How Do You Recall 207,000,000 Eggs?

The sky is blue enough this morning to proclaim it a sunny day. Even as I write, sunlight dabbles the grass. Days of sunshine are in the forecast. The remaining cherry, pear, and plum blossoms will be glorious.

I can relax and ponder the news clip about a company recalling 207 million eggs. How do you recall 207 millions eggs? How do you even get into a situation where you have to recall 207 million eggs, 206,749,248 eggs to be precise according to the FDA’s April 13 release.

To get into a situation where you have the honor of recalling 206,749,248 eggs, you first need a farm with 3 million hens which lay 2.3 million eggs a day. Is that a farm or is it a factory? The recall covers eggs packaged at that farm/factory from January 11 through April 12, so most likely most of the eggs have already been eaten.

And what sort of farm has 3 million hens in one location? The Rose Acre Farms, started by the Rust family does. Actually they have 17 such facilities in eight states, and even though they are one of the largest egg producers in the country, according to their web site, they “still honor the Rust family’s values that have characterized Rose Acre Farms from the beginning.” And “their small-town, family-owned values of service and quality never waver.” Good to know.

Curious what happens to the hens in a situation like this, I called and talked to Mark Nolting, National Marketing Director of Rose Acre Farms, who said that the FDA found the salmonella under a trash can in a room at the facility. The FDA has not found it in the hen houses but are still investigating. Depending on the conclusions of the investigation, the flock (can you call 3 million hens a flock?) may need to be destroyed.

Now it’s on to enjoying a day without rain.

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Drama in the Woods

The forest quiet, bleeding hearts and trillium in bloom, belie the drama in the woods. Snakes hunt silently. A coyote is stalking the chickens. The forest floor is littered with trees recent storms have toppled.

This year’s cherry blossoms have turned to snow. It’s been mostly cool, cloudy, and wet since they first bloomed the end of March, but the forecast is for days and days and days of sunshine just around the corner.

Very protective Daisy has kept her chicks in the chicken yard since they hatched. With it being so cool and wet, it’s a wise parenting decision.

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When Birch Bloom

You never hear of poets writing about birch blossoms. When is the last time you’ve sung a song about the beauty of birch blossoms? Never, I assume. And yet, they are so delightful. You just need to look closely. Little, green, tippy pagodas of delicate flowers, framed by dancing spring leaves.

Magnolias. They could be another word for white. They’re actually whiter than white.

Nothing says spring in the Pacific Northwest like salmonberry flowers. Rubus spectabilis, a fitting name for such a notable, admirable, remarkable bramble.

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Pear Dreams and Such

Pear blossoms spark dreams of ripe, crisp pears. These pears have pink stamens, these do not. It’s a blustery morning, the wind blowing flurries of cherry blossoms through the air.

The hostas are poking out of the ground, sending purple spears high above the moss. Evidently edible, the shoots are called hostons. All the more reason to propagate these woodland beauties along the forest paths.

The cherry blossoms are starting to flurry. I’d much rather have drifts of cherry blossoms than drifts of snow.

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Life’s Rhythms – Not Forgotten

At times it seems like nature has forgotten to keep spring moving along. We’re stuck with cool, drizzly days that should be getting warmer, only they’re not. All it takes is a venture into the woods to see that life’s rhythm has not stopped. The bleeding hearts are lifting their purple blossoms on schedule. The skunk cabbage has bloomed and is odorizing the woods.

The cone cabbages are thrusting up their first true leaves. Someone I know will be very happy about this. And Daisy has found a very comfortable spot for her chicks and herself to take a break.

Lovage is on the chopping block once more. Spring wouldn’t be spring without soups with lovage.

And the plums are in full bloom. Plums, plums, and more plums. Life’s rhythm keeps its steady, soft beat.

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Mankai – 満開 – Full Bloom

The definition for when a cherry tree is in full bloom is when 80% of the blossoms are open. We’ve have reached that stage here, and with the cool, cloudy weather, the tree is staying in full bloom day after day.

The best way to view the blossoms is to climb a ladder and immerse yourself in the thick of them.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago today we were on our way to Japan and saw cherry blossoms day after day wherever we went. There are beautiful words to describe cherry blossoms such as Hanagasumi – 花霞 – which is cherry blossoms in the distance which appear as mist. Or Ooun – 桜雲 – the characters are cherry and cloud, which describe a sky so full of cherry blossoms they look like clouds.

With the cool weather, daisy is keeping her brood in the dry chicken yard. She is a very protective hen. I have the scars to prove it. Little chicks enjoy hopping on her back. The eleven sibling of this little chick are tucked underneath Daisy, staying warm and cozy.

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Happiness Is …

Happiness is watching red wing black birds gathering cattail fluff for their nest.

Happiness is freeing Daisy from her nursery. Her chicks are a week old today and ready to explore the wide world. Five of them are actually Buff Brahma chicks I saw when I stopped at the feed store to get some feed. They were a day or two older than hers, so I brought them home, and put them under her so she could raise them. Altogether, she has twelve chicks to raise.

Happiness is cherry blossoms in full bloom. With the cool weather, they should last a while, more happiness.

Happiness is poppy shoots carpeting the flower bed.

Happiness is gardening with ducks, feeling their web feet stepping on your hands as you weed and plant. They are such curious and happy birds. They make wonderful gardening pals.

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