Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My lovely girls..

I am very smitten with my chickens. (No, Chef Nick, Willie, and HWB, I do not mean "I love you, hens, and you are going in my stewpot!" ) Today the girls got carrots and cucumbers as treats, and I let them out to run around the barn for a few hours.

Steppin' out!

Stampede for the open door!

"Hmmm, what should I peck? Juicy carrot or shiny camera? Juicy carrot or shiny camera. Well, I do SO love the shiny things!"

Henrietta looking totally, chickenly gorgeous! The big comb and floppy wattles = good layer. She may even be the one behind the 107-gram egg!

Gordon has a waiting list of co-workers who want some of our eggs. I like to add a little value to our eggs by putting something on the cartons each week. Right now I'm doing a hen-of-the-week thing, which evolved from the Art Trading Cards I made a while back featuring hen haiku. Every week, I highlight a different hen. I need to finish assigning names! I can tell about half the chickens apart now and am studying them carefully to figure out the rest. A few of the black hens are particularly hard to distinguish!

The lovely Anastasia, named after my dear Irish grandmother who died when I was 12. She had a great sense of humour and I hope she'd get a kick out of having a beloved chicken named in her honour. It's not like I have any human kids to bestow names upon!

Charlotte, probably my cuddliest hen.

Buffy, the first hen I could reliably identify because of her smooth,buffy plumage.

Gordon's co-workers and our friends are all getting really good about sending home empty egg cartons. A couple of weeks ago, I opened a carton that still had Buffy's "Hen of the Week" card on it. Inside I found this sticky note:

Gordon's co-worker John put a big smile on my face by sending this home to me.

And then last week I gave some eggs to my friend Ronna as a "hostess" gift, and I got this in my inbox, with the subject line "Message for Charlotte c/o Natalie"

Dear Charlotte:
I had two of your most delicious brown eggs this morning for breakfast and I must tell you that your creations were superb. I had them fried in a small pat of butter, sunny side up, no salt. I don't want anything to impede their delicious flavour.
Many thanks for laying such beauties and may we meet someday so that I can compliment you in person...er, in chicken.
Cheers, A Fan

I love my chickens! I have been calling them my "budgies", because they are getting so tame that when I want to put them in their coop at night, they will step off the woodpile (where they like to congregate in the barn) onto my arm and perch there as I carry them back.

Meanwhile, we've had a messy January thaw going on, but the temps are dropping again. The creek that runs through our farm is running with quite a bit of water right now:

I have a strange craving for an omelette.


  1. Loved your post and your little "hen of the week notations complete with photo." A wonderful idea I'm sure Gordon's co-workers appreciated it and got a kick out of your added touch. We certainly could see that Ronna did.

    P.S. clicked on the link for your Hen Haiku and could easily understand how you nearly peed yourself doing it.

  2. Anonymous7:54 pm

    LOVE the hen haiku cards. While I'm sure your chickens' eggs are terrific, I think your hen haiku cards are what the recipients must enjoy most!

    wow, do I want some eggs right now...


  3. Natalie: you should gather all of your hens' cards and trade them at ATC next time. "Collect them all!"

  4. Anonymous10:25 am

    This is so funny! The thought of a cuddly chicken really tickled me.

    They are so luck to have their own promoter in house (the cards are a touch of genius--how many do we need to collect for a complete set?)

    I would like to join their fan club. Can you mail eggs?

  5. All this hen blogging makes me want scrambled eggs... my favourit. Sadly I will have to go to the supermarket to get the eggs. Sighs

  6. I have a strange craving for a bed-and-breakfast stay at your barn. I'll bring my electric skillet (for the omelet) and my 2 HBC blankets, for the hens and me.

    Samuel Butler (Life and Habit-1877) wrote, "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg."

    Well, Sir, you never met the personable, adorable knatoleean hens.

  7. You know, chickens are remarkably fuzzy. My brother has two that they call Hors and D'Oeuvre and while they didn't much like being picked up they were as soft as teddy bears. I think if you were persistent they would eventually get used to the "chicken hug" but maybe you should just stick to Chicken Jalfrezi.

    Broilers. Gotta love'em.

  8. I could lend you my stewpot.

    But, I am serious now,looking forward to pick up some fresh eggs
    in return for homemade goodies.

  9. Anonymous11:53 am

    I'm so glad to see that someone else names their chickens! In the '80s we had Banty chickens, the "little people" of the chicken world. One rooster was so attentive to his wifey (giving her all the choice morsels) that we named them Ronnie and Nancy after the Reagans. The others bore names similar to celebrities of the day: Goldie Hen, Gregory Peck, and Bo Drumstick. Wish we could have some chickens here but it gets too hot. :(

  10. Paula, glad you enjoyed it all! The "city slickers" love our eggs. ;) (says the former city slicker!)

    Phyllis, I'll make you a nice omelette when you visit next.

    Ronna, that sounds like a good plan!

    MerrilyMarylee, I like the fan club idea. I'd love to mail you eggs but if I sent them by Canada Post, they wouldn't arrive until 2012. Anyway, the girls really are quite cuddly, more so in the evening when they are settling down and don't mind some quiet lap time. As for the card, I guess a complete set would be 11! I'm working on that.

  11. Jams, just-laid eggs are a world apart from their supermarket cousins!

    Claudia, I'll tell the hens you're coming. And I love the quote.

    Chef Nick, the recipe looks great but you are a BAD MAN. ANd they are NOT broilers. They are dual-purpose. BAD MAN!!!!

    Willie, eggs for cinnamon buns. It's a deal!

    TTPT, your chickens had fabulous names. And I would love some Banty hens. They're on the list!

  12. LOVE the haiku cards! Did I miss the session when you were trading them??..Please...please...please...do more...I NEEEEEED one!
    ...and I'll have a dozen eggs with that. Such beautiful hens must lay incredible eggs!

  13. Elisabeth, you must have missed that trade! I will see what I can do for you about making some more. :)

  14. Anonymous2:44 pm

    Hey Nat,
    Just got new additions to my family, 6 lovely ladies a mix between Red & White layers....they are so fun...I wait all day and check them often....to pick up 6 egss.....I am so excited ! 2 days, 12 eggs....so much fun !

  15. Doanne, aren't chickens the BEST?! We are getting six more chicks in July. They're so much fun, and I love the eggs!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!