“Setting Eggs” and Breaking New Ground: By Renea Winchester

08 Feb

“Setting Eggs” and Breaking New Ground: By Renea Winchester

It only takes one or two days of sunshine to catapult winter-weary gardeners into a feverous pitch that can only be defined as mania. It’s been a frigid winter and most of the country has at one time or another, been blanketed in either snow or ice (or both)!

As a result, the moment the sun breaks through, birds gather to shout their praises and sun lovers abandon the couch in search of spring.

However, before we start getting all crazy and start setting eggs, planting seeds, and plunging our hands in the dirt, we need to refer to the “good book” for guidance.

Almanac… aka “Farmer’s Bible”

I’m talking about the almanac…Grier’s 205th Annual issue to be exact.

Last week, I presented Billy with his copy of the almanac. Under his training, I’ve quickly learned that he takes the advice written on these pages quite seriously. He plants crops and “sets hens” only when approved by Mr. Grier himself. According to page 6 of the 205th edition, we should: “Set eggs to hatch in a fruitful sign. The chicks will mature faster and be better layers.”

Billy snatched the calendar off the wall as I delved into the newsprint pages eager to determine when we were going to “break the new ground.” As an aside, he likes to plant something, usually potatoes on Good Friday.

This year, Grier’s predicts a wet February which is not good, considering the rice-field debacle we mucked through last February in his garden.

Undeterred by the gloomy prediction Billy asked, “When does it say I can set some ‘aigs?’ The hens are getting restless.”

Photo by Billy’s other Farmhand, Kelle McEntegart

According to Billy, he has been “breaking up hen parties left and right.” He is a firm believer health chicks comes from following these stringent, albeit mysterious, “signs.”

I licked my finger and turned the page. “It says we should set eggs on the 13, 14, or 15th of February; then on the 22 or 23rd of February.”

I placed a sharpie in his weathered hand. Billy opened the cap and circled the date; then he replaced the cap and said with a nod, “We’ll set those hens on Valentine’s day.”

I can think of no better way to celebrate our love of gardening…can you?

Soon, we’ll be listening to baby chicks say, “peep, peep” and enjoying the magic that spring brings.

Little Momma, the best “Mother Hen” ever !

Until my next post, remember keep those hands dirty.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author whose

book, In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life,

Love & Tomatoes is available in bookstores everywhere and online. Visit her website at to learn more.


Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Chickens, Goats Animals & Pets


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to ““Setting Eggs” and Breaking New Ground: By Renea Winchester

  1. Simone Benedict

    February 8, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Great stuff! A friend and I were just checking the “good book” about when to break ground today.

  2. Nebraska Dave

    February 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    There won’t be no planting here for a spell. The temperature never got above five degrees today and a low of -4 tonight. I really hope there’s no winds involved with those temperatures. Tipical for Nebraska, by Saturday and all next week we will be having mid 40s temperature which will melt the snow fast. We could be seeing the ground by the end of the week. Maybe that old ground hog was right and we are heading into a early spring. I’m up for that.

    Have a great pre spring egg setting February.


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