I’m happy to report all three ladies are finally laying! I was starting to have my doubts about if they ever were going to get started again. One thing about relying on your own chicken’s eggs for all your eggy needs is that they tend to stop laying during the winter. They stopped in November and the last of the girls, Bea (the cuckoo in the back), just laid her first spring egg yesterday. It seems like December is when I use the most eggs for baking Christmas cookies and of course that is the only time of year that I need to buy them. Come summertime when the kitchen is much to hot to bake, we have three eggs per day coming from our ladies.
Our three year old loves the chickens. He helps out in any way he can, feeding them, collecting eggs, corraling them in at the end of the day…(ahem) chasing them with a lightsaber. Boys will be boys. Here he is holding one of Mabel’s eggs (the buff) with a filaree leaf – his favorite weed to munch on.
While three hens is a perfect amount to keep us in eggs, we miss having extra eggs to give away to friend and family so we hope to add a few chicks to our coop this spring. Do you have chickens? What breeds are your favorite?
We had a good rain storm in December that brought us some much needed water. And then we had this really freak 80 degree weather in January for about a week. So you can only imagine what that has done to the weeds. They are thriving and ready to take over. So while the far northern half of the country is maybe taking a snowy winters break from working in the garden to admire the many seed catalogs that have been arriving, we have been doing all that we can to avoid being covered alive in weeds. Sometimes it seems like there is no rest here!
Many years ago, Scott and I bought a book called Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West. We were inspired to get it after a Labor Day weekend camping trip where we discovered wild huckleberries growing near our campsite. Each morning we had huckleberry pancakes. Ever since we’ve had fun finding new, wild edible plants.
This year we’ve discovered a few more edible weeds in our yard that I’d like to show you.
Chickweed is a scrawny stemmed annual weed. It falls over when it gets to tall and reroots at the leave joints….You an only imagine how quickly this spreads! Anyway, its very pretty and delicate looking with a dainty white five petaled flower at the top. Chickweed is easily distinguished by a single row of teeny-tiny little hairs that grow along the stem. At each leaf joint the row of hairs switch sides.
Chickweed is known as one of the tastiest salad greens in existance! Isn’t that bold thing to say? I’ve tried it and it is, in fact, pretty tasty. The entire plant is edible, stems and all and makes a great addition to salads. Which is fortunate because at this point it looks like we could provide all of Sonoma with a weeks supply.
Filaree is another new discovery. We’ve had it growing in our yard all along, but just now identified it. To be honest, it doesn’t look like something you want to eat. It grows right in the middle of our lawn (along with in the veggie garden). As the stems grow they become really hairy. The kind of hairy that you really don’t want to put in your mouth. But luckily you don’t eat the stems, you eat the tender new leaves. Filaree has small five petaled flowers that are a pinkish-purple color.
If picked young, the leaves have a parsley like flavor to them which add a nice flavor to salads.
If you like to hike and camp, this is a fun book to have. Even though the title says that it is for the West, it says that at least 50 percent of the plants shown in it appear all over the States and 75% appear from in the northern half the states from California to New England. I’d recommend adding Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West to your collection.