Last week was the week I’ve read about: First eggs, when you are so thrilled and disbelieving that you want to bronze these first offerings. I’ve heard in a month or two, eggs will be so routine that I won’t even think of the magic. I doubt that.
Last Monday I was adding straw in the girls’ coop and went to add some to the nesting boxes where, let’s be honest, up to this point their only “gifts” have been a messier sort, and they seem to favor bestowing these gifts in the boxes. And laying there was a perfect little egg. Where did it come from? I wondered. And then I remembered. Ahh, yes. The hundreds of dollars of infrastructure. The month of hauling the crazily growing and intensely squirrely ducks from their basement home to the backyard makeshift run so that they they could get some sun. What is now termed “the poop deck,” which will get a total makeover including fencing and refinishing this month. Yes, all for this egg.
We danced around the yard and took a short photo-essay with our egg. I was sure in our excitement we’d break it.
The next day, I checked the nesting boxes, and there was another egg. Two! Our cup overfloweth. By my calculations, those two eggs were about $300 each.
That night, fighting sinus issues, I did something I’d never done: I herded the ducks into their fenced enclosure, but forgot to actually lock them in their coop. The next morning, their faces reflected a combination of honked off and bewildered. What gave? There was an egg: Lying in the mud, in front of the coop. As Phil said, whoever the prolific duck is, she was essentially saying, “Here’s you $&%^ egg.”
The next day, nothing. The coop and nesting boxes were empty. On my sad walk back to the house, I spotted something under the deck.
What was it?
An egg! A weird, malformed egg that squished under my light touch and looked like a deflating balloon. This one, because it wasn’t closed up, went in the compost.
The next day, Phil found two more soft eggs, which we’ve been telling the kids are “practice eggs,” around the yard. These were sealed, and he made an omelet with these small, soft eggs and another, more perfect one.
Over the next couple days we found a couple more eggs in the coop. Total, six good, strong eggs and three starters in this first exciting week. From what I can tell, one overachiever is laying eggs, and someone else is learning how. What will it be like when all four are laying? It makes my egg-loving heart skip a beat. The sun is still down, so I haven’t gone out to let the girls out, freshen up their water, and (fingers crossed!) see whether there’s another gift for us in the coop this morning.
Yesterday, I took the two younger kids to the zoo. Before we left, though, Phil and I clipped the girls’ wings. Now that we’re seeing some payoff, we’re not taking any risks with our investment flying South for the winter.