It was Friday around 5 o'clock and I was finishing up the evening chores. I opened the door
to the nesting boxes and collected two lovely white eggs, gifts from Lady Mary and Edith.
Egg production has tapered off lately, as the days get shorter and a few of the girls have begun to molt,
so I was delighted to know that I would have a couple for Saturday's breakfast.
I scattered the girls' evening ration of chicken scratch on the ground and they all came running ...
except for Mrs. Hughes. Hmm. I hadn't seen her in the coop, so I took a stroll around the front yard
to find her and let her know her dinner was ready. The stroll turned into an extended hike,
and 15 minutes later, there was still no sign of Mrs. Hughes. Where could she be?
Now desperate, I went back to the barn and looked in the last place I could think of –
Wynonna's abandoned pig palace.
Sure enough, there was Mrs. Hughes in the far corner, and there were two white eggs nearby.
I opened the lid to the pig palace to get a better look.
Was Mrs. Hughes sick or was she just being broody?
Johnny wanted to find out what was going on as much as I did.
A notorious biter, Mrs. Hughes might take off my whole hand if I tried to remove her from the pig palace,
but I really didn't want her hanging out in there, so I picked her up...
...and got quite a surprise.
Me: Don't count your chickens before they hatch, Mrs. Hughes.
You're not keeping any of them!
I collected 26 eggs and boarded up the pig palace.
The girls have three perfectly fine nesting boxes in their coop – they didn't need a secret stash.
Judging by the number of brown eggs I found, which I was certain were Mrs. Hughes',
I guessed that the girls had been pulling the feathers over my eyes for about two and half weeks.
Were these 26 eggs safe to eat? I turned to my favorite chicken whisperer, Danni, for advice.
She pointed me to this test for checking eggs for freshness.
Danni had never tried it but had read about it often enough to believe it had merit.
You place the questionable egg in a bowl of water.
If it stays on its side at the bottom of the bowl, it's fresh and safe to eat.
If it stands upright at the bottom, it's still safe but should be eaten soon or hard boiled.
If it floats, throw it away.
The science behind this test is that since eggshells are porous and absorb air,
the older the egg, the more air it has absorbed and the more it will float.
I was pleasantly surprised by my test results
and even more so by the fact that something on the internet proved to be true.
Since I didn't have any floaters and still want to witness that part of the test,
I stashed one of the eggs in the cupboard and will retest it in a few weeks.
You will remind me, right? A woman who loses track of 26 eggs is not to be trusted.
Meanwhile, I'll be having egg salad sandwiches for lunch every day this week.