At breakfast, “Tony, what do you think is a fair price for farm eggs?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea. We don’t buy eggs anymore, so I don’t even know the price of a dozen eggs. Do you have orders for our eggs?”
“Yes, the cafe said he would take 12 dozen a week.”
“Can we deliver that amount and at what price?”
“I checked at the market. They are selling eggs at a dollar nine-teen a dozen. The owner of the cafe is going to pay a dollar twenty if we don’t raise the price for a year.”
“He’s willing to pay a little more for a one-year contract?”
“Yes, and he likes our eggs. He cracked one and cooked it. I watch him as he ate it. That was when he said if we hold the price, he will pay one twenty per dozen.”
“How many dozens does he want?”
“He wants a minimum of twenty dozen a week. He said breakfast is his busiest time, and with these eggs, he expects his breakfast business to increase.”
“Do we have enough chickens to produce that many eggs?”
“Yes. We have increased the size of that pen three times, and we have room to increase it again if we need to do it. You are collecting almost six dozen eggs a day now. But you may need to buy a refrigerator to store them.”
“Maybe a cooler would be better, Tony. Then we can also keep the milk in there.”
“Okay, why don’t you see what you can find, Charlie. But the cost comes out of the egg money, so figure that in as well.”
If we are going to get Into the egg business, then the egg business needs to pay for any equipment we need. I never did find out what happened to the second dozen they took with them.
I told Dad about our egg business. He told Mom, and then everyone knew. Uncle Angelo said he still expects his two dozen a week. Soon the word spread, and now not only was I selling eggs, but a was also supplying eggs to my relatives.
Then boys did expand the chicken yard again. Charlie found a cooler like the one the boys had on their farms at home. It needed to be repaired and a new refrigeration unit. Charlie took it on as his project. When I told him the boys, and I would help, he refused. “I stay here for free, and I eat here for free, let me contribute to the farm as best as I can.”
I left him alone to work on the cooler. I told the boys to keep an eye on him and let me know if he needed anything. By the time school was out for the summer, I had a cooler for eggs and milk. I showed Dad, and he said what started as just a house is now a working farm. He was right.
The boys took their annual camping trip, and they took Charlie with them. I had a carpenter and crew build a garage for Charlie’s truck. It looked like a lean-to when it was finished. There wasn’t a door, and it was open in the front. A result of a quick build as I wanted it done before the boys and Charlie came home.
Dad came over and checked it out and said it would be fine. “Dad, if you help me, I’d like to rearrange the tool shed. I’m going to buy a freezer, and I want to put it there.”
“Why do you need a freezer?”
“I’m getting overrun with chickens. We could thin the herd, so to speak, and freeze the meat. Maybe you can take some home with you?”
“I’ll take some of those chickens you have ready for the freezer.” I laughed.
The boys came back from their camping trip and Charlie was smiling when he saw the garage for his truck. I guess that cemented any doubt he had about being welcomed here.
We celebrated July 4th at Uncle Angelo’s as usual. That became an annual event. I took several bottles of my wine with a few chickens as well. A few turned out to be a dozen after the boys loaded the trunk of the car.
Arriving, Luis and Gene met us, and they took the wine. The boys laughed as they took the chickens to Uncle Angelo for the grill. Mom came over, and she had the young lady from last year with her. This year she knew a few words in English. As we were talking, Luis came over, and I saw him taking her hand. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Tony, I’d like for you to be an usher at my wedding.”
I looked at Mom, she had a big smile on her face, but it wasn’t as big as mine. “When is this wedding going to take place?”
“After I come back from Italy. Probably in September if her parents approve of me.”
“You will have to learn Italian unless her parents speak English.”
“I know a few words in Italian. Dad and your mom have been teaching me.”
I looked around, and there was no one I didn’t know. So I guess I was safe this 4th of July. I opened a bottle of my wine and toasted Luis and Camilla, “To a successful trip to Italy.”
“You seem happy.”
“Mom, I am happy for Luis. I think she is a pretty girl, and he seems to be in love with her. “ My mom looked at me, and I suspect she knew why I was happy.