Friday, May 14, 2010

A Call For Polygamy

At the moment, there are three and a half dozen eggs in my fridge. Tomorrow there will be almost four dozen. The girls are out on pasture and enjoying the long hours of daylight, as am I, and the grass and bug supplements to their diet. That means four eggs, almost every day (o.k., they're Buff Orpingtons, a "heritage breed," not laying machines).

I give a dozen eggs to the local food bank every week. Serendipitously, the food bank director passes my house every Tuesday on the way to the 30-minutes-away-food bank and picks up my offerings. If we're invited somewhere, and the hosts don't already have chickens, I take a dozen eggs as hostess gift. And my husband and I eat, oh, several eggs a week.

The full cartons piling up in the fridge tell me that it's that time of year: time to freeze eggs. It is possible, and quite easy, to freeze eggs. I crack four at a time into a bowl, lightly scramble them with a fork, and pour them into a small freezer bag. After defrosting, they're perfect for omelettes, baking, scrambled eggs, and so on, although they will obviously not whip up for meringues or souffles. So I should be freezing eggs right now, against the depths of winter when the hens will be molting/getting older/suffering from SAD.

The thing is, I'm coming up against my annual "I'm a farmer, not a farm wife" complaint. This complaint is almost forty-years-old, and is starting to get to me. I see to the hens, feed and water them, talk to them, clean their quarters, gather the eggs. Should I also have to deal with the harvest? The same obtains with the vegetable garden. I compost the soil, till it, plant the seeds, water the seedlings, gather the bounty. And as a reward, I get to wash, blanch, drain, package and freeze a ton of green stuff summer after summer.

My spouse, bless him, wouldn't care if all his food came canned and frozen by the house brand of the local supermarket. He would not blame me for a minute if I were to let go of it all tomorrow--garden, fruit trees, hens. With good enough grace, he does things like build portable chicken houses and drive the tractor and pull the cart into which I dump the used bedding. I cannot expect him to enter into the minutia of day-to-day food growing and preserving.

So here is my case for polygamy. I need a woman--or a man would do just as well, in which case it would be polyandry; this is not about sex, but food--to come over and just deal with all the stuff I grow. Wash it, freeze it, cook it, whatever. Just make it go away.

In exchange for this she/he will get...I'm not sure what. Half my kingdom? A seat at our table? The privilege of playing with my dogs? Any applicants, contact me, and we'll work something out.

7 comments :

  1. this truly is one reason why i don't garden more. we can't eat it all, and i don't want to can and freeze. or throw things out.

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  2. Laurie, with all the food banks around you shouldn't have to throw food out. But I agree, it is LOTS of work, though freezing is pretty easy.

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  3. Maybe I could help by occasionally stealing eggs.

    Or perhaps I should apprentice.

    Hungry now.

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  4. I keep saying I'm going to show you how to grow chard. As far as egg stealing, you could sneak up the driveway and into the portable fence, then open the top door at the narrow end of the chicken house, where the nest is....

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  5. Perhaps this is why extended families exist so often in rural settings? Even in urban settings, actually. There simply is often too much work for one person to do!

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  6. It's really too far to commute but if I lived nearby, I'd be there to help you.

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  7. mrb, I do hate it that you're so far away!

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