This is a special time of year on the farm. The incubators have been quiet for a few months, the juvenile birds have been peacefully growing up alongside their older counterparts and the pastures are a lush green from our seasonal rain.
It is a moment of anticipation, the whisperings of the first eggs laid, the new colors emerging, the beginning of a hatching cycle and offering our energy out into the world.
Our family is rested, regrouped, strong and eagerly awaiting the day when our brooders will be full of the sound of peeping.
Everyday we pray for ears to listen, to be shown the direction our farm needs to go to be of service. These days we begin to turn our attention outward and we think of you all, we pray for our national and global community. The air we breathe is one, the water we drink, the soil we plant in. We send prayers of peace, protection, inspiration and gratitude for you all. May we all arise to the new year of 2021 together. Stronger, wiser, more compassionate and patient from all 2020 taught us.
Here’s to this years firsts, thank you for being on the journey with us and supporting our work in the world. ❤️
When we first began breeding and selecting for egg color it was speckles and texture that captured my interest. Every breeder throughout history has selected traits in an animals that they thought were unique, valuable and beautiful. We are carrying on they tradition by selecting for what is most pleasing to our eyes and senses. The result is a whole world of interesting speckle patterns through us
A speckle is like a hens unique finger print. A hen that throws speckles on her eggs will do so in a similar pattern every time she lays an egg.
Speckles, just like egg color can be selected and bred for. It is something that we are constantly tinkering with.
Sometimes the speckles have a raised texture which is really fun! I am not a big wine drinker but being in wine country here in Northern California I hear a lot of folks talk about “mouth feel” of wine. Well, I guess I have lots of “egg feel” practice . I could close my eyes and tell you which breed lays what egg based on texture. Smooth, slick, matte, raised, heavy and light bloom powdery-ness.
Do you all notice a difference in the way your ladies eggs feel?
From top to bottom our breeds that laid these eggs are: Heritage welsummer Azure Egger Marans Sage Egger Moss Egger Azure Egger Heritage Welsummer
🌿A Diary Of Color🌿
Every season our rainbow shifts as we work with new generations of our various lines of birds. Speckles change shape, saturation of blues and greens deepen or lighten and sometimes even the size of eggs can shift. 🌿
Currently our largest eggs are laid by our Olive Eggers. Their eggs are so big and round they barely fit in our incubation trays! 🌿
Taking one large photograph like this is a fun project. It captures the current colors we produce. A similar photo taken at the end of the season will look different. Egg colors will change slightly with the seasons and some breeds will slow down production. This is a sweet moment in time to be grateful for. 🌿
We do a lot of heavy lifting on the ecological front. We donate a lot of time and spend a great deal of mental energy on problem solving waste issues that come up. Getting to have a spot of time to make art with natures palate in this way is a deep fulfilling joy. 🌿
There are issues in this world for sure, some days it can feel overwhelming. Having chickens to care for takes us out of our heads and into our hearts. The birds and our food garden bring us back to the earth, back to the connection with the natural world. This connection is so valuable for mental and emotional health. When the world feels like it is in a weird place there is great hope and joy in planting a garden and collecting eggs daily. 🌿
May we all give ourselves permission to create beauty in our lives as we do our work we are called to do!
🌿The Most Patient Chicken🌿
Over the next few weeks here I am going to be highlighting each of the 13 breeds we work with on our farm. There are hundreds of types of chickens out there in the world. Large, small, robust, demure. We believe that there is a chicken breed for everyone just like there is a dog/cat breed for every human personality. 🌿
We have selected the 13 breeds we work with because each one has something unique to offer folks. From large scale homesteads to apartments – we have you covered! 🌿
For this week we are highlighting our silkies. ❤️ There is no chicken breed more patent and docile on the planet than a Silkie. They will happily sit in a basket as a child carries them around the yard. They are flightless so they do not escape from their designated area of your yard and they make EXCELLENT mothers, adopting any young chick when they are broody. If you have fertile eggs they will also hatch them for you, they are an off the grid homesteaders dream because they will keep a flock replenished year after year without the use of electricity and incubator if you have a rooster keeping the eggs fertile. 🌿
They are suited to all climates but they would love some extra comforts in a coop during the winter if it snows in your area because they are all down without the covering of smooth feathers that other chickens enjoy. They do well in the rain and enjoy running around on pastures. 🌿
Dutiful layers of smooth 3/4 sized cream eggs, they have won their place on our farm for the sweet personalities they bring. I used to think they were nothing more than a designer chicken but I have been shown that they are far more versatile than most chicken breeds! 🌿
Their amazing head feathers make it challenging for them to see predators from above. To remedy this, we give them a little hairdo (second image below) this way they can see any dangers lurking from above.
🌿The Beauty In-between🌿
In a world obsessed with uniformity and perfection it is the “imperfection” that catches my eye. 🌿
The in-between sizes, the different colors and textures are all opportunities to create something new. For years I wished I could paint, sketch or draw. I longed to create art but did not have the skills within the conventional artistic box. As I age I now see that I cancreate with natures palate through her awe inspiring eggs. It took 30 years, but here we are – creating something beautiful and useful everyday. ❤️ 🌿
If you are one of those folks who feel like they are in-between and not quite on the conventional track, know that we appreciate you. There is great possibility when we can see and live outside of the box. Have faith, keep working toward your dreams because you never know where your heart will lead you! 🌿
These are all quail eggs, #coturnixquail and #alchemistbluequail both varieties are lovely additions to any homestead large or small. We ship chicks and fertile hatching eggs of them nation wide. ❤️ 🌿
🌿Its What’s Inside That Counts🌿
Crack open an egg from the grocery store, what do you see? The color, the texture, the firmness of the yolk is a direct correlation to a hens diet and the health benefits (or lack there of) of the egg. 🌿
Not all eggs are laid equal. How we treat our birds is how well they will produce something that has the full health potential possible. 🌿
I read once that a tomato can contain over 22 vitamins and minerals. It can only do so if the soil it is planted in has those minerals available for the plant to uptake, it cannot create them out of thin air. The same is true for eggs, they can be one of the most nourishing foods on the planet or a simple calorie and protein filler created in a factory warehouse. 🌿
The longer we work with the birds the more we see the incredible gifts and lessons they can teach us. If given proper pasture, sunlight and space to catch insects, the humble hen can create edible gold. Treat our animals, soil, eco systems better and they will support us in not just surviving but thriving. ❤️ 🌿
Take another mental step with me. The eggs you see open here and the yolks there in are setting the stage for healthier chicks and birds in the long run. We all know that eating right in pregnancy is vital to setting our children up for robust lives. The same is true for chickens. The birds we breed and the chicks they create are getting the best start possible. 🌿
Solid genetics and ample nutrition from parents make for more disease resistant hens. We are all about preventative care on our farm. We do not vaccinate, we do not use antibiotics because we do not have to. Healthy food systems, healthy animals can be created if we get back to the basics of caring for our land and animals properly. 🌍
Almost too good to eat. . . . .almost😉.
Want to feed your family the best food possible? Eggs laid by chickens that are truly raised on pasture are the way to go. Not every egg is laid equal. Eggs laid by hens in a warehouse will have the protein you are looking for but will be lacking in many of the other possible nutrients a chicken egg can contain. To build healthy eggs the hens must be given healthy conditions. 🌿
We get to be co creators in the making of nutritious, beautiful and delicious food when we give our chickens room to roam and healthy lives. 🌿
Don’t have space for birds of your own? Find a friend or someone local who has a flock, chances are they have eggs to spare! ❤️
Quail are SO prolific! They lay 5-6 eggs a week without fail and begin to do so at just 8 weeks of age which is lightning fast in the world of poultry. 🌿
Did you know that whatever pattern of bloom a quail hen lays on her eggs is the pattern she creates her whole life? It may not be in the exact same place on the egg from a given day to another but it is always in the same theme. Big dots, gentle speckles or even swirls that look like smoke. 🌿
Nature never ceases to amaze us here on the farm. It inspires us, beckons us to come outside and interact with it, care for it, and conserve it. 🌏 🌿
What’s your quail egg color fancy? Blue or brown speckled? 😊
Every Monday during our hatching season we open our hatchers and sort/count the weeks fluffy chicks. After the chicks have been carefully moved from the hatcher we inspect the eggs that have not hatched to see if any chicks are still making a late entrance into the world.
This chick was quietly sitting in its shell, looking around at the world around it. It was pausing before making its final pushes to get out of the only home it has ever known.
We know they the chicks are quite snug in their eggs but this visual was a stunning reminder of nature’s perfect design. There is not a millimeter of extra space inside a chickens egg. The chicks grow to fill the space and then carefully, oh so carefully peck their way out.
Nature only takes what it needs, and uses its spaces and resources wisely. It is a powerful example for us humans to follow. ❤️
Yesterday the first rain of the year began here in Northern California. We knew it was coming so our littlest farm hand helped me move the birds while we closed off pastures to reseed them.
With each handful of crimson clover, barley, oats and Rye scattered I said a prayers of gratitude. Gratitude for the promise of rain, for the final end to this years long fire season, for a home and farm still standing, for the birds we get to take care of, for clean air – water – food growing in our garden. 🌿
As the last pasture was seeded the rain began to fall in ernest and I looked away from the land up and to the birds. For many of them, this was the first time they have experienced rain. They were all not sure what to make of the moment. The roosters who usually signal the alarm when something is new in the barnyard all stood quietly, looking up and opening their wings. All was quiet as the sky kissed the earth.
There is so much to be thankful for in this life. Even when we are given challenging moments or circumstances there are ALWAYS silver linings to look for. Focusing on the incredible gifts we have been given puts our hearts and minds in the right place. If we have clean air, water, shelter and food we have it all! 🌿