One quiet summer morning, three years ago, my husband came in from letting out the dog and said to me, “Do chickens move like this?” And then proceeded to jut his head forwards and backwards a couple of times. “Um…yes…maybe?” I was not sure how I was expected to respond to this question. “Well,” he said, “I think there is a chicken in our back yard.” So I followed him out to our back deck and sure enough, there in the dew blanketed grass, was a small white chicken, it’s head bobbing in and out as it walked across the toy strewn lawn. So, of course, the children squealed with delight, photos were snapped, the neighbors were alerted, the cat next door was curious (and kept at bay with the garden hose) and the chicken happily strutted and bobbed around the property, even coming up onto our deck to pose for photos with the kids. She was not at all afraid and appeared to be quite used to being around people. We do not live in a rural area…we actually live in an older suburb, just on the edge of a small city. So a farm animal taking a stroll through our neighborhood is not a common occurrence. It was quite exciting and fun for about 45 minutes, until it became apparent that the chicken was not planning to go anywhere and was happy to just stay in our yard. Which would have been fine, except that I was starting to grow weary of protecting our new friend from the neighbor’s cat. And I didn’t like my children’s offer of letting the chicken stay in their bedrooms. Lucky for us, we happened to have a connection in the chicken world…my brother and sister-in-law raise chickens on their beautiful property out in the country. So that afternoon, the newly named “Lollipop” took a ride in the back of the minivan to her new home. The circumstances of her appearance remained a mystery all summer long, until finally, when September rolled around and school started back up. Katie, of course, shared the story with her first grade class and a boy spoke up and said that he had lost a chicken over the summer. This boy lives a few streets away from us, so I contacted his mother, and sure enough…”Lollipop” had been their chicken. They had taken on two baby chicks after the kindergarten class the previous spring was giving them away (after their unit studying how eggs hatch). They were more than happy to hear that the chicken had been taken to a proper chicken coop with other chickens and didn’t want her returned. In addition to having a place to bring lost chickens, there is another great benefit to having family who keep a chicken coop. Delicious, organic eggs from happy chickens! We love eggs around here and are grateful for the beautiful, fresh ones that come from Uncle Steve, Aunt Tricia, and cousin Danni’s chickens. Here is one of our favorite ways to use them…
QUICHE WITH WHOLE WHEAT CRUST
For the crust:
~1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
~1/2 cup oil (whatever you normally use for baking)
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~2 tablespoons milk
Combine everything in a 9 inch pie pan and mix it together with a fork until it’s crumbly. Use your hands to form it into a ball, then flatten the ball and press it into the pan. Use your palms and heels of your hands to press it out to edges and up the sides of the pan. If you’re like me, and don’t care what it looks like, just bring the dough up to the edge of the pan and you’re done. If you want fancy edging on your crust, I would increase the amount of dough by about a third so you have enough. Once the crust is ready, mix up the filling and pour it into the crust.
For the filling:
~1 1/2 cups of milk
~4 eggs, whisked together
~Salt and pepper to taste
~dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
The final add ins are up to you…our favorites are chopped tomatoes and feta cheese or cooked, diced bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle these in at the end and then bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling has set.