A Short Post About a Serendipitous Tradition

2 Apr


Okay, you might not believe me when I say this, but truly, we TRY to find each and every plastic Easter Egg each year at our outdoor Easter Egg hunts…but somehow, every year, one or two get lost and then a year or so later we find them, bitten by animals, grubby, abandoned, lying in plain sight beneath a tree or a bush. We love this “tradition” – even if it happens purely by serendipity and never by design.


The first time it happened, 8 years ago when we moved out to our acreage, we weren’t too surprised. We had hidden over 200 eggs that year, and, though we didn’t count them all afterwards, we were pretty sure that there were some unaccounted for.

Searching high and low!

Searching high and low!

“Did you guys search in the way back?”

“No, that was too far.”

The hunt begins.  Seven 5 & 6 year olds having fun.

The hunt begins. Seven 5 & 6 year olds having fun.

We went back to look and found about a dozen. BUT…we still didn’t find them all. In fact, it took us three years to find all of those, we know because that was the only year we hid little erasers in some of the eggs and, sure enough, when the lawn-mower found an egg three years later, it had a butterfly eraser inside it…and the marks of some creature’s teeth all over the egg’s smooth, plastic, ovoid exterior.

047 2

Mostly they’re found in the spring, when the long grasses have died back and the new ones haven’t yet taken their place. It’s as if the snow has rooted out the eggs, shoved them forward like icebergs shoved rocks across the plains, and they wait to be found, little mountains of color in our prairie lawn.


Ironically, it’s not green eggs that we tend to find, but pink or purple or orange – colors, in other words, that you’d expect would be easy to spot beneath a tree. But, as Carl Sandburg so poignantly reminds us, “I am the grass; I cover all“.

A few weeks ago, the kids and my husband took a walk in the back yard, despite the March wind and snow. When they came in, cheeks red and noses running, some twenty minutes later, Boo proudly held up the egg they had found.

And then, with a grin, she opened it.

Lovely. Was it a malted egg? That’s my guess. Though, to be sure, it’s an educated guess more than an obvious match for said candy. The remains of it could fool an archeologist.

The interior.  Not too appetizing one year later.

The interior. Not too appetizing one year later.

I burst out laughing, loving the grubby egg, the continuing tradition.

The lucky finder of the Golden Egg one year ago.

The lucky finder of the Golden Egg one year ago.

Anyone care to hazard a guess on how many eggs we’ll find a year from now? If the seven five and six year-olds who came to hunt eggs at Boo’s party have anything to say about it, it will be zero. I, however, as the realistic mom…I’m guessing two or three.

Or, should I say, that’s what I’m hoping for. After all, it would be a shame to let a good tradition die.

I love dying eggs!

I love dying eggs!

PS – Sure enough, there’s at least one that we couldn’t find this year. Boo says that the leprechaun took it. Could be she’s right. How else can we explain their total disappearance?!

Not eggs...but a egg-like welcome to a party!

Not eggs…but a egg-like welcome to a party!

PPS – ON EASTER DAY Boo found one from last year – nice and grubby and innocently hiding all year long near the well. What a hoot.

A tradition continues.

A tradition continues.




25 Responses to “A Short Post About a Serendipitous Tradition”

  1. Beth Ann April 2, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    I miss doing egg hunts with the boys! What great photos to go along with your words!!! :-). Love the grubby eggs!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      I think that when my kids are grown I will have to borrow children and have them over – I love hiding them and watching them be found! LOVE IT!

      • Beth Ann April 2, 2013 at 9:05 am #

        I know what you mean!!! I loved the Easter egg hunts—I am waiting for grandbabies!!!

  2. soshemarriedafarmer April 2, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    What a fun tradition! I just showed Liv the photo of the golden egg. We have never had missing ones that long….but last year a snake was wrapped around one of them! Have a great day, Gretchen!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Yes, I hoped you’d recognize her sweet wee hands holding that egg! That is hilarious that a snake was wrapped around one – how great that photo would have been!! He (or she!) must have just wakened up for Spring and wondered what happened to the rocks while he was asleep! They all turned colors!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots April 2, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    What a wonderful tradition. Do you invite friends, family? I absolutely love those cups holding the dye. Where did you get them?

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 8:36 am #

      Good morning! In the past we have invited as many as 25 kids over – all friends of our kids. This year we had 6 girls over and combined it with a birthday party for Boo. We always do it again just for our kids, too. The cups with the dye are from Crate and Barrel, I believe – I love that store. I hardly ever use them but they were so gorgeous with the dye!

  4. Gwen April 2, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Such a fun tradition when the kids are young. Your hearty Minnesotans out there braving the sub-freezing elements are building wonderful memories. Love that one egg from last year was found on Easter morning.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      I believe the temps were a balmy 35 at the time of the egg hunt. We wore hats and coats and I made all the girls keep mittens in their buckets in case they needed them. But the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t bad, which, out on the prairie, can be a real problem. So it all worked out quite well!

  5. gardenfreshtomatoes April 2, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    I had to giggle – a few months ago, Angel and Grandad were walking out in the yard, and found an egg from when herUncle Ollie was still hauling a basket around…he turned 30 in January. Hubby – I mean, the Easter Bunny – always put shiny new coins in his kids’ eggs. They weren’t so shiny after 20 years!

  6. cravesadventure April 2, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Great Post! I remember one year growing up that we had to hunt for eggs in the house. My mom put my dad in charge – he did not count let alone remember where he put them all. A few weeks later a bad smell was coming from behind the couch – there was a colored egg back there rotting. Still chuckle about it today – ha! Happy Tuesday:)

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Great story! Yeah, we decided that plastic was the way to go for this activity! We were wondering if we’d have to do it indoors as it was pretty chilly, but we did it outside anyway – in 35, I think it was, degree weather!

  7. bitsandbreadcrumbs April 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Your dyed Easter eggs are gorgeous. Looks like your Easter was a happy one!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Oh, thanks. I leave them in the dye for ages because I like them to be dark and beautiful!

  8. Sandy Anderson April 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Our grandkids have a tradition here – the oldest two hide the eggs in the retreat center, then the youngest 4 hunt – this year they hid around 90 – plastic and real. They DID count, and say they can’t find 2 – real eggs, yet. Maybe your kids will have to help hunt in June, Gretchen… Sandy

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      🙂 Fun! I love hiding them – I’d rather hide than seek any day!

  9. hotlyspiced April 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    What a lovely tradition. I have never seen plastic eggs before. We have an Easter egg hunt every year but the Easter Bunny just scatters them around the lawn and he has to do this early in the morning before the sun is up and they start to melt and before the dogs are let out to enjoy a fantastic feast xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Wow – no plastic, fillable eggs in Australia?! That’s amazing to me! Here we have too many varieties of plastic eggs – they’re cheap, but they work. And, of course, it’s still too early in the spring to worry about melting chocolate!

  10. Barb Bamber (@justasmidgen1) April 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    There’s nothing finer than this sort of tradition.. the ones that spring up from another tradition. The innocent years of chasing bunnies and finding eggs are so precious!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      I know – I simply love it. The lost and found eggs, the wee kids running around and searching, their excitement when they open the eggs. I can’t stand the Easter Egg “hunts” that are just eggs thrown on the grass/floor…it’s so sad and incomplete!

      • rutheh April 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

        What a lovely post. I love your story of hiding and finding the pretty eggs. Thanks for the condolences on my blog today. xxoo

        • Gretchen O'Donnell April 5, 2013 at 9:46 am #

          Thanks, Ruth. And I know that pets become part of our lives, for sure. Not easy to lose them.

  11. Profiteroles & Ponytails April 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Very cute story! We always miss a few eggs too. My main concern is not to miss any chocolate ones hidden in the couch, as it is sure to be messy!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 5, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Ha! I laughed out loud at that! It truly is part of the fun, isn’t it – finding them later on?! But no…not on one’s pants, thanks! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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