Thursday, March 10, 2011

Green Eggs - Where's the Ham?

My kind and thoughtful neighbor, Alice, brought me some "yard eggs."
I love fresh eggs and those in the super market are days old when we buy them. These fresh eggs came from interesting chickens, I'm sure, because the eggs are green on the outside. Of course, inside, as you can see, the yolk is very yellow and the whites don't run all over the pan. That is the sign of a fresh yard egg.

For my city friends, we call these yard eggs because the chickens are not penned up, but feed on grass and bugs, not some chemically mixed feed with unknown particles of animals and grain.

If I had enough room and enough energy to care for them, I'd love to have a few laying hens. I remember how my mother fed her big Bardrock and White Leghorn chickens. Although they ran lose and were able to forage on natural food, she would sometimes throw out leftover bread. The feathered group would run to her like they were starving, but of course they were not.

My favorite chickens were the little ones. I love the photo on Brenda Kay Ledford's blog today. A close up of golden bitties or is it biddies? Sometimes in early spring when it was a bit too cold,  a little pen full of baby chicks warmed near the heater. We enjoyed chickens and were thankful for them as we ate eggs every day.

How differently I came to feel about them years later. Like many farmers trying to hold on to their land, my family built chicken houses - huge long buildings with small cages that held four chickens. They spent their lives crowded  in those cages where they laid eggs every day.  I couldn't bear to go  there. I was assured that was the way it had to be for the farmer and the wholesaler to make any money.

The stench from those chicken houses was another reason I changed my feelings about chickenss. Although the chicken farm was as far from our houses as possible, when the wind blew a certain way, it carried the smell of those miserable chickens with it.

Few of those types of chicken farms still exist in our area here in NC nor in the place I grew up. I am grateful for that.
However, in many places today cows are not pastured anymore, but kept in small feed lots until they get to the right weight, and then they are butchered. Dairy cows are done the same way. The commercials on television want us to believe that our milk comes from cows that roam over nice green fields, the way they did on our farm when I was young. But most of them, today, never see a green field.

Here in our mountains where life is slow and people still cling to the old ways, chickens run out, cows graze on green hills, and little yellow chicks are not just for sale at Easter time.


Susie Swanson said...

You are so right Glenda, I love fresh eggs. We grew up raising chickens to eat and for eggs. My mother loved her chickens and knew where every hen's nest was. At Easter we robbed the hen's nest so we could have some to color. Love this post... Have a great day.. Susie

Nancy Simpson said...

Glenda, I enjoyed reading your post about chickens.
Recently I posted some words and poems by Jeannette Cabanis Brewin related to the chicken - human connecton.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I,m just like you. I love chickens and sure wish we could keep some. I don't think Pepper would like them very much, though. I like this posting very much.
Have a super weekend.

Shen said...

This made me so sad to think about... I hate to think of animals being penned up in such a way. I hope that the cows lot improves as you say the chickens' has.

Now I'm supposed to make dinner and I feel guilty...

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks, Susie, for your comment. I remember coloring those eggs for the big Easter Egg hunt.
Sweet memories of youth.

Glenda Beall said...

Nancy, I enjoyed reading Jeannette's poems. Seems she has a fondness for chickens.

I hope to go over there for a visit one day and I hope to see her chickens.

Glenda said...

Hi Brenda,
Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you liked this post.

yes, Pepper might have too much fun with a bunch of chickens around.

Glenda said...

Hi Shen, thanks for commenting.
I know it is hard not to feel guilty about eating animals when you think about the fact that they have no life anyway.
But I tried being a vegetarian and I just have to have some meat in my diet. I try not to think about it when I'm enjoying my meal. As a diabetic, I need to eat some protein along with my carbs.
I try to eat lots of Salmon and fish. I don't feel quite so guilty as they do get to live pretty good lives before they end up on our plates.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

My friend has chickens that lay green eggs, also. We call her chickens free range, as is the modern term for yard chickens.

I would love to have a couple!