Friday, January 9, 2009

Mount Golden Comet

When my wife and I noticed that “Large” eggs were apparently being measured on the Bantam-scale, we decided we could do better.

We ordered Golden Comet layers from the feed mill, and soon received the call, “Your chicks are here. Come up and get ‘em!”

We brought fifteen chicks home to a cozy bed of fresh straw, in a varmint resistant hen-pen. By week 16 the girls were laying about forty eggs a week!

My wife, youngest son, and I, attempted to consume eggs on pace with production. We fried, boiled, scrambled, poached, pickled, coddled, baked, broiled, and deviled. We sliced, diced, mashed, and blended. We tried egg-soup, and omelet recipes from every region of the world. After awhile, it became too much for us…. we were egged-out.

Our older son was no help at all. From the moment he witnessed the laying of an egg first hand, he became ova-intolerant. He hasn’t eaten an egg since.

Eventually, we were fortunate enough to find customers to buy our excess inventory and relieve us of the burden of an all-egg diet.

Another problem we encountered, with our egg-operation, came in the form of an indignity my wife suffered some weeks back.

You see, I keep a clean chicken pen - as a result, our compost pile has grown to massive proportions. I had taken the pitchfork out to turn it one day, and left it piled high.

Actually, I had challenged myself in this mounding of the pile, and I was proud of the result. It was a regular mountain of compost. While I worked, I had visions of selling lift tickets and hot chocolate as people came from all around to ski and snowboard. I would call it Mount Golden Comet, in honor of the girls - after all, they did most of the work.

A few days later my wife started a gardening project and rolled the wheelbarrow to the compost pile to get some “good dirt.” I saw her there, and paused to note that the pile had settled into a bit of a tilt.

I continued to watch as she stuck her shovel into the pile, which gave a little jiggle, then started to topple. I tried to help - I yelled, “AVALANCHE!”

This didn’t help at all. She turned and gave me a strange look before turning back to see the pile sliding her way. She dropped the shovel and ran.

She almost made it, too! She had cleared the edge of the wheelbarrow when the pile caught her… she was buried from the waist down in chicken-based plant food. The wheelbarrow caught part of the load, which was the only thing that kept her from being buried alive.

I ran to pull her out but didn’t say a word... break a smile... enjoy a moment of silent, convulsive laughter... or let slip with a chuckle or guffaw. After 20 years of marriage, I've found it best to get a little time between her and an event before cracking a joke.

I extracted her and soberly skulked away in silence.

We still have fifteen chickens – and three of us have reacquired a taste for eggs. The compost pile is still there too… though maintained at a much lower altitude.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails