Friday, 5 October 2012

A secret stash of eggs

eggs Oct 12

My hens have taken to wandering onto the neighbouring allotments. At this time of year, with little around for them to damage, they are causing no harm and the other allotment holders seem to enjoy having them as company and to help get rid of bugs, slugs and snails. Anyone who takes to digging up the ground however is likely to be mobbed by the hens as they race to beat each other to the worms.

Wandering off like this adds to a problem of laying out of the henhouse. The two boss hens, Snow White (a coral nick) and Atilla (a light sussex) seem to have an agreement to lay in the same place as each other, which is almost always away from the henhouse. When I know where they are laying, that is not a problem. Until about two weeks ago they were laying behind the hedge on the path leading to the allotment. And then suddenly they stopped laying there. Egg production figures were down overall in the absence of their eggs. Both are good layers, typically laying 9 out of 10 days on the trot.

I kept searching the hedgerows of the other allotments. Today I even checked under someone's shed. But there was no sign of eggs. And then Liz, on the neighbouring allotment, called through to tell me she had found where they were laying. There in her old greenhouse was a heap of 20 eggs, all but one laid by Snow White and Atilla. I gave Liz a dozen and took the other 8 back to my house to add to the egg mountain that has grown up in my absence. (I was away for 10 days last week doing some filming and photography in London and Brighton.)

I have been pickling eggs today but somehow, the number of eggs waiting to be used never seems to get smaller. I will be taking the eggs to a market a week tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be currying them, pickling them, making egg custard, poaching them, swapping them, doing whatever I can with them.

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