What’s in a Name?



When we first moved to the farm, sheep were surprisingly hard to come by.

Prices were at record highs and no one had any to spare. Of course, I had my heart set on dorpers, with their crisp back heads and necks, their shedding ability and their stocky bodies, good for the butcher. Unfortunately, at the time they were quite trendy and with that and the general sheep shortage they were almost impossible to buy.

Spring came; a very wet spring after a very wet winter and the grass sprang to life, grass everywhere, up to my knees.

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More eggs!



Leftover Pasta Frittata

double yolk egg

Double-yolker from Flower!

With 33 eggs collected on Wednesday, a new farm record, I thought I might share another egg recipe! Now is peak egg season- as it gets warmer, the girls will start to get babies on the brain and one by one, they will receive their instructions from the mothership, pick a nest box or a bush and go broody. A broody hen stops laying and just hunkers down with anything egg-like tucked underneath her waiting for that egg-like thing to hatch.  Once a day she’ll get up to relieve herself, have a bite to eat and a stretch and then right back to the nest she’ll go. It is a fascinating transition; you can see it in their eyes. When a hen is broody, you look into her pretty little face and there is nobody home. If you reach underneath her, she puffs up her feathers and growls, sometimes pecking your hand (side note: DON’T try this move with a goose- you might end up with a broken nose!)

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Better to Die Than Not Live Free



I am the boss!  When the boss isn't around!

I am the boss! When the boss isn’t around!

 

I have 2 flocks of heritage layers on the farm,

one in the vineyard and one in the main farmyard near the house.  In the farmyard flock I have mostly Australorps, one lovely old Araucana (Evita, who still lays straight through winter), one old light Sussex (Maggie, who spends a lot of time sitting under the lemon tree and it is not clear if she is still laying or not) and a variety of cross breeds.  In this flock, I have had a series of big, strapping Australorp roosters, first Rocky, then Gunther, and now Guntherson.

For the last few years I have gotten fertile eggs from a great breeder in Flaxley, a guy who always gives me super fresh eggs with a great hatch rate and gorgeous birds.  2 years ago, I bought a dozen barnevelder eggs to add something different, and much to my surprise 2 of the chicks hatched with feathered shanks.  Instead of 12 Barnevelders, I got 10 and a bonus 2 Marans.

At hatching, I slipped the babies under a waiting broody hen, who then expertly raised them up until they were fully feathered and integrated into the flock.  But then of course the day arrived when there were too many boys in the house and they needed to be moved out to go to their ultimate fate- into the freezer.

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What to do with all those eggs?



Today's bounty!  Well done, ladies!

Today’s bounty! Well done, ladies!

As the winter solstice passes and the days grow longer, the girls fly into action.

We can’t actually notice a difference in the daylight hours; 6 am is still pretty darn dark in the heart of winter, but the ladies are much more sensitive to the change. And so, after their winter break, they begin to lay again.  So what to do with all those eggs?  Make crêpes, of course!

Sweet crêpe recipe

Feeds about 4 hungry people

ingredients

250 g plain flour

a few drops of good-quality vanilla

3-4 beaten eggs

1/4 tsp salt

375 mL full cream milk

125 mL water

splash of brandy, cognac, rum etc

20 g melted butter (melt the butter in the pan you will cook the crêpes in, after you add the butter to the batter, just give the pan a wipe with a paper towel before you cook your first crêpe)

Whisk flour with the vanilla and eggs, slowly adding the milk and water, mixing very well to get rid of the lumps. Add your alcohol of choice and then the melted butter.

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