A Year of Picnics


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  • Snow day snow cream sundae making me all kinds ofhellip
  • Hello darkness my old friend The cold comfort of winterhellip
  • I went in for the coconut cake SO! GOOD! andhellip
  • Cold as ice Hominy Creek which runs beside our roadhellip
  • Happy birthday to this Brazilian beauty You know those kindhellip
  • In 10 days Alistair and I fly from Asheville tohellip
  • Suffice to say Alistair dominated my feed in 2017 Seemshellip
  • Oh what a long strange trip its been Exactly onehellip
  • Stay frosty Huxley but dont grow up too fast okay?hellip
  • We made snow cream sundaes and hot chocolate and watchedhellip
  • When I think about my intentions and resolutions for thehellip
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No Complaints


You know when folks complain about how the waitress at their favorite coffee shop was rude to them again, or how a certain teacher in high school was always busting their chops, or how that one checkout clerk at the grocery store gave them the stink eye yet again, and you’re like “Uh huh” when, closer to the truth, you always exchange witty banter with that waitress, and still remain in touch with that teacher, and intentionally choose the line of that check-out clerk? You know, those instances wherein everyone else finds complaint or fault and you don’t/can’t/won’t?

 Well, that’s me and my flock of hens in the winter. While it seems like everyone else is having reduced or seriously abbreviated egg output, ours is as strong as ever. And it’s always like this in the winter. I have no secret pixie dust or magic food or even mystical mojo I direct at them. They just historically continue to lay eggs all winter long out here in the cove.

What that has resulted in lately is a glut of eggs. As in, 3 dozen extra eggs. As in, please, friends, family, strangers, come help us eat our eggs. And that is exactly what happened today. Friends still in town for the holidays stopped by, along with some local lovelies. Everyone brought a dish to share (leftover Hoppin’ John for us, grits and homemade holiday sweets for one family, and lentil soup for another) and Glenn whipped up a stacked/layered “Strata/Frittata” (with collards in between and roasted red peppers on top). We served the whole shebang alongside hot buttered toast.

The older I get, the more joy I find in these simple, easy meals with friends. Impromptu, comforting, and full of laughter and deliciousness. Way less than a meal out, with lots of room for the littles to run around to boot. We can be as loud as we want, have complete control over the temperature and music selections, and can linger as long as we like. The drinks are cheaper, the service is stellar (!), and, when the meal is collaboratively pulled off, the selection of eats is large. And if we happen to be able to work our way through our ever-expanding collection of winter-laid eggs in the process, all the better!

20 Responses to No Complaints

  • Rachel says:

    Our chickens have continued to lay this winter as well. I thought the cold weather we’ve been having (-14 F last night) would stall egg production, but nope! We’re not complaining either :)

  • Jessica W says:

    My girls lay well over winter too…but I admit I do cheat and put a light up in their coop! It’s the short daylight hours that stalls/slows production and a light on a timer is an easy fix to that. I also hung Christmas lights on their coop and run which had them outside in the evenings too 😀

    • yep, if chickens receive less than 14 hours of sunlight daily, they typically get a prompt from their pituitary glands to curtail egg production. our flock of 9 hens and 1 rooster doesn’t have all hands on deck daily like they do in the warmer months, but there’s still around 4-5 eggs per day!

      • Jessica W says:

        That’s awesome! We have 6 hens and get 4-5 eggs/day in summer months and winter with the lamp. Without the lamp we will get only 1-2/day. I’m in Alberta, Canada and our winters are very long and cold but the cold doesn’t affect them much!

  • tea_austen says:

    I love the picture of that big wooden table. Who wouldn’t want to cozy up to that, surrounded by friends?
    Here’s to a new year of such goodness, eh?

  • Aimee (EcoGrrl) says:

    Yummm, eggs. Have you thought about seeing if the local food bank will take extras or do you have a bartering system in your community (kind of like FreeCycle for produce, eggs, etc.)? I have always gotten my duck eggs free because I trade my neighbor for something from my pantry – pickles, salsa, jam, etc. :-)

  • mandi@herbanhomestead says:

    Let’s see…it’s about a two days drive. That seems totally worth some free eggs! I’m there!!! My girls are giving us one a day. Do you use a light with yours?

  • Dana says:

    That Strata/Frittata looks amazing. Please share the recipe!

  • Imladris Farm says:

    Andy also keeps timed light on his hens (in the coop, where they settle in for the evening), and also has good winter production. We think it’s breed related – some of his breeds (Buff Orpingtons) produce really well through the winter, while others (Delawares, for instance) definitely do not. Seeing this difference and others in the different breeds has been a good learning experience for him (and for the rest of us, honestly).

  • Jill Adams says:

    We have nine hens and the temperature here has been below zero for the past 5 days and we have about a foot of snow on the ground and my hens are laying strong! Honestly, I was looking forward to the egg laying slow down in the winter because my family is “egged out” after eating so many through the summer and fall, however we haven’t experienced a slow down yet. I’m ashamed to say we have 14 dozen eggs right now! Yes! 14 dozen!. Where we live, everyone has chickens so I can’t really give them away to my neighbors. We also live far away from family and friends and with the winter weather we’re experiencing I haven’t been driving to family and friends to make special egg deliveries. This weekend, I’ll be freezing my eggs using ice trays and keep my fingers crossed that my ladies will rest from laying at some point this winter. . . One family can only eat so many German Pancakes, Quiche, Fried Egg Sandwiches, etc. I believe we’ll have to suck it up and continue on with our egg meals. Because we experienced below zero temperatures this week, we just barely put a heat lamp in our coop. We don’t have a light on for them as we really do want the laying to slow down for the next few months. I know, you can’t believe what you’re reading right now; who in there right mind would want their hens to slow down from laying for a season? Remember, I have 14 dozen eggs right now! I fear some of our eggs will end up in the compost. This is my first year taking care of chickens and I have to say I didn’t value eggs before having chickens. Now that I have my own little flock of beautiful, friendly, fluffy ladies, every egg is so special to me. Anyway, if you have suggestions on how I can store several dozen eggs I’m all ears!

    • in your case, jill, i might suggest two things, possibly three: pickling the eggs (you can use up loads of them this way and preserve them in vinegar), curds (i have both lemon and orange curd recipes in my “canning & preserving” book), and, crazy as it may sound in such cold weather, ice cream. it’ll keep in the freezer and uses a good deal of eggs. creme brûlée might be another suggestion. if you have dogs, you can also cook the eggs for them. i hope this helps, and happy surplus!

      • Jill Adams says:

        Thanks for the suggestions! This is going to be the weekend of egg usage and preservation!

  • Dawn says:

    We’re in central NC and our chickens have always laid all winter long, too, a fact for which we are most grateful. I do sell excess to my neighbors and friends at church but always make sure we have plenty for ourselves. I don’t think we could ever get tired of them. Every time we sit down to a meal containing eggs we all raise our forks and say “Thanks to the girls!”

  • Anna Gagne=Hawes says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post! Thanks for the sweet reminder about the importance of an impromptu FEAST! My close friends/family and I all place a huge value on gathering together (as often as possible and impromptu is always good) potluck-style to share in the warmth, food and love of a full, sumptuous table. Cheers and love!

  • kate-v says:

    In the days when I kept hens – first flock was white leghorns and second flock was rhode island reds plus an occasional visiting buff orpington – we never experienced a reduction in egg production in the winter. when I first heard of that I thought something must be ‘wrong’. not having kids to feed any more and not being so broke, i don’t feel the need to keep hens, but they were wonderful creatures and certainly part of our family. they even would line up in a semicircle (with the dogs) around me for a treat of soda crackers from time to time — hopping up and down in their legs and with their wings kinda’ down and back as the dogs sats on theri own hanuches awaiting turns.

  • Betty Minnes says:

    I love eggs and the eggs in shell and the cooked food look awesome!

  • Alycia says:

    Yum! That looks divine! We have a plethora of eggs here on our homestead and collards in the garden. Do you want to share the recipe?

    *Also, got your Year of Pies for Christmas! Love it!!!

  • Sean says:

    We have nearly 30 hens who provide us with 20+ eggs a day in the warmer months, and about 8 a day in the winter. Besides sharing our extra eggs with family, whatever we don’t sell or eat is scrambled and fed to the dog, as well as the chickens. I know that might sound weird, but chickens LOVE scrambled eggs and it’s a great way to recycle the high quality protein. Nearly all of my food scraps go to the chickens.

    Ashley – where did you got those plates and bowls?! I love them!

    • sean-the brown plates and bowls are from ikea. the platters are from a variety of sources; t.j.maxx is always a good place to source affordable, attractive, well-made serving pieces.