One of the many perks to country living, I think, is fresh eggs. My Mom usually maintains a flock of chickens here on the Ranch. When I was little, great lengths were gone to get hens that laid blue eggs (I believe it was a reward for good grades). Brown, blue, white eggs and various shades in between were normal to me, it was Easter all the time!
At one point, my Mom was selling eggs to a local health food store, that at the time wouldn’t even sell meat for ethical reasons, but they decided they wanted to sell only fertilized eggs (This sounded weird even to an 9 year old me). Our rooster had just had an “unfortunate” accident, so we were unable to sell eggs to this particular market any longer.
One chore I did a lot of going up, was chicken tending. This meant feeding them, changing their water and gathering the eggs. It was an epic chore, with great trials and tribulations that were to be triumphed. First there was a 50/50 chance that a mouse was going to be in the chicken feed sack, and if you weren’t paying attention you would reach down expecting to find the feed scoop but instead, you would grab a mouse! Even worse, sometimes they would climb up your little arm to get out of the feed sack!!! The second trial was way worse; once in while, not that often, but often enough to be freaked out by it, there would be a snake in the egg room. Usually just a harmless bull snake, but still, it always seemed like a rattlesnake to an 9 year old.Finally, the greatest trial. Mr. Rooster. At the time, Mr. Rooster was about my size (I was a petite child), and had spurs that were about 3 inches long. Mr. Rooster didn’t like me. The hens and I didn’t like him either, he would attack me every chance he got. Mr. Rooster was almost a little too good at his job. Most of the hens had bloody combs or necks, from his incessant “attention”.
No one would believe me about how mean Mr. Rooster was. He’d never attack me when my Mom or Dad would watch me or when my Mom would do the chicken chores, oh no, he was a crafty rooster. I finally came to the conclusion that in order to do my chore without being taken out by Mr. Rooster, I had to arm myself. I wasn’t a violent or mean kid so this was a fairly drastic measure on my behalf. Protecting myself with my egg collecting basket just wasn’t cutting it, plus, I’d get in trouble if I broke all the eggs defending myself.
I found a nice stout “walking stick” that I started packing with me pretty much everywhere on the Ranch. This “walking stick” was the perfect size for Mr. Rooster whacking. Once Mr. Rooster got whacked a couple times, we came to an understanding. As long as I had that stick, he wouldn’t attack me. And if he didn’t attack me, I wouldn’t whack him. Turns out, Mr. Rooster did not like his own medicine. This “walking stick” was also highly effective on mean turkeys and rattlesnakes.
One day, my Mom decided to do the chicken tending (meaning I whined so much about being scared of Mr. Rooster, it wasn’t worth the battle). Freeing my afternoon up for a some Breyer Horse play time. Suddenly, I heard my Mom screaming! Horrible, blood curdling fear screams!!! Convinced my Mom was being murdered in cold blood, I ran outside with my whacking stick, ready to come to her aid, and save her from whoever was murdering her! By the time I made it outside, I could hear my Mom screaming “get my gun! Get my gun!” My little imagination was racing! I was imagining all kinds of horrible things, my poor Mom was in danger and possibly hurt!! I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me, found her shotgun in it’s secret place, and rushed to her rescue, convincing myself I was ready to shoot to kill whoever was hurting my Mommy! Mr. Rooster had an bad accident that day (vindication!). I also found out my Mom was an awesome shot. Doing my chicken chores was fun again!
The only drawback to having fresh eggs is you cannot peal them when hard boiled. Seriously you can’t. We’ve tried everything, from the infomercial egg de-sheller to aging Ranch eggs in the refrigerator for a month (the old egg thing worked the best thus far). However, I finally found a method that works on eggs fresh out of the chicken’s butt! Take a push-pin and pierce the bottom the egg.
Your goal here is to only pierce the shell at the bottom of the egg, but not the membrane that holds the white. There is an air cell there and removing the air allows water to get between the shell and the membrane – the key to a pretty egg.
After I pierce the egg, I place it in a saucepan filled with cold water. Once the water comes to a boil, I cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let that sit there for 17 minutes, then immediately place the eggs in an ice bath. Let them cool and peel!
I noticed that letting the cooked and cracked eggs sit in the cold water bath longer helps with the de-shelling process. I let these sit for about 6 hours and all but one came out the shell easily.
If you let your egg water cool, it can be re-used on your garden or houseplants! I was told that the calcium that leeches out from the shells can be beneficial to plants. Plus it feel extra green when I do that, lol.