eggs

The Egg Tree

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The other day, Cayden came home in a gloomy mood. I tried to cheer him up with offerings of pizza and unfettered TV use. How about the Ipad?

Nothing worked until I opened the fridge and checked the battered carton on the top shelf. “Want to do the egg tree?”

The egg tree. No relation to the cat tree.

I don’t remember when I hatched (groan) this plan. It was probably about 6 months ago. As faithful readers know, our kind neighbors keep us well stocked in eggs. One day I came upon a few cracked ones — which must be discarded — and just before I trashed them, I thought about smashing them.

Tossing them in the trash seemed wasteful. Plus, I wanted to egg something.

I considered an appropriate target. Some place where splattered yolks would be inconsequential. Where the wildlife would clean up the mess.

And along the driveway there’s a small cluster of junk trees. Surrounded by a no man’s land swath of grass. Ideal targets.

That first day I ushered the kids to the trees and invited them to commence throwing. Like soldiers in a firing squad, they lined up and took aim. (The actual egg tree is a particularly skinny and crooked little tree; perhaps they chose it for the added challenge). The kids were thrilled when they struck their target. When they missed, some of the eggs would survive and make it to the next round.

Since the first egging, I’ve taken to saving up the cracked ones until we’ve got a few. Hurling them is a great stress reliever.

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A millisecond before impact

If there’s a more practical use for inedible eggs — a viable method to recycle them — I don’t want to know about it.

Pitching them at a tree is much more fun.

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Molding minds with meat

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When we’re too tired to cook, we only have 1 carryout option that passes muster among everyone:

Pizza.

Fast food chains peddling burgers and fries? No dice.

“Ug, I’m not eating a salmonella-laden burger! I don’t want beef from a cow that’s been standing in a feedlot in its own poop!”

That’s Cayden speaking, not me.

But I’m Oz behind the curtain; I’ve tainted the kids with beef production propaganda.

I didn’t intend to warp them and I never thought that they’d shun a Happy Meal, but it’s happened. They haven’t eaten a McDonald’s burger in months. (Though we still dine at sit-down restaurants that are just as feed-lotty as the rest of them.)

But since we subsist on local milk and farm-fresh eggs, the next logical step was beef. And we live in an Ag community, so purchasing a locally-raised steer (or part of one) wasn’t difficult.

The steer owner (another horse person) provided me with a beef chart to select our preferred cuts, based on the animal’s anatomy. Most of it was obvious. Flank and sirloin? I wanted steak, not ground. But other sections left me mystified. Primal rib? The choices were rib steak, rib eye steak or rib roast. I dunno, what’s the difference? What’s better?

When in doubt, I selected “ground” for the shoulder, elbow and other beef hinterlands. As a result, we are flush with six-ounce sleeves of burger meat.

 

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We skipped the blind taste test, like the one conducted with the milk and eggs. But the taste differences in the meat are similar to those with the milk: the beef is more flavorful than the store-bought variety, but it’s difficult to explain why. Apparently, the steer was raised largely on grass and alfalfa, but finished with grain — a common practice; otherwise the meat is too lean and the flavor too strong.

Even so, prior to cooking, the local meat has a faint gamey odor — by no means unpleasant, just a little reminder that yes, this was once an animal. We’ve tried the steaks and the ground beef and they’re a huge hit, especially among the kids, who spout their anti-feedlot doctrine at every opportunity.

Martin did register one request: “Can you not use the word ‘gamey’? It kind of freaks me out.’

Duly noted…

…now I use the word gamey as much as possible.

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Burger, anyone? Just don’t use the G-word.

The Easter Bunny Cameth

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Yes, the Easter Bunny appeared last Sunday and he should’ve brought a laundry hamper, not a basket. It’s all Liz’s fault.

(OhI should interrupt to say: I’m back. Or rather Funny Farm is back after an indeterminate hiatus. Does anyone care? Is anyone still reading this thing? Hello, hello…? HelLo! Oh hi, Mom.)

Ok, back to Easter prep. Last week I contacted my egg dealer and put out an A.P.B. for white, dyeable eggs since our typical delivery is populated by the brown-shelled variety.

As always, Liz confirmed that she got the goods. I scanned her text — half-reading something about a few regular ones and some goose eggs and “just boil those a few extra minutes.”

Got it. Large eggs in the shipment. I expected to open her fridge and fish out a bulging cardboard carton — one that almost, yet not quite, could be fastened shut.

Instead, I discovered a bunch of mammoth goose eggs that would never dream of nesting in a conventional carton.

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Here’s a chicken egg — XL at that — beside a goose 6-pack.

 

The goose eggs were enormous and their shells, rock hard. Once cleaned and shed from dirt, the shells revealed a marbled, mottled texture. They looked like dinosaur eggs.

Or what I imagined dino eggs to look like.

I hardboiled them in batches — several batches — and we set to dyeing them in addition to the “normal” eggs.

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Goose v. chicken

 

 

Hadley used the bigins to interview the Easter Bunny.

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Ignore the farm-grubby hand.

 

(Note: Sunday morning the Easter Bun responded to her query on another egg. I believe he wrote, I kome at the daytyme. He’s a lousy speller.)

So the kids retrieved the bunny’s scatterings, though they lumbered with their weighty baskets, buckling beneath the heft of 18 goose eggs. And due to this added strain, this year’s hunt required frequent chocolate breaks.

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Postscript: Once the big eggs were returned to their perishable perch, (and they consume a lot of real estate in the fridge) I was hobbled by goose-egg phobia. Dyeing those monsters was one thing. But eating them? The thought grossed me out. (Why do goose eggs harbor a yuck factor? Who knows.)

It took two days to muster the courage to taste test. I cracked the shell — all the while assuring myself that I could abort mission at the slightest sign of weirdness. Eventually I stared down a naked, albeit large, egg. Then I sliced it in half.

It looked like any hard-boiled egg… on steroids. It made a helluva lot of egg salad. Goose egg salad.

I offered a few of these eggs to a friend and she took two, with great reluctance.

Goose eggs? She said. They kind of gross me out.