I realize that with the virtual ink I've been giving our four-legged farm friends, I haven't written much about our hens. And that's a shame, because they're the only ones paying their way around here.
When we brought home our ladies in the fall, we expected they'd lay eggs until the weather turned cold and the days became shortened by an ever-growing darkness. Then production would taper off.
Well, we've experienced minus 25 degree Celsius weather and the darkest day of the year is behind us and our 10 girls are still producing between seven and nine eggs each day.
Don't get me wrong -- we love these eggs. We've been frying, scrambling, boiling, poaching and baking with them. We love their rich-tasting yolks and delicate whites. Quite simply, I can't ever see us going back to store-bought eggs again. But regardless of how many we consume, we just can't keep up with production.
I've put an online ad on Kijiji for farm fresh brown eggs for $3.00 a dozen ($3.50 delivered) but so far, no takers. I plan on selling eggs (and other items) at the farmer's market next spring, but in the meantime, I've got a fridge filled with eggs.
Here's what 62 eggs looks like.
Now double that. That's what I've got in my fridge right now.
While I'd joked about giving eggs as Christmas gifts, I decided that might not be such a bad idea.
So I got out some canning jars and my stainless steel pot and I got busy pickling eggs.
I took hard-boiled eggs....
plus sliced red onions, red peppers, green peppers and yellow peppers.....
and put them in canning jars filled with brine made with vinegar, salt, sugar and infused with cloves.
These are simple gifts but they're pretty, especially when I get around to tying the red rafia bows around the lids.
But I'm not giving these just to be practical or to help clean out my fridge. These eggs also represent our first step on our path towards a more sustainable life and that's something we'd like to share with the people we love.
In our student days, Lucas and I gave more homemade gifts than store-bought ones, mainly because we didn't have a lot of extra money. I always felt a bit badly, thinking that recipients of our gifts would think us cheap. As we got better jobs, we tried to give "better" presents and each December, we found ourselves stressed out by the whole Christmas shopping experience.
We did buy some gifts this year but we're moving back to homemade items, this time intentionally. In a world filled with consumerism and disposable must-have gadgets, I hope our gift recipients, the grown-ups at least, will understand that we're not giving homemade gifts just out of economy but also out of ecology.