Talking Story


We are an egg-cident waiting to happen. I found four eggs this morning on top of a speaker in the family room, cupped in a sweat sock kiped from the shoe pile near the mud room door. On a shelf in the mud room I found another three and almost stepped on one cradled in a tennis shoe.

Winter again.

There’s certain irony in our having a couple dozen chickens and no one in the family liking eggs in anything but baked goods. But when you’ve got horses, lambs, cats, and dogs, chickens are de rigueur.

There are a few non-egg eating advantages; being free range, they eat a lot of bugs along with all the bread and kitchen scraps they can steal from the horses. I order plastic egg cartons by the hundreds from a supply store and we stash the eggs in an extra fridge in the garage. Every so often I load them into my car and donate them to our local food bank, each dozen with a note tucked inside explaining that fresh free range egg yolks are supposed to be a deep, bright orange, that these eggs will last four months refrigerated, and while the shells may be pale blue, spring green, dark brown, or speckled, I promise they won’t poison you. My daughter, chief chicken wrangler, figured if we’re going through the bother of raising chickens, they might as well have interesting eggs.

I have a cute wicker basket, sturdy with a thick handle, strong and big enough to handle three dozen eggs at a time. It’s usually tucked under a kitchen counter. The kids know when they go to feed the horses, they’re supposed to take it and stop by the chicken coop, gather the eggs, and bring them into the house.

Except now it’s winter. We’ve gone from a dozen or more eggs a day to a random three or four or six; some days not even one egg escapes unscathed from the new egg sucking fiend that’s raiding our chicken coop. With school and sports and theater and piano replacing lazy summer days, more often than not, it’s my husband instead of the kids who braves late night and early morning sub-zero temperatures to feed the horses twice a day.

At the haystack he’ll see the chicken coop and remember the eggs. But it’s too far and too cold to run back to the house for a sissy wicker basket, especially for a handful of eggs at best.

The eggs are now an afterthought, our spring-summer-fall system broken, and I find eggs in random places like coat pockets and car hoods when his best intention of doing something more than sticking them somewhere just for a minute gets derailed.

All winter long we are an egg-cident waiting to happen. Too bad nobody likes scrambled eggs.

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