Growing up in Georgia I spent many weekends and school holidays with my paternal grandparents in "the country" - romping with my cousins in the woods, climbing entirely too high in the big magnolia tree, and building tree forts. I relished these opportunities to spend every daylight hour outdoors. We'd let our imaginations run wild and we'd come running as soon as we heard our grandmother's familiar call to signal dinner time.

When I was younger - maybe three or four - my grandparents raised poultry commercially and I have vivid memories of collecting eggs as a young child wandering through long poultry houses "filled to the gills" with chickens. After my grandparents sold off that business, they still kept chickens in a coop out back. My brother and I used to fight over who would get to go collect the eggs from that coop.

For the record, there is nothing yummier than a fresh egg.

After settling in the suburbs of Philadelphia I got the hankerin' to get some chickens. My friends thought I was crazy - and they are mostly right about that. I started off with three barred rock hens named after my great aunts: Gladys, Hildy and Ida Mae. I loved feeding them treats and having them follow me around the backyard. We now only have one of the original trio - Gladys- and she's the QUEEN of the henhouse without a doubt. We raised six more hens from the time they were 3 days old and now we get about a half-dozen eggs EACH DAY. Needless to say, we eat a lot of egg salad, deviled eggs (one of my favorites) and scrambled eggs (with grits, of course). As a child back in rural Georgia I remember my grandparents' house fondly and am grateful to have them still alive and in their early 90s. Having hens reminds me of them and of my childhood.

Oh - anyone want some fresh eggs? We have a few to spare.

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