The Gathering of Eggs


For nearly 60 years my father, Ross, kept a few hens and other poultry on the family farm near Koorawatha, New South Wales. He'd gather the eggs and pencil the date on their shells. Occasionally bad weather, foxes, errant pups and other upsets would put the hens off laying, but there were bounteous times when eggs were given away by the dozen. Sometimes chickens would be hatching in the electric incubator that stands in the living room, beside the chair where Ross liked to read in wreaths of pipe smoke.

These pictures were all taken during the years when he was living alone at the farm. On my visits home I'd see eggs disposed about the house in various configurations. Often there'd be a solitary one on the coffee table, carried from the coop in a shirt pocket over his heart: you had to be mindful of that when you greeted him with a hug. He said that the hens were "company", and I felt that I should visit more often. Soon after his 90th birthday in May 2008, Ross moved to a house in town, where he smokes his pipe and broods about constructing a chicken run in the back yard.

  • Red Hat, June 2002

  • Shaft of light in the laundry, November 2002

  • Handsaws in the laundry, March 2003

  • Coffee table - Olive, Ross & Sally, May 2003

  • Mirrored, July 2003

  • Notation, January 2004

  • Shaving gear, April 2004

  • Rooster's tail, April 2004

  • Waiting to be written on, April 2004

  • Irish Rebel Songs, July 2004

  • First Prize for Australorp hens, Cowra Show October 2004

  • Double yolker, November 2005

  • At the front door, February 2006

  • Peach trees, February 2006

  • Living room, February 2006

  • Water tanks & toothbrushes, October 2007

  • Correspondence, September 2007

  • A Little gathering, October 2007

  • Feeding the hens, April 2008

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