The Great Eggscape Too - Hatching Duck Eggs

Welcome to The Great Eggscape Too. I just put six Saxony duck eggs in our Brinsea Mini Advance incubator and in 28 days hopefully we will be able to watch six ducklings hatch from those eggs!

I hope you will follow along as we add to this post all through the incubation period.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Fresh eggs don't need much fussing with since they are bursting with freshness and flavor anyway, so I often find myself just lightly whisking a few with a bit of heavy cream, salt and pepper, then turning them into a sizzling skillet coated with a bit of olive oil and cooking them slowly until they are just set.  A sprinkle of fresh cut herbs - in this case some fresh dill - and there you have it...

Perfect scrambled eggs.

Remember these tips:
Scramble SLOOOOWLY over low heat
Stir or whisk the whole time - the curds will be smaller and creamier.
Move cooked eggs from the outside edges toward the inside as you whisk.
Cook only until barely set.  Just until not runny.  The eggs will continue to cook a bit after you serve them up.

Top Ten Edible Flowers Your Chickens Will Love

Anyone who free ranges their flock even some of the time knows that chickens will eat pretty much anything you have planted, so why not choose some nutritious flowers that they will enjoy when you're planning your garden in the spring ?

All About Duck Eggs

We raise Pekin and Saxony ducks on our farm here in Virginia, right alongside our chickens.  We have four Pekin ducks, Penelope, Sasha, Sonia and Brigid and one drake, Gregory, and collect between 3 and 4 eggs every day, right through the winter. In fact, the ducks out laid our chickens this past winter !

Light Sussex - Pink Egg Layers

This spring I decided to forego ordering chicks from one of the large hatcheries, which has been my M.O. the last couple of years, and instead try hatching some chicks myself. 

DIY Chicken Salad Bar

I had been planning to build a covered 'salad bar' in the run for my chickens for awhile.  I wanted somewhere that I could safely grow grasses and other seeds for them to munch on when greens are scarce, but would allow the seeds to sprout and grow without being bothered by the hens' incessant scratching. Enter the Chicken Salad Bar!

Speaking Duck

Like any good chicken or duck 'mother', I pride myself in thinking I understand for the most part what our chickens and ducks are trying to tell me by the different clucks, growls, shrieks and quacks they use.  If you spend enough time around them, you will come to recognize a low throaty cluck of a broody hen, the sort of growling sound when they spy a hawk, the high-pitched chirp-chirp of a lost chick, and the Morse code-like chatter of the ducks when they're excited.

While I would never claim to be able to communicate with them on every level, their body language also helps convey their message and between the sounds they make and their expression, we seem to be able to get our messages across to each other at least most of the time.

So when Gregory, our Pekin drake, came over this morning while I was filling the ducks' pool and started chattering away, I assumed he was just excited about having a clean pool, so we 'chatted' about it for awhile with him getting more and more worked up by the minute....well, imagine my surprise when I glanced over my shoulder to see the run gate had swung partway open and all the chickens were escaping ! 

As I ran to get them back into the run, I swear Gregory waddled away, completely disgusted by my failure to communicate with him.  And yet again, I was humbled and reminded how much I still have to learn about our backyard flock.

Cupcakes with Edible Rose Mint Garnish

I am all for cooking and baking from scratch.  The finished product is always better tasting, more satisfying and more healthy than using a box or package. But sometimes I just don't have the time, or the energy, or the ingredients to start from scratch (ever wonder where that saying came from BTW? starting from scratch....hmmm) so I cheat a little bit.  This time I used a boxed cake mix and prepared frosting to bake the cupcakes.  It's okay to cheat sometimes...besides this time it's ALL in the presentation !

Framed Egg Shadowbox for Mother's Day

This Mother's Day why not use some blown eggs and an old frame to make a pretty 3-D shadowbox ?    This is an easy craft project for kids that highlights some of your pretty eggs and flowers from the garden- two of ANY Mom's favorite things !

Materials Needed:

Three raw eggs
An old frame
Piece of cardboard
Mulberry Paper
Assorted flowers and leaves
Stick on stencil letters
Glue gun/sticks
Modge Podge

How to Blow the Eggs Out:
Here are the instructions on how to blow eggs using the Blas-Fix kit (link to purchase one from amazon below) which is what I use. If you blow out alot of eggs, it pays for itself.  But you can also use a thumbtack, paperclip and plastic coffee stirrer/straw to blow the eggs out.

  For this project, I made BOTH holes on the back of the egg so they wouldn't show when they are attached.  Then I set them on paper towels to dry completely.

How to Dry the Flowers:
If you have the time, press flowers and leaves in between parchment paper sandwiched in between the pages of a heavy book.  I used violets, violet leaves and what I think are wild sweet peas.  I laid them out in a single layer and then carefully closed the book.

Then I stacked  a few books on top and let the flowers dry for about a week. 

If you don't have time to let the flowers dry naturally, you can also dry them in the microwave.  Just  place the flowers in between the pages and zap for thirty seconds at a time until they are dry. 

How to Make your Frame:
Find an old frame that will fit a 5x7 photograph. Remove the glass and the cardboard insert.  Spray paint the frame with two coats of white spray paint, letting each coat dry completely.

Next cut the cardboard to fit inside the frame and cut a piece of the Mulberry paper 1" larger than the cardboard on all sides.  Tape the Mulberry paper around the cardboard to cover it and insert it into the frame.

Press the letter stencils onto each egg to spell "M-O-M"
Then paint each egg with Modge Podge and let dry.

When the eggs are dry, use the glue gun to attach each egg to the backing where you want it to go. 

And using the glue gun, attach the flowers and leaves around the eggs.

And there you have it ! A pretty springtime 3-d shadowbox for Mother's Day !

Here's the link to purchase the Blas-Fix kit on amazon:

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Cinnamon Pepper Pickled Eggs

~adapted from Pickled Eggs from The Fresh Egg Cookbook~

I admit that I have never made pickled eggs before.  I have seen lots of recipes using beet juice, but honestly the neon pink eggs that emerge from the pickling juice really just didn't appeal to me.  So I have been avoiding blogging about pickling eggs, despite numerous requests for a recipe. That is, until today.

Late Nate and Cornflake - Our Little Welsummers

~Cornflake (left) and Late Nate (right)~

The Welsummer breed is fairly new to the United States, only having been admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1991, so it is ironic that they are what that average person thinks of when they picture the typical 'barnyard chicken'.  Even more ironic is that a Welsummer rooster, Cornelius, is the guy who graces the Kellogg's cornflake box, instead of an American breed like a Buckeye or a Rhode Island Red.  But no matter where they originated or when, there's no denying they are a gorgeous breed of chicken.