Always Three Eggs in a Nest

Mid-July Farm Report from Ben

Dare I say it’s a quiet time around the farm. The Co-op is done spraying, I don’t have hay to put up, oats is coming but not quite there yet, and I’ve got weeds and brush mowed.

We almost had another hot air balloon landing in the fields. I was out doing my chicken chores and heard it and could see it through the trees and it looked pretty low. Kelly and I headed up there and met the chase vehicle coming down. The balloon was pretty high again at that point and still moving East. The driver said he had considered landing here and I guess they were coming to ask permission. I don’t know if they just didn’t get here in time or what, but the balloon moved on. It was a different balloon company so it wouldn’t have counted in my 3 landings = free ride anyway.

One of our favorite nieces, her husband, and 9 month old baby came to visit from South Carolina. Her mom and dad are still here, and the baby got to see Great Grandma Hain and we had a real nice visit with them.

Four generations here. As luck would have it, our son and his wife were able to come down too, so the cousins had a good visit. The Niece always talks about the wild black raspberries that grow out here and she remembers picking them when she was a kid visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. There was a lot of berries this year and they lasted a long time. Just not quite long enough for their visit. I did get a few fresh berries for her. They sure are good.

I did get the waterways and pastures mowed with the rear mounted brush hog. I was down in one of the pastures cutting brush and clearing that darn buckthorn when one of the big spinny things underneath fell off. Oh. That’s a problem. I just unhooked it and walked away for the moment. The main shaft out of the gear box sheared off. I looked up parts online; $600 for the shaft. Plus, whatever bearings, seals or other bits might be needed… I was rather discouraged. I’ll fix it. Later.

I did get the new and improved loader bucket back from my nephew the welder. I don’t have the loader on the tractor right now; I took it off for mowing, and will leave it off for baling straw, then I’ll put it back on. I should give it a new coat of John Deere Green.

There were a few comments on the driveway in the last blog. From the main highway to our house is 1.3 miles. The first .4 miles though is technically a township road, and the snowplow will come in our road about a 100 yards to turn around in a cell phone tower driveway. It’s easier for them than trying to turn around where our driveway starts. The road forks right there and our lovely neighbors are on the right fork, we’re on the left fork. There’s a hill their driveway that’s given a lot of people trouble over the years. You think our driveway is bad, you should see theirs! Our road is longer, theirs is steeper. Both are beautiful drives, just scary in the winter. We both joke, you can always get home, and if you can get out, you can probably get wherever you’re goingI do have a 7’ blower that mounts on the back of the tractor, so I have to go backwards when blowing. The last few years I’ve been using a rear blade if it’s just a few inches of snow. Quicker, faster, and my neck doesn’t hurt when done. But that also makes a pile of snow on the edge of the road that will drift in sooner. So eventually I have to put the blower on and cut those down again.

It’s interesting when I collect eggs, the chickens seem to like the number 3. Often the nest boxes will have 3 eggs in them. There might be more or less, but more often than not, multiple boxes will have three eggs in them. It’s curious.

After 18 months of very little theater, I’m back in full force. I have two shows to open in three weeks. Afternoons this week is working at the Rochester Civic Theatre for a Rochester Repertory Theatre production of ‘Turn of the Screw’.

Then next week is tech for ‘The Addams Family’ down in Chatfield for Wit’s End Theater. Somewhere in here I’ll be cutting oats and baling straw too.

I talked about the helicopter spraying a couple weeks ago? A helicopter crashed about 20 miles East of here while spraying crops. They think he flew under an electric line and snagged one of the wires. The pilot was killed. A newspaper article says “accidents are not uncommon”. Don’t know if it was the same company or anything. It’s terribly sad.

Hot weather or Cold Weather? How many eggs did you eat today?

77 thoughts on “Always Three Eggs in a Nest”

      1. We used to feed shells back to the chickens for calcium. Our hens would sometimes lay thin shells, which are sort of eerie. Then you could buy ground sea shells to feed chickens. They loved it. Some animal instinct driving that!

        Liked by 5 people

        1. When I first took on the little bit of ground I hoped to get signed over to me, it was covered with snail shells. How I was itching to turn chickens loose on it. First time I cut and cleared all the weeds, they were all shifted and buried in my massive compost heap.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. We are sweltering in hot weather, with no relief until late next week. Husband doesn’t do hot weather well, I think because of his diabetes. I much prefer cold weather, but I can work outside in the heat better than Husband. Gardeners here are amazed how well the cucumbers are doing in the heat. Our tomatoes are pretty happy, too. The canteloupes are going wild, and may actually ripen before the first frost.

    Husband eats lots of eggs, usually three at a time. I eat two at a time, but not often, maybe a couple of times a month. I prefer them poached or scrambled. We have some egg coddlers we haven’t used for a long time. They are china cups with metal screw on lids that you crack an egg into and add herbs or spices or garlic/onions and submerge in boiling water until the eggs are cooked. I may have to try some this weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Our garden is 50/50. Peas never made it, carrots and onions didn’t make it. Green beans are almost ready, kohlrabi is almost ready, potatoes are growing well, pumpkins and cucumbers are coming along.
      Kelly’s tomatoes are short, making fruit, but I’ve never seen them this short before. I haven’t even put cages around them yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Everything in my bales is doing quite well this summer. Herbs spectacular. All the peppers fruiting. Tomatoes turning red, had a few off the vine already. Haven’t harvested carrots but that’s coming up. Pesto has been made but more left to be made with all the basil.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes in bales. I actually get the bales from Ben and then I have a 12 day prep process during which I water and fertilize the bales. Then I plant my plants in the bales and the rest is history. The bales are warm due to the interior beginning to break down so things grow well,m. The plants are off the ground so safe from the dog and no weeding. I’ve been using bails for my veggies for eight or nine years? Who remembers when I started this?? It was after somebody on the trail recommended the book Tomato Land.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Anybody understand why I posted a link to a website about straw bale gardening and it’s disappeared twice. They must have some reason they don’t want to share their link?
          Fenten, you can Google Straw Bale Garden dot com and find a lot of information. I got in the market because somebody asked me for bales in order to do this. I had never heard of it before and that’s how I got in the market.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I used to coddle eggs, too…but wasn’t real pleased with results. But I may try again after reading your comment. I have several china coddle cups, though some have lost their lids.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. I don’t like it really hot. Like many people though, I look forward to it, then complain. Then when it’s gone I’m sorry, and anticipate months of freezing misery. Less so, now I’m in Spain, but we do have cold times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a cold weather person, Kelly is a hot weather person. There’s about a 5 degree overlap where we’re both comfortable. And I’m real sensitive to the humidity.
      I just try to get through it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. i’m concerned about the 100+ temps that may become more common
    90 doesn’t feel hot any more. blood thins in summer like it thickens in january
    i love seasons, san diego is not for me at least not forever.
    if i pick one it’s cold

    eggs
    we buy 60 at a time from wal mart and i cook up in batches
    have a baked egg thing with veggies on the hot spicy side and another on the mild onion and greens persuasion
    i had a slab of bake for breakfast and a 3 egg scramble with onions and feta for lunch
    egg consumption got the week… 15 with 6 more in a tupperware in the fridge before i whip up the next batch

    sorry to hear about the flail mower breakdown
    is there a boneyard for implements like the is for cars
    if not there’s an opportunity
    i would think it would be popular with fix it upper mentalities

    thanks for the post

    Liked by 5 people

    1. There are multiple places that sell used machinery parts. And most every farm has the machinery graveyard out back somewhere. Depends on the price of scrap metal.
      I’ve gotten used parts before for things; just like cars, some parts are not worth buying used, and some are harder to find than others.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. In England we have, or had, tractor breakers, but not really for implements. There’s such a variety, and things often go out of style very rapidly, as new systems are dreamed up.
      Everybody dumps the same machine at the same time, probably. Though of course, Ben’s mower design is less prone to change, I suppose.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Many things about farming would drive me crazy, especially having equipment break down so often. My farmer friend in northern Montana once mentioned having to “split a tractor” in subzero weather. I asked what that was. Splitting a tractor means taking the thing apart so you can fix something deep inside. In bitter cold weather!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes you actually unbolt it in the middle and roll the front end forwards. Bad enough on old tractors with no cab. I wouldn’t like to do it it on a modern one, though there is a possibility it’s been simplified, I wouldn’t know.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. The tractor is made of a few big bits, bolted together from front to back. “Splitting” normally refers to parting the massive engine section away from the clutch /gearbox section. It’s kind of ticklish getting each part exactly jacked up the same amount, so they will part, then be put back again, relatively easily. I’ve helped an experienced mechanic push one back together, which he’d only just split an hour or two before. You have to do that to replace the clutch. Putting it back wasn’t easy. I forget just HOW long it took me to put one back by myself one time. It sounds straightforward.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. But you were talking about actual tractors rather than implements. I don’t recall so many sudden problems with those, like you could get with harvest machinery, for instance.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My newest tractor is from 1998. That doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s still 23 years old and doing really well. I also have a tractor from the ’50’s and one from maybe the ’40’s. They’re small, so not used for much more than pulling wagons, and outside of general oil changes, and minor repairs, they’re doing well.
      The mower is 11 yrs old and considering the trees I mow down with it, shearing off that shaft is halfway to be expected. When repaired, maybe I won’t attempt such big trees…
      Repairs are just part of the game. The mechanics tell you, it doesn’t break when sitting in the shed. Preventive maintenance goes a long way.
      I joke not to fix everything because something else will just break. So I gotta leave one thing broken at all times.

      I know my dad replaced pistons in the older tractors. Things these days are more about the electronics and software updates. I’m not set up to be splitting a tractor. I don’t have the shop or the tools for that. And I just never learned (Haven’t learned yet!) small engine repair.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nothing runs like a Deere, right Ben? And in England they have a good reputation, though I only ever drove two.
        Yes, preventive maintenance. Bob Webber, our postman, had about twenty acres that I’d help him with. He was on his third tenthhand Jones Minor baler by the late seventies, early eighties. They were good machines that sold in large numbers in the fifties. The maintenance routine that I remember consisted of pulling over by the field gate after baling the field, and unhitching it. The last bale or two needed to be pulled out, and all the remains of hay or straw also.Then at least, cover the working parts of the machine. None of those things happened, and the baler would stand there in all the weather until about the same day next year. The hay inside would have heated up, expanded, possibly bending some little bits somewhere, I don’t know. Then it would have rotted, leaving a shocking mess which would have to be removed before even Bob would expect the thing to go. All the shiny bits on the knotters etc would have rusted. Next year’s hay is ready, the sun’s shining, and oh, yes, next job is, hitch up the baler, now where did we leave it? I’m exaggerating (slightly), but my god, Bob thought he was going to just put it in gear and bale hay with it!
        After lots of heartache, we’d finally start getting it settled into actually doing something. But balers really do thrive on sympathy. A definite flaw with the Jones, which I don’t think I’ve seen on any other baler, is that it has a lever to manually trip the knotter mechanism before it’s necessary. So the Bob’s of this world can sit on the back of the baler and think, I’ll just test to see if it’s working. Jones balers don’t like that. They’ve got this lever on them and they don’t like it. You trip that lever, you’ll be sorry. Bob could not see that. The baler would be just getting the hang of things. Just getting into its stride. Got about a quarter of a bale packed in, just go along steady, there’ll soon be enough for a bale, and it’ll wrap the cords round and tie two knots. Then start the next one. Anyone can see it’s calmed down and everything’s working. But not Bob! Quarter of a bale, who wants a quarter of a bale? Nobody, but who cares, let’s pull the lever! The knots don’t tie more loose mess comes out the back of the baler, Bob’s determined it’s going to work, so pulls the lever again. Etc. Actually, this only happened one year. Maybe I left the next year. I don’t remember how we broke Bob’s behaviour problem and baled the field, but I guess we must have.
        I’m just saying, clearing out the baler and covering it up would have prevented me from discovering Bob’s love of pulling unnecessary levers. And I’d have had to write about something else. I’m thinking if I don’t put a name to this, you’ll have an idea who it is.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’ve always thought farmers don’t get nearly as much respect as they deserve. Farming demands that farmers have a huge array of competencies, things like repairing equipment and knowing your own land. Farming is hard work, and it hardly is a way to get rich. I think there have been times and places where farming might not have been so difficult and might have been more financially rewarding. Not now.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. It’s something that’s deep in you Steve, as I’ve no doubt said to you before. You can’t play at it, and you have to love it even when you hate it. I wasn’t born to it, but took to it the instant we moved to the country in 1955. And I’ve regretted leaving it ever since 1992.

          Liked by 4 people

  5. But Ben, when that mower broke, you did what I prefer to do. Walk away. Think about the next move while I salvage the rest of the day. Then come back prepared, in a better frame of mind. Can’t always do that, but if possible, I do.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There’s probably a more specific or technical term ford the part that sheared off your machine, Ben, but “the big spinny things underneath” nicely conveys to a non-farmer what you’re talking about. It’s one of those cases where I wouldn’t have had a clue as to what you were talking about had you used the more precise word.Thanks for not being irritittrating.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Please indulge me. While looking for the above song, I came across this cover of it by an artist I had never heard before. His name is Kendall Morse and he’s a Maine storyteller and folk singer. Here’s his cover:

          Liked by 3 people

      1. In Devon it really refers to the actual chemical process. It’s widely known for instance, that after “making” in the field, it doesn’t finish the whole process of “making” until a few weeks after being baled and stacked.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting how the whole process of creating some form of feed has changed. From loose hay piled in barns or stacks, to small round bales, to small Square bales to larger versions of each plus ensilaged versions in blue steel silos or cement stave silos to bunkers now. (‘Ensilage’ according to Webster: “the preservation of green fodder in a silo or pit” and can mean hay silage or corn silage) has all come down to speed in both harvesting and feeding. Second to that is how it’s being feed and to which animal.
      Today’s bunkers are missing some of the romance of old. And that’s ok on days like this when you can stay in an air conditioned cab.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like eggs, and they are an irregular part of our diet. By irregular I mean, we don’t eat a certain amount of eggs on a regular schedule. We tend to eat them mostly for breakfast, but an occasional egg will show up in a chef’s salad, or on top of a pile of hash. Occasionally there will be a recipe that calls for an egg or two, but it doesn’t happen that often. A dozen eggs typically lasts us a couple of weeks.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Like others, I really enjoy all of the seasons but if I really could only pick one I think I’d have to pick the cold. Yesterday I was the recipient of a big bag of produce from a friend of mine who foolishly signed up for a CSA this summer even though there’s just one of her. I figured I’d better cook this morning or it would go bad. Just finished cleaning up (4 recipes) and when I walked from the kitchen into the living room the temperature dropped at least 15°.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Funny you should ask about eggs….I had three this morning. Beautiful orange yolks and white whites poached with spinach, onions and red peppers…then my addiction: mayonnaise on top. Two of the shells were brown, one green (I have three “Little (Rhode Island) Red Hens, two “Buffie” Orpingtons, one “Heidi” Hybrid, plus a young Buffington-Americana mix and several (some very) old Americanas. One old Americana rooster and a young Buff Orpington guy (Neil). The girls leave one to four eggs in a nest. Their job is also to keep the wood tick population down and clean the horse manure, drink the extra goat milk.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. When I was a kid, we kept Rhode Island Red crossed with Light Sussex. So I’ve always liked them. Later I’d keep a few of them, one time I just had Rhode Islands. I also had Marans and Wellsummers, very good looking breeds that I liked. You cannot beat free range eggs.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. I started with Production Reds and Aracunas. They changed that name to Ameraucanas at some point it seems. Or maybe the hatchery simply corrected themselves. Silver Lace Wyandotte are nice, Black Australorp
      seem to have the best survival instinct around here. Barred Rocks are good. We’ve got a large assortment of varieties.

      Expecting 40 ducklings to ship tomorrow. 10 white crested, 20 mallards, 10 assorted. If you’re curious, that’s $283. Should arrive Tuesday morning at the post office.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. In the bad old days “duck” or “my duck” was a working class form of endearment. It’s probably a North Country expression, and it still clings a bit among the older element I think. But they really do talk funny up there, it comes out something like “me dook.” But that’s not exactly it either, I wouldn’t advise you try it, Ben.

          Liked by 3 people

        1. I spoke with him last night, and they had a big storm during the previous night. Lots of trees down that blocked the way out of the compound. Did they have another one today?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I just got off the phone with Hans, and yes, there was another even bigger storm during the night last night. More trees down blocking the road into the Homestead, and lots more down on the Cloquet Line. He said he had really been worried about his car, fearing that a tree might come crashing down on it. As you may recall, his car is a Toyota Avalon that he bought from his friend, Jon, right before he passed away in 2019. He’d be really upset if something happened to it.Otherwise he’s having a good time.

          Liked by 4 people

        3. I am sure it was Hans’ fault. Or Lou’s fault. This morning I am having a delayed “Alas” from 2 days ago, and I am sure Lou is to blame for anything wrong in my life.

          Actually that is not true. We did a day trip to Iowa yesterday to visit my mother who is failing rapidly now. Lou very kindly went on the trip with me so I could go there and back in a day. The highlight of the day was the cup of vanilla ice cream we brought her. She said she did not want it, then snarfed it down in record time. The dog licked out the cup. Do we plan a Sept 3 birthday party or a memorial is the question?

          I am in the garden taking out my frustrations with life and the difficulty of passing from this world to the next on my dirt.

          Liked by 4 people

        4. Jacque, I’m glad you have the garden and Lou to absorb some of the frustrations.
          I spend Sunday mornings with my mom. She’s lost a lot of self confidence lately.

          Liked by 4 people

        5. Sandy suddenly cannot make simple decisions. “Are you going to shower before or after supper?”
          She gets tied in knots and cannot stay on topic. I am developing ways to make such decisions for her without being bossy. Difficult to see such a strong and independent woman like this. It is difficult for me to think of managing her this way.

          Liked by 7 people

        6. Don’t know where this will show up, but it’s intended as a response to Clyde. So sorry to hear this, Clyde. Have you explored getting some sort of relief, perhaps a few hours a day or every other day, so you can have a little time to recharge? I know that doesn’t fix anything, but perhaps would give you the respite you need to be able to handle it. From my friend Philip’s situation, I know such help is available if you know how to access it. At least it is in Ramsey County. Thinking of you.

          Liked by 6 people

  10. Everyone notice the header photo this time? Those aren’t my actual eggs. I think it’s pretty amazing the photos VS comes up with for the blog
    Posts!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. OT Sunday YouTube recommendation. Actually, I’m not vigorously recommending this video source, Vlogging Through History. But I want to call attention to it for several reasons.

    The basic format has a historian, Chris (no last name) observing a YouTube video with a historical subject (like why did the South actually withdraw from the union). He stops the action now and then to comment on the accuracy or importance of what the video is doing.

    We see two trends here. One that I have mixed feelings about is the “reaction” format. Someone plays a video and reacts to it. Second, there is a lot of interest in history (especially Civil War and WW2 history) but very little in the way of visual support for it. The fuzzy black and white photography of WW2 began looking outdated half a century ago. So now videos are being made using animation, a trick that allows old stories to be viewed without resorting to wretched old images.

    I like Chris. His comments seem balanced and well grounded, and he is a friendly fellow who is helping to keep history alive.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Our harvest update- we grow chard specifically for a pie of greens from The Splendid Table cookbook. Each pie calls for 2.5 lbs of chard leaves. Today we picked enough chard for one pie. I am currently wilting it and will vacuum seal it and freeze it for a pie in the winter.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do you wilt it by blanching it?

      As we speak, I’m preparing a pot of corn chowder with shrimp for Philip. He’s able to eat less and less, and it may not appeal to him at all. We shall see.

      Liked by 4 people

  13. I’ll take cool weather over sweltering any day, especially when the a/c is broken – you can always put more clothes on…

    I love eggs and eat them almost every day – one or two… what’s not to like?? A perfect protein encased in its own little biodegradable case. Give me scrambled, fried, quiche or savory egg bake, egg salad. My favorite desserts are custards and puddings with lots of eggs in them.

    Liked by 4 people

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