Friday, April 30, 2010

first eggs

The hens have finally started laying! We've gotten 3 eggs in the last 3 days. I had 2 for breakfast today (after the kids had gone to school of course). Duck eggs have a waxy covering called "bloom" and the shell seems harder than a chicken egg. Under the shell the white membrane is very strong and they are difficult to crack open. The egg white itself is clearer than that of a chicken egg. The yolk is a bright yellow on the outside, but a deep orange on the inside. I cooked them scrambled for a first impression. The flavor was stronger, almost fishy at first, but it is just a richer taste. By the time I was finished I thought there is not a major difference between chicken eggs and duck eggs.

I had tried 3 different kinds of nesting boxes without success prior to laying. 1 was a very small plastic sled cut in half. This was too slippery. Next were plastic containers from the 100yen shop, too light, got knocked over too easily. Then plastic boxes, also too light. Finally decided something much stronger, and found 2 old desk drawers at work, about 20cmX30cm. Cut out a doorway, lined with newspaper. Straw or old clothes is better. I hope the egg a day thing keeps going.

Nesting boxes

The garden now has an excess of greens for all the ducks, they still get some commercial chicken feed but would like to eliminate this, what's the point if using all commercial feed?

Duck salad

Dandelion wine in progress

Near my son's bus stop for school is a nice grassy area away from the road and sloping down towards the river. The other day it was loaded with dandelion flowers. I've been reading about the Italian dandelion as a good salad green, but suppose any dandelion leaf will do. Also thought of dandelion wine for some reason. Seemed a shame to let all those flowers go to seed.
Gathered a few liters of dandelion flowers to try making some wine, went back with the kids just before dark to get some more. The field was empty, I was gobsmacked. Someone beat me too it I thought, all those beautiful flowers, all that wine, gone! My wife said, you silly duck, they must have closed up for the night. Impossible I said, I was there, empty I tell you. A quick google proved her right, I'll be back tomorrow, hehe.

storebought tomato seedlings planted into a green manure of clover. The clover is so thick, the roots penetrate about 10 cm down, it cuts like peat or turf.

inside a mini greenhouse covered with clear tarp


  1. Hi JohnE,

    I'll say it again: Impressive ! Home-brew, a kitchen garden, and now duck eggs. Sweet. Hope you don't mind, but I think I'll be stealing yer old desk drawer nesting box idea. :-) Good luck with the egg a day thing. With all that protein yer homegrown %'ll definitely go up.


  2. Yeah Ken,

    Looking forward to that 100% homegrown meal, even if it is only for myself. Oh, I didn't use any sort of nesting boxes in the beginning, just newspaper etc.

  3. John E,
    Nice post! I found it from a comment you left on Ken E's blog. Very nice idea about the dandelion wine! The fields by my house are in full bloom with those yellow flowers, and my daughter loves picking them! Any good family recipe for it, or a link you might recommend?

  4. Hi Rick,

    Sure, here is where I got my info, first time for me.

    I didn't follow any of those exactly though, but it's bubblin away nicely as I type, find out in 6 months.

    Nice place you got up there, when are you gonna sell Yabanjin brand wild game meats on the net?

    John E