Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

Potting Shed Transformation to Farm Store

October 11, 2011

Several years ago, while I was in Canada with my eldest, Dave and the rest of the kids, built a potting shed for me.

It was probably the hottest week of the summer here in GA but they were so excited about their surprise for me.

I LOVED the new building and was reluctant to put any dirty tools in the shed because I had so much fun decorating it.

As with a lot of outbuildings around a farm, it soon became a storage place for items that had no home but were sure to be used in the future 🙂

There were a lot of “treasures” in this potting shed only you couldn’t find them for all the other junk that was tossed in there.

As Dave put it, this building became overwhelming and depressing.

It’s been on my to-do list for a while, I was just waiting for the right moment to attack this monumental mess.

Lynn SirLouis had been to a couple of the Ladies’ Homestead Gatherings and one night we were chatting…

She was experiencing some major life changes but the door was opening for her to pursue what she really wanted to do – an opportunity to follow some dreams and passions.

She’d been up in the garden one night before our Ladies’ Homestead Gathering meeting and she asked me about the potting shed.

I winced and said yeah – it was in sore need of a make-over and I really wanted to turn it into a Farm Store.

She lit up.  This was her forte, her passion…

Lynn loved to transform spaces.  She asked if she could take on this project.

Oh gee – I really had to think about this one…for a about a second!

Yes, of course!

Lynn came out on a Thursday and started to gut the building,

It truly is amazing how much “stuff” you can cram into a space.  This is after the 3 – 4 large garbage bags full were removed.

And truthfully, I couldn’t get it all in one shot.

We chose a color scheme and she asked me what I liked – a look and feel.

Then Lynn went to work…

This is an antique window that Dave purchased from another friend of mine, Christine, who owns Along the Line Antiques in downtown Statham.

It’s beautiful and the view looks out over a ten acre pasture next door.

Lynn painted the edge black and it “popped”!

We chose a sage green hue for paint.  I wanted all the natural wood left as is – I love old wood.  The rest of the back wall was painted.

Lynn also bought a complimentary green stain for the floor.  It looks fabulous!!

The front doors were painted this burnt orange/red color.

Lynn transformed the old white cupboard that was stuffed in the back of the shed.

The honey displays so beautifully in the case.

Lynn took and old drawer from a small cabinet that I was going to throw away and painted the drawer with chalkboard paint so I could write the price for the shirts on the front.  Great idea and I love the look.

I was given this antique scale and we took the egg basket from the kitchen to display eggs out in the farm store.

The kids and I put in the farm bell.  It belonged to my family and we had it at our home in NH.


Lynn’s not finished yet but I couldn’t wait to show you what she’s done so far.

The best part about all this??

Her passion and mission is using items that I already own and if something is needed – off to Goodwill she goes!

The name of her new business??

The Tightwad Decorator 🙂

I love it and I really love the new look for our Lazy B Farm Store!


The Incredible, Edible Egg!

February 13, 2011

Courtesy of John Ingraham

Eggs themselves are remarkably resistant to germs like salmonella. The shell and proteins in the egg white normally do a good job of fending off pathogens. But eggs laid by a bird infected with salmonella will likely be infected, too.

August 31, 2010
Eggs have been getting a bad rap lately as the number of people being made sick by eggs contaminated with salmonella continues to rise.  But from an egg’s point of view all of this is a bit unfair.   Eggs get contaminated because the hen that’s laying them is infected. Eggs themselves — if they come from a healthy bird — are remarkably resistant to contamination.

John Ingraham is particularly interested in how eggs stay microbe-free. He is a microbiologist and a chicken owner, and he happens to be my grandfather. He has spent years exploring the world of tiny organisms and so-called “retirement” hasn’t changed that.

About a dozen chickens strut and peck in a large chicken coop tucked in between the clothes line and the gleaming pool in Ingraham’s back yard in suburban Sacramento. They’re quite vocal, and Ingraham points out the distinctive cackle that means one has laid an egg. They sound quite proud of the accomplishment.

Courtesy of Michael Rieger

Chickens wander around John Ingraham’s coop in suburban Sacramento. Ingraham, a microbiologist, is interested in how chicken eggs stay microbe-free.

Microbes and the Egg

There are very few places in the world that are naturally germ-free, but eggs from a healthy bird are one of them.  Ingraham says they stay that way because of their chemical defenses. Bacteria may get through a crack in the shell and the membrane underneath, but then the egg white fights back. In the egg white, there are three proteins that are very effective at combating bacteria.

One of these is called lysozyme. It isn’t just in egg whites — it’s also in tears, saliva and the drippy stuff that comes out of your nose. In fact, that’s how it was discovered by Alexander Fleming (who also discovered penicillin) — Fleming happened to notice that when drips from his nose fell onto certain bacteria, they died.

It’s a pretty neat trick. Lysozyme breaks the wall of the bacteria. And since bacteria are under pressure — like a balloon — if you break the wall, they explode. Lysozyme doesn’t work on everything, but it can pop a lot of bacteria.

But the egg has two other ways to kill invaders. One is a protein that prevents bacteria from getting an essential vitamin that they need. The other is called conalbumin, and it’s this protein keeps bacteria from getting the iron they need to grow.

It’s a pretty effective system, but Ingraham says that several years ago there was an incident where a certain egg processor suddenly had all of its eggs go bad. “No one could figure out why, and it turned out they were washing their eggs in iron pans,” he says. There was just more iron than the conalbumin could mop up, leaving plenty for the microbes.

Related NPR Stories
Salmonella Found In Chicken Feed Used By 2 Egg Farms </blogs/health/2010/08/26/129455842/feed-contaminated-salmonella-cases-rise?ps=rs> Aug. 26, 2010
Tracing Salmonella: Find Out Who Eats What, Where <> Aug. 24, 2010
Salmonella Cases Rise As Recall Of Contaminated Eggs Grows </blogs/health/2010/08/20/129321965/salmonella-recalled-egg-contamination?ps=rs> Aug. 20, 2010
We’ve been hearing some egg announcing cackles, so Ingraham reaches into the nest box and pulls out two very fresh eggs. The barnyard smell is unmistakable, and the eggs have a little sawdust stuck to them.  Ingraham says the eggs will stay microbe-free for several weeks, even at room temperature.

What About Salmonella?

But don’t we have to keep eggs in the refrigerator, and not eat things with raw eggs in them so we don’t get exposed to salmonella?

Ingraham says if the egg comes from healthy chickens, like his, there’s no problem. But as the current egg recall shows, chickens are notoriously susceptible to infection with salmonella. And if the chicken that’s laying the egg is infected with salmonella, it’s likely its eggs will be infected, too. That’s why we’re told to cook eggs and keep them cold — cooking kills the bacteria and cool temperatures slows microbial growth and helps the eggs last longer.

“Even a broken egg can last quite a while if it’s not cooked, but a cooked egg won’t last very long because you’ve inactivated the proteins,” Ingraham says.

Web Resources
“March Of The Microbes,” by John Ingraham <>

Banding the New Hens

October 8, 2010

The longer I homestead, the more I realize how important it is to be a good steward of the resources I have available to me.  Last year, I kept track of the amount of chicken feed I was purchasing and the amount of eggs I was selling.

It was a rude awakening…I was losing a lot of money in the laying hen division.  As much as I enjoyed ALL my hens, some of them were past their prime and were consuming a lot of feed and not giving anything back in return.  I had to set my heart aside and look at this situation as an efficient steward and homesteader.

Here’s the plan I came up with and started implementing last season.  I bought different colored leg bands for the chickens.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these little colored plastic rings – they were more expensive than I’d expected.

But I needed them to make the system work…

I purchased all female chicks this spring and raised them in the chicken tractor.

When it was time to move them to the hen house, we banded each hen with an orange leg band.

Once all the girls were banded…

It was time to transfer them from the chicken tractor to the hen house.

Chickens start laying eggs at 5 months of age and they lay the most eggs in the first 2 years of their life.

I needed a system that let me know how old my hens were.  You can imagine with this many how difficult it would be to remember which year the hens were added to the hen house.

By looking at the color of their leg band, I know how old the hen is and how productive she is being.

Last year, 2009, I used yellow bands and green bands.  (I had the green bands already but didn’t like them as well as the colored ones.)

My goal is to have enough eggs to sell to at least cover the cost of my feed.  It would be great to make a profit, which is very doable if you have all young hens who are laying.

Now that the new hens are in the hen house and at the age to start laying, I’m keeping track of how many eggs we collect each day.  I put in 24 new hens and there were 25 from last season and before.  Our egg output is still not where it should be but we’re on the right track.  I know I still have some old hens in the house who are eating more than laying.  Eventually they will be culled from the flock.

And how are the new hens doing?

Just fine!

They are the majority and slowly establishing their positions in the house.

They’re beginning to discover the nesting boxes – this is a good thing!

As you can see, not all are happy with this new arrangement….

It’s not always easy making new friends in the pecking order, especially when you’re near the bottom of the order.

But as a homesteader, I need to keep reminding myself that there is a purpose for every animal and plant on my farm.  Stewardship of resources is vital in order to keep the systems efficient.  It’s so easy to allow all of this to become a huge drain on our finances if I’m not careful about managing our hens.  Their reason for being a part of our homestead?