Even though we didn’t have as large a flock as my grandparents, I still found myself with plenty of chores caring for our chickens. Two of my least favorite jobs were cleaning the manure out of the hen house and gathering the eggs. I was constantly banging my head against the rafters, since the roof was only five feet tall. A throbbing head only made shoveling chicken manure even more unpleasant. When it came to gathering eggs, I found myself in a dilemma. If I gathered eggs during the day, I risked getting pecked by the hens. If I waited until night time, I could very likely encounter an opossum or skunk in the hen house. I usually decided being pecked was the lesser of the two evils.
For my mom, our chickens provided a way she could raise a little money for those extra things our family needed. People in town wanted fresh eggs, and Mom was happy to sell them ours. Most of our egg deliveries occurred after church on Sundays, when we were already in town—and looking clean and presentable. It was my job to take the eggs from our car to the houses. Like the mail man, we delivered in all weather.
One January Sunday, the sidewalks were coated in ice. When we pulled up in front of a house where we needed to deliver eggs, I stepped out of the car, holding the eggs carefully, and eyeballed the particularly long walk. My church shoes did not provide much traction, so I slipped and skidded my way up to the front steps. I was feeling pretty good, having made it that far unscathed, and climbed up the steps a little more quickly. Suddenly, I lost my footing on the very top step. Out went my feet, and up went the egg carton. Almost in slow motion, I saw the egg carton lid flip open, and twelve eggs went flying everywhere. What a Humpty Dumpty mess! Most fell on the porch, but a few catapulted up to splatter the front door and window. I’m sure Mom watched the whole egg-citement from the car in dismay. By the time I finished cleaning up the mess and had retrieved a replacement dozen eggs from the car, I could not feel my fingers—or my toes inside those slickery church shoes. From then on, I always remembered to put my tennis shoes in the car on Sundays for egg deliveries!
Fresh eggs are as yummy now as they were then! With or without tennis shoes, you can enjoy our farm-fresh eggs, along with beef, pork, cheese and baked goods, at the Cinnamon Ridge Country Cupboard located on our farm northwest of Donahue.