Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chickens and Farm Fresh Eggs

Hello Gorgeous!

Super excited about finally getting some straight from the farm fresh eggs around here.  We don't have chickens but we have connections (my in-laws know some chicken people).  My MIL brought us some lovely brown eggs that we have been enjoying all week.  Soccer Boy lamented yesterday that now he is ruined because scrambled eggs taste so much better with fresh eggs that he'll never be able to go back to the old ones.  Their bright yellow yolks make me so happy, and I don't even personally eat eggs.

Our family got to attend a "chicken seminar" a couple weeks ago held at the local Rural King.  The kids were all over that...
Game Boy holding a hen

They had baby bunnies too

Princess with a bunny

Checking out the ducklings

They learned the proper way to hold a chicken and a trick to calming a chicken down quickly (you have to tuck their head under their wing and gently swing them).  Other fascinating items:

  • Both chickens and ducks lay unfertilized eggs.
  • Duck eggs are slightly bigger and have more cholesterol.
  • The color of the egg depends on the color of the chicken's earlobes
  • You can test the freshness of an egg by putting it in a bowl of cold water, fresher eggs sink and lay on their side, old eggs will float.
  • Fresh laid eggs have a natural anti-bacterial coating on them.
  • Wash the eggs with soap and cool water (hot water can permeate the shell).
  • Once you've washed the eggs you should refrigerate them because you have removed the natural anti-bacterial coating.
  • The average egg purchased at the grocery store is about two months old.
  • Grocery store eggs are laid by white leghorn (pronounced leggern) chickens.

They also taught us how to read an egg carton to estimate the age of the eggs inside.  You don't go by the "use by" date, you look at the Julian dating printed on the carton.  There should be a three digit number listed on the carton.  Sometimes they run the numbers all together, so you look at the last three digits.  This is the packaging date.  Eggs are usually packaged within six weeks of being laid.  So add six weeks to that date to get the oldest date the egg should be.

FYI, the Julian dating system gives a number to each date of the year as follows:

001 = Jan 1
002 = Jan 2, etc...

So on the picture above, the number 065 translates to our calendar date March 6.  So these eggs were graded and packed on March 6 and given a "sell by" date of April 4 (30 days after the packed date).  If they were packed within six weeks of laying that would mean the eggs inside this carton might have been collected around the end of January, at the earliest.  We purchased these last week, a little over a week after they were packed.  They might be a little short of two months old, but ultimately there is no way of knowing exactly how old the eggs inside are.  We did do the water test last week and discovered they do not lay completely flat on their side, they are moving towards standing on end at the bottom of the bowl.  Now that we have our farm fresh eggs we will probably turn these eggs into Easter eggs with our dye kits.

There you go, a little introduction to chickens and eggs.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seven Quick Takes - March!!

Thanks to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum for hosting...

1.  Ah, March!  I told myself I was going to be more committed to blogging on a more or less regular basis.  I seem to have forgotten the small detail that March is birthday month at our house.  Add to that we have made lots of friends who also have birthdays this month.  So we have been hopping from party to party to party with still more parties left to go!!  We went to our favorite local indoor pool/water park to celebrate Princess' 7th birthday this year and took an underwater camera (leftover from vacation).  Prints still not back yet so I'll have to do a separate post for those.  In the meantime here are some of the other pictures from our celebrations:
Happy 7th!!

Her friends came for a "princess party"

Excitement about new TMNT crocks!

Our newest 4 year old
2.  The weather around here has been moving from one extreme to the other.  When we went to the pool on Princess' birthday there was 4 feet of snow on the ground.  The very next weekend it all melted in the 70 degree warm up.  Today is a rainy 50 degrees outside, which is causing my sinuses to go crazy.  I woke up to another headache this morning and didn't hesitate to down 2 ibuprofen with my coffee to try and hold it off.  Which reminds me of the one thing I hate about Spring and the Midwest...allergy season!

3.  So I have been faithfully avoiding Facebook during this Lenten season and I have to admit that I don't really miss it.  I would like to say that I have spent my off line time in prayer and devotion, cultivating virtue and all that.  But the reality is I've recently become a Suduko expert on my smartphone.  Addicting.  Sadly, Downton Abbey is now off until who knows when.  It seems all my favorite tv shows have taken a hiatus and are playing reruns, although happily Grimm will be showing a new episode this Friday!  We finally get to find out what will happen with Juliette being a hexenbiest and what's up with that cliffhanger?!  Adalind is going to have another baby?!  Would that be Nick's baby??  (I realize I'm way too emotionally vested in this storyline).  I know Juliette isn't that thrilled about being wesen, but I got to say if you get to choose hexenbiest is totally the way to go.

4.  We just received a call this week that someone moved and the preschool has an opening so Toddler Boy (I really need to change his blog name, considering he just turned 4) gets to go to school!  Yes, still a homeschooling family but he's doing speech therapy and would really benefit getting it on the daily.  He'll be going a few hours to the same school Princess attends.  Already dreaming about what I'll get done without Toddler Boy creating craziness in the house.  Reality is it's only about 2 months until school is out, so not much.  We'll just have a bit more quiet time to get the older kids schooling finished before the summer pandemonium hits.

5.  Firstborn gets to start a new class next week too...driver's ed.  It is still hard to believe that Doug and I have a child who is old enough to drive.  Crazy!  It seems like just yesterday I was taking driver's ed class, then I have to be honest and admit it really has been 26 years.  Can a quarter century pass by that quickly?  I'm still in denial about my age.  Doug is not looking forward to him being behind the wheel but he's very responsible so I know he's ready (or at least as ready as anyone really can be at 15).  Maybe your not truly ready to be a driver until you're older and have children of your own so you know what's at stake.  Or you've lived long enough and seen enough car accidents to respect the power behind the wheel.  Those self driving cars are looking better and better everyday...
Look out world!
6.  My girlfriends and I are supposed to go out tomorrow for lunch to celebrate our birthdays.  I mentioned how March is the birthday month, and that includes my birthday too.  My friends' also have birthdays this month.  Last year we went all fancy and took our hubby's out to dinner in St. Louis while the kids spent the night at grandma's.  Or was that the year before?  Starting to lose track.  We also went to the Melting Pot one year.  I value my girlfriends so much, they provide playmates for my kids (see Take 1), share rides to school, and in general help me keep my sanity.  One of my friends is getting ready to deliver twins, very exciting!
Flashback...the Melting Pot
7.  Ugh, I am really not feeling well this morning.  I feel like I'm fighting a sinus infection/cold.  Can homeschool teachers take a sick day?  Especially on a Friday (which is when our Lyceum classes meet).  Today is the last archery class too, and Toddler Boy has a doctor's appointment.  What I really want to do is drink hot tea and stay in a warm bed with the humidifier cranked up full blast.  I need to schedule it, maybe after the doctor's appointment and before archery (wait...that's when I'm supposed to make lunch).  Maybe they can fend for themselves at lunchtime?  The older boys could but the younger ones probably wouldn't fare well with that arrangement.  I'll shoot for making an early lunch after the dr. appointment and grab a nap before archery...

Looking forward to the warmer temperatures coming back this weekend!!  Click over to This Ain't The Lyceum to catch up on more Quick Takes.