20 weeks, and 2 days after our baby chicks were born, we got our very first egg from one of our girls. Billie Jean is one of our Black Sex Links, and she has been telling us for a week or so that she was getting ready to lay. We actually couldn’t tell if it were Billie Jean or Betty, but now we know for sure that it was Billie Jean!
In our flock we have two sets of Sex Link chickens (two black, and two red.) We decided to get four sex links because we were told that they were VERY good layers, and very friendly. Thankfully, they all have slightly different markings, so we have been able to tell them apart since they were little baby chicks. Caroline and Cecilia are our Red Sex Links, and Caroline has always been slightly bigger than Cecilia, and had more of a golden color, and Cecilia has always been a little more deeper gold or “red”. Billie Jean and Betty both have gold chests, but Betty has always had much more gold on her, so that’s how we’ve been able to tell them apart. It’s sort of one of those things where the parents know the difference between the twins, but it’s hard for other people to tell, haha.
(our girls, about a month ago)
So Billie Jean has been squawking away for a week or so, making a noise we had never heard from them before. If you don’t know what it sounds like, it can be quite frightening. It sounds like she’s injured or upset, or maybe even sick. It’s not the most lovely sound these birds make. We looked it up on YouTube, and found out that it was the egg song, and figured we should probably be expecting an egg soon. This went on for days, so we started to not think too much about it. Everyday she let us know that she was getting ready, but no egg. All of that changed on Sunday.
Sunday started out as a bit of a lazy day. We actually took a true weekend (ie, no work!) which doesn’t really happen very often. When you work for yourself, there’s no end to the work day, or work week for that matter. The schedule can be flexible, for better or worse. It means we can sleep in if we want, or run errands, schedule doctors appointments for any time, or take the dog for a walk, but there is always something to do, and it’s hard to escape from. So it was kind of a big step for us to have a weekend where we just hung out together.
As many of you know, I’m in the process of trying to get mold out of my body and balance hormones, and let me tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart. Well, the whole process really. I’m really lucky in that I never had a wide range of symptoms of mold exposure, because there are some people out there who are really, really sick, and I don’t ever feel like a “sick person.” However, the one symptom I do have, which is anxiety, is intense at times. It’s getting better, but it can still be pretty crippling. The really tough thing about trying to rid your body of toxins is that they go in way easier than they come out, and they leave you kicking and screaming. When you stir things up, and try to cleanse your body of harmful pathogens, the detox effect can be worse than the symptoms you had in the first place. It’s called a Herxheimer Reaction, or “herx” for short. Thankfully, the treatment for mold is to use binders, so I haven’t had much of that because I’m just grabbing toxins, and not killing anything, but I did when I thought my main issue was Candida. I was taking anti-fungals which I now realize were killing yeast AND mold. Your liver can only flush so many toxins at a time, so anxiety is often associated with detox. Fun, since that’s also my symptom of toxic burden as well.
This process is exhausting at times, especially when symptoms are only related to mood. I have much to be grateful for in this process, but I’m human, and some times it’s hard to stay positive all the time. Natural healing is slow, with many ups and downs, it’s in no way linear, and you really need a lot of emotional support to get through it. Thankfully I’ve seen BIG signs of healing really fast (seriously, I only started treating the right things about 5-7 weeks ago), but I have to remind myself daily of those signs of healing, because I’ve had symptoms of this issue for 3 years. It’s almost more difficult now, because I feel so “normal” at times that when I try to do something that I can’t, it’s more of a blow to the ego. I’ve found that this process has been extremely humbling, and given me a greater appreciation of health, and desire to slow down and appreciate the world I live in.
I’ve been working on being more present in my daily life, and have started to see how to trust the process, and really feel that everything is in perfect order. For the first time in my adult life, I’ve really had to put myself first, and be selfish, and take care of me, even if it means disappointing family and friends. I think in our society it’s expected to be able to function as a normal human being despite whatever struggles you have going on, and just push through unless you are in a hospital bed. As Bill has said to me many times, “nobody would expect you to run a marathon with a broken leg.” This isn’t an easy thing for me to do, but as much as I know I’m in this position because of toxins, I also know that a big part of it is from stuffing emotions down inside of me for a long time, and not taking care of myself. At some point they will bubble up when your body (and/or mind) hits a breaking point, and it makes sense that for me it really escalated around our wedding, a big life change, and starting a new chapter. So now it’s me time, and everyone else comes second. Sorry.
Surprisingly, this process has also made me a bit more spiritual. Just really believing that this is the perfect order of my life, and all is well, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Believing that I’m protected, and everything happens for a reason, and one day I’ll look back on this and really see why it was actually a good thing for me to go through. So this brings me back to the eggs. As I mentioned, every day has it’s ups and downs for me, thankfully the downs are lessening as I go, but still every day has ups and downs. During one of my down moments this past Sunday, I was sitting outside with Charlie on our deck, while Bill pulled some weeds in our garden. The wind was blowing, it was warm, but cool from the breeze, and I could hear our wind chimes in the background. I was trying to be present to what was around me. Looking at the sweet face of my dog sitting peacefully with me outside. Noticing how beautiful the trees looked with their branches and leaves blowing in the wind, and being grateful for our cute deck surrounded by some of our favorite plants, since we put so much work into our gardens. How often do we all go through daily life not noticing anything around us, but just thinking about the past or the future?
I felt the breeze on my face, and just closed my eyes and thought “okay Universe, help me be more patient in this process. Show me a sign that everything is going to be okay, and all is in it’s perfect order.” I sat there, and felt it, and really asked, acknowledging that I didn’t even feel like I knew how to ask.
Within 10 minutes Billie Jean started squawking again. All of the chickens had been quiet for an hour, and then Billie Jean had A LOT to say, and some of the other girls joined in too. She had been sitting in the egg box, but I honestly didn’t think much of it, because they all go in and out of the egg box from time to time, and we had seen this act many times before. In fact, Bill and I wanted to both find the first egg together, but he said “I’m going to go check” and I let him go by himself because I figured it was another false alarm. It wasn’t. He yelled to me “There’s an egg!!!” We were both so happy! It was so exciting!! We expected a baby egg, because we heard from a friend that the first egg would be tiny, and most likely not even have a yolk. This was a large brown egg, with a deep orange yolk.
When we gathered the egg, and thanked Billie Jean for all her hard work. I really was so grateful. She was so proud of herself, and really worked so hard on that egg, and I just felt like this was my sign.
It sounds so silly to say, but I was like, okay everything *literally* will be okay in the end.
As special as the first egg is, it seemed even more special that this egg was big, and beautiful, and had a deep orange yolk. Billie Jean has since laid an egg every day since then, she is still the only one who is laying. Her egg yesterday was about half the size, and we have yet to see what the inside looks like. In fact, she let me know that there was another egg for us today as I was typing this post. (It turned out to be her largest yet!)
We decided to try preserving this first, special egg shell (and to try to collect the first egg of all our chickens.) To do this, you poke small holes at each end of the egg, agitate the white and yolk on the inside, and blow the insides out, carefully. After doing this, there was no way we were going to waste her precious efforts, so Bill made a one-egg omelet.
So to end this I will say, that I’m so grateful for our sweet chickens, and every egg they give us is special and magical to us. So much hard work, and pain (well it sounded painful) goes into the laying of each egg, and then we are given a beautiful little egg to feed us, and keep us nourished. If the only thing I’ve gained from this process I’ve been going through is a greater appreciate of the “little” things in life, then I see it as a success.
Congrats to our sweet Billie Jean, and thank you for your wonderful eggs!