This week, we have been mostly celebrating the re-appearance of eggs. Yes, eggs. The chooks are starting to come back into lay at loooong last!
You would think that with 30-odd hens we would be coming down with eggs. We would need one of those big wicker baskets that your posh folk carry aboot toon to collect them all in, so many would there be.
And we would be tired of all egg-related fodder. Oh no, don’t force another boiled/fried/poached/scrambled egg down my gullet! I can’t face another omelette/tortilla/pancake.
Since our chooks went into an untimely moult waaaaay before they should have, and took it in turns to go bald, eggs have been in very short supply at Shoogly Towers. From all those hens, we have been lucky to get a couple of eggs a day for the last couple of months.
This distresses me greatly. I have moaned and wailed and gnashed my teeth in this column (well, not that you can actually see the gnashing of teeth bit, but believe me I have been grinding them as I have been writing).
It distresses me because this has seriously affected the all-important Farm Gate Sales, those very egg sales that pay for the chooks’ feed and therefore are a key component of my ‘this-is-a-business-not-a-hobby’ speech.
I do know, in my heart of hearts, that it’s a hobby that kind of pays for itself. Occasionally.
I know, in my heart of hearts, that it’s not a business in the sense of other, real, proper businesses that have profit margins, turnover, petty cash, tax returns and all that malarkey.
But will I ever admit that to Mr E? Never. Every time I ask for his help in the chicken run, topping up feed or with the weekly mucking out, he says: “Yes, I’ll help you with your... (and he pauses for effect and stresses the next word) hobby”.
My reply? “It’s not a hobby, it’s a business.”
Says he, snorting: “If it was a business, it would pay for itself all-year-round. You have to subsidise it in the winter.”
Hmmmm. I have the perfect retort. As a Kung Fu wife, I know where to punch where it hurts most, so to speak. Mr E moans, wails and gnashes his teeth over the fact that in the Borders, Zumba/pilates/fitness teachers often run multiple classes all week to cope with demand, and wonders why, then, folk are not flocking to his Kung Fu sessions. At the moment he’s down to two students. Hardly business of the year.
The magic words: “And how about the Kung Fu, then?” are usually enough to silence him.
A Black Belt Kung Fu master cut down to size by some chooks.