First egg fits in a tablespoon

First egg fits in a tablespoon

It’s been an exciting week at the So Many Books Homestead. Monday evening when I got home from work I went out to say hi to the Dashwoods and give them some greens like usual. I step into the run and what should I spy on the ground in the corner? An egg!

Yes indeed a little brown egg. I have no idea who laid it. I only know it was not Marianne as her breed lays green and blue eggs. None of them were taking the least notice of this little egg resting on the sandy ground. As I finished talking with them and was leaving I reached down and scooped it up.

Bookman and I were both so surprised, an egg! Imagine that! I know we have chickens and chickens lay eggs, but they are just shy of five months old and while they are no longer little puffballs, the reality of them laying eggs is so strange. An egg! And then the next evening there was another little brown egg in the same place!

We were suprised again because, I don’t know, we thought the first one might have been an accident or something.

So one of the Dashwoods — not Marianne — is now laying regularly. The laying cycle is about 26 hours long. We have gotten six eggs including one today that is bigger than the other ones. Whoever is laying does not like the nesting boxes for some reason. With the help of Google we learned that we have to show them where to lay the eggs and to leave a couple eggs in the nesting boxes. So we put an egg in each box. The mystery layer stopped laying eggs in the run and started laying them in a corner of the coop instead. Same place each time. Progress?

Dash woods exploring the main garden

Dashwoods exploring the main garden

Today we tried to make the nesting boxes more inviting by raising the roof over the nests a little bit and putting a divider between the nests for some privacy. Come tomorrow we shall see if this has made any difference.

We hard boiled all but two eggs we left in the nests and mashed them up shells and all and fed them to the Dashwoods. This is not cannibalism in any way because we don’t have a rooster so none of the eggs can ever be fertile. We have not boiled an egg in over twenty years and quite forgot how. We had to look up on the internet how long they were supposed to cook! And oh, do mashed eggs stink! At least to our vegan noses. The Dashwoods, however, enjoyed the treat immensely.

In the garden today we put up some low wire fencing along one perimeter. Our yard is bordered on one side by a chain link fence that belongs to the neighbor. Along the back is a 3-foot high retaining wall that drops down into the chicken garden. We have some trellis fencing and a gate that we put up when we had a garage. On the other edge is also a 3-foot high retaining wall that drops down into our neighbor’s yard. Here is where we put up the low fence so the chickens won’t leap down into the neighbor’s yard.

Monarch on giant hyssop

Monarch on giant hyssop

Bookman had gotten some tools from the shed in the chicken garden and didn’t latch the gate into the main garden behind him. We had let the Dashwoods out of the run earlier in the morning and it did not take them long to discover the gate was open. At one point Bookman and I looked up from our fence building to see all four of them gleefully scraching in the woodchips and chowing down on grass. We left them to wander around and explore. However, as the day progressed and it got warmer they all went back to the shade and water under the coop.

Quite the adventure for the Dashwoods today! They all keep together as they explore. I was watching them for a little while and Margaret strolled down the path and it curved just enough so that she couldn’t see the others any longer. When she realized she was out of visual range she panicked, turned around and ran back the way she had so casually walked. It was pretty funny, for me at least.

Now they have gotten the tast of the big garden, they probably won’t much like being confined to their smaller one when we let them out of the run. But that’s ok. It is the end of the growing season and we have no lettuces or anything that is small or especially leafy that they can destroy. Doesn’t mean they won’t find something else, but it’s a big garden and they didn’t even come within range of the beans today so we’ll take out chances and see what happens.


Saturday was an on and off rainy day and not keen on having a wet bike ride, Astrid and I stayed indoors on the trainer. We went long like we would have done if we were outdoors, 101 miles/162 km long. I am pleased that it took only 5 hours and 35 minutes. This is good because it puts me in a strong place for training for the 200 mile/322 km race next summer. The Jesse James fun ride is in two weeks and I will be riding the 100 mile route. We’ll see how well I can do on the pavement.