I have, since acquiring a house, also acquired a desire to own a couple of chickens. Where this desire came from, I really have no idea. I have never had chickens before. My grandparents had some chickens when I was a kid, but I don't recall anything about them except our dog trying to kill one of them one time.
Nevertheless, I intend to embark on this poultry endeavor eventually because for some reason I have equated chickens with this idyllic and pastoral vision in my head. Just like Caroline Ingalls, I can run around in plaid dresses and a long apron, scattering seed to the fowl and gathering their eggs. After their eggs are gathered into my apron, I walk purposefully into the house and lay them out on the butcher block counter top where I am whipping up some culinary delight of pioneer proportions.
Expertly, I grab an egg in one hand and bang it on the side of my metal mixing bowl. . . . And that is where the vision stops, because unlike Caroline, I still hold a barely cracked egg and there are a couple of shell pieces in my bowl. Slightly discouraged but not yet defeated, I whack the egg a little harder against the edge of the bowl. Now more pieces fall off, and I drop the entire egg in the bowl where it breaks and its contents ooze out and mix with all the pieces of shell.
Unfortunately, this true story just happened a couple of weeks ago at my friends' house. Dennis was in fits of laughter, threatening, "There better not be one piece of shell that ends up in that cornbread!" Cherelyn just looks at me and says, "And you want chickens."
All I can say is that "old farm hands" got an earlier start. They were not in their mid thirties, cracking their first brown egg. No, I'm sure they had many a shell bit get into their cornbread before they learned to perfect the technique. I remain convinced that with a couple of chickens of my own and some practice, the plaid dress and apron wearing version of me will emerge. And I will crack eggs, one handed and victorious.