.
Scientists today are working at genetically modifying chicken legs by adding in the feather-growing gene to produce feathers on their legs. (Though my Light Brahmas have those???) Anyhoo, they feel like they can reverse those genes and have feathery legs and also change those wings back into hands.
Are we going to have genetically-altered dinosaurs like in the book?
"In fact, the velociraptor conveyed precisely the same impression of deadly, swift menace Grant had seen in the casowary, the clawed ostrich-like bird of New Guinea."
(Crichton, 168)
The TV show said it would be hard and would take a lot of time for us to grow a dinosaur from scratch. (In the book it took them 10 years...) But we can alter smaller things such as the feathers/scales and arms and hands/wings. If scientists DID create a dinosaur, the popular bird of choice to begin with would be an emu. From an emu, we could get a raptor-sized dinosaur.
" it came forward, it looked from side to side, moving its head with abrupt, bird-like jerks. The head also bobbed up and down as it walked, and the long straight tail dipped, which heightened the impression of a bird. A gigantic, silent bird of prey."
(Crichton, 472)
I've always said the chickens look like dinosaurs with their movements. (Of course some of that came from watching the movie Jurassic Park.) And we have always said we have a flock of velociraptors in our backyard. I just hope to never see the REAL thing hanging out in my barn!
                                                                                             ...cluck... cluck... cluck...
Crichton, Micheal. Jurassic Park.  Boston: G.K. Hall & Co. 1990.