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Another Day in the Country

Noodling for love

© Another Day in the Country

It’s a perfect day for doing an indoor job while the wind howls around the corners of the house.

Lawn chairs have been blown topsy-turvy, and a huge chunk of cardboard I weighed down and planned to put under mulch around my flower beds is now draped over the neighbor’s fence like yesterday’s laundry.

Because I have a surplus of eggs, especially duck eggs, I’m making noodles.

That’s the way it is for us mini-farmers who doodle around growing and raising things in our back yard.

It’s either feast or famine. Two months ago, I had to buy eggs at the store. I’d used up my surplus of eggs, and my chickens still weren’t laying.

“This time, I’m buying an economy flat of eggs,” I said to myself.

And wouldn’t you know? My chickens must have heard and suddenly started laying. Once production began in the hen house, a competition to see who could lay an egg every single day seemed to begin.

I think the ducks won that challenge. Once they began to lay, there were three super duper duck eggs coming every day, and production has not lagged.

Their eggs are so big they don’t fit easily into a regular egg carton, so how do I store these eggs?

When I googled my excess egg predicament last summer, I learned you could freeze them. I followed the instructions. During winter, when egg production was at a standstill, I thawed those eggs and tried to use them — emphasis on “tried.” In my book, they were a weird consistency, and I didn’t like using them.

This second laying cycle, the ducks are more experienced, and so am I. Also, they are the sole inhabitants of their house, so there are no territorial arguments with the rooster as to where the eggs are to be deposited. They’ve chosen a corner and made an actual nest.

It’s a very clever nest, and if I skip a day of gathering their eggs, I’ll find yesterday’s eggs neatly hidden in straw around the edge of the nest.

So far, the best way for me to use extra eggs is to make noodles.

Duck eggs, with their bigger yolks, are perfect for making tender delicious noodles. There are swathes of noodle dough drying on the counter as I write. I’m wondering whether I should do another batch. For sure, I have plenty of eggs!

There are a dozen hens in the hen house. Gathering eggs is as thrilling as hunting for Easter eggs. They are such a variety of colors — dark brown, light tan, rosy pink, almost white, deep green, light green, Robin’s egg blue, and sea blue.

I can tell which hen laid an egg just by the shade of the shell. Two matching eggs equals one busy hen!

My mother had chickens on my parents’ little Oregon farm, and whenever she came to visit me in our California days, she’d bring homemade noodles.

Sometimes she would mail noodles to me for my birthday or some other special occasion.

That’s why Dad got her a “noodle maker” to assist in rolling out and cutting dough after she got arthritis in her hands. We all loved homemade noodles!

Noodles became part of our family tradition. When my family would drive up to Oregon to see Mom and Dad, we always knew there would be fresh-baked bread and homemade noodle soup for supper. We’d start drooling over supper when we reached the Oregon border, with another four hours to go.

Whenever Mom came to California to visit, she’d bring noodles, too. Her noodle-bringing became a joke with my kids, even though they knew it was Grandma’s way of saying, “I love you.” 

Mom even mailed noodles to us if she hadn’t seen us for a while. It was her way of telling us that she was thinking about us and wishing she could be having supper with us.

A package would arrive in the mail.

“I wonder what’s in this?” my teenager would joke. “Grandma either sends noodles or bath towels — her favorite things to give. This package is small. It must be noodles.”

I’m following in her footsteps. I’m making extra noodles for my next trip to California. I won’t send them in the mail. They’ll be stashed in my carry-on, as I carry on a family tradition.

What better way can I honor ancestors and share the glory of duck eggs and all the other blessings of spending another day in the country in one fell swoop?

Last modified March 27, 2024

 

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