Yes, we’ve entered egg season. Not just because it’s Easter time and every store features chocolate eggs of every color and size, and marshmallow chics, but also egg production is in full swing here. We started to find small eggs during the last week of January, which really surprised me, but now! We have tons of eggs every day.
I got these new chicks at the end of last summer – a little late to be getting chickens, actually, bug they grew fast and by the time the cold New England nights set in they were pretty well grown.
Now our girls, based on my advanced math (number of eggs – number of chickens), produce more than one egg per chicken on some days. And even though I love to cook and bake– and I really like scrambled eggs with fresh chives from the kitchen garden and flourless chocolate cake– that is just too many eggs for us to eat.
So now I have a small overstock business.
Besides producing a million eggs, chickens are miraculous. They are beautiful – their feathers are so soft and colorful. They have downy fluffy bloomers:
That is serious chicken porn in that picture. They make lots of manure that is awesome for my garden (a little tough to shovel but you can’t have everything). And they have so much personality. Each one of them is an individual. The chicken in the photo above, named Summer, greets me every day at the door when I enter the henhouse.
A final word on chicken eggs. They are a little like a box of chocolates. You never really know what you’re going to get:
When we moved into this farm it wasn’t with any dreams of reviving or farming the place. The truth is that this farm was already fully a version of it’s best self. The family before us had lovingly restored it and it was a working horse farm when we bought it.
Instead, we chose the property for what it would offer us–an opportunity to live in a house so thoroughly infused with grace, charm, and history, that it seemed nearly impossible to avoid living a charmed life within it’s old walls.
I’ve always had gardens, and installing them here was a labor of love–to be clear– love for myself. Installing a garden is really more an act of inspiration than construction for me, and trying to feel my way through creating a layout that would harmonize with this place’s energy has been a process.
I sought advice for the kitchen garden layout from Enchanted Gardens – a wonderful garden designer in Holliston– because I wanted something traditional and found myself hesitating to move established plants. The existing locataires–evergreens, mostly– had deep, firm roots and projected a sense of belonging that it was hard for me to get past. In the end, I changed little and am working around much of what was here.
That process made space in my mind to connect with the plants that were here and that I added. Their energy has a sentience that it isn’t hard to perceive once you start spending time around them. Most (not all) of them are good company; they have the ability to calm and encourage clarity. There are a few – nettle, for instance, that are less friendly. But generally, flowers and herbs are easy to connect with and have a quality of soothing that I imagine attracts many people to gardening.
Being among plants is an antidote to over-activated nerves, which seem to be ubiquitous in our modern environment and online-connected style of living. I’ve found myself gardening more and more over the years, allowing my time with favorite plants to encourage my intuition and beat back the stress of daily life.
So aside from nurturing the body with fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowers, being in the garden nurtures the mind and the emotional body, making way for inspiration and a sense of calm.
Why not plan a small project for the spring? A small garden – it could even be a container garden. The benefits and the beauty of being among and caring for live plants make the investment well worth it.