Who designed the chicken molting process? Really, who thought it was a good idea for the flock to lose feathers in November and December, just when the temperature drops? Henny began molting in late November and the yard was strewn with bright white feathers. As soon as she was done, just when the temperature dropped to ten degrees, Gladys started. Black smoke everywhere and she exposed her scrawny legs and neck to the cold. Why?
But Henny is glorious in her fresh coating, tail proud and clean against the green grass. On the day after the solstice, she dropped down into egg crouch when I walked by. I gave her a pat and shook my head. No eggs yet, I thought. Not until the light comes back around Candlemas. It’s too dark and she’s no spring chicken. I bought a dozen pale eggs for breakfast and baking.
Then, on Christmas, I wandered out to free the Ladies for the afternoon. They ran out, discussing the dust under the rabbit hutch. I peered into the nest box to see if they needed new straw yet and there—two pure white eggs.
It has been a very good year for squash, but several butternuts were bitten by the frost in the larder and needed to be baked. I cut them open, scooped out seeds, and popped them in the oven until soft and squishy. Once cool, I peeled off the skins and pushed them into a quart jar.