It’s Weasel Time!
One of the first things you realize living in Germany is that that Germans love to divvy up the calendar year not so much by months but by what delicacies are in season. There is an asparagus (white asparagus, really, because the green stuff is so barbaric) time of the year (Spargelzeit) and a strawberry time of the year (Erdbeerzeit). And a time of the year that is best for making plum cake (a sweet bread batter baked with halved plums on top) and that would be Pflaumenzeit, when almost exactly literally everyone’s backyard zwetschge plum tree(s) (sort of like a damson plums) are falling over with fruit. There is also, in winter, Grunkohl und Pinkelzeit which is when everyone in northern Germany goes on Kohlfahrts. Which is to say groups of Germans, as a bonding exercise, spend the day walking around hauling red Radio Flyer type wagon filled with bottles of schanpps (mainly grain alcohol flavored with herbs until it is indistinguishable from cough syrup, but alcoholiker) and beer. The point of a Kohlfahrt is to get progressively drunker while playing some game that involves throwing little balls but isn’t quite boules and then end the day by eating kale with a type of local sausage whose name is identical to the German verb for urinating. Being a non-drinking, non-pinkel-eating person not very good at doing as the Romaning, I don’t get it. But I guess you gotta have something to look forward to during the dark, cold, miserable days of January.
But now as we are coming to the end of our second full year with chickens, I have decided that March is Weasel Time. Last year I was (in addition to being pretty much bed ridden and almost dying) ripping my hair out, dragging myself out to the chicken coop once an hour during waking hours, trying to be faster than the rat or weasel or whatever it was that was robbing us of 1-2 eggs a day, and sucking their contents dry right there inside the chicken coop in broad daylight (as broad as daylight gets this time of year, which , right now, is heavily rainy and blowing force 10, isn’t very).
It started again yesterday. And we lost an egg already this morning.
It’s very frustrating.
We were already down to just 24 eggs a week, which is not enough for 6 people when 4 of those 6 people each eat at least one egg a day at breakfast or lunch, because the three irrepressibly fence-hopping, garden destroying hens each had their height shortened by a head two weeks ago and the 3 sweet new so far exceedingly well-behaved replacement hens which aren’t old enough to produce eggs yet. The new hens are, I guess you would call them black copper colored Marans. They’re much less angsty than the green-layers were, who seemed to be driven mad by the urge to eat more and more and more food and still they couldn’t digest it efficiently enough to extract the nutrients necessary to make strong eggshells (unless they ransacked my garden for greens and insects for 8 hours a day). (Of course they could have just eaten out of the endless supply of seed and grain plus mussel shell mix we give them in addition to grass and lettuce and cucumbers, etc, but no.) So anyway no green-layers EVER AGAIN (although we have 2 left because these two I at least managed to convince to stop hopping the fence).
Never a dull moment out here, that’s for sure. I even had two cranes fly directly over my head this morning, which they were desperately struggling not to do (they are very shy), but this wind! And last weekend we tripped over a couple of SNOW GEESE! Presumably escapees or the children of escapees from someone who kept them. Because, WTF? SNOW GEESE HERE???