The Official MYD Name My Hens Contest ™

As it was foretold in the ancient scrolls, my little “hobby” of raising backyard chickens is slowly but surely turning into a full on addiction. And as any addict would, I just scored another fix. As soon as it hit my coop, I could feel the warm release course through my veins.

This must be what William S. Burroughs felt like…every day of his life (that lush).

My small handful of egg customers is continually clamoring for their own fixes. In the form of the weekend scramble. These cats are hip to the health benefits of organic free range eggs as well as the tastiness. They can dig it man (Shout out to Chacho and Becca).

So I thought it best to up the production schedule just for them. Not for my addiction. Nope, totally selfless activities going on over here. *ahem*. You buying any of that?

I’ve also decided that I should create a fancy new official Mind Your Dirt Excelsior Class Egg Carton™ to help sweeten the deal. Here is the first prototype.

Names My Hens_Official MYD Egg Carton

I spared no expenses in the ridged stress testing and prototype structural integrity testing. Mind Your Dirt scientists worked around the clock for countless milliseconds of analysis. The proper shade of green was achieved by collecting different algae from the greatest depths of the seven seas and carefully separating the proper rhizomes to create the perfect dye.

That, or I ordered them online. I can’t recall which is the case. Regardless, I am taking steps to increase my egg output and in doing so have employed the efforts of these two fine hens to chip in. Which is what brings me to your humble Interwebs doorstep this fine morning.

I’m not selling anything, and just need a moment of your time. Is your wife or husband at home? Perhaps they would also like to hear what I have to sell…er, I mean say.

Welcome to the official Mind Your Dirt Name My Hens Contest™!

We will be selecting two winners, one for each hen named. The grand prize for the two winners will be…the satisfaction of knowing that I will be yelling these names while in a bathrobe running like a maniac around my yard trying to herd these energetic little bastards!


Second and third place contestants will be awarded the semi-satisfaction of knowing that they almost won first place! Double and triple huzzah!

Sounds to good to be true? No. No it doesn’t

Basically, I simply want my readers to be a part of my grand experiment in urban farming. That way we will be connected beyond the flashing screen and unified in animal husbandry bliss.

That said, here are the little beasts to be named:

Names My Hens_Rhode Island Red

[Insert name here] is a plucky yet shy little Rhode Island Red. She enjoys poops on the straw and relaxing with a good snail on top of my head. When she gets older, she hopes to work as a part time model. But she really thinks she should keep her day job as she enjoys the dental benefits.

Names My Hens_Black Sex Link

[Insert name here] was hatched in the fires of hell and raw untamed passion. This Black Sex Link is a mix between the Rhode Island Red rooster and the Barred rock hen. She enjoys openly defying the Master of the farm and has no time for being confined in her run. She can officially fly higher than any of my adult hens and is begging for a wing clipping. When she grows up she plans to be hell-bent on global domination while sporting a stylish pantsuit.

So the challenge has been laid before you. Contest rules are simple: there are no rules. Simply leave your votes in the comments below and I will read each one aloud to these chicks and see which ones they choose. Good luck everyone!


The results are in!

The Case of the Cursed Egg

Most mornings you’ll find me sleepy-eyed and confused wandering around my backyard in a robe. It’s like a scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sans medication time and a mean nurse Ratchet (my all time favorite book by the way, cheers Ken Kesey and all your Merry Pranksters).

My dog (and possibly my neighbors) observe this slow-moving and butt scratching beast with an apprehension usually reserved for a schizophrenic having a heated debate with a rusty tin can and a bit of used dental floss.

It takes a good hour before I “come alive” and when I do, I’m just grateful that I’m not standing on the roof of the house naked. Not a morning person.

Why all this colorful explanation regarding my morning routines? Because the other morning I witnessed something that instantly shook me out of my zombie mode just by the shear uncanniness of it. My Easter egger hen, Mia, had somehow laid a magical mini egg! “What the shit?” said I. “What manner of sorcery is this?”.

The Case of the Cursed Egg 02_barely a handful
The Case of the Cursed Egg 02b_camparative size to normal eggs
It won’t even fit on my super sweet egg skelter device 🙁

The Case of the Cursed Egg 02c_cock egg and quarter for scale

In order to facilitate yet another late day to work, I quickly went to the Interwebs to get to the bottom of this mystery. I am often easily distracted. Oh, what’s that?…

The good (and boring) news is that it’s a completely normal biological process that a chicken goes through when there’s some foreign material or reproductive tissue in the hens oviduct that triggers the formation of an egg around the material. The chicken body treats it like a yolk and it goes on down the production line like there’s no problem at all. the lack of a yolk produces a much smaller egg that usually has a much thicker shell. Yawn.

The Case of the Cursed Egg 03_hens reproductive system

So that’s the science behind this mystery. Also, a chicken vagina has finally graced the electric pages of Mind Your Dirt. Huzzah!

But when it comes to The Interwebs, one can never simply stop along the road of research just because an answer has been found. A good scientist tests and re-tests his/her hypothesis. With good ol’ fashioned folklore and tales of witchcraft!

In ancient folklore, an egg of this nature was called a Cock Egg. It was called such because it was believed to be laid by a rooster. A matter of great spiritual concern, especially if you brought it into the house. Which I had promptly done before doing my scientific research. If you do that, then you will suffer from bad luck, illness or much much worse!

I’m not too worried because they were highly valued by your local sorcerer for their use in magic spells and potions! I’ve always considered myself  a modern sorcerer so maybe it’s not all bad that I brought it inside.

However, there is another huge risk, according to legend. If a serpent or toad or witch breaks in and tries to incubate the egg (Which would be worth seeing, so I’ve been leaving the back door open all night), then the egg would either hatch into a Cockatrice…

The Case of the Cursed Egg 04_cockatrice

Or even worse, a Basilisk!

The Case of the Cursed Egg 04_basilisk

My regular readers know all about my constant Basilisk problems!! They really tear up my garden and constantly avoid my monster/demon traps! Really cuts into my trapping success ratio.

According to (my made up) legend, only a power weasel wearing a tutu made of juniper shrubs soaked in hobo tears has the power to ward off the evil Basilisk and Cockatrice! But none of my weasels will wear the silly things! Willful little beasts!

The Case of the Cursed Egg 06_Weasel vs basilisk
The timeless battle between fancy tutu weasel and dragon chicken

In the Middle Ages, what unexplained folklore would be complete without the aid of Satan himself. Old Scratch doesn’t just mess with people, but animals as well. A Cock Egg was a clear sign that The Fallen One has been snooping around the hen house.

Get this, in 1474 in Basel, Switzerland, a rooster went to trial for allegedly laying a Cock Egg. He couldn’t get decent representation and was found guilty of Satanic witchcraft and burned at the stake. Seriously. This happened.

The Case of the Cursed Egg 07_Rooster burned at the stake

“…the execution took place with as great a solemnity as would have be observed in consigning a heretic to the flames, and was witnessed by an immense crowd of townsmen and peasants.”

American author and educator, E.V. Walter in his essay – Nature On Trial – The Case Of A Rooster That Laid An Egg

Oh what a crazy bunch we humans are! But maybe this is where fried chicken comes from?!

Later in the Middle Ages the term Witch Egg emerges and much later in the Victorian Era, Fairy Egg. There are a few places in Scotland and parts of Europe that have used the term Wind Egg. Perhaps because a yolk-less egg  lacks substance. And lastly, leave it to we Americans to coin the term, ahem…Fart Egg. Stay classy America!

I will keep you posted on any evil hatchings or demonic possessions as they happen in real time via my YouTube channel. If I’m able to that is. If I begin writing blog posts like the following…

“We are Legion and We love organic produce…”

…call an old priest and a young priest on my behalf.

Until then be safe and always know where to find your local sorcerer!!

Backyard Chickens. Now, More Than Ever!

California’s 2014 Proposition 2 carries a potential 40% price increase in eggs.

Back in November I and many other Californians voted YES to Proposition 2 which requires calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that would allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. Beginning January 1, 2015, farmers will have had to make needed changes or face fines and/or imprisonment for up to 180 days.

Chickens huddle together in their egg-processing plant at the Dwight Bell Farm in Atwater, California in 2008. Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press. Via

The proposition was supported by the Humane Society of the United States, The California Medical Association, Consumer Federation of America, The Center for Food Safety, 63.4% of Californians (or 8,009,556 hip voters), and me. Yours truly. James Arthur Gielow, Deputy Director/CEO/COO/DMD of Mind Your Dirt Inc. Ltd LLC etc. In other words, 5 out of 5 James Gielows’ agree; being cool with animals is pretty neat!
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