Summer Farmin’ #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone! Since my last post a lot has changed. Let’s start with Frenchie.

She was our hen that was broody, a.k.a got baby fever. Well, her attempt at motherhood failed. It could have been a number of things. It could have been that the garage was too cool. It could have been the fact that only 2 of the 5 eggs were actually fertilized. Or it could have just been how nature intended. She sat diligently on those eggs but in the end, 1 burst, 2 got stinky, the other 2 never hatched, and she ended up abandoning the nest. The good thing is that she was welcomed back into the flock just fine. And she got over the broodiness even though she never actually hatched any eggs.

And now Hagrid is broody!! I have read that it can be contagious. I don’t know if that is the case here because Frenchie wasn’t around the other birds, but in any case, Hagrid is trying her hand at motherhood now. But this time we are not going to move her. We are going to let her do her thing in the coop and hope for the best. She still comes out in the morning to eat and dust bathe, and then goes back and sits on her potential babies. She has 3 eggs, 1 is hers and the other 2 were laid the day after she turned broody, so I put them under her.

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We think she’ll be a great mama so hopefully nature works in our favor this time.

Here’s a couple of the other birds this morning lounging in the tall grass…

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And Carl. He is still such a purdy bird!!

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I didn’t realize until just now that the last post also included a snake. Funny, this one will also include a new snake story.

I’m becoming quite the serpent master around here. And I have to do most of this on my own because my husband is constantly gone for work. Side note, he thinks it’s hot that I can handle this kind of stuff on my own, LOL! Especially because he will admit, he is not “wildery” and doesn’t care for snakes or spiders. Anyway, I was out to dinner with friends and came home around 10pm. I went to the coop to close it up and count the birds. I counted all 8 birds and 1 non-bird.

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I wasn’t quite panicking, but I wasn’t very calm either. The main thing was that I was alone, it was dark, and I only have so many hands. I managed to get the snake towards outside the coop, but then I kind of stopped because one, I didn’t have my boots on, it was dark, and I didn’t have a real idea of what I was going to do after I got him out. I kept scooting him around with the rake and then he slithered out of the door towards outside. Again, no real shoes on, so I was tip-toeing around with the rake and fighting with this snake; he was pretty strong. I have a tarp around the bottom of the coop and he ended up going inside there. At this point I went inside to get my boots and reassess. It’s getting closer to 11, should I just leave him? Should I shoot him? No, not at 11pm. What to do? I got my boots on and went back out. I used the rake and felt around the tarp and realized he was inside the bottom, stuck. PERFECT! I unhooked the tarp from the coop and used the rake to drag him, inside the tarp, all the way to the other side of the yard, still holding my cell phone as a flashlight. I would just have to figure out my next course of action in the daylight.

The next morning I did not have time to deal with snake shenanigans before Reining Hope, so I made sure he wasn’t in the coop and took off. When I came back in the afternoon he was back in the coop, already digesting an egg. I started to attempt to get him out again and realized that unless I planned on grabbing him with my hand I wasn’t going to be able to hold the coop door open and get him out with the rake without another pair of hands. Luckily my friends were coming over. So I waited. When they arrived, my friend held the coop door open while I found the snake’s head. I pushed it down with the rake, switched to me holding the door, and my friend grabbed his tail and pulled him out of the coop. Once he was out of the coop, we switched it up where he held his head with the rake and I took a hold of the snake. This was intense but so awesome at the same time.  All my dreams of being like Steve Irwin came true!!

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I did not plan to kill the snake for a few reasons. These guys aren’t bad. They are non-venemous, good for rodent control, and since snakes are territorial they will deter other snakes, like bad ones. But he couldn’t stay close and threaten the flock and continue to eat eggs. So my friend and I walked him about 2 acres away and set him free. He slithered in the opposite direction of the house so that’s a plus. But if/when he or one of this friends comes back, I’ll be ready!

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The garden is growing like crazy! I haven’t had to buy vegetables in forever and I am giving so much away because I just can’t eat this much. If you follow my Instagram (there’s a link on the right side of the page) you’ve seen all my zucchini selfies. They are HUGE!! And so are the cucumbers. I’ve had to start to enjoy cucumbers. I was never a fan but they aren’t that terrible. They are even better with ranch dip. They just aren’t my favorite but I love eating something that I grew.

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Here’s today’s harvest. I put the cherry maters and eggs next to everything for scale. The maters are just now starting to ripen here and there. But all my plants have green tomatoes. I see a lot of salsa and sketti sauce in my future because again, I am not a mater fan. My husband is though, so as long as he is around, those will be eaten.

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A friend of mine let me borrow a zucchini cookbook, so I found some recipes to try. I REALLY need to because this is getting crazy! I am very happy to share though and promote farm to table.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Happy Summer!!!!

 

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A Mama & A Serpent #FarmlifeFriday

Since my last farming post, we have had a couple big events happen over here. The first, Frenchie is still sitting on eggs. By the time you read this, she will be on her 22nd day of laying on the eggs. We never candled them, checked for life, we decided to just let her do her thing and let nature do it’s thing. So it will be interesting to see exactly what happens. So far we haven’t heard any cheeping out there but we still have time.

I caught this photo earlier this week. Frenchie was getting a drink. She was there for a second and then right back on her eggs. We get nervous that she isn’t doing well but when I check on her I’ll notice that she’ll be looking one way and then the next day she’ll be facing the other way. And I know she knows what she’s doing so I shouldn’t worry. But that mama thing kicks in and I want to make sure she’s all good. 20170606_122754

Next up on the farm update…I went to get eggs out of the nesting box the other day and had an unexpected visitor.

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Not a super dangerous little guy, but he was eating my breakfast!! I always go in the yard expecting a snake because I know they are out there, but it is always so startling when you actually see one. This guy was about 4 feet long.

Took the girls about a week to start laying in the nesting box again. We thought they had either given up or started laying somewhere else in our five-ish acres. So I went on an egg hunt the other day with no luck. Then for some reason I was looking in the bottom of the coop and in the way back corner that we can’t see, a huge pile of eggs!! Luckily they’ve gone back to laying in their designated spots now.

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Here’s a picture of all the birds on the porch, just for fun.

And in other ranch/farm type news, I am getting more acquainted with the horses at Reining Hope. (I am linking you to the newsletter page so you can check out the Spring 2017 one if you so wish. Might see a familiar face in one of the articles) I think I’ve said before that I did not grow up around horses and I do not know much about them. But I was around them a couple weekends ago and this particular one, Beau, was very affectionate most the day. Yes, he’s nibbling on my shoulder.

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Hopefully my next post will be about new baby chicks!! Happy Friday!!

 

Zucchini Pizza

I have not posted about zucchini pizza boats and that makes me sad. I posted a photo of the boats on my Facebook once and wrote, “When you bout that healthy life but pizza is life.” Seriously, if I could never eat some form of pizza again I might just die. And the best part about eating different versions of pizza is the fact that you start to realize that it isn’t (always) about the bread, it’s about the toppings. So you can eat the cauliflower crust or these boats and still love them and feel like you’re eating pizza.

But this blog is not just about the recipe. The main idea of this post is to boast about how proud I am about this particular meal today for lunch. The first thing… look at the size of this zucchini!!!

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That’s a trenta cup! It was my daughter’s idea to take this next one…. a fun perspective photo.

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And guess where I got this beauty! MY GARDEN! It’s the first harvested crop from this years’ garden! I am beyond excited! I cannot wait to taste this thing. And just to add to my excitement, this meal will be enough to feed both my husband and I. I alone usually eat at least 1 and a half zucchinis because the store-bought ones are so small.

So here’s what I do. You’ll need a couple zucchini’s cut in half, olive oil, pizza or spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, mini pepperonis, s&p and garlic. You can always add other pizza things but these are my go-to.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the insides. I cut the insides a bit so that I scoop square-ish pieces out. You don’t have to get all the middle out, just make a little divot like a boat. Put the insides in a fry pan and add some olive oil with a bit of s&p and garlic. Cook on medium. While that’s cooking, put your boats on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with s&p and garlic, and put them in the oven while it’s heating up. You’re just cooking these a little so they are beginning to get soft. Stir your pan full of zucchini pieces until they start to get soft. Add about a cup of sauce and stir. Once everything is heated, remove the boats from the oven. Pour your pan contents into each boat. Top with mini ronis and cheese.

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I also added fresh basil from the garden!!

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Then broil for about 3 minutes just to really crisp up the cheese. ENJOY!!

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Babies!! #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone!! I am so excited about all the babies in my farm right now! So far I only have vegetable babies but we are hoping to have some chicken babies, too!!

My garden is looking rather splendid these days! We’ve had some really warm days and a lot of rain last week so everything is nice and happy. I have zucchini, yellow squash, a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, a “Mexican” pepper that I am hoping isn’t just a fancy name for a jalepeno because I have 4 of those already, cucumbers, artichokes, cabbage, red potatoes, basil, and some lettuce. The coolest part is that I started all of these from seeds! I did all the work. I didn’t buy any of the vegetables in the garden. And look!! Baby squashes already!!! This makes me so happy!!

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I did buy some flowers for the garden. I love marigolds and I have seeds but they take a while to sprout and I wanted the instant gratification. I have some on the outside of my garden as well as throughout the inside, just to add some flare. And I think marigolds will deter some bugs but promote the good ones, like bees!

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I have another cinder block planter on the left side. And a new banana plant. A guy at the local farmers marker was selling those for only $5 a couple weeks ago. How could we pass that up? We also bought a taro plant and 2 elephant ears from him for a whopping $1 each. Did you know they produce a potato-like veggie you can eat? They aren’t just pretty decoration. We’re happy to try something new.

The other babies on the farm could be chicks! We have a broody hen. Broody basically means she wants to lay on eggs and hatch them. Broodiness has been bred out of chickens but sometimes the urge strikes, kinda like baby fever I guess. You can put them in a secluded area without hay or eggs for a while and try to break them out of the habit, but we figured why not see what happens? The worst that can happen is that none of the eggs she’s on are fertilized and then we just try again with other ones. (Yes, we have a rooster, in case you are wondering how the eggs would have been fetilized).

We noticed our girl was not leaving the nesting box. I’m just going to call her THE French girl because Lagertha and Frenchie look identical and I am not sure which one is broody. She would get super pissed when we came to collect eggs and make herself huge and yell at us and peck us whenever we got near her. At first we kept taking the eggs out from underneath her because we weren’t sure we wanted to try to have her hatch any. But after about a week of taking the eggs she wasn’t going to give up. So last night after she went into her coma-like sleepy state, my daughter and I moved her and her eggs to a cozy box in the garage.

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When I first put her in the box the eggs were on the opposite side of where she is, and the darn automatic light was on in the garage, so she decided to eat rather than lay on the eggs. When she was done she was laying where she is now and I went out and put the eggs underneath her. She’s still there now so this is a step in the right direction.

A funny side story, like I said before about not knowing which girl is which, I think I tried earlier in the week to put the other French girl in the hatching box. I brought her and different eggs into the box but she refused to stay in the box. I left her and went to my yoga class and when I came back I couldn’t find her. I was like, “She abandoned the eggs? And disappeared!? What’s happening?” I finally looked UP a bit.

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She found a nice roosting spot on our tool shelf. HAHAHAHA!!! So I put her back with everyone else, and when I did, I looked in the nesting box and found the other French girl (the current broody one). OMG! I told my husband I have to mark them somehow. Maybe a ziptie around their feet.

Anyhoo, so far we’re on day 2 of laying on these eggs. I will have to continue to Google how to candle the eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized. I am no expert at any of this so this is going to be a really fun adventure. Updates as they happen so stay tuned!!

Ranch De La Chrissy #FarmlifeFriday

It’s about dang time for a new #FarmlifeFriday post. Sheesh! Life starts to catch up and I forget that I want to blog. But I am not complaining. I cannot complain about life.

The chicken coop is DONE!!! I think the last time I blogged about the coop we were just finishing up the building. Now it’s painted and decorated!! I found a warm, not rainy, day in March and painted the entire coop. I decided to do it barn-like, but since we don’t have edges, I made my own. I taped off all the edges, painted the entire thing red, then hand-painted all the white.

Isn’t it adorable? Just like this it’s pretty awesome but I wanted to add some Chrissy flare to it so I added some art. The original coop had a sign that said, “CHICK-INN.” I wanted to keep that but update it. So I added the white around the original red paint, and then made a new sign to go with it. And every Bed and Breakfast needs a tagline. 😉 Also, the B&B sign was made with a piece of wood that had fallen off the “creepy house” next door. #Recycling!!!

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I went on Amazon and bought some cheap tin signs. Then I had this brilliant idea to paint a rooster on an old cookie sheet. I mod podged over the roo so hopefully he will stay nice for a while.

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If I see any other cool signs I might add a couple more, but as of now, it’s doneskies!!

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After I painted one rooster on a cookie sheet, I found a stack of really old and nasty cookie sheets at a thrift store to paint more. I painted one for my friend Heather a couple weeks ago. It’s her bantam rooster name Squiggy.

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Chickens are all doing great. Did I blog about Ragnar passing away? I am not sure if I did. It was an unfortunate accident. He was left out over night and was killed by an owl. It was a terrible loss. #Farmlife 😦 So besides that, all the other chickens are doing great. Everyone is still laying and we’re selling eggs like crazy!!

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My next ranch project was expanding our garden. Operation “Not Buying Produce” has begun. I have been growing seeds in my bedroom since February and just yesterday put 90% of them outside. We started with a garden that was probably 10x20ish. I doubled it. I tilled the grass, added a bedload of compost, then re-tilled everything to get ready to plant.

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I currently have tomatoes (various kinds), cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, artichokes, cilantro, basil, and peas growing nicely. I also planted a few seeds directly into the ground and those are, lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli. Still in my room are all my peppers, bells, jalepenos, and another mexican pepper (not exactly sure what that one is) but those aren’t quite ready to be put outside yet. We are well on our way to self-sustained living!! Or at least on our way to make less trips to buy produce and eat right out of the garden.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Spa Day!! #FarmlifeFriday

Judging by the title you were probably thinking I was going to post all about a super wonderful spa day that I had to combat my back injury, but nooooo!!! This spa day was for one our girls, one of the chicken girls.

I noticed Hei Hei was getting a little overly poopy on her hindquarters so we gave her a bath.

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Chickens really do enjoy a bath. She didn’t fuss at all and didn’t even make any noises.

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I even used the blow dryer while she stood there and enjoyed it.

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She was having a marvelous time until it was time to be picked up and taken outside.

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She flapped violently while simultaneously pooping…allllllll over the bathroom and my husband. So not only was last Sunday a chicken spa day, it was a clean the entire bathroom day.

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This all goes in the “Things I didn’t know before I became a farmer” handbook. 🙂

Ducks and Carrots #FarmlifeFriday

Just a quick post for Farmlife Friday!!

We are officially duckless. The lady who took our 2 ducks about a month ago came back and got the other 2. She sent us photos of the reunion!

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They are all so happy to be back together and in a huge pond. The lady told us that our female assumed her position as head honcho immediately. We were sad to watch them go but happy that they could go to a great new home. She assured us that they won’t be eaten and they will live with her until their deaths.

After all the snow melted it started to rain and we have had only a couple days when the sun comes out. Of course my first thing on the agenda was clean out of the chicken coop. It was nice to go out there and not play slip-n-slide in all the mud. While I was outside on coop duty, I decided to go in the garden and rip out my lettuce plants. I remembered that we had carrots growing so I started to uproot one, then found another, then another, then a bunch!

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Some weren’t ready but others were pretty good size. It was neat to have a crop that was kind of a “set it and forget it” type.

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Digging those up reminded me that I need to go through all our seeds and figure out what we’re planting this year and get those baby sprouts started.

Chickens are still happy and laying like crazy. My husband is on a trip so the eggs aren’t getting eaten as fast as usual so I’m stocking up. I gave away another dozen this week.

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Happy Friday!!!

New Year New Coop! #FarmlifeFriday

My last post started by saying I couldn’t believe I haven’t posted and this is where it’s true! We got 3 new hens before Christmas and I haven’t told you guys yet! That is weird!!!

Let me introduce you to our new girls…HeiHei (formally Robin but we changed it because we wanted one named after the chicken in Moana), Peach, and Rocky. They are such fantastic girls. They were hand-raised so they don’t mind being held and they are just all around great chickens. Rocky is the best. She is soooo curious and she has the cutest little coo! They were welcomed into our flock with open wings and are doing awesome!

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Here’s the big addition to the backyard…an improved coop!!

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My husband was working half days during the winter break so every day when he got home we’d head outside to work on the new coop. We kept the original bottom but took off the old enclosed top. They have a ton of space plus nesting boxes. We still need to paint it and add some plastic stuff to the roof. That will come soon! We need some warm days and no rain first.

Daisy didn’t take long to test out the new roosting spots and open space on top.20161229_143222

Hargid was the first one to figure out the ladder up into the top. That’s my girl. 😉20161229_142254

Even though it’s cold, the girls are still laying pretty consistently. Here’s a pic of about 3 days of eggs. We ended up giving away a half dozen to the one of the gate guards on base. My husband sees him every single day and the guard had an interest in fresh eggs. Ask and ye shall receive.

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After the addition of the new chickens we started to really think about the ducks. We originally wanted the ducks for eggs, but you’ve read our “misfortune” with that venture; we only have 1 girl out of 4 ducks. So we made the decision to re-home 2 of the males. My husband posted on a chicken Facebook page that we were giving away 2 free male ducks. We had 2 bites. One was from a guy who said he wanted them but didn’t say too much else. We immediately figured he wanted them for dinner. We didn’t say no, but we had a fall back in case he didn’t show up. Well, he didn’t show up. A lady came and got them and we are so happy she did. She has a huge pond on her property and had only one duck, Fwank (yes, Fwank). She has a ton of kids in her neighborhood that love him and she wanted him to have friends. She let ours out in the pond and then she sent us photos of Fwank with Hank and Spank, their new names.

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She says they only leave the pond to eat. That makes us so happy to know they went to a great home.

Flash forward a couple days…I started to notice that they remaining 2 ducks don’t seem happy. We took away their family. So we contacted the lady to ask if she’d like the remaining boy and girl. She said yes! She’ll come back over Sunday to pick them up and they can all be reunited. We will miss them but she is giving them a better home. They have a kiddie pool here and a pond there. And now she can have the duck poop mess and constant wet dirt. I won’t miss that.

It snowed about a foot last weekend so this week has just been the birds coming out on a little spot to hang out. We’ve been giving them extra food and even some warm oatmeal. They love it!

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Yesterday,  HeiHei laid what we’ve heard is called a “fart egg.” Basically an egg that wasn’t done cookin’ but was laid anyway. I added it to my husband’s omelet this morning. It was so cute!

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Happy Friday!! 🐔

Merry Chicken Christmas #FarmlifeFriday

Merry Christmas, everyone!! It’s already been a really fantastic holiday season at our house.  We bought our first REAL tree this year and I’ve kept it alive! We bought ourselves a new couch! And Miss Hagrid laid her first egg yesterday!

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Isn’t that beautiful?! I didn’t know that her eggs would be speckled! And it’s a nice size for her first. We’re so proud! Below is a Daisy egg comparison.

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We’re still waiting for our lady duck to lay an egg. It could be soon because we saw a male duck mounting her a couple days ago.  At this point we just have 4 pet ducks, which is okay, but they stink and are gross and don’t interact with us at all. So they’re kinda lame. Cute but lame.

We’re headed out to buy some wood today to revamp the coop a bit. Stay tuned for that excitement.  Until then,  please enjoy Santa Hagrid! And have a wonderful holiday!

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Farm to Table #FarmlifeFriday

I’ve never grown lettuce. I even had to reach out of some of my Instagram friends asking them to harvest it. In case you don’t know, you clip what you want and leave the rest of the plant to continue growing. Last night I grabbed the scissors and clipped away. I made two huge salads for the hub and I. And so yummy! Fresh, crisp lettuce (or lettuce variety) is pretty darn delicious.

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While I was making a lettuce bouquet, I decided to check on the status of our carrots. This is another crop I am not sure about harvesting. The one I ate was peeking out from the top of the soil so I assumed it was ready. But it was kind of short so I bet I can wait a bit longer. I washed this guy off with the hose and chomped away. Again, pretty darn tasty!!

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Egg production has increased the last couple weeks. Daisy is a laying machine and one or both of the French girls are laying now. The French girls are Faverolles and they only lay about 260 eggs per year. Yesterday we had two eggs and have been getting one almost every day. So we are thinking both are laying. We went from one egg a day to sometimes three!! Woo!!!

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And the yolks from the girls are so big! Daisy has laid two double yolkers so far. And the Frenchies’ eggs are smaller in size, but the yolks are pretty big. This last weekend I was cooking eggs for everyone and I had to use a couple store-bought. I took a photo of all of them together to show the difference. What I’ve found is that the size you buy at the store does not necessarily mean the egg content is that size. A large egg on the outside may be more white and less yolk. Frenchies “small” eggs are closer to a large store-bought egg.

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The bottom two eggs are store-bought. They are the Simple Truth brand from Kroger; organic, humane farm, large, brown eggs. They are lighter in color (which I think means less rich) and smaller than the farm fresh. Top right is Daisy, large, brown egg. Top left is one of the French girls, smaller, beige egg. Look at the yolk difference.

Now if only the damn girl duck would get with the program, we could stop buying store-bought all together.

Oh yeah, I totally forgot to share these!! My new socks from the husband!! #crazychickenlady

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