The eggs came first for us. They came when we moved here, and our elder boy's first chore was to count the right number of coins out of a jar, and go to the neighbors' coop for fresh eggs. He seemed such a big boy then (that's what comes with being the first-born) but he must only have been three or four at the time ... and to think that back then I'd send my little boy out in the woods with a basket, whereas now that he wants to ride them on a red scooter I see huge black wolves everywhere!
By the time Rebecca took over the egg chore, things had changed (the photo above was taken before then). Our elderly neighbors weren't taking care of the chickens any more, and their daughter was running things differently. She kept fewer chickens, and I'd get a text message when she had a dozen ready. Then Rebecca would count the coins, and leave without a basket: in this brave new world, the eggs came washed, wrapped in newspaper, and packaged in a paper bag by our neighbor.
The chicken came after years of fresh eggs. It came the other day, meticulously plucked, gutted and cleaned, with a thank-you note to us for buying eggs all these years: it looks like this was the very last chicken from the neighbor's coup. It was a mature hen, so mindful of the Italian saying, Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo ("A old hen makes good broth"), I put it a pot with an onion, a laurel leaf, a carrot and a celery stalk, filled the pot with water, and boiled for over an hour.
Then I took a ladle, scooped some the steaming broth into a bowl, and brought it to my elder boy. He's a tall, strong sixteen-year-old boy by now, but he'd had the flu, and like many teens has a cute way of becoming all cuddly when he's ill. I'm sure the broth from the last old hen in our neighbor's coop helped his recovery. And it was the perfect end to our chicken and egg circle.