Back in the spring, my daughter’s biology class hatched eggs. Quails, ducks and chickens. And one day, while I was literally out in a field interviewing a farmer for a news story, my phone rang. It was her. I thought it was important. (Mommy’s working, call the cell phone if it’s important.) But as I have learned over the years, what consitutes “important or urgent” to me is a bit different to my children. I once took a call from her while at work that had me so exasperated that all my co workers heard from my end was “Really? You’re serious. Okay. Has anyone lost a limb? Been maimed? No? No massive blood loss? Okay, I will call you back to discuss this WHEN I AM NOT BUSY!” Click. It’s not always like that, but there was awhile there where she was very attached and seemed to need to talk to me often. By the time I was standing in the field it was much more reasonable. So, thinking it was important or urgent, I answered. “Mom, I can take my chicken home but I have to know if it’s okay right now because I can take it home today or it goes to the farm. Can I? Please Mom! Can I?” I pawned her off on her father, who was home on his day off, and hung up. And when I came home from work I found a cardboard box with two chicks in it on her dresser.
So, here we are. With the aptly named Chicken and Nugget. Turns out Nugget is a hen, Chicken is a rooster. My husband made them a lovely little chicken house, my daughter insisted on painting it red, and then we moved them in. They spent the summer wandering around the yard, while we waited for Nugget to start laying. We waited some more. And we continued to wait. Finally, our wait has been rewarded. An egg a day for the last two weeks! Lovely eggs with pale brown shells. My daughter is a little attached to the eggs and wanted to leave them in the hen house in hopes we would have more little chicks. But with a New Brunswick winter coming on, and let’s be honest, I’ve been waiting for some return on our feed investment, they are washed and in the fridge.
I think we will have more chicks come spring so we can have a flock of layers. My youngest loves to check the roost boxes for eggs. It makes his morning to bring it in. My daughter has yet to eat one, but they were delicious scrambled this morning for breakfast.
Meanwhile, I’m back to jam making. I’ve had some orders for jam baskets for the Christmas season, and the blueberry lemon jam is pretty popular. There are so many wild blueberries around here that it’s not hard to pick a good stash for the winter. This morning, I took some out of the freezer and got my jars ready to go. As I type this, the jam is at the simmer stage, while I wait for my hot water bath to get hot enough to sterilize my jars.
Blueberry Lemon Jam
6 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
3 1/2 cups of sugar
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon, plus a 1/4 cup of lemon juice
Combine ingredients in a pot, simmer for a half hour or so, until you reach the stage where some dropped on a frozen plate will “wrinkle” when you touch it with your finger. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and leave a quarter inch head space. Cover with sterilized lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Makes about 5-6 250 ml jars.