Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

July 29, 2019

An Eggy Batch

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 9:11 pm

Each summer we use half our garden space for gardening, and sow the other half in buckwheat. This grain grows quickly with luxuriant foliage and has a tiny root system, which makes it a very good green manure. Once the buckwheat has blossomed, I rototill it under, wait a while, and till it again a few times until it is ready for the next sowing of seeds. I usually get a couple of crops per summer, and sometimes 3. The next season, we garden the previous year’s buckwheat side, and buckwheat the previous year’s garden side. We’ve been doing this for years with good results.

Between green manure crops this year, I took the opportunity to empty the compost drum. It is always a good moment, because we’ve been feeding the drum with kitchen scraps, pulled weeds, and other organic stuff for some months, all in anticipation of having a batch of rich black compost to feed the garden. When I dumped the first wheelbarrow load out, I noticed a lot of white specks in it. I’d not seen the like of it before. Then I remembered the egg shells.

A neighboring farm in Pelkie has been providing local eggs to our community for a long time. This Mennonite family worked hard and had thousands of birds until some bad luck hit them. The barn where their laying hens were located caught fire and was a total loss. So our local Tapiola community got together and put on a fundraiser pancake breakfast for them. Alice and I learned about this fundraiser at a July 4th parade meeting a few days before the event. We asked if they needed help, and they said they did, so we showed up at 6:00 am with our sleeves rolled up.

The event was well attended and we were glad we came. We were busy the whole time mixing pancake batter, baking sausage, and moving food from the kitchen to the serving area. We raised a nice chunk of money to be put toward a new barn, and went through a lot of eggs in the process. Pictured here is the woman that made the scrambled eggs for us. We kept all the egg shells on a paper bag. At the end of the event, Alice and I were given the egg shells, so I dumped them in the compost drum when we got home, and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

It turns out that not every egg got broken. After about 6 weeks of tumbling around inside the compost drum, one egg was discovered intact. It was discovered by me as I was spreading the compost in the garden prior to rototilling. I gathered up handfuls of compost from the wheelbarrow and tossed them out onto the garden. When one handful hit the ground, I heard a pretty loud POP, and smelled a smell that no one should ever have to smell. I thought about it later on, and figured I had been lucky. As I was grabbing that handful, I could have ruptured the intact egg when it was close to my body, and the contents could have sprayed all over me. I might have had to take a tomato juice bath just like the dog when he gets skunked.

As it was I was kind of ripe when I came in from that project. What with the compost, some peat moss I also spread, and various other tidbits. Ted-the-farmer looked and smelled the part. As I explained to my ever patient spouse, it could have been worse.

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