In our quest to document life, the universe, and everything, we Researchers know no fear. Not even of Easter eggs.
The Great Easter Egg Shoot-Out
People around the world have different ways of celebrating Easter. For example, in Greece, Easter Monday is dedicated to flying kites. In Washington, DC, there is an arcane custom of rolling eggs across the White House lawn. Go figure.
The Hoggett Farm is the scene of an annual custom that may be unique: the ritual Shooting of the Easter Eggs. The formula is simple: first, dye a lot of eggs. This is easy because the hens are laying. (Some of them even lay coloured eggs to begin with, see 21 March.) Enjoy. Then, when everyone's had their fill of hard-boiled eggs, do two things: 1. Declare the post-Easter season National Egg Salad Week (for Farmer Hoggett, who actually likes hard-boiled eggs), and 2. Collect the rest for the Annual Easter Egg Shoot.
Line the brightly-coloured targets up on a convenient log, far from the henhouse, to avoid the danger of collateral damage. Then let the massacre begin.
Mrs Hoggett explains the tradition this way: when the Hoggetts were just hard-working young folk, they didn't have a lot of money for fancy entertainments. Any free-time activities had to be of the cheap, do-it-yourself variety. Hence the ad hoc nature of this enterprise. But you know what? The Hoggett boys enjoyed this so much, they introduced the custom to their children. There's a lesson in there somewhere: We'll leave you to find it.
One reason shooting Easter eggs is so much fun is that they explode in a delightful burst of colour.
Let the ecologically minded and those who worry about 'wasting food' keep this in mind: the ruined eggs are eaten. Every scrap of them. By dogs, cats, and whatever else happens along. This is way out in the country, miles from 'civilisation'.
And it's really fun when you get out the heavy guns.
Ah, yes. It's unfair. The eggs can't fight back. On the other hand, they are already hard-boiled, so who cares? And nobody at this farm would ever dye an Easter chick, or acquire a pet they couldn't care for, like a baby bunny. In fact, there are at this very moment four very happy week-old kittens in the farmhouse, being lovingly tended by Princess and her human helpers.
In the back paddock, Rick the horse doesn't care what they do, as long as they get that cattle dog of theirs to go away. It keeps trying to 'herd' him, and the horse is getting quite cross about it.
Mrs Hoggett also explains that egg shooting is a teachable moment: firearm safety is a number one priority, and everyone can learn. We agree.
This year, Easter was a beautiful, sunny, warm spring day. And a good time was had by all, except possibly the Easter eggs.
What do you do at Easter? We know some Italians in South Philadelphia who have rabbit stew. When informed that it might upset other people to 'eat the Easter Bunny', the materfamilias expressed surprise. Doesn't everyone eat rabbit stew for Easter? Over on the Greek islands, men who never cook are in their backyard, turning a lamb on a spit for the family feast. Of course, they won't be doing that until Orthodox Easter, which is 1 May this year.
To all their own holidays, we say. And make your own fun. Me, I'm getting sunstroke out here, and I'm going in for a cold drink and a peek at the kittens.