I kid you not.


Yes. It came out of the carton that way.

Now, I find this disturbing. And I don’t want to have a bunch of people writing in to tell me that they keep chickens and I ought to toughen up and not stress out about a little feather. I completely reserve to myself the right to stress out about a little feather. I don’t keep chickens, and let’s be honest, the reason I don’t is because I don’t want to. I have done it in the past, and I see no percentage in it.

I enjoy the fact that there are some people out there who self consciously and purposefully inflict themselves with chickens. More power to them I say. It takes all kinds to make a world. But as for me and my house, I don’t like a chicken coop, I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the mess, I don’t like the way the little ingrates peck you when you try to feed them, nor the unmentionable illnesses they contract, and I don’t like having to wash my eggs.

I am a firm believer in paying the professionals to handle the problem and do the dirty work for me. And so I feel that, having made this decision to delegate my egg farming to someone who likes it, I may with a clear conscience strongly object to pulling an egg out of the carton and starting to crack it into the carrot cake, only to be scared out of my wits by a whopping huge feather, stuck (what it’s stuck with I decline to consider) to the side of it.

As a matter of fact, the whole English egg scene is more than a little disturbing. There are many things that are fabulous and gorgeous and incredible about England – the Christ Church Library to name but one. But I can’t help but feel that they’re weak on eggs.

To begin with, you don’t buy them in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. That’s worrisome enough – they’re on a shelf next to the pasta. Once you’ve located them in what is clearly the wrong aisle of the store, then you have to shuffle through loads of cartons before you find one that doesn’t have broken egg leaking out of the bottom of it. (That’s not an exaggeration either.)

Then you take your little package of six eggs to the front and pay an arm and a leg for it. (You could really splash out and buy the package of 15, but then you couldn’t fit it in your fridge. Of course, this wouldn’t worry an English person, because they don’t keep them in the fridge, but this just takes us back to our first point.)

Once you have toiled home with your little cargo of six eggs, you open it up to find that all the eggs are brown. I presume that this is to snooker the public into believing that the eggs are farm fresh, but if I cared about that then I’d be raising my own chickens wouldn’t I? I personally would pay extra if I could find a package of jumbo sized white eggs.

Note also the size of this little specimen pictured here. Did you drink in the way I had to turn the egg cup upside down to make it fit? I tried to prop the miserable little thing in the egg cup to have its picture taken and it just plunged away out of sight. So I feel that I have already been pretty long suffering with the egg situation. They’re expensive, they’re room temperature, they’re brown, and they’re hard to find without a magnifying glass. And how do I find my patience rewarded? By having a ginormous feather – probably riddled with bird flu – nearly fall in the birthday cake.

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39 thoughts on “I kid you not.

  1. I must tell you all that Bekah was deeply scarred in junior high when she raised chicks for a science fair project. The school smelled so bad (because they foolishly allowed the chicks to be raised on the premises) that they made a rule against such things. Anyhow, you’ll have to get her to tell you about it some time…they grew to be mean chickens! Now you understand her outrage a little better maybe?

  2. Bek-
    I laughed my head off about this one, and as you probably knew, I’m 100% with you on the “farm out the chickens” approach to life. I was actually just thinking about how your Harrison street chickens turned me off of them forever. However, I was especially cracked up that even though you were disgusted with the egg, you took the time to make it look it’s best in a sunny window to share it with us. What a hoot!

  3. Ha, Ha – so funny! I had this happen to me many times while living in Peru. I couldn’t believe that the eggs were kept on the shelf (often times in Lima they were conveniently located at the checkout line) and I usually found dried goo with or without the feather. It was worse in the jungle town where I lived and they kept the eggs in the sunshine. I usually found 1-3 rotten eggs per dozen. That is one thing I definitely don’t miss. This Easter being back in the U.S. I was so pleased to buy white, clean, refrigerated eggs. Oh yeah, I am all for the middle man!

  4. Yeah, I’m with you. I don’t actually want any reminders that the egg has proceeded from the body of some chicken. If that thought comes into my head while I’m preparing eggs, there is pretty much no chance of me ingesting them. The feather would certainly stop any interest I had in the egg.

  5. I would have removed the feather, and probably my oldest would have wanted to keep it forever (except that I would find it lying around and throw it away…because feathers are dirty).

    If it makes you feel any better my local Kroger recently sold me eggs, and as I was breaking them into a bowl egg number four decided to be full of blood. Yes. Full of blood…and some little icky thing that my biologist husband determined was not a baby chick. (This was corroborated by a guy who knows about farming chickens and said that the hens that lay eggs are removed from the presence of the gentleman folk at a very young age.)
    I distinctly remember yelling, and then calling for Richard….because I knew that he would want to inspect it and take pictures. However, they do not hold a candle to your ‘Feathered Egg in a Cup’. (It’s more like, bloody egg in a styrofoam bowl.)

    p.s. About chicks…we were very disappointed as well. My husband had some fertilized eggs left from a biology experiment at work and decided to hatch them instead of just letting them die. Not cute. Not fluffy. Very messy.

  6. This is very funny! Especially so, because I can trot one block down to the little grocery and find eggs (complete with feathers and, well, let’s just refer to it as feather adhesive). I guess that Israel and England have some common beliefs concerning egg hygiene although white eggs are readily available. BTW, I enjoyed your post about spending time in the library while your hubby looked over Hebrew texts. I think our better halves would LOVE to talk semitic languages together. One day (post Marine Corps) he dreams of teaching.

    Have a great day filled with cleaner eggs (or the stomach to handle the interesting ones;)


  7. Hi Maggie,

    Ben was Marine Corps too . . . so it sounds like they’d have more in common than just Semitic languages! And my guess is that you’ll need the “clean egg blessing” a bit more than I will despite my fussing . . . !

  8. Oh and Megan – that’s pretty much the sickest thing I’ve ever heard. It totally trumps my feather hands down!

  9. I am laughing hysterically. I really think you should write something akin to Patrick Mc Manus about the English oddities. I still remember a couple of stories from the first summer you were there…buying chocolate chips, the lawn mowing fiasco etc. And, I’m with Rachel, it’s propped up so pretty in the window sill that I never suspected the story to come, or the fact that it wasn’t you who attached the feather. Gross!

  10. I’d say that the feather stuck to your egg had little to do with English oddities. Just today I found a bird feather in my package of ‘pre-washed California strawberries’ – right here in the good old US of A!! I could understand feathers and eggs – they go together. But feathers and strawberries?!!!

    Having lived in Asia – bird flu is forefront in my mind. So – I completely empathize with your sense of panic at the sight of bird feathers!!!

  11. I’m laughing here! I used to have chickens at our house, and not only would they not stay put, but they would destroy everything when they got loose. We got rid of them shortly after our Y2K learning experience!

    Then a friend had to move and wanted me to take her chickens. I did, but I keep them at one of the farmhouses, not the house where we are.
    I actually enjoy them over there. Our cattle like them too, I saw a steer the other day walking around with a chicken feather sticking out of his nose. Snorting chickens perhaps??

  12. Rebekah,
    What a small world! What did he do in the Marine Corps? I think you guys might know Mike Harken? He and Ashley are very good friends of ours from NC. I’ve read a few posts about your adventures in the UK to my sweety. I think Ben’s living his dream;)


  13. Hi Maggie!

    Ben was a tank driver actually. Are you all stationed in Israel with the Marines then? And say hello the Harkens for us! How fun that you’re friends of theirs! (But Ben would like to add that you shouldn’t believe a word Michael says about him . . . !)

  14. All those who have been overseas I’m sure have egg stories, but we usually expect it from 3 world countries. I had a disgusting experience in Egypt with an egg from a batch I had bought one night when I was in a hurry. The sellers apparently knew that. There was a chick inside, not alive, which I discovered next morning over breakfast. Since I was eating eggs for breakfast while there, after 8 month, when I returned to Idaho I couldn’t look an egg in the face for a long time.
    Don’t sweat the brown eggs though, they just come from brown chickens. Of course, you may not approve of brown chickens, but there is nothing inherently nefarious about the color.
    When do we get to hear about Jemima’s birthday destination?
    Love you,
    (Aunt) Heather

  15. Ugh…I still have a sick feeling in my stomach. From the picture I had thought it was a story about an art project one of your kids had done, gluing feathers on leftover Easter eggs, or something like that.

    As long as we’re sharing gross egg stories, my friend Lauren once opened up a nice, white, refrigerated WinCo egg to find twins. Then another twin, then another twin, then another twin…..we went on to discover that the entire dozen eggs were ALL TWINS! I went on to fast from eggs nearly as long as I did in first grade when I found out what eggs were!

  16. I have lived in a big city all my life, but I guess I spent enough time at Nana and Grampa’s farm growing up that I was inoculated to being grossed out by such things, and I think y’all are a bunch of sissies. (But I mean that in the nicest way, of course!)

    Now if it were a story about bugs, you would have my deepest, heartfeltest sympathy, and I’d probably have nightmares for a week.

  17. Several years ago we did raise chickens. We had some laying hens and we raised some for meat. I can tell from experience that chickens are only cute for about the first week of their lives.

    Ducklings, however, keep their charm especially if you only get 3 of them. When I went out to water the flowers they came and “talked” to me, hoping I would spray them with water or perhaps make a puddle to assist their joyous living.

  18. Hi Aunt Heather!
    You know, someone was just telling me (and I can’t remember who it was now) that they were in line at the grocery store and the person ahead of them was asking why the eggs were brown. And the checkout lady answered with complete assurance that those were the ones laid by the roosters. (But that was an American story about an American checkout lady.)
    And I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get Jemima’s birthday expedition up today – but I’ll stick it over on our family blog.
    Love ya!

  19. We live out in the country, and there is a chicken farmer in our church who sells slightly cracked eggs and smallish ones for a dollar per 30 eggs. Needless to say, we eat eggs quite often. But the point I want to make is that even though we buy those eggs ‘off the farm’, they’re still clean. ๐Ÿ™‚ so maybe the Brits are just lazy when it comes to eggs?
    The bit that really turns me off is that they don’t refrigerate them. Ugh.
    Oh, and white chickens can lay brown eggs too. ‘Tis a fact.

  20. Hey Rebekah,

    Darren is the Marine Attache here in Tel Aviv. This is actually our second time living here. Darren studied as part of a fellowship at Hebrew U. in Jerusalem about 7 years ago. We really enjoy Israel although being the only homeschooling family in the community is rather lonely at times.

    My boys will be thrilled to hear that Ben drove tanks. There is a great armor corps museum here at Latrun, near Jerusalem. The kids love to climb all over the tanks. Great fun when it’s not so hot!

    We’ll say hello to Mike and Ashley the next time we chat. Oh, and we’ll be sure to keep in mind Ben’s admonition;)


  21. Bekah, I grew up on a farm and was the given the job of chicken keeper and grew to hate them with a passion. I even have a scar on my knee to testify to the nasty rooster who decided to dig his spurs into my leg and give me an infection.
    My brother had to carry me to my bedroom that night. My mom talked my dad into letting HER shoot that rooster.
    The grossest story was when we would periodically reach into the nest to grab the egg and find, only after we’d grabbed it, that the shell was not actually there. The egg was only encased in that weird membrane and LOOKED like it was in a shell. Yuck.

  22. My mother went to the Phillipines in her teens, and apparently fully developed chicks, still in the eggs, were a regular item on the menu there. The girl she was with said that they were good for traveling, sort of like a bagged lunch, I guess.

  23. Okay, now THAT is gross! Fully developed chicks?!?! Yuk! My mom’s chickens (Barred Rocks–black & white) just started laying their first eggs (brown ones) and they’re a little small to start off. I just learned that you should scuff the dirt off rather than washing the eggs, since there’s a water soluble membrane coating them that keeps the germs out and the moisture in. Washing them makes the water evaporate out quicker and opens them up to germs. Huh. Anyway, we hope to get Araucanas this year (white chickens, but lay blue and green eggs!) and maybe some Marans (chocolate colored eggs!) but that will come after the nubain goats are all settled in (sometime in June.) I think the meanness can depend on the breed of chicken and how much they’re handled. My mom’s are quite friendly, and many of her hens will come right up to be pet! The roosters leave us humans alone, and just worry the hens to pieces! It’s time for most of them to go in the freezer…

  24. Sharon O’Donnell – that is the grossest thing I think I’ve ever heard. But it made me laugh, so thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Erin Camerer – It’s called balut. I watched Phil Johnson and one of his coerced friends eat it once…and then his friend un-eating it. Sick.

  25. I just want to point out that free range eggs, in my experience, are way cleaner. You have to expect that chickens with limited space are going to… er… place their eggs in bad places.

    We had free range chickens last year, and not only were the eggs clean, we didn’t have to feed them as much since they were eating bugs, AND (this one is really important in our area) they eat ticks, which reduces your chances of ending up with a nasty bug implanted in you! And that, to my mind, is worth almost any inconvenience of chickens! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Chickens with feathers? Whatever next? At least this chicken had some feathers left. Most British chickens are battery farmed and lose many of their feathers. Buy free range and pay even more – but feel better about yourself. We like brown eggs here, but could cope psychologically with white ones. Incidentally, why would shops want to refrigerate eggs unless it’s to prolong shelf life? Eggs stay fresh for days and everyone knows they cook better from room temperature.

  27. Yes, I grew up on a farm and had chicken chores. Definitely no percentage in it for me either. Thanks for a very good laugh.

  28. Okay, after baking with some “commercial” eggs (read: purchased from Walmart, probably originated in one of those egg factories where the chickens don’t have beaks or feathers) and some “farm” eggs (read: the chickens who laid them have eaten our grass and bugs, scratched our soil, and breathed our fresh air) today, I have to ask… Are the non-refrigerated brown English eggs watery like the US Wal-mart type? Or do the yolks stand up like a bouncy ball and can you separate the yolk from the white easily? (very important in making a variety of recipes!) I’m floored by the difference in the quality of the eggs!

    About refrigeration–of course it’s to prolong shelf life! Egg factories make far more profit if they can keep them on the shelves longer. But I suppose that if you run roosters with hens, it also makes sense to refrigerate them so that when you use them, you aren’t eating the Phillipino variety! Eeek!

  29. Well, we have chooks running about the place, all different sizes and colours and breeds, so we get all different sizes and colours of eggs. Our rooster leads a bit of a hard life because our dog doesn’t approve of said rooster’s ‘activities’, but when we get little chicks – which we did this last summer, we think that they are gorgeously cute and fluffy and it’s wonderful to see the way the mother hen looks after them. None of our dogs or cats will go near the little chicks. And the eggs we get are FRESH! But, (pardon my ignorance) what is actually WRONG with brown eggs?

  30. I laughed SO HARD at this post! Thanks! (Hope you find this comment- just getting back to reading blogs after needing to take a break to actually homeschool!LOL)

  31. Scary how things like that can bypass those “quality check” people…. Makes you wonder what else they are missing!!!!!! :S

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