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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Goose-egg time

It's goose-egg time again ... as it has been awhile since Susannah has been on the nest, or at least like she really has her heart in it. It's her opinion that we ran off with all her eggs and hatched them, and that the Annies are the result. She calls to them plaintively to join her in the pasture, but they aren't sure what to make of her, and continue feeding, drinking, waddling about, and preening as if having a mother was the last thing likely to cross their minds.

Twenty-seven of this year's eggs made it to the refrigerator -- there were some accidents involving eggs inadvertently laid in the open, and attacked by the chickens -- and one of these I broke while getting the egg-blowing routine down right. Every year I have to learn all over again -- the margin of error, with the high-speed grinder and the basketball pump, is relatively small. I'm sure there are better ways to go about this, but this is what we do:

We gather up containers for the freezer, and a Sharpie for writing on the container, spread out some newspaper, find a round toothpick, an old-fashioned milk bottle or a glass carafe, the basketball pump, the high-speed Dremel-style tool, and a bowl of soapy, salty water.

With the little cone shaped grindstone, we zip off a bit of shell at each end, about as big as the head on a six-penny box nail, and punch through the membrane with the toothpick, stirring up the yolk, then place the egg on top of a suitably wide-mouthed bottle and gently pressurize the contents with the basketball needle. You can see a small rubber gasket here, cut from a flat rubber band, to seal the contact between egg and needle.

Every second egg we pour off the eggs into a freezer container, so that if we get into a bad egg (never has happened) we won't waste a lot. Mark the container Goose '09. Wash the eggshell inside and out (draw some soapy salt water into the shell and shake vigorously, then blow out). Repeat. Freeze containers, sun-dry shells.

In a few days they are ready to decorate or sell to Psanky painters ... whatever suits ya. I like to just sit by the table and look at them.


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