Aimee and I got home from the airport last night and got into bed just before midnight. Flights into the United States were heavily delayed due to a terrorist issue from Christmas Day, so every carry-on bag was being searched before passengers boarded their planes. That meant that our second flight, from Chicago to Seattle, was around an hour behind schedule. The pilot flew fast, though, and we made good time. The shuttle drove us home, we unpacked Aimee's precious stash of sausages and rashers, we loved on the pups, and our heads hit the pillow.
We both felt refreshed this morning, and I was incredibly happy to have slept in my own soft, comfy bed. We tended to a few things around the house, then took the dogs for their morning walkies. On our way out, we caught sight of the chickens. My, how they'd grown! Raquel and Ursula looked enormous, and the Campines, Norma Jean and Ingrid, have both filled and fluffed out more than expected. We came back and did (what we thought was) a full chicken inspection. I picked up Raquel, taking a moment to admire her recently developed comb and wattles, and we left the girls some lettuce and broccoli to help pass the cold day.
After running errands and coming home for lunch, I decided to let the girls out and clean up their coop. Things had gotten quite poopie in our absence, and keeping the coop clean and dry is the best way to avoid frost bite and cold. It seems a little contrary to mammalian wisdom, but chickens don't really need a *warm* coop to sleep in. In fact, they need plenty of fresh air, so closing the door to their coop is really only necessary on the coldest of nights. A large amount of the moisture in the air in their coop is created from their droppings and their breath, so keeping the coop clean and dry is a big priority. I got out the buckets and the shovel and set to work while the girls noshed on an apple core and some crusty bread heels. The nesting boxes I built are removable for cleaning, so I hauled them out, which revealed this in the far corner.
I trembled when I picked it up, terrified that I might break the shell. It was so tiny! The two eggs on either side of it in the picture below were from the grocery store earlier in the day. I figured a little perspective would help.
Alas, Raquel's recently developed comb must have been a sign. It was definitely one of the Dominiques', as the other two breeds lay white eggs.
I thought about dancing. I'm sure I was grinning ear to ear. It was tiny, and it was covered in chicken poo, but it was our first egg. What a way to end the year.