Hens and eggs and black grouse
Today we had four eggs from our five hens. I am busily eating poached eggs for breakfast every day but we have now got to the stage where I can't keep up. Tomorrow I shall bake lemon drizzle cake, one for us and one for the weekend's visitors to the cottage, and that will use up a few more.
Here is today's collection: the dark brown one on the right is from our Welsummer hen. The little white one is from our little white Wyandotte bantam.
The paler brown egg at the back is from one of the Frisian bantams. She is a little larger than the Wyandotte but the eggs are way bigger. With Wyandotte eggs you need a couple to even notice they are there.
And the brown egg on the left is from our new hen, the Buff Orpington/Welsummer cross who is intended to be our broody this spring so that we can hatch some more chickens.
She is lovely, a real old farmyard hen, and I am looking forward to seeing her clucking and fussing with chicks in tow.
I always use the dark brown eggs when I am having boiled eggs. There is something about the way they sit in my blue and white striped eggcup which is as comforting as a blanket. I love eggs in any fashion really. Probably my absolute favourite is scrambled eggs made with our own eggs, so strongly yellow as to be almost orange, cooked in a little butter so that they are done but just a little creamy in texture and piled on toasted homemade bread.
They have been burning heather on the hill today. You can just see the plume of smoke rising on the other side of the oaks. It looks like wanton damage but is actually carefully managed to look after the moorland. You can't burn after 31 March. Careful burning of heather is fine and sometimes gorse is burnt too but it is often better to cut gorse than to burn it. Heather regenerates slowly in a way which encourages wildlife; burnt gorse grows even more strongly and can easily take over tracts of land.
Soon, in April and early May, the black grouse will be preparing for mating by "lekking", a sort of dance to impress a potential mate. Like the red kite in other parts of Wales, the black grouse is a conservation success story. Up on the hills above us there are now at least sixteen males where only ten years ago numbers had shrunk to a single male. A friend who lives a couple of miles away along the ridge saw one cheerily strutting about her back garden in the autumn amongst the cabbages.
After another clear and sunny day it is cold again here and we need another log on the fire. I might even knit. That's it: I have written about birds and knitting in the same blog. I am officially past it.