Monday, October 11, 2010

Hide & Seek

Grace feeding the chickens bread crumbs. Lady is trying to get in on the action, too.

Martha is broody. She is convinced that she needs to sit in the egg box, even when there are no eggs under her. It doesn't surprise me that Martha is the first to do this. She is the biggest, the head chicken, the first to lay an egg. What does surprise me, however, is that she is broody now. My chicken books say that broodiness comes on with the lengthening days. We are definitely in "shortening" mode. Guess you can't always expect a book to have all the answers.

In the meantime, I push my hand under Martha a couple times a day, looking for the egg that may or may not be there. Whether one is there or not, she cackles at me, fluffs up her feathers, and refuses to budge.

Since all the chickens refuse to use the other egg box, and because Martha is hogging the other one, the other girls have gotten very creative in where they deposit their eggs. Gabby lays hers in a window well, nestled on top of some dry leaves and under the protective branches of a cotoneaster. Nancy lays under the broken red rake on the other side of the house. The rake leans up against the house and she has made a nice little bed with more dried leaves.

Ida and Michelle are wild cards. I'm not sure where they lay. I am still only getting about 3 eggs a day. Maybe some of them are on the every-other-day plan. Today, however, as I was hanging out sheets (it truly is a sunny day--cool, but no rain threatening) I heard a big ruckus on the other side of the shed. The "I laid an egg and I'm pretty proud of myself" crowing ruckus. I found a new spot, wedged between some cement bricks, the end of the hedge, and the neighbor's garage. Two dirty, little eggs. And since I can't tell the difference between Ida and Michelle (I need Grace to do this for me) I'm not sure which one did it. One from yesterday, I presume, the other nice and warm from this morning.

And so I see the days spread out before me, a mindful, quiet search every day for my little eggs. It's not a bad image.

Until, of course, I start imagining the snow.

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