Today was a warm January day, with a wicked cold front expected tonight, so I let my chickens out to forage while they could. The one red hen who always pecks my hand came up on the porch and pecked at the door, like she was knocking. Then she settled down on the porch next to the cat, watching the snow melt. They reminded me of the cat and hen that shelter the Ugly Duckling for a while in the old Hans Christian Anderson story.
I watched them from the kitchen, where I was making enchiladas out of the meat, fat, and stock from a spent laying hen that we butchered last year. That frozen chicken, tough and skinny as she was, will still feed us four more times: chicken pot pie, enchiladas, chicken soup with egg noodles, and egg drop soup. I had to cook her in the crock pot for six hours before I could even pull the skin off, let alone the meat, but the stock is extraordinary.
The chickens were much calmer this evening, having enjoyed the day outside. I locked them in tight, as the temperature is expected to drop from 45 degrees at dusk to a low of 9 degrees tomorrow morning, with 40 MPH winds.
Anna wore her PJs inside out tonight in hopes of a snow day. I could use one, too.