Six Eggs from a Badling of Ducks


When I came home from three days in San Jose, I collected six duck eggs. That’s three times the total number of eggs I collected from my ducks to date. Now, ducks don’t lay eggs in one place like chickens do — at least not this group

— ok, I bothered to look up what you call a group of ducks on Wikipedia:

And I found a dopping of ducks (diving), a plump of ducks (flying), a paddling of ducks (on water) and otherwise a badling, a flush, a raft, a sord, a team, or a brace of ducks. Who would have thought that there was such an extensive menu of options? I’m going to go with “badling”, which is not meant to be pejorative — my ducks behave nicely and now they are productive.

But I was saying also that you don’t find duck eggs gathered in one spot, which is how a peep of chickens lay their eggs. Duck eggs are not evenly distributed either. They are simply spread about and you have to hunt for them. I felt like a kid at Easter placing one egg in a basket and going to search for another.

These duck eggs were covered in mud and grass; they needed some cleaning to look as good as they do in the photo above. One delight is the soft pastel colors of the shells, some tinted pink and others a light green. Duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs, and so are the yolks with a deeper, darker yellow. Roughly they taste the same but I will be trying them out in different recipes.

To conclude, some words from Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sir Nigel“, which seems to play with peasant/pheasant speech:

“Nay, nay, lad, it is indeed sad to see how little you know. Your hands, Nigel, were always better than your head. No man of gentle birth would speak of a herd of swine; that is the peasant speech. If you drive them it is a herd. If you hunt them it is other. What call you them, then, Edith?”

“Nay, I know not,” said the girl listlessly. A crumpled note brought in by a varlet was clinched in her right hand and her blue eyes looked afar into the deep shadows of the roof.

“But you can tell us, Mary?”

“Surely, sweet sir, one talks of a sounder of swine.”

The old Knight laughed exultantly. “Here is a pupil who never brings me shame!” he cried. “Be it lore – of chivalry or heraldry or woodcraft or what you will, I can always turn to Mary. Many a man can she put to the blush.”

“Myself among them,” said Nigel.

“Ah, lad, you are a Solomon to some of them. Hark ye! only last week that jack-fool, the young Lord of Brocas, was here talking of having seen a covey of pheasants in the wood. One such speech would have been the ruin of a young Squire at the court. How would you have said it, Nigel?”

“Surely, fair sir, it should be a nye of pheasants.”

“Good, Nigel – a nye of pheasants, even as it is a gaggle of geese or a badling of ducks, a fall of woodcock or a wisp of snipe.

Unbeatable Eggs

My friend, DC, was asking recently about raising your own chickens. He wondered if you could tell the difference in the quality of the eggs: taste, color, or texture. “No, not really,” I said to him. Although I’ve heard people rave about the differences, I’ve thought the claims to be exaggerated. I haven’t found my own eggs to be dramatically different from good quality eggs in our market. However, some groceries have cheap “factory-fresh eggs”, and the yolks lack the color and size of what I’ve seen from our own chickens.

I was reminded of the conversation this morning when I fetched eggs from the chicken house. When I cracked open the eggs into a bowl, I really noticed the yolks, and how big and bright they were. So for today, I can say that the eggs from my chickens are unbeatable.


But not so unbeatable that I couldn’t proceed to do just that with a whisk. With a handful of spinach from the garden, I made a spinach and cheese omlette for two. That plate made me truly grateful that I have chickens. Vive le difference!


Artichokes and Frogspawn

A few weeks ago, I visited a friend’s house in Freestone, an off-the-grid home powered by solar. Walking the grounds, I admired a beautiful, vigorous artichoke plant that I wished was in my yard. (I have smaller plants which are frequently attacked by gophers.) This picture makes the artichoke look even bigger, as I shot from below, looking up the hill at it.


They also had a small stone-walled pond near their house. Inside it were clusters of frog eggs, so called frogspawn (look it up in wikipedia). You can see them near the center bottom of the photo below. It won’t be long before there are tadpoles swimming in the pond.


The tadpoles will develop into night-singing Pacific Tree Frogs.